Saturday, 24 December 2016

Free From Mince Pies: Tesco vs Asda

For Christmas Eve we're back with the battle of the Gluten Free Mince Pies and this time it's Tesco vs Asda. Both of these are Dairy Free and Gluten Free so they make a good point of comparison. Neither are egg free unfortunately, so these aren't suitable for vegans, but they are suitable for vegetarians.

Starting off with the Tesco Free From Deep Filled mince pies, these cost £2 and had a decent thick pastry lid. The pastry is light and crumbly, and very tasty considering it's dairy free.

The filling was plentiful, and neither too weak in flavour nor too heavy, it was just about right. They're perfect with a cuppa. Definitely one of the better mince pies around at this time of year! 8 out of 10.

Asda Free From Mince Pies: 

These Asda Free From Christmas Mince Pies are considerably cheaper per box at £1.50, and this year they're boasting an "improved recipe" to boot.

The packaging seems a little plain and uninspiring compared to the Tesco ones, but this is rather misleading because these are actually the tastier mince pies of the two, in my opinion!

The pastry is perfectly light and crumbly, and melt in the mouth. The filling is neither too heavy nor too sweet, it's light and with the right amount of spice. These are delightful gluten free mince pies, perfect to enjoy with a cuppa this Christmas! 8.5 out of 10. 

Overall, it's a close one between the two leading supermarkets but Asda just about pip Tesco to the my opinion they're the nicest Gluten Free mince pies around, and as a bonus they're the cheapest too! If you're avoiding gluten or dairy you can't go wrong with either of these this Christmas; be sure to look out for the price reductions after the big day is over.

Happy Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a fab day! 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Jimmy's Gingerbread Iced Coffee

jimmys gingerbread iced coffee

I'm not a big coffee drinker any more; it was making me too shaky, however when I spotted this new Gingerbread flavour Jimmys Iced Coffee in Tesco recently I just had to give it a try. Gingerbread coffees are commonplace in cafes, but this is the first one I've ever seen in a shop before.

jimmys gingerbread iced coffee

The ingredients are pretty simple and clean; British semi skimmed milk, Arabica coffee, demerera sugar, acidity regulator and natural flavouring. It's suitable for vegetarians and gluten free.

I poured the coffee into my special latte glass to make it feel extra special. It tasted alright; there's a nice balance of milk versus coffee, with a subtle ginger flavour in there too, but it wasn't quite the warming spicy kick I was hoping for. The fact that it's iced coffee rather than latte is the problem really - it's neither warm and comforting nor frothy and creamy. If they'd have made this a latte I think I'd have preferred it a lot more.

7 out of 10. 

Not long until the Big Day itself now...are you all excited?!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Marks & Spencer White & Milk Chocolate Polar Bear

marks spencer white milk chocolate polar bear

Today we are back with M&S again, who seem to have got Christmas covered this year with their interesting range of snacks. They always bring out their own versions of Maltesers Reindeers; usually Bubbly Santas and the like, but this year they've added something new and a bit more exciting to the range; a White & Milk Chocolate Polar Bear!

marks spencer white milk chocolate polar bear

Typical to M&S, this is not just any chocolate Polar Bear, but a "white chocolate polar bear with a chocolate flavoured truffle filling". So, sort of like a Cadbury Mousse Snowman but reversed and with white chocolate. Woo! He may be a bear but luckily he is vegetarian friendly, as well as being gluten free.

marks spencer white milk chocolate polar bear

The white chocolate was rather thick and very milky, whilst the filling was a standard soft milk chocolate truffle. The whole thing was very sweet and creamy, but thanks to the good quality white chocolate it was very delicious. This is a bit of a sugar rush but it is a perfect little Christmassy snack, and far nicer than most of the overly sweet stuff Cadbury's have out.

Overall, if you need a sweet hit over the festive season whilst shopping you really can't go wrong with this!

8.5 out of 10. 

If you've tried any of the snacks featured please let me know in the comments, and do stay tuned for lots more Kev's Christmassy Reviews!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Aldi Choceur Spiced Chocolate Almonds

It's been a while since I bought the Choceur Salted Caramel Almonds, but when I got them I also bought a pack of these Spiced Chocolate Almonds. Ive been saving them until Christmas to review since they're more fitting for the festive season! The almonds are roasted and coated in a spiced milk chocolate, with a dusting of icing sugar.

As you can see it's a bit messy and got all over The wasn't best pleased!

After all that mess you'd hope these would be worth it, right? Well unfortunately they weren't that great, at least to my tastebuds - the cardamon and cinnamon flavours just didn't go very well with milk chocolate, I feel they would have been far better suited to white chocolate. These were okay but the combination of spice and milk chocolate just doesn't mix at all.

If you spot these in Aldi, I wouldn't bother with them - go for the Salted Caramel or Mascarpone White Chocolate Almonds instead, theyre far nicer!

6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Tesco Finest Pigs in Blankets Crisps

All the festive crisps are out in shops right now, and there's everything from the unusual such as Rum & Cocoa flavour to the more ordinary Salt & Vinegar, then there's Christmas staples turned into crisp form, such as these Succulent Pigs in Blankets crisps. I picked these up in Tesco Express over the weekend for £1, in need of a meaty snacks fix to cope with the busy Christmas crowds.

tesco finest pigs in blankets crisps

I'm not sure what I was expecting; I suppose just bacon flavour crisps, but they did actually have a taste that was somewhere between bacon and sausage, albeit in artificial form. It was neither one thing nor the other and confused my tastebuds a bit. The crisps were very tasty and moreish, but I couldn't help but wish they were just full on bacon or sausage flavour rather than in-between. I'd also bought some Tesco Finest Beef Steak crisps as well as these, which by comparison were a lot nicer.

Overall, these aren't a bad effort and it's nice to see an attempt at Pigs in Blankets in crisp form, but I do wish they'd use less of an artificial flavour for them.

7.5 out of 10.

If you've tried these let me know your thoughts in the comments...and do stick around for more Kev's Christmassy Reviews in the run up to the big day itself!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Butterkist Gingerbread Flavour Popcorn

Butterkist Gingerbread Flavour Popcorn

What would Christmas be without a festive themed popcorn? There's classic flavours like Orange and Mint Chocolate from Joe & Seph's, as well as the more out there Mince Pie variety, but one that's a bit more easier to find is this Butterkist Gingerbread flavour, available from WH Smith for £1.

It's suitable for vegetarians and gluten free, and described as "Popcorn coated with a cinnamon and ginger flavour toffee".

Butterkist Gingerbread Flavour Popcorn

I poured it out into my festive star dish, and it certainly had a nice strong ginger aroma.

Butterkist Gingerbread Flavour Popcorn

The taste was very inconsistent; some of the popcorn pieces were just sweet and others had a stronger ginger and cinnamon flavour, the ginger was quite powerful, too much for me in fact. Usually I would complain that it isn't strong enough but in this case it wasn't pleasant. The inconsistency also means you don't know whether you're going to get a sweet popcorn or super spicy piece.

Overall, as nice as it is to have a seasonal popcorn flavour I do think something other than plain ginger would've been a better choice, say chai latte or even gingerbread latte. Luckily, Aldi have brought out their own Gingerbread Latte seasonal popcorn which I hope to try soon!

7 out of 10.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Terry's Chocolate Orange Segsations

I'm not one to buy Chocolate Orange these days since it tastes so waxy, but one variation I've always enjoyed are Segsations, since they contain some of the most interesting Chocolate Orange flavours (well apart from the sorely missed White Chocolate Orange - boo!)

Amongst them are Milk Chocolate, Milk & Dark Chocolate, Toffee Crunch, Milk Crunch and Exploding Candy. All are suitable for vegetarians.

There's various messages printed on the segments, like "Yummy", "Taste me" etc. Quite frankly I'm disappointed they didn't have hashtags in front of them.

The milk chocolate segment tasted like the typical chocolate orange we all know and love, no surprises there.

The Exploding Candy had a subtle crackling sensation but nothing too noticeable, this is definitely one that won't upset granny this Christmas!

The Toffee Crunch tastes the same as the Minis Toffee Crunch, very sweet but with some crunchy moreish toffee pieces breaking up the texture.

The Milk Crunch aka rice crispy was the most interesting one of all; there's no other Chocolate Orange products with rice Crispies in so it was a bit of a novelty. Its a simple combination but it works well and is very moreish.

Last but not least, the Milk & Dark Chocolate segment. I don't know why they've made this half and half rather than full dark chocolate, perhaps they're worried granny isn't ready for a full Dark Chocolate Orange experience just yet...this tastes nice enough but is rather pointless in my opinion. Just put a full dark chocolate orange segment in, or replace it with white chocolate -  either way it'd be far better than this hybrid.

Overall, this is a pretty decent selection from Terry's Chocolate Orange, providing an interesting variety of flavours and textures. I do think it would be better with some White Chocolate Orange thrown in, but maybe that's just me?

8 out of 10. 

Are you a fan of Chocolate Orange Segsations? Would you like to see a return of White Chocolate Orange? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more Kev's Christmassy Reviews as we enter the final week before Christmas! 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Tesco Finest Free From Luxury Shortbread Selection

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection

Today we're back with the gluten free treats, and today's review is this Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection which is currently available from most Tesco and Tesco Express stores for £4.50 a box.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection

It contains 3 packs of gluten free shortbread biscuits, all of which are suitable for vegetarians.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection

There's clementine flavoured shortbread, which contains mixed peel and spices and has a nice festive flavour going on. The biscuits are a little powdery but the butter stops them from being too dry. 7 out of 10.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection

The cranberry ones contain dried cranberries which give them a nice chewiness, enhanced by the festive spices. I enjoyed these a lot more than the clementine as the sharpness of the cranberry works a lot better with the buttery shortbread. 8 out of 10.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Luxury Shortbread Selection

The chocolate chip ones were hands down the best of the bunch, containing chunks of creamy milk chocolate that complimented the buttery biscuits beautifully. These were the ones I kept coming back to, whereas I could take or leave the others. 8.5 out of 10.

Overall, it's nice to see a selection of festive gluten free biscuits but to be honest, I don't see why Tesco can't sell these separately. They haven't been put in a special festive tray or anything; it's just three wrapped packs of shortbread one could easily buy individually. I feel like they're trying to capitalize on the gluten free trend and charge extra in the process.

Have you tried these? If so what did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and do stay tuned for more Kev's Christmassy Reviews! 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Tesco Finest Free From Salted Caramel Pudding

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pudding

Salted Caramel is the "on trend" flavour for Christmas this year, so it's only fitting we get a gluten free version of it too, in pudding form no less! This makes a lovely change because usually you can only get chocolate gluten free puddings.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pudding

This Tesco Finest Gluten & Wheat Free Salted Caramel pudding costs £3 and is vegetarian friendly. It supposedly serves two but who are they kidding? This was only going to serve me! I heated it in the microwave as instructed which resulted in a lovely sponge slathered in a glossy, golden salted caramel sauce.

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pudding

It looked and smelled delightful. I took a spoonful...

Tesco Finest Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pudding

And it tasted amazing! Seriously, seriously good. The salted caramel sauce was spot on; just creamy, sweet and salty enough to not be sickly. The sponge was light and moist and without any hint of dryness. I honestly couldn't tell that it was gluten free. It didn't take long to eat the whole thing, so I have no idea how this should serve two. Maybe if you're a mouse!

Overall, this Free From Salted Caramel Pudding is an absolute winner from Tesco, if you're gluten free you need to stock up on these things over Christmas while you still can. I personally prefer it over Gluten Free Christmas Pud!

9 out of 10.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Gluten Free Mince Pies: Marks and Spencer vs Sainsbury's

All of the major supermarkets now have their own Gluten Free Mince Pies every Christmas, well apart from Morrisons who stock some made by another company, so they won't be included in my Minc Pie-off. Today's battle will be between two supermarkets who are supposedly posher than most, and both of which have an extensive range of Free From products.

M&S Made Without Wheat Gluten Free Mince Pies:
First up, these are not just any mince pies, they're Marks and Spencer's mince pies and they have pastry stars for lids instead of a regular lid. M&S certainly know how to do it with style!

The pies looked very attractive when I pulled the tray out, and the box looks pretty nifty too. These ones aren't dairy free, in fact they're all butter and to be honest this was the main factor that made them so tasty.

I did feel a bit shortchanged not having a full pastry lid, but they looked so nice I don't really mind. The pastry tasted lovely; buttery and melt in the mouth, and went perfectly with the sweet and spicy mincemeat filling. My only gripe is that there wasn't nearly enough of it..they felt like they were half filled! 8.5 out of 10.

Sainsbury's Deliciously Free From Mince Pies:

As well as being gluten free these mince pies from Sainsbury's are also dairy free. Unfortunately they're not egg free so aren't suitable for vegans.

Unlike the M&S mince pies these had a full pastry layer on top, and more filling inside too.

Unfortunately, they weren't tastier or better quality. The pastry is okay, it's not particularly light or crumbly but it does the job. The filling tastes a bit heavy and not very subtle, I can't put my finger on what it was exactly but I didn't particularly enjoy it. All in all, the pies just didn't taste right somehow. Initially I thought maybe it's because they're dairy free but I've had dairy free mince pies from Asda and Tesco that tasted far nicer so it's really not that. 7 out of 10.

Overall, there's a clear winner here: Marks and Spencer! Their mince pies looked attractive and tasted great and I would be happy to buy them again, even despite the lower amount of filling. Sainsbury's version didn't taste good enough to justify their price - I would recommend Asda or Tesco if you need a dairy free version.

Have you tried either of these Free From mince pies? If so what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Sainsbury's Candied Bacon & Brussels Sprout Soup

There's a lot of unusual products out this Christmas, from Tesco's Cocoa & Rum Crisps to Marks and Spencers Bucks Fizz crisps...The Co Op are even doing Christmas Dinner Crisps complete with sprout flavouring! But surely this "Candied bacon and Brussels sprout soup" from Sainsbury's takes the mince pie?!

This limited edition will set you back £1.45, is gluten free and described as "A soup with Brussels sprouts, potato, smoked bacon and smoked ham". Sounds delightful doesn't it?

I heated it up on the hob as instructed, but you can pop it in the microwave too.

It looked kinda horrible to be honest, and didn't smell much better either. I don't know what possessed me to buy this in all honesty as I loathe sprouts - there's no vegetable I despise as much as them. I think I was intoxicated by the novelty value.

Of course, it tasted pretty horrible, sprouts in soup form was never going to be very pleasant. The candied bacon is just regular smoked sweetened bacon, and not quite as exotic as it sounds. It adds a nice bit of flavour to the otherwise horrible soup though; I'll give it that, as does the smoked ham.

Overall, if for some odd reason the Chrimbo Dinner sprouts aren't enough for you this year and you want them in soup form too...don't bother with this. It's always nice to see novelty products, but this is one of the worst.

3 out of 10.

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

I must admit, the Red Velvet Cake craze is something that passed me by. Not being able to eat gluten, I never had an opportunity to try it. Until now...because Asda are doing this special Free From Red Velvet Cake, just for Christmas. Thanks Asda!

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

This cake cost me around £3 or so, and is suitable for vegetarians. It doesn't contain the buttermilk or vinegar that is supposed to make a "true" red velvet cake, however.

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

I'd always assumed that Red Velvet Cake was just red colored chocolate cake with a cream cheese icing...and based on this I wasn't far from wrong.

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

Not that that's a bad thing...this is an extremely delicious cake. Anything with cream cheese icing tends to taste amazing...even the driest of cakes can be lifted up by it!

Asda Christmas Free From Red Velvet Cake

Icing aside, the actual cake was pretty good as far as gluten free cakes are concerned; chocolatey, vanilla hinted and fairly moist and light. I certainly wasn't complaining and easily demolished a fair few slices! The cream cheese icing was's icing sugar and cream cheese after all, hard to get wrong!

Overall, this may not be a "true" Red Velvet Cake, but it's pretty good regardless and if you're gluten free and in need of something a bit different than mince pies or chocolate logs this Christmas, I'd recommend this.

8.5 out of 10.