Thursday, 27 July 2017

Today's Review: Haribo Tangfastics Stixx

Just a quick little review of this interesting sweet I picked up in Poundstretcher. It's a combination between Tangfastics and a cable, which sounded like a pretty good amalgamation. Looks like it only came in an orange flavour, and it's pretty good. The outer layer is nice and fizzy, pretty much like a big elongated Tangfastic. The inside is a pretty generous orange flavour creme, which is creamy enough, but the orange flavouring means it's a little on the sickly side. Perhaps with a more traditional white filling I'd be more on board with this. It's good though, and I'd like to see it available in other colours. Like red and purple. Mmm.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Today's Review: Maryland Thins Salted Caramel

Thin biscuits are the new in thing. Just think about it, if you halve the thickness of the biscuit, you get half the calories, which means you can eat twice as much! Anyway, we have seen skinny versions of Oreos and Digestives, so now it's the turn of the cookie, and Maryland is leading the brigade with these Thins. I saw them in chocolate chip and this salted caramel variety, and of course I grabbed the latter, because caramel.

These were a bit odd at first, I must admit. You see, Oreos and Digestives have a pretty regular consistency. I know a Digestive can be a bit crumbly, but both of those transformed into a thinner version while still preserving the same texture and taste. These cookies don't handle it quite as well. You see, Marylands are pretty crumbly, while these thin ones are a bit more solid, and more brittle than crumbly. It's not a massive issue, it's just something I had to get used to while eating. They still taste like Marylands, there's just a different texture to them. The caramel pieces are pretty good, I could actually taste the salt unlike other "salted caramel" products I've tried. There are chocolate chips too, which round it all off pretty nicely with a nice hint of creaminess. Overall, it's a pretty good biscuit. A bit of a change from your classic Marylands, but a good job at a lighter snack. I'll most likely pick up the other flavour in the future.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Today's Review: Asda Dessert Flavour Collection

Asda are really on board with the dessert confectionery lately. I've tried the cables, and now I've moved on to the boiled sweets. This one features the return of the lemon meringue, but also includes toffee apple and black forest. I figured they were more winter desserts, but hey, any dessert is good for me. 

I thought these would be your run of the mill flavoured boiled sweets, but I was wrong. The lemon meringue is probably the most regular of all of these, it's a nice tart sweet, and inside there's a somewhat creamy tasting filling, and combined the two parts do bear a resemblance to lemon meringue, it's pretty nice. The toffee apple is interesting, with a sweet, and slightly spiced apple outer that melts away to a chewy toffee centre. The combination of apple, cinnamon and toffee is pretty nice, but it's a little heavy on the spice, and the boiled sweet/toffee combo takes a bit of getting used to.

That's nothing compared to the black forest though. What starts out as a cherry sweet quickly turns far more odd, at its centre lies dark chocolate. It's like a mix between a glacier fruit and a chocolate eclair, and I really don't know how I feel about it. At first I was disgusted at the very idea of it, but as I ate a few more it grew on me, the flavours work quite well together. That doesn't mean I'm a fan now, it's a very acquired taste and I won't be desperate to grab another bag of these. This bag of sweets has some interesting ideas which aren't too badly executed, worth trying if you want something different, but not a classic.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 24 July 2017

Today's Review: Pot Pasta Carbonara

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, Pot Noodles are a national institution. The ultimate in quick fix lunch options (and maybe dinner?), Pot Noodles vary in sizes, spiciness and flavours, but one thing remains consistent, and that's their... noodliness. But no more, because now you can go for slightly finer dining with the Pot Pasta. It's like a Pot Noodle, but instead of noodles, it's pasta. These come in a few interesting varieties, emulating classic pasta dishes. There's broccoli, bolognese, and this carbonara flavour, which is the one I picked up for my lonely Monday night dinner.

I can't say I eat a lot of Pot Noodles, so I was a little disappointed with how little stuff there was inside this pot. It did expand once I filled it up with water, so maybe I was just being picky. But that's not the only thing that disappointed me. The sauce is the main thing, it's not so much creamy as it is watery, making the whole thing a lot more sloppy than I was anticipating. I know I did it right, because there's a line to fill the water to. I know I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm pretty sure I can prepare a pot of pasta. Thankfully, it's not all bad, it's cheesy enough, and while the ham isn't particularly well represented, there's a little meatiness to be had here. The pasta itself is a welcome change from the "classic" noodles, but while it's filling, it's not particularly great quality. 

The carbonara Pot Pasta is not for me. I suppose it's a nice enough change from a Pot Noodle, but I don't think that's really saying much. Maybe I'll try out the bolognese flavour next time, but this one is just not great. A creamier sauce may have saved it a little, but I'm not on board with a watery pasta pot.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Today's Review: McVitie's Digestives Banoffee Caramel

The banoffee trend is going strong, now it's even in our biscuits! There are two new varieties of Caramel Digestives, one with coffee, and this banoffee version. Of the two, this one tickled my fancy the most. The regular caramel ones are pretty great, all they had to do was add a bit of banana. I picked these up in Sainsbury's for the sweet sweet price of £1.

I wasn't expecting these to be too great, I think I've been burned by dodgy banoffee before. But actually, these are pretty good. The banana isn't the most natural I've tasted, but there's a definite hint throughout, a nice added sweetness that works pretty well with the caramel. It's a chewy biscuit, a little too much for my liking, but the flavouring is good, and it was pretty hard to stop eating these once I started. This is a very decent spin on the classic Caramel Digestives, I'll be hunting down the coffee ones when I get the chance.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Today's Review: VIP Nuts Hot Toffee

There are a few interesting items lining the world food aisle at Asda, most of them originating from far off countries. This one is a little out of place then, having entirely English packaging, and from a company that originated in London. Still, it's still a pretty out there snack, these are caramelised peanuts with a hint of chilli. Hot toffee, see? I'm all for a spicy peanut, but I was interested to see what the toffee element would bring to the table.

These are pretty hot peanuts. I'm used to being underwhelmed by the amount of spice put into snacks nowadays, but these pack a pretty decent punch. They won't blow your head off by any means, but I was pleasantly surprised. The caramel is done well too, a nice crunchy coating that provides a lovely sweetness which takes the edge off the spice. They're equally spicy and sweet, and it's an interesting attempt at flavour combination that works very well. Some damn good peanuts, I'll be sure to pick some more up next time I'm perusing this aisle.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 21 July 2017

Today's Review: Pringles Mac & Cheese

There are a few new flavours of Pringles out, under a "street food" banner. There are some pretty interesting additions, but this is the one that intrigued me the most, macaroni cheese Pringles. Cheese crisps is a standard, I know, but I wondered how they were going to emulate the macaroni in potato chip form. I know, macaroni and potatoes, doubling up on carbs isn't great, but I went for it anyway.

These don't really taste like macaroni, but they do taste like cheese. There's a little hint of something else, but I can't say I liken it to pasta. These are good cheese Pringles, so I'll give them that much, but it seems the inclusion of the "mac" is a bit of a novelty that isn't executed particularly well. Hopefully some of the other street food flavours will be a bit more authentic, but this is a pretty average effort.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Today's Review: Asda Chocolate Curls

It's been a long time since Cadbury Snaps lined our shelves, and they're still sorely missed in my household. They were fantastic crisp shaped chocolates, and it was incredibly easy to polish off a whole pack in one. When they disappeared they left a Pringle shaped hole in my heart, so imagine my joy when I saw that familiar design on this box of Curls at Asda. Could they replicate that long lost greatness?

There are a fair amount of Curls in this box, but even so, they didn't last long. These are good, a lovely creamy chocolate in a nice thick shape, studded with crispy rice pieces that gives each one a nice crunch. They're delicious and moreish, I found myself popping them in my mouth one after the other, and they brought me back to the days that I'd do the same with the Cadbury version. As far as I know, these are as good as Snaps, so grab a box of Curls if you want to relive that chocolate crisp experience, or if you just want to experience it for the first time.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Today's Review: Asda Dessert Flavour Cables

Summer is here, and summer means desserts, apparently. I mean, I'll have dessert any time of the year, but I guess it's easier to get hold of the fruit required for these summer desserts in warmer climes. So here we have a bag featuring a variety of four different fruity dessert cables. We have lemon meringue, rhubarb & custard, apple pie and blackcurrant pie. I love me a good cable, so I snatched these up as soon as I saw them.

Let's go through these one by one then. I started with the lemon meringue, and my word, they are amazing. A sharp, sweet, lemon flavour, with a definite hint of meringue, which is only accentuated by the creamy innards, which emulate the texture of the meringue as well as the flavour. Pretty perfect in my eyes. The rhubarb and custard are good too, both elements well represented, and although it's not perfect, it's definitely an interesting flavour to have in cable form, different but pretty great. 

As for the other two, I feared they were going to be a bit of a cop out, and it turns out they're nothing too special. Adding "pie" on the end doesn't change the fact that these just taste like apple and blackcurrant, not much pie to had at all. They're not bad, just disappointing where the other two flavours did such a good job at emulating their desserts. Maybe if they swapped the blackcurrant pie for an Eton mess or something, these would rank more highly with me. Hell, I'd just take a whole bag of the lemon meringue. But as they are, they're just above average.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Today's Review: McVitie's Digestives Orange Nibbles

Here's a quick review of this new variety of those good old share bag Digestives bits. Nibbles have been around for a while now, and are pretty fantastic, so I was expecting great things from an orange flavour. Each nibble has that nice creamy chocolate layer, and underneath is the orange flavoured biscuit. Well, they say it's orange flavoured, but I can't say it was all that detectable a lot of the time. A slight hint of orange would come up, but it was quickly taken over by the taste of the Digestive itself, and I can't help but feel disappointed. I was expecting a nice fruity hit, but it's a lacklustre effort. I'd stick with the other flavours, at least they do what they say on the bag.

My rating: 2/5

Monday, 17 July 2017

Today's Review: Butterfinger Cups Coconut

I spied these Butterfinger Cups sitting on an end shelf at Asda, and was instantly filled with ambivalence. My joy at seeing the Butterfinger logo was instantly diminished by the fact that they're filled with coconut, and not peanut butter. I didn't know what to think, but since this was entirely new to me, in the trolley they went. I spent the rest of my shopping trip in a state of disappointment over the lack of peanut butter, but also weighing up the possibilities of what was to come...

Butterfingers are one of my favourite bars, fantastic peanut buttery goodness that transfers very well to chocolate cup form. But I needn't have worried about how the transition to coconut would go, these things are bloody delicious. The chocolate outer layer is smooth and creamy, and satisfyingly thick. The filling is just divine, a great mixture of coconut flavoured cream, with shreds of desiccated coconut throughout to give a nice texture. I guess I'd say it's like a Bounty, but the innards are far creamier, and to me that's only a good thing. I've grown to love coconut over the years, and these cups are a fantastic use of the flavour, and well worth seeking out.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Today's Review: Doritos Roulette With Tabasco

Doritos Roulette came out a couple of years ago now, and the spicy ones packed a pretty decent punch. I was quite keen of them, despite the rest of the bag being filled with boring old cheese. Apparently my love of spicy stuff doesn't extend to the rest of the populace though. Now, this year, the Roulette has undergone a re-branding, in partnership with Tabasco sauce. Now, I like a bit of hot sauce, and I know that Tabasco doesn't exactly blow the socks off, but the bag is still touting the "ultra spicy" warning, so I was eager to see how these stood up to the original bag.

The only thing I got from this bag was a slight tingle on the tongue. At first it was even hard to distinguish between the cheese and Tabasco chips, it's only after a fair few that that warm feeling crept in. It's not intense, it's not even that spicy. These chips are a downgrade, and a disappointment. I'm guessing they toned them down to avoid any further bad press, but I know I won't be picking up a bag of these again. Even the Chilli Heatwave are spicier than the few Tabasco chips thrown in here. This is one low stakes roulette.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Soured Cream & Peppercorn Trio Crisps

I do love a bag of Tesco Finest crisps, and they're always one to pull some interesting flavours out of the bag (I'm looking at you, rum and cocoa). This new limited edition is pretty unique, and it caught my eye instantly, seeing as I love a bit of peppercorn, mostly in sauce form, on a steak. So here we have a trio of peppercorn colours, along with sour cream, in a bag of crisps. After all, you can't go wrong with a bit of sour cream.

Sounded pretty good to me, and they are, like really good. It's a great combination, with the smooth sweetness of the sour cream, coupled with a lovely peppery hit, and both elements work together wonderfully. They're creamy, with a slight spice, and the pepper is ever present, blending in very well, it doesn't let up or trail off, this is a consistently delicious bag of crisps. A pretty unique flavour that pretty much tastes like it says on the bag. It's a shame this is a limited edition, I would have liked it to stick around.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 14 July 2017

Today's Review: Fox's Cookie Minis

It looks like the next big thing is sharing bags of biscuits, and that's not a bad thing at all. Maryland have already brought out their bite-size bags, and now Fox's have followed suit. There are a couple of varieties available at Tesco, and to start with I went for these classic chocolate chip cookies. They come in a nice zip-locked bag too, but with that comes a bizarre set of demands, apparently I need to share and reseal these? One of those alone is a challenge enough.

These are some tiny little cookies. I would have taken a picture, but apparently I was too busy shoving them in my face, and no, I neither shared nor resealed... I guess you can probably tell from those clues that these are delicious. Tiny, buttery, crumbly cookies embedded with a generous amount of chocolate chips. They're sweet, plentiful, and easy to scoff by the mouthful. This bag did not last long at all, and despite my gluttony, I still felt less guilty than I would eating an entire regular packet of cookies. A great bag of fantastic cookies, be on the lookout for them.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Today's Review: Red Bull Summer Edition

I don't often go for the cans of Red Bull. I know it's good stuff, but Monster is significantly cheaper by volume, and it does the job of perking me up to my satisfaction. One thing I can't resist, however, is a new flavour of Red Bull, so I was suitably excited when I spied this green can across the aisle at Morrisons. It's a "summer" flavour, which equates to kiwi & apple, because they're the go to flavours for summer-themed, green-coloured drinks.

I don't rate kiwi fruits. I don't find them entirely awful, but I think there's nicer stuff out there. I don't understand why so many people are putting it in drinks, but I have to admit it gives a sharp, tropical edge to what could have otherwise been a bland flavour. Having apple as the main flavour provides a sweet, crisp base, on top of which there's a certain tartness that the kiwi provides. It's not too much, so I was pretty fond of this, it's like an apple energy drink with a little twist. It's refreshing, and underneath it all is that classic Red Bull formula for perkiness, it's just a great little drink. More summery tasting than the original, so snatch it up while we're in the season.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Today's Review: Oasis Apple Cherry Sour

Two new Oasis flavours, now that's something I can get on board with. They're going for something different this time, these new varieties are sour and feature fruity combos. There's apple & kiwi, as well as this apple & cherry. I mean, I would have taken those flavours as they were, but the sour element sounded interesting enough. Also, they're pretty low calorie, so that's a bonus, only 20 calories per bottle. But would that affect the taste?

This is a pretty nice Oasis, the cherry is a nice new addition that gives a nice dark, juicy flavour, which combines pretty well with the apple. It's definitely a sour drink, but I think it might have been better as a regular one. It's pretty satisfying at first, but that tingle on the taste buds soon gives way to something of a chemical taste, it takes away from the refreshing nature of the fruit juice, although I can still taste both elements hanging around in the after taste, so it doesn't ruin it completely. This could have been a pretty amazing bottle, but the sweeteners and the attempt to make it sour drag it down to a pretty mediocre. Worth a try for something different, but I don't see it being added to the permanent lineup.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Red Apple

It's time to write about another one of the trio of summer donuts gracing the Dunkin' Donuts menu. Here we have perhaps the more run of the mill of the three, in the form of red apple. Look at that glorious glob of red frosting, with a cheeky little green leaf thrown in for good measure. Inside is a generous helping of apple filling. So that just about covers the red and the apple.

You know, this seemed like the most average of the three new varieties, and it seems my suspicions were right. The apple filling is alright, a little too much on the sweet side, but it's a pretty good helping that's saucy with some nice fruit pieces thrown in. Frosting is always a good addition to increase the sweetness, but this is a bit much, that lump of red stuff is pretty sickly and dominates the flavour, so overall this is pretty okay, a nice bit of apple but too sweet for my liking. I'd rather go for the apple cinnamon.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 10 July 2017

Today's Review Tiger Strawberry Boiled Sweets

Whilst casually glancing at the confectionery near the till at Tiger, I spotted an old but familiar pattern emblazoned on a small packet of sweets. Immediately my mind was transported to years long past, where I'd take the wonderful strawberries and cream Campino for granted, before they disappeared forever for an unknown reason. I've been searching for an alternative for a long time, and this was a glimmer of hope that I immediately snatched up. So, how are they?

Memories came flooding back as soon as I popped one of these in my mouth. An instant hit of strawberries and cream, a sweet and creamy texture, this is what I had been looking for, and it was amazing. Unfortunately, it didn't stay pure for long. The flavour carries on, yes, but there's something else that crept in as I sucked the sweet. It's something of a fresh taste, almost minty but not quite, and it stopped these from being the perfect sweet I'd imagined. It's not a deal breaker by any means, the base flavour is still the closest thing to Campino I've found, so I'll be popping back in to pick up more of these. If you're pining for lost sweets as much as I am, I recommend you check these out.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Today's Review: Fanta Madness

Fanta Madness! Madness, I say! Yes, it's time for another obscurely named foreign Fanta with a mystery flavour. I picked it up from a new deli that's opened up near me. Turns out this one is "red grapes", which is fine by me, I'm a fan of the American grape Fanta, and this was a big old bottle for slightly higher than the price of a can of the US stuff.

Yeah, it's been a while since I've had grape Fanta, but I'm pretty sure this is exactly the same. It has that distinctive grape soda taste, which I'd pretty much describe as "purple". It's dark, very sweet, and only slightly tasting like real grapes. I'm sure for some it would be too much, and I admit it does get a bit sickly after a while. But I like the flavour, it's one of those sweet generic confectionery tastes, like "bubblegum", it's good for a guilty pleasure. So pick up a bottle of Madness, you might be pleasantly surprised. Grape Fanta is good Fanta.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Pear Woodruff

Summer donuts are here! Well, any time of the year is donut time as far as I'm concerned, but these ones are fruity flavoured, so I guess that fits the bill. There's a trio of new varieties out, but this one seemed the most interesting, it's a Pear Woodruff, I mean, I had no idea what Woodruff was, but apparently it's a very sweet herb, so there we go. If only I had some natural Woodruff to compare it to, but unfortunately my herb garden is lacking.

The pear comes in the form of the filling, and it's an interesting change. I've had a few with apple filling from Dunkin', so it's similar, fruit chunks in a juicy syrup, but the pear twist is pretty nice, with a pretty bold flavour that works well with that great soft dough. The Woodruff seems to be present in the frosting, and there's a lot on top, which is a bit of a shame because it's pretty sweet and overwhelming. It detracts from the pear a bit too much rather than complementing it, but there's enough there to make this pretty fresh, and it's a good sweet tasting donut. I think there just needs to be more balance. Now to try out the other fruity offerings.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 7 July 2017

Today's Review: Forgetting To Write A Review And Then Going To A Beer Festival

I probably had about an hour or two between work and going out tonight, but apparently I neglected to scrawl a quick review to stick to my self-imposed review per day. Now I find myself minutes from midnight, with a fair amount of cider coursing through my system, attempting to put together something to publish, I've used the Backspace key more than I'd like to admit, but I hope this is coherent enough to make some sort of sense. The main message to take from this is that reviews are fairly hard to write while quite drunk, and I'm sure I'll return in my hungover state to attempt to correct any typos I've made while hastily scrawling out this nonsense stream of consciousness. Don't drink and write, guys, it's not efficient at all.

My rating: 1/5

Well, two typos, I suppose that's not too bad.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Eton Mess Bakewell Tarts

Oh yes, Mr. Kipling has a lot of summer flavours up his sleeve, so here's a little review of these Eton mess Bakewell tarts I picked up from Poundland. Eton mess seems to be a hot topic these days, so it's no surprise to see it attempted in cake form. Basically, these are Bakewell tarts, with plum & raspberry jam, vanilla sponge, pink icing and meringue pieces.

That's right, plum & raspberry jam, no strawberries to be found, which is the traditional Eton mess fruit. Also, there's no hint of cream in there, so it seems the only proper Eton mess ingredient is the meringue on top, so that's a little disappointing. Not that these are awful, they're some sweet cakes that are tasty enough, but in terms of emulating an Eton mess, I can't say they do a good job. The jam is fruity enough, but is drowned out by the sponge and the icing, and the meringue isn't quite plentiful enough to make an impact. I'm underwhelmed really, there could have been some creamy goodness put into these, but they're just some lacklustre tarts with a fancy name tacked on.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Today's Review: M&Ms Peanut & Hazelnut

Caramel M&Ms are taking their sweet time coming over here, but while we wait we have this new variety to tuck into. Well, half a new one anyway. This bag contains your regular peanut M&Ms, alongside some hazelnut ones. Chocolate coated hazelnuts are by no means a new thing, but let's see how the M&M treatment works out for them.

Unlike the difference between peanut and chocolate M&Ms, there's no particular way to discern peanut from hazelnut in this bag, so my taste buds were a little confused at first, trying to identify the nut amidst the chocolate coating. But, after a while, I figured it out, and there was some pretty good hazelnut nestled beneath. There's not too much to say really, nice hazelnuts covered in that awesome M&M chocolate. Nutty, chocolatey goodness. It's just a shame that they're blended in with the peanut, because it's hard to single out the flavour and enjoy them to the full. I understand it would probably be more expensive to bring out just a bag of hazelnut, but I feel that's what they need to get my full appreciation.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Today's Review: Co-Op Rhubarb & Custard Milk

Rhubarb & custard milk, why not? I heard about this a while ago, but it's taken me a while, and a few Co-Ops to actually find some. Either not many branches were taking the risk of stocking this, or it was so popular it was sold out everywhere I went. I'll probably go with the former. So yeah, milk flavoured like those classic sweets. I had faith it could work, they put everything into milkshakes these days.

You know what, I was expecting this to be some kind of awful, but I ended up quite fond of it. It's a bit of an odd taste at first, a nice hint of that classic rhubarb & custard flavour, but with an undertone of milkiness. It's very creamy and sweet, but as I drank more the taste grew on me. Definitely too much to drink in one go, but pretty tasty overall. I feel this would have suffered more as a thicker shake, but despite the lightness of the milk itself it does get a little sickly. Still, a unique twist on flavoured milk, and worth grabbing if you can find a carton.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 3 July 2017

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls

Summer may be as good as over as far as the weather is concerned, but we can still carry on the spirit with Mr. Kipling, who have brought out a load of summer based cakes for us to have on our waterlogged picnics. Here we have Strawberry Cheesecake Whirls, a twist on the classic Vienesse, because it's got strawberry cheesecake stuff in it, innit. Instead of raspberry jam, there's strawberry, and instead of the buttercream, there's a "cheesecake flavour filling".

That "cheesecake flavour filling" doesn't sound particularly authentic, and it's not. Sweet and creamy, yes, but I wouldn't say it tastes a whole lot like cheesecake. There are hints of it in there, but it''s sort of drowned out by everything else. The strawberry jam is good enough, a nice fruity hit that's sweet and noticeable. There's just a little bit too much of the whirl itself, and it overpowers the cheesecake element to the point where I couldn't find these very enjoyable. The fillings work somewhat well together, but the cheesecake could use some work. A pretty mediocre twist on a classic cake.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Today's Review: Fruit Salad Bunch Of Bon Bons

Bon bons, and Fruit Salad, together? My little mind was blown upon picking up this bag. I'm always up for classic sweets being reworked, Squashies are great, for example. But it seems these guys aren't content at just making Fruit Salad bon bons, there are also strawberry and lemon ones chucked in the bag too.

I wish they'd have stuck with the one flavour. The strawberry and lemon are just not particularly great compared to others I've tried. The Fruit Salad bon bons are great, they taste just like the classic sweets, and that pineapple and raspberry really shines through in this bag. Unfortunately, despite tasting good, these are not some good quality bon bons. They're barely chewy, quickly giving way to a somewhat powdery, very sweet mush that just seems to be pure sugar. It's been a day since I ate these, and my teeth still hurt. I have sensitive teeth, I know, but I could almost feel them rotting away as I made my way through the bag. Soft, yes, chewy, not so much. They taste okay, but despite the Fruit Salad flavour being good, the others are just not great. I don't think I'll pick these up again.

My rating 2/5

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Today's Review: Mars Choc Brownie

I often wander into Poundland looking for new treats to devour, but a lot of the time the shelves are lined with the same old stuff. If you experience the same, I'd advise to not lose hope, and be vigilant on the way to the till, because it seems that's where they pile all the new stuff in my branch. Take this pack of Mars bars, for example, there were boxes of them stacked nonchalantly in the middle of the queue, I would have walked straight past them if my keen snack detecting eye hadn't been activated. So yeah, chocolate brownie Mars bars, I mean, I can't resist a regular Mars, let alone one that promises brownie too. It seems the title is a little misleading though. I was imagining some form of brownie layer atop the nougat, but it turns out this is just an overall chocolatey Mars, similar to the extra chocolate one that came out a while back. This one differs in that the caramel is "dark", so I was interested to see how this panned out.

The chocolate nougat is great, I can't deny it. Apparently I wasn't a fan of it when the Xtra Choc bar came out, but despite it indeed being somewhat sickly, it's an overall great chocolate experience. The caramel is definitely dark, and is a bit much when taken on its own, but when blended with the nougat, it does create something of a brownie experience. Obviously nowhere near as good as the real thing, and the difference in texture between actual brownie and brownie Mars sort of detracts from the experience, but this is still one very tasty bar. Sickly, yes, unhealthy, yes, but also delicious.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 30 June 2017

Today's Review: Tango Cherry Liquid Ice

I reviewed the orange variety of these Liquid Ice lollies a while back, and was unaware that these came in a different flavour. I can't say I was overly impressed, although they weren't bad. I'll say that these cherry ones are a lot better, but I may be biased seeing as I'm always a fan of the darker colours. These are cherry flavoured ice lollies, which have a pretty bold, juicy flavour. That regular lolly soon gives way to the centre though, which very much does fit the term "liquid ice". It's frozen, but also fairly soft and almost runny, it's a great cold, refreshing filling that packs a lot of tang and adds even more flavour. My major gripe is that the filling only lasts halfway down the lolly, but otherwise this is a great effort, and much better than the orange in my eyes. Tango has made a hit for the frozen aisle.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Today's Review: Penguin Cake Crunchies

I do enjoy a good cake bar, although I don't pick them up as much as I should. Still, when there's a pack of new ones, I'll quickly snap them up, as was the case with these Penguin Cake Crunchies. As the name implies, they're Penguin cake bars that are also crunchy. Self explanatory. There's also the nifty cross section that highlights the chocolate cake, cream filling and biscuit pieces.

It's nice that they mention the biscuit pieces, because I didn't notice them all that much. There's a certain texture in there, but there isn't a significant crunch, it's more of a bit of grittiness. I know that sounds bad, but it's still tasty enough. The cream is good, and there's a bit of a biscuity element in the flavour, so all in all it isn't a bad cake bar, but as the crunchiness is a big selling point, I can't say there's much of it in there. An interesting enough change from the norm, but not executed all that well.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Today's Review: Vimto Fizzy Balls

The Vimto sweet train just keeps on rolling. Here we have some Fizzy Balls, I figured they'd be an extension of the bon bons, which are fantastic, but it seems they're a different thing entirely. Not that that's objectively a bad thing, so let's see what's in here. These are basically Vimto flavoured boiled sweets with a fizzy centre, and also a fizzy exterior. Fizzy indeed, so how are they?

The first experience I got was a frothiness upon popping one in my mouth. It's a bit odd, and I was taken aback, but as I went on it grew on me, it's an instant frothy fizz that's pretty tart and somewhat satisfying. Unfortunately it soon fades, and what's left is a regular boiled sweet. It tastes like Vimto, so it's not awful, but it could be a bit more interesting. Once the majority of the sweet has given way, you're treated to a bit more fizziness in the middle, but it's not quite the same. A nice thing to end on, but pretty lacklustre compared to the outer layer. These aren't that great to be fair, there are better Vimto sweets out there, but they're worth trying out.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Today's Review: Domino's Lotta-Choca Pizza

So, you've just had your Domino's pizza, preceded by a cheesy garlic bread pizza, but there's still something missing, something sweet. So what better way to fill that void than with this chocolate pizza? Yes, completing the three course pizza trifecta, we have the Lotta-Choca Pizza. Quite simply, it's a pizza base covered in melted milk chocolate. Simple, sure, but is it effective?

I wasn't expecting the dough here to be all that well suited to a dessert, but there seemed to be a certain sweetness to it, and it provides a nice base for the chocolate sauce to be laden upon, and laden it is. This is pretty sickly stuff, a very generous coating of chocolate, and although it's pretty good quality, and it works pretty well with the base, there is perhaps a little too much of it. Besides the chocolate is all there is. This is supposed to be a pizza after all, where are the toppings? Marshmallows, cookie pieces, a caramel drizzle? A wasted opportunity. So while this is by no means a bad dessert, it could have been so much more. Less chocolate, more topping, and this would be a lot better.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 26 June 2017

Today's Review: AUKEY Aroma Diffuser

I was recently sent this diffuser by AUKEY to try out, I can't say I've ever used one before, but it was intriguing enough to get me to have a go. For those of you who may not know (I wasn't particularly knowledgeable), this little device humidifies the air, you fill it with water, and out comes a fine mist. Adding essential oils into the mix can release some lovely aromas, which can make the place smell nice, amd give some added benefits. Now, I've never used another diffuser to compare this one to, but I have to say this is a very well made piece of kit. It's small, sleek, and easy to operate. It comes with everything you need in the box, including a little measuring jug to fill it up with. Basically, all you do it fill it with water, plug it in, and turn it on, you're good to go.

Here it is in action. You may see the fine jet of mist coming out of the top, if you can look past that lovely warm glow. Yes, this doubles as a light, and there are seven colours to choose from, which shine with varying intensities. You could probably find a light setting for anything you wish, from a calming atmosphere to a brilliant white you could probably read by. There are a few little buttons on the front, but they're all very simple and self explanatory. Aside from the light, you can change the setting on the mist itself, as well as setting a timer of one, two or three hours, or choosing continuous use. It's nice setting this up before you go to sleep, knowing it will shut off after an allotted time. Even so, if you set it to continuous, it will shut off when it runs out of water, so there are no worries whatsoever.

So besides the aesthetics and function, does it actually work? Well, I spent some times experimenting with a few oils, and I must say this does a good job. A few drops of orange helped to clear the smell in the kitchen from some forgotten potatoes, and some eucalyptus helped to clear my stuffy nose overnight, as well as providing a pleasant atmosphere for sleep. This is another appliance I can see myself using very regularly, it's nice to be able to get some nice aromas going throughout the house with minimal effort. This diffuser is definitely worth a buy. Amazon Prime Day is happening soon, so look out for discounts on AUKEY products at the beginning of July.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Today's Review: Chocolate Covered Millions

What is it with people trying to put chocolate and sweets together? They're separate entities in my eyes, but several attempts have been made. The Cadbury and Maynards mashup bag was just odd, and Millions have tried this before with the Millions Chocolate Bar. Seems like they were intent on breaking into that sweet/chocolate market though, as now you can get your strawberry Millions coated in chocolate. 

There's not much to say about these, they're your regular Millions, but coated in chocolate. To be fair, the chocolate isn't bad. Obviously not of gourmet standard, but it's good enough. What I have issue with is that it's covering some particularly chewy sweets. Now, these are standard Millions, so they're great, but The chocolate is gone too quickly, and leaves behind a faint taste that just sort of interferes with the chewy stuff, taking the edge off that great strawberry flavour. No one element of this is bad, I just can't get on board with the combination. Take your chocolate elsewhere.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Today's Review: Co-Op Benji Bears

Oh, Co-Op, you're so shameless. Percy Pigs are a national institution, but you've gone and pumped out these "Benji Bears", identical in design, but surely not in execution? Alright, let's not be too harsh right off the bat, it's nice to have a bit of competition in the market, and besides, these could be great, right?

Yeah, they're not great. I tried to be diplomatic, but these are a somewhat poor imitation. They look like a knock off version of Percy Pigs, and they taste like one too. These come in cola, lemon and berry flavours, and while the berry and lemon are actually quite alright, the cola leaves a lot to be desired, a little bitter from too many flavourings. While the other two flavours are a marked improvement, I wouldn't say they're perfect. Besides, the texture is off too, these are chewy, a little overly so. The time it takes to polish one of these off exceeds the amount of time the flavour lasts, so even the two good flavours lose their charm. So overall, a poor imitation of a classic, turns out we don't need more variety, Percy Pigs are the way to go.

My rating: 2/5

Friday, 23 June 2017

Today's Review: Not Having Enough Time To Write A Proper Review

I had a small window of opportunity today to sit down and write a proper review of something, and it turns out I've squandered that time terribly. My ability to add pictures to reviews on mobile has been severely reduced, so I'm left writing a stream of consciousness rambling while on my way out. It's all my fault really. In all honesty it takes me less than 15 minutes to knock out a regular review. But I still ran out of time to do it. Besides, if I had any modicum of forward planning skills I could have written one up a couple of days ago. But here we are, one measly paragraph of self-deprecating nonsense instead of something even mildly interesting.

My rating: 0/5

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Today's Review Coca-Cola Zero Vanilla

Vanilla Coke is great, it took a long time to come out over here, but when it finally did I loved the stuff. Nowadays though, I can't really handle the regular Cokes, they're too sugary for my liking, so it's nice to see the Zero range expanded to incorporate the other flavours. Now, despite loving cherry Coke, I wasn't fond of the Zero version, but I was hoping they'd make a change with this one. Turns out they didn't really. This is not a great Coke. There's a little hint of vanilla, sure, but it's mostly taken over by more artificial tasting stuff. I was trying to fully appreciate the flavour, but there's no way it lives up to the regular stuff. At its base is the standard Coke Zero recipe, which saves this from being completely awful, but the attempt at vanilla flavouring just doesn't work for me. It's a shame, I was really looking forward to this.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Today's Review: Costa Coffee Banoffee Frostino

Summer is well and truly here, and although Costa's summer drinks have been around for a while, it's taken me this long to try out the one that intrigued me the most. Salted caramel has been the flavour of the moment for a while, but it seems this season people are going crazy for banoffee. I can't say I've always been keen on it, but it's grown on me lately. So this sounded pretty good, an iced coffee and banana drink, swirled with caramel sauce.

At the first sip, I didn't think all that much of this, the coffee and banana combination was a little odd. After a few gulps though, I was hooked. It's a fresh taste of banana, with a smooth undercurrent of coffee that gives it a nice velvety kick. It's a refreshing drink, with a good amount of milk tying it all together. On top of that, there are the lashings of caramel sauce, which ramps up the sweetness, and combines with the other flavours to make this a complete banoffee experience. I reckon I'll be grabbing quite a few of these over the summer, cool and refreshing and packed full of flavour.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Today's Review: Hershey's Chocolate Twizzlers

B&M have stocked several varieties of Twizzlers over the years, and I can't say I've been fond of any of them. I fail to see how they're so popular in America, they seem like mostly flavourless rubber to me. But the other day I found these chocolate Twizzlers, which promised the Twizzler experience couple with Hershey's chocolate, another American delicacy that I am not fond of. Hershey's is gross chocolate, and tends to leave me with an after taste I liken to vomit. So with those opinions in mind, it's fair to say I expected nothing good from these chocolate flavoured twists.

I didn't hate these, not with the fiery passion that I assumed I would. Unlike a lot of the Twizzlers I tried, these actually have some flavour, and it is slightly reminiscent of chocolate, so in that way I was quite surprised. However, I would not say these are good. The combination of chocolate and chewiness doesn't sit right with me, and the more I chewed, the less authentic the chocolate became, and by the time I was finished I was left with that chewy lump of flavourless Twizzler that I'm used to. So yeah, chocolate chews, not awful, but not really a good idea. These ain't like Riesen, they're a pretty unholy match.

My rating: 2/5

Monday, 19 June 2017

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Tangy Raspberry Tarts

Picnicers rejoice, the summer cakes are being rolled out. Of course, Mr. Kipling already has a wide selection of cakes that will sweeten up those hot afternoons, but they don't want to stop there, as evidenced by the release of these new tarts. I went for the "tangy raspberry", because raspberries are great. These consist of a pastry case with raspberry flavour white chocolate ganache, raspberry jam, and topped off with raspberry sugar granules. That's a lot of raspberry, and a lot of sugar.

As you can see from this cross-section, apart from my dental records, is that this is truly raspberry through and through. Basically, it's like a Cherry Bakewell, but instead of the sponge there's just more icing. The ganache is a bit of an odd thing. It's good, but the sheer amount of it does get sickly fairly quickly. I wouldn't have said it was ganache if I hadn't read it either, it's got more of the texture of icing. There are hints of both raspberry and white chocolate, so that's pretty good, but it does tarnish the rest of the tart a little. The jam is great, it's where the tanginess lies, and is the most authentic raspberry element here. The sugar granules are a nice touch, adding a bit of crunch and yet more raspberry flavour, and it's all wrapped up in a nice soft pastry case. A pretty good effort at a nice summery cake, if they'd have gone easier on the ganache I'd say it was perfect, but all that icing does lay a little heavy on my stomach.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Today's Review: Jack Daniel's Cider

Do you like Jack Daniel's, but find the weather a bit too hot lately to be downing shots, or worrying about mixing it with Coke? What if there was some way to enjoy that Jack taste, in a refreshing, cooling, ready made way? Well, check this out, it's Jack Daniel's cider! A combination of apple cider and Jack Daniel's. Yeah, that's pretty much it. 

Not, don't knock it 'til you've tried it, I've heard a few people complain that this is a very unnecessary product, after all, why not just drink the old fashioned Jack? Well, I'm quite fond of this. This is actually a pretty refreshing bottle, and the Jack Daniel's taste is very authentic indeed. It's not too strong, which is what you'd expect from a cider, and hey. sometimes I'm not quite in the mood for hard liquor. As for the cider side, that's what gives this bottle its refreshing edge. I can't say the apple was too noticeable, the flavour of the Jack does tend to dominate it a little, but there are some crisp notes in there that add to the refreshment. I'd say this is a pretty good combination, a fairly mild, more manageable drink that will be good for cooling off in the summer sun.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Today's Review: Poundland Smooth Fruit & Nut

Poundland seem to be putting out a lot of knock off chocolate products lately, with such truly awful offerings as the Easter-themed gritty sugar-filled Spoon It Outs, and the horrifyingly designed packaging that houses equally horrifying fake M&Ms that are Choccers. I neglected to buy up their version of Minstrels, safe in the knowledge that they would be just as inedible as the M&M attempt, but on my last trip I see they're expanded to chocolate bars, taking after some of the big name brand varieties. Now, this isn't specifically stated to be made by Poundland, instead the wrapper informs me that it's made by a company called Smooth!, although the paragraph that tells me that is Spanish, despite the company being based in Birmingham. That sort of set the tone for my assumption that this would be some very low quality chocolate. I went for the fruit and nut, because even if the chocolate was bad, at least they can't screw up raisins and almonds, right?

You know, I consider it part of my job to sometimes seek out those truly awful looking products, if only to confirm what everyone thinks and to warn off anyone thinking of picking them up. Most of the time, those foods I think look awful actually are, and I can consign them to the rubbish pile and never look at them again. Sometimes, however, I am wrong, and this is the case here. This chocolate is not awful, in fact, it's not bad. Just looking at the ingredients shows that cocoa butter is a predominant ingredient, which is something some bars are lacking these days, and that cocoa presence is clear in the flavour, this is actually quite a creamy bar of chocolate. It's not perfect, but I was extremely surprised by how much I liked it. The raisins are a good addition, a nice fruity chewiness that adds some flavour, but the almonds could use a little work, they're very soft and the taste doesn't exactly shine through. What I will say though is that this bar is thick, thicker than the Dairy Milk bars of the same size, and in my opinion, a thick square of chocolate is more satisfying than a thin, drawn out one, so that's another point for this here bar. This is some pretty good chocolate, and it goes to show that gems can be hidden in plain sight. Try this out, don't judge a chocolate bar by its wrapper.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 16 June 2017

Today's Review: Walkers Sensations Chargrilled Steak & Chimichurri

I do like it when crisp flavour come along more than one at a time. While I wasn't too keen on the idea of the wasabi Sensations (or a massive fan of the taste, not bad though), I liked the sound of these steak and chimichurri crisps, promising a meaty and herby combination. 

I was thinking the steak would be at the forefront of the flavour, but it turns out the herbs are pretty strong, actually quashing the meaty tones a fair bit. Now, I'm not too mad, the steak isn't particularly authentic, and the herbs actually seem pretty accurately portrayed, but the balance is too off to rate these particularly highly. It's a lot of herbs with a slight steak undertone, not a bad combination, but a pretty average execution.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Today's Review: McDonald's Tennessee Stack

Not the most presentable picture of a burger, but hey, that's what happens when you go bun-less. At least they stacked it up and put it in the appropriate box, instead of flat in one of those breakfast trays. Anyway, here we have the last Great Tastes burger for the year, in the form of the Tennessee Stack. This one seems less ambitious than some of the previous offerings, but sometimes it's nice to have a simpler burger. This one consists of two beef patties, smoked cheese, bacon, lettuce, grilled onions and a Tennessee BBQ sauce. 

No bun for me, I know, but it's supposed to come with a simple flour topped one, so I don't think that would add much to the overall flavour. What we do have here is... nice, I'll give it that, The sauce has a lovely sweet, smoky flavour, which is accentuated a little by the cheese, although the cheese isn't particularly flavoursome. The rest of it is pretty run of the mill, no surprises. It's a decent burger, but it doesn't do anything particularly great. Compared to what else has come out over the last couple of months, this is pretty middle of the road. Not bad, but I know they could do better.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Today's Review: Mrs. Elswood Hot Dill Cucumbers

There was a time where I couldn't stand pickles. Pickles? Gherkins? Eh, either one is fine. Anyways, I'd be scraping those shrivelled green bits off my Big Mac at every opportunity. But, like a lot of foods, I decided to give pickles a chance, and now I'm pretty much in love. So much so that a jar of pickles is now a permanent resident of my kitchen cupboard (then fridge, 'cause I read the label correctly). Here we have some brand name pickles, or "dill cucumbers", guess Mrs. Elswood didn't want to get embroiled in the naming controversy. These aren't your ordinary pickles though, they're hot, and I definitely like hot, and pickles, so I couldn't pass these up.

Let's start with the basics, these are good quality pickles. Sour, juicy, just great to chop on top of whatever you like, or eat as a snack. But the heat element is where these shine, there are hints of mustard and pepper thrown in here, and they really give quite an intense hit of heat. There are elements of chilli and mustard in there, so it does get to work on the taste buds. It's offset a little by the sweet and sour flavours in the pickle itself, but after eating one there was a lingering heat on my tongue for some time. Not an unpleasant one, but definitely lasting. So if you like heat, and you like pickles, you can't go wrong with these.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Today's Review: Hoovering Up Something Important

Vacuum cleaners are a fantastic invention, a great way to get rid of crumbs, dust and other small particles with minimal effort. They end up in the bag, or the cylinder, and can be easily disposed of. Unfortunately there are several quite important things that can be covered by the umbrella of "small particles", such as screws, earrings or small toys, and it's all too easy for them to disappear up the nozzle. There's nothing I hate more during a routine hoovering than recognising an important item at the very moment it disappears forever.

Okay, maybe not forever, that instant feeling of loss and regret can be mitigated by delving into the vacuum cleaner and sifting through the mound of dust, hair and whatever else has ended up inside. Sometimes it's wet too, that's not good. Yes, while most of the time I'll cut my losses, some things I have deemed important enough to delve into the insides to retrieve, and being the owner of a Henry, getting through an old school hoover bag is not ranked highly on my list of favourite recreational activities.

I guess I could avoid this problem by being more alert while cleaning, but sometimes it happens with no warning, important things can be lurking everywhere, so I'll say that this is a very unpleasant situation to be in, and I dedicate this review to all my lost, tiny items.

My rating: 0/5

Monday, 12 June 2017

Today's Review: Walkers Sensations Japanese Sweet Wasabi & Ginger

I don't like wasabi. I've tried to get into it on several occasions, but it's just too much for my taste buds. Same with horse radish really, I can't do that kind of spice that gets right up in your nose. So I picked this bag up knowing full well that I might not like them, after all, the wasabi is right there in massive letters. But hey, it's a new flavour of crisps, I had to try it out, and maybe this would be my gateway into wasabi love.

Nope, I still don't like wasabi. The first taste you get with these crisps is a fairly authentic version of it, a fairly intense hit of spice that takes over. I wasn't a fan, but that flavour soon gave way to something else. The back of the pack actually attempts to walk you through it, saying first you'll taste wasabi, then onion, and finish on ginger. They're not too far off actually. The initial spice gives way to a much more mellow, sweet onion-like taste, and after that there is a certain warmth. It doesn't particularly taste like ginger, but it's a nice finish, and surprisingly it left me wanting to try another one. Until I tasted the wasabi and regretted that decision. It was a vicious circle. So yes, these crisps taste like wasabi, but there's more to it than that. I figured I'd hate these, but I have to admit they're not all bad. I still can't recommend them too much, but it's a decent effort with some authentic flavours.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Today's Review: Walkers Oven Baked Fusions Spicy Tomato & Herbs

Man, how many types of Walkers are they going to bring out? I'm sure there are only so many shapes, ridges and methods of cooking they can employ, and these seem to be an extension of the regular flavoured Baked Walkers. These ones have fancy flavours, hence the "Fusions" part. This pack has spicy tomato and herbs chucked in, which sounded good to me. The Ketchup Walkers are one of my favourites, so a spicy, more natural version had some promise.

These crisps are slightly ridged, which allows for a good coverage of flavouring, and it shows in the bold tomato that's present throughout. The herbs are more understated, but they give the tomato a bit of an edge, and it's a fairly clean taste. The spice wasn't apparent at first, but as I made my way through the pack a pleasant amount of heat built up, and overall this is a nice saucy flavour of crisps. I look forward to trying out the other varieties.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Today's Review: Heck Chicken Italia Sausages

I've liked the look of these Heck sausages for a while now, but I always opted for the cheaper stuff. They're on offer right now in Tesco, so I figured I'd try them out. These are chicken sausages, with added basil, tomato and mozzarella. Sounded pretty fancy to me, and they're also gluten free and low in fat, so that promised none of the stuff they shove into your regular sausages.

As fancy as these sausage sound, I found them to be a little bland. There's some good quality chicken in there, it doesn't taste too processed, so that makes these some pretty clean tasting sausages. As for the other ingredients that they've put in there, I can't say it contributes too much to the flavour. There's a hint of them in there, but the chicken seems to take pride of place, and I was hoping for more tomato and cheese. These aren't bad, but for the price and the promise of flavour, they're pretty middle of the road. Think I'll stick with other sausages.

My rating: 3/5