Wednesday 30 September 2015

Today's Review: Twix Shake

After being quite disappointed in the M&Ms shake I tried the other day, I held off on trying this Twix Shake that I bought at the same time. I did have a little more faith though, I think caramel is probably easier to pull off in drink form, and it needs to be in this case, as this shake has a caramel base, with chocolate and biscuit flavours mixed in.

I was glad they threw the biscuit element in there, it would have been so much easier to make a caramel chocolate shake, but without the biscuit I don't think I could call it a Twix. For the most part, this is all pretty well done. The base is a smooth, caramel shake, thick creamy and sweet. The biscuit flavour is a nice touch, nothing too powerful, and no change to the texture of the shake, but it's definitely noticeable. The chocolate, while definitely there, just isn't as good as it could be. I think this is where the drink slightly suffers from having a caramel base, the chocolate seems to be a bit of an afterthought, and not implemented too well. Still, this is a tasty shake, it has all the elements of Twix contained within, even if they're slightly imbalanced. It's worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Today's Review: Belvita Breakfast Soft Bakes: Golden Grain

I recently received a couple of packs of the new Belvita Breakfast Soft Bakes to review, which I was more than happy to try out as I am quite a fan of breakfast biscuits, they're easy for breakfast on the go, whereas a bowl of cereal is not. Soft baked cookies seem to be in fashion lately, both Maryland and Jammie Dodgers have brought some out, so it's not surprising to see these nice crunchy breakfast biscuits in a soft form. I went for these Golden Grain ones first, because sometimes there's nothing wrong with a plainer flavour.

These are not bad. I mean, they're not perfect, but they're not bad either. They certainly are soft, and have a nice oaty cereal taste. Each one is pretty big, and certainly gave me enough energy to last until lunch. The only problem is the texture is a bit off. While most of the bake is soft and chewy, there are quite a few small, crunchy pieces inside that threw me off a little. What's more, these are quite dry, they are made up of a lot of cereals, and there doesn't seem to be even a hint of butter in there, and I think that really would have helped. These aren't a bad attempt at a breakfast biscuit, but they are a bit too stodgy and dry for my liking. I'll let you know how the other variety fares.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 28 September 2015

Today's Review: Tootsie Roll Midgees

There's a lot of stuff I've tried over the years that I have apparently never bothered reviewing. Tootsie Roll would be one of those. It's one of those American snacks that I've heard about on TV, so I grabbed one as soon as I saw one in Cyber Candy a few years back now, It's pretty good, a long, chewy, chocolatey bar that you can now pick up in the American section of Tesco, but the other week I found this miniature version in Poundland. I don't hold much against bite size versions of things, especially when the packaging encourages me to eat several at once, so I figured it was worth picking these up.

The bite size element actually works in this snack's favour. The original Tootsie Roll is a bit of a beast. Sure, it's not big, but it is chewy, and it takes some effort to bite off a chunk to chew, and the results can be a little bit drooly and messy. With these there's no problem. Each piece is individually wrapped, and easy to pop into your mouth and chew at your own leisure. Composition wise, these things are exactly the same as the regular variety. They're fantastically chewy, but not enough to get stuck in your teeth, it's somewhere between the consistency of taffy and toffee. The flavour is great, a nice cocoa flavour that's a little bit dark, and it's one that lasts throughout chewing and for quite a while after. I do love a Tootsie Roll, and these bite size ones are even more convenient. I'll be picking these up again for sure.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 27 September 2015

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Elf Slices

Christmas is here! Well, almost. Alright, not almost, but we need to put something in the seasonal aisle, right? Although I have noticed a distinct lack of Halloween products so far... Whatever, I like Christmas coming early, it means I can get a head start on stuffing my face with new goodies so I don't end up putting on more than a stone in the festive period. Here's a new offering from Mr. Kipling, who already provides enough Christmas goodies for your consumption. These are Elf Slices, so named because they are the colour of elves. Cute, right? They consist of a green, apple flavour cake, topped with strawberry icing, and finished off with a green swirl of... more icing.

So yeah, these are pretty much a variation on Angel Slices, and we all know how great those are. How do these stack up? Not too well to be fair. I admire that they tried to inject an apple flavouring into the sponge, instead of sticking some food colouring in it and calling it a day, but it really doesn't taste a whole lot like apple. I mean sure, there's a hint of it in there, but it's mostly a slightly sickly fake tasting flavour. The sponge is still nice and soft though, so while it's not great it could be worse. The icing on top does help matters, providing a nice smoothness that distracts from the sponge flavour, but it also seems a little too sickly. Perhaps it's compounded by the sweetness of the cake, but I certainly didn't enjoy these all that much. I mean, it's still an okay cake, but with a myriad of Mr. Kipling goodies out there to sink your teeth into, this isn't really a worthy entry. I'd stick with the Gingerbread Whirls this year.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 26 September 2015

Today's Review: Old El Paso Restaurante Pork Al Pastor Soft Tacos

Along with the Baja Fish tacos I received earlier this week, I also got this Pork Al Pastor kit. Another entry in the Restaurante range, this one uses pork loin (obviously) to emulate another classic regional Mexican flavour. Now, I'm not one to know my geographically specific cuisine, so I'll take Old El Paso's word for it. Not only does this kit contain a spice mix for the pork, but it also has a seasoning for a pineapple salsa, which certainly sounded interesting. All you have to do is chop up some pork, marinate it in the spices for five minutes, then fry it all up. As for the pineapple, you just have to mix in the chunks with the seasoning and pop it on top of your taco. Simple.

I like this kit a lot. I know pineapple is a classic pairing with pork, but I wasn't sure how the pineapple salsa would work out. Turns out the seasoning packs a spicy punch, which works with the fruity nature of the pineapple pretty well. The pork seasoning isn't as spicy, and while there didn't seem to be much marinade at first, it coated the pork quite well, resulting in some saucy, succulent pieces that tasted pretty good in the tacos. I couldn't really fault this kit, it makes a nice saucy, spicy taco with some great meaty and fruity flavours, and is probably up there with the Chicken Tinga variety as my favourites. This is definitely a great range, and I'll be buying more in the future.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 25 September 2015

Today's Review: Peanut M&Ms Milkshake

I don't think Mars will stop until every one of their bars exists in milkshake form. But hey, that's nor necessarily a bad thing. This peanut M&M milkshake certainly caught my eye, it stood out from all the other generic flavours filling the shelves. Chocolate and peanuts in a shake, what could go wrong?

Well, the chocolate element is good, this is a nice thick shake with a creamy texture and a very bold chocolate flavour. Unfortunately the peanuts aren't quite as well represented. I'm not sure why, both peanut paste and real peanuts are crammed in here, but the most I ever got of a peanut flavour was in the after taste, and it wasn't all that strong. This is certainly a drinkable milkshake, even a good chocolate shake, but as a peanut M&M shake it just isn't good. Needs a lot more peanut.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 24 September 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Xero Vanilla Cola

I do enjoy a vanilla Coca-Cola every now and then, but that stuff is pretty high in sugar, so I don't like to make a habit of it. If only there was a diet version I could get hold of. Well, the best I'm gonna get for now is this Tesco version, a sugar free vanilla cola under the name of Xero. I don't know why they didn't just call it Zero, unless there was a trademark issue. But hey, I guess "Xero" is more edgy and exciting. 

I certainly wasn't going in expecting this to be an amazing drink. It's a 55p 2 litre bottle of cola, that manages to be vanilla flavoured while also being sugar free. I don't think Tesco can work miracles on that. But still, this drink isn't all that bad. It's nor particularly great, sure, but it's mildly drinkable. The sweetener gives it that almost overly sweet taste, and the vanilla flavouring is piled on a bit too strong, and isn't all that vanilla flavoured to begin with. But this bottle has done what Coca-Cola haven't so far, I've been waiting for a diet vanilla coke for ages. You can tell this is a cheap bottle of cola, but for a cheap bottle of cola, it's not all bad. I'd say it's probably worth the price tag, probably not more.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Today's Review: Monster Ultra

I like energy drinks, but I also don't like to imbibe too many calories, so it's nice to see there's a selection of low calorie energy drinks on the market. It used to be that there was only one variety per big brand, but a few more have popped up over the years. The latest I've stumbled across is this Monster Ultra. Sure, there's already a Monster Absolute Zero, and this one doesn't seem to add any new flavour, but the can informs me that this drink is a little less sweet and lighter tasting with a full load of Monster energy. That was good enough for me, as much as I like Monster Absolute Zero, I must admit it is a little sickly.

Turns out this one does exactly what it says on the tin. It really is a lighter tasting drink, instead of a slightly syrupy texture, this can has more focus on the fizz, and it's really easy to drink. It tastes a lot more flavoursome as well, definitely less sweet, and actually closer to the regular variety Monster drink, but of course with an even lighter taste. All in all, this is great, probably one of the best sugar free energy drinks I've tasted. Sure, it may not be completely calorie free, as it says on the can, but 11 calories for the whole thing isn't bad. This is a fine tasting kick of energy that I'm sure I'll be picking up again.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Today's Review: Old El Paso Restaurante Baja Fish Soft Tacos

I was recently sent a couple of the Old El Paso Restaurante kits to try out. I've been a fan of Old El Paso for quite a while now, since I love Mexican food and am also slightly lazy in the cooking department. I've already reviewed the Chicken Tinga variety of these new regionally inspired kits, and found it to be pretty awesome. Something I'd never tried before, however, is a fish taco, so I was interested to see how this Baja Fish kit would turn out.

The kit contains two seasonings, a crumb to coat your fish in, and one that you can use to whip up a sour cream based sauce. It's a pretty simple process, just grab a portion of white fish, cut it into chunks, roll it around in the crumbed seasoning and fry it up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, the other powder gets dumped into a healthy serving of sour cream, and whipped up. Boom, you're done. The preparation time is certainly a plus, and I was chowing down on these in no time. I picked up a red cabbage to pop into the tacos as well, as per the suggestion on the box, and I must say that when it's all put together these tacos taste pretty damn good. 

The crumb on the fish has a nice crunch to it, not too much but certainly a nice texture. The seasoning provides a nice bit of flavour, not particularly spicy by any means, but definitely a nice herby coating with a little bit of a kick to it. It is a little bland for my liking, but it does say it's mild on the box, so I can't complain too much. The sour cream seasoning, however, is great. The flavours are bolder, and the spices more intense, and the creaminess of the sour cream really brings it all together. Along with the red cabbage providing a satisfying crunch, all in all this kit makes some good tacos. I still prefer the Chicken Tinga variety, but for a guy who doesn't eat a lot of fish, I'd be willing to pick this kit up again.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 21 September 2015

Today's Review: Bubblegum Angel Delight

Quick, what was your first reaction upon seeing that packet? Mine was "Eww, that ain't right", but I had to grab a pack anyway because it sounded too disgusting to pass up. Yes, in a world filled with generic creamy dessert flavours like butterscotch, strawberry and chocolate, someone thought it would be a good idea to make a bubblegum flavoured Angel Delight. I hate to think how many people this idea had to go through for it to become a thing, but at no point did any of them have the decency to stop it in its tracks. So now we have a bubblegum powder that you need to mix up with milk until it turns into a frothy, creamy dessert.

Sounds disgusting, right? Well, that's what I thought, and I was proven (slightly) wrong. I mean, it's not great by any means, but once this is all whipped up it certainly doesn't taste as bad as I thought it would. Sure, it has that distinct bubblegum flavour, but it's a little subdued, and makes way for the milky taste to come through. The texture is as good as all the other Angle Delight flavours, smooth and creamy, and while having that mixed with bubblegum isn't exactly something I'd choose over any other flavour, it works well enough that I finished my bowlful without any ill effects. It's not great, but it's certainly different. If you're a fiend for bubblegum flavoured stuff, by all means give it a go.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 20 September 2015

Today's Review: Caramac Giant Buttons

I know I've eaten Caramac bars in the past, but it's been a good long while since my last one. I remember them being quite nice, but clearly not enough to make my list of regular purchases. But now there's a new Caramac product in town, in the form of these giant buttons. Nestlé have already gone this route with their Yorkie bar, but the results were... less than satisfactory. But hey, these are Caramac, not regular chocolate, so I figured they were worth a go.

Yeah, they're pretty big. They're a little chalky, as you can probably see from the picture, but really these aren't bad. They have a definite creamy caramel flavour, and while it does get quite sickly after a fair few buttons, it holds up pretty well, even though these do suffer a little from not being chocolate. But hey, the Yorkie buttons are chocolate, and they certainly aren't great. I believe Caramac isn't nearly as popular as it should be, and these buttons have definitely made me want to go back and grab a bar or two. Nestlé could have easily made buttons out of any of chocolate products, but these make for a nice, different share bag that is worth picking up.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 19 September 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables

Cadbury recently sent me a couple of their new bars. Well, I say new, but it's more of a new format/shape than a new flavour. I know Rocky Mallow Road is relatively new though, so I suppose it's a bit too soon to be asking for something revolutionary. These are Marvellous Smashables. They're like Marvellous Creations, but you can smash 'em. Now, I'm certainly not adverse to smashing down on a chocolate bar, Terry's based their whole flagship product around that premise. The new shape is designed to promote sharing amongst friends and family. Simply flip the bar, smash it and let everyone have at it. Unfortunately, it seems Royal Mail wanted to take the fun away from me, as my bars arrived slightly pre-smashed.

Obviously I couldn't experience the full smashing joy that I was expecting, but through the power of Paint I've managed to ascertain the focal point and progression of the smashing.

Needless to say I was slightly disappointed, but as you can see, the bottom right portion of the bar remained intact, so I flipped that sucker over and punched it right in the back of its face. Surely enough, the pieces were torn asunder, and I can't say I didn't feel a twinge of delight. Does that mean I'm a secretly violent person? Possibly. But I also like chocolate, so I'll chalk it up to that.

Aside from the different shape and the smashing element, there's not all that much different about these bars. They're the same flavours as the Marvellous Creations, which isn't a bad thing per se, but I have previously expressed my opinion on these two flavours in the past, and not found them particularly to my liking. However, I must admit that the Rocky Mallow Road is certainly better than I thought last time. Perhaps it's because initially I had the smaller bar, and the pieces packed inside were just too much, leading to an imbalance between filling and chocolate. This bigger bar seems much more spaced out, with an even distribution of marshmallow, shortcake and jelly pieces. I certainly didn't have the problem of too much jelly, and thoroughly enjoyed that bar. As for the Jelly Popping Candy, it was alright, still a bit too chewy for my liking, but the popping candy is always a nice addition, and the people I was sharing it with certainly enjoyed it. See? I was getting into the spirit of the whole endeavour. 

When I first saw these bars, I wasn't too convinced that they were a good addition to the Cadbury line up. It's just a new shape after all, and you don't even get that funky looking chocolate hammer to smash the bar with. But hey, it's the same bar, the same size, just with a little added element of fun. I mean, you may be able to smash the regular bars to pieces, but they're not specifically designed for that purpose, while these are. I don't think I'd go as far as the PR guys did and say it can be used as a "fun family game" on a Saturday night. I mean, look at the uneven size of the pieces. That could turn sour pretty quickly. But these bars incorporate a neat idea, and certainly don't detract anything away from the original flavours.

As I said before, I prefer Marvellous Creations in their bigger sizes, and these were tasty, though the flavours I received certainly weren't my favourite. It doesn't seem like there's a Cookie Nut Crunch version, so they should probably get onto that. I was expecting to give a pretty average review of these bars, but the novelty of the smashing did rub off on me, and I'd probably pick a Smashables up over a regular Marvellous Creations bar just for that purpose. So give these a go, you might have a smashing time. I'm sorry, that was terrible.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 18 September 2015

Today's Review: Refreshers Softies

Having reviewed Fruit Salad and Wham Softies already, I though it was time to go back and try out the last variety of these sweets on offer. These follow the same formula, they're soft versions of the classic sweets. Not the Refresher bars that the Squashies are built after, but the fizzy rolls of sweets. These certainly look the part, possessing the same shape as their brethren, but are they as good in soft form?

In short, no. The effort to replicate the actual sweets is quite impressive, all the flavours are represented with different colours, but the actual flavour of them is lost on me. I'm not sure what it is, but after a few chews what little flavour there was in these disappears to a sort of artificial sweet taste, which is funny, as the main ingredient is sugar. The texture is quite nice, but that's really all I can say in favour of these. They just don't taste nice. That strange, artificial taste just comes out strong, and hangs around for a while after. You're better off passing these up and just going for the classic sweets in the tube. They're much better.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 17 September 2015

Today's Review: Drumstick Bon Bons

I reviewed the Refreshers Bon Bons a couple of weeks back, and found them to be decidedly average. But upon a returning visit to B&M I found these Drumstick Bon Bons sitting next to them, where before there were none. While I certainly wasn't enthralled with the first set of sweets, I couldn't resist picking these up. Anything Drumstick flavoured is worth a go.

Whereas the Refresher Bon Bons had some pretty unexciting strawberry and lemon flavours, these all taste like the original Drumstick, and I mean exactly like it. They may be a little chewy to begin with (like a Drumstick lolly I guess), but after a few chews they give way to a fantastic raspberry and milk flavour, that I think somehow manages to be more satisfying and juicy than the lolly itself. The flavour is consistently great, and there's really no need for variety within the pack, as these are just delicious. I opened up the packet to start this review, and I'm not showing any signs of slowing down. These are a must eat.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Today's Review: Snickers Intense Choc

There have been a few different varieties of Snickers over the years, the main three each focusing on adding more of the key ingredients: extra chocolate, peanuts and caramel. There's also been a Snickers that added hazelnuts into the mix. Now there's another limited edition bar, and this time it's swapping out the regular milk chocolate for dark chocolate. I'm not a majot fan of dark chocolate, but the other editions were all pretty tasty, so I figured I'd give it a go.

This is basically what you'd imagine, a dark chocolate Snickers. The innards are all the same, a lovely, sweet combination of peanuts,caramel and nougat. The sweetness inside actually works in this bar's favour for me, as it offsets the bitterness of the chocolate on the outside. It's not bad chocolate, but it is a little dark for my liking. All together though, it makes for a nice bar. Certainly not an improvement on the original Snickers, but another nice variation.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Today's Review: Sour Patch Jelly Beans

I've tried Sour Patch Kids before, but I can't say I've been a big fan. As chewy sweets go, they're okay, but I've never found them all that sour. I spied this big bag of Sour Patch Jelly Beans in B&M the other day though, and figured they were worth a go. You can't do much wrong with jelly beans, right?

This pack consists of four flavours of jelly bean. I could hazard a guess at what these are meant to taste like, but since the ingredients consist of sugar, corn syrup, acids and E numbers, I'll just say they come in green, yellow, orange and red flavours. It's kind of hard to tell the orange and red apart anyway. I must say there is some distinction in flavour, the orange ones do taste a bit like orange, and the rest have hints of what their respective colours should taste like. But the innards are quite gritty, which makes sense since the main ingredient is sugar. The outside somehow has a worse texture, kind of a dry, chalky exterior that didn't feel good on my tongue. You may think I'm not exactly selling these to you, but that's because I'm not. These aren't great. They're slightly fruity, and they do have a hint of sourness that stuck around on my lips for a while, but I certainly wouldn't recommend them, not with all the other nicer jelly bean alternatives out there. 

My rating: 1/5

Monday 14 September 2015

Today's Review: What To Do With Leftover Paint

I paid a visit to the library today, and while it's certainly full of countless volumes of great literature and knowledge, it also has a small selection of leaflets, and contained within those leaflets is this eye catching little number. It's a leaflet dedicated entirely to the disposal of leftover paint. I may have been living under a rock, but I wasn't aware that leftover paint was a big enough issue to deserve increased public awareness. I guess I was wrong. 

Inside is a great variety of methods on how to get rid of the remnants of that darned annoying paint you bought. Why don't they sell just enough paint to cover my specific sized room? I don't know, but the recycling centre sure don't want to take my paint cans with liquid left inside, we have to dispose of it somehow. I like how the first option is to offer the leftover paint to friends and relatives. Just in case they want to paint a fraction of their room a specific colour. I suppose that they may have something small that they'd like to paint, so this could be a perfectly viable option. Donation is also a very nice alternative, if you're not going to use that paint, then someone else should. 

As for the other options, they're about as interesting as watching paint dry, because that's exactly what they entail. I guess they were running out of things to write on this side of the leaflet, as there are no less than five methods you can use to make your paint dry. They range from leaving the open can lying around, to shovelling dirt and newspaper inside, to buying some premium specialist paint hardener from B&Q. It's nice they cater to a wide range of people, from those who like to frivolously throw money away on unnecessary things to those who can't even afford newspaper and have to wait around for however many weeks it takes paint to dry on its own. So yes, I think the disposal of paint is quite nicely covered in this section. But there may be some out there who are clinging onto barbaric paint disposal methods, and the next page will put all those to rest.

Don't pour paint down the toilet. People do that? Apparently they do when they're not busy pouring it into rivers. Does this really need to be said? If it does then I guess this is a worse problem than I thought. They even have to tell you not to bury paint cans in your garden. I can imagine someone digging up shallow graves in the middle of the night, crying and ashamed at the amount of paint they've wasted, hoping no one will find out what they've done. Also, apparently it's fine to put dried paint in the bin, but not liquid paint. At first I thought it was nitpicking, but I guess that makes sense. Perhaps some unsuspecting bin men have been sprayed with Soft Peach or Sea Blue while going about their daily duties.

So there you have it, if you were racking your brains about what to do with your last few drops of paint, worry no more, this leaflet has got you covered. I was skeptical when I saw it, but really it accomplishes what it set out to do, I'm certainly more informed on the subject. You can even complete a survey on the subject online, with a chance to win a shed. An entire shed! You know what you could put in there? That's right, leftover paint cans.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 13 September 2015

Today's Review: Wham Softies

After trying out the Fruit Salad Softies last week, I had to go back for the other varieties on offer. The Wham Softies were the most intriguing, as I do love a good Wham bar. These ones come in a few flavours too: Original, strawberry and cola. I think I've tried the strawberry bars before, but certainly not the cola. But how do they fare in Softie form?

I must say I'm disappointed. As you can probably see from the picture, the colours of the sweets themselves don't exactly match the picture. The cola flavour ones are more a creamy than the brown they apparently should be, and while the original and strawberry are clearly different colours on the packet, they're indistinguishable inside. This is a major problem for a person like myself who likes to eat their sweets in order of flavour preference, as I had no idea which one I was about to eat. It's a shame too, because the strawberry ones are just way too sweet and sugary. They certainly have a bold flavour, but it's not particularly pleasant, just that sickly confectionery strawberry flavour. The cola ones are a little better, but they're pretty generic cola flavoured sweets. The original ones are the best, with a smooth raspberry flavour, but to me they tasted more like a Drumstick than a Wham bar. I guess a lot is lost in the translation from bar to chewy sweet, especially as these are quite squishy and covered in quite a sickly sugary coating. These aren't awful, but they're certainly not all that great. You're better off buying a whole load of Wham bars.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 12 September 2015

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Soy, Ginger, Chilli & Honey

Kettle Chips seem to churn out flavours more than any other, limited and seasonal editions seem to pop up all over the place. So I was pretty happy to find a new one today, in a very sexy dark packet. This is an extremely interesting sounding variety that promises saucy, sweet and spicy goodness. I couldn't wait to try it out.

So yeah, there are four distinct parts to this flavour, which lends it quite a Chinese air. The soy is probably the most noticeable in the chips, a dark, saucy flavour that is certainly very well done. As for the spice, we have the chilli and ginger working together, and while there certainly is a nice hot kick to these, I couldn't exactly pick out a distinct ginger flavour, and the spiciness didn't really live up to the promise of the chilli. As for the honey, I couldn't make it out, but there did seem to be a sweetness to the chips that was quickly overpowered by the soy taste. This certainly isn't a bad bag of crisps, they're saucy and spicy and have quite a unique taste. They're just not quite up to the standard of other Kettle Chips I've tried. There just seems to be too much going on in the bag, and each flavour doesn't get the focus it deserves. Still, it wouldn't hurt to pick up a bag while they're around.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 11 September 2015

Today's Review: Snyder's Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces

I reviewed the jalapeño flavour of these pretzel pieces a while back, and found them to be quite exquisite. I've bought a few other packs since then, but the other day I spied this buffalo wing variety that I hadn't seen before, and on offer no less. I liked the other spicy pretzel pieces, so I was sure I'd enjoy these ones. Gimme that heat, Snyder's!

These are good, but not quite as good as I remember the jalapeño ones being. I don't know if it was just a problem with this specific bag, but there were some fairly sizeable chunks of pretzel in here. Not that it seems like a problem, but it turned out that way. The larger pieces were just more devoid of flavour than their smaller brethren, and it turns out in this bag that the flavour wasn't as bold as I hoped. Sure, there's a spiciness to them, a nice hot sauce flavour that provides a consistent level of heat, but throughout a good portion of the bag the taste of the pretzels themselves won out. Still, the pretzels aren't bad, they still have a great crunchy texture and are plentiful and filling. So while I was a little disappointed about the lack of heat, these still make for a good snack. Worth picking up, but if there are other flavours available, I'd go for them.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 10 September 2015

Today's Review: Tabasco Chocolate

I've been finding a few Tabasco flavoured things lately, from jelly beans to milkshakes (actually, just those two). I've spied this Tabasco chocolate in amongst the American food on offer at Tesco, but the other day was the first time I saw it on offer, so I figured I'd give it a go. It's Tabasco flavoured chocolate, basically. Dark chocolate, which I figured from the get go, so I wasn't quite sure what I'd make of it. But hey, worth a try, right?

The chocolate actually isn't bad. Sure, it's dark, but it has a certain amount of sweetness in it to counteract the bitter. Still not quite the kind of chocolate I'd prefer, but it retains a hint of creaminess. As with the other Tabasco products I've tried, the spiciness doesn't really kick in until after swallowing the first bite. But it certainly does kick in, a fairly intense burn that is very reminiscent of Tabasco sauce. But while the spice is certainly there, the flavour isn't so much. I guess it's because the bitterness of the chocolate drowns it out, but the distinct hot sauce flavour that I was expecting just didn't show up. So all in all, it's a nice enough chocolate bar, but it's nothing too special. If you're after some spicy chocolate, by all means give it a go, but there are better Tabasco products out there to try out.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Today's Review: Fruit Salad Softies

Squashies have been around for a while now, providing us with soft, squidgy version of classic Swizzels-Matlow sweets, much to my delight. Well, now Candy Land are getting in on the action, with these Fruit Salad Softies. These also come in Wham and Refreshers varieties, which is odd, because there's also a Refreshers version of Squashies. Which is superior? I'll have to get back to you on that one, as I only picked up this one bag this time.

These Softies come in two flavours: raspberry & pineapple, and apple & blackcurrant. Raspberry and pineapple is the classic Fruit Salad flavour we all know and love, but in Softie form, it doesn't taste all that much like Fruit Salad. Sure, it's nice, and it tastes like the fruits it's supposed to, but I just didn't get that well known taste from these, perhaps the chewiness of the original sweets helps add to the experience, but I must admit these were slightly lacking on the raspberry side. The apple & blackcurrant ones are very nice, bold fruity flavours that complement each other very nicely. The texture is great on these, they don't have those slightly crunchier edges like some of the Squashies do, and they're all nice and chewy. These Softies may not be exactly like Fruit Salad sweets, but they're still very tasty. I'm looking forward to trying out the other varieties.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Today's Review: Tyrrell's Sweet Potato Crisps With Smoked Chilli

Sweet potato crisps are becoming all the rage these days, which is nice because now they're starting to get cheaper. Granted, I picked these up cheap because they were slightly out of date (thank you bargain stores), but you get my drift. I've tried some sweet chilli sweet potato crisps before, courtesy of Kettle Chips, and they weren't bad at all. Tyrrell's pumps out some fine quality crisps too, so I was happy to see they've chucked some chilli in there now too. 

These are good, I'm gonna just come out and say it. The crisps are small and crunchy, and not too greasy either. They have a great sweet potato taste (obviously, they're sweet potatoes), and the texture is downright satisfying. The only slight let down is the flavour. It's certainly a nice smoked chilli, but it's just not quite strong enough, especially with the sweetness in the potato itself. By the end of it I did have a slight lingering heat on my tongue, but I was expecting a little more. Still, I suppose smoked chilli isn't all that spicy, but the balance of spicy and sweet was just a bit off for my taste. Definitely a tasty bag of crisps though, and one I'll be looking out for again.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 7 September 2015

Today's Review: Kit Kat Chunky Hazelnut Cream

Kit Kat Chunky has always come in good quality, tasty varieties. They were one of the first UK bars to jump onto the peanut butter trend, and I love them for that. But today I found another interesting variety that I hadn't seen before, this hazelnut cream flavour, in a local discount store. Looks like it originates from Hungary, which is a coincidence, because I was quite hungary when I ate it. My word, that was terrible.

This is a Kit Kat Chunky with a hazelnut cream inside, funnily enough. There's not much more I could say to describe it. The cream is a nice thick layer that provides a great smooth texture on top of the wafer. It blends in well with the chocolate to make it slightly creamier, and makes it slightly less dry than your average Kit Kat Chunky. The cream itself tastes great, from the rough translation of the ingredients I dug out of Google, it has real hazelnuts in it, and that taste reflects that. It's a smooth, nutty flavour that really spreads throughout the whole bar and leaves a distinct after taste. This is a great, tasty bar, and definitely another winning Kit Kat Chunky. I'll have to make sure I snatch up some more of these before they disappear.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 6 September 2015

Today's Review: Dr. Oetker Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

Want a fresh baked cake, but can't be bothered with all the baking? Well, the mug cake has been doing the rounds on the internet for a while now, a few simple ingredients poured into a cup, nuked and ready to eat. I've tried one of those before, and the result wasn't too bad. But if you can't even be bothered with mixing up all that stuff, Dr. Oetker have you covered, with these mug cake mixes. All you gotta do is put some milk in a mug, stir in this powder and blitz it for just over a minute. Ta da, fresh baked (?) cake.

Well, that's not quite as neat as the one on the packet, but hey, it's cake. When I found these I could choose between rich chocolate and this chocolate chip variety, I went for the slightly blander one to properly gauge the quality of the cake. It's certainly not bad. It's quite moist and fluffy, although it is a little sticky and sickly. The chocolate chips are plentiful and nicely spread throughout, certainly a better job than I could do from raw ingredients. It's got a nice hint of vanilla to it as well, and I certainly enjoyed making my way through it. It's nice to be able to eat a warm, freshly baked cake, although the microwave method clearly doesn't provide as good a quality cake as those you'd make in the oven. Still, it's a very good effort, and certainly an option for those who want a warm cake in a hurry. I'll certainly be interested to try out the lemon flavour in the future.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 5 September 2015

Today's Review: Malt-O-Meal Chocolate Flavour Marshmallow Mateys

One of the best things about having a B&M nearby is that I can get a nice cheap fix of American cereals. Well, off-brand American cereals anyway. They stock a lot of the Malt-O-Meal stuff, like Apple Zings and Colossal Crunch (which I haven't reviewed yet apparently, look out for that one). But here's one I hadn't seen before, a chocolate variety of Marshmallow Mateys, which is a cut price version of Lucky Charms. I would have gone for the regular, but every time I've tried Lucky Charms recently they weren't as good as I remembered. I figured having some chocolate thrown in would liven things up a bit.

This cereal contains a bunch of sizeable chocolate balls, sprinkled with some marshmallow pieces that look pretty similar to their Lucky Charms counterparts. They taste the same too, which is what counts, sweet, slightly chewy marshmallow pieces that actually taste better with milk. These are the things people seem to go crazy for when reminiscing about Lucky Charms, but to be honest, I don't thing they're all that great. They're nice and sweet, sure, but they do taste a little odd in a cereal bowl. The chocolate cereal balls are pretty nice, large and chocolatey with a nice crunch, even when they're drowned in milk. They are perhaps a little bit dry, and they do outnumber the marshmallows, which means they drown out the other flavours. On top of that, they seem to be distinctly heavier than the marshmallow pieces, while I was tipping the box the chocolate fell out at a much faster rate, leaving the marshmallows behind, I had to resort to digging my hand in to get a decent proportion of both. So really, while it's a nice enough cereal, it's not particularly great. While the individual elements are nice, when put together they don't quite gel too well. I'll probably give the regular Marshmallow Mateys a go in the future, but these are a bit hit and miss.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 4 September 2015

Today's Review: Kit Kat Mocha

I've been looking for this new Kit Kat for a couple of weeks now to no avail, so I was pretty thankful when a friend presented me with one earlier. This is a mocha Kit Kat. It's interesting how they've gone for "mocha" rather than "coffee", but it actually makes sense in the way that this is a coffee flavoured chocolate bar. 

This Kit Kat is coffee flavoured in the way that all coffee flavoured things are coffee flavoured. Not a particularly authentic coffee taste, but definitely in keeping with other coffee treats. It has that nice dark bitterness, and it's a pretty bold flavour that lasts throughout. It works quite well with the wafer, and obviously the chocolate lends itself to the whole mocha thing. Overall it's a pretty nice variety of Kit Kat. Certainly not in the realm of the toffee or cookies and cream, since the coffee flavour just isn't quite as good as actual coffee. It's certainly enjoyable though, and a nice addition to the range.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 3 September 2015

Today's Review: Melon Crush Tic Tacs

Here's another one of my Middle Eastern pick ups. I'm always happy to try new Tic Tac flavours, so my eyes lit up when I spotted this Melon Crush variety. Melon flavoured Tic Tacs, what could go wrong? Well, apparently something did. I mean, sure, these have a hint of watermelon at the beginning, but it soon gives way to that sort-of-mint-but-not-quite taste that seems to be more prevalent in the orange and lime flavour. Here though, the fruity mintiness is more pronounced and just doesn't taste right. The slight hint of melon isn't enough, it just promises a nice fruity flavour that never comes to light. I think I'll stick with the fruity flavours in the UK thanks.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Today's Review: Refreshers Bon Bons

A B&M has opened in my town. Rejoice, cut price groceries and home wares for all! Upon entering the store, my eyes were immediately drawn to this bag of Refreshers Bon Bons, which informed me they were new. It's like they were waiting for my arrival, I can't resist the word "new" written on packaging. This seems to be another entry into the range of classic sweets given the branding treatment that only seem to be available in bargain stores. See Vimto Bon Bons or Refreshers Mallows for example. I do love a good bon bon though, so I couldn't resist picking these up.

These bon bons come in two flavours, lemon and raspberry. That's quite in keeping with Refreshers themselves, so it's a good fit really. Trouble is, there's not much that really makes these Refreshers bon bons. You'd think they might want to retain the sour tingly taste they put into the bars, but there's none of that here. Sure, the lemon bon bons have a sour kick to them, but that's because they're lemon flavour. The strawberry possess no tingle at all, and while they do have a nice bold fruity flavour there's nothing that special about them. These aren't bad bon bons by any means, but they are decidedly average. The texture was a bit off with them as well, some were easy to chew, others seemed determined to break my teeth. Overall, they're quite nice, but pretty bland. About as good as any other bon bon really.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Today's Review: Galaxy Duet

With all the Galaxy varieties I tried on holiday, it was nice to come back home and find that there are a couple of new bars out here too. These are a couple of interesting little numbers. Galaxy Duet is a Kit-Kat style bar that houses two different fillings enrobed in Galaxy chocolate. While they certainly sound alright on their own, the two flavours in each bar have been picked to work together. Duet comes in cookies & cream and caramel & shortcake flavours.

The Duet idea is a nice enough one. If you so wish you can tackle each side separately and experience two unique flavours. I admit I did for half of each bar, but only to gauge how nice each separate filling was. The answer is, they're all pretty good. The caramel is as good as it's always been in the classic bar, sweet and gooey, while the shortcake provides a nice little crunch. The cookies are very reminiscent of the cookie crumble bar, though a little more chewy, while the cream side provides a light, sweet filling that is perhaps a little sickly.

You should combine the flavours in each bar though, that's what they're there for. The cookies and cream works together the best, providing a nice gooey, creamy flavour with a satisfying crunch. The caramel bar goes kind of the same way, although the crunch is diminished and overwhelmed by the caramel. It's still noticeable though. All in all, these are some tasty bars. They do suffer a little from the Duet format, there seems to be a lot of Galaxy chocolate and not quite enough filling. There could have been a lot more satisfying crunch if the crunchy pieces were more plentiful within, but it's not a massive issue. These bars are well worth trying out. It would be nice to see some more interesting combinations in future, but this is a good start for a new type of Galaxy bar.

My rating: 4/5