Monday, 31 October 2016

NEW! Gingerbread Teacakes (M&S)

Happy Halloween! Have you had many trick or treaters this year? Did you get dressed up for any parties this weekend? I'm afraid I really haven't got in the spirit at all. For me the best part of Halloween is the Reese's pumpkins, yet they've been surprisingly scarce this year. In fact I only spotted them only once in my local Tesco Express, and I decided not to buy them considering I had approximately 40 white Reese's hearts in my fridge. A day later my compulsions kicked in and I returned to the store to buy one -but they had completely sold out! Ever since then I've regularly checked the same Tesco Express, as well as the two main Tesco supermarkets in Hereford and the Express next to the station near my uni in Worcester, but haven't seen them again. Humf. Fortunately I've got ample supplies of the Reese's Trees thanks to my good pal Laura (A Daisy Chain Dream) and B&M (who are stocking 6 packs for just £1.99 FYI), Anyway, now I've got all that off my chest I shall move on to the topic of today's review: M&S's new gingerbread teacakes...

I love M&S's bakery aisle. Their ultimate -sourdough- crumpets are to die for, and I'm pretty certain I got a fair few people hooked on them when I went through a crumpet craze on Instagram a couple of months ago (including Nibbles 'N' Scribbles and you can read her thoughts on them here). In fact it was Nibs who introduced me to the gingerbread teacakes, having reviewed them mid-September. I have to admit that I wasn't completely convinced. That was until I spotted them reduced to clear at the same time as finding the bargain Melting Chocolate Domes -yep they also survived that lengthy trek intact. For 50p, they were easily worth the punt (normally £1). 

"2 teacakes with toffee pieces, black treacle, ginger and cinnamon."

They looked almost like wholemeal buns thanks to their darker colour, but their shiny tops gave indication of a brioche-like quality, and their physical lightness also added testimony to the same impression.  As soon as I retrieved my bun from the wrapper, a sweet yet spicy scent greeted my nostrils. The aroma actually reminded me of McVities ginger cake, and brought up nostalgic memories of visiting my grandma after school to unwind after what felt like a never-ending day of learning. In actual fact I've strangely called it Jaminger cake for a number of years -and that's my random fact of the day for you. 


The serving suggestion advised: 'Cut teacake in half. Place in toaster for 2min.' I hope you also mean toast for 2 minutes M&S, otherwise that's a damn waste of time! Anyway, I was left wondering how to serve my teacake. Butter? Jam? Both? I'd normally spread a teacake with pb&j but my inner alarm bells warned me that peanut butter wouldn't work so well on the gingerbread version (if you're braver than me and have tried out the concoction however, please do let me know whether it worked or not!). I decided to opt with one side butter, the other butter and apricot jam -after all apricot filled lebkuchen hearts are simply divine. 

I only slightly toasted my super soft teacake until it had a light tan and was warm enough to melt the butter. 


At first the ginger flavour was mild, fully backed with a resounding sweetness coming from the toffee and treacle flavours -again much like my beloved Jaminger cake.The softness was sublime, and meant that the bun simply melted in the mouth. The butter was a welcome addition, adding much needed moisture. I did wish that M&S had incorporated sultanas instead of toffee pieces into the dough however, as their texture was almost completely lost. 

Next up was the side slathered with apricot jam too. The fruitiness worked well with the teacake, but it did overpower the ginger somewhat. Well, I thought it did until the very last mouthful, which delivered a potent gingery kick that remained on my tastebuds for a good long while. 

I certainly think that the new M&S gingerbread teacakes are an ingenious seasonal creation, and I'm sure I'll enjoy them all winter. If you still need some convincing, read Nib's original review here.

9/10 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

NEW! Carte D'or Gelateria Apple Tarte Ice Cream

There's not many puddings more comforting than a bowl of apple crumble (or tar) with custard (or ice cream or a combination of both which my father in-law swears by) on an Autumnal evening. The weather at the moment however is very mild for late October so I thought I'd get my fix of the seasonal flavours from Carte D'Or's new Apple Tarte flavoured ice cream. 



I spotted it in ASDA at £2 for 900ml, which I didn't think was too unreasonable. Admittedly I didn't read the product description until after I retrieved the tub from the freezer at home, opened the lid and was taken aback by the aroma that presented itself to me...




"Biscuit flavour ice cream with apple sauce (15%), semi candied apple pieces (5%) and topped with biscuit pieces (1%)."

I can't be the only person in the world to expect apple, pastry, cinnamon and possibly custard in an ice cream marketed as Apple Tarte flavour! I've certainly never had biscuit in my apple tart. The initial confusion started as soon as the lid was off, when the remarkably sweet toffee-esque scent hit my nostrils. What would this odd tarty-biscuit-toffee-apple hybrid taste like? 



Toffee apple, that's what. It was strange, but not unpleasant, just more confusing. In fact I gave my other half his ice cream cone as I always do, and then he came back into the kitchen to ask me what flavour it was meant to be -and he never questions his food.

I could certainly taste the apple and a hint of cinnamon, but the predominant flavour was reminiscent of the icing of Greggs' seasonal doughnut and indeed Iceland's cones from the summer -instead of the Apple Tarte I was promised. There were plenty of foamy apple pieces about which added an unusual but pleasing texture. As for the biscuit pieces, they were completely lost-unsurprising really given that they only accounted for 1%. 

Hmm. This Apple Tarte ice cream is somewhat of a mixed bag, and I probably won't buy it again. Just call it toffee apple Carte D'Or for goodness sake! 

7/10


Saturday, 29 October 2016

NEW! Melting Chocolate Domes (M&S)

I've had my insatiable and greedy chocoholic eyes on the Melting Chocolate Domes since Nat (of a lot-o-choc blog) told me about Marks & Spencer's new dessert collection line up at the beginning of September. Despite my temptations I stupidly picked up their new muffins instead (you can reviews of their banana choc chip here, and rhubarb, strawberry & custard here). Before I knew it, the Domes were removed from their introductory offer price, and I just couldn't being myself to fork out the full whack for them (approx £4!) even after viewing Nat's spectacular food porn video of their preparation on Instagram.

This week the trains to and from uni have been useless -abandoned trains, cancelled trains, last minute platform changes, extremely delayed trains, you name it. However, the disruption has had one perk -a lengthy delay last night meant that I had a spare few minutes last night to pop into Marks & Sparks at reducing time, yippee! I didn't have much room in my rucksack, and realised that any treasures would have to suffer a 50 minute train followed by a 2 mile cycle ride in the rain, but when I saw the Domes reduced to £1.40 I just had to have them! 




"Chocolate brownie on top of a feuilletine biscuit layer, filled with milk chocolate ganache and topped with a milk chocolate dome. Served with a milk chocolate pouring sauce." 


These hot melting dome style domes have become quite popular in higher quality restaurants (so Instagram leads me to believe anyway)! Of course trusty Marks & Sparks have harnessed the opportunity to turn it into a commercially available dessert, and who am I to complain, it both looked and sounded fantastic.


Despite my trek home, the desserts were still in tip-top shape by the time I got home. The instructions informed me to bring a pan of water to the boil before turning down the heat to a simmer. Then it told me to place the chocolate sachet in the water and simmer for 5 minutes. What's wrong with making the sauce microwaveable M&S? Despite my grumbles about the faff (and enforced extra wait) I wasn't about to mess up what could potentially be the most perfect dessert, so I obliged and followed the guidelines. 




Now I have to admit that I felt like a bit of a failure when I didn't make my domes collapse in the way that Nat had managed to. Mine took a bit of prodding before they begrudgingly caved. Still, they looked beautiful and I immediately got stuck in. 



The first part I tasted was the brownie, which was rich and chocolatey, but a little on the dry side. I imagine that M&S might have made it that way so that it held the domes properly, but it didn't taste like a fresh homemade version. The second component that reached my mouth was the feuilletine base, which offered up a beautifully crispy texture. and crackled away pleasingly. In the centre was the ganache, which was cool, creamy and slightly lighter than expected -a bonus given how heavy the dessert was. Of course the domes had mostly melted, but the remaining chocolate was of good quality (although I expected nothing less from the premium supermarket). The chocolate sauce that had pooled around the dessert was delicious, but very runny, which complemented the brownie and injected the required moisture. 




I really enjoyed M&S' Melting Chocolate Domes, but I do warn you that they are extremely rich and chocolatey so therefore advisable only for serious chocoholics! My only real issue was with the temperature of the dessert -I tend to like mine either piping hot or freezing cold and of course the hot sauce on top of cold domes resulted in an lukewarm effect. For this reason alone I'm afraid I can't give the Domes the top marks that I awarded M&S's Billionaire Bullion Bar, but I still recommend that you pick yourself up some when you're in need of a chocolatey treat. 


9/10





Friday, 28 October 2016

Birthday Cake Oreos (American Fizz)

It's my Birthday!

I lie. It's not, and it won't be for a good few months yet. But why not cheer oneself up with Birthday cake anyway? Or even birthday cake biscuits for that matter? I'd heard good reports from fellow foodie Sarah (of Waffley Versatile) about the chocolatey Birthday Cake Oreos, so when I spotted the golden version on American Fizz in the treasure trove -AKA the clearance section- I just had to buy them.



Stateside Oreos, for those who don't know, come in large sharing style, resealable packs (which UK Oreos are now producing too as Kev's Instagram informed me). They're packed with a good number of cookies (approx 30), which are much more generously filled than their British counterparts. I hadn't got the foggiest idea how Oreo could emulate the flavours of Birthday Cake into their biscuits -or cookies- but I was more than happy to find out.


The golden Birthday Cake Oreos had a creamy coloured filling, flecked with hundreds & thousands style brightly coloured sprinkles. The sugary scent was overwhelming but enticed me in. Come on kettle, boil already!


Armed with a big mug of coffee in which to dunk my Oreos, I cwtched up on the sofa and got ready to feel like the Birthday Girl. I separated the first half of my Oreo: first you twist it, then you lick it, then you dunk it - remember the ad?


The golden biscuit tasted, well, plain. But then I always find the golden versions far less spectacular than their dark & rich chocolatey siblings. The filling was creamy, super sweet (much more so than in the British Golden Oreos) and reminded me of buttercream. That's where the cakey-ness halted though. Yes they were yummy. Yes the filling was pretty, and yes they were moreish -but that was it. No Birthday feeling for me unfortunately.

To be honest, as I mentioned before, I don't know what I expected from the Birthday Cake Oreos in the first place -as I didn't with the Birthday. I do know however, that they're much more decadent (so enjoyable by default) than U.K Oreos, so are well worth a try -especially if you get a bargain!

7/10

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

NEW! Magnum Cookie Crumble (Sainsbury's)

There's two new additions to the Magnum line up this Winter which both tap in to the Cookies & Cream fan club market (and yes that -of course- includes me). The 'Cookie Crumbles' are seemingly available in full sized milk chocolate sticks and mini sized white chocolate versions. It's a shame really because I love white chocolate, but don't really understand the point of mini ice creams -unless I eat two of course! Both Magnum Cookie Crumbles have taken a while to reach sleepy ol' Hereford, but I eventually found the triple pack of  milk chocolate full sized ice creams in Sainsbury's yesterday as part of an introductory offer for £2. 


"Cookie flavour ice cream coated with milk chocolate (28%) and chocolate cookie crumbs (3%)."

Whenever I take a break from buying Magnums (i.e when I'm going through a Ben & Jerry's obsessive phase -like now!) I forget just how lovely and thick their chocolate coating is, and this was thankfully the case with the Cookie Crumbles.

I was also pleasantly surprised by their size. Disgruntled by the paltry 88g size of the Double Peanut Butter Magnums at the beginning of the year, I was much happier with the 100ml of ice cream facing me on the stick of this new flavour. 


As usual, Magnum have used a milk chocolate that is slightly darker in colour than the likes of Galaxy or Dairy Milk. There was plenty of cookie crumbs embedded in the chocolate too -so far, so good.

The chocolate tasted as good as I remember too, but then Magnums are normally pretty consistent in their quality. What wasn't as impressive was the cookie crumbs. Perhaps my disappointment was aided by how much I love the Oreo sticks and Tesco's Cookie Crumbles, but there just wasn't much flavour or crunch in the coating. 



The ice cream was also a let down; it was perfectly creamy and indulgent tasting -but that might've been it's down fall. What are cookies without their chewiness, and Ben & Jerry's cookie success is due to the grainy nature of their cookie dough chunks and biscuit swirls. When the texture is completely smoothed out, the cookie kind of loses what makes it special. Does that make sense? I mean, the flavour was yummy -I just couldn't pinpoint what it was and I certainly couldn't have recognised it for being cookie. 

Oreo, Ben & Jerry's and even Tesco remain the front runners when it comes to cookie style ice creams. Considering that these are most expensive of the four brands I won't bother with this flavour again -there's much better Magnums out there.

6/10

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

8/10

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.


10/10

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. 

9/10

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!

9/10

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! 

10/10 

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!

4/10

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!).

8/10

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.

7/10

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.

6/10

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.

8/10

Sunday, 16 October 2016

NEW! Cadbury Winterful Layers Of Joy (Tesco)

Cadbury releasing their new limited edition Layers Of Joy is always a dicey time. Their previous attempts have been a right mixed bag between delicious and grim. Fortunately their last product in the line -the Jaffantastic pots- were at the top end of the 'Joy' scale, but that does mean that they'll be sorely missed if the new winter edition isn't up there with them.

I'm pleased to see that Kev (from Kev's Snack Reviews) has recently stepped up his 'spotted in shops' posts again, so it's to him I owe the knowledge that Cadbury have launched the Winterful pots -thanks Kev! I found them at Tesco for a round pound, but have since spotted them in Waitrose priced at £1.20.

"One winterful gingerbread biscuit dipped in Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate sauce and delicious white chocolate mousse."

I always find that Cadbury are on the sneaky side and slightly under fill their pots; still at least it meant that the white chocolate mousse had retained it's attractive peaks. Admittedly I haven't had the best experience with Cadbury's white chocolate mousse in the past, but I tried to keep my mind unbiased before digging in to the Winterful dessert.


Sigh. They haven't changed it since last year. The mousse was fluffy, but had the same bland flavour and lacked the richness that Milkybar Mousses achieve. It might be due to Cadbury using white chocolate powder (5%) to give it it's flavour. Come on now Cadbury -this isn't marketed as a diet product so surely you can do better than that?


Underneath the mousse layer was the chocolate sauce, which I normally quite like, except this time some rogue ginger had fused with it and messed with the flavour. If you've been reading this blog since the start you'll appreciate that I love a good chocolate and ginger combination -heck I more-or-less lived on Lebkuchen last December- but this just didn't work. Maybe it's because the chocolate was too mild, or too sweet, but the resulting flavour reminded me of washing up powder. Not good. 

I kept everything crossed that the gingerbread would go some way to redeem the situation. It kind of did too -that's to say that it had a bold, fiery flavour- but -and here's the killer- it was soggy, and made me think of the ensuing disaster when dropping a dunked ginger biscuit into your cuppa. Fail.

Last up was yet another layer of insipid white chocolate mousse,which was at this point, totally overwhelmed by the ginger aftertaste of the soggy biscuit. Gah, at least the disappointment ended at the bottom of the pot, right?

Maybe my grumbles are based on high expectations from the 'Layers Of Joy' range, so I'd welcome any comments with reference to how you found them. Or just leave me a note to say hello, that's always nice.

5/10

*or Muller -who Cadbury told me last year make their desserts! 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Witches Fingers: Peanut Butter & Jelly Filled Milk Chocolate Bars (Co-Op)

Instagram (or instagrammers) beckoned me again yesterday morning, informing me of a peanut buttery product that I just had to try straight away (thanks ladies!). New, chocolate, and peanut butter are the three words that ring through to my core. They don't have to all be present at the same time either -as apparently these witches fingers were around last year too. How did I miss that?

The 100g pack contained 8 individually wrapped fingers and was priced at £1. I had my doubts about the quality of a chocolate geared specifically towards children (although I do love Milkybar) and only popular enough to market once a year at Halloween (shh, I know Reese's pumpkins are the biz).



"Milk chocolate fingers with a smooth peanut butter and strawberry jelly filled centre."

Do witches have cuboid fingers? According to the Co-Op they do! In all seriousness though I liked the fact that each bar could be broken into four individual sections. 




Breaking one such section in two revealed both the peanut butter and jelly centres. I could smell a mixture of calendar chocolate and synthetic super-sweetness -which I presumed was emanating from the centre. 



Biting into the chocolate made me pull such a disgusted face that my other half started laughing at me. I was eating some white chocolate Reese's hearts around the same time for comparison (and if you believe that you'll believe anything - I just fancied them), and the contrast in sweetness between the two peanut butter & chocolate products was immense. The peanut element of the Witches Finger's filling was fondant like; and although it had a strong peanut flavour, was completely off kilter thanks to the sheer amount of sugar (6.5g per 12.5g finger FYI). As for the jelly, it tasted artificial, and so far removed from strawberries that it was off-putting. If you've ever tried goober you'll have an understanding of what the centre of the Witches Fingers are like. With that in mind I imagine that if you're a fan of the American pb&j spread, you'll like these too. The chocolate was as expected: thin, waxy and just about edible. 

As I made my way through the last three segments of the bar, I found it slightly more bearable, but not exactly enjoyable. I won't bother with these again, and actually hope that I have some teenage trick or treaters to palm them off onto this year -aren't I horrible? ;)

4/10 

Friday, 14 October 2016

White Chocolate & Raspberry Granola (ASDA)

It didn't occur to me to write this review when I finally got round to picking up this bag of White Chocolate & Raspberry Granola from ASDA (hence the open bag shot below) and the only reason why I am doing so is because of the various requests in response to my Instagram feed. This granola isn't new by any means, but I hadn't tried it before, and it seems that many of you are eager to know how it fared. I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place if it wasn't for my recent venture back into the granola world with the Shreddies Max Protein. Following my review, I had a conversation with fellow blogger Alex (Foodfinds GB) about how he didn't particularly rate the Shreddies granola. I asked him which is his favourite and he was recommended the White Chocolate & Raspberry version from ASDA. The naughty sounding cereal had piqued my interest on a number of occasions, and Alex's high praises gave me the push I needed to stump up the £2 for the 500g bag -not bad value really.

"Raspberry flavour wholegrain oat clusters with sunflower seeds and honey with milk and white chocolate chunks and freeze dried raspberry pieces."

I was stunned by the amount of freeze dried raspberries that poured out of the bag and into my first bowl. Apparently they only make up 2% of the ingredients, but there seemed to be much more. Maybe they'd all risen to the top, but it was fabulous to see such a generous supply of fruit. The second surprise to please me was the also generous nature of both white and milk chocolate chunks -a very different experience from the Kellogg's dark chocolate & coconut cereal.


I tried the first bowl with cold milk, and actually found the granola a little too tart for my taste buds. As you'll appreciate, freeze dried raspberries are very flavourful -but they are also quite sour. I hoped that the generous chocolate chunks would offer balance, but in reality they were all but lost against the overpowering raspberry. Humf. The oat clusters were nice and crunchy, but that was the sole redeeming factor.


A couple of nights later I gave the granola a second shot -this time with warm milk. My, what a difference the temperature made. When warmed up, the chunks melted and bled into the oats, raspberries & milk -resulting in a much more prominent and creamy chocolate flavour. It was absolutely delicious! This was the bowl of yum that I was hoping for in the first place.

Alex informs me that the granola is also rather good with yogurt, and I'll take his word on it, but for me it'll be enjoyed warm all the way!

8/10