Friday, 30 June 2017
It's Summer, although you wouldn't think it...in typical British fashion we've had heat waves followed by showers - things never change!
On a rare hot day recently, I decided to try these dairy free, gluten free, vegan coconut based ice creams from The Coconut Collaborative. They were on offer for £3 at Sainsbury's for a pack of three sticks.
The ice creams are made with a base of coconut frozen dessert, which consists of coconut cream, and grape juice, with a dark chocolate dairy free coating, consisting of coconut sugar, cocoa and inulin.
Taking a bite, these were a very welcome treat on a boiling hot day. The ice cream centre is cool and refreshing, and rather like sorbet. The vanilla adds a nice flavour, with the dark chocolate being the perfect coating. These are a nice dairy free ice cream, although I did feel they were lacking something. The texture is too much like sorbet rather than a creamy ice cream, which tends to be the problem with a lot of coconut based ice desserts. I do wish there was a creamier dairy free ice cream more widely available.
Overall, if you're vegan or dairy free these are a nice treat especially on a hot day, and I would recommend them. I don't think they'll be a regular purchase for me though.
Nutrition Information (per 95ml lolly): 204 Calories, 6.9g Fat, 18.4g Carbohydrates, 11.9g Sugars, 0.9g Protein.
7.5 out of 10.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
I do love Nakd bars, especially the various limited editions they've been doing in recent years from the likes of Carrot Cake to Lemon Drizzle, plus the Nakd Nibbles range. They always bring some interesting and tasty flavours to the healthy snacks market, stopping it from getting too boring and "health food-y".
This year, not only have they launched the new limited edition Lemon Drizzle they've also brought a new flavour to their main range - Cocoa Coconut. I'm surprised they haven't done a coconut variety before to be honest...well, they did do some Nakd Nibbles Coconut in small bags (which are still available) but they're hard to find.
Luckily Nakd saved me the bother of scouring multiple Asda stores for this new bar, and sent me some to review - thanks Nakd!
The ingredients consist of dates, coconut, raisins, cashew nuts. It's nice to see coconut so prominently on the list. The bars are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, gluten free and dairy free.
They tasted pretty darn good! The coconut gives the bars a richer, more tropical edge and they somehow feel more filling for it. The cocoa gives it that nice rich kick and compliments it well. I liked how these tasted satisfying without being too sweet or focused just on the dried fruit. They make for a perfect filling snack.
Overall, these new Cocoa Coconut bars from Nakd are a definite winner! Tasty, filling and satisfying, you can't ask for more from a healthy snack bar. And if you've heard about the recent controversy from the American Heart Association about coconut being unhealthy (despite it's widespread use in the health world), I would take it with a grain of salt...they're basing these studies on people who already have unhealthy diets. Embrace the coconut!
8.5 out of 10.
Nutrition Information (per bar): 133 Calories, 5.5g Fat, 17.5g Carbohydrates, 16.7g Sugars, 2.1g Protein.
Ingredients: Dates (53%), Coconut (16%), Raisins (15%), Cashews (10%), Cocoa (5%), a hint of natural flavourings.
Monday, 26 June 2017
What have we here, a new variety of M&M's that is actually a UK exclusive for once? You're spoiling us, Mars! After all we have been deprived of the Peanut Butter M&M's for what seems like forever now, import stores notwithstanding.
Yes, Mars are gracing us with this new Peanut and Hazelnut Limited Edition which can be found in Poundland, and no doubt other stores to follow soon. Described as "an assortment of milk chocolate with peanut and hazelnut in a sugar shell", these come in 128g bags.
The M&M's are different sizes and it was hard to tell which were hazelnut and peanut, because despite the wider ones looking like hazelnuts - some weren't!
I ate a few of the fatter ones and was met with the regular peanut variety...so disappointing! Eventually I found a hazelnut one - at last, what I've been waiting for all this time!
It tasted good, very good in fact, and was every bit as nice as you can imagine a hazelnut M&M to be. The hazelnut tasted fresh, reminding me somewhat of Ferrero Rocher, but with a crunchy candy shell.
I have to say, I really did enjoy these M&M's but I found it annoying that the hazelnut are mixed with peanut. It waters down the excitement and novelty of having hazelnut M&M's just a bit! No doubt it's due to costs; I'm guessing hazelnuts are a lot more pricey than peanuts, but still...I couldn't help but want a bag full of just hazelnut M&M's.
Overall, these are a great limited edition and it's nice to see a different type of nut in an M&M for a change, and I'll certainly be buying a few more bags. But I do hope it will lead to an edition with just hazelnut M&M's in future!
Nutrition Information (42.6g): 218 Calories, 26.6g Fat, 57.2g Carbohydrates, 51.8g Sugars, 9g Protein.
Ingredients: Sugar, peanuts, cocoa mass, hazelnuts, skimmed milk powder, lactose and milk proteins, cocoa butter, milk fat, starch, palm fat, glucose syrup, shea fat, lactose, soya lecithin, gum arabic, colours, dextrin, glazing agent carnauba wax, palm kernal oil, salt, flavourings.
8.5 out of 10.
Friday, 23 June 2017
A big thankyou to the makers of Vibe Popcorn for sending me some samples of their new range to review recently. Vibe popcorn is described as "feel good" popcorn and is a bit different from your average flavoured popcorns, with extra ingredients as well as a sweet hint of honey. They're available from Asda now, and will be stocked in other supermarkets from July. Below are my thoughts on each variety.
Vibe Strawberry with a hint of Honey:
Described as "popcorn coated with freeze-dried strawberries and honey", this is suitable for vegetarians and gluten free as well as non GM.
The popcorn is generously coated with the freeze dried strawberries, which taste absolutely delicious! I couldn't get over how nice and different this popcorn tasted, there's no artificial flavourings but rather a realistic strawberry flavour that reminded me almost of strawberry jam. The honey gives an extra sweet edge that compliments it perfectly, making this quite a treat indeed. I seriously couldn't stop eating! I would highly recommend this one, definitely a must-buy. 9 out of 10.
Vibe Coconut & Cacao with a hint of honey:
Described as "popcorn coated with toasted coconut, cacao nibs and honey", this is actually the one I was looking forward to the most.
There were plenty of cacao nibs stuck to the popcorn pieces, giving a nice speckled effect.
To be honest, I couldn't taste the cacao nibs much, I mean they were there and gave hints of cocoa, but I think real choclate might have been tastier. The coconut flavour was pleasant, and it's nice to have real coconut rather than an artificial flavouring in popcorn, but something about this variety felt a bit off to me. I think a fruit flavour paired with coconut would've been better, or a full on chocolate variety with cacao nibs. Not bad, but not something I would buy again personally. 7.5 out of 10.
Overall, this Vibe Popcorn range really surprised me, I absolutely loved the Strawberry variety and wouldn't hesitate to buy it again, whilst I could take or leave the Coconut version. I really hope they bring out more flavours in the future because I think they're onto something with these.
Nutrition Information (per 30g):
Coconut & Cacao: 142 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 23.5g Carbohydrates, 15.8g Sugars, 1.5g Fibre, 1g Protein.
Strawberry: 125 Calories, 1.8g Fat, 26g Carbohydrates, 17.9g Sugars, 0.9g Fibre, 0.8g Protein.
Thursday, 22 June 2017
A big thankyou to the team at Kind for sending me their range of Fruit and Nut and Nuts and Spice bars to review recently...the range is now widely available in UK stores and consists of bars with all natural ingredients, that are dairy free, vegetarian as well as gluten free. There's a lot of varieties in the range, and below are my thoughts on a few that I was sent.
Almond & Coconut Fruit & Nut Bar:
Containing a mixture of almonds, coconut, honey and rice flour, this bar was full of chunky almonds which made it very satisfying to crunch. The coconut gives it that nice mellow tropical flavour, with the honey bringing a light natural sweetness. Overall, a very satisfying and tasty bar! 8.5 out of 10.
Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt Nuts & Spices Bar:
This is one I've reviewed already, so be sure to check out my review HERE!
Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bar:
Containing 60% mixed nuts, honey and a dark chocolate flavour coating (dairy free), this was again a very satisfying bar that felt very wholesome.
The lick of salt and the dark chocolate make it that extra bit tasty and moreish, so you get the best of both worlds. A very filling bar! 8 out of 10.
Madagascan Vanilla Almond Bar:
Containing a whopping 75% nuts (!), consisting of almonds, peanuts and cashews the main flavour of this bar is the madagascan vanilla.
Again this bar was very satisfying, with the chunky nuts feeling wholesome. The sweet vanilla flavour is perfect and gives it that extra luxury touch. I loved this one, the vanilla flavour is soooo good! 8.5 out of 10.
Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Bar:
This one I was super excited for, it contains 7g of protein as well as 50% nuts, which include peanut butter and almonds. It also has a dark chocolate coating and soy protein isolate.
Whilst this wasn't quite peanut butter in bar form, it was a very satisfying and wholesome bar. The peanuts are perfectly roasted and crunchy, with the chocolate coating adding a nice finish. 8.5 out of 10.
Well, that's all for today's review...I will be reviewing the remaining bars Kind sent me separately as there were just too many to fit in one post! I do love these bars, they're so satisfying and feel like real foods rather than some similar products on the market; I'm so glad to see them more widely available in the UK.
NUTRITION (per 40g bar):
Almond and Coconut: 194 Calories, 4.8g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 12g Sugars, 2.8g Fibre, 3.3g Protein.
Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt: 203 Calories, 16g Fat, 15g Carbohydrates, 5.3g Sugar, 7.3g Fibre, 5.9g Protein.
Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt: 199 Calories, 15g Fat, 16g Carbohydrate, 5.3g Sugars, 7.1g Fibre, 5.7g Protein.
Madagascan Vanilla Almond: 237 Calories, 16g Fat, 14g Carbohydrates, 4.1g Sugars, 5.7g Fibre, 6.5g Protein.
Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate: 201 Calories, 13g Fat, 17g Carbohydrate, 9.2g Sugars, 2.5g Fibre, 7.1g Protein.
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
With this early Summer heatwave, I'm finding myself reaching for ice cold drinks a bit more often than usual, but it's hard to find one without any artificial sweeteners in. Luckily, Robinsons have come to the rescue with their new range of naturally sweetened drinks called Refresh'd, which contain fruit juices as well as stevia. If you've not heard of stevia before it's a sweetener extracted from plants, and tastes sweeter than actual sugar. Robinsons kindly sent me some drinks from the range to review, and below are my thoughts on each flavour.
Raspberry & Apple:
Containing spring water, fruit juices, natural flavours and stevia this flavour was lovely. It reminded me somewhat of the raspberry juice drinks I loved as a kid, albeit without the artificial flavours and colours. It was very refreshing and had a light sweet flavour that was perfect on a hot day. 8.5 out of 10.
Orange & Lime:
A more citrusy variety this time, and again one that was very refreshing. It was the perfect level of sweetness with enough orange and lime tartness to balance it out. 8 out of 10.
Apple & Kiwi:
I love apple juice, and this Refresh'd version is like a lighter version of the traditional juice, perfect if you want a low sugar drink. The kiwi compliments the apple flavour perfectly. 8 out of 10.
Overall, this is a great new range from Robinsons, and does exactly what it says on the label: they're refreshing, light and naturally sweet, with a hint of fruitiness. I would be very happy buying these on the go, which isn't some thing I can say about most juice drinks - they're usually too sugary or laden with artificial ingredients. Thankfully not in this case! These get s big thumbs up.
Saturday, 17 June 2017
Poundstretcher sure do sell some interesting snacks. I've had quite a few gems from there over the years, from the likes of D'aim Orange Minis, various imported Marabou bars, and other random European chocolates. My most recent snack find was from even further afield - a land down under, in fact - Coles is an Australian supermarket, and if you've been following me on Instagram you'll know Poundstretcher has been stocking some of their spreads recently. They had Salted Caramel, Cookie Dough, and this - White Chocolate Almond spread, which were all reduced to just 50p recently - what a bargain!
This is made with a mixture of vegetable oils, milk solids, 10% roasted almonds, cocoa butter and flavourings, and has a "Health Star Rating" of 0.5 out of 5...hmm doesn't sound too healthy.
Thankfully such things don't worry me; as long as you're not eating a tub in one sitting this can happily fit into your daily macros allowance, and certainly beats eating lettuce for calories!
The spread had bits of roasted almond clearly visible within it. I ate some straight from the spoon - always the best way to eat spread!
It was very nice, creamy, rich and with a savoury nuttiness from the almonds. It was of course very sweet and a bit sickly, but it's perfect spread thinly on crackers or toast. I've not had many white chocolate spreads before other than Asda's, which I love, but I do find they're inevitably far too sweet as they lack the cocoa solids to balance out the sugar. Luckily this one isn't quite as bad since the almonds break up the flavour a bit, although it's still very sweet.
Overall, this is a nice spread, but probably not worth going out of your way to find. Which is just as well because I don't think Poundstretcher will have them in for much longer.
7.5 out of 10.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
What do we have here? No, these are not peanut butter cups, they're something new in cup form; Nestle Butterfinger Coconut Cups!
Nestle launched Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups in the US a few years ago to compete with Reese's, and now it seems that Nestle UK have decided to launch them here too, in a Peanut Butter & Crunchy Caramel version (see pic below):
As well as these; Coconut. They're made in the UK, or at least appear to be since the address on the wrapper is in York. They're described as "Moist coconut flavoured centre with dessicated coconut (4%) in a chocolate flavoured cup". Hmm....chocolate flavoured ey? They cost £1 for 4 cups, which equal 86g in total, and are available in Asda stores.
The cups come in a cardboard tray but don't have individual wrappers like Reese's Cups do.
Turning one upside down it looks somewhat like a flying saucer, and isn't perfectly round like a Reese's Cup.
I took a bite. The "chocolate flavoured coating" fooled me; it tasted like sweet milk chocolate, I didn't even know it was fake chocolate until I read the ingredients list. The filling was smooth and creamy, with some dessicated coconut giving it a slight chewiness. It was very pleasant, sweet and satisfying. Not a full on coconut hit like a Bounty bar, but nice enough and they certainly satisfy a sweet craving.
They were so nice in fact that I decided to stick two together and eat them as one...hey, at least they fit into my macros allowance! (#teamfitfam). As a bonus, they looked even more like a flying saucer!
Overall, these new coconut Butterfinger Cups are quite a delight, yes they could be improved upon but they're a bit different and unique in the Cups market, and it's always nice to see more coconut chocolates on shelves.
I do hope the similar (but healthier) Eating Evolved Cups popular in the Paleo world will be available in the UK eventually - I know I'd rather eat something a bit more nutritious - but these will do for now!
Nutrition (per cup): 122 Calories, 7.7g Fat, 11.9g Carbohydrates, 11.7g Sugars, 1.1g Protein.
Ingredients: sugar, vegetable fats, skimmed milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, dessicated coconut, lactose, butterfat, emulsifier sunflower lecithin, natural flavourings.
8 out of 10.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Recently, the lovely Monty from Monty Bojangles sent me a fantastic truffle hamper to review. I felt like Christmas had come early! There were truffles of every kind, but the ones I'm going to review first are the Scofflets, which are bitesize truffles available in 100g sharing bags from Waitrose stores. There's three varieties which include a Caramel & Cookie version, but today I'm only reviewing the Sea Salt and Maple & Hazelnut due to my gluten allergy (boo!).
Hint of Sea Salt:
So lets start with the Sea Salt variety. I wasn't expecting much, because these aren't salted caramel just salt. Salt can either enhance or spoil a chocolate, so how does it blend with Monty's truffley delights?
Quite well as it turns out! They're creamy, chocolatey, smooth, melt in the mouth, with the lick of salt adding a moreish edge that enhances the flavour further. They're certainly nicer than your average chocolate truffle, and quite easy to scoff a lot of at once. I can see why they're called Scofflets, although maybe they should change it to "Scoffthelot" (h/t to Reaching For Refreshment for that gem!)
These get a delightful 8 out of 10.
Maple & Hazelnut:
I was looking forward to these the most and they certainly did not disappoint. They contain caramelized hazelnut chips as well as maple syrup flavouring, adding a lovely nutty sweetness to the truffles.
They were really, really moreish! The hazelnuts chips were perfectly crunchy with the smoky maple flavour enhancing them even further. The truffle texture was smooth and melt in the mouth, just what you want from a good truffle. The two elements contrasted each other very nicely.
These are fantastic and get an even higher 9 out of 10!
Overall, what can I say...two superb bags of truffles, that are perfect for nibbling just about anywhere. If you spot these in Waitrose be sure to pick up a bag!
Sunday, 11 June 2017
I love trying new chocolate bar flavours; some of them are successful and some not so much. Since Montezuma's range started appearing in my local Sainsbury's I've been gradually making my way through them all (only when on special offer though!), and my latest to try was this Sea Dog Dark Chocolate with Lime and Seasalt.
This cost me £1.49, contains 70% cocoa solids and is gluten free and suitable for vegans.
The bar comes in the typical Montezuma's design, which I like very much. It's a bit different from your average bar, with regular blocks on the upper half and a thicker section at the bottom with the Montezuma's logo on.
The chocolate tastes nice and rich, with a smoky cocoa flavour. The lime gives it a gentle sweet tang, with the sea salt enhancing it. It's a subtle flavour but it's very nice and makes for an interesting variation of dark chocolate. I would definitely buy this one again when I'm in the mood for something a bit different!
Nutrition (per 25g): 145 Calories, 11g Fat, 9g Carbohydrates, 7g Sugars, 2g Protein.
8.5 out of 10.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
Sometimes I really am a glutton for punishment when it comes to new chocolate bar flavours. I always want to try new things, even if they just sound wrong. That's what happened with this new bar that popped up in Marks and Spencer recently, a single origin Peru dark chocolate with 52% cocoa solids, containing pink peppercorns and flavoured with grapefruit oil. Neither of those two ingredients are ones I particularly like, but nevertheless I was intrigued and wanted to try it.
The "taste profile" made it sound very enticing indeed: "The ripe fruit and subtle acidity of the cocoa in this bar gradually merge with the heat of the pink peppercorns. A subtle citrus flavour is followed by rich cocoa, spiked with crunchy fragments of warming pink pepper". Yeah, whatever...
Opening the cardboard sleeve, the bar certainly looked the part, although there was a faint aroma of pepper that betrayed what lay beneath.
Yep, this chocolate tasted pretty weird! The peppercorns taste odd, and don't work with the chocolate, whilst the grapefruit oil gives it that sour tang that isn't particularly pleasant or refreshing, like orange or lemon would be. All in all, it's a bit of an odd bar and I don't know why M&S are messing around with nonsense like this when they could do something so much better. Maybe like putting their Nutty Surprise Easter Egg into bar form? You can have that idea on me M&S!
5 out of 10.
Thursday, 1 June 2017
It's been a while since I've reviewed any Nakd products, and apparently there will soon be a new Coconut Nakd bar on shelves. I'm very excited for that, but in the meantime I thought I would review the Bakewell Tart variety, which I recently found for 29p in Home Bargains.
Like all Nakd bars it is course vegan, dairy free, gluten free and made with a mixture of nuts and dates.
It had a strong bakewell tart aroma on opening the wrapper, and that's exactly how it tasted - like a sweet bakewell tart! The comforting cherry and almond flavours were there and made for a tasty and sweet snack. This isn't my favourite Nakd bar, but it's a nice change from the other varieties. It would have been nice to see some actual almonds in the ingredients considering that's what makes a bakewell tart so distinctive, but other than that this is a good bar.
Ingredients: (Dates (49%), Cashews (35%), Raisins (16%) and a hint of natural flavouring.
Nutrition Information (per bar): 137 Calories, 5.9g Fat, 17.6g Carbohydrates, 16g Sugars, 2.6g Protein.
8 out of 10.