Thursday, 31 August 2017
A big thankyou to the team at Kind Snacks who recently sent me a couple of their bars to review with updated packaging. The particular varieties are Coconut and Almond and Mocha Almond - two of my faves from the previous lot they sent to me!
Kind Almond & Coconut:
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! Compared to the previous packaging for this one I do prefer this updated version a lot more - it stands out nicely with the blue colours. 8.5 out of 10.
Kind Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond:
This is one I didn't get around to reviewing from the last batch that Kind sent me, so here it is! With funky updated purple packaging, the colours certainly fit the flavours on offer. This contains 58% almonds, 18% dark chocolate coating, cocoa nibs and 1% coffee, all giving it a rich, nutty mocha like flavour. It was very satisfying and made for a perfect snack along with a mid morning coffee. 8.5 out of 10.
Overall, these bars from Kind get a big thumbs up and it's nice to see them becoming more widely available in the UK. The new packaging makes them stand out a lot more and I'll certainly be purchasing them more often. They're popping up in most shops now so aren't that hard to find at all.
Mocha Almond: 199 Calories, 15g Fat, 16g Carbohydrates, 5.3g Sugars, 7.2g Fibre, 5.4g Protein.
Coconut Almond: 194 Calories, 4.8g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 12g Sugars, 2.8g Fibre, 3.3g Protein.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Aldi do a fine range of food nowadays, you can find pretty much the same things as most larger supermarkets, and oftentimes better quality. I'm a fan of their fresh fruit and veg in particular. But they also do some quality British meats, and by chance I was sent a voucher to review some of their steaks recently. My Aldi didn't have some of the fancier cuts in stock but they did have these 21 Day Matured steaks in, of which I chose Ribeye. Not something I eat very often so I was pretty excited to try it!
I cooked it under the grill, not bloody, not medium rare, but well done. That's how I like my steak! Despite being well done is was still very juicy and bursting with flavour. I have to say it's one of the best steaks I've had in a while, and beats the quality of stores like Tesco, whom I've tried Ribeye Steak from before and wasn't too impressed. The price point of these is also ideal - less than £4 - so you don't need to break the bank for some great quality meat.
Overall, I would highly recommend not only this steak but all the meat sold at Aldi - I've not had anything bad from there and the prices are very affordable. In fact a friend has told me that even butchers recommend Aldi's meat as it's the best quality. I'll certainly be making more regular purchases from there from now on, I just wish I had an Aldi closer to me!
8.5 out of 10.
Monday, 28 August 2017
Another day, another grape review...and slowly but surely I am joining the "let a grape just be a grape!" team, led by Nibbles 'N Scribbles, since most of the "flavoured" varieties have been such a disappointment for me. This time, I'm reviewing a darker variety, one that was recommended to me in the comments of my review of Marks and Spencer Tutti Frutti grapes.
I do love some darker grapes, especially when they are not just any grapes, but "expertly sourced for Marks and Spencer" grapes. At £3 a box these promised to be something rather special indeed.
I have to say, they weren't quite as amazing as I was expecting but they were certainly very tasty. Full of flavour and not as sweet as most varieties, I did enjoy these a lot but I guess I was looking for seomthing "more". Maybe that's my problem - a grape should just be a grape! Albeit good quality grapes. Compared to the Tuttu Frutti ones I would say these are just as nice, but I did prefer those slightly more for the sweeter flavour.
Overall, would I recommend these? Yes, absolutely, and while you're at it try the Tutti Frutti ones too! They're worth paying an extra pound for when compared to grapes from Tesco.
8.5 out of 10.
Friday, 25 August 2017
As well as various varieties of grapes I've been busy trying lots of different melons recently, you could say I've developed a slight obsession with the delicious fruits. Going sugar free does that to you! One intriguing melon I just had to try recently was this Orange Candy variety "expertly sourced for Marks & Spencer", which seems to also be available from Waitrose under a different name.
It's basically a Honeydew melon but with a darker orange colour, and is smaller in size.
The taste is very different from a Honeydew. I do love Honeydew's, they're so sweet and satisfying, but it's nice to have something a bit less sweet now and then. This one has a more muted sweeteness and a slight tartness, more flavour than a Honeydew and less empahsis on its sweetness. It's hard to describe really, but it's a very refreshing and tasty melon!
Comapred to a Honeydew, this certainly makes for a lovely change, and if you can get them at the reduced price of £2 I would highly recommend trying one! I probably wouldn't pay the full price of £3 but if they stay at this price I'll certainly go for one over a Honeydew.
8.5 out of 10.
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Following on from my review of Marks and Spencer's Tutti Frutti Grapes last week, I thought I'd try out some more "candy inspired" grape varieties, one of them being Tesco's Candy Floss Seedless Grapes. These cost £2 a box for 400g and are widely available from most Tesco stores. There's also a Strawberry flavoured grape variety.
After the disappointing fact that the Tutti Frutti ones didn't taste of tutti frutti whatsoever, I wasn't really expecting much from these except sweeter than average grapes. And that's exactly what I got! Most white grapes are usually pretty sweet anyway - they're practically nature's candy - but these babies are even sweeter than regular. So if you're trying to curb your sweet tooth with natural foods, they might be delightful for you, but I personally found them too much and the sweetness detracted from them being enjoyable. I would much rather a good box of black grapes with some actual flavour in them as these had very little. They were just very sweet.
Overall, these aren't bad or anything they're just not much different to regular grapes. I've heard other brands such as M&S and Waitrose do better ones so I may check those out, but I won't be holding my breath.
6 out of 10.
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Today's review is for Plenish, a new Dairy Free Nut Milk brand stocked in the likes of Sainsbury's and Waitrose, whose milks are made with clean ingredients and zero fillers. Which is impressive since almost every brand has some kind of stabiliser added! I picked their Organic Coconut M*lk to try when I saw it on offer in Sainsbury's, since I'm avoiding nuts at the moment. I don't know why the word "milk" has an asterisk in place of the "i"...it makes me think it's a swear word or something!
This variety is unsweetened and made from a mixture of filtered water, organic coconut milk, rice and sea salt. Pretty simple ingredients right? Apparently this is the only coconut milk on the market made without additives. I shook the bottle well as advised on the carton, and poured some into a glass.
The milk looked very creamy, but there were some worrying lumps floating about in it, seemingly from the coconut. This didn't bother me too much since I've experienced the same with other coconut milks before.
The milk tasted very nice, and it might sound gross, but the coconut lumps were actually rather pleasant to chew on! The milk itself is creamy and slightly sweet from the rice, and would be perfect in drinks or smoothies. It's kind of light in texture, but creamier than regular rice milk. I'm not sure if I prefer it to Rude Health's Coconut Milk as it's pretty similar...maybe I should do a head to head taste test of them both.
Overall, for a coconut milk made with organic, clean ingredients this is excellent. Whilst not perfect due to the lumps, I would still buy it again over any other coconut milk with stabilisers in! If you're vegan or dairy intolerant I would recommend giving this a try.
As a side-note...did anyone else mistake the name as "Penis" rather than Plenish? Now there's a scary thought!
Nutrition Information (per 100ml): 46 Calories, 1.6g Fat, 7.9g Carbohydrates, 4.6g Sugars, 0.2g Protein.
Ingredients: Filtered water, Coconut milk 9%, Rice, Sea Salt.
8 out of 10.
Monday, 14 August 2017
Today's review is another departure, for once I'm reviewing actual food - grapes to be precise! I've been eating a lot more fruit recently since cutting down on refined sugar, so when I saw these Tutti Frutti grapes in Marks and Spencer I couldn't resist giving them a try. "Grapes that taste of sweets?", I thought. I was rather excited indeed.
They're expertly sourced for Marks & Spencer from vineyards around the world, and the grapes are ripened longer on the vine than regular grapes. Yes, these are not just any grapes...
I was disappointed to find that they weren't in fact tutti frutti flavoured (whatever that is) they were simply a sweeter, juicier variety of grapes. Which isn't to say these didn't taste good - they tasted DELICIOUS. Seriously some of the best grapes I've ever had. But they weren't tutti frutti flavoured.
After trying a few varieties of "flavoured" grapes now from Candyfloss to Strawberry, I've come to the realization that they're just descriptions for various sweeter variations of grapes. I suppose it's similar to how wines have different descriptions for their flavours ("woody", "tobacco" etc) that have nothing to do with the actual wine.
Overall, should you buy these grapes? If you fancy a treat in grape form, yes absolutely! They're excellent quality and very tasty. Just don't go expecting the flavours promised from them.
What's your experience of flavoured grapes? Have you discovered one that tastes of what it's supposed to? Let me know in the comments!
Friday, 11 August 2017
Being on a low sugar diet it's hard to find many interesting chocolates, yes there's the lovely Montezuma's Absolute Black but sometimes you want some added crunch or flavour. Luckily Montezuma's have come to the rescue with not one, but two new Absolute Black varieties - the first 100% cacao bars on the market with added flavours. These are not available in major supermarkets just yet, but you can get them online from www.montezumas.co.uk. Luckily Montezuma's kindly sent me boith to review.
Absolute Black 100% Cocoa Solids with Almonds:
This bar is sugar free, vegan, and contains 80% chocolate and 20% almonds. Opening the wrapper the bar has the standard Montezuma's design - blocks make up half of it, with a thicker piece on one end with the Montezuma's logo. I've said it before but I do love the block design, it's nice to have the smaller pieces as well as a nice thicker piece to munch on!
The almonds are clearly visible when you snap off a block, although not evenly distributed throughout the bar unfortunately. I suspect it's difficult to make sure there's a piece in every block since they're whole rather than chopped almonds.
Taking a bite of a piece with the almonds in, it was lovely; the chocolate is rich and flavoursome, with a slightly fruity cocoa edge. It's not bitter like some 100% chocolates can be. The almonds bring a bit of chewiness as well as a creamy, nutty edge that really compliments the chocolate, and in fact tones it down a little. I loved this bar, it's the perfect mixture of more intense cocoa flavours with sweeter creamy almonds. My only gripe is that there weren't more of them distributed throughout the bar, but overall this was my favourite out of the two! 9 out of 10.
Absolute Black 100% Cocoa Solids with Orange & Cocoa Nibs:
This bar is also sugar free and vegan, containing 93% chocolate, 7% cocoa nibs and orange oil. The nibs are fairly distributed throughout the bar so you get plenty in each bite. The chocolate had a pleasant zesty aroma when I opened the wrapper.
Taking a bite, this was a very crunchy bar indeed, the nibs give it the perfect texture. The orange oil gives it a welcoming citrus flavour, that almost reminded me of Chocolate Orange, but much better. The nibs are a little harsh in taste so it's good the orange oil counteracts their bitterness. I enjoyed this bar, and the crunchy texture is great, but I did find the nibs a bit too harsh to properly appreciate it overall. It's a shame because the orange flavour is lovely. I was torn between this and the almonds bar as to my favourite, because I love this one for the orange flavour and the almond bar for the lack of harshness. I think an almonds bar with orange oil and no cocoa nibs would be the ideal combination - but that's just me! I will still buy this if I see it in shops for a sugar free treat. 8 out of 10.
Overall...I have to congratulate Montezuma's for creating these two bars for those of us who are sugar free, they sure make life a lot more interesting! I hope this is the start of a new trend towards 100% chocolate with added flavourings, it's one that would be very welcome to many and would help people stick with lower sugar and low carb diets longterm. I'd like to see a bar with coconut or perhaps dried berries added...there's so many options to choose from. Please keep up the good work Montezuma's!
Available from: Montezumas.co.uk.
Nutrition (per 25g):
Orange & Cocoa Nibs: 13g Fat, 2g Carbohydrates, 3g Protein, 4g Fibre.
Almonds: 14g Fat, 2g Carbohydrates, 3g Protein, 4g Fibre.
Thursday, 10 August 2017
I was recently contacted by Holy Moly, makers of a new range of Guacamole dips to do a review, and being on a reduced sugar diet lately these certainly fit the bill. They are all made with natural ingredients, vegan, dairy free, gluten free and sugar free. They're made using avocados grown on a family-owned avocado orchard in Mexico; the avocados are hand-picked, hand-scooped and combined with freshly sourced local ingredients.
The Saintly Original variety contains a mixture of garlic, jalapeno chilli, onion, avocado and spices.
I dug right in and ate it straight from the spoon. It's super creamy, with a lovely kick from the chillis, perfectly balanced with the onion and garlic. I really enjoyed it, but I do wish I'd had some gluten free crackers to dip in it. Very tasty. 8.5 out of 10.
Containing Jalapeno chilli, red onion, red bell pepper and other spices, this was the fiery one of the bunch.
And I loved it! The jalapeno gives it that unmistakable fiery salty kick, with the bell pepper complimenting it. This is a very tasty dip, perfect with anything from tortillas, chips or even in a sandwich. 9 out of 10.
The Pure variety is made from perfectly ripe mashed hass avocado. Obviously plainer than the other flavours, but still nice if you want ready made avocado to add to your dishes.
It tasted nice and fresh, with a chunkier texture than the other dips. This could be used in sandwiches, or even sweet dessert recipes requiring avocado. 8 out of 10.
Overall, I have to say these are some great Guacomole dips from Holy Moly, certainly the best I've tried. The lack of sugar and using only fresh ingredients is what really sets them apart, I'll certainly be keeping my eye out for them in the shops!
Available from Waitrose, Ocado.com and Whole Foods Market.
Friday, 4 August 2017
It's August already...what happened to this year, seriously?! It's the time of year when many new products get launched for Winter - no Christmas stuff yet, but do keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram for the first Christmas sightings. I'm sure it won't be long now! In the meantime, lets' take a look at some of the latest new products to grace the supermarket shelves...
Coca Cola Zero Sugar Cherry:
They've already done a Vanilla Coca Cola Zero Sugar and now it's the turn of Cherry! Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin Large Size:
Galaxy, Bounty and M&M's Trail Mix:
I reviewed these last year but now they're getting a larger bag version. If you see these in shops do let me know!
Quaker Overnight Oats:
Award for most pointless product of the year goes to...Quaker Oats! They've helpfully brought out a product you could easily make yourself, and added some dried apple to boot. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Clarks Peanut Butter Dessert Topping (50% Less Sugar):
One for the peanut butter lovers out there (like Peanut!) this dessert topping contains 50% less sugar. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Clarks Dreamy Caramel Dessert Topping:
Also available in a Dreamy Caramel variety. Currently £1.50 in Sainsbury's, also includes Totally Choccy flavour.
Haagen Dazs Strawberries & Cream Limited Edition Sticks:
Haagen Dazs have launched this Limited Edition pack of three ice cream sticks containing strawberry pieces. Available from Sainsbury's. Let me know if you see it in other supermarkets!
Yeo Valley British Bramley Apple Limited Edition:
It wouldn't be Summer without another Limited Edition from Yeo Valley. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Tyrrell's Goat's Cheese Garlic & Rosemary Limited Edition:
An interesting new limited edition from Tyrrell's. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Pip & Nut Unsweetened Almond Milk:
Pip & Nut, makers of various nut butters have now launched into the Dairy Free Milk market, with three varieties; Unsweteened Almond Milk, containing no stabilisers and only natural organic ingredients. Available in Sainsbury's.
Pip & Nut Honey & Vanilla Almond Drink:
Also available in Honey & Vanilla flavour. Sounds yummy! Also in Sainsbury's.
Pip & Nut Almond Drink with Coconut:
And last but not least, Almond with Coconut. If you try any of these varieities pease do let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Rude Health Banana Berry Oats:
Banana Berry Oats...now this sounds a bit different! Certainly more interesting than Quaker's Basic offerings lately. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Sainsbury's Gourmet Salted Caramel Drizzle Cake:
Containing salted caramel buttercream and topped with caramel filled meringues, chocolate coated pretzels, as well as caramel icing, this looks like one super cake indeed!
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Dulce De Leche Mini Cupcakes:
Containing a swirled caramel buttercream topping and chunks of chocolate, these new cupcakes from Sainsbury's look a bit dangerous! Also available in a Chocolate Ganache variety.
Tilda Caribbean Rice & Peas Limited Edition:
A new limited edition from Tilda, this Caribbean Rice & Peas variety is gluten free and ready in two minutes. Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Trolli Dino Rex Vegan Sweets:
Some new vegan sweets from Trolli Candy, spotted in WH Smiths.
Buttermilk Caramel Sea Salt Crumbly Fudge:
New "artisan confectionery" that's also gluten free. Yum! Spotted in Sainsbury's.
Walkers Oven Baked Crispy Crackers Mature Cheese/Italian Herbs:
A new variety of Walkers Oven Baked Crispy Crackers, spotted in Sainsbury's.
Walkers Oven Baked Fusions Cheddar Cheese & Red Pepper:
Another new Oven Baked variety, available in single packs. I saw these in Boots.
Califia Farms Go Coconuts Coconut & Coconut Water Blend:
Califia Farms recently launched their Dairy Free Milk brand onto the UK market, with some coffee varieties available in Sainsbury's as well as this Coconut and Cococnut Water blend. Spotted in Waitrose.
Nush Dairy Free Almond Milk Yoghurt:
A new brand of dairy free yoghurt made from almond milk. Interesting! Available in Sainsbury's and Tesco.
Rebel Kitchen Semi Skimmed/Whole Dairy Free Mylk:
Rebel Kitchen have created what they claim to be the best Dairy Free Vegan milk that tastes as good as real milk. It comes in both Semi Skimmed, Whole...
Rebel Kitchen Skimmed Dairy Free Mylk:
...and of course Skimmed! Spotted in Waitrose.
The Primal Pantry Paleo Protein Bar Cocoa Brownie:
Primal Pantry have launched this new vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free Paleo Protein brownie bar, containing hemp protein. I'm intrigued! Spotted in The Co Op.
Nature Valley Crunchy Variety Packs:
A new variety pack from Nature Valley containing Canadian Maple Syrup, Oats & Dark Chocolate and Oats & Honey varieties. Spotted in Morrisons and Sainsbury's.
Primark Unicorn Strawberry Splash:
A new strawberry flavoured, magical sugar free sparkling water from Primark, sure to have you high as a unicorn dancing on rainbows. At least according to the label!
The Chocolate Smiths Bizarre Apple Pie & Custard/Maple Bacon bars:
Those crazy Chocolate Smiths have been busy creating some new bars, and the latest seasonal offering is this Apple Pie bar, featuring both milk and white chocolate. They also do a maple syrup and bacon bar. Spotted in Fenwicks, also available from https://www.thechocolatesmiths.com.
The Chocolate Smiths Bubblegum Sundae bar:
A Vanilla Bubblegum and White Chocolate bar from The Chocolate Smiths. Sounds yummy! And yes that's a Banoffee Bread bar below it.
The Chocolate Smiths Strawberry Lemonade Bizarre/Campfire S'mores:
Another recent addition to the range was this Strawberry Lemonade bar, containing white chocolate with strawberry and lemon popping candy. Below is the Campfire S'more Bar.
The Chocolate Smiths Irish Cream Milk Chocolate Bar:
Last but not least, one of their boozy themed bars, exclusive to Fenwicks. They also do Gin & Tonic, Prosecco and Beer flavoured bars!
M&S Dessert Menu Stracciatella Gelato:
A new gelato variety from M&S - not just any gelato!
M&S Dessert Menu Tiramisu Gelato:
Ice cream with Marsala wine swirled with coffee sauce, chocolate pieces and sponge cake pieces, made in Italy. Sounds delightful, I'll have the lot! ;)
M&S Spirit of Summer King Prawns & Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise with a Charcoal Bun:
A charcoal bun! I don't know how I missed this until now but this is certainly not something I fancy trying. Anyone else?
M&S Percy Piglet Cupcakes:
Percy Pig's babies have been put onto cupcakes! What a lovely way to celebrate his 25th birthday.
M&S Coconut & Raspberry Scottish Shortbread:
New Homestyle (whatever that means) Shortbread with the food of the moment added: coconutttt!
Marks & Spencer Scottish All Butter Rhubarb & Orange Shortbread Rounds:
For a tart kick to your Shortbread, some new Rhubarb & Orange Shortbread Rounds from M&S. Because who doesn't like being kicked by tart?
Waitrose Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Slices:
Is this possibly one of the best combos ever? I think it might be!
Asda Half 'N' Half Cake:
I couldn't not mention this new cake from Asda...can't decide between milk chocolate and white chocolate? Now you don't have to! Half chocolate cake with milk chocolate, half vanilla cake with a white chocolate topping.
Well, that's all for this edition of Spotted In Shops, I'll be back as soon as there's more new products out! I wonder how long it'll be until the first Christmas snacks appear?