Thursday, 31 March 2016

Today's Review: Müller Light Tropical Punch

I don't eat a lot of yoghurts, but I do tuck in if I find an interesting one, and these new tropical Müller Lights looked pretty good. The pack of six contains a pineapple variety, and this tropical punch, which is like the pineapple, but with more fruit too, so it was really no contest as to which I tried first. This punch has a mixture of pineapple, mango and banana. What a totally tropical taste.

I'm always wary about banana in yoghurts and smoothies and the like, as they often end up dominating the overall taste. This is somewhat the case here, sadly, there's a lot of banana flavour all up in this yoghurt. It's not so bad though, the pineapple holds its own and provides a nice sweet taste, pineapple isn't something I've tasted in yoghurt form a whole lot, but it should be used more often. As for the mango, there was hints of it, but it was pretty much in the background, which is a shame as I do love a good bit of mango. All in all, this yoghurt just provides that general 'tropical' flavour, a haphazard mash up of banana and pineapple with nothing particularly outrageous thrown in. It's nice, but it's pretty generic and not particularly adventurous. Where's the passion fruit, guys?

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Today's Review: Cornetto Choc 'N' Caramel Crunch

There's nothing quite like a new Cornetto, especially with the interesting flavours that have been coming out the past couple of years. While this new addition isn't as outlandish as the Peanut Butter Love, it does promise a whole lot of chocolate (and some caramel too, obviously).

Just look at that, look how brown it is! This Cornetto consists of chocolate ice cream with a caramel core, wrapped up in a cocoa cone, and topped with a chocolate disc with embedded crunchy caramel pieces. The disc was the main draw for me, and man, it's good. It's lovely and thick, and extremely chocolatey, with the caramel pieces adding a fantastic hit of sweetness and a satisfying crunch. Underneath the chocolate ice cream is a nice creamy offering, definitely carrying on the chocolate theme, which doesn't let up with the cone either. This is definitely a Cornetto for those who love chocolate, every single part contains it, and it's pretty delicious. The only thing I will say is that the caramel core in the middle of the ice cream wasn't particularly noticeable, so while the disc on top fulfilled the "caramel crunch" part, I felt it wasn't as well represented throughout the rest of the cone. Still, this is a lovely Cornetto, and it fits in nicely with the rest of the range.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Today's Review: Zootropolis

Zootropolis, Zootopia, whatever you want to call it, it's the new movie from Disney. Now, I can't say I'd heard too much about this before I went in, which is weird, as I've read it received quite a widespread marketing campaign in America, even going so far as to reach out to the furry community... But still, this is a Disney movie, and it's something of a tradition for me to go and see every Disney animated classic with the kids (as well as every Pixar), so off we went.

Zootropolis is set in a world where primates did not evolve into humans, so all the other mammals picked up the slack. The result is a world vastly populated by animals of all shapes and sizes, living together in harmony. Well, not quite perfect harmony, as our story follows a plucky young bunny named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who follows her dream to become a police officer in the sprawling city of Zootropolis (or Zootopia), in spite of the accepted norm that bunnies can't be police officers. Struggling to be taken seriously by her co-workers, Hopps decides to take on a missing mammal case, and with the help of small time con-man (or con-fox) Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) they come to realise that there may be a bigger conspiracy at large.

Much like Wreck-It-Ralph, Zootropolis seems to be an idea more suited to Pixar than regular Disney. The premise of fully evolved mammals is a very interesting one in itself, and it's perfectly fleshed out into a vibrant, fully realised world. All the animals are perfectly animated, and the very logistics of them all living together in one city are perfectly planned out, from neighbourhoods in the city to how they interact with each other. Many details are in passing, but the attention to detail is astounding, and it makes for some fantastic visual gags that kept me studying every scene just to catch further glimpses at how this world operates.

The story is, on the surface, a standard buddy cop, police procedural affair, and while it does follow the generic small-case-leads-to-bigger-conspiracy plot points, the overall underlying message is a very deep and meaningful one, especially in this day and age. There's a permanent underlying theme that the animals in this world are judged automatically based on their species, and the tenacity of our bunny heroine does a lot to spell out that things don't have to be that way. It helps that a lot of the characters are wonderfully constructed. Judy Hopps is a bunny motivated by her dream career, but also by a sense of justice and equality. She is a leading lady with integrity and tenacity that doesn't resort to stereotype in any way, and is perfectly portrayed by Goodwin. Bateman adds a terrific performance as Nick Wilde, a multi-layered character who is at times utterly hilarious. Sure, not every character is quite as complex, in fact a few of them are walking clichés, but all of them possess great attention to detail and some great voices to bring them all to life. With the dynamic duo at the helm, though, the story carries along perfectly, the dynamic between Bateman and Goodwin is just fantastic. 

Zootropolis is a great movie. It looks fantastic, and portrays a wonderfully crafted and populated world that I'd love to see more of. It carries some great messages about stereotypes and prejudice, employs some hilarious visual comedy, and even manages to be a pretty damn good police movie. Disney have done it again.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 28 March 2016

Today's Review: Feast Peanut Butter Snack Bar

I do love how prevalent peanut butter products are getting over here, even the classic Feast has joined in on the action and brought us this snack bar. I've been searching for these for a while, and finally stumbled upon them in Morrisons. It boasts a peanut butter flavour ice cream with caramel sauce, all wrapped up in chocolate with embedded peanut pieces.

I say I love how many peanut butter products are coming out, but I suppose that's because up until now they've mostly been done right. I guess the more we see, the more lacklustre the peanut butter experience is going to be, like the Maryland Gooeys I tried the other day. This is, unfortunately, another such example. To me, the ice cream really didn't taste much like peanut butter, especially with the caramel distracting my taste buds. It's a nice enough ice cream, but it's just disappointing, failing to deliver on the promise made on the box. There is some solace in the peanut pieces on the outside which add a bit of flavour, as well as a crunchiness that works well with the nicely thick chocolate. Overall though, it's only okay. The elements are there, but they're not great, just thrown together into an ice cream bar that didn't do much to wow me. They're alright to have for a quick frozen snack, but don't expect to be blown away.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Today's Review: Lindt Excellence Blueberry Intense

It's Easter Sunday, so maybe I should do an Eastery review, but I'm sure I've done enough of those, and you won't be able to find the stuff soon anyway. So here's a slightly topical one, it's some chocolate. I've reviewed a couple of Lindt Excellence bars before, and this time I found them on offer in Sainsbury's, so I picked up this blueberry bar, because blueberries are great.

This one has a dark chocolate base, like the chilli and lime varieties, with some almond slivers and blueberries mixed in. The chocolate itself is great, a slightly bitter, but still sweet foundation. The almond pieces add a nice bit of texture and a slight nuttiness, but the blueberry is somewhat under pronounced. It still has a nice fruity hint, but there could have been a bit more blueberry. I guess I was spoiled with the intense taste of the line bar, this is still a very nice bar of chocolate, I just feel it could have been a bit better. Well worth picking up though.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Today's Review: Nescafé Azera Latte To Go

My eyes were drawn to this pretty large box in my local Co-Op earlier in the week, and upon closer investigation I found it contained coffee. But not just any coffee, Coffee To Go. Yes, inside this box there are two right proper portable cups in which you can mix up a coffee to take out with you.

Just rip off that foil and you're greeted with a small helping of powdery stuff. Add some water up to the fill line, give it a stir, and pop on the lid that's also provided in the box, and there you have it:

Coffee to go, good innit? The lid even has a little open and close mechanism to stop you spilling the stuff all over yourself. Now, I know this seems like a gimmick, and while it's a neat idea I couldn't see how applicable it would be to my life, but I manage to get a cup of coffee in when I get to work most days, so maybe this is more for those with a busier schedule. It's pretty convenient if you need to get out of the house quickly, and the preparation is actually very quick and easy, but it all doesn't mean that much if it doesn't taste good, especially for the price. I got these on an introductory half price offer for about £2.10, so you'r looking at paying just under the price of a latte in a big chain coffee shop.

I must say, I was surprised by how good this was. I've had the instant lattes that you pour from a sachet, and while most are adequate, they don't beat a barista-made coffee. This one is really good though, it doesn't overdo it on the froth, and retains a nice milky flavour that's probably the closest I've come to a freshly made latte, and a nice hit of caffeine too (after all, that's what we're here for). The price may be a little on the high side, but it's still cheaper than popping into Starbucks or Coasta on the way to work, and you don't have to go out of your way as much to get it. This is a nifty little idea from Nescafé, a very tasty coffee that's quick and easy to prepare, and great for those moments when you need your caffeine on the go. I'll be buying more of these to have on standby for my busier days.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 25 March 2016

Today's Review: Maryland Gooeys Peanut

The original Gooey flavours came out almost three years ago now, my gosh, doesn't time fly? Although I gave the triple chocolate a pretty positive review at the time, I can't say I've picked up a packet since. But my snack hunting gaze landed upon this striking orange packet earlier, promising a peanut flavour. Well, it says peanut on the front, but in the description it says peanut butter flavour, so that made me even more excited. After all, everything is better with peanut butter.

Perusing the ingredients, I wasn't overly impressed. It does say "peanut flavour" on the packaging, but I wasn't expecting there to be no peanuts at all in here. There's some hazelnut in the chocolate filling, but not another nut in sight. They've done a fairly good job in emulating the flavour, there was a definite peanut taste when I first chomped into each cookie, but after a few chews it fades a little and starts to taste like all the other stuff that's been thrown in, ending up with something of a floury taste. There are a good few chocolate chips to alleviate this though, and the filling is nice and chocolatey (and gooey, I guess that's what counts), but the overall lack of actual peanut is disappointing. These are reminiscent of peanuts, but nothing like the peanut butter flavour it promises. A decidedly average cookie experience.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Today's Review: Daim Ice Creams

Daim has always been a favourite of mine, and while its integration into Dairy Milk was a stroke of genius, there's not much variety in the products on offer. That's why I was pretty happy to see these Daim ice creams the other day, like a Magnum but with Daim! This consists of caramel ice cream on a stick, enrobed in chocolate with Daim pieces embedded throughout.

The coating in these is fantastic. The chocolate is thick and tasty, and there's a very generous smattering of Daim bits, in all their crunchy, buttery, nutty glory. The ice cream is... okay. It doesn't taste a whole lot like caramel, but it's nice and creamy, and besides, there's enough Daim in the chocolate shell to add the flavour. There could be a better centre, but this is a good ice cream, if you like Daim you won't be disappointed.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Today's Review: Typo UK

I was lucky enough to be invited to the UK launch of Typo yesterday. For those of you who don't know what Typo is (I don't blame you, I didn't either), it's a stationery, homewares and gift brand that's pretty big in Australia, and now it's coming to our shores. I made my way to a lovely little outlet in London, where there were a whole bunch of interesting items laid out for my eyeballs to feast upon. 

This was one of the first sights I encountered as I walked around, a nicely laid out living room set, with some great printed graphics on the wall, and a fancy array of cushions. I'm often inexplicably averse to words and slogans on my furnishings, but looking around at the stuff on offer here, and having a quick look around the Typo website, there were a few that piqued my interest, especially this mug:

Bonus light box at the back there too, light boxes are cool, I'm going to buy one soon. Aside from that, there's that pretty neat lamp in the back, and blending in with the foreground there's a funky patterned external battery pack for your portable devices. That's right, Typo don't just do stuff for your home, there are travel goods too:

Pillows, headphones, travel pouches, they've got a whole load of stuff, too much to really delve into here, but they all seem to come in a wide array of patterns and slogans, and I wouldn't mind owning some of this for myself. The meat of the Typo brand, however, appears to be their stationery, and there was a wide range of stationery laid out, such as these notebooks with fantastic covers:

Yes, those are watermelon and Eiffel Tower pens, and indeed that is a cheeseburger pencil case. The variety of products seems pretty staggering, from the serious, to the pretty, to the downright silly. I was a little concerned about how much this stuff would cost, I've been to places like Paperchase only to turn around and walk back out again when I realised they wanted my life savings in exchange for a pad of paper. Fortunately, some of these products had some price labels on the back, and I was pleasantly surprised with how cheap it all was. Granted, those prices may not be finalised, so don't quote me on these, but those A4 notebooks were priced at £3.50, and given the funky designs I'd expect a heftier sum. The pens were about the same, but I don't think I'd mind paying that much for some of them, especially these hot dog looking ones:

Aside from the awesome stationery, there was a selection of cool products focused on your own creativity. Now, I don't count myself as a particularly creative person, but I know some people who would love this stuff. One thing that caught my eye was this DIY photo album:

A scrap booker's dream, I'm sure. There are all sorts of things to cram in besides your photos, and the whole bundle was priced at a mere £15, a perfect amount for gifting to a friend. 

Mannequins, stamps, a create-your-own pouch, there's a lot of stuff for the arty, and even the not so arty (you've gotta start somewhere). While you won't catch me meticulously arranging a photo album, one thing I might partake in is writing a witty slogan on my own travel mug:

Really, there was just too much cool stuff on show to cover in any sort of depth, but I hope my little highlights give you a hint of the bigger picture. There was also a great selection of gift cards and wrap, fridge magnets and colouring books on display, as well as several other trinkets, but taking a picture of every little thing would have probably made this my longest ever review. For a look at some more products, check out the Australian site. Typo will be opening up the UK site in early April, and I'll be sure to pop back with the link when it's up. There are also plans for a store in London, so watch this space and I'll let you know where that's at when it happens.

Typo looks to be a great brand that encompasses a lot of different facets of life, from home to travel. I'm quite discerning in my choice of printed covers and slogans, and there were several things on display that I wanted to snatch up. I'll definitely be stopping by the shop when it opens up, and an online order is most likely in the pipeline. I would normally say with a store like this that there may not be something for everyone, but the range of stuff I saw yesterday was pretty impressive. From the creative, to the stylish, to the naughty, you'll probably be able to find something you like if you look hard enough. I'm looking forward to seeing what Typo brings to the UK.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Today's Review: Galaxy Duet Toffee & Popcorn

I've spent weeks searching for this. Weeks! Well, by weeks I mean two, and by searching I mean continuously popping into one newsagent that had been teasing me with a sign but no stock. But here it is, the new Galaxy Duet with toffee and popcorn. I liked the first two varieties, so I had no reason to believe this was any different. Besides, this one has two fillings I don't think we've seen before in a Galaxy bar, so I was raring to go.

That picture may be more focused on my fingerprints than the bar, but you get an idea of the cross section here. There's a nice big cavity in one side, which houses a nice amount of gooey toffee. It's very sweet, and pretty delicious, possessing a darker taste and thicker consistency than the caramel you may be used to in a Galaxy. It's great, they should make more of it. As for the popcorn, it's not bad. I had no misguided preconceptions that they'd be able to fit entire chunks of popcorn in the bar, the size only leaves room for pieces of popcorn. It's a nice idea, and it's executed as well as it can be, but since they're so small there's not as satisfying a crunch as there could be. It's noticeable in the taste, and blend in very well with the toffee, but there's just not enough to make this an overall outstanding bar. But while it's not perfect, it's a good addition to an already tasty range, and the toffee alone would make it worth picking up. More Duets please, or even just a Galaxy Toffee...

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 21 March 2016

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Sundried Tomato & Herb

There hasn't been a new seasonal flavour of Kettle Chips for a little while now, but luckily I found a variety I'd never seen before in Home Bargains. The limited edition bags tend to have quite a few things crammed into them, and are getting increasingly fancy, so it was interesting to see a relatively simple flavour. You don't see tomato crisps all that often, and while I do love the Walkers tomato ketchup flavour, this bag promised a more authentic tomato experience, with some herbs thrown in for good measure.

These taste a hell of a lot like tomato, so that's a very good start. For someone who's not overly keen on tomato, I enjoyed these a lot more than I should have, it's a bold flavour with an undeniable sweetness to it, and the saltiness of the chips themselves blends in to make a great overall flavour. There's a great herby taste layered on top as well, the tomato by itself may have been a little overwhelming, but the herbs do well to mellow it out and provide a little bit of an extra kick. The bag says tomato and herb, tomato and herb it provides. Tomato haters need not apply, but this is a fantastic bag of crisps.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Citrus & Blueberry Filled Hot Cross Buns

I reviewed Tesco's chocolate and toffee filled hot cross buns last week, and found them to be very nice indeed. There were none of their fruity counterparts available at that time, a fact which I lamented, but I finally found a packet the other day. I'm always fond of a bit of blueberry, and the citrus element thrown in intrigued me as well, but did these live up to the expectation?

While the chocolate and toffee variety had a nice, thick sauce running throughout, these were more like a jam doughnut. The filling seemed to be concentrated in one place, and leaking out of the sides in a couple of places. It's a nice enough filling though, definitely blueberry, though I was expecting something a bit more runny than the jam-like texture in these. As for the citrus, I couldn't really detect it at all, perhaps they should have just labelled these as blueberry, that probably would have been enough to sell it to me. The bun itself is the usual Tesco offering, soft with a generous smattering of raisins. In these buns though, the filling didn't seem to be quite enough to offset the slight stodginess of the dough. The chocolate and toffee did a great job of providing a nice, sweet bit of moisture, but this one was somewhat dry. The fruity bits were good, but not as good as they could have been. I was looking forward to these, and wound up feeling somewhat disappointed. In future I think I'll stick with the naughtier stuff.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Today's Review: Aero Mousse Caramel

The Aero Mousse bar came out last year, and I can't say I was too impressed. Sure, it was the same old Aero chocolate, but I was expecting more of a mousse-like texture than the bar provided. Granted, I haven't had one since, maybe my bar just wasn't representative of the brand. But now there's a caramel variety out, so I decided it was time to dive into the mousse once again. Mmm, diving into mousse sounds delicious.

While I struggled a bit to find the difference between Aero chocolate and Aero mousse in the other bar, this one makes it pretty apparent. There's the good old Aero chocolate either side, and a sizeable lump of caramel mousse throughout the middle of the bar. I've got to say, this one delivers on the mousse front, the already soft chocolate gives way to an almost gooey, sweet centre that packs in a lot of caramel flavour. This is how an Aero Mousse bar should be, and I did thoroughly enjoy myself making my way through this. As I said before though, there is a lot of caramel flavour, and at times it overwhelms the chocolate quite a bit, it's a very bold, sweet flavour that, while tasty, is a little too much. Still, I much prefer this bar over the original, although I may go back and see if my opinion on that has changed since that one bar last year. Pick this one up while it's around though.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 18 March 2016

Today's Review: Nestlé Milkybar Giant Buttons Milkshake Mix Up

Cadbury have shoved some white chocolate buttons in with their regular Dairy Milk ones, and it seems Nestlé had kind of the same idea, as they've knocked up some chocolate buttons to go alongside their classic Milkybar ones. So here we have Milkshake Mix Up, which at first sounds like a sub-title for a wacky family adventure movie, but is actually describing the contents of the bag. Well, half the bag anyway, the white chocolate buttons remain the same, while the new ones are a chocolate milkshake flavour instead of just milk chocolate.

It shows as well, the brown ones in this bag are not milk chocolatey, instead having more in common with the regular Milkybar buttons, but with some chocolate flavouring mixed in. I guess that's preferable, I've tried the Yorkie buttons and been pretty disappointed, while I love Milkybar buttons, so a twist on that formula was promising. It doesn't stop them tasting a little off though. It definitely shows that these are chocolate flavoured rather than actual milk chocolate, it's not that bold a flavour, and there's something of a chalky after taste, but these still possess the creaminess you'd find in the white buttons, which overall lends to a more milkshake-like flavour like the one they promise on the pack. It's an alright variation on the regular button, but I can't say it's an improvement. The Milkybar buttons themselves are great, while the chocolate milkshake are just so so. Try them out if you want something different, but I think in future I'll just stick with the regular bag.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Today's Review: Marshmallowville Marshmallow Shooter

A cafe just opposite a quay on Mersea island was the last place I'd expect to find a gun purpose built for firing mini marshmallows, but find it I did. Now, I'm not a man who can clap my eyes on a marshmallow gun and not buy it, so I grabbed that sucker off the shelf. Some of my company at the time felt my purchase was frivolous and unnecessary, but all I was reminded of was this extremely apt scene from Parks & Rec:

The premise is simple, you put marshmallows in the tube, and then you shoot them. It's pretty easy to load, you just pop the tube off and shove in some mallowy goodness. It helps to keep them the right way up, so some finesse is required, but all in all it's a pretty easy method. Once you pop the tube back on, you're a few pumps away from raining tiny marshmallows upon whatever you desire. As long as it's not someone's face though, the box makes it very clear that you should never aim it at someone's face or mouth, and there's even a target provided to ensure you've got something better to fire at. But I posit this: If you're not supposed to fire this at peoples' faces, then why does the logo on the gun itself depict a guy with marshmallows in his hair?

Firing is simple, but it's not perfect. My first attempt with this was at work, where all I could rustle up were some fairly stale marshmallows that had been sitting in the cupboard for a while, and the results were less than satisfactory. But on the way home I picked up a bag of fresh ones, and I'm pleased to report that they're much more effective. It may still take a few pumps to get one to come out as opposed to the rapid fire I was hoping for, but I can still fling marshmallows across the room at will, and firing it at mouths is lots of fun, despite the inherent risks. Sometimes the marshmallows come out more than one at a time, making this more like a marshmallow shotgun instead of a rifle, and that's always cool. So while it doesn't fire after one pump 100% of the time, this is still an effective launcher of mini marshmallows. Maybe I just need practice, and one day I can be like this:

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk

With all the new Cadbury products lining the shelves at Poundland recently, I was surprised to find another one nestled in with the chocolate bars. This is Dairy Milk Silk, which is like Dairy Milk but smoother apparently. Upon further research I discovered that this isn't a new UK product, but in fact an established brand in South Africa and India. Not that that's disappointing, it's nice to get some import stuff for a low price.

Well, this is Dairy Milk, which is always a good start. Looking at the list of ingredients, they're identical to your classic Dairy Milk bar, so I guess it's a slight change in ratios or production that give this a smoothness, It may have just been my brain expecting a different taste, but this bar does seem to possess a different texture than regular Dairy Milk. It is somewhat thinner and smoother in shape than the chunky UK bar, and it seems to melt in the mouth slightly faster. I also detected a bit more sweetness than I'm used to, despite the overall texture being smooth there was a hint of sugary grittiness, which isn't too bad, but it didn't sit well with me in comparison to the classic.

This bar is an interesting one. What exactly makes it different from the UK Dairy Milk? The shape? The process? The South African milk? Or is it all in my mind? All I can say is that while it's still some very good chocolate, it doesn't quite match the original. It's worth trying out for yourselves though.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Today's Review: Cathedral City Baked Bites With Sweet Chilli

I reviewed the original Baked Bites almost two years ago now, and found them to be pretty damn amazing. Give me the choice between classic Mini Cheddars and Baked Bites and the Bites would win every time. So imagine my joy when I spotted this multi-pack on a high shelf in Poundworld yesterday. They're Baked Bites, but with sweet chilli. I have the firm belief that anything can be made better if you add peanut butter or chilli, and since cheese and peanut butter crackers might be a little weird (though not necessarily awful), this sounded like a pretty awesome combination to me.

The base of these is the same old great Baked Bite, a wonderfully crunchy, cheesy cracker that doesn't leave a nasty, greasy residue on your hands. The cheese flavour was most apparent when I started chewing, but it soon gave way to the sweet chilli, which comes through with a bold heat that blends in really well with the initial taste. It's a great balance, and the after taste is a great combination of cheesy and spicy that hangs around for quite a while. I wasn't sure if the addition of another element would make Baked Bites worse, but these are a great addition to the range. I'd like to see what else they may bring out in the future.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 14 March 2016

Today's Review: Kit Kat Chunky Extra Chocolate

When the Kit Kat Chunky was first introduced, it was a fantastic twist on the original Kit Kat. It took the small and dainty wafer finger and loaded it with more chocolate, making for a filling and satisfying bar. But for some people that may not be enough. Maybe they want more chocolate. I admit that sometimes I've made my way through a Kit Kat Chunky and wished it would have more of the good stuff around the outside to sink my teeth into, and now my prayers have been answered. Here we have Kit Kat Chunkys with extra chocolate. According to that little badge on the right, the extra chocolate is for nibbling, but who wants to do that? I took a big old chunk out of the thing.

I realise my fingers are more in focus than the bar itself, but I think you can get the gist of the cross section there. There's a lot of chocolate, basically, especially above and below the wafer. It's definitely satisfying, a fantastic chocolate hit that is still backed up by the crunchiness of the wafer, but I feel it's a little bit "be careful what you wish for", there seems to be just a little too much chocolate in here. After all, the wafer is what separates the Kit Kat Chunky from any other chocolate bar, especially a Yorkie, and the amount of chocolate in this does overwhelm the wafer to quite a large degree. I can't be too mad though, I wanted more chocolate on a Kit Kat Chunky, and this delivers just that. If you like the ratios, stick with the original, but this is a nice addition to the range for those who want something different.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Today's Review: Butterkist Hot Cross Bun Popcorn

Looks like I'm going hot cross bun mad, three Easter themed reviews in a row. This is a little different though, it's a hot cross bun flavoured popcorn from Butterkist, who seem to be getting pretty comfortable with churning out seasonal flavours. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this after being somewhat disgusted by their winter gingerbread offering, but hey, that's what I'm here for, to try these things out and see whether they're worth spending money on or if they'll make you want to vomit. So in the name of science, I shoved some hot cross bun popcorn in my face.

I thought I'd regret it as soon as the stuff hit my tongue, I was greeted with quite a strong hit of spice, which was pretty similar to the stuff put in the gingerbread popcorn. But as the rest of the ingredients caught up I found it wasn't too bad. The spice is there, sure, and it's quite a large part of the overall flavour, but there's a nice sweetness underneath that really mellows it out. I wouldn't say this tastes exactly like a hot cross bun, but it does hit some of the right buttons in terms of elements at play. There's no real fruitiness to speak of, and the spice does get overwhelming some of the time, but it's a much better balance of flavours than the gingerbread flavour, which I had to stop eating at several points through the bag. This is a neat attempt at a seasonal flavour, and while it's not great, it's a good offering, and I hope Butterkist carry on the trend in the future.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Chocolate & Toffee Filled Hot Cross Buns

Whaddya know, I say yesterday how I've failed to find new Easter products, and I find two in as many days. Tesco have brought out a nice variety of hot cross buns over the years, but these are a nice new addition to the range, filled hot cross buns. I picked up the chocolate and toffee flavour, there's also a citrus and blueberry but sadly they were out of stock, I guess those must be good. This pack has a couple of white hot cross buns, with chocolate chips and toffee pieces, and a toffee fudge filling throughout.

It's a pretty decent amount of filling, which is great, but therein lies a little bit of a problem. It's a rich toffee sauce, and it's very nice, but there's just a little too much of it, and it gives quite a sickly overall flavour that sometimes overwhelms the other elements. Still, the chocolate is noticeable and sweet, and the dough is thick enough without becoming too stodgy and sickly. This is definitely quite a decadent treat, and it's not one you can easily cut up and fit in your toaster. In fact, the packaging says it's not suitable for heating at all. But I don't care what they say, I stuck one of these sucker under the grill and it became a lovely warm, melted mess of goodness. While I would normally skim over the offer of a regular hot cross bun, this is one I wouldn't mind eating again. It may be a little sickly, but it's a nice sweet twist on the original.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 11 March 2016

Today's Review: Warburtons Hot Cross Bun Loaf

I haven't reviewed an Easter product for a while, and it's still a while away from the big weekend, but to be honest I haven't found many new products this year. I did find this hot cross bun loaf though, and while I'm sure it's not brand spanking new, it's the first time I've picked it up.

I do enjoy a hot cross bun, but the shape sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. For quick toasting it can be quite awkward to cut right, like a bagel or scone, and the wrong slice can leave the surface area for buttering very uneven. But this stuff is a hot cross bun in sliced loaf form. It fits perfectly in the toaster, provides a nice flat surface for spreading, and what's more, it tastes great too. It's a good thick dough that isn't too stodgy, and it has just the right amount of spice for my liking, alongside some nice juicy raisins. It's great toasted, packing a satisfying crunch, and melted butter on top makes it even better. All my hot cross bun related woes have been dispelled, this is a must have during the Easter period.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Time Out Wafer

Bet you thought that was it for new Cadbury products, didn't ya? Well, that's their secret, captain. There are always new products. This is a Time Out Wafer, it's like a Time Out, but with wafer I guess, even though the original has wafer anyway. So more wafer? I was a little confused as to the purpose of these when I picked them up, but since then I've learned the horrifying news that the original Time Out is no more, and this is what's in its place.

So what's the difference? Well, the original had a nice centre of rippled chocolate, Flake style chocolate, sandwiched between two wafers. This one has none of that funny business, instead opting for the one thick wafer with a little bit of chocolate spread between the layers. If that last sentence makes me sound disappointed, it's because I am. I didn't eat Time Outs all that often, so I guess I contributed to the decline in popularity that led to it being pulled. But don't go an replace it with a different, inferior version. This bar still tastes chocolatey, sure, and there are worse things to snack on, but it's mostly wafer, and as such it's pretty dry and disappointing. I get that the goal is to provide a nice calorie friendly snack, but they could have launched this alongside the original Time Outs, I'm sure sales would have increased with people just not wanting to buy this one. Okay, this bar isn't awful, but it's not good compared to what once was, and it's going to be a sad reminder that something significantly more chocolatey was once available. Why, Cadbury, why?

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Mixed Buttons

It's another Cadbury product, this year certainly has been a busy one. This bag of Buttons isn't particularly revolutionary, but it does herald the return of the white Dairy Milk, which is something of an event whenever it happens. Cadbury Dream used to be quite prolific many years ago, but otherwise the white chocolate offerings are few and far between. So yes, these are Mixed Buttons. Some are white, and some are the classic milk. That's all there is to it, but sometimes chocolate doesn't need to be fancy to be good.

Half of these are the standard Dairy Milk, so that's a good start. They're as good as always, a lovely creamy chocolate, although I'm used to the Giant Buttons by now, so these were quite small and thin in comparison, I had to shove in a lot more to be satisfied with the taste. As for the white chocolate buttons, I'm not too sure. They're creamy, sure, but they're not all that great, with a slight chalkiness to them. With so many other companies offering some well known white chocolate products, these fall quite flat in comparison, they just lack the flavour that I'd expect to find in a good quality white chocolate button. After eating these, it's easy to see why Cadbury white chocolate isn't more prominent. This isn't an awful bag of chocolate, but I'd take a completely milk chocolate bag any day. These are interesting for a change, but the quality of the white chocolate makes it decidedly average.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Today's Review: Tyrrell's English Barbecue Crisps

There's a bargain store in my town that stocks various foreign foodstuffs and almost-but-not-quite-out-of-date delicacies. I often go in there and find big bags of crisps in flavour I've never seen before. This is one of those bags, Tyrrell's English barbecue. Now, barbecue crisps are definitely a thing, but I'm not sure what the nationality has to do with it. I was thinking they were trying to encapsulate the real flavour of an English barbecue, and was prepared for crisps that taste like rain and disappointment.

Fortunately, they don't, although I'm sure that would be interesting. Instead these taste like a more generic barbecue flavour. There's a nice, smoky base that's built upon with a lovely sweetness with just a hint of spice. There are all good natural ingredients in there, which is definitely noticeable in the taste. I've never been too on board with barbecue crisps, what exactly is the flavour supposed to be? Why do I want to eat a barbecue? In that respect, these crisps aren't perfect, I still feel they could have another element to make them more interesting. But as a specifically barbecue themed crisp, these are very good. A great proportion of smoky, spicy and sweet flavours, if barbecues tasted like this I'd be licking them all the time.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 7 March 2016

Today's Review: KFC Zinger Stacker

I don't normally like using promo shots for burgers and the like, but the photo I took of this burger turned out so dark it looked like I hadn't unlocked it yet. I must not have been too concerned with how the exposure was at the time, because I promptly stuffed the burger into my face and then had nothing to work with. So here is a representation of the KFC Zinger Stacker burger:

Looks good, dunnit? Well, that's because someone was paid to make it look that good, but in all fairness mine did look pretty good in real life. KFC's specialty menu items are normally pretty good, and after their foray into burritos and rice boxes, it's nice for them to be going back to burgers. Some have been a bit hit and miss in the past, but this seems to be a return to their roots. It's like a Zinger burger, but with another hunk of chicken. Now, I love a fillet burger, especially one that's towered up, so the prospect of an even larger amount of chicken was too much to ignore. Alongside the two chicken fillets, you also get two slices of cheese, some lettuce, and both sweet chilli and Supercharger sauce. Not sure why they call it a Zinger with no Zinger salsa, but as long as it's spicy that's fine by me.

This was hard to get my mouth around, but was entirely satisfying. The two fillets make this a very chunky, filling burger, and the chicken is just as good as you'd expect from KFC. The coating was particularly crunchy around the edges, which I loved. Perhaps the best part of the whole thing was the mixture of sauces, it's both sweet and spicy at the same time, providing a great flavour that you wouldn't find in an average Zinger burger. I may have been drawn in by that tantalising marketing image, but I wasn't expecting to enjoy this so much. It may not be quite as thick as the picture up there, but this burger is big, it's full of chicken, and the sauces and cheese work around it to make it an all round awesome burger. I'll be sure to pick up another one of these before they disappear.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 6 March 2016

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

I reviewed the new Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough S'Wich up flavour a while back, and lamented that the "Wich" in the title wasn't heralding the return of the fantastic cookie ice cream sandwich that got discontinued years back. I remember snatching them up in the shops, and even when they started disappearing from the shelves I could occasionally get a sample at the annual Ben & Jerry's festival (yes, that was once a thing). But, it turns out I was wrong in my previous review, as like a phoenix from the ashes the 'Wich has risen again, and this time it's got cookie dough pieces embedded in it. Should I stop there? The 'Wich is one of my favourite ice cream products of all time, I'm sure we know how this review is going to turn out. But for the sake of completion, I'll soldier on.

Look at that, just look at it, it's glorious. It is quite a bit smaller than the 'Wich used to be, or maybe I'm just bigger, has it been that long? I admit I felt a tinge of sadness regarding the size difference, but I'm a lot more conscious about my portion sizes now, and it's a fairly decent heap of ice cream and cookies, so I'll roll with it. 

It's as good as I remembered, oh yes it is. The cookie is fantastically soft and flavoursome, with a chocolate swirl that really just makes it perfect. We all know how good the Ben & Jerry's cookie dough pieces are, and this is just a slightly baked version of that, and it's just the right consistency. The ice cream underneath is great, these guys know how to make ice cream, so that's no surprise. It's a lovely, creamy filling, and this time round there's the added bonus of the classic cookie dough chunks, which add even more biscuit flavour and a great gritty texture. This ice cream sandwich is great, I've been waiting years for this moment, and I am not disappointed. It's a lovingly crafted, filling chunk of goodness, and they'll have a presence in my freezer for as long as they're around.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Today's Review: McVitie's Digestives Nibbles

Britain would crumble without its biscuits, but they're not always easiest to share or transport in their natural state. Now McVitie's are changing up the biscuit game, by creating these Nibbles. They're like Digestives, but in small, spherical form. I love a good Digestive, so I snapped these right up. I got a the caramel and double chocolate flavours, but these are also available in milk and dark chocolate. The double chocolate is a combination of those two though, so I figured they'd be a good representation of what's on offer.

If you've had a McVitie's Digestive (and I'm sure you have) then these taste exactly like you'd imagine. The biscuit is as good as ever, nice, crunchy, bite size nuggets that are quite simply delicious. The coating is pretty much the same as the differing varieties of Digestive. The caramel has a lovely sweet taste layered underneath some creamy chocolate, while the double chocolate offers both bitter and sweet, and while it's slightly on the dark side, there's enough milk to stop it being too rich. I can imagine the solely dark Nibbles would be a bit much for me, but these are pretty good. The only thing I found is that the coating is a little, shall I say, artificial tasting. I assume it's something in the process to ensure the pieces don't melt easily and stick together, but it seems the chocolate on top of a proper Digestive is a lot cleaner. It's not a major gripe, these make for a great sharing bag, and I hope other biscuits take on this form soon enough. Nibble away.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 4 March 2016

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Dark Chocolate And Coconut Oat Slices

Despite my disappointment over the Mr. Kipling lemon slices the other day, I still knew Mr. Kipling can rustle up a good cake. So when I spied these fancy looking slices yesterday I didn't hesitate to pick them up. Look, they're so posh they don't even use an ampersand. They promised to satiate my growing love for coconut, and my life long love of oaty stuff, and with some dark chocolate thrown in too.

These are a little dry, I'll start off with that. Most of the Mr. Kipling slices have a nice coverage of icing that helps to add a little moisture, and the cake itself is often very light. This slice has a heavier texture, but it is in keeping with the contents. It packs a lovely deep oat flavour, finished off well with some oats sprinkled on top. The chocolate and coconut aren't particularly strong, but they're a lasting presence throughout that blend in very nicely with the cake itself. I often find coconut in snacks is laid on far too heavily, so it's nice to see it used sparingly to good effect. I guess the chocolate chips could have had more of an impact in greater numbers, perhaps alleviating the dryness of the cake, but overall these are some well rounded cake slices that provide an interesting alternative to your regular lemon or angel varieties.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut Chopped

I've been looking for this bar for a while, despite reading some negative reviews, and I guess it's a good thing that it took a long time to find it, as it means this isn't replacing the regular Fruit & Nut any time soon. This is Fruit & Nut Chopped, which is like Fruit & Nut, except with chopped nuts. I guess that's pretty easy to infer from the title, and in theory it's a good idea. While I do like a bar of Fruit & Nut, with large chunks of nut you often find a lot of the flavour concentrated in one piece. Chopping them up spreads the nuttiness out throughout the bar. But it seems that the chopping has a darker purpose.

This bar is very thin, especially compared to other Dairy Milk bars of the same size. You can't make it that thin with the regular sized pieces of nut shoved in there, so it seems there may be a bit of trickery going on to give less product for the same price, especially since this bar weighs significantly less than the average Fruit & Nut bar. I said before that the chopped nuts may have the benefit of spreading the flavour throughout the bar, and in some ways that's true. The chocolate is good, the raisins provide a nice juicy hit, and there's a uniform nutty flavour throughout, but I'm not sure it's much more noticeable than those bars with bigger nuts. I'd much rather spend the money on the classic bar, and get a nice variety of texture, and more importantly more chocolate. This smaller bar is just pretty disappointing.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Lemon Whirls

I've steered fairly clear of the Easter themed cakes this year, for no reason in particular, I guess I've just tried them all already, and I have an unhealthy compulsion to not eat anything unless it's new. I'm pretty sure I haven't tried these Mr. Kipling lemon whirls before, and I don't remember seeing them in previous years, but correct me if I'm wrong. I think it's pretty clear what these are, they're like Viennese Whirls, but with lemon flavoured filling instead of the raspberry jam.

I'm just gonna say it, I'm disappointed. These just aren't that lemony. It may be just down to the actual volume of the stuff, seeing as there's a dramatic drop from 11% raspberry jam to just 9% lemon across varieties, but I don't think a 2% discrepancy in filling would make them so bland. I guess the filling just isn't that noticeable. There's a hint of lemon throughout, but most of the time it's swamped by the biscuit and the cream, and there just doesn't seem to be enough stuff in the middle to stop the shortcake from tasting pretty dry. Still, it's the same old shortcake, and the cream is nice enough, it just all seems out of whack. Maybe if they went with some proper lemon stuff, like lemon curd, it would be a bit better. But from a company that have churned out some great seasonal whirls, these just left me longing for something better.

 My rating: 2/5

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Today's Review: Millie's Frozen Cookie Dough

I don't go to Millie's Cookies all that often, but I can't deny that they make a damn good cookie. But now you don't have to make the trek to your local Millie's Cookies stand to buy some professionally baked cookies, oh no, you can make the trek to Iceland instead and pick up your own batch of their frozen cookie dough, and bake those bad boys at home yourself. They come in three varieties, milk chocolate chip, white chocolate chip and triple choc. Fairly plain flavour, I know, but you have to start somewhere.

I followed the instructions properly, and equipped with my fairly successful background of cookie making I ended up with the plate up there. They passed the first test, they looked the part, and when it came to eating I was pretty impressed too. It's a nice soft cookie with a satisfying crunch around the edge (perhaps a bit too crunchy as I may have left them in the oven a bit too long). They're packed full of chocolate chunks, and the ingredients all taste pretty authentic, and they're definitely reminiscent of the real thing. So yeah, these are good, but the only thing that's holding me back from providing a great rating is the price of the stuff. 

This cookie dough will set you back £3 a box, and each box only provides six cookies. I know that's an improvement over the £4.19 that they cost in Millie's Cookies itself, but it's not a great amount of savings. Thankfully the dough is on offer for two for £5, but that's still not far off the £6.99 price for 12 cookies in store. Perhaps I'm just being pedantic, but I figured you'd get just a few more cookies for your buck. Still, I can't complain too much, this dough makes some pretty tasty cookies, and while you do run the risk of overcooking them, when you could pay a little bit extra and have them properly prepared for you, at least you can stuff these in your face while they're warm and fresh. I guess that's worth the price, there's not much better than a nice warm cookie.

My rating: 4/5