Thursday, 31 March 2016

NEW! Kellogg's Avengers Cereal (Morrisons)

Oh dear. Despite having been to Comic-con a couple of weekends ago, I feel like I have a dirty little secret. Shouldn't all geeks have a preferred universe? Star Wars or Star Trek? DC or Marvel? Well.. I'm quite the nerdy little stop out because I love all of them. There. I said it. 

If you haven't given up on me yet, you might do now, because I watched Batman vs Superman at the cinema this week and really enjoyed it. Ben Affleck is no Christian Bale, but he plays a far better part than I'd have given him credit for. I also thought that I'd struggle to concentrate for the full 2.5 hours, but the plot kept me engaged (no mean feat I tell you!).

BACK TO THE CEREAL...

So, Kellogg's have always been hot on their film endorsements (remember the Star Wars breakfast biscuit & cereal review?) and this time they've created an Avengers cereal to coincide with the release of 'Civil War' on 29th April. 




What sort of breakfast would the Avengers eat? Probably not a chocolatey cereal -but please feel free to correct me! 

There are two types of cereal within the box: 'crunchy shields' and 'chocolate reactors.' It's the loosest link to the film that I can possibly imagine, as the shields look more like mini pretzels than anything else, and I'm pretty sure that the reactors are actually Kellogg's Krave thrown in for good measure. Of course it's not pedantic adults that the cereal is really aimed towards, and I'm sure that the kids will be enthralled by the pretty box and the idea of eating 'shields' and 'reactors'. 

Pouring myself a bowl I realise that there's far more 'shields' than 'reactors' which I found slightly disappointing considering they are supposed to make up 40% of the cereal. I could instantly smell a strong cocoa smell, and I poured my milk on before getting distracted (see I told you I have a short attention span!). 



It was a good few minutes before I returned to my bowl, which I saw as a good opportunity to test how the shields and reactors held up. The milk had turned a lovely milk-chocolate colour and all of the cereal seemed intact. 

The crunchy 'shields' held their texture, and were true to their name with a crispness that had survived their long-milk soaking. The chocolate flavour wasn't half hearted either they were sweet with taste reminiscent of Coco Pops. The 'reactors' had suffered more, and despite staying whole had gone a bit mushy. The chocolate flavour was far more mild too, and they just tasted a bit odd -now I was glad of their scarcity!

It might not sound like it, but I did enjoy the new Avengers Cereal, especially its chocolateyness and combination of textures. I picked up my box for £2.00 from Morrisons, but they are available from Sainsbury's too -for a pricier £2.80. 

8/10

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

NEW! Birds Eye Cinnamon Waffles (Morrisons)

Captain Birds Eye has turned all sweet on us. Well, breakfasty-sweet anyway. The Frozen Food manufacturer has launched a range of bakery items this spring -namely croissants, pancakes and (non-potato) waffles. I've read a couple of less-than-amorous reviews about the chocolate chip pancakes, but I spotted the 'Try Me Free!' banner across the top of the new packs and decided to give the cinnamon waffles a whirl. I figured that I had nothing to lose -save the price of a postage stamp to get my £1.79 refund!




The box contained 8 waffles, but I was slightly disappointed to discover that they didn't come individually wrapped. If you're an eco-warrior this might sound like good news, but I hate food going stale -although, saying that, they should keep well as they're frozen! 

The packaging tells me that they can be heated either in the toaster or under the grill, but suggests the former method for best results. Being the good girl I (sometimes am, I popped my waffle in the toaster for a couple of minutes until it started to brown, and poured on a good slug of maple syrup.



The waffle was lighter than expected, both in terms of weight and texture. It was very airy, with a punchy cinnamon flavour that was well balanced against the sweetness. I can't remember the last time I ate waffles, so I'm afraid I can't make a clear comparison to the fresh variety, but I enjoyed the soft, cakey treat and wondered how it would fair paired with ice cream, hmm...



I was hoping that the ice cream would melt slightly and ooze into the waffle's pores but the waffle went cold too quickly and I didn't get the outcome that I'd hoped for. It was still yummy though (especially with the addition of choc shot), and even my cinnamon-hating other half enjoyed his.

I don't think I'll regularly buy the new Birds Eye waffles, but they make a nice change to my normal desserts. If you're on the fence about their new range remember that you can 'try them for free' at the moment!

7/10

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

NEW! Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough S'wich Up Ice Cream

Following my disappointment with Tesco's new chocolate cookie ice cream I felt the need to bite the financial bullet and buy the new Ben &Jerry's S'wich Up ice cream. 

Fortunately, lady luck must've read my dispirited review and persuaded the Supermarket bosses to whack Ben & Jerry's on offer because -lo and behold- I found it in Morrisons yesterday for a much more reasonable £2! For those without a Morrisons nearby fear not, because it's also now on offer in Tesco at the slightly dearer price of £2.50, still a damn sight better than the £4 RRP!




"Our legendairy Cookie Dough Flavour took us 5 years to perfect. 25 years on, we wondered how could we make it even cookier! So we turned the cookie-o-meter right up to concoct this: vanilla ice cream with chocolatey cookie sandwiches, a swirl of chocolatey cookies (& of course, cookie dough chunks!) in this new Cookie Dough S'Wich Up. We think it's cookie sandwich-tastic., & hope you do too! Cookies & ice cream, good together, any 'Wich way!"
The first thing that struck me was just how solid it was -I went to stick my ice cream scoop into the tub, but it just wouldn't budge! Impatiently I waited a few minutes or so, but still struggled to wedge my scoop into the ice cream. When my work finally started to pay off, I discovered promising oreo-coloured flecks dotted throughout and an abundance of biscuity cookie dough chunks. I couldn't see many of the chocolate cookies as I wrestled with the ice cream but I hoped that they were hidden in my scoop's embrace. 



Mmm. Vanilla. Yes Ben & Jerry's! Vanilla that really means vanilla, rather than the more common use of the word -as a thinly veiled deceptive adjective that really equates to a lack of flavour. The ice cream was thick and creamy, and I immediately regretted swaying away from Ben & Jerry's in the first place.



Texture came from the cookie-dough chunks that the company is famous for, delicious bites of biscuit that worked well against the vanilla. The chocolate cookie swirl was rather hard to distinguish in terms of taste, but offered a sort of crumb like consistency to the otherwise smooth ice cream.

Jackpot! In my 100ml serving (yes, I have to portion it out otherwise I'll polish off the whole pint in one sitting) I finally found two of the namesake cookie-sandwiches. They looked very similar to the mini-oreos that I reviewed last month, save for the fact that they contain a milky coloured filling (instead of peanut butter!). The cookies were softer than biscuits but still retained enough texture to keep them intact. Flavour wise the cocoa wasn't as rich as you'd expect with Oreos, but were chocolatey enough to satisfy my chocoholic cravings. 

When I wrote my last Ben & Jerry's review (Cinnamon Buns), I commented on how sweet I found it. I'll admit now that it was the first time I'd had their ice cream in years, but that review paved the way for Ben & Jerry's to enter my heart once again. Since then I've tried:

  • Peanut Butter Clutter: Absolute heaven -a must for PB addicts
  • Speculoos Speculove: I loved the cinnamon & biscuits -but not my favourite.
  • Phish Food: I'd forgotten just how chocolatey this flavour is -delish.
  • Karamel Sutra: I think this might be my new favourite -the caramel centre is divine.
  • Blondie Brownie: Mmm! The brownie & caramel sauce are a perfect match.

So the point of that mini-multi-review was to give you a basis on where I would pitch the new S'wich Up. I wouldn't say it's the best Ben & Jerry's, but I' think it's the best non-core ice cream in their range and a lovely new addition. Yummy yummy.

9/10

Monday, 28 March 2016

NEW! Boostball Mega Review (Online)

Boostball. A company that I've seemingly been pouring over for months now, and I'm not sure know how or why I came to know about them. I think that Boostball popped up in my twitter feed sometime last year, and since then I've been watching the company's progress, and its creation of a new range of healthy protein balls. When I spotted the peanut butter cookie dough flavour, I must've jumped up and down in glee, I mean how glorious does that sound? So, when I got a message from the company requesting that I review all of the boostballs you can just imagine how excited I was!



Each Boostball contains only 7 ingredients and is:
  • All Natural  
  • Gluten Free
  • Wheat Free
  • Soya Free
  • Refined sugar Free
  • High in protein
  • High in fibre

Raw Chocolate Brownie


In my normal weirdo fashion, I ate the balls (oo-er) in order of what I expected to be my least-to-most favourite. All the Boostballs flavours appealed, so I chose the flavour that sounded most boring: raw chocolate brownie.


The Boostball packs contain three balls, but the nutritional info is for only one ball. I've mentioned on many an occasion by hatred for companies providing such misleading information. I mean who eats only 1/3 of a pack? It's the same with Twirls... I'm never going to resist the other finger! Anyway, back to the topic in hand...




The balls looked rather unappealing. Kev (Kev's Snack Reviews) and Laura (A Daisy Chain Dream) both pointed out their likeness to something rather less edible, in fact Laura referred to them as "Giant Easter Bunny Poop", and I can see where she was coming from.


Undeterred, I took a knife to one and sliced it in half. It was soft and squidgy with a smooth consistency all the way through -I'm not making them sound any more appetising here am I?




I bit into the first ball, and I couldn't believe my tastebuds. They were seriously chocolatey, with a yummy chewiness that was very addictive. I tried to work out what they reminded me of, and suddenly it clicked: Mars Xtra Choc! The texture was dense and fudge-like, whilst the flavour had just the right amount of cocoa. I can't believe these are a healthy product -they taste so deliciously naughty. I thought that the Rhythm 108 choco-walnut-dessert bar, and the Trek Cocoa Chaos were good, but seriously, they have nothing on the Boostball raw chocolate brownie. Yum, yum, yum.

9/10


Chocolate Orange Mud Cake



Another set of three brown squidgy balls! This time they're supposed to bear resemblance to an orange mud cake. I have to be honest here and admit that I'm not entirely sure what a mud cake is -except that it's gooey and chocolatey- but that in itself has to be a winning combination.



The chocolate was by far the most prominent flavour, so much so that there's not a huge amount of difference in taste between these boostballs and the raw brownie ones. The orange was a subtle background, and I have to admit that I'd have liked it to have been a bit more punchy.

8/10

Coconut Fudge Cake


This threesome looked slightly more appetising, with their dusting of (what I presume was) dessicated coconut. 


The coconut fudge cakes' texture was a far cry from the previous two flavours of boostballs; they felt the same to touch, yet in the mouth they were completely different.. Instead of the smooth consistency I had become acquainted to, I was met with a very claggy texture that stuck itself awkwardly to every tooth.




The flavour however was pretty spot on, with a strong coconut flavour and subtle vanilla backnote. It was a shame about the texture, I really didn't enjoy having to try and peel the odd bits of boostball from the crevices in my mouth -but then I had a brainwave! What if I popped the remaining boostball into the microwave for 30 seconds? Would that improve the situation?


It did! Once the coconut oils had been released, the boostball was transformed. Gone was the tackiness, replaced with a creamy chewiness and I could savour the wonderful tropical flavour to its fullest.


3/10 cold 

but 7/10 warm. 

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough


As I've already mentioned, this was the flavour that got me really excited. Peanut butter + cookie dough? Whoever decided upon that flavour combination is a genius! 


The peanut butter cookie dough Boostballs also contain a whopping 13.2g of protein per bag, so they're a good choice for vegetarians and/or athletes alike. 




Uh oh. I had the same experience as with the coconut fudge cake, and the tackiness of these boostballs made them stick to my teeth again. Quick to react, I trusted my microwave to save the day for the second time. 


Once warm, they lost their magnetism towards my gappy teeth, and I could enjoy the chewy-gooeyness. The nut flavour was natural thanks to the inclusion of real peanut butter, but it was much sweeter than expected. A quick scout at the ingredients explained why -they also include maple syrup- and each bag contains 12g of (natural) sugars. I missed the saltiness required to bring the balance of savoury-sweet into equilibrium, and couldn't help feeling slightly disappointed.


3/10 cold 

6/10 warm.

Summary


So there you have it, my thoughts on every flavour of boostball. They are a handy and healthy snack if you're needing to up your protein intake, and I'm looking forward to their official launch and release into shops soon. Interestingly the flavour that appealed to me the least turned out to be my favourite and I'll certainly regularly purchase the Raw Chocolate Brownie Boostballs.

Whilst the boostballs I reviewed are suitable for vegetarians, they contain milk protein so aren't vegan friendly. Don't despair if you are Vegan however, as Boostball have informed me however that they will be launching a vegan range in the summer. They also tell me that the balls will also be slightly softer and completely round -although they looked pretty round to me!

If you like the sound of Boostballs, please pop on over to their website for more information or keep an eye on their twitter page for updates and details about their official launch.


I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Boostball for sending me their range to try!


Sunday, 27 March 2016

Twix Egg (American Fizz)

Happy Easter! I hope you're having a super day, full of family and chocolate! My sister has come to stay so there's just the four of us (including the dog), but rest assured that we'll be eating more than our fair share of chocolate...




A quick little review today, and another Twix product to share with you. I bought this from American Fizz last month as I thought it looked quite sweet. It's just an Easter-Egg shaped Twix, but we don't have anything similar this side of the pond, only the caramel/truffle filled small 3D eggs. 



The caramel layer was thinner than you'd get in the normal finger format, but tasted indifferent to the UK version. I couldn't notice any change between our biscuit and their 'cookie' base either. The major difference came from the quality of the chocolate; it was noticeably waxier and sweeter than its British cousin. 



I liked the idea of the Twix egg, and again it's a shame that Mars haven't deemed us Brits worthy of its release in the UK. Wrap it in some better tasting chocolate and I think that they'd be popular here too!

6/10

Friday, 25 March 2016

Limited Edition Cappuccino Twix (Home Bargains)

I've finally completed my Twix Trinity! If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall my New Year's Eve white chocolate Twix review, when I mentioned that I was desperate to try the fabled Cappuccino version. Well, the time has come my lovelies, because One Treat found the holy grail this week -in Home Bargains of all places! 




I'm not afraid to admit that the very next day I braved an hour of traffic (my city is infamous for it's ease to gridlock) just so that I could find one for myself. I searched the till-points -where One Treat found hers- but had no luck, so continued to trawl the aisles until I found a few tucked away amongst the Christmas (!) sweets. Priced at just 25p each, I thought I'd stock up and buy five... It wasn't until I got home that I realised that they were on offer -five for £1, bargain!  

I think these bars are German, although the packet also displays contact addresses for France, Belgium and the Netherlands, so who knows? For some reason, I stupidly expected them to be encased in white chocolate, but of course they've used the normal milk variety. I can't help but think it would have been nice if Mars had used white chocolate as it makes such a delicious pairing with coffee.



The fingers looked smaller than usual, although it's only 4g smaller than a UK bar, and might just be blamed on my consumption of multiple American chocolate bars recently. The biscuit snapped well, and the caramel was gloriously oozy and soft. 

The components all tasted the same as a standard British Twix, until -BAM!- I was hit with a pleasant coffee flavour. It's strength meant it lingered in the mouth and worked so well with each of the chocolate, biscuit and caramel layers. The bar was perfectly balanced with a taste reminiscent of Mocha. 



Yummy, yummy, yummy! I have no idea why this hasn't been released in the UK, after all recent reports show that we're tea drinkers in decline and spend more time in coffee shops than ever before. I'm so glad I bought so many, and I recommend that you hot-foot it over to your local Home Bargains store pronto and do the same before they disappear again!

Although the Cappuccino version doesn't beat the white chocolate or peanut butter editions it certainly sits as a worthy comrade in the Twix Trilogy!

Can you hear us Mars? Release it here too!

10/10

NEW! Chocolate Cookie Dairy Ice Cream (Tesco)

If you haven't ventured down Tesco's ice cream and frozen desserts aisle in the last week or so, you must. Well, unless you're on a diet, in which case avoid it at all costs as it's full of all sorts of new goodies! 

As a side note, I notice that the 'Turkey-In-Ten' is still lingering at the end of Tesco's frozen aisle -not reduced either I might add- maybe as a provision for all those people who want to cook the traditional Christmas bird for Easter lunch in less time than it takes to peel the foil off a Creme Egg? Who knows! 




Anyway, back to the topic in hand: the new chocolate cookie dairy ice cream. You may have gathered that Ben & Jerry's have recently launched a new line of cookie-sandwich (Oreo between you and I) inspired ice creams, so maybe you're wondering why I didn't just buy any of their new products.


In all honesty, I'm just being a cheap-skate, and refusing to pay the extortionate RRP. Although the Tesco's ice cream wasn't a steal (still £2.75) it was a much bigger 900ml tub.


If you don't mind getting all geeky with me I'll outline just how much cheaper it is...


Tesco Chocolate Cookie Dairy Ice Cream = £0.31/100ml 

Ben & Jerry's 480ml 'S'wich me Up' Tub = £0.80/100ml 
Ben & Jerry's 'Cookie Dough 'Wich' & 'Sons of a 'wich' = £1.67/100ml

Of course, they're incomparable products really. Ben & Jerry's is famous for it's jam packed pints, full of interesting flavours and textures, whilst the Tesco tub is simply: 

"Dark and white chocolate dairy ice creams with a chocolate sauce, hand finished with chocolate cookies."

It certainly looked like a more artisinal gelato with its robust clear case, chocolate swirls and fake Oreos on top....


Hang on a minute! Those aren't even fake Oreos. They're less-than-half-fake-Oreos, with only one side and no filling. Humf. Also, the ice cream is supposed to serve 9, but as you can see there's only 6 cookies. I guess that's an indication that it's really 6 servings, but Tesco want the calories to look lower (and therefore more appealing?) on the front of the carton.  

On the plus side, the ice cream was easy to scoop straight from the freezer, with a whipped, airy texture. 



Was the taste of Tesco's new chocolate cookie ice cream on a par with other luxury ice creams? Well no, not really. Whilst the flavour was rich and velvety, it was impossible to distinguish between the white and dark chocolate. The two intermingled, becoming more of a milk chocolate, and it was tasty -but nothing particularly special. 

The best bit was always going to be the cookie on top, and I saved it until last (in the same way that I always reserve the flake in a 99 until I've finished the cone). Aside from the missing other half and sandwich filling, I expected it to taste like an Oreo, but again I was disappointed. The cookie had the same sort of dark cocoa flavour, but it was limp and lacked the crunch that I had hoped for. 

I really wish that I'd stumped up the extra money for Ben & Jerry's new products, or bought their cookie dough ice cream instead (currently £2.24 per pint at ASDA). As per usual hindsight, you're bloody useless!

5/10


Thursday, 24 March 2016

NEW! Snickers Crisper (American Fizz)

How is it possible that new British food can take up to six months to reach our little city, yet I can have delivered a new American chocolate bar in far less time? The new Snickers crisper was launched in November 2015, and I bought it from American Fizz in February. 




Anyway, I digress, did you know that Snickers is the fastest selling singles bar in the U.S? Well according to Mars it is


"Crispy satisfaction is on the horizon with new SNICKERS® Crisper - a delicious combination of crisped rice and peanuts topped with a layer of caramel and coated in creamy SNICKERS® Brand milk chocolate."
This snickers is in the same format as their wonderful Peanut Butter squared bar*, with two individual chocolate covered cubes. Once sliced, the even layers of peanuts, rice, caramel and chocolate became apparent. 



The chocolate was noticeably worse quality than what we're used to in the UK, something I can easily forgive Reese's for, but not Mars. I think it's because the company also makes my favourite British chocolate (Galaxy) and so I know they're capable of something better than this!



Fortunately the other components were far more enjoyable: the oozy caramel above the peanuts and puffed rice- which were both as crispy as promised. The ratio of each element worked well together, but I can't help thinking that the bar could've benefitted from some extra saltiness to balance out the sweetness, perhaps in the caramel layer.

I'm glad I tried this bar, it's novel, but I probably wouldn't buy it again in all honesty. If I was hankering for another American crunchy peanut chocolate bar, I'd rather a Take 5.

6/10


*I was fortunate enough to be sent the yummy Snickers PB Squared by fellow blogger One Treat & you can read a fair review of the bar by Nibs 'N' Scribs here

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

NEW! Limited Edition Honey Teaser Dessert Pots (ASDA)

If you haven't noticed, ASDA have gone on somewhat of a a dessert creating binge this Springtime. They've started selling a whole host of new pudding pots including banoffee bombs, gingerbread latte cups, and afternoon delights to name just a few! They are all priced at £2 for two pots, which seemed a little on the pricey side for own-brand desserts, but I was suckered in by these Honey Teasers.


"Good gosh! Malt flavour mousse, honeycomb bits and milk choc malt balls.. all in a pot. Why ever not!"

The pots looked very pretty, complete with cocoa dusting and visible layers. I love a good combination of textures, and of course I am a chocoholic -so this sounded right up my street.



The first layer was the malt mousse. Am I right in thinking that a malt mousse should taste similar to either Horlicks or the centre of Maltesers? In either case, the flavour didn't cut the mustard. It was fluffy and all, but lacked a strong taste of, well, anything!

Underneath the mousse was a chocolate biscuit crumb, and it was a vast improvement on what I'd tasted so far. It also didn't have a particularly strong flavour, but added a contrast of texture against the airy topping. Amongst the crumb was a tasty surprise: some crunchy pieces, which I imagine where the honeycomb bits. They were super sweet, with a fabulous crunch that worked well against the other two elements.



Next was a layer of chocolate mousse, and this was where the dessert really shone. Instead of the mild, milky flavour that is commonplace amongst most mass-produced mousses, this was a dark and rich chocolate number. Bold in flavour, it was the perfect addition to break up all of the sweetness.

Lastly, at the bottom of the pot, was a layer of toffee sauce and fake Maltesers. The sauce was akin to the likes of  Tate & Lyle's ice cream topping, and certainly not anything to write home about. The 
malt balls unsurprisingly weren't of the highest quality either -put it this way, you know that you're not eating the real deal- but they offered an extra textural dimension.

Despite my complaints, I enjoyed these new 'Honey Teasers' by ASDA, and as an avid dessert muncher, I will always welcome the addition of new puddings to choose from. I'm not sure they were special enough to warrant the £2 price tag, and in all honesty I'd rather buy a pack of the Cadbury's Caramellionaire pots (especially at half the price). Talking of which, the Caramellionaire seemed to have disappeared in favour of the Creme Egg inspired 'Eggciting Layers Of Joy'. I do hope they return after Easter!

Have you tried any of ASDA's new desserts? If so, what do you think?

7/10

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Reese's Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups (American Soda)

I've been hankering after Reese's crunchy peanut butter cups for a long while. I keep seeing pictures of them pop up on my Instagram feed* but I haven't been able to locate them for love nor money. Lady luck popped up at the oddest of times however, when I finally found a stall selling them at Birmingham's Comic-Con of all places! They were priced at more than American Fizz & American Soda's sell them for, but both sites have been out of stock every time I've placed an order. 



The crunchy peanut butter cups look no different to their smooth counterparts, but once sliced the peanut pieces could be seen. The chocolate coating was Reese's standard waxy stuff, a sweet backdrop for the treasure within. The welcomed saltiness transported me into the peanut butter heaven that I've become accustomed to, and I waited for the crunch... but it was more munch. The peanut pieces weren't as chunky as I'd have liked, nor were they in generous supply. There was the occasional hardness, sure, but it wasn't as texturally interesting as I'd have expected. In fact, I think the Wawel peanut butter bar was more crunchy than this Reese's version.


Please don't misunderstand me, I devoured the peanut butter cups and enjoyed every little morsel, I just wish that Reese's had been more courageous with the crunch that they'd promised of. 

7/10

* come find me on instagram: amyseeksnewtreats
 and whilst you're at it, you might as well follow me on Twitter too ;) @seeksnewtreats

Monday, 21 March 2016

NEW! Ginger Options Hot Chocolate (Home Bargains)

I'm in the midst of a hot chocolate phase at the moment. No day is complete without my mid afternoon mug, and I've been gradually reacquainting myself with the entire Options range.

I was chuffed last month when I discovered that Home Bargains were selling 6 packs of the mocha flavour for 50p, and since then I've been regularly stocking up. Last week however, they'd replace the sachets with an Options flavour that I'd never seen before, and for some unknown reason, the idea of a ginger hot chocolate threw me. At first I was even a little repulsed, but then I remembered that I've got somewhat of an affinity for Lebkuchen and came round to the idea. Not completely convinced, I gingerly* bought one sachet. 



I've given up on hot chocolate made up with anything other than 100% milk. Yes it's a little more faff, but my-oh-my it tastes so much nicer! I had every intention of making a milky paste before adding the rest of the liquid, but I got sidetracked and before I knew it, my mug of lumpy hot chocolate was in the microwave. Luckily, after a lot of stirring, the lumps abated, resulting in a beautifully frothy hot chocolate.



The gingery scent wasn't as strong as I'd imagined it would be, and this reflected in the taste too. The sweet, familiar chocolate was the most predominant flavour, with a little hint of spice in the background. I was glad it was this way round -after all the dark chocolate coating is the strongest flavour in my favoured Lebkuchen- and it's the way the combination works best. 

The new (or maybe not-so-new?) ginger hot chocolate from Options is a good addition to the range. It's by no means my favourite, but it's not a flavour I'd shy away from in the future.

7/10

*Yes, I know, I'm still not funny!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Mrs Freshley's Banana Pudding Cupcakes (American Fizz)

It's another American Fizz find today, I feel like I should apologise in case I'm starting to bore you with my reviews of foreign treats! I've been on the hunt for some of the new UK food releases but, as per usual, they seem to be taking a long while to reach this landlocked county. So today you'll have to put up with another American review, and this time it's the turn of Mrs Freshley's Banana Pudding Cupcakes.




I hadn't heard of the brand until I was bored one afternoon last month and put a huge order into American Fizz. I'm well aware of cake-manufacturing giant Hostess -the people who make Twinkies- but I couldn't have told you who Mrs Freshley is, or what she/they produce. It turns out the company produces a hella'lot: everything from fruit pies, to cookies, pastries and pretty much most baked goods in between. Banana Pudding cupcakes? I'm a huge banana cake fan, it's one of my favourites, so I had to see what Mrs F was all about, especially at the reasonable price 65p for a pack of two.


The wrapper didn't give much away about what a banana pudding cupcake consisted of, but I could see the custard coloured icing that covered the dubious looking sponge beneath. I sliced my cupcake in half, and discovered a pocket of creamy filling within, reminiscent of a Twinkie.



The cake was dense but moist, with a close texture that heralded a good squidge. It tasted very banana-y, in the same sort of artificial way that Mr Kipling's banoffee cake slices do, although the wrapper clearly states that it's made from natural banana flavouring -and vanilla wafers (although I've no idea where they come into play!). The icing was thin enough to provide just the right amount of sweetness, without becoming tootheachingly sugary. I also enjoyed the pocket of creamy, whipped filling in the centre that added a light mallowy fluffyness, breaking up the texture nicely. 



The Banana Pudding Cupcakes were another pleasant surprise from American Fizz; they're nowhere near as good as homemade, but are a tasty treat and different to any of the mass produced British cakes. I'll be ordering them again when my supplies start running low, although I'm also tempted by Mrs Freshley's Boston creme honey buns, cinnamon twirls, and peanut butter chocolate brownies. Drool. 

8/10

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Protein bars to avoid: B'Jammin PB&J (CSN) and PhD Protein Flapjack+ Peanut Butter (Lidl)

I've posted up a few reviews recently of high-protein products recently, such as: the wondrous peanut butter Lenny & Larry's complete cookie, the pretty average for goodness shakes chocolate milkshake, and the god damn awful protein active peanut chia blast bar, but I thought I'd write a few words about a couple of bars that I was less than impressed with. 

B'Jammin PB&J

I bought this at the same time as the Lenny's cookie, lured in by the thought of a healthy snack containing one of my favourite concoctions: peanut butter and jam. 

"B-Jammin’ goes where no bar has gone before. Each bar delivers advanced nutrition that includes high quality protein, real mouth-watering fruit carbs, and fiber that just simply tastes better. With 12-15 grams of net carbs, 12 grams of protein, 11-13 grams of fibre, you’ll be blown away by the taste and flavors in each bar."

The trouble began as soon as I unwrapped the bar. It's similarity to the Pedigree 'Jumbones' I feed my dog was astonishing. Looking completely like something chemically engineered, I can't say I was excited by it's appearance, but I persevered in the hope that it tasted better than it looked.



It didn't. It tasted as utterly false as it appeared, with a mind-bogglingly plasticine-like texture. The flavour was awful, I can't even begin to describe how artificial it tasted. I only endured one bite before it ended up in the bin. I can't believe I wasted £2.50 on this disgusting bar. 

0/10

PhD Protein Flapjack+ Peanut Butter

Unlike the B'Jammin bar, I didn't buy this protein flapjack from a dedicated sports shop, instead it jumped out at me in Lidl (of all places!). As you may have read, I've fallen back in love with flapjacks of late, but I've never come across a peanut butter one before. Suffice to say it wasn't this bar's nutritional benefits that led to me buying it, just the idea of a nutty, comforting flapjack.



"PhD Protein Flapjack+ is an ideal snack for any athlete looking to increase muscle mass and help replenish the body with quality, healthy calories after a hard bout of intense exercise or throughout the day to support an athletic lifestyle. Providing 19 grams of protein and featuring the versatile benefits of premium quality whey protein and milk protein isolate."
Again, alarm bells started to ring as soon as the wrapper was off. Where were the layers upon layers of oats? It looked all wrong. There were a few visible oats, but mostly it was an alienesque brown mass of questionable substance. 



I bit into it, and immediately realised that it would suffer the same fate as the B'Jammin bar. All I could taste was the milk protein isolate, with no hint of peanut butter. Its chewiness was the only link to a flapjack, but it was intolerable, and I only managed two mouthfuls.

0/10

Summary

These were a bad couple of bars, and I'd be tempted to never buy any more (save for the occasional Lenny's cookie purchase) but I've been told that Quest bars are out of this world! Are there any bars that you would recommend? Am I the only one who can't stand the taste of the B'Jammin bar & the protein+ flapjack or have you had a similar experience? Please leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!




Friday, 18 March 2016

Bud's Best Butterfinger Cookies (American Fizz)

Ok, so I mentioned the other day that I've been Reese's loyal until only recently, so it may (or may not) come as a surprise to you that I've never tasted a Nestle Butterfinger bar. They even sell them in our local Tesco! I could use the excuse that they're much dearer than Reese's peanut butter cups, but in all honesty I've just not really got round to buying one. It was only the reduced price of these Bud's Best Butterfinger cookies on American Fizz' website that tempted me into a purchasing a bag, and at £1.19 per pack I knew it was an opportunity I'd regret not taking.



Like the Peanut Butter Pop Tarts the cookies were out of date, but again it didn't phase me, after all what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, eh? The bag was larger than I expected it to be -at 170g- and contained 6 (rather small) servings of 6 cookies. 

The moment I opened the pack, I was greeted with a comforting caramel-like aroma that smelt rather homely -although I couldn't explain why! The cookies weren't as uniform as most mass-produced cookies (none of the uniform ripples of Go Ahead's cookie bites here!) but it was in keeping with the home-spun story of Bud's cookies that I read about on the back of the bag. 



The butteryness was immediately evident with my first bite; reminiscent of shortbread in both flavour and texture. The peanut butter was delicate and well balanced against the biscuit, with the occasional addition of tiny pockets of chocolate. So delicious were they, that they weren't even subjected to a swift dip in my coffee (I'm normally a dedicated dunker), just so that I could savour every nibble.

Bud's Best Butterfinger Cookies. I wouldn't have normally looked twice, but I'm so glad I did. I highly recommend that if you're a peanut butter lover that you head on over to American Fizz's website and buy yourself a bag whilst they're such a steal! In the mean time, I think a bar of Butterfinger in Tesco might just call to me!

9/10


Thursday, 17 March 2016

NEW! Caramel Flavour Marshmallow Fluff (B&M Bargains)

Masrhmallow Fluff: the sweetest substance on earth? 

My mum claims that I loved it as a child, and would quite happily munch through jars of the stuff, slathering it over multiple slices of raisin bread, before cramming it greedily into my mouth. Sound similar to Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka? I'm ashamed to admit that I probably could've been his sister.  

Anyway, I digress, I hadn't seen the sugary spread for years, until a couple of years ago when it started popping up in specialist import stores. Fluff then became available in certain supermarkets' American section, and now it's pretty widely available, yay! The Grocer announced back in November that Fluff's manufacturer -Empire Bespoke Foods- was launching a new caramel flavour to join the existing original and strawberry flavours, but it's taken me this long to find it. 


B&M Bargains of all places was where I eventually located the new Fluff, priced at £1.29 for the 213g jar. It was a horrid taupe colour -hardly appetising- but then its never been known for its stonking good looks. 


The Fluff was as aerated as expected, wilting slightly upon impact with my knife. It spread like a dream, transgressing from light marshmallow to gooey, sticky confection. The spread melted into the pockets of my crumpets, and I got stuck in.

*please excuse the smudge of peanut butter, I had inadvertently created a mouthful of 'Fluffernutter'.

The caramel flavour was pleasant, if a little on the mild side. The sugary sweetness that Fluff is famous for was by far the most prominent flavour, but it was backed up with a butter-toffee-like undertone. 

The new Caramel flavour is a welcome addition to Fluff's range. It's not ground-breakingly different, but its a nice change if you're (also) addicted to the marshmallow spread. 

7/10

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Holdsworth Truffles: Sea Salted Caramel & Marc De Champagne (Ocado)

My Dad, love him, has truly come up trumps when it comes to keeping me in a healthy supply of chocolate. For my birthday he bought me a huge hamper full of all sorts of goodies! Included were all sorts of foodstuffs that I've not tried before, many of which I've never seen before, and some of which will appear on the blog over the coming weeks. 

In the hamper were two boxes of truffles by luxury chocolatiers Holdsworth. Holdsworth isn't a company I've come across before, but a quick google search informs me that they're a family run business who specialise in luxury handmade chocolate. 



Their RRP certainly screams of premium quality, and my fellow bargain-hunting father was (quite rightly) pleased that he'd managed to find them reduced and hadn't stumped out the rather extortionate ticket price of £5.99 per 55g box. 

Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Truffles

The truffles' packaging, I'm sure you'll agree, is exquisitely beautiful. I love the attention to detail: the beautiful script and bird illustrations that gave the immediate impression that I was in for a treat. The luxuriousness didn't end there, as I unfurled the box, I uncovered the truffles wrapped in cellophane and nestled in bronze tissue paper. 

I was perhaps a little disappointed when realised that there were only 4 truffles in the box, which works out at £1.50 per chocolate. I can't recall ever having spent so much -per gram- on chocolate, and so I really hoped that they were worth the expense. 



Slicing the truffle in half revealed the gooey, gold coloured caramel within, which was runnier than expected. On to the tasting, and the chocolate was a pleasant milk chocolate, it was silky smooth, reminding me of Lindt. The centre however, lacked the saltiness of which it promised, and tasted remarkably similar to the Galaxy's caramel in yesterday's duet bar. I couldn't help but feel disgruntled by these truffles. Sure the tasted good, but they weren't exceptional, and I certainly wouldn't fork out £5.99 for them in future. 

5/10.

Milk Chocolate Mark De Champagne Truffles

Again, the packaging was rather special, akin to the sea salt truffles, except the box was a pretty pink. I uncovered 5 truffles, which looked remarkably similar to the first flavour, in fact anyone would be hard pressed in fact to tell the chocolates apart. Once sliced, the chocolatey filling was revealed. 



It seems irrelevant to comment on the casing as it was exactly the same milk chocolate as before. The truffle centre however was a thing of beauty. It was rich, moussey and delivered a delicate alcoholic flavour that was simply divine. This, folks, was a true luxury chocolate. Indeed it would be impossible to compare to anything on the high street -it's quality was evident, and I enjoyed every nibble.




8/10. 

Summary

I may not have been impressed by the sea salt, but the Mark De Champagne truffles were absolutely scrumptious. I've since discovered that Ocado stock 100g packs of both Holdsworth truffles for £6 each (or two for £10), so I recommend that if you've got some making up to do to that someone special, or you're after a decadent treat, the alcoholic chocolates might just hit the mark.