Wednesday, 7 December 2016
There's some pretty "out there" Christmas snacks this year, from various alcoholic crisps (like Marks & Spencer Bucks Fizz Crisps) to Salted Caramel Pretzels, Dark Chocolate Chilli Tortillas, and now joining the table are these: Tesco Finest Limited Edition Cocoa & Spiced Rum hand cooked potato crisps. These cost £1 in Tesco's Christmas aisle, are suitable for vegetarians and gluten free, but contain milk.
I was expecting these to taste awful, if I'm honest. I only bought them because they're so unusual!
Turns out they're actually weirdly quite yummy! There's a definite chocolatey cocoa flavour coating the crisps, with only a slight hint of rum in the background - blink and you'll miss it. The crisps are quite sweet and have that moreish "sweet and salty" thing going on, that will keep you reaching for more. These may not taste much of rum (which is probably a good thing!) but they're unusual enough to become a talking point over parties this festive season.
Overall, would I recommend these? Well only if you want to get people talking...if you're a genuine fan of rum flavour crisps for some odd reason, you won't get them here, but if you're a novelty crisp lover, tuck right in!
8 out of 10.
I hope everyone's enjoying Kevs Christmassy Reviews so far...if you've tried any of these snacks please do share your thoughts in the comments and as always: there's more to come!
Monday, 5 December 2016
M&S have really upped their game this festive season, and one on-trend food item their Christmas range wouldn't be complete without is salted caramel. When I spotted this "Liquid gold salted caramel sauce" there was no way I could pass on trying it...it contains edible glitter. You can't get more festive than that!
I must admit, on reading the instructions I was a bit puzzled what to actually use it for. They advise that it's not suitable for heating, which is a bit odd for a sauce. On the plus side, it's gluten free and vegetarian friendly.
Opening the lid, it had a lovely buttery aroma and the edible glitter was clearly visible giving it a lovely gold shimmer. The texture was rather thick, so I dug in with a spoon and tried some straight away...it would've been rude not to!
It tasted heavenly, the perfect sweet, buttery and slightly salty combination that makes salted caramel the best of all worlds. I felt a bit naughty eating it by the spoonful though, so I decided to use it as intended: by slathering it over a dessert!
I'd bought a reduced price gluten free Apple Pie from M&S the same day, so baked it as instructed, although had a lot of trouble getting it out of the tin. It ended up a gloopy, broken pastry mess. I poured over the salted caramel hoping to improve it:
It looked much nicer with the glittery shimmer, but was still a mess of apples and pastry - so I dug right in. The sauce goes well with the apple pie, but to be honest I preferred eating it solo. I'm not sure what you can actually use this with in practice, maybe it'd be nice cheekily plopped inside a mince pie to give it a caramel surprise?
Overall, however you use it this salted caramel sauce is really good stuff. I'm not sure it justifies the price tag of £2.50, but if you don't have the time to make your own, this is the best quality you're going to get ready made. Plus it's glittery!
8 out of 10.
If you've tried this sauce do let me know your thoughts in the comments - what treats did you pair it with?
Christmas can be a bit depressing if you have to avoid gluten, there's not many interesting options for cakes or pies out there, but thankfully the tide is turning. Tesco are one supermarket bucking the trend by bringing out these Spiced Pear Pies, described as "crumbly shortcrust pastry filled with rich fruity spiced pears". The pack encourages you to heat them up for a "melt in the mouth moment". Yum!
There's 4 pies per pack and they cost £2 at Tesco. They're gluten free and dairy free as well as being suitable for vegetarians. However they do contain egg, so aren't suitable for vegans.
The pies looked pretty good with a nice thick pastry and a sprinkling of sugar over the top.
They tasted pretty scrummy too, with the pastry being light and crumbly, and the pear filling complimenting it beautifully. It was very sweet but with that unmistakable comforting pear flavour, with the delicate spices enhancing but not overpowering it. These are some pretty tasty pies, a step above your average apple pie!
Overall, I'm glad Tesco have brought out something a bit different for the gluten free folk this Christmas, because as nice as Mince Pies are, sometimes you fancy something lighter. These fit the bill perfectly and are a great addition to the growing Free From market. If you have to avoid gluten they're a must-try!
8.5 out of 10.
If you've tried these please do let me know your thoughts in the comments, and as always stay tuned for more of Kev's Christmassy Reviews. I'll be featuring more Gluten Free festive snacks, including cookies, mince pies and puddings!
Sunday, 4 December 2016
I haven't explored Costa's 2016 Festive Menu this year so far, but since it's December and officially the festive season, it was the perfect excuse to try the new Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate.
Apparently it's replaced Costa's White Hot Chocolate and has upset a lot of people in the process - the horror of it! It's a traditional Costa hot chocolate blended with toasted marshmallow syrup, topped off with glittery mini marshmallows. According to the barista I asked, it's also gluten free, hurrah!
I ordered a medium size which seemed the perfect amount, topped off with cream because I love me some cream on a hot choccy! I started by spooning it off and nibbling the marshmallows, they were chewy and sweet and pretty lovely all round. The edible glitter makes them feel uber special.
The hot chocolate tasted lovely; the marshmallow flavour is sweet and very comforting, tasting authentically of marshmallow. This is sweeter than a regular hot chocolate so if you've got a sweet tooth you'll love it, however if you're more adverse to sweeter flavours it might be overkill for you. To me this is the perfect flavour for the festive season, just what's needed for soothing away the stress of a Christmas shopping trip!
All that said, I also really want to try the Mint Hot Chocolate with an Elf-sized Candy Cane, as well as the Honeycomb Latte and Salted Caramel Cappuccino. Basically the whole range! I'll no doubt be trying those over the next month so do stay tuned for more Costa Festive Menu reviews.
8.5 out of 10.
As always, let me know your thoughts on any of the treats I've tried and do stay tuned for more of Kev's Christmassy Reviews! :)
Saturday, 3 December 2016
The weather may be cold outside, but at least you can warm up by reading some of Kev's Christmassy Reviews :) Yes, all this month I'm having a festive bonanza and reviewing all manner of Christmas snackstuffs. Enjoy!
Today we are back with M&S, who have quite a fantastic range of stuff out; everything from Prosecco and Bucks Fizz Flavoured Crisps, Salted Caramel Pretzels, Prosecco Caramels, White Chocolate Angel Wings...and this interesting snacks hybrid; Belgian Dark Chocolate Coated Chilli Tortilla Chips.
When I put these in my basket I didn't actually realize they contained Chilli, I just saw chocolate coated tortillas and they had me sold right away. These cost £2 and are gluten free as well as suitable for vegetarians. They're described as "dark chocolate coated corn tortilla chips with red pepper and chilli pieces".
I tipped the box out onto a plate, the tortillas are rather thick and chunky thanks to the generous coating of dark chocolate and looked very appetizing.
...and dark chocolate coated side.
At first I was worried the chillis and peppers would spoil the flavour, but the tortillas are extremely moreish! There was just a slight hint of warmth in the background as I crunched. The dark chocolate is the perfect percentange to give the totillas a nice contrast without overpowering them. The two work together perfectly, creating an addictive sweet and savoury flavour combination. It didn't take me long to scoff half the pack.
Overall, these are a great Christmas snacking novelty and pretty darn tasty too. Don't let the chilli put you off...you can barely taste it! These will make the perfect talking point for any festive parties or family get togethers you may have planned this month.
8.5 out of 10.
As always, if you've tried these let me know your thoughts in the comments, and do stick around for more of Kev's Christmassy Reviews!
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Today's review as part of Kev's Christmassy Reviews is for something very special indeed. These are not just any crisps, they are M&S crisps, but they are also not just M&S crisps! They are M&S Bucks Fizz Hand Cooked Crisps, complete with edible gold shimmer. Blimey, you can't get more fancy than that!
The crisps are described as "chardonnay, champagne and orange flavoured potato crisps with edible glitter", the ingredients list is above for anyone interested . These are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and appear to be vegan-friendly too.
Opening the bag they had a strong, acidic aroma and the edible gold blitter was clearly visible coating the crisps. They looked super special!
Taking a bite, I was expecting strong citrusy tones, but instead the crisps had a strong vinegar-led flavour. I can only assume this is from the chardonnay wine vinegar in the ingredients. There was a hint of orangey fizz in there, but the vinegar overpowered it. Don't get me wrong they're tasty crisps, very moreish and different from any regular vinegar flavourd crisps, but I was expecting more of a true Bucks Fizz taste. They suffer the same problem as Tyrrell's Poshcorn Bellini Cocktail, in tasting more of vinegar than alcohol.
Overall, these are some great quality crisps and they are definitely very tasty, with the edible gold glitter making them feel just that bit more special than any regular crisps. But personally I feel they should taste more like Bucks Fizz. Maybe they need to remove the vinegar from the ingredients?
7.5 out of 10.
If you've tried these, please let me know your thoughts in the comments! And do stay tuned for more of Kev's Christmassy Reviews :)
It's December, which means it's officially time to start reviewing everything and anything festive! I "mulled" over what to call my festive reviews this year - should I call them Kevmas? Kev's Festive Fix? In the end I decided to go the sensible route and stick with Kev's Christmassy Reviews. Enjoy!
First up are these vegetarian friendly Marks and Spencer Minty Chocolate Snowballs, part of the larger M&S Christmas range currently in stores which includes snacks like Bucks Fizz Crisps, Chocolate Coated Tortillas and more. These cost £3 and are described simply as "Milk chocolate balls with mint flavour dark chocolate dusted in icing sugar".
They come in a lovely net bag (which is made in China), that will come in handy for re-using to put other sweets in over the festive season. I tipped them out into my Christmas star dish.
I wasn't sure what to expect from these judging by the description; they sounded just like balls of chocolate rolled in icing sugar.
What they didn't say was that they also have a crunchy shell! Why they didn't advertise this is beyond me, because they were pretty darn good! They're a bit like Cadbury Snow Bites but if they were larger, and with good quality mint flavoured chocolate. They were highly addictive, I couldn't stop munching on them! Unlike Cadbury Snow Bites they're not sickly sweet, the dark chocolate balances out any sweetness, with the mint complimenting it beautifully.
Overall, these are some seriously tasty snacks from M&S, and I don't think their plain packaging really does them justice. They should be available all year round! If minty chocolates are your thing you really can't go wrong with some of these over Christmas, they're a bit more refined than the likes of After Eights and Matchmakers (although perhaps not as friendly on granny's teeth!) Invest in a pack!
8.5 out of 10.
Well, that's the festive month off to a roaring start...stay tuned all December for more of Kev's Christmassy Reviews! And if you try any of these treats do let me know your thoughts in the comments :)