Saturday 31 August 2013

Today's Review: Milka Caramel

While my very British heart is loyal to the chocolate king that is Cadbury Dairy Milk, I also have a soft spot for Milka. It's a nice, smooth chocolate that has churned out a number of interesting varieties over the last few years, like Happy Cow and Daim. But not all flavours have to be original, as evidenced by this bar of Caramel Milka. Even the packaging looks similar to Caramel Dairy Milk, and I assumed the similarities would not stop there.

I was right. This Milka bar looks a hell of a lot like a Cadbury bar, the pieces are pretty much the same size and thickness. The consistency of the caramel inside is slightly gooey. Not quite as drippy as Dairy Milk, but certainly soft, sticky caramel goodness. Being similar to the Cadbury version certainly isn't a bad thing, both are fantastic. Milka Caramel stands on its own merit as a great addition to the Milka lineup, keeping up the consistent tastiness of the brand. 

My rating: 5/5

Friday 30 August 2013

Today's Review: Haribo Pandas

Kids and grown ups love it so, because kids love sweets, and the Haribo company is an immortal sugar producing monster, so we will continue to love it through adulthood until we perish, but the happy world of Haribo shall endure.

Ahem, here's a new product from Haribo, in the form of some cute little pandas. I assume it's new anyway, it's hard to tell what's been around in other countries for years and what's only just been dreamed up, but Google doesn't show any mention of these before this year. These pandas are vanilla and blueberry flavour, as pointed out by the big sticker on the front. I guess that's in case you look at the packet and think they're, I dunno, white chocolate and liquorice, or drywall and pavement. I jest, it's nice to know what you're getting yourself into when you try some new sweeties.

Here's a close up of our happy little Pandas. They're all identical to one another, which is a shame, it would be nice to have little panda characters doing panda-like things, like eating bamboo or... whatever else pandas do. As you can see, the heads are vanilla flavour, and the bodies blueberry. It's a neat, simple idea, and the flavours are actually pretty nice and accurate to the description. The actual consistency of the pandas is pretty much like the old fashioned shrimp sweets, but softer. It actually lends well to the flavour, creating a nice, soft, smooth, fruity flavour. These pandas are a bit bigger than your regular Haribo sweets too, so you don't have to shove a handful into your face to experience the full effect of the flavour.

These are a lovely new addition to the extensive Haribo range, and actually quite unique compared to all the other similar kinds that have been churned out in recent years. I opened up this bag at a party, and everyone who tried one agreed that they are very nice. These are definitely worth a buy.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 29 August 2013

Today's Review: Oreo Brownie

I love Oreos, I do. In biscuit form, shoved in Dairy Milk, even that massive Oreo cake I made many years ago. So I was excited to see this Oreo brownie at an unreasonably priced £3.50 at an American sweet stall, and even more excited to find it for half that price at a sweet shop down the road.

This isn't just a brownie with Oreo bits shoved inside, the packet explicitly states that it's creme filled, and that's all it needed to say for me to buy it. There's some funky icing spread about willy nilly on top for decoration, but that didn't distract me from the fact that most of the brownies in the box were looking a little squished. That's why I didn't take the price off, for fear of compromising the structure of the brownie. Eventually, off the wrapper came, and in I dove.

Well, that's not a lot of creme, is it? It may look like enough, but it really isn't. The best part of the Oreo cookie is the creme, and there's quite a nice amount sandwiched between the biscuit parts. Here the creme is completely surrounded by this rather bland Oreo brownie. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad brownie, it's just not very exciting. It's just kind of a soft, slightly chewy Oreo biscuit, and there's just not enough creme filling to soften up the experience and make it easier to swallow. Perhaps with some more creme, or even a bit of innovation in the brownie itself (chocolate chips maybe?) this would be something wonderful. But all I can say is that it's okay.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations: Cola Pretzel Honeycomb

I got it! I finally got it! I have seen this chocolate bar reviewed on many blogs, but this bar had eluded me, being only available at certain supermarkets outside of my walking range (I should probably learn to drive). Thankfully, my wonderful fianceé went to Morrisons yesterday and found it for me. Such is love. 

Yes, this is the latest entry in the "Marvellous Creations" range, an assortment of chocolate bars whose weird and wonderful contents seem to be chosen in the same manner as the jokes in Family Guy. Cola Pretzel Honeycomb flavour boasts good old Dairy Milk chocolate, stuffed with "chewy cola nuggets" (sounds delicious...) and pretzel and honeycomb pieces. That's a lot to fit in a chocolate bar, and it certainly seems an odd combination of flavours. But, as they say, don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

As you can see, the bar is loaded with sizeable chunks, and retains the "crazy paving" look of the other Marvellous Creations bars, which means it's more difficult to separate into sections for appropriate calorie counting. Ha, just kidding, I know you're going to eat it all in one go.

I had high hopes for this bar, and I'm pleased to say that Cadbury have pulled it off again. I was mostly unsure about the cola pieces, because honeycomb and pretzel are already tried and tested ingredients. While the cola certainly isn't the most prominent flavour, there is just enough to add a nice kick to the regular old ingredients, and the chewiness is great in combination with the crunchy pretzel pieces. This bar is an all in one smooth, chewy, crunchy, salty, sweet experience. It may not be available in many places, but it's definitely worth the wait.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Today's Review: Wall's X-Pop

On a recent trip to the farm, I happened upon this little lolly that I'd never seen before, called X-Pop. It sounds exciting, because the "X" makes it edgy. Look at that cross section too, so many layers, with all kinds of wondrous stuff inside. It promises bubble gum popping candy, atop an orange, strawberry, lemon and cola flavoured ice lolly. How could it go wrong?

Well, that's not a good start. This is less X-Pop, more XXX-Pop, you know what I mean? Yes, the bubblegum popping candy is pretty scarce, and unfortunately shaped and placed. This part wasn't too bad really, it was certainly a nice bubblegum candy with some popping candy pieces, but it was just too small, and really didn't fit with the rest of the flavours. Once the sheath was gone, I was just left with the multi-coloured ice lolly, which certainly didn't deliver on the promise of strawberry, orange, lemon and cola, and instead just tastes like a generic lemon. So overall, not a great attempt, it's literally a boring ice lolly with a gimmick shoved on top, and it looks like a penis.

My rating: 2/5

Monday 26 August 2013

Today's Review: Marley's Mellow Mood Black Tea

I've given Marley's Mellow Mood a try before, in the form of a mango juice drink, and I was pleasantly surprised. Today I was lured back into trying another flavour, partly by Bob Marley's happy little face, but mostly due to the fact that I was promised a peach, raspberry and passion fruit flavoured black tea.

Cold tea may not be everyone's cup of tea (I'm hilarious, I know), but I've enjoyed many a Lipton Iced Tea, so I was certainly ready to down a tea that promised me so many yummy fruity flavours. For the most part this drink delivers. It certainly has the refreshing tones of a cold tea, and with a distinct fruity taste. The only problem is that it wasn't too flavoursome. Perhaps the fruit juices weren't strong enough, or perhaps there were too many flavours fighting for dominance, but it was enough to leave me thinking this could have been an overall more fruity experience. Still, it's very nice, refreshing, and certainly put me in a mellow mood, judging by the amount of yawning I've done since drinking it.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 25 August 2013

Today's Review: Dairy Milk Nutty Caramel

I had the opportunity to go to my out of town Sainsbury's today, so I popped in to look for the Cola Pretzel Honeycomb Marvellous Creations that has so far eluded me. Ultimately I would be disappointed in that respect, but I did come across this interesting bar of Dairy Milk. Apparently it's been out for a while, but is only available in Sainsbury's, which would explain why I never tried it. Anyway,s Nutty Caramel consists of your good old Dairy Milk chocolate, encasing a caramel flavoured filling, chopped hazelnuts, and more caramel for good measure.

As you can see, the filling is akin to that of the Golden Biscuit Crunch, and since they were both released at the same time that kind of makes sense. I was expecting just a bunch of nuts and caramel shoved willy nilly into the centre, but the filling in this bar is delightfully creamy, with some nice caramel tones. I'm not normally a fan of nuts in chocolate either, but the hazelnut pieces are pretty small, and blend in with the texture and flavour very well. Overall it's another fantastic Dairy Milk bar. If only it was available more widely.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 24 August 2013

Today's Review: Strawberry Fanta

I love a bit of Fanta, I do. Fruit Twist is my favourite, though there have been some new flavours recently that have captivated my tastebuds, like Mango & Passion Fruit. 

Now I have found Strawberry Fanta. This is imported from the US, so I was expecting it to be like its sugary, sickly brother, Grape Fanta, and that's not a bad thing, because Grape Fanta is a guilty pleasure of mine. 

I was pretty much correct in my assumption. This Fanta tastes a lot flatter than its UK cousins. Instead it employs a very strong, and pretty fake, strawberry flavour. It tastes more like strawberry sweets than actual strawberries, and that might be okay for some, but it's a bit off for me. Still, it tastes nice, and I certainly managed to polish off the whole can, but the flavour does get overwhelming after a short time, and leaves behind a sugary, syrupy aftertaste. Not bad, but not great either.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 23 August 2013

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Butterscotch Shortbread Thins

 Shortbread? Butterscotch? Together? It must be my lucky day. Yes, Tesco have brought out a new range of Finest biscuits, and these were the ones that caught my eye the most. Just look at the box, that neatly arranged scoop of butterscotch, and that perfectly sliced block of butter. How could I resist?

Well, once I got past the perfectly set up picture of the main ingredients, inside the box I found some perfectly formed shortbread biscuits. They look exactly like they do on the top part of the box, which is fantastic. They're oval, flat, and with a generous smattering of butterscotch chunks that give each biscuit a spotty texture. Each one also has a teapot engraved on it, which I suppose is meant to signal the perfect accompaniment, and perhaps is prompting me to dunk. I'm barely a tea drinker, let alone a biscuit dunker, so I'll leave it up to someone else to see how tea leaved add to the flavour.

On their own merit, though, these are fantastic. The box states that they "melt in the mouth", and they certainly do, due in no small part to the fact that they're 30% butter. But the butterscotch pieces add a nice chewy texture, and there are enough to ensure an even butterscotch flavour that permeates through the whole biscuit to give a fantastic overall taste. If you're a sucker for butterscotch, or shortbread, or both especially, don't miss out on these.

My rating: 5/5 

Thursday 22 August 2013

Today's Review: Domino's Hot Dog & Mustard Twisted Dough Balls

Another day, another Domino's (I don't eat Domino's every day. I promise). But this time something was different on the website. The sides menu featured a new item at the top, a new form of Twisted Dough Ball, boasting unconventional innards: hot dogs.

I've tried Domino's Jalapeño Dough Balls before, and was pleasantly surprised by their tastiness and spiciness. So I was quite excited to try these little hot dog filled morsels, especially as mustard was already included (although you can have them without mustard if you so wish). When it arrived, these balls certainly looked the part. Generous hunks of dough, each housing a small, perfectly formed hot dog, enshrined in mustard and surrounded by cheese. I was a little worried, because those hot dogs did look a bit tiny, but the only way to be sure was with a taste.

These dough balls are fantastic. You might assume that the dough to hot dog ratio might leave you with a wholly bready taste, but in fact the hot dog flavour is quite distinct and doesn't lose out in the battle for your tastebuds. I was surprised by the mustard content too. Normally I'm not too much of a fan, but there was just enough to blend in nicely with the other flavours, but not enough to overpower my senses. These are satisfying, chewy, meaty morsels. I think I still prefer the jalapeño version, but these still score very highly.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Today's Review: Nãkd Infused Raisins

Raisins are a nice snack. They're juicy, fruity, and filling. But they also uniformly just taste like raisins, and that can get a bit boring. Well, not anymore, because Nãkd have brought out a range of snack sized raisins infused with all kinds of flavours.

I found four of these varieties at Tesco: Cherry, Pineapple, Lime and, strangely, Cola. There are also Orange and Lemon available, but I think I can give a fair judgement based on these four flavours. It certainly is a neat idea, adding some different flavours one of the best fruity snack foods. I've always enjoyed eating boxes of raisins, and now we can choose to kick the taste up a notch.

The "infused" flavours in each of these varieties are certainly very bold. They're made from natural ingredients, so they don't really taste sickly sweet or fake, although the Cola one does taste like your generic off-brand cola flavoured sweeties. The flavours all actually mix in with the texture and flavour of their raisiny base, although they are a bit overwhelming at times. The lime is particularly bold, adding quite an intense tangy edge to an otherwise smooth and juicy experience.

These Nãkd raisins are a great idea, and they contain some quality ingredients. The raisins themselves are soft and juicy, with no dodgy bits in sight. The only problem I have is that the extra flavours seem to be fighting for supremacy, and they sometimes overwhelm the overall taste. But these are certainly worth a go if you fancy adding a kick to your dried up old grapes.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Today's Review: Planes

I have stated before how much of a hardcore Pixar fan I am, and while I enjoy both Cars and Cars 2, I can truthfully say they are probably the weakest of Pixar's offerings. So upon hearing that Planes was in production, purely under the Disney name, it's fair to say I was pretty skeptical about how it would turn out.

Planes stars Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper (great name for a hero), a crop duster plane who is bored of his predestined crop duster life, and whose greatest dream is to compete in a round the world race with the flying elite. After practicing hard and trying out for the qualifiers, Dusty doesn't quite make the cut, but then he does in an unsurprising turn of events. So off Dusty goes to the big leagues, accompanied by his Mater-like fuel truck buddy Chug (Brad Garrett) and mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher). But will this underdog be able to stand up against some of the best racers in the world, especially while suffering from an ironic fear of heights?

I'm gonna call Planes for what it clearly is, a shameless attempt at selling merchandise. Cars is a cash cow franchise in terms of the enormous amount of crap available with Lightning McQueen emblazoned on it, and I've been seeing Planes stuff filling the shelves for a few weeks now. But despite the merchandising, Cars and even its sequel managed to at least be decent films. The same cannot be said for Planes. Sure, it has a coherent enough plot, some nice visuals, but that's about it.

Clocking in at just over an hour and a half, Planes skims through everything with the minimal amount of plot and character development. We have a hero who wants to be a racer, so he becomes a racer. He meets a bunch of other racers who are nothing more than hollow stereotypes. There's the Mexican plane who just acts Mexican, the British plane who is just John Cleese spouting a few terrible one liners. I could go through the others, but they're all pretty forgettable. Together these planes have a few races, though that's often hard to miss because all we're treated to is a couple of minutes of them all flying quite nicely near each other before they're all talking at the next resting point. We hardly even see anyone cross the finish line. The scenes and locations chop and change so often I was often left at a loss for an explanation as to why things were happening. I found it hard to see why anyone was motivated to do anything, because the characters didn't seem to form any meaningful relationships with one another.

I'm sure nobody's surprised though. It was pretty clear from the start that this was a movie intended for shifting merchandise. There's so much crammed into this movie, but it's all so underdeveloped and... well, boring. It's turned out pretty much like the toys lining the shelves. Colourful? Pretty? Yes. But beneath the surface it's all just meaningless, empty crap.

My rating: 1/5

Monday 19 August 2013

Today's Review: Tesco Worcester Sauce & Tomato Popcorn

Popcorn sure is a versatile little foodstuff. These tiny kernels can be popped with just about anything, be it sugar, salt, butter, toffee... Well, they're the main ones. But what about other things? Why can't we broaden our popcorn horizons? Are we doomed to dwell in a bland, unwavering popcorn society?

Well, no. I've already reviewed bacon popcorn, and since then I've seen various new types of savoury popcorn cropping up around supermarkets. The one that really caught my eye lately though was Tesco's own Worcester Sauce & Tomato popcorn. I love a bit of Lea & Perrins, and I rejoiced when Worcester Sauce Walkers came back into production, so this seemed like a good fit for me.

The first thing that I experienced upon opening the bag was the smell. It's certainly very strong, and certainly not like any popcorn I was used to. But after taking a peek I was greeted with some quite unassuming, normal looking popcorn. So it was time for me to grab a handful, forget everything I ever learned about popcorn, and begin anew with this strange creation.

Well, it was hard to forget all my popcorn preconceptions, but I must admit that this tastes pretty nice. It certainly takes a little bit of getting used to, but the flavour is bold, and actually goes quite well with the kernels themselves. It's not quite up to Lea & Perrins standard, and the saucy flavour is perhaps a little too intense, overwhelming the tomato and hanging around a little too long in the aftertaste. But this is certainly a good effort at an original popcorn variety, and certainly worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 18 August 2013

Today's Review: Jack 'N' Jill Magic Peanut Butter Creams & M.Y. San Honey Grahams

Two different products by two different companies. So why am I lumping them together in the same review? Well, I bought them in the same place at the same time, but also once the wrappers are off I found that these snacks contain the same base ingredient: Graham crackers. Developed by Reverend Graham as part of a diet to halt your carnal urges, Graham crackers are an essential ingredient in the creation of good old fashioned S'mores. But it's not just chocolate and marshmallows you can stick between these bad boys: Why not peanut butter?

Everything is good with peanut butter, especially crackers. Thankfully, these Graham crackers are packed with some nice, smooth, creamy peanut butter.

Each pack contains a three layered cracker/peanut butter sandwich, which can be snapped into three reasonably sized chunks. The crackers themselves taste a little like your standard cream cracker, although lighter and tastier. I did get to start that signature cracker dry taste in my mouth, but the generous amount of tasty peanut butter soon took care of that. This is a fantastic, filling snack that really hits the spot.

But if you fancy something sweeter, M.Y. San have you covered with Honey Grahams.

These crackers have the same makeup as the last, each one divided into three easily snappable pieces. But these crackers have a nice honey flavour blended in, and are certainly quite edible by themselves. While the honey flavour is nice and sweet, and at times starts to resemble Golden Grahams (funny that), it does start to wear off after a while, leaving a somewhat tasteless, dry finish. Since I got that hint of heavenly breakfast cereal, I tried dipping these in milk to see if I could complete the experience, but that just made the cracker soggy quite quickly and somewhat devoid of honey flavour. Oh well, they're still good on their own, although my money's on the peanut butter creams.

My rating: 9/10

Saturday 17 August 2013

Today's Review: Red Velvet Cupcake Bites

After trying Cupcake Bites and Cinnamon Bun Bites and having... mixed opinions, I went on back to Mr. Simms and picked up the last variety I hadn't tried: Red Velvet Cupcake Bites. This will be the last in my Three Flavours trilogy: Three Flavours White, Three Flavours Red and Three Flavours Rainbow Sprinkles!

These Red Velvet Bites offer "bite sized cupcake morsels in creamy red frosting", a little odd, since the cake is meant to be red, but I guess they need to be set apart from the other Bites. The innards are pretty much the same as Cupcake Bites: not too doughy, very cake-like and satisfyingly filling. As for the frosting, it's probably the best I've experienced in this range. It certainly is creamy, and the ratio between cake and frosting is a lot more balanced than the Cupcake Bites. They're not perfect though, after a while they did get a bit too sickly for my liking, but after a short break I quickly polished off the rest of the box.

These Bites are the best of all. Cakey, creamy and flavoursome. They still have a slight problem with being sickly sweet, but they certainly are tasty.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 16 August 2013

Today's Review: Cadbury Eclairs "Twists"

Cadbury are churning out stuff all over the place lately, but I'm certainly not complaining. Their latest venture is adding some "twists" to their classic Eclairs, namely orange and hazelnut. About time too, seeing as Eclairs have been around in their unaltered form since 1965. I can't say Eclairs are my go to choice as far as sweeties are concerned (though they are my mother's), but I couldn't resist grabbing these new flavours.

I figured the orange twist would be my favourite. They're pretty much the same as regular Eclairs, but with orange chocolate instead of the normal. Still, they're very tasty, boasting quite a sizeable centre with a bold orange flavour. Certainly an improvement in the original in my eyes.

As for the hazelnut, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy them quite as much. The old ladies who've grown up with the original will probably go gaga for it, there always seems to be an abundance of hazelnut and caramel in all the fancy chocolate boxes. Well, these Eclairs combine both flavours, and while they're also nice, the hazelnut flavour just isn't quite as bold as the orange, although I think that's because it blends in nicely with the caramel.

These new Eclairs are certainly another great thing to come from Cadbury this year. They retain the classic taste, with some tasty flavoured twists. If you're a fan of the original, these are definitely worth a go.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 15 August 2013

Today's Review: Cookie Crisp Brownie

A few years ago Cookie Crisp landed in the UK, most likely to a cacophonous uproar from parents nationwide. I say most likely because I don't remember hearing such an uproar. Although I wasn't quite a child, I was too busy thinking about how awesome it would be to eat cookies for breakfast, and awesome it was. Cookie Crisp is basically tiny little chocolate chip cookies that you can drown in milk and label as part of a nutritious breakfast, and they actually taste pretty good after a good night's sleep. Now Nestlé have decided to not only give us cookies for breakfast, but to make them brownie cookies too. What's not to love?

Well... they don't look quite right. I mean, they certainly look like chocolatey cereal, but they're not cookie shaped like their older brother. These are smaller, and square, overall much more cereal like. Looks aren't everything though, so I delved in and started to crunch my way through them. But something was amiss. Sure, this cereal tastes like chocolate, and it's pretty nice too, but that's all it really tastes like, chocolate cereal. The pieces are small, and quite hollow, not nearly as substantial as original Cookie Crisp. There are chocolate chips contained in the pieces, but they're not really noticeable while chomping. I could also detect no hint of brownie flavour. 

So overall, these were not what I was expecting. These are less Cookie Crisp, more Coco Rocks or other generic puffy-ish chocolate cereal. They are nice, and they turn the milk chocolatey pretty damn fast, but they just don't seem to deliver on their promise. However, my kids devoured their bowls within about a minute, so these are probably a great purchase for children.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles

Another Cadbury bag! They certainly have been good to us this year. But instead of putting more weird and wonderful stuff inside their chocolate, like cereal, popping candy jelly pieces or cookies and nuts, this time we have good old Dairy Milk encased in some crispy, sugary shells. Certainly not an original enterprise, especially since the seasonal Snow Bites were of a similar make up, but it's about time that Cadbury released a staple crispy shelled chocolate to stand up against Smarties, Minstrels, M&Ms and the like.

As you can see, these Pebbles are certainly... pebble shaped? They're a decent size, flat, and tear drop shaped, certainly fitting their name, and adequately shaded to match the Cadbury colour scheme. However, like Smarties, the different colours don't really equal different flavours, unless your brain manages to trick you into it. Still, I don't mind, because encased in these nice crispy shells is a nice morsel of classic Dairy Milk chocolate. Crispy, crunchy, smooth and satisfying. These Pebbles may be simple, but they're certainly effective.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Today's Review: Twix Mix

First we had Mars Mix, now we have Twix Mix. A logical progression I guess. I must say that in hindsight, my Mars Mix review was a little too harsh. Sure, they're quite unoriginal, but if you want your Mars Bars broken down and presented in tiny spherical form, who am I to stop you? So with that in mind, I approached these with a more open mind.

Twix Mix follows the same format as the Mars Mix. Inside the packet are a bunch of tiny balls, which can either contain caramel or Twix biscuit. Put 'em together and what have you got? Well, a Twix. While I'm not too much of a fan of the caramel balls, the biscuit ones are actually very nice, like a different variety of Maltesers. Unfortunately, there's no real way to tell which ball contains what, so there's no saving the best 'til last. I just found that eating a handful at a time gave a nice, bite size Twix experience.

So yeah, if you like Twix, by all means pick these up. They may be just a rehashing and repackaging of an already existing chocolate bar, but they still taste good.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 12 August 2013

Today's Review: Cinnamon Bun Bites

It wasn't only Cupcake Bites I picked up the other day, these Cinnamon Bites were right next to them, and I couldn't help but be tempted. While cinnamon is one of my mortal food enemies, I have been warming to it a little lately, especially in the form of cinnamon buns (or rolls). I was optimistic that these little bites could deliver a nice, sweet, slightly spicy cinnamon bun experience.

As I started these bites, I certainly enjoyed them. The centre isn't so much a chewy, uncooked dough like the other "Bites" varieties. Instead it's soft, and certainly tastes a lot like a right proper bun. The frosting was quite nice too, although as with the other bites, there was a lot of it, which kind of overwhelmed the bun flavour and gave the whole thing a very sickly taste.

After a few nice bites, I decided to read the box, and found out that instead of these bites being coated in icing style frosting, they're actually encased in white chocolate, for a reason I can't even begin to fathom. From that point, something in my brain must have clicked, because now I can't eat one of these bites without feeling a bit sick. The frosting certainly is chocolatey, and it really doesn't go well with the cinnamon bun dough. It's too much of a contrast between spicy and sweet, and they leave a terrible aftertaste. Perhaps it's not my discovery of the ingredients, but instead the return of my innate cinnamon hatred, that's messing up my tastebuds, but either way, I had to stop eating. It's a shame really, if they used actual cinnamon bun frosting I'm sure the whole experience would be a lot nicer. But seeing as I can't bear to eat any more at the moment, I can't really recommend them.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday 11 August 2013

Today's Review: Maxibon Cookie

Of all the ice cream treats I have enjoyed in my lifetime, none has reached the combined tastiness and elusiveness of the Maxibon. I think the last time I had one of these was in 2005, when I found one in a random shop in Tenerife, and I remember that even back then I was damn excited to finally find one. But today, I found not only a Maxibon, but a new style of Maxibon, and in London Zoo of all places.

For those not aware, and therefore missing out on one of the best things ever created, Maxibon is an ice cream bar, comprised of two different halves. One has a crispy chocolate, Feast-esque coating, and the other has the ice cream sandwiched between two slabs of biscuity goodness. The Maxibon Cookie takes it further than before, the biscuit is now a soft cookie, complete with chocolate chips.

The beauty of the Maxibon bar is that it's perfectly designed to be enjoyed with no mess. Since the ice cream sandwich half is obviously the best bit, you can safely hold the bar at that end while you snack away at the crispy chocolate covering the soft, smooth ice cream. Once that's done, the other half can be enjoyed at leisure. The original Maxibon's biscuit was somewhat rigid and chewy, and while it was still very good, this new cookie offering is sublime. It's soft, chocolatey, totally delicious.

Before anyone says it, I know that Ben & Jerry offer up the 'Wich, which is basically a full size version of the cookie part of this Maxibon. I absolutely adore 'Wich, but it seems to have gone the way of Maxibon, as I haven't seen one in a very long time. As much as I love 'Wich though, Maxibon will always hold a special place in my heart. It's a delicious combination of ice cream, chocolate and cookie, that I'll always be sure to snatch up whenever I find one.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 10 August 2013

Today's Review: Cupcake Bites

Apparently I have not reviewed either Cookie Dough Bites, or Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites, despite having devoured both on separate occasions. They are tiny, sugary balls of doughy goodness, promising you that gooey, uncooked cookie taste, and almost delivering it, but both were just a little too sickly for me. But that won't stop me trying some new varieties, and after seeing Grocery Gems review these Cupcake Bites yesterday my interest was piqued. Thankfully, I walked into my local Mr. Simms today and found them sitting on the shelf for an affordable £2.49. 

The blurbs on the box promise little morsels with cupcake centres, surrounded with frosting, and sprinkles thrown in for good measure. Well, they certainly are what they say on the box, especially the sprinkles. While they're certainly not in hundreds and thousands territory, the sprinkles are colourful, crunchy sugar pieces, embedded in the coating, and most of the time forming some kind of funny face:

"My goodness, we're about to be eaten alive!"
"Mmmmfffff mmmpphh!"
"Kill me"

So yes, the sprinkles are nice, and the frosting isn't too bad. It's certainly sugary and sickly, but the problem lies in the fact that there's just too much of it compared to the cupcake dough. When you eat a regular cupcake it isn't a tiny sphere of cake surrounded in a planetary mantle of frosting, but that's what they're selling us here. Perhaps it's for the best though, because the dough isn't really that nice. It's only slightly cakey, and quite gritty due to all the lovely sugar. But, with the frosting and sprinkles thrown in, it's not too bad of an experience. I think I prefer the regular cookie dough bites though, there's a little too much sweetness going on here that overwhelms the tastebuds quite quickly.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 9 August 2013

Today's Review: Vitamin Water: Revive And Defence

Vitamin water seems to be a thing again now, and I picked up these two flavours today. Well, I call them flavours, but each one seems to have been given a buzz word. Here we have "Revive" and "Defence", which certainly sound tastier than their counterparts "Balance", "Formula 50" and the dubious "XXX". In reality though, these are fruit punch and raspberry-apple flavoured waters, respectively. 

But wait, they're not just waters, they're vitamin waters, and the bottles certainly waste no time telling you as much. The Defence flavour is subtitled as being "amaze-zinc", because it has zinc in. There's no real pointers as to how this added zinc really helps you, just a little vignette that reads like a vanilla version of the opening lines of Trainspotting, implying that drinking this water will suddenly change your life for the better. Actually, there is a little icon that states "Vitamin C and Zinc contribute to the normal function of the immune system", so I guess we won't become super powered after all.

In actuality, zinc is quite good for us, but it comes from so many places we probably don't need to worry about getting our nutrients from the Coca-Cola company. In fact, the vitamin content of this water is actually pretty small compared to the bad stuff crammed in there, unless you count sugar as a vitamin. Which I don't, and neither does science.

But enough of this banter. How do they taste? Well, like water basically. Flavoured water, certainly, but the flavours are just washed out and not particularly interesting or refreshing. As far as drink flavours go, I normally consider raspberry and fruit punch quite high on my tastiness scale, but all this pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo has probably left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Or, more likely, these drinks just don't taste good.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 8 August 2013

Today's Review: Vice Versas

I remember snacking upon Vice Versas as a child, and back then the prospect of having white chocolate in a brown shell and milk chocolate in a white shell was mind blowing. Then Nestlé stopped making Vice Versas and I swiftly forgot about them.

But now they are back, but apparently they're new. Well, they're certainly fatter than they were before, in their Minstrel like form. But hey, bigger is better, right? Well, not really. The milk chocolate contained within the white sweets is not very nice. It's odd, because Nestlé also make Smarties, which taste much nicer, and Aero, which is fantastic. But this milk chocolate just tastes like those cheap chocolate Santas/Easter Bunnies you find on cheap seasonal shelves. Perhaps all Nestlé's chocolate is like this, but it's more manageable in smaller/more aerated doses.

The white chocolate is certainly nice though, I don't think you can really go wrong with white chocolate. But because the shells of these sweets are so large, they ended up overpowering the chocolate innards a lot of the time, what with their sharp broken edges, and the sugar starting to come off, giving me a rough feeling on the tongue. These Vice Versas are certainly not as nice as I remember, I think I'll stick with the Minstrels.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Today's Review: Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember when cookies were simple, small, cheap? Pepperidge Farm remembers, but they want you to forget. These big fat square bags of biscuity goodness are certainly pricey, but they promise "melt in your mouth" cookies that are soft baked to perfection. Well, soft perfection. 

There are a few other varieties of these cookies, but I feel I can judge the quality more with the plainer flavour, because once they start adding more kinds of chocolate, and even brownie, into the mix, it's hard to sustain a fair opinion.

Well, these cookies certainly are soft baked, perhaps a little too soft, because they taste a little underdone. Not in the good way, like the heavenly gooey cookie, but like the ingredients haven't been mixed that well. They have an off floury texture that's less "melt in your mouth" and more disintegrate.

Still, they're not all bad. The chocolate chunks are sizeable and generous, and my misgivings about the taste certainly didn't stop me devouring them quite quickly. But I don't think I'll try them again. They're just a bit off, and these are much nicer cookies out there.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Today's Review: Monster Rehab: Orangeade

Yes, it's another entry into the odd range of Monster tea based drinks, meant to both energise and relax you, somehow. Revitalisation is the word I think. This variety blends tea with orange juice, because that sounds like a delicious thing to do. Well, it's not all that bad. The tea is cold, after all. I'm not making it sound any better, am I? 

Once you get over the strange combination of flavours, this drink is actually quite nice. It is a little on the dry side, since both iced tea and orange juice can leave that dry taste in your mouth, but it's not so bad, and actually did well to refresh me. It's a nice smooth, flat drink, and while it is a little tart, it's certainly not as intense as a kick from the regular fizzy Monster. 

My rating: 4/5

Monday 5 August 2013

Today's Review: Sunburn

We, as humans, have survived on this planet for many thousands of years. We have evolved from primitive beats, gained superior intelligence and ingenuity. Our bodies have been sculpted to be precision made for using tools, fighting illness. We've managed to make the appendix an obsolete organ. But one thing we haven't done is stop the sun burning our skin.

Now, the sun isn't exactly a new thing, it's been around longer than we have. But despite humans building up a resilience to most thing on the planet, if we spend a relatively small amount of time in the sun unprotected our skin is bound to turn red and painful. Not only that, but too much sun can give you cancer, and that's just great to hear. "There's a giant star millions of miles away whose heat and light is keeping us alive, but it will not hesitate to kill you slowly if you lie down in its rays for too long".

I get it, sunburn is the result of radiation, and as far as our human resilience goes, we really still suck at dealing with radiation. That's why there are no superheroes. So in the end, we're stuck with sunburn, and it sucks. The pain, the redness, the social embarrassment the redness can cause, the peeling skin, it all sucks. Sure, we have lotions we can apply to protect ourselves, and they're actually pretty effective, but all it takes is a particularly intensive burst of sunshine or simply forgetting to apply anything, and we all turn into lobsters. Damn you, sun.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday 4 August 2013

Today's Review: Cherry Pits

Cherries are a nice fruit. They're small, juicy, and they're fantastic in pies. I could eat them all day, were it not for one small problem. The problem that lies right in the centre of every cherry, the pit.

I could bite cleanly through every cherry, enjoy popping one juicy morsel after another into my face, but instead every time I eat a cherry I have to gingerly bite around the rock hard centre, leaving some precious residue behind as I fling the cherry's dead soul into the bin.

I know I could probably buy unpitted cherries, but they would most likely be expensive, and it's besides the point. The cherry pit is a cruel joke of nature, a cold hard lump in the middle of a nutritious, succulent treat. Fruit should be enjoyed, chewed rigorously, but instead we are forced to nibble. Cherry pits are the pits.

My rating: 0/5

Saturday 3 August 2013

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Dominican Republic Chocolate With Sea Salt Flakes

Take some exquisite cocoa beans from the heart of the caribbean, and blend it up with some sea salt from a small town in the middle of Essex. That's the idea with this Tesco Finest chocolate bar, a combination of ingredients from across the world. Salt may sound like an odd thing to put in chocolate, but I once made truffles that were topped with a sprinkle of salt, and they were actually pretty nice, so obviously I have an expert opinion on the matter.

Well, this chocolate isn't as nice as my truffles. Yes, the chocolate itself is very nice, smooth, creamy, very tasty. The trouble is that there's just too much salt. It overwhelms the taste buds as soon as I pop it in my mouth, and while the flavours eventually come together to something quite nice, I'm still left with a salty aftertaste that really isn't that nice. Perhaps I just don't like salt as much as the average person, but this bar really doesn't do it for me. 

My rating: 2/5

Friday 2 August 2013

Today's Review: Bio Green Dairy Lassi

I've had some experience of lasso before, but only because it was the only thing I had ingredients for in the Cooking Guide DS game. It's a yoghurt drink, but pretty much a watered down one, and I finally saw one for sale in the form of this offering from Bio Green Dairy.

It's made in Middlesex, though the description on the bottle left me wondering about the creators' grasp of the English language.This is a "premium traditional-style Lasso with its upbeat take on life. It's the perfect blend of tradition and modern tastes. which is why Edna the cow is leaping with joy on this label!" Well, the cow doesn't have a face, so it's hard to see if she's overjoyed, but those udders sure are looking excited. As for the drink having an "upbeat take on life", I have no idea how to gauge a liquid's attitude towards its own existence. So my only option was to drink it to extinction.

Anyway, this certainly is a nice, fruity, smooth drink, at first anyway. There are some fruity lychee chunks contained within, and they're just big enough as to not hinder the drinking experience. But the lychee flavour leaves a lot to be desired for me. It started off nice, but eventually went the way of the mango and dried out my mouth, which left me pretty unsatisfied and still thirsty by the end of the bottle. So it's good, but not that good. Perhaps with a different fruit it could be better.

My rating: 3/5 

Thursday 1 August 2013

Today's Review: KFC Nacho Stacker Burger

Oh, sorry, that's probably not the best picture.

There. I can never get it to look as amazing as the professionals. You'd think they're sprucing up uncooked meat and meticulously arranging the lettuce. I'm sure that doesn't happen.

But hey, what do I care? It all goes down the same way, right? This is KFC's latest attempt at a new burger, the Nacho Stacker. It's basically a Zinger Tower with a dirty great nacho frisbee stuck in the middle of it. Also some new spicy sauce. I know I've been disdainful towards KFC in the past for constantly slapping a single ingredient into a burger and calling it a fantastic new product, but the original recipe chicken is their selling point, so it has to be there. All that's left is to change the toppings, the sauce, the bun. Sure, most of the time it's quite underwhelming, but one of my favourite KFC burgers is just a Fillet Tower with a bit of bacon shoved in for good measure.

Thankfully, this burger is pretty tasty. The nacho adds a satisfying crunch to the whole affair, and the sauce is fantastic. It's spicy, but certainly not too spicy, opting to be equal parts creamy and flavoursome instead. So while shoving a nacho into a burger is not the most innovative idea, it's certainly pulled off quite well with the Nacho Stacker. Not perfect, but certainly the best new burger they've put out in a while.

My rating: 4/5