Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Coconut Merchant Coconut Chips 100% Natural

Coconut Merchant Coconut Chips

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!

Coconut Merchant Coconut Chips

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.

Coconut Merchant Coconut Chips

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

NuttVia Hazelnut Chocolate Spread Review

NuttVia Hazelnut Chocolate Spread sugar free

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.

NuttVia Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

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.

NuttVia Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

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

Marks & Spencer Achachas Fruit Review

Marks & Spencer Achachas

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.

Marks & Spencer Achachas Fruit

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.

Marks & Spencer Achachas Fruit

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.

Marks & Spencer Achachas Fruit

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...

Friday, 8 September 2017

Polo Sugar Free & Extra Strong Pots

Polo Sugar Free Pots

Polo has been put in pots! Yes, the iconic "mint with the hole" is now available in this handy new recyclable pot format, containing approximately 44 mints, perfect for popping in your bag or handbag. I was offered some to review, and since I'm doing a low sugar diet recently these were just what I needed!

These contain 10 calories per serving and are toothkind, accredited by the Oral Health Foundation, and can be enjoyed without the risk of tooth decay.

Polo Sugar Free Extra Strong Pots:
Polo Sugar Free Pots

These pack some mighty punch in the mint department, and are super duper strong but not unpleasantly so. They're the sort of thing you'll be needing when the weather gets a bit colder and on frosty mornings! 8 out of 10. 

Polo Sugar Free Regular Pots:

A bit tamer in the mint department, these had a gentler, sweeter mint flavour. I ended up crunching on quite a few, as is the tradition with Polo mints! I would probably go for the Extra Strong as my favourite but these are still good. 8 out of 10. 

Overall, there's not much to say about Polos other than it's nice to see them still on shelves after all these years, they've no doubt been part of everyone's youth...who doesn't remember buying them from vending machines at high school? (Are vending machines even allowed these days? - probably not!) Anyway it's nice to have them in this handy format and they certainly help with reducing sugar and calorie intake.

Nutrition per serving (3 mints): 10 Calories, 0g Fat, 0g Carbohydrates, 0g Fibre. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Seed & Bean Lemon and Cardamom Dark Chocolate

Seed & Bean Lemon and Cardamom Dark Chocolate

Today's review is for Seed and Bean, a brand I have featured on occasion before - I particularly loved their White Chocolate, Lemon & Poppyseed Bar. This time I've been trying out some of their dark chocolate varieties.

Their dark chocolates are suitable for vegans, fairtrade, dairy free and gluten free, as well as organic. This one contains 58% Cocoa and is flavoured with lemon and cardamom, a bit of a unique pairing for chocolate!

It tastes nice, with rich, good quality dark chocolate that has a slightly acidic edge. The cardamom certainly makes for an interesting flavour profile combined with the lemon. I enjoyed this bar, it's not something you'd want to eat on the regular, but for "something a bit different" at Christmas it would make a nice variation. I would recommend this to vegans or anyone dairy free looking for something a bit different.

I also like that it's organic since Green & Blacks seem to be downplaying their organic range now with their Velvet Editions, which surely isn't a good sign for the organic chocolate market. Please people, support organic products, not only are they good for the environment they're better for your health too!

8.5 out of 10.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin New Size Bar

Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin New Size Bar

It's taken them a while, but Mondelez have finally graced the UK market with Dairy Milk Tiffin after a long absence. It was brought back as a limited edition last Summer in small tablets, but now due to popular demand has been permanently brought out in a larger 200g sharing block.

Cadbury offered me a bar to review, which although I couldn't eat myself due to gluten, I did share amongst friends to ask their thoughts.

Tiffin is of course the classic combination of shortcake biscuits and raisins combined with Dairy Milk, first launched in 1937, discontinued in 1972, brought back in 1985, and withdrawn again in 2003. Phew, this bar has had a lot of ups and downs!

I've previously reviewed the Irish Dairy Milk Tiffin bar, available in some UK supermarkets in a small size, and found it to be very tasty owing to the use of the traditional Dairy Milk in the recipe. Unfortunately, the UK version seems to use a different recipe...no one knows why, but it seems they use differently sourced milk vs the Irish version.

According to my friends who tried it, it still tastes pretty darn good though, with the biscuit and raisin combination making for an addictive and tasty treat. And thanks to the larger size it's perfect for sharing with friends or saving to eat over a few days. Good with a cuppa!

Overall, there's not much to say other than hurrah, Cadbury have listened to what consumers want and brought a classic nostalgic bar back to the shelves!

On a related note - let's just see how the latest Mondelez ploy to mess with Green & Blacks bars - by bringing out new flavours and removing the Organic tag - plays out. This is not good Karma, Mondelez! 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Kind Bars: Almond & Coconut/ Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond

Kind Bars coconut almond mocha dark chocolate

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:
Kind almond and coconut gluten free

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:
Kind Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond bar

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.

Nutrition Information:
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.