Monday 31 August 2015

Today's Review: Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli Crispy Thins

Everyone's getting in on the thin crisps lately. Jacobs (yum), Ritz (eh), and now Walkers have introduced Sensations Crispy Thins. They're like Sensations, but crispy and thin. Which is exactly what Sensations are... Hmm.

These may have a few flavours, but I only saw the Thai Sweet Chilli, which is no bad thing as that's a good flavour of Sensation. Unfortunately, it doesn't transfer over too well. It's not all bad, these things certainly are thin and crispy, a little Cheeselet like in texture (though not as much as the Ritz versions), they're a little crumbly but they do have quite a satisfying crunch and are somewhat filling. But the flavour is just disappointing. The regular crisps have a lovely spicy kick, but these just lack any real heat. Sure, some came through after making my way through most of the bag, and then these did taste alright, but I was left hankering for some spice that just wasn't delivered. These may be a healthier alternative to crisps, but I think I'll stick with the original Sensations if I have to sacrifice the actual flavour. These aren't truly awful, but they are bland. Jacobs still hold the title as my favourite cracker crisps.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 30 August 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Milk Tray: New Flavours

Many thanks to Cadbury for sending me a nice big box of Milk Tray. As you can see above, they certainly know how to wrap their packages. You see, it's the 100th anniversary of Milk Tray, and to celebrate Cadbury have rolled out three new chocolates. There's a Truffle Heart, an Apple Crunch and a Salted Caramel Charm. I guess the salted caramel is in keeping with the latest snack craze, but that's certainly no bad thing.

What a lovely layout. As you can see, one of the Strawberry Temptations didn't survive the trip. It lay there, a hole in its head, its life force seeping onto the box, so I had to put it out of its misery. Certainly a good start, but I'm mostly here for the new flavours. Here they are:

They certainly look the part, all striped and patterned like their more experienced brethren. Yes, they look nice. Certainly like chocolates. Chocolates from a chocolate box even. The only thing left to do was to taste them.

That's better. The Truffle Heart was probably the least exciting sounding one, so I started with that. I'm surprised that a standard chocolate truffle isn't already the norm, but the white chocolate truffle fares pretty well, and this one is... quite good. It's not spectacularly smooth on the inside, but it certainly offers a softer experience than a plain old hunk of chocolate. It's nice and creamy, certainly chocolatey, but it's not all that exciting. 

The Salted Caramel Charm is a very chewy beast. The milk chocolate slides off pretty quickly and lends a nice creamy texture, but the bulk of it is a big block of lovely chewy caramel. It's a little tough to begin with, but soon gives way and presents with a nice bold caramel flavour. There's definitely a lovely salty taste to it, and one that stuck with me throughout chewing and even after the chocolate was gone. I would have preferred there being a gooey salted caramel, but this is definitely nice enough. 

The Apple Crunch is the one I was most looking forward to. The orange and strawberry varieties are staples of any good box of chocolates, but I can't say I've seen an apple one before. Even better, this one contains an apple flavoured white chocolate truffle, which gives it a great creamy texture with a nice fruity taste. As with a lot of apple flavoured snacks, there's some cinnamon thrown in too, in the form of some crunchy pieces. They certainly give a sweet, spiced kick, but they are a little overwhelming, taking over the apple to make it more of a cinnamon flavour white chocolate. Still, the apple was noticeable at least, so it's not all that bad. The balance could be a bit better though.

So there we have it, three new Milk Tray varieties to pop in your mouth. They're all pretty good, not perfect by any means, but they're interesting new varieties that I certainly didn't mind eating. These are worth picking up while they're around.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 29 August 2015

Today's Review: This Anti-Littering Ad

There I was yesterday, minding my own business, when my eye was drawn to this interesting advert on the side of a bus stop. "Bin your litter", it said. Alright, I'm on board with that. I am certainly not a litterer. But I think they should have stopped there, because the rest of this poster is an atrocity. 

"Bin your litter" is a nice simple message, one we can all relate to. However, the phrase that follows it in this case is simply baffling. "It's a pretty quick thing to". To what? I assume it was meant to say "to do" but somehow this went through several people who aren't aware of how to end a sentence. Binning your litter may be a pretty quick thing to do, but so is proofreading, and no one bothered with that here. 

What's as equally baffling as the missing word is the emphasis on the word "pretty". You'd think if they were trying to point out how binning your litter is a simple task, they'd highlight the word "quick", but I can only assume the bolded "pretty" is in relation to the woman in the picture. I mean, sure, she's pretty. But what's that got to do with littering? I assume they were going for some sort of word play, without first looking up the meaning of the term. It's a crappy explanation of why that word is highlighted, but it's literally the only thing I can think of. Speaking of the picture, I do hope they took some kind of stock model shoot and photo shopped in that empty carton of cut price chicken, instead of hiring someone to explicitly pose with said carton. I guess you've gotta start somewhere, but if this was my first modelling gig I would be pretty unhappy. Ha, see what I did there? Puns.

You know what? I'm done. I can't analyse this thing anymore, it's making my brain hurt. I'm glad I don't have an NFC equipped phone, tapping that on the side of this ad would probably cause it to explode, or become sentient in a bid to wipe out the stupidity of the human race. This ad makes me want to litter. I mean, this whole poster is rubbish, but they put it in a bus stop instead of throwing it in the bin, and I hear that's a pretty quick thing to.

My rating: 0/5

Friday 28 August 2015

Today's Review: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Until the last few years, I hated cinnamon. I couldn't get on board with it at all, and I certainly couldn't see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But now I've grown to like it, so I figured I could finally understand those kids when I finally came across a reasonably priced box of this cereal.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is pretty much like the Cinnamon Grahams (or Curiously Cinnamon) you'd find in the UK. Small, crispy squares of cereal, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I think the difference lies in the sugar element, I don't recall the Curiously Cinnamon being overly sweet, but it certainly shows in this cereal. The cinnamon is quite strong, but has a lovely sweet taste that's aided by the sugar swirled on top. So this stuff is equal parts sweet and spice, and it's pretty pleasant, especially with the lovely crisp cereal that it's all piled on top of. This box certainly didn't last long, I surely can see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I can't fault it, it's a cinnamon cereal that just tastes great.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 27 August 2015

Today's Review: Galaxy Flutes

Now here's a bar I know has been around in the UK before, and I remember quite enjoying it too. But for some reason you can't get them over here anymore, and they were all over the place in Oman, so I picked up a few during my stay.

These are kind of like Milky Way Crispy Rolls, but in Galaxy form. They consist of Galaxy chocolate, wrapped around a crisp, cylindrical wafer, which in itself is filled with more Galaxy chocolate. The stuff on the inside seems to have a softer texture to it, more like that of a truffle. Maybe it's just the transition between wafer and chocolate giving that illusion, but I actually quite enjoy it. It makes for a nice, creamy block of chocolate that blends together nicely with the crunchy wafer. Sure, the wafer is a little dry, and not particularly flavoursome, but this is an interesting variation on a Galaxy bar that I certainly wouldn't hesitate to pick up if it reared its head on these shores again. Good stuff.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Today's Review: Twix Top

Although my basket was already full of chocolate by the time I got to the Carrefour checkout, my eyes wandered to the impulse items by my side, and settled on a tiny little bar named Twix Top. Apparently these were a thing in the UK until 2005, but I don't think I'd had one before now. It's pretty small, the size of a biscuit bar, quite wide and pretty flat. So what makes it a Twix Top instead of a Twix? 

Well, yeah, it's like an inside out Twix. There's basically a crunchy biscuit base, which has layers of caramel and chocolate on top. It's an interesting enough variation on the regular bar, but in practice it's not all the great. The biscuit is pretty plentiful, and while it packs a nice crunch, it's quite dry. Compared to the meagre amount of chocolate it makes for a pretty bland bar. The caramel is almost non-existent, I tasted it a little, but it's pretty disappointing. As much as I like Twix bars, I couldn't get on board with this one. I'm not too upset that this isn't around in the UK anymore.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Today's Review: Galaxy Caramel & Nut Crunch

I may have picked up a few too many Galaxy bars over here, but there are certainly a few interesting varieties I haven't tried at home. Take this one for example. In the UK we have Caramel, and we have Nut Crunch, but this one combines the two into a Caramel & Nut Crunch. Why have one when you can have both?

What is quite nice about this bar is that the caramel isn't that regular, oozing stuff you'd find in the solely caramel variety. Instead, it's caramel flavoured crunchy pieces, which pack quite a bit of flavour while adding a nice bit of texture. Sure, there's already some in the form of the nut pieces, but it makes for a pretty balanced flavour overall instead of the whole bar being overpowered by gooey caramel. The nuts are a little bit far between, but they're strong enough to give a nice nutty flavour throughout. All in all it's a very well balanced bar, and everything in it is good. It's a creamy, chocolatey, crunchy, nutty caramel delight.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 24 August 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Marvellous Creations Cookie Gummy Crunch

Here's another interesting variation I've picked up in Oman, it's a Marvellous Creations bar that hasn't reared its head in the UK. It seems to originate from South Africa, but it's made its way a bit further east. This is Cookie Gummy Crunch, which seems to be a crossover of the Cookie But Crunch and Jelly Popping Candy, it's basically Dairy Milk chocolate embedded with cookie pieces and jelly bits. I certainly wasn't a fan of the jelly in the Popping Candy variety, so I wasn't expecting big things here, but I had to give it a go.

The Dairy Milk is obviously as good as ever, nice and creamy. The cookie pieces are pretty crunchy and satisfying, a nice bit of texture and flavour throughout the chocolate. Unfortunately there's just not enough cookie to win out over those damn jelly pieces. There are loads of them, and they're very chewy, and pack quite a lot of an overly sweet flavour. What's more, they hang around for a lot longer than the chocolate and cookie last, so by the end I was left with a mouthful of chewy jelly that wasn't great. It may be a combination of two flavours, but it's probably the worst aspects of the two flavours. The cookie and chocolate are nice, but the jelly just isn't great.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 23 August 2015

Today's Review: Galaxy Smooth Dark

The Omani supermarkets I've visited so far haven't had all that much in the way of cultural treats, but they've certainly got a few American goodies and some variations on things that I've never seen before. Case in point, this is one of a few Galaxy bars I picked up that I certainly haven't tried. Galaxy is known for its smooth creaminess, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a dark chocolate version. I'm not normally a fan of the bitterness, but I was willing to give it another go with the Galaxy brand on top.

This bar does retain the smoothness of Galaxy milk chocolate, it still manages to be quite velvety and creamy, while also having a distinct bitter, dark chocolate taste. For someone who thinks dark chocolate is average at best, I actually had quite a good time with this bar. The bitterness does stick around for a while after finishing the bar, but while eating it was definitely a nice experience. This certainly doesn't beat the regular Galaxy bar, but it's a nice dark chocolate bar.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 22 August 2015

Today's Review: ShakeAway Tabasco Milkshake

I'm in Oman at the moment, thousands of miles from home and completely steeped in a totally different culture. So of course I've been to a milkshake shop that's based in the UK. But hey, at least I went for something a little bit different. I was going to go for a good old peanut butter chocolate concoction, but then my eyes wandered over to a speciality shake that I was sure I would both love and instantly regret. It's a Tabasco milkshake.

Yeah, Tabasco sauce and milkshake. Why wouldn't someone put those two together? Probably because that would be insane. But as a lover of spice I certainly couldn't pass it up, and soon I was sitting down with my hot sauce shake. I suppose I can't fault this, it is literally a vanilla milkshake with Tabasco sauce mixed in. It starts out with a nice, creamy vanilla taste, but as soon as I swallowed the burning started in my throat, and the unmistakable flavour of Tabasco sauce crept in. It's not too bad a combination really, as long as you like both vanilla shakes and hot sauce. In fact, this is a pretty logical combination, as it's best to drink milk after eating something particularly spicy. The only thing I had against it is that as I was nearing the end of the shake the Tabasco started to win, it was probably a little too much to drink an entire shake, but I did manage to last due to the nice creamy shake. So no, it's not perfect, and it's not entirely refreshing. But if you want a Tabasco milkshake, ShakeAway is the place to get one, and a Tabasco milkshake is exactly what you'll get.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 21 August 2015

Today's Review: Blueberry & Raspberry Oreos

I am often lamenting the lack of Oreo varieties in the UK, but I was unaware as to just how many I was missing out on until a recent trip to Chinatown. Popping into one corner store, I was greeted with a variety of fruit flavoured Oreos which I had no idea even existed. There were a few to choose from, but I opted for this raspberry and blueberry combo, just to see if it was worth going back for the other flavours.

I can't say I'm a fan of these. The cream inside is quite odd, a very sickly sweet filling that certainly tastes a lot like other Asian fruity sweets. It has slight hints of the fruit it's supposed to taste like, but is very over the top. Much like the American "grape" flavour it's a taste all of its own. The actual Oreo cookies are as good as ever, a dark, chocolatey crunchy biscuit. But combined with the sweetness of the filling it's too much of a weird juxtaposition. The flavours are trying to fight against each other too much, and even with the overly sweet filling the bitterness of the cookie really comes through, and it's really not that nice an experience. I think I'll steer clear of the fruity Oreos in future. I should just be thankful we have the good old fashioned cream filling over here.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 20 August 2015

Today's Review: Tornado Ice Energy Drink

Three years ago I reviewed the No Fear energy drink, a pretty awful effort that was made even worse by the fact they tried to include a resealable ring pull on the top of the can that just didn't work all that well. No Fear have since given up on that idea, which is a smart business move, but the dream is not dead. I picked up this Tornado energy drink the other day mostly because I hadn't tried one before. But when I went to open it I was greeted with this.

It's another resealable ring pull! But does it work? Why, yes it does. It's pretty simple actually. You pull up the ridged black tab, and then slide the entire plastic part over, creating a convenient hole that you can drink from. When you're done, just slide it back and pop the ridged part back onto the top, it's simple and pretty effective. My greedy nature of course doesn't see the need to have any energy drink remaining after one sitting, but I'm sure it's useful for some people. But enough about the ring pull. Is the drink any good? 

This is actually an interesting flavour that I haven't seen other brands tackle before, it's a combination of lemon and grapefruit that gives a pretty nice citrus kick. Sure, it is perhaps a little tart, but with those fruits involved it's hard to make it particularly sweet. It does suit the "Ice" name quite well though, providing a quite refreshing flavour with a nice kick of energy. It may not quite live up to the best brand names, but I certainly wouldn't be adverse to picking up a few more cans in the future. Especially with that amazing ring pull.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Today's Review: Pretzel M&Ms

Everyone is jumping onto the American sweet bandwagon recently, and I love it. A trip to B&M last week rewarded me with this enormous bag of Pretzel M&Ms for the low low price of £2.99. The same bag at Cyber Candy would probably set you back about £7, so I didn't hesitate putting this in my basket. I'm sure I've tried these before, but I apparently didn't post a review of them, so now is the time to put my thoughts into writing.

These suckers are pretty big. They're probably somewhere between peanut M&Ms and the Mega M&Ms I reviewed a little while ago. I'm not sure why they need to be that big, they only need to fit pretzel pieces inside, but there you go. The chocolate coating and shell are as good as always, a nice crispy, sweet outer layer that gives way to the goodies below. The pretzel is an almost foreboding presence in these, it's certainly a decent chunk of pretzel, crunchy and salty and packing quite a bit of flavour. But the sheer volume of it works against the M&Ms here. The pretzel is quite dry, and there's not quite enough chocolate to offset that. It would probably work better if the innards were smaller, but as they stand they just left me feeling... thirsty. These are pretty good candies, but pretty average M&Ms.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Today's Review: Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer

I popped into an import sweet shop the other day, and while I was certainly looking for treats to eat, I was also quite thirsty. The drink selection boasted a few I'd tried before, and most importantly one I hadn't. I don't know how it's taken me this long to try a can of root beer, I have long known it to be an American institution, and a keen dispatcher of pirate ghosts. So with a thirst that I needed quenched, there was no better time to try a can of Dad's.

This certainly wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't think it was going to be overly sweet, it's made from roots and has "beer" in the title. But I wasn't expecting it to taste like TCP. Have you ever opened up a tube of Deep Heat and thought "You know what? I'd really like to eat this"? Perhaps you have, and I can tell you now that this is the drink for you. It's a very bitter and... clinical flavour, and while I certainly hated the first couple of sips I must say that it grew on me a little. The drink itself was cool and refreshing, and once my taste buds normalised the medicinal flavour I felt myself being quite refreshed. Sure, it's not going to beat out any regular sweet soda in my books, and it's not particularly nice by any means, but it's certainly an experience I'd encourage anyone to try. This is the best soft drink that tastes like plasters that money can buy.

My rating: 2/5

Monday 17 August 2015

Today's Review: Shaken Udder Salted Caramel Milkshake

I was at the zoo the other day, and apparently my snack hunting tendencies can't even be quashed when I'm surrounded by the wonders of the animal kingdom. A quick pop into a shop for a drink saw me leaving with this salted caramel milkshake from Shaken Udder. I'm sure I've tried one of these shakes before, but certainly not a salted caramel flavour. Exactly how new it is, I'm not sure, but it's certainly new to me, and I was hoping it would make up for the slightly disappointing run ins I've had with salted caramel snacks as of late

This is what salted caramel should taste like. In this bottle is a lovely thick, creamy shake, fantastically sweetened with a bold caramel flavour. Not too sickly, it blends in with the creaminess of the shake very well, and actually ends up being quite refreshing, something which a lot of milkshakes tend to overshoot. The salt is expertly added too, a distinct hint of sea salt that is very noticeable but doesn't distract from the overall flavour. It does exactly what salt is there to do in a sweet treat, it brings out the sweet flavour even more, and makes for an altogether delicious shake. This is well worth hunting down.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 16 August 2015

Today's Review: Toffee Crisp Honeycomb

Toffee Crisp is certainly one of those classic chocolate bars that I pass up more often than I should. I love a Toffee Crisp, but when given the choice of the entire confectionery aisle, I'll probably go with something else. But the game changed when I spied these Toffee Crisp Honeycombs the other week. Toffee, and honey, and crisp? What a magic combination. What could go wrong?

All the classic Toffee Crisp elements are here, those of course being the chocolate, toffee, and the crispy cereal. They're all just as good, a crispy, creamy bar with a lovely sweet toffee kick. But when the honeycomb comes in it's a little confusing. It's another layer of sweetness, and it certainly is very sweet, especially once the toffee flavour mixes in with it. It adds an interesting dimension to the bar, but unfortunately there are some side effects. The texture of the honeycomb is also very sticky, and while crunching away I found clumps of it did get stuck in my teeth. Since it was hard to chew through, I found that even after the rest of the bar was gone, I was still left with sticky chunks of honeycomb that had become infused with toffee, making for a sickly sweet after taste that hangs around for some time. So while this is a great attempt at a new bar that works quite well to some extent, the sticky honeycomb throws it off quite a bit and left me feeling quite disappointed at the end of it all.  I'll definitely be sticking with the regular Toffee Crisp.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 15 August 2015

Today's Review: Peanut Butter Oreos

Oreos are becoming a big thing in the UK, but we seem to miss out on a few of the interesting flavours they have state side. Sure, we have Double Stuff and double chocolate, but I longed for something more. Thankfully, my silent prayers were answered, as now you can pick up peanut butter flavour Oreos. If there's one thing I like stuffed into snacks, it's peanut butter, and we all know how well chocolate and peanut butter go together, so I didn't hesitate in snagging a couple of packs of these.

To start with, I figured I'd give it the classic twist and lick technique, so that I may judge the peanut butter flavour filling on its own. I was greeted with something that certainly tastes like peanut butter. It's creamy and nutty, but something seems a little bit off. Perhaps it's the fact that the ingredients don't contain peanut butter, but this is certainly noticeable as a peanut butter flavour cream. It's nice, but there's an underlying sugary sweetness that offsets the saltiness of the peanut butter flavour. Still, an interesting filling, and certainly one I didn't mind in between those chocolate cookies. There were further problems when eating an Oreo in its entirety though. The dark, chocolatey taste of the cookies does overwhelm the filling quite a bit. While the regular vanilla cream makes its way through due to its sweet flavour, the more subdued and salty peanut butter cream just doesn't shine through enough. I did struggle a bit to taste it while eating the cookies, and while it certainly lingers in the after taste it makes for a pretty average Oreo while eating. I was really looking forward to trying these peanut butter Oreos out, but in the end I can't help but feel disappointed. They're good, sure, but I feel there's a lot more that could have been done to make these even better. After all, it's a winning combination on paper, it's just in practice they fall a little flat.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 14 August 2015

Today's Review: Herr's Buffalo Blue Cheese Curls

Be they Wotsits, Cheetos or other, cheese puffs are great and all, but they often only come in one flavour. There are so many cheeses, but all these people keep using the same one. What if I want something different? How about some blue cheese in my cheese puffs? Well, Herr's answered my call with this delectable looking pack of cheese curls. Not only are they blue cheese flavoured, they're buffalo blue cheese flavoured, a mixture of hot sauce and blue cheese all in one packet. I didn't hesitate in snatching these up.

I'm glad I didn't either. These things are fantastic. They're huge, probably four times the size of your regular Wotsit, and each one is packed with flavour. Sure, there's the underlying powdery generic cheese puff flavour, but layered on top of that is a bold and creamy tasting blue cheese. After a good few chews the buffalo hot sauce comes through as well, an impressive heat that doesn't particularly burn, it just works great in conjunction with the blue cheese to deliver a fantastically cheesy, creamy spicy experience. These may be on par with the Cheddar JalapeƱo Cheetos, another fantastic pack of import crisps that I'll be picking up whenever I see them.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 13 August 2015

Today's Review: Kellogg's Salted Caramel Squares

I've never been that big a fan of Squares. I mean, they're nice enough, but I can think of several breakfast bar type alternatives I'd rather eat. Still, when a new flavour comes out I'm more than willing to give it a go, and this time Kellogg's have jumped onto the salted caramel bandwagon. Caramel Squares are already a thing, albeit with chocolate involved, so I was interested to see what it would be like on its own (albeit with salt involved).

Well, there's no denying the caramel. It's a very strong, somewhat sickly flavour, and couple with the soft texture of the bar, it's also very sticky and chewy. The salt isn't all that noticeable at all, which left me pretty disappointed. The Rice Krispies are alright I guess, but the caramel element is overly sweet and sticky and just overwhelms any other aspect of the bar. I couldn't get on board with these at all, they reminded me why I'm not all that keen on Squares in general. If you like Squares, by all means give them a go, but I'll be giving these a miss in future.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Today's Review: Drumstick Squashies Sour Apple & Cherry

The Squashies range is expanding, which is a pretty good thing as most of them are great. While a few sweet brands have been Squashie-fied, only Drumstick has spawned some different varieties. We've had the bubblegum flavour, but now there's a sour cherry and apple flavour, which certainly caught my attention.

The texture of these sweets is as good as always, Squashie by name, squashy by nature. They're soft and chewy, and pack quite a bit of flavour. These are distinctly apple and cherry, very similar to the similar flavoured Drumstick lolly. The sourness is there, but it's certainly not very strong, a little twinge, but certainly not enough to make up for the boldness of the fruit flavours Still, these are very tasty, and a great addition to the Squashies range.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Today's Review: Tic Tac Mixers Cherry Cola

Flavour changing sweets sure are becoming a thing nowadays. Well, Starburst and Fruitella have done it at least. Now Tic Tac want to get in on the action with their own edition: Tic Tac Mixers. These little sweeties (are they still classified as mints if they aren't minty?) promise to deliver a taste that changes from cherry to cola. Certainly not a bad combination, but does it work?

The cherry flavour is pretty apparent when you first pop a couple in (you can't just eat one at a time). It's a nice, bold, sweet flavour that is pretty on par with the dedicated cherry Tic Tacs. Once the cherry has fully hit your taste buds, everything changes, and it does indeed do what it says on the packet. The change to cola is a little abrupt, but it's certainly authentic, and the sweet cola taste stays for the rest of the Tic Tac. This is actually one of the most impressive flavour changing sweets I've had, both flavours are very good and the changeover is pretty flawless. Even if one Tic Tac falls behind another the result is still great, that's why cherry cola is a thing. I'm glad Tic Tac jumped onto this bandwagon, they've done a really good job making an interesting new pack. Well worth seeking out.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 10 August 2015

Today's Review: Reese's Sticks Minis

I reviewed Reese's Sticks at the beginning of last year, and found them to be a little lacking in filling, focusing more on a slightly dry wafer element. However, it seemed I had forgotten my slight disappointment when I picked up a bag of these Mini Reese's Sticks yesterday at B&M. But hey, more Reese's is never a bad thing, so I was certainly willing to shovel these into my face.

I must say I quite enjoyed these. Sure, their unwrapped nature combined with a hot summer's day meant they didn't quite last the journey home without slightly melting, but a little while in the fridge certainly sorted that out. I think it's because of their mini nature that the balances of the ingredients seems a lot better. There doesn't seem to be much of a concentration on the wafer, and there's certainly more chocolate per stick, which really helps to add some creaminess. The peanut butter is perhaps a little lacking, but it definitely noticeable and adds a great kick of creamy peanut butter flavour. These still aren't the best Reese's product going, but they're pretty good. If you're going to try Reese's Sticks, go for the Minis rather than the full size.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 9 August 2015

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup

I'm always ready for a new flavour of Kettle Chips, and seeing this new variety over on Grocery Gems the other day had me high-tailing it to Asda to grab a bag. I'm not normally one for meaty crisps, but I had some faith in this crispy bacon and maple syrup flavour, mainly due to it being based off that classic American combination.

I was prepared for a lot of meatiness from these, but in fact it's quite subdued. They certainly have a distinctive smoky bacon taste, but it's smooth and pretty unobtrusive on the tastebuds. That may not be great for some, but it was just enough meatiness to keep me interested. The maple syrup element is where it really shines through though, a fantastically sweet addition that gives a lovely, slight stickiness to the crisps, and blends in well with the bacon flavour to give an overall great combination of sweet and savoury with that token satisfying crunch that Kettle Chips are known for. There is perhaps a little too much of the maple syrup, it does get a little sickly in places, but it certainly didn't stop me making my way through this bag. This is another great flavour from Kettle Chips, and probably my favourite meat-based crisp to date. Go get some.

My rating: 4/5 

Saturday 8 August 2015

Today's Review: Mega M&Ms

There are a whole lot of M&M varieties we just don't get in this country. Peanut butter, dark, pretzel, mint, I often wish I could buy all those delectable chocolate candies over here for a reasonable price. But hey, who needs various delicious fillings when we can just have the regular old chocolate ones, but three times the size? Yes, these are Mega M&Ms, and they are really just that, mega sized M&Ms. Just look at these bad boys:

I don't have tiny hands, those really are some big M&Ms. The pack says they're 3x, but they do seem a bit bigger than that. I'm not sure, I didn't have any regular M&Ms on hand for comparison. They're about the size of Minstrels, and really, that's pretty much what they're like. The chocolate is different obviously, swapping out the Galaxy for the classic M&M chocolate. I do prefer the Galaxy stuff, but the chocolate in these is pretty nice. As for the shell, it's significantly thinner than a Minstrel, but it does have that distinct crispiness. So with a thin shell and a larger amount of chocolate, the balances are a little off in these, the excess chocolate does make them slightly more sickly and filling. But they are still pretty tasty. Not quite as good as regular size M&Ms, but they're an interesting variation that are well worth trying while they're around.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 7 August 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations: Rocky Mallow Road

I've been on the lookout for this bar for a while, and finally found a smaller sized one in my local Co-Op. This is the latest addition to the Marvellous Creations range, which has introduced some very interesting chocolate bars over the last couple of years. Not all great ones, but definitely all interesting. This one seems to be going a more traditional route, with a rocky road theme. It consists of good old Dairy Milk chocolate filled with marshmallow, strawberry jelly and shortcake pieces. 

It doesn't sound particularly adventurous, sure, but the Cookie Nut Crunch bar wasn't that out there either, and that's one of my favourite Marvellous Creations. This one though, isn't all that fantastic. The marshmallow adds a nice soft chewiness throughout, and while the biscuit is nice and crunchy, there didn't seem to be enough of it to really be noticeable the whole way through. The jelly pieces are certainly the most flavoursome element, but they were a little too much, overwhelming the rest of the bar and leaving an overly fruity taste at the end. Altogether, it's certainly not an inedible bar, but it's not all that well balanced, so it's pretty average in my books. Perhaps if they'd added a few more interesting ingredients I would have felt differently, but I think I'll stick to the other bars in the range in future.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 6 August 2015

Today's Review: KFC Piri Piri Mediterranean Bites

My third fast food place review in a row. I would say that's pretty unhealthy, but at least I've been getting more protein than my usual sugary snack based reviews. I saw these Mediterranean Bites advertised back last week, but I've only just managed to get to KFC today. I was pleased to see they're available in three flavours: Sunblush tomato, smoky BBQ and spicy piri piri. I'm not sure what's so Mediterranean about BBQ sauce, but I'm sure they're lovely. I probably should've tried a selection of all three, but since they offer them tacked onto a box meal, I went ahead and picked one. The tomato sounded alright, but the spice fiend inside me was aching for the piri piri, hoping it would be hot enough to satisfy my tastebuds.

Oh yeah, these are hot. You get four sizeable chunks of chicken in this pot, and while they don't look all that saucy in the picture, they are swimming in a veritable paddling pool of piri piri. The chicken is nice and tender, and obviously the skin isn't as crispy as it could be due to the sauce bath, but it's still that undeniably good coating we all know and love. The sauce itself? Man, it's good. An intense, peppery flavour, almost habanero like in spiciness, it took just a few seconds to build up on my tongue, but when the heat came through I was very surprised by how hot it was. Like after any good spicy meal, I was almost sweating by the end, which is pretty good considering how small the pot is. This is a great new snack from KFC, one that's actually very spicy. If these are this good, I'm looking forward to seeing what the other ones are like.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut

Cronuts are getting more and more mainstream. I tried out a chocolate and raspberry one from Tesco the other week (well, a Do'Cro), but I couldn't say I'd ever had an original one. But Dunkin' Donuts came to the rescue with their new offering. It's not a Cronut, it's not a Do'Cro, it's a croissant donut. I assume that's because they can't be bothered to think up a ridiculous hybrid name. But hey, croissant donut, that's all you need to know.

The idea is pretty simple, it's a croissant mixed with a donut. The execution is pretty effective too. There are several layers of nice flaky pastry, all topped off with a nice sugary glaze. The donut itself is actually pretty croissant-like, it tastes like one, and does possess some of that distinct flakiness. But the donut element does shine through as well, giving as heavier texture to the dough that makes it satisfyingly filling and less messy to eat. It really contains the best of both bakery treats, and the glazing on top really permeates through the layers to give a lovely sweet, sticky kick. This is a great offering from Dunkin' Donuts, and it's one that will grace my next dozen selection box.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Today's Review: McDonald's BBQ Smokehouse

I always get excited about new fast food joint burgers, even if in essence they're all essentially the same. A different bun, some extra salad, added bacon, maybe even a different sauce. But hey, I was still willing to try out the BBQ Smokehouse from McDonald's. BBQ sauce isn't used as often as I'd like in their burgers (but then again I'd like it to be all the time), and this one seemed to promise smokiness to boot. Plus, look at that box. That's a darn nice looking box.

It's a darn nice looking burger too, to be honest. I didn't quite get it at a flattering angle, but it certainly looks better than your average Big Mac. The bun is a nice soft offering that easily gives way to the juicy contents, and there's actually a whole lot of nice stuff going on under the hood. The patty is one of the more quality ones you'll get at McDonald's, a big beefy burger that's nice and juicy. The bacon was quite plentiful too, so the carnivore in me was satisfied. The salad is a mixed bag. The lettuce is the floppy kind, which I guess is good for arty purposes, but the crunch of the red onion is pretty satisfying, and I think perhaps more crunchiness would have worked quite well. The cheese is okay, it doesn't really stand out against the meat or sauce, but that's fine, it's a good base. As for the sauce, that's where the burger shines. This isn't your regular BBQ sauce, it's a rich smoky one that really works together with the meat to deliver a great tasting burger. There's also a tomato and onion relish, which I was really looking forward to, but unfortunately it didn't quite come through in the taste. I got the odd hint of it, and it was pretty nice, but it could have done with a little more. As it is though, this a pretty good burger. The sauce is the main pull, and I'd definitely recommend it for that alone. A few elements may be a little off, but this is very enjoyable.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 3 August 2015

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer British Pudding Sweets

Here's an acquisition from M&S that has been sitting in my cupboard for a while. I've so far had mixed opinions on the M&S summer sweets range, but these looked pretty good so it was hard to pass them up. This bag contains a whole load of tiny, hard sweets, with flavours pertaining to classic British puddings. We have Eton mess, lemon meringue and cherry bakewell. They also contain a cracknel centre, which the internet informs me is a brittle sweet made from set melted sugar. You learn something new every day I guess. 

The flavours aren't too bad. The lemon meringue certainly has a distinct lemon flavour, and is nice and sweet. The Eton mess is a bold, creamy berry flavoured affair. The cherry bakewell is initially disappointing, just possessing a fruity taste. But that soon changes when the outer sweet gives way to the cracknel underneath. It's quite an abrupt change, I would have been quite happy sucking on the sweet all the way to the core, but once it crumbles you're met with a very brittle centre that tends to get stuck in the teeth while chewing. It's also where the nuances of the sweets lie, the meringue, cream and marzipan flavours tend to be more concentrated in the centre, and it's something of a sickly change. It does bring each flavour together to a nice conclusion, but I would have preferred it if both the texture and flavour were more consistent. These sweets were a nice idea, but I don't think I'll be buying them again, I'm not a fan of the execution.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 2 August 2015

Today's Review: Bounty Treat Cakes

I definitely can't count Bounty among my favourite chocolate bars, but I've been getting better acquainted with coconut in recent months, and think I'm almost ready to try and love the Bounty bar. For now though, these Bounty cake bars I picked up the other day seemed a good enough gateway. They consist of a coconut sponge covered in milk chocolate.

These cakes are pretty low in calories, though that is reflected in the size. They're pretty small, and as such aren' particularly filling. They're not bad for a treat though. As for how it tastes, well, they're a little dry. The sponge definitely has a nice coconut flavour that isn't too overwhelming, but the sponge isn't particularly special, it's a little dry and chewy. The chocolate on top is a nice thickness though, and adds some creaminess to the bar. As a whole though, these aren't anything special. Mabe one for the Bounty fiends, but there are better coconut snacks out there, and definitely better cake bars.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 1 August 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Oaty Dunkers

Another new addition to the Tesco bakery, these Oaty Dunkers seem a bit blander than the wacky items they've been offering lately. But I certainly can't resist an oaty biscuit, so I snapped these up straight away.

These are pretty interesting actually. They're more reminiscent of a flapjack than a biscuit, what with the oats and golden syrup contained within. But they are slightly harder than a regular flapjack, with a nice satisfying crunch to them. They're certainly flavoursome and filling, a pretty worthy biscuit to place alongside the already well populated bakery. But these are specifically labelled as dunkers, so of course I had to brew up a cup of tea, for science. I can't say I've partaken in a biscuit dunk much before, apart from the odd Tim Tam (or Penguin) slam. I've never seen the appeal, and always been wary of biscuit crumbs becoming part of my cuppa. But these dunkers looked robust enough to withstand a tea, so dunk away I did. This is where the texture of the biscuits really shines through. Once saturated with tea, these things stay together, merely softening and gaining a satisfying tea flavour that works extremely well with the oaty, syrupy flavour. I never believed a biscuit could taste better soaked in tea, but in this case I'll freely admit I was wrong. These Oaty Dunkers are meant to be dunked, and you'll be glad you did. Another great addition to the Tesco bakery.

My rating: 5/5