I'm on my way for a little city break, a break so short that we managed to pack everything into hand baggage. Oh my, how much easier it is. No line for check in, no carefully managing the weight of the suitcase, we just strolled right through the airport and onto a plane in less than half an hour. All flights should be like this. Of course, this is also a review for flying without children, which in itself is a hell of a lot easier, but this luggage situation is the icing on the cake. So cram your clothes into your backpacks, guys, it's so much better this way.
My rating: 5/5
Friday, 24 March 2017
Thursday, 23 March 2017
I do love a good bag of Tyrrell's, and it seems they're branching out from potato chips to corn chips. I picked up this bag the other day, which seem to have been given a pretty healthy flavouring of kale & spirulina. Not that I've ever eaten either of those, but I figured I'd give them a go. Kale is a leaf, and spirulina is an algae, they sound natural and healthy enough. What could go wrong?
No, they're not mouldy, they're just green chips. At least, I assume that's how they're meant to look. They didn't taste bad, but then, they didn't taste fantastic either. There's a definite hint of flavour in there, and if I had to give that flavour a name it would be green, but it's not particularly strong. It's fairly nice, and the saltiness of the chips help it along, so this isn't a bad bag of chips, just different. The corn provides a nice grainy texture, and overall they taste pretty natural and healthy. I just wish there was a bit more flavouring. If you want some green chips, by all means try them out.
My rating: 3/5
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
These Cocktail Fancies aren't new, I'm well aware, I reviewed them a couple of years back. But this year the cocktails on offer have changed, with the peach bellini being swapped out for the mojito. More of a classic cocktail, I'm sure, and I suppose it's nice to see a bit of mint represented instead of several fruits. I'm not a massive fan of mojitos, but I do see the merit in them. So without further ado, here is the mojito fancy:
It certainly looks the part, but I have to say it's not particularly flavoursome. At its core it's the same classic Mr. Kipling fancy, a nice soft sponge and some great creamy icing. There is a hint of mintiness in there, and an emulation of the rum that isn't too bad, but it's just not that strong. Now, I'm not a mint fanatic, I'd rather have a less pronounced mint flavour than it overwhelming my senses, but this is just a little too subdued, with a bit more punch this could have been a pretty great cocktail flavoured cake. As it is though, it's just rather bland. The cake itself is nice enough to carry it someway, but I was expecting more cocktail. Oh well, maybe they'll swap it for something else next time.
My rating: 3/5
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Costa have expanded their cortado range again lately, with the addition of this caramel variety. The mocha cortado made an appearance last year, and was a pretty good effort, so I was excited to see what this one had in store. If you haven't tried a cortado, it's a tiny coffee. Two shots, topped with a little bit of milk. This one also has caramel swirled into it, as well as caramel crumb, so I assumed it would be sweeter than your regular cortado.
This is definitely a sweet addition to the range. The caramel flavour is pretty thoroughly mixed in, it can be tasted in each sip. The caramel crumb is a fairly good addition, it adds a nice little crunchy texture with an extra burst of flavour. It can, admittedly, get a bit sickly at times due to the extra caramel in the crumb, but on the whole this is a pretty good coffee. Underneath the caramel is a nice intense hit of coffee, mixed in with some good, creamy milk. I still prefer the original cortado, but this is something a little different, it's nice to see the range expanding.
My rating: 4/5
Monday, 20 March 2017
There's a new ice cream on the shelves from Rowntrees. The Fruit Pastilles lollies are a fairly classic fixture nowadays, but I could take them or leave them. These ones looked pretty promising though, layered lollies in orange and blackcurrant flavours. They consist of a fruity coating, lemon and lime ice cream, and a raspberry sorbet centre.
Let's start with the coating. This is where the two distinct flavours lie, and they're very bold and smooth. I'd liken it to the coating of a Solero, very fruity, and they give way to a lovely creamy ice cream. The lemon and lime flavour isn't particularly pronounced, seeing as the flavour of the coating is still around, but it's still noticeable, and adds another fruity layer. The sorbet is probably the best thing here, a rich, smooth raspberry centre that really rounds off a great ice cream. A trio of fruity flavours that's well worth your time.
My rating: 5/5
Sunday, 19 March 2017
The Big Taste bars came out a while back now, they're massive bars of Dairy Milk that emulate the huge Milka offerings you might find across Europe. now there's been another flavour added to the range in the form of this peanut caramel crisp, which, following on from the Peanut Butter Oreo bar, makes me hopeful of a peanut butter chocolate revolution. This bar consists of Dairy Milk chocolate, peanut filling, caramel, peanuts and crispy pieces. You can pick it up at Sainsbury's for a hefty £3/
Man, this bar is pretty good. It's fantastically peanutty, the peanut filling is lovely and creamy, with a peanut butter like flavour. The caramel adds a nice layer of sweetness, and the peanuts lend a welcome crunchiness and texture. There is, perhaps, a but too much of the filling, as it does get sickly after a little while, but it still tastes pretty great. As for the rice crisp pieces, I didn't really notice them, especially blended in with the peanut chunks. I'm sure they contribute to the overall crunchiness, but I think it would be just as good without them. This is a great, sweet, crunchy bar of Dairy Milk, so track it down and give it a go.
My rating: 4/5
Saturday, 18 March 2017
Kopparberg make some pretty good cider, although it's been a while since I've seen a new one. This blueberry and lime variety comes after that introduction of the Bulmers version last year, but I had faith that this one would be even better. As it stands though, I'm not too sure. It's a good cider, there's no doubt about that, it's just the fruit flavours aren't as pronounced as they are in the Bulmers. There's a lovely underlying blueberry base, and a tartness provided by the lime, and it all kinds of blends together into a satisfying fruity taste. It's refreshing, and very easy to drink, but I think for me the Bulmers beats it by just a little. This is a good effort though.
My rating: 4/5
Friday, 17 March 2017
Caramel Doughnuts have been a part of supermarket bakery sections for a while now, but it looks like Cadbury are branching into muffin territory as well. These are available in both chocolate and caramel varieties, but the chocolate were out of stock, which forced my hand a little. But hey, I was happy enough to try these out. They're muffins with a caramel filling, topped with melted chocolate and caramel shavings.
These are pretty good. The caramel filling is gooey and sweet, There's a nice thick chocolate layer on top that is nice enough, and lends some of that nice Cadbury taste. As for the sponge, it's pretty nice and soft, although a little on the dry side. There's generally enough of the filling to go around, so while it's not the perfect muffin, it's pretty good. Keep on filling that bakery section, guys.
My rating: 4/5
Thursday, 16 March 2017
You can't get much for 20p nowadays, but you can get a pack of Space Raiders. What a classic, although they were 10p for around 30 years, and now they're twice that... Inflation, eh? I didn't eat a whole lot of these as a kid, but I dabbled, and I don't remember seeing a spicy version on my travels. What drew me to this packet was the alien with the melted face, presumably because these things are face-meltingly spicy.
No, not that, these aren't really that spicy. Or flavoursome. They're some pretty lacklustre crisps to be fair. The pickled onion ones are good from what I remember, but this is a pretty feeble attempt at spicy. There's a little bit of heat in there, sure, but the taste doesn't stick around for long, I was just left chowing down on pretty flavourless lumps of corn snack. If I've had these before, there's probably a reason I don't remember them. Go for the pickled onion instead, these just aren't great.
My rating: 2/5
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Peperami is one of those classic snacks, for those times when all you really need is a stick of salami. But what if you want something more, like some carbs on top of your protein? Well, your prayers have been answered, in the form of this Peperami Roll. It's a Peperami, but in a roll. That's it, really. Like a sausage roll, but with salami. Also, the "roll" bit isn't pastry, but bread.
Sound nice? No? I didn't have high hopes for this from the start. I mean, it looked a bit like a corn dog on the packet, but I knew it couldn't be anywhere near that good. Turns out I was right. There's nothing wrong with the Peperami itself, it's the same classic stuff. Not that a Peperami is one of my all time favourite snacks, but it's a nice, slightly spicy salami stick. As for the bread though, that's just not nice. It's dry, hard, and not at all flavoursome. I don't get it, if they were trying to emulate a sausage roll, why not go for pastry? It can't be that hard to get right, but instead they've opted for this almost stale tasting bread coating. Not nice, stick with what you know, guys.
My rating: 2/5
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
Root beer is my thing at the moment, and I'm grabbing whatever I can get my hands on. This one comes from the American section of my local Tesco Express, and it looks pretty sophisticated. Thankfully it was only £1.50 per bottle, which was enough for me to bite.
This is a good, old fashioned botanical style drink. It's very refreshing, with a bold sassafras flavour. The root beer taste is still an acquired one for several I guess, but this one is derived from cinnamon and vanilla, and there are definitely some spicy and sweet tones throughout. It's a little on the flat side, a bit of fizz could have made this pretty perfect. But the botanical taste still makes this a damn good bottle of root beer.
My rating: 4/5
Monday, 13 March 2017
Back in my day there didn't seem to be any rules on what could go in your lunchbox, but nowadays there are bans on all kinds of items. Fruity lunchbox snacks are a big thing now, and kids seem to go crazy for these Bear Yo Yos. They're like Fruit Winders, but, I don't know, more organic? Basically it's a bunch of fruit smooshed together and rolled up, and it comes with a fun collectible card. Yo Yos have been around for a while, but now there's a "super sour" version, and I couldn't resist that. These ones are mango and apple flavour, but there are some lemons chucked in there as well, to give it that sour kick. These actually have a fairly decent tang to them, I wouldn't call them super sour, but it's hanging around in the after taste. The mango and apple are both pretty well represented, some decent natural flavours, but once the sour element kicks in it overwhelms the fruit a little. Still, this is a perfectly decent snack, it's not mind-blowingly sour, but it's aimed at kids, so I can't be too mad. This is definitely a good lunchbox filler.
My rating: 4/5
Sunday, 12 March 2017
I don't often go for a Calippo, it seems to be one of the blander offerings in the ice cream world. I mean, they're nice, but who's gonna go for one over a Magnum? Not I. Unless it's a new variety that is, as evidenced by me hunting around the zoo today to find the one kiosk that had this Calippo Combo in stock. It's a two toned offering, one half is a strawberry flavoured ice pop, while the other is vanilla ice cream.
Yes, two different textures in one pack, I wasn't sure how that was going to work out. I figured the ice cream would deteriorate a lot faster than the lolly, or it would all get squished into an unrecognisable mess as I attempted to push the thing up to eat it. Turns out it actually works quite well, not perfectly, but better than I thought. The ice cream and strawberry stick work well together flavour wise, this is the creamiest Calippo you'll ever have, and the fruity flavour is ever present and pretty good quality. Walls know how to do ice cream, so even their vanilla is great stuff, and that's what's in this tube. There was a bit of unevenness in the ice cream/lolly pairing, and a bit of a mess while eating and polishing it off, but on the whole it's a pretty good combo, definitely a nice change from your regular Calippo. Try it out.
My rating: 4/5
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Poundland have made a thing lately of stocking off brand alternatives to the big chocolate names, even though you can get the real thing for the same price elsewhere most of the time. Not so much with this one though, it's a knock off version of Cadbury's Egg 'N' Spoon, which are normally £2 when on offer. This one is only a pound though! It's based on the same premise, so what could go wrong?
The answer is everything. First of all, it only comes with one spoon, so I assume Poundland are judging me to be some kind of greedy person who eats four eggs in one sitting. I mean, in my case they're right, but I'm sure not everyone is like that. Besides, I don't want to eat all these in one sitting, because they're disgusting. Underneath the cheap chocolate layer is the "creme centre", which, while packed in right to the top, is pretty much impossible to scoop out. It's hard, and you can feel the grittiness as soon as you dig the spoon in. The stuff is less creme than buttercream, and it's not a very well made buttercream at all. It's like it's been made by someone whose solution to every problem is to throw butter at it. The insides of these eggs taste like slightly sugary butter. I don't think I need to say more than that to convince you not to eat them. Even if you're a butter fanatic, I still don't think you'd get enjoyment out of these gritty, buttery, cheap chocolate eggs. They're gross. Just spend a bit more money and get the Cadbury ones. Please.
My rating: 0/5
Friday, 10 March 2017
I'm back on the espresso, and this time I'm going to review the final variety of coffee capsule I received from Leysieffer Kaffee, and I've left the most interesting one until last. Now, I'm not fluent in German or anything, but I gathered that "Grüner Kaffee" meant "Green Coffee", especially with the nice hint in the form of the colour of the capsule. I wasn't quite sure what the "Ganoderma" bit was, but after a quick bit of research it turns out it's a mushroom. When the coffee beans are infused with the mushroom, it makes Ganoderma coffee. Simple, right? There are many sites touting the potential health benefits of this stuff, but I'm not too worried about that, let me tell you how it tastes.
This is the creamiest espresso of the lot, and it's pretty damn tasty too. I can't quite put my finger on the flavour itself, I wouldn't say it's particularly mushroom-like. I may have been affected by the packaging, but I'd say it tastes green to me. It's a sweet but fresh kind of taste, and there's a certain milkiness to it that's accentuated by the frothiness and creaminess of the shot. This is definitely the nicest espresso I've had. It's not got the intense kick of a ristretto shot, but it tastes great and is maybe, potentially good for you too? Not that anything's been particularly proven, so take what you read with a pinch of salt. Still, if it makes you healthier while tasting good, there can't be much wrong with it. This is an espresso you should try out.
My rating: 5/5
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Let's take a break from the sponsored content, I feel I've been drinking nothing but espresso lately. Perhaps it's time for a tea break, or shall we say teacake? Har har, yes, I've returned to these new McVitie's tubs. I've already tried out the caramel crispies and tiffins, but I still had to sample these teacakes, with a Hobnobs base no less. The biscuit is topped with marshmallow, and it's all covered in chocolate.
These are pretty good teacakes, although they could have put a bit of jam in there. The marshmallow is nice and fluffy, sweet, and there's plenty of it. The chocolate is a good coating that adds a bit of creaminess to the tub. The biscuit base is definitely Hobnob, a good oaty layer. It's a little dry, and while the marshmallow goes some way to relieving that, The flavour of the Hobnob does take over somewhat, it's a little dark, but as a whole the elements work together pretty well. These are some nice little teacakes, not as good as the tiffins, but still a valiant effort.
My rating: 4/5
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Yes, I'm still reviewing espresso capsules. Yes, I was sent quite a few packs. Yes, I'm pretty wired lately, why do you ask? Well, after the strong and sweet ristretto, and the more bitter lungo, I gave the crema a go. Again, I used the bare minimum of Google skills to gain information on the specific terminology, and crema refers to the lighter, tan liquid that comes out during the extraction process. Now, the lungo I reviewed yesterday was as dark as my soul, but check this one out:
Oh yeah, I bought espresso cups too, now I really look the part. Anyway, this is a nice looking shot of espresso, the cream on top is uniform and a nice light colour. There was some of that present in the ristretto, but it's a lot more consistent in this shot. As for the taste, it is somewhat sweet, the bitterness is much less pronounced than in most espressos I've had. This stuff is on the milder side too, a slightly watery taste, although there's some good quality coffee at its base still. I like this, more than the lungo capsule, although still not quite as much as the ristretto. Remember, you can pick all these up from the Leysieffer Kaffee website, they're available in Nespresso compatible form, and you can order a few packs and still pay the same postage. I highly recommend these, they make some great cups of espresso. I've still got one more variety to review though, so watch this space. Looks like it's espresso week for this blog.
My rating: 4/5
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Here's another one of the variety of capsules I was sent by Leysieffer Kaffee. These ones provide a lungo espresso, and my quick Googling of all these terms has made me some form of espresso expert, in my opinion. A lungo is a result of passing water through the grounds for longer than regular espresso, which is the opposite of the ristretto I reviewed yesterday.
A prolonged blast of water lends to more acidity in the espresso, according to what I've read. but it's also true according to what this stuff tastes like. It's a fairly bitter shot, and it's somewhat watery, but the coffee flavour is ever present. It's not as intense as the ristretto, but has a kick to it. This isn't exactly the best espresso I've had, but I'd say it's still less bitter than those I've picked up from Starbucks. For a less intense, but slightly more bitter experience, this is a pretty nice capsule.
My rating: 4/5
Monday, 6 March 2017
I was recently sent a nice package of coffee capsule products from German coffee brand Leysieffer Kaffee. They offer a pretty good selection of coffee products, from whole bean to filter, but the capsules is what I got, so the capsules it what I'll talk about. These capsules work in the Leysieffer Kaffee capsule machine, but each variety is available as a Nespresso compatible capsule for those who already have one. Let's look at the strongest of the bunch first, because I sure do love a strong coffee. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite prepared for the sudden acquisition of a bunch of espresso, so the only mug I could find to fit in the machine was this small Mario one from an Easter egg.
Hey, it works, right? First off, let's talk espresso. I don't dabble in it too much, I normally go for the milkier pick me ups in the morning. But I have occasionally sprung for an espresso from the likes of Starbucks and Costa in the hopes of an instant jolt of energy, and while they did perk me up, I did not enjoy the taste. I haven't tried the Nespresso capsules to be able to adequately compare these ones, but I must say this is the best espresso I've ever had.
It's bitter, sure, espresso is bitter by nature. But this one is couple with a smoothness that makes it incredibly enjoyable to drink, it's almost creamy, and is clearly made with some good quality coffee. I can't say I'm an expert in barista related matters, but a bit of Googling has given me a basic knowledge of ristretto vs. regular epsresso. This stuff is created from water forced through the grounds faster than normal, yielding less volume, but leaving less acidity in the cup than there normally would be. Makes sense, as the bitterness is very muted in this capsule, and it does taste almost sweet. As for the intensity, there's a 5 rating on the back of the box, and I'd agree with that, it gives a great boost of energy that lasts for a good while.
This is an espresso I wouldn't mind drinking to wake me up every morning. A pack of the Nespresso compatible capsules will set you back about 14€, which works out to just about 30p each. That's on par with the official stuff, although ordering from the Leysieffer Kaffee site will cost around the same amount in postage. Good news is it looks like you can add a few packs and still pay the flat delivery charge, so that may tip the balance for you. I'll be reviewing some more of the capsules over the coming days, so if you enjoy your espresso, watch this space. We're off to a good start with this Ristretto though.
My rating: 5/5
Sunday, 5 March 2017
Here's the last of my quick weekend reviews before I return to the comfort (and larger screen) of my computer. This is a green tea with grape. It's not just plain old grape flavoured though, it's present in the form of chewy bits that are present throughout the bottle. Sort of like those aloe drinks you can buy, these small, gelatinous chunks are actually pretty good at packing in the flavour, and while it does take some getting used to it's a refreshing enough experience chewing on those interesting pieces. The flavour isn't perfect grape, but it's that distinct sweet candy grape flavour that I like. Underneath all that, there's a pretty refreshing green tea, not too sweet or bitter, just right really. So while the chinks may not be for everyone, this is a pretty good bottle of iced green tea.
My rating: 4/5
Saturday, 4 March 2017
I picked up another good old fashioned can of root beer the other day. This one is a more famous brand, so I figured it would give me a pretty good experience. I've gotta say, this is a fresh tasting can, it's got that unique root beer flavour that at first I couldn't quite get on board with, but it's actually very refreshing, I can see why this is a well known brand. It's a lot more pricey than the ones I tried before, but it's a better taste. This is one damn good can of root beer. Drink up.
My rating: 5/5
Friday, 3 March 2017
I'm away for the weekend, so the next few days will be a few quick reviews I'll bash out when I get the time. Writing these on my phone is pretty tedious, you see. Anyhoo, Kettle Bites have a new variety on the shelves. They started out with interesting flavours like coconut and maple, but now they've gone back to the classics with this salt and vinegar. These are on wholegrain waves, which are a pretty clean tasting, flavoursome crisp with a great texture. The salt and vinegar flavouring itself is... okay. It's a sharp, fairly tart taste, but it's not particularly strong. It seems kind of lost in the waves at a lot of points, where the flavour of the waves takes over. These would probably be better with some more of the salt and vinegar, but as they are they're quite bland. There are better varieties out there.
My rating: 3/5
Thursday, 2 March 2017
I reviewed the Digestives Caramel Crispies mini bites the other day, but couldn't get fully on board with them. Something about the combination of biscuit and crispy pieces didn't quite taste right. I picked up this tub at the same time though, and they looked like the better choice. Here we have some tiny tiffins, It's a classic combination of biscuit and raisin, covered in chocolate, what could go wrong?
This is definitely the better tub of the two (in my opinion). Tiffin may be simple, but it's effective. The biscuit is your good old Digestive, and there's a nice amount of juicy raisins to give it a nice hit of moistness and flavour. The chocolate on top is great too, it's basically like eating a chocolate Digestive with added raisins. Actually, it's exactly like that,there's not really another way to explain it. These bites are just plain excellent. Substantial pieces of chocolate biscuit goodness. It's a sizeable tub, so there's plenty to share, but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.
My rating: 5/5
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
I look forward to the KFC promo burgers, and while the Christmas offering wasn't their best, it was a pretty bold idea. I would expect them to turn to something more traditional, but instead we've got the Dirty Louisiana, a monster of a burger that combines a whole heap of stuff. There's the chicken fillet, obviously, the classic hash brown, and two slices of cheese, we've seen that before. But amongst these layers lie not one, not two, but three sauces. There's the classic Supercharger, a "deluxe" BBQ, and a pepper mayo. You know what else is in here? Gherkins, because why not? Oh, and it's all topped off with a new style of bun.
KFC could probably have stretched those new elements out into two or three burgers, but they've gone all in, and it's worth it. This is a beast of a burger, and it tastes great. I figured the three sauces would be a bit much, but they all work pretty nicely together. The supercharger provides the spice, the BBQ adds a smoky element, and the mayo is creamy with a lovely peppery kick. Gherkins in a chicken burger seemed a bit of an odd addition, but they give a bit of crunch and a satisfying tang on top. All layered on top of a substantial piece of fried chicken and a nice hash brown. The bun is good too, a good soft texture that brings it all together. I'm glad I tried this out as early as I could, it means I can get a few more in before it goes away, and I suggest you do the same.
My rating: 5/5