Monday, 29 February 2016

Today's Review: Lindt Excellence Chilli

Yeah, I went back for more Lindt. This time I felt I had to go for the chilli. I've tried other chilli chocolates, and have always found them pretty nice, so I was looking forward to seeing what Lindt would do.

This is a dark chocolate infused with chilli extract, and again while I'm not overly fond of dark chocolate, this one does a good job, it's not too bitter, and has a nice creamy texture, especially in comparison to the chilli throughout. I'm not gonna lie, this chocolate does pack a punch, and while it's not head blowingly spicy it's definitely a moderate heat that lingers for quite a while. The spice does overwhelm the chocolate itself in places, but doesn't dominate for too much of the time. This is one for the chilli lovers, a nice creamy chocolate with a satisfying kick.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Today's Review: Müller Raspberry Parfait Deluxe Corner

I don't normally eat yoghurts, let alone posh ones, but I couldn't resist these when I saw them on offer in Asda. Just look at that dessert in the picture, it looks great, and while it may have just been a tantalising glimpse of what the yoghurt itself fails to emulate, I was suckered in anyway.

Sounds like there's a lot of good stuff in here. Vanilla flavour yoghurt with real cream, a layer of raspberry, and the balls sound like a pretty good concoction of chocolate and biscuit. I must say, this is very good. The yoghurt itself definitely has a nice vanilla flavour, and has a thicker than usual texture, which I'll assume is the whipping cream's doing. The raspberry underneath is quite well hidden, but gives a lovely burst of raspberry flavour. The balls add a much needed crunch to the whole affair, and are made from some good quality biscuit. The coating is pretty good, but not perfect. It has a lovely chocolate taste, but there's also some raspberry flavouring stuck in there, and it's a little too much. It's very sweet, and not too authentic, and when eaten altogether it gives just a little too much raspberry in comparison to the other ingredients. It's not bad, but I wish the balls were simply chocolate coated. This is still a good Corner though, and it's sparked my interest in seeing which other Deluxe flavours are on offer.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Today's Review: George's Batman And Spider-Man Dresses

We don't make it to Asda all that much, it's on the other side of town and there are plenty of places in between to satisfy our food shopping needs. But occasionally we make it over there, and having three small children in tow means we can take advantage of the pretty impressive range of kids clothing provided by George. Something they do particularly well is dressing up, and I was impressed further still when I spotted these dresses in the theme of Batman and Spider-Man.

These are, shall we say, unconventional, sure, but to me that's only a good thing. I'm not going to advocate myself as a champion of gender identity, but I will say that superheroes are not just for boys. My kids are into all manner of things, some which are not specifically aimed at their gender, but I won't do anything to discourage that, they can like whatever they want. My youngest daughter is very into dresses, bags and jewellery, but she also plays with her older brother's superheroes. As soon as I picked up one of these Spider-Man dresses, she latched onto it, and with her third birthday just around the corner we stuck it in the trolley. These dresses are great. I know that any girl wanting to be a superhero could go for the more conventional dressing up, but these satiate the desire for anyone (yes, even boys) who wants to be a kick-ass superhero, while also wearing a sparkly dress.

What I find particularly great about these is that they're fashioned after the main, male superheroes. It would have been an easy out to make them Batgirl and Spider-Girl, and that's actually what they're listed as on the website, but while Spider-Man and -Girl's costumes are pretty much the same in the comics, the other dress up there is unmistakeably Batman. Who wants to be relegated to second rate superhero position when they can be the main man, complete with a glittery dress? I heartily congratulate George for bringing out these awesome dresses. It's a great statement against gender stereotyping, and I have no doubt my daughter's gonna be an awesome Spider-Man.

My rating: 5/5

Edit: Looks like these are also available at Tesco, so good on those guys too. Plus, they come in Captain America and Superman versions too. Time to empty my wallet...

Friday, 26 February 2016

Today's Review: Dairy Milk Big Taste Toffee Whole Nut

Not content with launching one set of bars this month, Cadbury have also brought out some massive Dairy Milk bars under the name Big Taste. They're pretty blatant copies of some of the big Milka bars that you'd find around Europe, and this Toffee Whole Nut pretty much exactly the same as the Toffee Ganznuss variety. Still, that's not had, so why should this be different?

This bar consists of Dairy Milk with a toffee creme filling and a whole hazelnut in each piece. As you can see, the creme part is pretty thick, and is the main feature of the bar, delivering a very bold, sweet toffee flavour. The nuts add a nice crunchiness to each square, as well as a satisfyingly nutty taste that blends in very nicely with the toffee. As for the chocolate, well I guess it's good, but it's not too noticeable due to the volume and boldness of the filling. There's a chocolate you later to the overall flavour, but it's not very prominent. This is a good bar, despite being a direct copy of Milka. The balance between filling and coating is a bit off, resulting in it being a bit too sweet, but it's definitely worth trying out.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Today's Review: Lindt Excellence Lime Intense

I often glance over the Lindt Excellence bars while I'm shopping, but the relatively small size compared to the price usually puts me off from grabbing one. I've had my eye on this dark chocolate lime bar for a while, and now that they're £1.50 in Tesco I took the plunge and picked it up. 

This is basically what it says on the packet, a dark chocolate bar with containing pieces of lime zest, and I've got to say it's amazing. I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate, but since I knew what it was going in I won't mark it down for being bitter. In fact, it's not all that dark, it's a mild bitterness that also has a nice sweetness to it, and is nice and creamy as I've come to expect from Lindt. The lime pieces are plentiful, and they add a fantastic citrus flavour throughout the whole bar, as well as a nice, slightly chewy texture from the zest itself. This bar didn't last long at all, it's a wonderfully crafted lime dark chocolate that is simply delicious.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Hazelnut & Cherry Bites

I know these bags of bites have been around for a while, but my Tesco have only just started stocking more than two varieties (which also happen to be the blandest varieties available). I was tempted to go for the Jelly Bean Jumble, but there's something I find a bit off with putting chewy sweets inside cakey concoctions, a mismatch in textures that I can't really get on board with. I still almost grabbed the bag though, before my eyes settled on these hazelnut and cherry bites. They don't sound particularly outrageous, sure, but they look like a very nice twist on the classic fruit and nut, and anything with cherries in is hard for me to pass up. 

These bites are made up of dark chocolate biscuit pieces, with hazelnuts, glacé cherries and sultanas, all covered in milk chocolate. You can probably tell from the description alone that they're pretty damn good, and they sure are. Each bite is fantastically chocolatey, a satisfyingly crunchy experience that has a nice chewiness to it provided by the fruit crammed within. The cherries are particularly noticeable, making for a pleasantly fruity taste. The texture of the hazelnuts is apparent, though unfortunately I couldn't detect a lot of nuttiness in the flavour. But I guess that's just because all the other elements are so well presented, the hazelnut may be a little lost, but what is there is pretty damn delicious. This is a great spin on a classic fruit and nut mixture, it's definitely one for the chocolate lovers, perhaps not so much for fans of nuts, but this is a bag I will most likely be picking up again.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Orange Balla Stixx

I've been a fan of Balla Stixx since I found the fizzy bubblegum flavour last year. I assume the "Balla" is supposed to be pronounced as in rhyming with "Valhalla", but I prefer to refer to them as "Baller Sticks", so I can pretend to be gangsta while I eat them. In either case, Balla Stixx are similar to the fondant pencils you find in various supermarkets, except, you know, better, at least they are in the case of the bubblegum ones. I find that most pencils stick to the darker flavours, your strawberry or blue raspberry. I can't recall ever seeing an orange flavour, which is why I was so drawn to these ones. They intrigued me, and I figured with Haribo I was in safe hands, so I picked them up.

I'll give them one thing, these definitely smell orangey. It's a pleasant smell, though somewhat telling that therein lies more a sickly confectionery style orange rather than freshly squeezed style. This is reflected in the taste too, it's a very bold, sweet flavour that is a little overwhelming at first. The pencils themselves have a great texture, a nice soft fondant wrapped in a satisfyingly chewy exterior, and while I was put off a little by the strength of the orange flavour, it's actually not that bad. It's pretty authentic, although definitely saccharine, and while it does hang around in the aftertaste it's actually a fairly pleasant orangey flavour. I'm not sure I'd buy these again, especially with other great flavours on offer, but these Balla Stixx are something different, and they're put together fairly well.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 22 February 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Medley

More new Dairy Milk bars. They seem to be coming out at a rate of knots these days, and while I'm all for different bars of Dairy Milk, I have started to latch onto the bandwagon of the declining taste of Cadbury chocolate. I can't say I've particularly noticed it in the last couple of years, but after eating a Cadbury Easter egg a few days ago I get what quite a few people are saying about how it's not quite the same. These Medley bars could be seen as another way to incorporate less actual chocolate into the recipe by throwing in a load of chunks of other stuff, but I do enjoy chocolate bars with lots of stuff crammed into them, so I was quite looking forward to these. Medley bars come in two varieties, one is loaded with dark chocolate chips, caramelised hazelnuts and raspberry, and the other contains dark chocolate chips, biscuit and fudge pieces.

You know, from the cover I was expecting those pieces to be embedded in the top, creating a feast for the eyes. But upon opening the packaging, it seems they're just haphazardly strewn across the bottom of the bar, the actual top is completely bare. Not looking great on the presentation side, guys, but who cares about that as long as it tastes good? The chocolate itself tasted to me quite like classic old Dairy Milk. Perhaps a but less creamy, and slightly more cocoa solid-like, but it's still a pretty good chocolate. It's the pieces that are the main draw though, and they're not executed all that well. In the raspberry variety, that's all that's really noticeable. It's a very bold and sweet freeze dried raspberry taste, and while it's fruity, it's really not all that authentic, and it swamps everything else throughout the bar. I couldn't even taste the hazelnuts, let alone whether they were caramelised or not. 

As for the biscuit and fudge pieces, I can't say I consciously came across a piece of fudge. I went looking for one, nibbling precariously through the pieces, but I only seemed to come across buried biscuit bits. There was a hint of something chewy, but it wasn't particularly flavoursome, and what taste there was was probably lost to the chocolate itself. Because of that, the bar is pretty bland, just a hint of biscuit that, while executed fairly well, just doesn't live up to what is promised on the wrapper.

I wanted to like these bars, but the balance in them just seems all wrong. Only one element of each one is really noticeable in the taste, and the chocolate seems to have suffered a little in terms of quality. They're not awful, they taste alright, but they don't even look presentable. Cadbury have a lot better to offer, but if you want to pick these up, I'd say do it quickly before they disappear, they're not really good enough to stick around.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Cherry Bakewell Cupcake

Wow, that picture looks blurry, my apologies. I can't really do much about it now as I've stuffed the thing in my face, so let's continue. It seems Mr. Kipling aren't content cornering various corners of the cake market, they now want to try their hand at cupcakes. But these aren't just any cupcakes, they're cupcake versions of their already well known cakes, which is a pretty cool idea to be fair. There are Apple Pie and Angel Cake varieties, but I figured I'd go for the Cherry Bakewell first, seeing as I can't resist that cherry on top.

I also didn't take a picture of the cross section, it seems my stomach was winning out over my urge to document the process, but it's quite a nice view on the inside. That buttercream you see on top is layered on thick, and is in itself very thick, and underneath is a nice soft sponge that's been injected with jam. In this variety the sponge and buttercream are almond flavour, so from the first bite to the last there's that unmistakeable Cherry Bakewell taste. The sponge is good, I know there's not a whole lot that can be done to make it amazing, and it does a good job of capturing the authentic flavour and providing a lovely moist base for the cake. The jam is plentiful and adds some extra moisture and flavour. The only slight downside I can see to this cake is that there is perhaps a little too much buttercream. It's not too sickly, which would have worsened the problem, but it's the most prominent element, and one I can still taste a little after the fact. It's not so bad, it's thick and creamy and has more of that great almond flavour, but the balance could be a little better.

This cupcake is a great addition to the Mr. Kipling range. It's well constructed, and it just tastes good. I'll be picking up the other flavours for sure.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Today's Review: Boost Energy Winter Spice

Winter is almost over (hopefully), but there's still time to enjoy some winter themed goods. I normally gloss over the cheaper brands of energy drinks, but this striking purple can caught my eye the other day. It's a Boost energy drink with a "plum and winter spice" flavour.

Despite the regular Boost drinks not being all that great, I must say this one was very good. It has a bold, fruity flavour at its core, definitely reminiscent of plum. It's not quite as sweet as I'd hoped, but it's a full and tasty flavour. The spice is pretty authentic too, it does encroach on the fruit a little, but overall it's a mellow, warming spice that complements the rest of the drink quite nicely. This is a surprisingly good energy drink, comparable to the likes of Monster and Relentless, and is worth picking up while 'tis still the season.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 19 February 2016

Today's Review: Vanilla Kit Kat

It's always a good occasion when a new Kit Kat flavour comes around, I haven't yet met one I didn't like. Now there's a vanilla flavour out, it's a simple enough variety, but sometimes simple is good, and this had the potential to be very tasty.

This bar follows the lead of other flavoured four finger Kit Kats, the flavouring is infused in the chocolate itself, and it's definitely noticeable. There's a very sweet presence theoughout  the bar, a lovely hint of vanilla that doesn't let up. I don't know if it's the light flavour of the vanilla, but in comparison the chocolate itself tastes quite dark, I had to check it was actually milk chocolate while eating. Perhaps the vanilla messed with the composition a little, or maybe my tastebuds were playing tricks on me, but I'm not mad. Sure, it's a little darker tasting than I'd hoped, but the vanilla is the main attraction and it's done well. This is another great Kit Kat flavour that I'll be happy to try again.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Today's Review: Deadpool

Superhero movies are bigger than ever, with a massive number of franchises emerging and interweaving all over the place. It's become a staple of the movie industry to see regular comic book movies each year, so there's really no better time to bring out a movie about Deadpool. I wouldn't say I'm a devoted comic book fan, but I've definitely heard and seen enough of Deadpool to know he's quite a unique character. From his quick witted dialogue to fourth wall breaking antics to, it seemed he was just the shake up the superhero movie world needed, and while it took a while for this film to be made, I thought it was probably a must see when it finally arrived.

Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a mercenary diagnosed with terminal cancer who accepts an offer from a shady organisation to cure his illness and provide him with super powers. While the process works pretty well (making Wade immortal), it also messes up his appearance, so the newly named Deadpool dons a striking red suit and decides to make his way through the bad guys in the hopes of being fixed.

This is not your average super hero movie. It's violent, it's vulgar, but it's also damned hilarious. This movie was made with fans of Deadpool in mind, and while I can't quite place myself firmly in that crowd, it seems all the hallmarks are there. The trademark fourth wall breaking, the quick witted and crude remarks, even a "chimichangas!" thrown in for good measure. Everything is wonderfully constructed, from the fantastic take on the opening credits to the final battle. Guts fly as much as the one liners, and there wasn't a minute that went by where I didn't find myself chuckling. Be it from a retort during a fight to pointing out an obvious plot hole, Deadpool subverts a lot of the expectations of the genre, and still holds up as an action filled, hilarious movie. 

It's not without its flaws though. This being the first movie on the franchise, there is of course going to be an origin story, and while it's an entertaining one it did seem to go on a little too long. I wouldn't say I was bored watching it, but I left with the feeling that it could have been condensed and allowed for some of the funnier and action packed scenes. In the end, the resolution felt a lot more rushed than the origin, and despite the length of the flashbacks a few of the characters didn't feel quite as fleshed out as they should have been. What is there, however, is great. Ryan Reynolds makes this movie, his delivery is fantastic, and obviously there's a wonderful script to thank for that as well. You can tell a lot of love went into making this movie, and I'm looking forward to the sequel that's already been greenlit. More Deadpool can only be a good thing.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Today's Review: Walkers Tear 'N' Share Sweet Chilli

It's been a few weeks since I stated my disappointment at these new Tear 'N' Share bags, they provide the same amount of crisps as Extra Crunchy, but at a larger RRP, and attempt to distract us with the gimmick of the bag turning into a bowl. But there was one flavour of these that offered something new, a sweet chilli flavour that can't be bought as regular Walkers, and I was itching to try it out.

I love a bit of sweet chilli, and I know that Walkers know what they're doing with that, as their Thai sweet chilli Sensations are amazing, and I was hoping the greatness would transfer to these. Sadly, it was not quite the case. While these crisps possess the satisfying crunch from being extra thick, there isn't a whole lot of flavour packed in, which is strange, as the salt and vinegar ones were very bold tasting. There is a definite sweet chilli flavour there, nowhere near as spicy as the Sensations, but still a mild, lingering heat, and there's a nice sweet undertone that adds an almost saucy layer to the overall flavour. Unfortunately the full taste doesn't come through a whole lot, and some of the time these crisps are unite bland. It's a shame, there's some potential in there, but the execution is a bit off. If you're after some spice, I'd recommend sticking with the Sensations. These aren't bad, but they're not enough to save this Tear 'N' Share idea.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Today's Review: Ritz Breaks Crunchy Grains

This is the second new Ritz product I've found this year, which is pretty good, as I love me some Ritz. While the bacon flavour didn't do a lot for me, this one doesn't promise quite as drastic a deviation from the original Ritz, instead opting for a smattering of crunchy grains atop the biscuit.

The grains are a good addition, I'll say that right away. I like grains on top of things for some reason, and they're put to good use here. There's a slightly fuller flavour in these crackers, and a lovely bit of added texture that make these a little more satisfying than original Ritz. Underneath it's the same old good quality cracker, and though the grains do make for a bit of a deficit in the saltiness, there's still enough to rival the regular variety. These Ritz Breaks are at least as good as the original, with a subtle but noticeable deviation that makes for a great snack. Regular Ritz may reign supreme, but depending on what I'm in the mood for I could see myself perhaps rating these slightly higher. I'll be picking more of these up for sure.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 15 February 2016

Today's Review: Five Years Of A Review A Day

It's been five years since I started A Review A Day. On February 15th, 2011, I signed up to Blogger, and decided to give my blog a name that tied me into the ridiculous goal of writing a review every day. I figured it would be pretty easy, at the time. I had a job at Blockbuster and enough free rentals to watch movies every day, but despite some misguided aspiration to become the next Roger Ebert, I started off the whole thing by reviewing part of the Pizza Hut order I had that night. Here, I dusted off the link.

I'm sure I've looked back at a lot of things five years after the fact and been somewhat embarrassed or disappointed, but reading that first review, even my self-deprecating self still thinks it was pretty good. I must admit I started this blog as I was pretty unsure what I wanted to do with my life, and figured I'd give this writing malarkey a go and see how it panned out. Well, I'm still here, and definitely not adorning the reviews section of any magazines or newspapers, but I'm not sure if writing is a career choice for me anyway. There have been times in these past five years it's gotten to 11:30pm and I still haven't quite come up with something to review for the day, and that can be pretty stressful. A Review A Day started out as a gimmick, and one that I capitalised on pretty early, with reviews of my wallet and chicken dippers. But creativity can be a finite resource, and many nights I would look around the room for an inanimate object to review, only to come up with nothing entertaining to say about it.

But hey, the movies were still there, and I was starting to get some attention for the odd snacks I would pick up and write a quick review for (shout outs to Kev's Snack Reviews and Grocery Gems for commenting on my stuff and exposing me to the wonderful collective of UK based snack food bloggers). But then I packed in the job at Blockbuster, and pretty much stopped watching movies, and then I went on a diet and stopped eating anything of interest. That was a tough time, and resulted in a number of reviews that weren't particularly fun to write, and were probably not that fun to read. There have been several times in these past five years that I've just wanted to give it all up, I wasn't feeling that creative spark, and it didn't seem interesting anymore.

But I kept reviewing, and most importantly I started eating snacks again. and I believe I've found my niche now. Food is one of my passions, especially the weird and wonderful kind, and it's a lot of fun to track down new products and write down my thoughts for the internet to read about (and sometimes vehemently reject and call me an idiot). Does that make me a food blogger? Possibly, but I still delve into the odd movie I watch, or get a flash of inspiration from looking at an inanimate object, and those are the kind of things I'd like to cover more here. Sure, I'll carry on with the food reviews, they're my bread and butter (sometimes literally, har har), but I started A Review A Day with a view to make it a little bit different, somewhat off the wall, and I'd like to go back to those roots. Whether or not I can do that remains to be seen, but I would like to say that despite what I perceive to be a few uninspired dips in quality, these past five years have been a blast, and I want to thank anyone and everyone who's read my reviews, all the followers I've amassed on Blogger, Facebook and Twitter (there's literally tens of you!) Here's to the next five years.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Today's Review: Market Deli Sweet Chilli With Dorset Sour Cream Pita Chips

I've always meant to try out more of the Market Deli flavours, but I rarely find them at a price that I really want to bite at. They're on offer at Tesco now though, and these ones caught my eye. Not only do they promise a spicy flavour, they're pita chips instead of the regular potato. They sounded pretty delicious to me.

These are some thick chips, and they have an extremely satisfying crunch. They definitely have that pita taste, and a nice rough texture to boot. The flavouring is pretty well done, there's a creamy undertone of sour cream, with a very subtle but warming spice layered on top. It's very sweet and smooth, but unfortunately it is lost quite a bit to the flavour of the chips themselves. Since they're so thick, and don't taste like all that much, overall they end up tasting a little bland. These chips are something different, sure, and they're not bad, but they could be better. At least the flavour is nice and authentic, and it's piqued my interest in trying out the other Market Deli varieties.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Today's Review: Häagen-Dazs Coffee

After picking up the Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake with some vouchers the other day, I figured I'd use the opportunity to try the coffee flavour that's been on my radar for a while. It's quite a simplistic sounding flavour compared to others, but since I love me some coffee I was looking forward to trying it out.

I'm used to picking out more complex flavours with lots of elements at play, so I guess it as nice to have a singular flavour to work with, and thankfully this tub delivers. I was worried it would taste like the majority of coffee flavoured confectionery, which isn't the most accurate taste, and while it did remind me of that at first, after a few spoonfuls there was a nice, authentic coffee flavour. It's bold, but not too strong, and works extremely well with the light creamy ice cream. Altogether it's reminiscent of a latte, light and milky with a bold coffee hit. For a somewhat simplistic flavour this is a fantastic tub of ice cream. One for the coffee lovers.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 12 February 2016

Today's Review: Ritter Sport Rum Raisins Hazelnuts

It's not often that I pick up a bar of Ritter Sport, they're never stocked in my regular supermarkets, and they're normally pretty expensive when I do find them. But I just picked up this bar for £1 from a One Stop. The bars I've had before contain some good chocolate, and this one promise rum, raisins and hazelnuts on top. I'm all for a nice fruit and nut bar, and the prospect of a hint of rum was interesting, so I snapped it up.

I thought it would be a hint of rum, but I was quite wrong. Despite only containing 2% of the stuff, the smell was pretty apparent as soon as I opened the packaging, and it only got worse as I started eating it. Now, I'm not a big rum drinker, but I can handle a shot or two if I'm in the mood, so a little rum flavouring wouldn't have been too bad. But the rum in this bar just overwhelms everything else. The textures are all there, sure, so I could pick out the raisins and nuts, but I couldn't taste them. Even the chocolate took a back seat to the rum, this was pretty much like drinking a shot with a bit of fruit and nut dropped in it. I don't know if I got a weird bar, some of the reviews I read said it has a mild rum flavour, but I couldn't get on with this at all. I think I'll go for the non-alcoholic chocolate in future.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Today's Review: Double Peanut Butter Magnum

After seeing Amy review these yesterday I made an extra special trip to Tesco to grab some off the shelves. Walls sure are embracing the peanut butter love, what with their Cornettos with that exact name, and now with a magnum containing a double helping of the good stuff. This consists of a peanut butter ice cream, coated in a chocolate flavour coating, peanut butter sauce and a milk chocolate exterior.

The shell on this Magnum is fantastic. The peanut butter sauce sandwiched between the chocolate shells makes it extra thick, and it's very chocolatey. It's a lot more satisfying than a regular Magnum, and that's already amazing enough. The chocolate is of as good a quality as always, and the peanut butter sauce is an excellent addition, providing a lovely creamy flavour. It was perhaps a little too syrupy, a more peanut butter like texture may have worked better, but I can't fault it that much, it definitely provides the peanut butter experience. The ice cream inside is nice and creamy, and while it doesn't provide a big peanut butter hit when eaten on its own, it adds another layer of flavour when eaten with the other elements. I was thinking the ice cream could have had more flavour in it, but that may have resulted in it being too sickly. As it is it's a great, smooth interior that rounds off the whole thing nicely. If you're a peanut butter lover you can't really go wrong with this.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Today's Review: Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake

It's Valentine's Day this Sunday, but I've noticed a distinct lack of Valentine's flavoured food lining the shelves. There are the regular boxes of chocolate, sure, but all the interesting new products have focused on the Easter theme. Perhaps there's just not quite the market for novelty Valentine foods, but Häagen-Dazs have decided to fill that gap by promoting one of their classic flavours. I was sent some vouchers to pick up a tub of their strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and while I can't inherently see the connection with Valentine's Day, I figured it was a good opportunity to review a flavour that I first tried out long before I started this blog.

Thinking about it, I guess we can connect it to the occasion. Strawberries are red, and I guess kind of look like hearts, depending on whether it's a misshapen strawberry or an abnormal organ. Also, I love cheesecake, and Valentine's Day is all about love. But does this accurately represent a strawberry cheesecake? I'm inclined to say yes. The ice cream itself is cheesecake flavoured, a mascarpone flavoured delight that is certainly reminiscent of the bulk of a cheesecake. There are strawberry swirls throughout that, while seemingly quite sparse, provide a great hit of strawberry. A cheesecake wouldn't be a cheesecake without that biscuit base, and thankfully that's covered as well, in the form of some pretty big biscuit chunks throughout the tub. They pack a great buttery flavour, and still pack a satisfying crunch despite being surrounded by ice cream. All in all this is quite simply a great ice cream. Every element is well represented and balanced, evidenced by the natural ingredients put into the tub. It may have been a while since I picked up a tub due to my obsession with finding new flavours, but this is as good as I remember, and has earned its place as a classic ice cream flavour. I would say it's perfect for sharing with the one you love this Valentine's Day, but you don't have to share it...

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Today's Review: Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread

I like peanut butter. I like chocolate. I like spread. This jar here combines all those things, and it's got the Reese's name slapped on the front. There's nothing like a Peanut Butter Cup, and if you ever wanted to spread one of them on your bread, this is what you want.

There's not too much I can say about this, it's a spread that tastes like chocolate and peanut butter, and both elements are represented very well. It has a fantastic nutty flavour throughout, with a great creamy chocolate undertone. There is a little more peanut butter than chocolate, so the balance isn't perfect, but you can easily taste all the elements. The texture isn't quite as smooth as I'd hoped, it's a little crunchy, but it's true to the peanut butter you'd find inside a Reese's cup, so it's not a bad thing, just a matter of personal taste. I guess I'm comparing it to the lofty heights of gloriously smooth Nutella, and stacked up against that this is a damn good spread. I'll have no problem making my way through this jar.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 8 February 2016

Today's Review: Portlebay Chilli & Lime Popcorn

I've tried a few varieties of Portlebay popcorn, and found them to be pretty damn good (well, the bacon one wasn't fantastic). Now they're on offer in Tesco again, so I picked up this flavour that I haven't tried out yet. I've had chilli popcorn before, and it's a good flavour of popcorn to have, so I had high hopes that this one would turn out to be pretty tasty.

Well, this is the most chilli flavoured chilli popcorn I've had. Other brands definitely incorporate the chilli, and there's some amount of spice, but it's not particularly hot, whereas this packs a lovely bit of spice. It's very bold and flavoursome, and does get pretty hot at times, but the lime is on hand to mellow it out with a subtle citrus undertone. The quality of the corn itself is great, big crunchy pieces that have a lot of the flavouring packed in, meaning every handful is satisfyingly spicy. Tipping the bag up at the end delivered me a load of spicy flavouring that hadn't stuck, and my mouth needed cooling down after that, which is a sign of a good amount of spice. This chilli popcorn isn't done by halves. It's not habanero hot by any means, it's manageable but definitely a much more authentic chilli experience than other popcorns. I'll be buying this again.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Today's Review: Tropical Skittles

It's not often you find a new variety of Skittles on the shelves at Tesco, but apparently the Skittles market is opening up, as this is the second new variety to come out in as many months after the Darkside arrived in time for Halloween. This time we're transported from the darkness to a tropical paradise. Well, maybe not paradise, I haven't told you how they taste yet.

I wasn't exactly sure what the flavours were meant to be from the packaging, but a little bit of research provided me with an answer. Each colour is a combination of two flavours, and there are some interesting ones in there. The yellow are kiwi lime, the orange are mango tangelo, the blue banana berry, the pink strawberry star fruit, and the purple are pineapple passion fruit. Why they yellow don't contain banana, I don't know, but I went with it, and on the whole these are very nice.

The kiwi lime doesn't immediately taste like those fruits, but there's a certain tanginess that's present throughout, and it's a good overall flavour. The mango tangelo focuses a lot more on the tangelo, a bold orangey taste with not a lot of mango to be found, which slightly disappointed me. Banana berry is an interesting one, a very prominent banana flavour with some other hint of fruitiness underneath. I'd rather have the berry, but the banana is actually pretty good. The pineapple passion fruit is my absolute favourite, a very distinct and wonderful passion fruit flavour that I couldn't get enough of. This is a nice variety of Skittles, that definitely evokes some tropical thoughts. It's not perfect, but it's a good collection of interestingly paired flavours that made it hard to put the bag down.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Today's Review: Whitworths Fusions Cinnamon Apple Jumble

I've seen Whitworths lining the shelves before, but I've never really dabbled. Dried fruit isn't exactly my number one go to snack. But now they've come out with these Fusions, which incorporate nuts and fruits in one bag, like a trail mix. This one contains pecan halves, raisins, chopped dates and cinnamon apple pieces.

The raisins and pecans are your usual fare, they're pretty good, some nice juicy fruit and some flavoursome nuts that add a crunchy texture. As for the chopped dates, I didn't quite get on with them. I'm not much of a fan of dates anyway, they leave my mouth dry and aren't exactly what I'd call tasty, and the ones in this bag just look like inedible, unappetising lumps. Thankfully they're balanced out by the cinnamon apple pieces, which are really nice. They're quite small, but they're juicy, and there's a nice coating of cinnamon that works well with the taste of the apple itself. Overall though, this works out to a pretty average bag. Most of it's alright, and the apple pieces are great, but their size is a little disappointing, and the dates are not a good addition in my eyes. This bag is alright for a healthy snack, but I'm sure there are better out there.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 5 February 2016

Today's Review: M&S Peaches & Cream Fudge

We may be in the midst of winter, but that doesn't stop me longing for warmer climes, and apparently M&S are in the same boat. Here's some peaches & cream fudge, evoking fond feelings of summertime.

Being M&S, there are some good and proper ingredients here, in the form of clotted cream and peach purée. The results is a wonderfully creamy, fruity fudge that is fantastically sweet and flavoursome. The peach is instantly noticeable, while the cream provides a lovely light base that works well with the fudge itself. There are also pieces of dried apricot thrown in, which I thought might compromise the flavour, but instead adds another great layer of fruitiness with a great texture.

It's a testament to how good these are that I planned to space out the bag during the day, but ended up finishing it in one sitting. I was met with a somewhat uncomfortable sugar rush at the end, but it was worth every second to enjoy a great pack of delicious fudge.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Today's Review: Lipton Mango Iced Tea

I like a bottle of Lipton, they do some great flavours, but they're somewhat limited. Recently there's been the addition of raspberry, but I stumbled upon this mango variety that I haven't seen before. I've grown to love mango, so I was interested to see how it would be in tea form.

This is some good stuff. The mango flavour is noticeable straight away, and it's a lovely fruity taste. With some mango confectionery the somewhat chalky texture of the fruit shines through, but here it's well represented by the slight dryness of the tea itself. It's a refreshing, fruity drink, and it tastes like mango. I'm not really sure what else to say about it, it's a good flavour, and well worth seeking out.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Today's Review: Walkers Mixups Meaty Snacks Mix

Mixups Snacks Mixes came out last year, providing an interesting mix of Walkers crisps in either spicy or cheesy flavours. Now there's another variety added to the range in the form of these meaty snacks, and while they didn't draw me in as much as the other two, I was interested to see what meaty Wotsits and French Fries would taste like.

The Doritos and Monster Munch in this mix are already lining the shelves, BBQ rib and roast beef flavours respectively. They're classics, and they're well represented in this bag, the Monster Munch being pretty huge and packing a nice meaty flavour, while the Doritos have a lovely saucy texture with a strong rib-like taste underneath. Apparently beef Wotsits were once a thing, though I don't remember them. The Wotsits in these Mixups are pretty huge, and do have a certain beefy flavour, but they're just too similar in texture to the Monster Munch. They are a little softer, but to me that was somewhat disappointing, and the flavour isn't nearly as pronounced as it is in the Monster Munch. As for the French Fries, I don't know if there has ever been a proper meat flavour, but if these are anything to go by they shouldn't have bothered. They're very bland, there's a hint of sauciness every now and then that seems like it might be nice, but on the whole they're pretty flavourless. 

I'm a little torn with this bag. Half of the stuff is great, while the other is disappointing. I don't think I'll pick up another bag when I could just get a pack of Monster Munch or Doritos, but on average these Mixups are really just mediocre. If you've got a hankering for beef Wotsits, by all means go and buy one.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough S'Wich Up

After the lovely array of flavours that popped up at the end of last year, I thought it would be a while before another one came along, but thankfully it's arrived already. This is Cookie Dough S'Wich Up, a flavour that's exclusive to Domino's at the moment. As soon as One Treat reviewed it the other day I've been looking for an excuse to order pizza. I don't particularly like paying full price for anything, but I think good old Ben & Jerry have earned my trust enough for me to justify splashing out £5.49 on this tub. This is, as you may have guessed, a variation on the classic Cookie Dough flavour. It's got the vanilla ice cream, it's got the cookie dough chunks. But it's also got a chocolate cookie swirl and chocolate cookie sandwiches embedded throughout.

The vanilla ice cream and cookie dough are as good as ever, a nice creamy base with some gritty, doughy chunks, it's what Ben & Jerrys have been doing best for years. But they contribute to just a fraction of the overall flavour, the real draw here is the chocolate cookie stuff. The swirl is omnipresent, a constant chocolate layer applied to the ice cream, with bits of crushed up chocolate biscuit spread throughout that provide an extra layer of gritty texture and a good flavour to boot. But the main event is the chocolate cookie sandwiches. From the name I was getting somewhat excited that they would be like the old Ben & Jerry's 'Wich that were discontinued some time ago, so I was quite disappointed to find they were just regular Oreo style biscuits. That's not to say they aren't bad, they're massive and still have that nice crunch to them, giving way to a creamy interior. 

There's a lot going on in this tub, and it's all good stuff. Sure, the cookie dough element is somewhat lost underneath the amount of chocolate, but the chocolate parts aren't overwhelming. In fact, this tub doesn't scream chocolate, it's more about the cookie, and the different textures throughout the tub are what makes it great. It's not the most perfect Ben & Jerry's, but it's pretty damn good.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 1 February 2016

Today's Review: Walkers Tear 'N' Share

Wow, look, a new bag of Walkers! Well, it says it's new, but I only saw three flavours available when I picked these up, the classic ready salted, salt & vinegar and cheese & onion. But the bag, let me tell you about this bag. It's not just a bag, it's also a bowl! So you can do just what the name says, tear it and share it! Immediately! Because the bag is a bowl! Let me show you:

Well, I suppose that could be considered a bowl, if you're following the dictionary definition, which is a container that is open at the top and deep enough to hold food. But I don't know if I'd refer to it as a bowl, it's more like a shallow packet, that stays open better than regular packets. But I guess that's not as catchy. Yes, it's a gimmick, and one that I guess has some use in sharing amongst friends on a coffee table. I wouldn't nestle it among other party foods in a big spread, I'd probably just empty them into a real bowl. But on the whole, I feel it's pretty unnecessary, have we as a species lost the ability to share from a deep packet of crisps? I don't think so.

Novelty aside, the contents here are pretty good. They're thicker cut crisps, so they're basically Extra Crunchy Walkers by a different name. There was a very decent amount of flavouring in here, and they were definitely moreish. I'm sure we all know how good Walkers salt & vinegar crisps are, and it's not different here. But I fear this is another case of gimmicky packaging stinging you on the contents. This bag contains 150g, the same as your regular pack of Extra Crunchy, but the RRP for the Tear 'N' Share appears to be £1.99 compared to the Extra Crunchy's £1.50. I got these on offer for £1, so at that price it's worth it, but be aware of the regular pricing before you're lured in by the promise of that fancy bowl bag. Maybe you'll be able to pick them up for the same price, but it remains to be seen.

These are good crisps, there's no mistaking it, but the packaging seems to be a way to get more money out of us. You're probably better off going for a bag of the Extra Crunchy, they're just as good. Apparently the Tear 'N' Share have a new sweet chilli flavour though, so I'll probably pick some of those up to try them out. Otherwise I'll be leaving them on the shelf.

My rating: 3/5