Sunday, 15 October 2017
This Christmas it seems to be the year of sweet crisp flavours for some reason. There's the new Kettle Discoveries Salted Caramel & Double Cream - which is actually pretty awesome - as well as these Candy Cane flavour Tesco Finest crisps. Last year we got a Rum & Cocoa Limited Edition from Tesco, which was really nice so I don't know why they haven't kept it this year. Even more so after trying these which were pretty horrible...
Described as "candy cane flavour potato crisps" and costing £1 these are available from most large Tesco stores, along with more savoury flavours like Pigs in Blankets and Pulled Pork. They're suitable for vegans, and 100% of the sales will be donated to Fareshare and The Trussell Trust.
Opening the bag, they smelled as you would expect: vaguely of toothpaste and not very inviting!
They tasted pretty horrible. The flavouring is just a sweet, sticky minty powder, not the sort of thing anyone wants on a crisp. It's just wrong! They tasted very sickly and unlike the Kettle Chips Salted Caramel, weren't very moreish at all. A waste of £1, but nice to know that it's at least going to charity.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend trying these at all, even for the novelty factor - no one will like them! Go for one of the savoury varieties instead or better yet the Kettle Discoveries Salted Caramel. For the same price they'e a lot more enjoyable! Oh Tesco, what a shame you went and replaced the Rum and Cocoa Crisps with these... *sad face*
Nutrition Information (per 25g): 130 Calories, 7.2g Fat, 14.7g Carbohydrates, 1.1g Sugars, 1.4g Protein.
Ingredients: Potatoes, sunflower oil, candy cane flavour seasoning (sugar, dried glucose syrup, salt, colour beetroot red & paprika extract, flavouring).
3 out of 10.
Friday, 13 October 2017
When I first saw these new Salted Caramel flavour Kettle Chips I laughed. It seems a bit ridiculous to put the Flavour Du Jour (which is fast becoming the Flavour Du Yesterday!) on crisps, I mean who wants sweet crisps? Is it a new trend? (Tesco seem to think so - their latest weird Christmas flavour is Tesco Finest Candy Cane crisps - click for my review!)
I'm glad I put my reservations aside and gave these a shot though. They're only £1 in Tesco at the moment, and I thought they would at least make for an interesting review. They're described as "Hand cooked potato chips with salted caramel and double cream seasoning", and are Gluten Free as well as suitable for vegetarians.
I tipped the bag right into a bowl and dug straight in - no messing about! They had a vague toffee-like aroma that seemed more savoury than sweet. Intriguing!
And they tasted...rather amazing! Now I don't really know how to describe these other than moreish - they're sort of cheesy, possibly owing to the double cream, with a strong savoury edge and saltiness. There's a very slight buttery sweetness there under the surface from the salted caramel - which is apparently Tiptree Salted Caramel Spread. I couldn't stop myself from eating one after the other...they're soooo good!
Overall, should you try these? Yes, yes you should! Like the Chocolate Coated Cinnamon Tortilla Rolls from M&S they're a snack sure to get people talking this Christmas, and one that will no doubt be a big surprise to all. You may even want to buy an extra bag so you can have one all to yourself...
Nutrition per 100g: 26.1g Fat, 59.3g Carbohydrates, 3.2g Sugars, 4.5g Fibre, 5g Protein.
Ingredients: Select potatoes, sunflower oil, salted caramel and double cream seasoning (dried salted caramel spread extract, golden syrup, condensed skimmed milk, butter, double cream, sea salt, dried cream, demerera sugar, sugar, dried buttermilk, sea salt, dried caramel syrup, dried dorset cream, salt, natural flavouring).
8.5 out of 10.
Have you tried these Salted Caramel Kettle Chips? Did you love them as much as me? Let me know in the comments!
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Todays review is a face off...well...a jelly baby off between the new Tropical flavour Jelly Babies from Maynards Bassetts vs the Original Jelly Babies. It seems incomprehensible that a new variety could beat the originals, so this will be interesting!
Firstly, I must mention the new name: Jelly Babies were originally labelled as Bassetts, but Mondelez have put both the Maynards brand (which is on things like Wine Gums and Sports Mixture) and Bassetts (which includes the likes of Liquorice Allsorts - who can forget the character Bertie Bassett?) I'm not sure it's a good idea to lump two brands together like this, but I guess it fits with Mondelez' marketing strategy of making everything the same.
First up, the Tropical Jelly Babies. These come in mango, pineapple and BANANA (ooh!) flavours so straight off they are at a disadvantrage of containing less variety than the Originals, despite the fancy flavours. But are they good flavours? Yes, they are as it turns out! They are all fruity, tropical and lovely, and make for a nice change from regular Jelly Babies. The banana is interesting and if you like banana sweets you're bound to love them...it's a bit less artificial tasting than foam bananas. The mango and pineapple are both lovely, fitting the tropical theme perfectly. I really enjoyed these! 8 out of 10.
The originals are...well, the originals and the best! They have a wider variety of flavours, with citrus as well as berry, giving a nice contrast. The berry flavours distract a bit from the overly sweet citrus ones, and strawberry is always a winner. Overall, a fantastic and classic selection that has stood the test of time. 8.5 out of 10.
Overall then there's a clear winner - original Jelly Babies! The Tropical ones certainly make for a nice change and I've always loved tropical sweets in general - I used to love the tropical Fruit Pastilles available when I was a kid, more so than the originals. These Tropical Jelly Babies don't quite beat the originals, but they are certainly very tasty. And they get extra points just for including a banana flavour...because we need more banana flavour sweets on shelves!
Which ones did you prefer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Today's review isn't something I would usually feature, since it contains gluten. However on this occasion I decided to test this new Kitkat Chunky variety on friends and see what they thought of it. I was offered some of these to review and I can't turn down free samples!
New York Cheesecake is an unusual flavour indeed for Kitkat, so how have they recreated the classic biscuit and cream cheese dessert? By putting the cream cheese as a layer over the wafer of course! Described as a "crispy wafer finger with a New York cheesecake flavour topping covered with milk chocolate", these are available in all supermarkets now in 42g bars for 60p or so.
The bar is the classic Chunky design split into three sections.
The cream sits nicely above the wafer, and breaking the bar apart it certainly has that familiar malty Kitkat chocolate aroma, with a faint smell of cream cheese.
My friends commented that this tastes like the classic Kitkat Chunky with a creamy sweet edge that could get sickly if you eat too much. It doesn't taste strongly like cheesecake but it does have a slight tang to it. It's very rich and indulgent and tastes like a real treat.
Well - there you have it! There's not much I can personally say about this bar without risking death so I'll trust my friends opinions on this. Everyone enjoyed it and felt it was worth a try.
Now, while I'm at it does anyone remember the epic Tiramisu Kitkat Editions from years back? They were seriously, seriously good!
Nutrition Information (per bar): 224 Calories, 12.6g Fat, 23.4g carbohydrates, 20.5g sugars, 4.1g protein.
8 out of 10
Monday, 9 October 2017
Now normally I would reserve reviews like this for December, as that's the only time it's really acceptable to be eating festive snacks, however today's product is an exception because it's so good that I just had to tell you all about it!
These are currently in M&S amongst their new festive range, along with Maple Bacon Tortilla Rolls, Christmas Pudding Ice Cream (fancy!) Chocolate Orange Ice Cream (do want!), Christmas Pudding Roulade and more besides like Salted Caramel Pinecones, Prosecco Caramels etc. For more goodies do check out my Instagram page!
These particular snacks are selling like hot cakes - or hot tortillas - it seems; they're out of stock whenever I look in M&S. By chance I managed to nab the last pack on a flying visit to Glasgow, for a respectable £2 for 190g of "milk chocolate coated corn tortilla rolls with a cinnamon sugar seasoning".
The milk chocolate is on one side of each roll and looks kind of chunky, with the cinnamon sugar more prominent on the other side. Some of the tortillas were stuck together in lumps, which is a good thing as it means you have an excuse to eat more at once!
As I started eating them, at first I wasn't too sure. They tasted very savoury and I wasn't convinced that salty tortilla was a good thing mixed with sweet cinnamon. But as I crunched on them, they became more and more addictive, and soon enough I couldn't stop reaching for one after the other! They're so good! The combination of salty, savoury tortilla works beautifully with the cinnamon sugar, and the milk chocolate completes everything with a creamy sweetness. I would have liked more milk chocolate on them to be honest, as it's a bit lost in the cinnamon and tortilla flavours.
These are just so good! Seriously moreish, very festive and sure to have everyone talking at Christmas. They're a must have on your Christmas list - stock up on them! And don't wait until Christmas either...they're ok to eat early because we are now in Pumpkin Spice season, and cinnamon is a pumpkin spice so...yeah. It's ok, no one will judge. Even if you do scoff the whole bag like I did...oops!
9 out of 10.
Ingredients: Maize flour, coconut oil, belgian milk chocolate (20%) (sugar, cocoa butter, dried whole milk, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, vanilla flavouring), sugar, ground cinnamon, salt, flavouring, cinnamon extract, clove extract.
Nutrition Information per 30g serving: 153 Calories, 7.7g Fat, 18.8g Carbohydrates, 3.6g Sugars, 1.3g Fibre, 1.6g Protein. Suitable for vegetarians.
Thursday, 5 October 2017
Mondelez have done a few questionable things in recent years, but perhaps the most questionable yet is their move away from organic chocolate within the Green & Blacks range. It remains to be seen if all G&B bars will no longer be organic, but so far they've been giving this new non organic Velvet Edition range quite a push in supermarkets.
After the disappointing Almond & Blood Orange bar I wasn't going to bother trying any more of the range, however curiosity got the better of me with this Mint version. I do love a minty chocolate, and was curious how this might compare to the regular mint chocolate bar from G&B.
The range is reduced to £1.50 at the moment in Tesco, which is still too much for inferior chocolate if you ask me. The bars contain 90g which I believe is less than a regular Green & Blacks bar. So not only are they non organic they're giving you less too. Way to go Mondelez!
Do forgive my grainy photo, I took it as I was exiting Tesco on a dark night haha! The chocolate did look a bit odd on closer inspection, with a slightly grainy appearance despite there being no crunchy mint pieces added.
It tasted of pretty much nothing...there is very little flavour to the dark chocolate (according to Mondelez, consumers don't want dark chocolate to taste of dark chocolate!), and the mint is no different to that from any other bar. In fact it's quite tame and not punchy enough. Overall the bar tastes less appetizing than the Tesco Mint dark chocolate bars that cost £1 (which aren't actually half bad!) As for the regular Green and Blacks mint bar, it's far superior to this of course - with a richer cocoa flavour and fresher mint taste. Hopefully it hasn't been discontinued to make way for this nonsense!
Overall, this bar just reaffirms my feeling that this G&B Velvet Edition range is utterly pointless. The chocolate is flavourless and bland, you get less for your money and still pay a lot. Maybe I should have tried the Raspberry and Hazelnut or Salted Caramel versions, but alas I'm done with them now!
5 out of 10.
Saturday, 30 September 2017
The primal pantry have unleashed another Paleo and Vegan approved bar on the snacking market...this time with the addition of some plant protein in the mix. I spotted this bar looking for a "healthy" snack in Tesco Express and found it in the Free From section. It cost just over £2 which ain't cheap for a small bar...so is it worth it?
Thankfully it is. If you like Nakd bars or other similar healthier snacks bars you'll probably love this. It contains hemp protein, as well as coconut nectar as the sweetener (probably why these cost so much), goji berries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, raspberry, dates and apricots. There's 12g protein per 55g bar.
So how does it taste? Well it's actually quite yummy for a healthy snack bar! Usually my complaint with bars like his is that they're too sticky and based on dried fruit, but this has the right balance of seeds and nuts to sweeteness...the hemp protein gives it a slightly more substantial texture and is actually filling, compared to a regular fruit and nut bar. The pumpkin seeds add a nice bit of crunch and the berries bring some nice fruity bursts to keep things interesting.
Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by this bar...I'm not usually one to bother with protein bars, but this one doesn't taste like any regular protein bar, rather it tastes like a real food bar. I would buy one again, despite the high price point.
8.5 out of 10.
Friday, 29 September 2017
Some time back I was sent some Masecasse chocolates to review, and must admit I've never really heard of the brand before. It seems they're new to the UK, and their chocolates are "proudly made in Africa" with fair trade cocoa. I tried the Milk Chocolate variety recently and enjoyed it, but how does this one compare?
This contains 70% dark chocolate with bits of toasted coconut, and is suitable for vegans. The coconut is sprinkled in small pools on the underside of the bar and incorporated into the chocolate.
The chocolate had a lovely flavour profile - rich, woody, almost fruity, the sort of thing you expect from fine cocoa. I was surprised at how flavoursome it was for a 70% chocolate - usually you get flavours like this from 80% or higher. The toasted coconut added a subtle, but welcoming toasty sweetness to the bar, but it didn't detract from the rich cocoa flavours at all. And thankfully it didn't leave annoying bits of coconut in my mouth afterwards. This is a bar to savour in small portions with a cup of coffee, or even better...hot chocolate!
Overall, this is a lovely bar of chocolate from Madecasse and exceptional quality, but maybe one for those who prefer the richer chocolates out there than the sweeter ones! Highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
There's a lot of companies making gluten free goodies nowadays, from the likes of Gullon and Fox's, but I've never tried Fini before. They're an Italian company available in some discount stores like Poundland and Bargain Buys, as well as discount sections in larger Tesco stores. I always assumed most jelly sweets were gluten free, but some can contain glucose syrup derived from wheat, so if you're very sensitive you may have problems with it. Personally, I've noticed I do indeed have issues with glucose syrup in some sweets, so it's reassuring to know there's specialist gluten free sweets out there.
These My Octopi sweets from Fini struck me because they're quite unique and fun for jelly sweets...I've never seen sweets in these fun octopus shapes before!
For Octopi they're pretty cute, don't ya think?!
How did they taste? Well, very nice as it happens, the quality is on par with Haribo and they were super fruity, chewy and with some good range of flavours. It was fun picking apart the little legs as I ate them (sorry!).
Overall, for sweets that are gluten free these are perfect: fun, tasty, chewy and just as good as the leading brand. If you are super sensitive to gluten keep your peepers open for these in discount stores like Poundland!
8.5 out of 10.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
There's many brands in the crowded dairy free "Mylk" market now, from the likes of Vita Coco, Plenish, Alpro, and Rude Health...but a new one muscling in on their territory is Califia Farms, a Californian brand made with non GMO ingredients, gluten and dairy free and now available from Sainsbury's and Waitrose in the UK.
The range was reduced to £2 a bottle recently in Sainsbury's, so I went for the Unsweetened Vanilla variety. This is sugar free, vegan, carageenan free and contains 2.3% almonds, and 50% more calcium than cows milk. Quite impressive! I don't drink milk anymore so it's nice to know I can get my calcium from an alternative source.
I do like the curved bottle design...it's very fancy and feels a bit me special than your standard dairy free milks.
The milk certainly has a lovely vanilla aroma, and pouring it into a glass it was a lot creamier than I was expecting. Taste wise it was very pleasant, the vanilla is very noticeable and makes the milk taste sweeter, despite the lack of any sugar. This is a nice milk as far as almond milk goes, certainly better than any others I've tried from the likes of Alpro. It's creamy, vanilla hinted and with a nice thick texture...pretty much all you need from a milk substitute.
It also passes the hot drinks test - it blended perfectly with a cup of chai rooibos I made. Although I still haven't tested it in coffee...I will try that next!
Overall, this is a lovely Almond Milk variation, much better than others on the market like Alpro and probably healthier too. If you see these on offer I would highly recommend giving them a try! I really want to try the Coconut version next, which I've only seen in Waitrose stores so far.
Ingredients: water, almonds 2.3%, flavourings, calcium carbonate, emulsifier sunflower lecithin, sea salt, potassium ctrate, stabilizers (locust bean gum, gellan gum).
Nutrition (per 100ml): 17 calories, 1.3g Fat, 0.8g carbohydrates, 0.1g sugars, 0.5g protein, 190mg calcium.
8.5 out of 10.
Monday, 25 September 2017
I've been skeptical of this new "Velvet Edition" range from Green & Blacks since it suddenly started popping up on shelves over the last month or so. It seems to be a ploy to move away from the Organic ethics of regular Green & Blacks bars, since these are not organic or fairtrade certified. Instead they are part of the "Cocoa Life" program, that supposedly invests in sustainable farming and improves the lives of communities. Exactly how much they pledge towards such projects is anyone's guess.
Velvet Edition chocolate is supposedly crafted by "Taste Specialists" using the delictate character and soft texture of the finest Ghanian cocoa balanced with sweet Madagascan vanilla. It has "a rich cocoa content yet exceptionally smooth flavour".
This variety is combined with Sicilian blood orange oil and chopped caramelised almonds. It contains no soy lecithin, which is a plus for those with soy allergies. I found it in Waitrose on an introductory offer of £1.79.
The bar comes in a different block shape to regular Green & Blacks bars, and is actually a bit easier to split apart. One of the pieces is longer than the others. The chocolate smelled nice enough, although without that distinctive earthiness that regular G&B chocolate is well known for.
It tasted pleasant, the blood orange wasn't as strong as I was expecting, whilst the chopped almonds were most prominent. The chocolate is definitely smooth compared to some 70% cocoa bars, but I wouldn't say that's a good thing as it seemed to lack any real distinctive flavour. It was a bit non descript to be honest. The almonds brought a nice savoury flavour, blended with the orange, although something about it didn't taste quite right. It was neither orangey enough or nutty enough, certainly not as good as the similar Lindt Orange and Almond bar.
Overall, as my first introduction to G&B's Velvet Edition range I can't say I'm too impressed with this bar. It was okay but a bit middle of the road for something billing itself as oh-so-fancy.
Nutrition Information (per 18g row): 8.7g Fat, 5.9g Carbohydrates, 4.9g Sugars, 1.7g Fibre, 1.2g Protein.
7 out of 10.
Friday, 22 September 2017
I've been itching to try these new Toblerone Ice Cream sticks for a while now, ever since they first popped up on Instagram. And at last, just in time for the Christmas season they have appeared in UK supermarkets - hurrah! Or at least they have in Tesco.
These were amongst the other bar ice creams such as Dairy Milk, which makes sense since they're both made by Mondelez. They cost £3 for three sticks, so £1 a stick which isn't too bad considering you would pay that for one in a Newsagent.
There was no English writing on the front of the box, so presumably these have been imported by Mondelez rather than made for the UK market specifically. Looking on the back of the pack, English was low down on the list but eventually I found the description:
"Chocolate and honey ice cream with milk chocolate with honey and almond nougat 2%, white nougat pieces 2% coated with milk chocolate 33% with white nougat pieces 3%".
Phew, that's a lot of nougat! Nice to see that these remain true to the nature of the real Toblerone bar. I ripped off the wrapper, to reveal...a triangle-shaped bar. How fitting!
It looked a bit dinky, but never mind this is Toblerone in ice cream form, who cares?
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the inner ice cream provides a good sweet base, you can taste the honey flavour mixed in with the chocolate. The bits of nougat make an appearance and provide little bursts of chewiness here and there, which is a lovely texture variation. The chocolate coating completes everything, with the swiss chocolate, almond and nougat making for a nice chewy, crunchy and chocolatey experience.
|Dissected side view|
Overall, these get a big thumbs up - try them!
8.5 out of 10.
Nutrition Information (per 66g stick): 234 Calories, 14g Fat, 24g Carbohydrates, 23g Sugars, 1.1g Fibre, 2.5g Protein.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Today's review is one from the archives - I haven't gone back to the dark side of eating sugar again just yet, don't worry peeps!
Madecasse is a range of quality chocolates made in Madagascar with Heirloom cocoa, supporting African cocoa workers. This particular bar is available in the likes of Sainsbury's and Waitrose, and contains 44% cocoa milk chocolate, with bits of toasted coconut added.
It comes in a gold wrapper, costing around £1.99 a bar. The coconut is sprinkled on one side of the bar as you can see below.
I've tried both versions of this Madecasse bar now (they also so a Dark Chocolate variety) and I have to say this one is the more enjoyable of the two. The milk chocolate is perfectly creamy whilst being flavoursome and cocoa rich, with a hint of caramel, and some lovely toasted notes from the coconut. I do think it would have been even better if they'd used coconut milk or coconut sugar mixed in with the chocolate (like the Waitrose 1 Indian Ocean Coconut Bar that I adore), but hey this is still a tasty and good quality bar.
Overall, this is one for the more sophisticated chocolate lover, if you like richer tasting milk chocolates give it a try!
8 out of 10.
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Whilst reducing my sugar intake I decided to try the various bagged coconut chips now widely available in shops. Many of them do contain sugar, but in lower amounts than most snacks, and some of them like Coconut Merchant actually use coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar. How revolutionary!
I spotted these in a small Sainsbury's Express for just over £1 near the Sandwiches, and grabbed a pack. They contain a lot more coconut chips than other brands such as Ape or Itsu, which was most welcome to me. I don't know why some brands think we want to eat like rabbits...I realize that coconut contains fat, but you still need a substantial amount for it to be filling!
Luckily these are baked so they contain less fat, and they were nicely golden and super crunchy. Taking a bite they had a lovely sweet, almost treacle like flavour from the coconut sugar. They were delicious, and far nicer than some of the other bands I've tried! The coconut sugar gives them a tasty edge and brings out the toasted flavour perfectly.
Overall, these are some super coconut snacks that I would highly recommend; if you like those made by Ape or other companies these are even better - try them!
8.5 out of 10.
Suitable for vegans, gluten free, dairy free and paleo.
Sunday, 17 September 2017
Today's review is the second time I've reviewed a sugar free chocolate spread made with sweeteners. The last time I suffered the all too familiar "unintended side effects", which scared me enough this time...why did I take this task on? The things I do for snacks research!
This spread contains 97% less sugar than standard chocolate spreads on the market, and is also palm oil free. In comparison, palm oil is the first ingredient in the leading brand Nutella. It's sweetened with a mixture of erythritol, maltitiol, stevia and maltodextrin. It also contains whey powder so unfortunately isn't suitable for vegans or those with dairy allergies.
The promise of a sugar free hazelnut spread made with sweeteners had me cautiously excited, because while I'm trying to reduce my sugar intake I don't enjoy being on the toilet all night! Eventually I faced my fears and tucked in with a spoon.
The spread is very lovely; rich, nutty and creamy and despite being sugar free it's still sweet enough. In fact I couldn't tell that it was sugar free at all...there was hardly any difference from this to regular chocolate spread, apart from the fact it tasted a bit less sickly.
Overall, this is a great product from NuttVia, definitely worth a try if you need to avoid sugar, and in fact it's just as good as Nutella in my opinion. The balance of sweet, nutty, creamy and rich is all spot on.
For more info check out the NuttVia website: http://nuttvia.com/products/
Available from ocado.com and Amazon.
9 out of 10.
Ingredients: Sweeteners (maltitol, erythritol, steviol glycosides), vegetable oil (sunflower, coconut), maltodextrin, hazelnuts 10%, fat reduced cocoa powder 7.4%, cocoa butter, emulsifier (sunflower lecithins), sweet whey powder (milk).
Nutrition Information (per 1 tbsp): 70 Calories, 4.8g Fat, 8.2g Carbohydrates, 0.3g Sugars, 0.5g Fibre, 0.5g Protein.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
I've been trying lots of new and exotic fruit varieties over the Summer since reducing my sugar intake, from flavoured grapes to melons, but one fruit I hadn't heard of before were Achahas. I spotted them in Marks & Spencer recently reduced in price so thought I'd give them a try.
Achahas are a fruit related to the mangosteen that grow in the southern part of the Amazon basin in the central area of Bolivia, with tough shells that must be split open with a knife...or your teeth. Apparently. Removing the rind reveals a somewhat fluffy looking fruit with seeds.
The fruit is awkward to eat, you can bite it and then suck the seeds out. It tasted a bit like banana to me with a slight citrus edge.
To be honest I wasn't that impressed with these, they're a lot of effort for not much payoff. The taste is pleasant I suppose, but there's not much in them to eat. I didn't feel they were worth the £1.75 never mind whatever the full price is.
Apparently traditionally you can use the rind to make a refreshing lemonade style drink, so if you're using them that way I suppose you'll get more bang for your buck. But personally I ain't got time for that...