Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Kingdom Rhubarb & Vanilla Centre Milk Chocolate Review

A big thankyou to Kingdom Chocolates who kindly sent me some samples from their new range to review recently! Kingdom are a company aiming to add some "British creativity" to the chocolate world. Amongst the bars they sent me, this Rhubarb & Vanilla variety intrigued me most as I've never really seen or tried a rhubarb flavour chocolate before.

According to their leaflet, Kingdom are a brand new British-owned chocolate company launching a range of bars focused entirely on innovation and quality. Their cocoa is ethically sourced from Uganda, and their bars contain no artificial ingredients.

This bar is described as "Milk chocolate with a white chocolate rhubarb & vanilla centre", and contains 34% cocoa solids. Opening the wrapper I was very impressed by the thick, chunky feel of the blocks. Each one has the Kingdom crown logo imprinted on it:

Cutting into one of the blocks revealed the white chocolate rhubarb centre:

Biting into a piece I was first met with the thick milk chocolate - it tasted quite rich and with a good cocoa flavour. The rhubarb and vanilla centre was quite firm, perhaps due to containing white chocolate, but when eaten it melted in the mouth nicely. The rhubarb flavour was quite subtle and refreshing - I was surprised it didn't taste tart and tangy, but it's probably good it didn't as that would've ruined the flavour balance. I loved the subtle creaminess of the centre contrasted with the richer milk chocolate - the flavours worked really well together.

Overall, I really enjoyed this bar. Kingdom's aim is to produce innovative and quality chocolates, and I think they've certainly achieved that here - this bar is far better quality than most mainstream chocolate bars, and unique too. I look forward to trying more from Kingdom's range and hope they do lots of interesting new flavours in the future.

Kingdom Chocolates are currently available from Waitrose stores for £1.89 per bar.

Allergy Advice: Contains milk & soya. May contain nuts, peanuts & sesame. Gluten-free.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.

*This bar was kindly sent to me by Kingdom for an honest review - all views expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

One Direction Milk Chocolate Bar Review

When I spotted this One Direction branded chocolate bar in Discount UK recently, I thought I'd give it a try in the name of curiosity. "Could it possibly be as bad as their music...?", I thought. Let's find out!

The bar cost 99p and is made by a company called Bon Bon Buddies Ltd. Opening the wrapper the chocolate smelled a little stale and unappetizing. Turning it over revealed a One Direction sticker. I have no idea who this guy is but I'm sure the sticker would make many teenage girls happy.

The chocolate itself comes in blocks with uneven waves on top:

Taste-wise, it was pretty bad. It tasted like calender chocolate - cheap, flavourless, and without any creaminess or strong cocoa flavours. It had an odd woody aftertaste too which was very off-putting. The chocolate contains vegetable fat - a filler often used in cheap confectionery - which might explain the poor quality.

Overall, I don't get why companies produce such rubbish chocolate and plaster the latest boyband du jour on the wrapper. Why not make decent tasting chocolate so people keep buying it? Otherwise they're just selling stickers and packaging. This chocolate is an insult to One Direction fans just as much as their music is to my ears.

Price: 99p at Discount UK & B&M Bargains.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk & soya.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Tesco Jam Roly Poly Toffees Review

Tesco have been adding some interesting new products to their snacks range recently, but what caught my eye the most were these "Jam Roly Poly Toffees", which also come in a Summer Fruits variety. I will admit, I chose them based purely on their name. Who wouldn't?

I suspected they wouldn't resemble anything like the classic British dessert that is Jam Roly Poly Pudding (which, by the way, was also known as "Shirt-sleeve pudding" because it was often served in an old shirt sleave - crazy or what?!). Reading the description confirmed my suspicions: "Toffees filled with raspberry flavoured apple jam". No pudding to be had here then! Still, who ever really expects products like these to resemble their namesakes? Presumably, the toffee portion is supposed to stand in for the "Roly Poly" part of the pudding.

Cutting into one of the toffees revealed the jam centre, which was slightly sticky:

Popping one in my mouth, I chewed down and as I did the strawberry jam oozed out. It was a rather pleasant experience, as the jam had a lovely fruity taste and avoided the pitfall of tasting too artificial. The toffee itself had a nice buttery, sweet flavour. I liked the sensation of the gooey jam sandwiched between the toffee, it somehow worked really well and made the toffees very addictive.

Overall, these Roly Poly Toffees surprised me. I expected them to be a bit of a gimmick - and I suppose they are, really - but I ended up rather enjoying them. I'm looking forward to trying the Summer Fruits variety next.

Price: 89p at Tesco (currently on offer of 2 for £1.50, until 11th Aug).
Ingredients: Suitable for vegetarians.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk & soya.

Going off subject slightly, but these reminded me of Nestle's fruit-flavoured Toffos. Here's a pic (thanks to

I haven't had a fruit Toffo in years - please bring them back Nestle!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

New! Cadbury Crispello Vanilla Velvet

Not being a huge fan of the original Crispello launched last year, I was a tad skeptical when I heard about the launch of this new Vanilla Velvet variety. However, it really surprised me!

Like the original Crispello it comes with three pieces of filled chocolate-coated wafers. They're described as "Thin crispy shells with a creamy vanilla filling, covered in Cadbury milk chocolate".

Opening the wrapper the chocolates had that unmistakable Cadbury chocolate aroma. Cutting into one revealed the creamy vanilla centre, which was very plentiful. It reminded me somewhat of a Kinder Bueno.

Taste-wise, the filling was very creamy and went perfectly with the light wafer and milk chocolate. The flavours were a lot more subtle and creamy than a regular Double Choc Crispello, and I much preferred this combination. I think vanilla is the perfect pairing for a "lighter" chocolate such as this - it allows the other constituents such as the wafer to shine through much better.

Overall, I thought this was a great addition to the Crispello range and would buy it again. It may be aimed at the ladies, but I'm sure many men would be happy to have a sneaky few of these with a mid-morning cuppa too!

Price: 60p at Tesco.
Ingredients: Suitable for vegetarians.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk, wheat & soya. May contain nuts & egg.
Nutritional Information (per 10g piece): 3.5g Fat (1.8g Saturates), 55 Calories, 5.3g Carbohydrates (4g Sugars).

Summer Special: Homemade Bubble Tea Experiments

After becoming addicted to the phenomenom that is Taiwanese Bubble Tea recently, I decided I wanted to recreate the unique experience for myself at home. Thanks to this article on how to make homemade bubble tea I went on a mission to my local Asian store in search of tapioca pearls. There was a coloured variety, a black pearl variety and a purple "new sago" variety. Since my initial visit I have now tried all three types, but here's the packaging for the coloured tapioca pearls. The colours are achieved through the use of e-numbers.

Having aquired the tapioca pearls I then bought some Lift Instant peach flavour tea. Not the tastiest of flavoured teas by a longhsot, but considering this heatwave we've been having it did the job nicely when mixed with lots of cold water.

I cooked the tapioca pearls in boiling water as instructed for about 5 minutes, and made a simple sugar syrup to keep them fresh.

Tapioca before cooking
Cooked tapioca coated in sugar syrup
Once the instant tea had cooled, I scooped some tapioca pearls into a glass and poured in the cold tea. To complete the drink I added a large straw that I'd saved from a recent visit to my local bubble tea place.

Et voila! Homemade bubble tea!

Maybe not the most accurate or sophisticated replication of Bubble Tea in the world but it was a very refreshing drink, and perfect during this heatwave we're currently experiencing. I really enjoyed slurping the tapioca pearls through the straw - so addictive!

Since my initial experiment I've also made a mango smoothie with black tapioca pearls. I blended together mango, ice and coconut milk and added cooked black tapioca. It tasted delicious, and so refreshing!

Have you tried Bubble Tea? If so what is your favourite combination?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Morrisons Kopp Kops - Retro Liquorice Classics

When I saw this bag of Kopp Kops sweets at Morrisons recently the name had me intrigued. I've never heard of a Kopp Kop before, but according to the packaging they are a liquorice flavoured classic retro sweet. I put them in my basket not knowing quite what to expect.

They're described as "Herbal flavour sweets with a soft centre" and contain treacle and liquorice powder in the ingredients. There's a blurb on the pack which says "Did you know...The first "sweets" were made by apothecaries who used sugar combined with herbs and spices to "cure" people". Despite being a snacks geek, I didn't know that actually!

Opening the pack the sweets smelled very familiar - they reminded me of those herbal cough mixture sweets that newsagents used to sell when I was a kid.

Tasting one, it instantly brought back memories of the 90's, when I would buy a bag of herbal cough mixture before school. The only difference with Kopp Kops is that they have a darker, more treacley liquorice flavour rather than herbal. The soft centre was kind of sticky and syrupy, but I didn't notice it much as I crunched the Kopp Kops.

Overall, I enjoyed these Kopp Kop sweets and they're a definite blast from the past. I'm not sure I'd buy them regularly but they're nice to mix with other sweets, plus they're a great nostalgia trip!

Price: 89p at Morrisons.
Allergy Advice: Contains soya.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.

Do you remember Kopp Kops or are they new to you? Please let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Skittles Milkshake Review (Tesco)

Skittles is a flavour you would never expect to see in milkshake form - infact it sounds like a downright odd proposition - so when I saw this Skittles Shake in Tesco recently I just had to give it a try. It was on offer of 2 for £2 along with other flavours such as Snickers and Mars milkshakes. It's described as a "Fruit flavour milk drink" and has the slogan "Drink the Rainbow. Taste the rainbow".

Taste-wise it did actually taste like Skittles! It had that almost citrusy, zingy, fizzy fruit flavour that Skittles have, balanced with the creaminess of the milk. It was quite odd, but it somehow worked because the flavour wasn't too overpowering. It was subtle and allowed the creaminess of the milk to lead the way.

Overall, I liked this Skittles milkshake but I'm not sure I would buy it again. The flavour of Skittles isn't something I really look for in a milkshake, but it's an interesting novelty for sure. I think it will be quite popular with children.

Price: £1.29 or 2 for £2 at Tesco.
Ingredients: Doesn't state if suitable for vegetarians. Contains sweet whey powder.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Kev's Pick & Mix: an assortment of mini snack reviews!

I've had a lot of snacks reviews building up for a while now - things that get left by the wayside as newer, more interesting snacks get released. In light of Grocery Gem's fantastic Random Reviews posts I thought I'd do something similar, so here's introducing Kev's Pick & Mix: an assortment of mini snacks and drinks reviews!

Barratt British Mix:

I don't think these are available in shops anymore, I found them several months ago in Discount UK and they were a month out of date at the time. They tasted slightly stale but came in some interesting "British themed" shapes, such as teapots, red telephone boxes, Queen's guards, Bulldogs and Big Bens:

They appear to have been a limited edition release to co-incide with the olympics and Royal Wedding last year.

Bloc Candy Jelly Bean Lovehearts:

"Bloc" branded sweets are available from Asda stores, but I've also seen a lot of their range in discount stores such as B&M Bargains and Poundland. I picked these up for 89p at B&M and thought they sounded interesting - they come in heart shapes rather than a regular bean shape, which is quite novel. Unfortunately they didn't taste too great - they were far, far too sweet and had no real distinctive flavour. On the plus side they were made with 100% natural ingredients, are gluten free and vegetarian, which is something I guess!

Uncle Joe's Favourites Dandelion & Burdock Drops:

Being a big fan of dandelion and burdock pop, I was curious to see how it would translate in sweet form. It turned out to be rather nice...these boiled sweets had a nice subtle herby dandelion and burdock flavour. I found them in B&M Bargains.

Uncle Joe's Favourites Cloudy Lemonade Drops:

As well as the above Uncle Joe's D&B Drops I also saw this cloudy lemonade variety. I didn't like them as much as the dandelion and burdock - they were a little too mild tasting.

Tesco ChokaBlok Big Dippers:

A few months ago I won a Twitter competition for Tesco's "Chokablok Big Dippers", which are blocks of chocolate you stir into hot milk to make luxurious hot chocolate. I enjoyed both flavours - the "Chocolate Extremist" was very chocolatey and rich, and came complete with little brownie pieces. The white chocolate "Cookie Crumb Mon-star" was very creamy, milky and had a subtle vanilla taste. Both flavours made for tasty hot chocolates. 

Meller Caramel Chocolate Chews:

I discovered these Meller toffees in a newsagent and thought they were a new product at first. But they appear to just be a Perfetti Van Melle (makers of Fruittella) version of Cadbury Chocolate Eclairs. And they were much, much inferior - the caramel was far too hard, whilst the chocolate tasted unremarkable.

Flame Crispy Chocolate Rice Dragees:

Thankyou to Bring Back Banjo Choc for alerting me to "Flame" branded products which are available in Poundland and other discount stores. They do a wafer bar which is similar to the sorely missed Banjo chocolate bar (please sign the petition here to bring it back!), and also these milk & white chocolate coated crispy rice dragees. I found them in Family Bargains for 99p, and although they weren't anything amazing, they were still a moreish snack. They're a bit like a smaller version of Maltesers; very crunchy, and it's easy to munch through loads at once.

Lacta Popcorn Snax:

I also found these in Family Bargains and they instantly reminded me of Cadbury Choc full of Popcorn that we get in the UK, as well as Milka Pocorn Snax from Germany. And they were indeed exactly the same thing. They're made by Mondelez/Kraft in Greece and tasted much, much nicer than the UK's Choc full of Popcorn. The chocolate was creamier and the popcorn had a fresh crunchy taste, with a nice lick of salt and buttery caramel. They were 99p at Family Bargains - highly recommended! They also do Lacta Crispy Snax which are the same thing as Cadbury choc full of Clusters.

Ribena Pineapple & Passionfruit:

I was a big fan of Ribena as a kid, especially the various different spin-off flavours they did such as Strawberry, Blueberry, etc. When I saw this Pineapple & Passionfruit version it brought out the kid in me again and I just had to try it. It was very nice, although I hoped for a stronger flavour. For a proper review of this check out The Review Addict's post here.

Wedel Strawberry Bar:

I found this Wedel bar in my local Import store, and it was reduced in price so I had to give it a try. It contains a cream filling with a layer of strawberry jam on top. It tasted pleasant enough but was nothing amazing. As well as import stores it's available from Tesco, who also sell a Cherry version.

Lidl Italiamo Torroncini Assorted Nougats:

I found these Italian-style nougat chews in Lidl. They contain almonds and come with 4 different flavoured coatings: lemon, pistachio, milk chocolate and white chocolate. They were very chewy and moreish and I enjoyed the different coatings, the lemon in particular. I would highly recommend them as a good snack for watching TV with. There wasn't enough in the bag for my liking, or maybe I just ate them all too quickly!

The London Tea Company Raspberry Chilli Flavour:

I don't usually feature teas on this blog but I thought this one from "The London Tea Company" was interesting. It has a subtle hint of chilli which compliments the fruity raspberry flavour nicely - it's refreshing and gives a warming chilli kick. The London Tea Co's teas are all fairtrade and organic.

Rowntree's Jelly Aliens Rocket:

I bought this from a discount store on offer of 5 for £1. Rowntree's "Jelly Aliens" come in different shapes, and although this jelly rocket is technically not an alien, I guess it's alien themed so I won't knock Rowntree's too much for it. Taste-wise, it was fruity and very chewy.

Lucozade Carribean Crush:

When I was a kid, Lucozade was considered a treat and only really came in the original and orange flavours. Nowadays there's a wide variety of Lucozade flavours such as blackcurrant, apple, cherry and now this tropical "caribbean crush" version. I thought this was a nice one-off Lucozade flavour but I much prefer the original.

Maoam Cola & Lemon Sour Giant Stripes:

I found these Maoam Sour Giant Stripes in B&M for 10p. They tasted very nice - lovely and chewy with a zingy lemon and cola flavour. They contain real fruit juice, which is always a plus!

Well, I think that's enough snacks for one day! I hope it's been interesting - if you've tried any of these snacks yourself please let me know in the comments...

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Choc Affair Peach & Raspberry White Chocolate

Whilst in a health foods store recently I spotted the words "peach and raspberry white chocolate" on this bar and was instantly sold. I'm a big fan of white chocolate combined with fruity ingredients and couldn't say no, despite the rather hefty price tag of £2.50.

The chocolate comes in a simple but cool-looking paper sleeve. I liked the Andy Warhol-ish images of peaches and raspberries on it.

Opening the wrapper the chocolate looked great; it had a pink speckled colour with a clean, glossy finish:

Unforunately it didn't taste quite as I expected. The peach flavour was absent - I couldn't taste any peach at all. Looking at the ingredients list I couldn't find peach listed apart from as a "flavour", which I think is a bit misleading considering it's the first word on the front of the wrapper. The flavour was completely dominated by the freeze-dried raspberry powder, which was very delicious, but not what I wanted in a bar labelled "peach and raspberry" flavour. The white chocolate itself was very good quality, with a nice smooth melt, and the raspberries brought a fresh, tart flavour to it. But still...where was the peach?!

Overall, I was disappointed with this bar. When paying £2.50 for a bar described as "peach and raspberry" I expected to be able to taste the peach, otherwise I would just buy an expensive raspberry flavour chocolate bar. That's not to say this wasn't good quality chocolate, because it was - I just feel the wrapper was a little misleading.

Price: £2.50.
Ingredients: Suitable for vegetarians.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk & soya.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles Review

When I heard about these Dairy Milk Pebbles I couldn't quite believe that Cadbury were releasing yet another new product. Their releases this year have been never-ending, with Freddo Faces, Strawberries & Creme Dairy Milk, Marvellous Creations, Crunchums, Vanilla Velvet Crispello plus new flavours of Cadbury Eclairs being far!

Now they're adding to that list with the release of these new Dairy Milk Pebbles. They're simply described as "Delicious milk chocolate in a crispy shell" and contain all natural colours.

They look a bit like flattened mini eggs and come in three different colours - dark brown, purple and yellow. I'm not sure what the thinking behind this was, but it's a random set of colours for sure.

Taste-wise they reminded me a lot of Smarties, but with the creamier, more delicious taste of Dairy Milk chocolate. The shells were a lot crunchier than Smarties however, and more akin to Galaxy Minstrels. I really enjoyed them, they had that familiar moreish thing going on that Cadbury Buttons have, with the added addictiveness of the crunchy shells. I couldn't help thinking these would be perfect for sharing at the cinema, although in reality I'd probably end up eating them all to myself!

Overall, I enjoyed these Dairy Milk Pebbles and I'm actually surprised there hasn't been a product like these from Cadbury before. They're simple, but very tasty.

Price: £1.99 at Sainsbury's.
Ingredients: Suitable for vegetarians.
Allergy Advice: Contains milk. Doesn't state if gluten free, but does not contain wheat or barley.
Nutritional Information (per quarter bag): 7.8g Fat (4.8g saturates), 24g Carbs (23g sugars), 175 Calories.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

ChocoMe Dark Chocolate with Fruit & Nuts

I was sent this chocolate from ChocoMe a few months ago and have been meaning to review it for ages; my apologies to ChocoMe for taking so long. They were very generous and sent me this massive slab which was beautifully presented - it put a massive smile on my face when I received it!

The bar was was so crammed full of fruit and nuts that some were dropping off. The chocolate was a dark 65% cocoa solids, containing honey-roasted peanuts, pistachios from Bronte, freeze-dried strawberries and freeze-dried blackcurrants.

Taste-wise the chocolate was very rich and good quality, whilst the dried strawberries were tart, zingy and crunchy. The peanuts were sweet and brought a lovely nutty crunch to the bar. Whilst I enjoyed the textures of the fruit and nuts, I felt the chocolate was a little too bitter for my tastes. Maybe I'm just not much of a chocolate connoisseur but it tasted a little harsh with the ingredients, and I would have preferred white or milk chocolate. Still, I'm not complaining because this was still a great quality bar of chocolate and a much more interesting experience than most bars I've reviewed; I don't think I've ever eaten chocolate so crammed with fresh-tasting ingredients before!

With ChocoMe you can choose your own ingredients to come up with your own customized bar, which I think is a really great idea - it would make a lovely gift for a loved one. If I were to choose one myself I would go for something milder like their milk or white chocolate. Judging by The Review Addict's review of one of their white chocolate bars it's an absolute winner!

Overall I think ChocoMe is a fantastic concept, great quality and I would definitely buy their stuff for a special occasion. Their dark chocolate isn't quite for me, but I would love to give their milk or white chocolate a try.

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*ChocoMe kindly sent me this bar for an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own.