Tuesday, 25 October 2016

White Chocolate & Raspberry Ripple R-Bars (CSN)

Ever since Reflex Nutrition contacted me in August and asked me if I'd like to review their awesome protein coffee (which I'm now slightly addicted to) I've had my beady eye on their R-Bars. Luckily for me, the lovely Nathan recently agreed to send me some. I reviewed Reflex's oaty flapjack style R-Bars last month, but I knew that these were more traditional style Protein Bars (sort of like Quest bars) and was eager to draw comparison. As far as Quests go, their white chocolate raspberry is my favourite, but I will only eat them at home because they're that much better when warmed up in the microwave.

As I've pointed out before, Reflex pride themselves on the top notch nutrition in all of their products and refuse to produce inferior goods. As such, their R-Bars are produced in their own state of the art factory here in the U.K, and include no palm oil, sugar, artificial colours, flavours or soy protein. The bars are made using E.U sourced milk protein, are sweetened with stevia, and apparently deliver Vitamin E through DeltaGold Tocatrinols (whatever they are).

"An amazing mix of real freeze dried raspberries and freshly roasted and ground almond nut butter blended with serious chunks of white chocolate. A wonderfully aromatic flavour which is simply irresistible."

The bar contained a good amount of white chocolate chunks, which were fairly evenly distributed. Raspberry flecks were also a prominent feature, although I couldn't detect any strong aroma.

The R-bar was softer than expected, much more so than a Quest, but still I decided not to beat around the bush and popped it in the microwave. I retrieved it as soon as the R-Bar started to swell and the chunks gave indication of melting (about 20-30secs). The now malleable bar tasted strongly of stevia wheras the raspberry was slightly lost in the background. The white chocolate had turned grainy, rather than silky, in the microwave -but despite my complaints the bar was still tasty.

Fortunately there was more than one R-Bar in the parcel, so I took the next one to uni with me to eat on the train home. I was unsure as to how I'd like it at ambient temperature, especially given that every bar I've tried thus far has tasted better warm. In actual fact, the cold R-Bar was a success! This time I could really taste the almond butter as well as the raspberry and the white chocolate. The non-melted chunks added extra texture, and I really enjoyed it. Hurrah! Finally, a protein bar that I can eat on the go without without wishing I had a microwave to hand.

I was kind (mad) enough to give one of the bars to a fellow gym goer at uni to see what he thought, and he couldn't even wait to finish his mouthful before proclaiming how much he loved it. If you're perhaps expecting a bar that tastes like Quests though -please don't. The R-Bar is less sweet, and tastes much more wholesome. If you're wanting your protein bar to deliver something more like a chocolate bar then opt for Quest, however if optimum nutrition is your game then you might want to try the R-Bars!

Other flavour R-Bars available: Cherry Bakewell, Chocolate Peanut Caramel, White Chocolate Apricot, Cookies & Cream and Double Chocolate Brownie. They are available to buy from most reputable sports nutrition retailers such as Cardiff Sports Nutrition, and I've also spotted them in Holland and Barrett!

White Chocolate & Raspberry Ripple R- Bar cals:211 Macros:P20/C10/F9.5


Again, a big thank you to Reflex for sending me the samples to review. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

E.Wedel KarmelLove: Caramel White Chocolate, Peanut & Biscuit Bars (Polski Sklep)

My recent exploration into E.Wedel chocolate continues today with not one but TWO reviews of their KarmelLove bars -it's my special Sunday treat for you ;). The products look remarkably similar, and in fact the English descriptions on their packets didn't give much away either (my Polish isn't up to much I'm afraid). 

This bar describes itself as:"Milk bar with salted peanuts and biscuits in caramel white chocolate."

Wheras this one states:"Peanut bar with salted peanuts and biscuits in caramel white chocolate."

So for ease I'll refer to the topone as the milk bar, and the bottom as the peanut bar. Both weigh 40g, and cost 60p from separate local Polish Delis.

Milk Bar
I adore white chocolate and caramel flavoured white chocolate, but the second is far less prominent in the U.K market. The only similar mass produced bar we have is the Caramac -a bar I have previously written about my nostalgic connections with. Would the E.Wedel bar bear resemblance?

Looks wise it's not up to much, but taste wise it's even better. The outer coating is certainly reminiscent of Nestle's Caramac, but of course the British bar is snappable due to it's slim nature -and contains no filling. The milky centre of the E.Wedel bar is super sweet but comfortingly so. The addition of chunky salted peanut pieces contrast against the sweetness wonderfully -reminding me of my favourite Reese's- and bringing the flavours back into non sickly territory. The biscuit pieces were also excellent, bringing a Tiffin-esque quality to the bar. Lets be honest: white chocolate + caramel + peanuts + biscuits = sheer heavenly genius. 
I need more pronto.


Peanut Bar
I wasn't sure how different this would be to the first, caramac like, KarmelLove bar. The darker interior that could be seen through the opaque caramel white chocolate layer took me a little by surprise, and I was curious to discover what lay within.

The peanut bar was much softer than the milky version, slicing easily in two with only the slightest resistance from the knife -despite being stored in my fridge. The chocolate coloured filling within was also entirely different to the creamy centre. 

The caramac-like chocolate covering tasted as before, however this time it was slightly lost against the stronger milk chocolate filling. The centre wasn't just chocolate though, it was peanut buttery too, kind of like the Reese's chocolate spread. Mmm. It's needless to tell you how well the salted peanuts worked with this filling: much more successful than the lacklustre Reese's Crunchy peanut butter cups. Again the biscuits were a happy addition, providing a plethora of textures in every bite. 


Out of the two KarmelLove bars the milk bar just pips it for me -but they're both delicious, and well worth a trip to your local Polish Deli for! 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Milka Oreo (Individual bar)

Del Boy (aka the Saturday market man who introduced me to such delights as the Côte D'Or FudgeNut, and Cappuccino Twix) came up trumps again. I was later than usual to visit him last weekend, which meant that he'd already sold most of his stock, but luckily I found a lone Milka Oreo bar at the bottom of one of the boxes. Of course, I snapped it up in a Gollum like manner and hastily handed over the 25p Del Boy charged me.

Milka. Dairy Milk. The two brands are almost indistinguishable now thanks to Mondelez' meddling. Of course the Dairy Milk Oreo has been around for a few years now, and it's one of my favourite of Cadbury's bars, so I was interested to discover how the Milka version would compare.

The bar was close to its sell by date (23rd of October) but I was still gutted when I pulled back the wrapper to find a sheen-less chocolate with a hint of white spoilage. Damn. Snapping a segment off revealed a cream coloured filling complete with biscuit pieces that looked very similar to the Cadbury's bar. 

Indeed the filling tasted the same too: sweet and creamy with a cocoa kick from the Oreos. The biscuit pieces were chunkier than I recall in Dairy Milk -which I preferred- and we're perfect crunchy too. Win win.

Thankfully the white spoilage and dullness of the chocolate didn't translate into the flavour, which kept Milka's characteristic silkiness. The velvet-esque taste and texture of the alpine milk chocolate harmonised with the filling, propelling the flavour of the bar, and resulting in an even tastier version than Cadbury's attempt. Delicious.

Why am I telling you all this when I'm not sure where to direct you? Well Snack hunting extraordinaire Kev (you best not start expecting all these shout outs mister!) also spotted them at his local market last weekend, and we live at opposite ends of the country! So make sure you visit your local market (if you get the chance) tomorrow and see if you can find a Milka Oreo at a bargain price too!


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Bar (M&S)

Last week I reviewed the M&S Intense Cappuccino bar, and mentioned at the time that I'd made use of the current 2 for £1 deal. Today's review is of the other bar I bought: Hazelnut Praline. It was recommended to me months ago, but I'd since forgotten about its existence. That was until I was lured in by Marks & Sparks' tempting offer.

"Milk and dark chocolate bar with hazelnut praline centre (51%) and roasted almonds (4%)." 

I had been informed that it tasted like Nutella, but in all honesty I hoped it would taste slightly more grown up and less sweet than the chocolate hazelnut spread. The knobbly bar's appearance didn't give much away until I sliced it in two. M&S have a habit of layering the chocolate round the outside of their truffle style bars, and this one revealed the hazelnut centre enrobed in a layer of dark chocolate and covered by milk. Normally I think this is a bit of an odd choice, and that surely people prefer one or the other, but on this occasion it worked exceedingly well. The resulting flavour was rich without bordering on bitter, and served as the perfect backdrop for the sweet centre. I loved the addition of almonds too, which added crunch to the chocolate and made it far more texturally interesting. 

Now for the star of the show: the hazelnut praline. Did it taste like Nutella? Not to me. It was far better than that, probably due to the fact that hazelnuts rank second down the ingredients list, meaning that it's truly nutty -hurrah! In fact if I'd have closed my eyes, I'm sure I could be been convinced I was eating my absolute favourite (and hard to get hold of) chocolate: Côte D'Or's Bouchée. Wow! It was heavenly. I really didn't think I could find another truffle, or indeed bar that could taste anything like my treasured favourite, but it's been under my nose in good old M&S all this time. Silly me! 


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

NEW! Pumpkin Spice Latte Style Müller Corner (ASDA)

I'd just about given up on Müller Corners after the pants Oreo Corner and equally disappointing Gold Edition this summer, when they released their most exciting sounding yogurt to date: Pumpkin Spice Latte. It wasn't that long ago that I was moaning about the lack of Autumnal products in the UK, and I've since realised that I simply spoke too soon! Of course we have Starbucks to thank for bringing pumpkin spice popularity to the UK; PSLs have been a regular seasonal addition here since 2012 (a good 9 years after it was launched in the USA I might add). 

Could and would Müller pull off the famous drink in yogurt form? 

"Smooth pumpkin spice sauce with creamy coffee flavoured yogurt."

My honest opinion? No. Sorry to disappoint you...

I really wish that Müller would return to their older method/recipes to make their yogurts in the corners. The liquidity of it was much more similar to their Müller lights than the corners of old. There was also an odd synthetic aftertaste which curdled with the coffee flavour somewhat -it was simply quite bizarre. 

It's a shame really, especially because the pumpkin sauce was really quite tasty -although completely different to what I expected: much runnier and sweeter. I'd have thought it was apple rather than pumpkin, but maybe that's just because it's a similar spice mix that I use in my crumbles. I imagine that the pumpkin sauce would make a wonderful base layer for Müller rices actually. Müller are you reading this?

Meh. Not one for me, and I won't bother again. Kev had a more favourable opinion of the new Corner however, so please do go and check out his review too. Also, here's a tip off if you are a Müller fan: all their single pots (lights, corners and rices) are currently all on a 12 for £3 offer at ASDA!


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

NEW! Morning Pops Subscription Box (Online)

At the beginning of July I was contacted by a brand new British company who told me about their exciting new subscription box, and wanted to know if I'd like to try the first shipment when they launched. Morning Pops sources a monthly collection of fun cereals from around the world and delivers to them to your door (with no delivery charge). The team have been scouring the globe on the hunt for innovative cereal to pop in upcoming subscription boxes such as Milo from Australia, and Oreo cereal from Korea.

If you follow my blog and/or Instagram you'll know that cereal is something I really enjoy -and eat a great deal of. My evening is never complete until I've had my pre-bed bowl. I also love trying international treats, so Morning Pops sounded right up my alley and I gleefully accepted their kind offer.

Last week the company launched and my Morning Pops Box arrived; I couldn't wait to see what lay within. Inside was three large individual serving bags of international cereals:
Kellogg's Froot Loops (USA)
Hershey's Cookies n Crème (USA)
Nestle Chocapic Duo (France)
The parcel also contained their own limited edition mix: Chocolate Pillows & Marshmallows (UK) and a mini Reese's peanut butter cup.

The only cereal I'd tried before was Froot Loops (I was addicted to them for a while a couple of years ago!) and I was eager to try the others. I just hoped that they still tasted fresh and the transference to clear wrappers hadn't resulted in stale or soft cereal.

Froot Loops
Nostalgia hit me of my trip to Miami when I opened this pack and the super sweet synthetic scent wafted into my nostrils. It never fails to amaze me how America can get away with using such artificial colours.

For anyone who hasn't tried these before, I warn you, they're so sugary that they always make me feel like I could jump on the sofas with sheer hyperactivity for half an hour after eating (not good when you have them before going to sleep). That said, I think they're scrummy and i love the fact that they taste so different to anything we have over here (UK Fruit Loops included!).


Hershey's Cookies & Creme
I was most excited to try this cereal, it's been on my must try list for quite a while, especially given how much I love Reese's Puffs -and indeed the Hershey's candy bar from which it is derived.

It didn't disappoint either. Both the cookies and Creme flavours were represented well in maize form. The little cereal balls retained their crunchiness too, and they imparted a creamy sweetness into the milk. Yum yum yum.

9/10 (nothing can beat Reese's Puffs).

Chocapic Duo
Now I only knew about Chocapic through Instagram (where else?) but I've seen it highly praised everytime I'd seen it posted, so was looking forward to discovering what all the fuss was about. The cereal comprised of a roughly even divide between white chocolate and chocolate curls. I couldn't really smell much, but poured my bowl and got stuck in.

Meh, both chocolate and white chocolate were tasty, but nothing special. White chocolate often doesn't translate well into other products -Tesco's white chocolate and raspberry ice cream cones for example- and this was no different. Of the two, the milk chocolate clearly dominated, and it was a pretty standard chocolate cereal taste. Texturally it was crunchy, despite its lengthy soaking in milk whilst I faffed about taking photos. I imagine that children would love the colours and flavour of the Chocapic Duo, but it's not one I'd considering importing especially.


MorningPops Exclusive Mix
I'll be honest here. An exclusive mix has so much potential, so chocolate pillows and mini marshmallows seems a little thoughtless -and dare I say it- lazy. Looking at the ingredients (printed on a label on the bag of each cereal packet) showed that the cereals indifferent to that of Tesco's Choco Nut Pillows. Even I can add a few jazzy marshmallows to that without a huge amount of imagination!

Despite my grumbles, it was yummy. The mixture of chocolate, hazelnut and fluffy marshmallow works like a dream. Of course it was very sweet and again probably not the best thing to munch on before bed, but I enjoyed it never the less.


I enjoyed my Morning Pops subscription box, and think it's a novel idea. At £8.95 per month it's perhaps a little on the steep side (especially when one of the cereals is mainstream and from the UK) however If cereal is your jam, then why not spoil yourself or even that person you love? Take a gander over to www.morningpops.com where you'll find the full low-down on what the company has to offer, and if you use the code BLOG25 you'll even get 25% off your first box order.

Many thanks to MorningPops for sending me a sample box to try.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Ben & Jerry's One Sweet World (ASDA)

Hurrah! At long last One Sweet World & One Love are available in most supermarkets, and on offer in two (ASDA £2.47 & Sainsbury's £2.50). As it turns out, I stocked up on my favourite ice cream brand the day before the Marmitegate Tesco-Unilever scandal hit last week. Thank goodness that's now been resolved eh?

I've been itching to buy both of these 'new' flavours, but knew that waiting a couple of weeks would mean that I could get them at a far more respectable price than the £4.00 Tesco were charging. I appreciate too that One Love is just a rebrand, but I may review it anyway as its been so long since I last tasted it, and I've all but forgotten how it compares given the plethora of Ben & Jerry's flavours that have come and gone since. What do you think?

In any case, it was One Sweet World that was the first to get delved into. Coffee is one flavour that I'm surprised that Ben & Jerry's UK haven't dabbled in before. It's certainly a more adult offering, and one that I welcomed with open arms. Or should I say mouth?

"We’re making a bit of a buzz with our latest sweet treat, featuring Fairtrade coffee & caramel ice creams, marshmallow & caramel swirls, and chunky chocolate ampersands, all lovingly churned together to tantalise those taste buds. And you know what makes this all the sweeter? Partnering with HOPE not hate, this flavour will help fund various projects run by the organisation, which contribute to more inclusive communities. We think that (just like ice cream!) communities come in all kinds of flavours &, together, we can make One Sweet World."

I opened it at the same time as a tub of S'Wich Up  (my other half detests coffee) so it was easy to compare the texture and 'extras' between both. One Sweet World was much softer straight from the freezer -which made it easier to scoop- but also meant that it melted all too quickly. As for the chunks? Well If you've treated yourself to a tub of S'Wich Up (and you should've done by now unless you've the bad luck to suffer from intolerances) you'll appreciate that the ice cream is the epitome of added yummies. The sheer amount of biscuit and cookie dough pieces in it make it difficult to scoop, but oh so delicious! One Sweet World was in total contrast; the marshmallow, salted caramel or ampersands were subtle additions. It did smell good though.

Ben & Jerry's is renowned for its creaminess, and I was pleased to find that this was the case with this new flavour too. The sweet coffee caramel flavour reminded me of my sister's favourite Starbucks drink: a single shot caramel macchiato. The marshmallow flavour was sadly a bit lost, and the salted caramel wasn't as prominent as I'd have liked either. It's certainly not on par with the incredible core in Karamel Sutra anyway.

The chocolate &s added a delicious grownup richness, imparting some much needed balance to the otherwise sickly ice cream. I couldn't help but think some Belgian speculoos (Biscoff style) biscuits would have been a thoughtful addition, but then it wouldn't be gluten free (and there's not many Ben & Jerry's that are). Maybe I'll crumble some into on my next portion of One Sweet World.

Overall, I'm pleased to see a coffee flavour join the Ben & Jerry's family, and although It's not my favourite tub out there, I'll be sure to buy another tub whilst it sticks around.