Monday 30 November 2015

Today's Review: Mint M&Ms

I like to try every flavour of M&Ms I can get my hands on, but I've avoided these mint ones for some time. I'm not entirely sure why, I know I'm not a big fan of mint chocolate, but I was sure these would be mostly harmless. Perhaps it was the price, although I still skipped over them when I saw them for £1 in Wilkinson. Thankfully I also spied some bags in B&M for a mere 69p, so I decided to take the plunge.

I shouldn't have worried too much, these were never going to be awful, just minty, and my word are they minty. It's pretty nice tasting as mint flavour goes, but it's strong, and it certainly lessened the experience for me, although I was left feeling quite fresh. It's a good thing that they decided to go with dark chocolate for these ones, it lends a nice butter undertone that takes the edge off the mint, if they went with milk chocolate I believe it would have just been overpowered. These certainly aren't bad, they're just too strong for my liking. I think I'll stick to the other flavours from now on.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 29 November 2015

Today's Review: Warburtons Giant Crumpets

I do like a lovely bit of crumpet (pardon the expression). I can't say they're a regular on my shopping list, but I've never met a crumpet I didn't like. Now Warburtons have brought out these monstrosities, some giant crumpets. After all, crumpets are quite small, so why not make a bigger one? Besides, I don't have time to leisurely grill my crumpets, I stick those bad boys in the toaster, and we all know that crumpets are not particularly compatible with the deep trenches of the regular toaster. So these should take care of that problem.

Well, they certainly fit snugly in my toaster, satisfyingly so, unlike another Warburtons product I know and love, one that's made specifically for the toaster... But I digress, what of the crumpet? Well, it's a good crumpet. I know very well that Warburtons make some damn fine bread products, and these crumpets follow that theme. Soft and chewy, with a nice texture and taste. Their size does hurt their cause a little, it's simply a little too much crumpet to handle in one sitting, and it is quite thick and a little stodgy, but the butter soaked through nicely like it does with any good crumpet. So yes, definitely tasty, and one I'm sure I'll buy again. If you're after a crumpet that doesn't have you sticking utensils in your toaster, this is the one you want.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 28 November 2015

Today's Review: Tootsie Roll Pop

Tootsie Rolls are great, chewy, chocolatey delights that I've picked up on several occasions. But I'd never gotten hold of a Tootsie Pop, despite hearing the well known catchphrase associated with them many times. So how many licks does it take to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop? A little research shows that a few experiments have been carried out, both with human participants and "licking machines", and results have been varied at best, ranging from 144-411 licks. But I'll give you the real answer.

The answer is a question, and that question is who the hell licks their way through a lollipop? Lollipops are for sucking, surely? I can't imagine standing around continuously scraping my tongue over the same area in an attempt to reach the centre. Turns out it's a rhetorical question anyway, based on the freakishly drawn TV ad from 1969. As you can tell from the gelatinous blob of a boy's constant nagging question, we're all so desperate to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop because there's actually a little Tootsie Roll inside. 

Now, this is not something I was immediately aware of, only hearing the truncated version of the catchphrase, and I'll have you know it's a bit of an odd contrast. There were several Tootsie Pops in Cyber Candy for me to choose from, and I opted for a grape flavour as there's something so distinctly American about grape flavoured candy. The lollipop itself is pretty nice, a bold, flavoursome, juicy pop, certainly not in the realm of Chupa Chups, but pretty close. But then I got to the Tootsie Roll, and the mix of chewy chocolate stuff and crunchy grape flavour is quite strange. On their own they're both great, but I'm not sure they belong together. I didn't exactly have a bad time eating this, but if I wanted a lollipop I'd stick with the classic, uniformly fruity ones rather than pick one of these up again.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 27 November 2015

Today's Review: Chicago Town Meat Supreme Pizza Melt


After being thoroughly disappointed with my frozen calzone a couple of days ago, I still had one frozen pizza treat left to try. This is certainly an interesting one, it's a pizza in a bun. I mean, it's not particularly outrageous, but it's still a novel idea. Opening up the packet you're pretty much greeted with two small pizzas, one with just cheese, and the other loaded with pepperoni, ham and mushrooms. The base is different, obviously, but the method is the same, you just cook them up in the oven. But then comes the crazy part, you put them together, and voila!

That looks more like a loaded bagel than a pizza, but really it's not a hell of a lot different from the photo on the box. The two halves fit together nicely, and there's a generous amount of toppings and cheese inside, all as good as a frozen pizza would allow. The bun is the real decider here, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It's pretty much a cross between a roll and a pizza base, a nice, slightly thick dough that has a satisfying crunch on the outside. It really works well with the topping inside, and while I wouldn't feel happy sandwiching two mini frozen pizzas together in this fashion, the roll like aspects of the bun makes it very natural and pretty tasty. The bun does well to hold all the toppings, and there's a satisfying amount of cheese that brings it all together. These pizza melts are a pretty neat way to enjoy pizza in a rush and on the go. I'm sure I'll be picking up some more in the future.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 26 November 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Chocolate & Cherry Sandwich

'Tis the season, and on top of their usual Christmas sandwich fare, Tesco have added an... interesting one into the mix. This is a chocolate and cherry sandwich, and it has been met with revulsion from many people. But to those people, I say "calm down dear, it's only a sandwich". I mean, honestly, I hate to rely on the old adage of "if you don't like it don't buy it", but it's not like they've taken the turkey sandwich off the shelves and forced us to eat this one instead. But what do I know, I'm one to embrace all the weird stuff that Tesco churns out at an impressive rate, and I certainly wanted to get my hands on this one. This sandwich consists of chocolate spread, glace cherries and mascarpone cheese between two slices of cinnamon bread.

Okay, I'll concede that this is certainly a lot sweeter than you'd expect your average sandwich to be. But chocolate spread is a thing, they've just chucked a few more ingredients into the mix. I must say, it certainly isn't a bad sandwich, it's tasty even. The chocolate spread is a nice smooth filling, and mixed with the mascarpone cheese it makes for a nice, creamy spread that is certainly enhanced by the cherries. If it were just chocolate spread it may have been a bit thick, but the cheese does help even out the texture. As for the bread, it's alright. I understand they were trying to stick to the sweet theme, and this probably wouldn't have tasted quite right between two slices of wholemeal, but the bread we're given is a little stodgy, and doesn't taste that much like cinnamon. There's a little bit of spice, sure, but it's beaten out by the sweet stuff in the middle. 

This chocolate and cherry sandwich is not a sign of the end times, and no, it's certainly not something I'd consider a traditional sandwich. But it's a different, tasty offering that is pleasantly sweet, although not perfect. For those up in arms, there's certainly the option of not buying it. But for those who want something a little crazy, this is worth a shot.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Today's Review: Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Calzone Speciale

I may love pizza, but I love calzone more. Its all the wonders of a pizza, but folded over and loaded with even more toppings (can they still be called toppings when they're inside?) I'm sure to pick one up whenever I spy one on the menu during a meal out, but I didn't know I wanted a frozen version to cook at home until I spied this in Asda the other day. Ristorante is a good brand too, I love their Pollo pizza, so I was pretty excited to cook this one up.

Turns out I was wrong. I don't want to be wrong, but this just wasn't good eating. To start with, the box told ,e to pop it directly on the shelf, as you'd expect from a regular frozen pizza, but just over halfway through the cooking time it had started to melt through the wire shelf, and I had to haphazardly scoop it up and pop it on a baking tray. I lost some of the filling in the process, but at least it was mostly kept intact. Unfortunately that was just the start of the disappointment. The crust just isn't right. The Ristorante pizzas have a nice, crispy crust, but the stuff this is made of is more like a cheese topped roll. It's stodgy, thick and the cheese on top isn't all that great. Thankfully the filling is more palatable. There's a fair amount of ham, mushrooms and salami, and they all taste pretty nice. There certainly could be more, but what there was was filling enough. The cheese inside is much better, and rounds out the filling quite nicely, but overall I just couldn't get on board with this. Perhaps I'll just stick to eating calzone when I'm eating out.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Today's Review: Jelly Belly Bean Boozled

This is a box of jelly beans I've had my eye on for a good long while. I've seen it in several import shops at quite a high price, one that I certainly wasn't willing to pay based on the premise. Fortunately, Tesco now have these in stock for the relatively low price of £2, so it was time I took the plunge and participated in this challenge. If you haven't seen these beans before, let me fill you in. 

This box contains eight classic Jelly Belly flavours, from popcorn and chocolate pudding to lime and tutti-fruitti. Unfortunately, they also contain eight new flavours that are based on completely and utterly disgusting things. We have stinky socks, rotten egg, lawn clippings, toothpaste, canned dog food baby wipes, boogers and vomit. But no biggie, eh? Those of us who aren't insane can just skip over the disgusting ones, right? Well, therein lies the challenge, as each disgusting flavour looks exactly like the nice flavour it's paired with, so you don't know what you've got until you've sunk your teeth in. I was drawn to these from the start. After all, the flavours may be bad, but they can't be that bad, can they?

I started out with the pure white jelly beans. As toss up between coconut and baby wipes. I'm not a great fan of coconut, and there are worst things to put in your mouth than baby wipes, so I figured I'd be pretty nonchalant either way. Turns out the baby wipes ones really do taste like baby wipes, a light, fragranced taste that is a lot more authentic than I'd imagines. Based on that, I'm sure you can tell how the rest of the tasting went.

I thought it would be fine. I was a fool, a damned fool. The toothpaste is another egregious gateway into the horrors that lie ahead. You may think it's just minty, surely that's nice? Well, it's so outrageously minty that I felt like I'd swallowed a mouthful of actual toothpaste. The lawn clippings tastes like green, the canned dog food tastes exactly the way it smells like it would taste. The stinky socks somehow have a nuanced flavour of dirty fabric. Even the bodily function based ones are pretty authentic. Well, the booger may be a little off, I can't remember the last time I ate a booger, but either way this was certainly a dirty tasting bean. The vomit, however, I do have memories of, and this flavour was spot on, acidic and foul. Still, I managed to chew my way through and swallow it down. I can't say the same for the rotten egg. It's so authentically eggy, so disgustingly rotten tasting, that it's the first thing I've eaten in a hell of a long time that actually made me almost vomit. I've devoured a whole bar of Dairy Milk just to get the taste out of my mouth, and it's still lingering.

Jelly Belly, I salute you. You thought of an absolutely fantastically disgusting idea, and pulled it off with such sickening aplomb, all I can do is applaud. Clap ferociously as I try and get your disgusting, scientifically accurately crafted flavours off my tongue. These jelly beans absolutely disgust me, but they're perfect at pulling off what they set out to do. Go grab a box, and gag horribly with all your friends.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 23 November 2015

Today's Review: J2O Glitter Berry Bon Bons

I reviewed J2O Bon Bons the other day, but I failed to mention that I picked up this variety at the same time. Yes, despite this being the first time I'd seen or heard of J2O Bon Bons, they've already managed to churn out a limited edition in the form of these Glitter Berry sweets. Now, I've tried the Glitter Berry drink, and while it's certainly festive looking I didn't get along with it. The juice isn't all that refreshing, and the glitter in the drink is a pretty but inconvenient addition. With these bon bons, however, there's not a bit of glitter in sight, so I figured I'd get along better with them.

Unlike the regular J2O Bon Bons, these only come with one flavour, but it is grape, cherry and spice, so it's a good one. I like the darker, bolder flavours, and this one is pulled off very well. The bon bons are very juicy, and both fruits are certainly noticeable and work well in tandem, I definitely find these more refreshing than the beverage. I wasn't sure what I'd think about the spice, I've never had a spicy bon bon before, but that's well executed as well. It's a very subtle taste, but a mellow, cinnamon like heat that lies underneath the fruity flavours and provides a bit of extra warmth. I can't really fault these bon bons, they're tasty, chewy and festive to boot. Well worth picking up while they're around.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 22 November 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Chocolate Orange Amaze Bites

I reviewed the regular chocolate variety of these Amaze Bites last month, and found them to be pretty tasty, of not a little dense. This weekend I fancied picking up another pot, and this time I went for the orange flavour. After all, who doesn't like a bit of chocolate orange?

The cakes themselves are the same good stuff, a dense chocolate brownie cake that is most definitely filling, a few of these would probably satisfy the most ravenous cake lover. These are still a little too stodgy I guess, but they're tasty enough for it not to count against them too much. As for the orange flavour, that's exactly what it is, an orange flavour, and I could tell. It starts off as a nice orange taste, but quickly transforms into an overly sweet, artificial tone that brings down the quality of the rest of the cake. Thankfully the abundance of chocolate, especially the coating on the outside, stops the orange taste from ruining the whole thing, but overall it works out to a pretty average cake bite. If you're gonna pick up some Amaze Bites, you're better off with the regular chocolate ones.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 21 November 2015

Today's Review: Snyder's Salted Caramel Pretzel Pieces

I've reviewed a few Snyder's Pretzel Pieces flavours in the past, and they've all been savoury, and mostly spicy. Following my last review, a kind reader pointed out to me the existence of this sweet and salty variety, and I stumbled upon them in my local Tesco Express just the other day. These are salted caramel pretzel pieces, a mainstay flavour among snack foods nowadays, but apparently these have been hanging around in the States for a couple of years. Salted caramel is abundant these days, sure, but it's rarely done completely right. But I had faith in Snyder's. Despite having experience only with their savoury flavours, they certainly seem like they know what they're doing.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag was the smell, and my word these smell amazing. It's a full, sweet caramel smell with a hint of saltiness, which is certainly fitting to what's written on the bag. The pretzel pieces are as good as all the other varieties, some large, some not so large, but all packing a satisfying crunch and a satisfying texture that is sure to fill you up. The flavouring is great on these as well. They're pretty salty, it might have been too much if this were another snack, but since these are pretzels the saltiness works very well indeed, it just feels right. The caramel flavour is prevalent throughout, a smooth, sweet flavour that isn't overwhelming, I think the abundance of saltiness helps to balance it out. So overall, these do exactly what they say on the packet, they're fantastically sweet, mouth wateringly salty, and satisfyingly crunchy. Another great bag of pretzel pieces from Snyder's.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 20 November 2015

Today's Review: J2O Bon Bons

I always seem to pick up interesting varieties of bon bons in pound shops and bargain stores, and these ones I picked up in Poundland are no exception. Yes, there are now bon bons based on the J2O drinks, and I definitely didn't see how that could be a bad thing. After all, the Vimto bon bons are some of my favourites, so these had a lot of potential. These ones come in four different flavours: apple and raspberry, apple and blueberry, orange and passion fruit and apple and mango. The packet says exotic fruit, but I fail to see how several of those are particularly exotic, but hey. As you can see, three of the flavours are based on the J2O drinks, though the apple and blueberry is news to me.

I've got to say, these are some damn good bon bons. Sure, the texture is a little off in some of them, some are a bit too brittle, but they're mostly fantastically chewy. The flavours are really nice and bold. The orange and passion fruit tastes a lot like the drink, and I actually find the juiciness of the bon bon to be slightly more refreshing than the drink itself. The apple and blueberry is a great new flavour, with a very sweet blueberry undertone fleshed out with a full apple taste. The apple and raspberry is more subdued, probably the blandest of the flavours, but still a nice fruity offering. As for the apple and mango, I'm not too sure what to think of it. It has a really intense flavour, that does taste a hell of a lot like mango, but after a few chews it does get a little too much, and starts to taste a little artificial. It's still good though, and I certainly found it hard to stop eating these bon bons. These are well worth seeking out.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 19 November 2015

Today's Review: Butterkist Discoveries Hickory BBQ Pulled Pork Popcorn

Savoury popcorn has become a mighty big thing in recent years, and while I haven't noticed too many popping up very recently, I was happy to see Butterkist have brought out some interesting new flavours under the Discoveries brand. There's a salted caramel flavour, piggybacking on another foodie trend, a sweet chilli and lime, and probably the most interesting, this pulled pork popcorn. Yeah, pulled pork popcorn. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Probably because it sounds like madness. This popcorn has been around for a little while I think, but I finally managed to grab a bag in my local Tesco, and grab it I did.

Unlike a lot of people who sneer in disgust when I offer them savoury popcorn, I absolutely love the stuff, the more weird flavours the better as far as I'm concerned. So perhaps I was more biased towards liking this stuff from the start, but oh my, this popcorn is good. It's at once sweet and a little salty, playing with the classic popcorn seasonings. The main flavour is a lovely smoky BBQ taste with a very nice meaty hint. I may not be a fan of meaty crisps, but it certainly works here in popcorn form. Each kernel is crunchy and full of flavour, as you can expect from Butterkist, and really there's not a whole lot more to say. This is some damn good popcorn that tastes a hell of a lot like BBQ pulled pork. If it sounds like your thing you've probably already grabbed a bag. If it's not, pick one up anyway, you may be pleasantly surprised.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Today's Review: Five Guys

During my quick trip to London last week I managed to squeeze in a visit to Five Guys in Covent Garden. I'd been meaning to go there for a while, but every time I pass by on a weekend the queue is out of the door, and thankfully on a Wednesday evening it was far shorter. Five Guys is an Americna burger joint, quite simply, and a pretty expensive one at that. That meal up there cost me just over £16, and that's a small fries. But hey, it doesn't matter how expensive it is if it tastes great, right? Well, it does to a point, but does Five Guys surpass it?

Let's start with the fries. Sure, that's a small cup, but the guys behind the counter (there are more than five, unfortunately) shovel a good few more into the bag before serving up. This isn't your standard stray fallen fries that you'd find at Burger King or KFC, it's a small tray full of fries piled on top for good measure. As for the taste, man these fries are good. They're made from English sourced potatoes, roughly chopped and skin on, and fried in peanut oil. The nuttiness shows in the end result, not obnoxiously so, but certainly a nice hint. They're also pretty heavily salted, perhaps a little too much for my liking, but they certainly weren't unpleasant. They're crispy and delicious, and great with a bit of ketchup for dipping.

The burger was the main event, and for almost £9 it had better be. I went for the bacon cheeseburger, because who wouldn't? One of the great things about Five Guys is that any and all burger toppings are free, and there are a lot to choose from. Onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup, jalapeños, mushrooms to name a few, you can stick whatever you like on there. I was going to go for some twisted, spicy concoction, but figured I'd get a better taste of the burger itself if I went for a modest onions, pickles and ketchup. I've gotta say, this burger was awesome. The patty was thick and juicy, like a flame grilled Burger King cranked up to 11. The bacon, in contrast, is tougher and crispy, and provides a lovely change in texture that really accentuates the moistness of the burger. The bun is a classic sesame seeded affair, but really it's just there to shovel in the glorious meat and cheese. I went in wondering how good this burger could be, and came out knowing that it was actually pretty amazing. Worth £9? I don't know, but certainly nearing that amount.

Finally, the shake. This is also a choose your own adventure, you can mix in any flavour for free, which is good as the shake itself is almost £4. There's a very nice selection, from chocolate and vanilla to coffee and peanut butter, you can even put bacon in there. If you wanted you could have a mix of every single flavour there is, but I'm sure that would be attempted genocide on your taste buds. Since I was going all American, I figured I'd go for a chocolate peanut butter shake, and oh man was it glorious. It's a lovely thick, creamy shake, and both the chocolate and peanut butter flavours were at the forefront throughout, working perfectly with each other rather than struggling for dominance. I wasn't sold on a £4 shake when I walked in, I only settled on getting one as I was ordering, but I'm glad I did.

So yeah, Five Guys is a damn good burger place. It's still pretty damn expensive, I won't be going again for a while, but I will return, and I'll be shoving more of those glorious burgers and shakes into my face. Also some hopefully slightly less salty fries. If you fancy some fast food and have a bit of extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, check Five Guys out.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Salted Caramel & Pretzel Bites

Thanks to one of my lovely Twitter followers for letting me know about the existence of the new Tesco Bites bags. I didn't manage to find the most interesting looking - Jellybean Jumble Bites - but I did pick up these salted caramel and pretzel creations. They consist of dark chocolate tiffin with salted caramel and salted pretzel pieces, topped with milk chocolate.

These bites certainly are chocolatey. The tiffin is pretty dark, with a nice hint of sweetness, and while it does have a lighter texture than I'd have hoped, it certainly packs a lot of flavour. The caramel and pretzel pieces add a nice bit of texture, but I couldn't exactly taste them. The salt is noticeable right away, in fact there's a lot of it, so the flavours really are a bit out of whack. The milk chocolate on top helps balance out the sweetness, but overall I couldn't really get on board with these. They're certainly not bad, but the bites that already exist at Tesco do a better job. I'll be sure to pick up some of the other new bags, but I found these to be pretty average.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 16 November 2015

Today's Review: J2O Midnight Amber & Midnight Forest

I was recently sent a sample of not one, but two new J2O flavours that are being released just in time for winter. These are Midnight Forest and Midnight Amber, created to symbolise the moment that one day ends and the other begins. Midnight Forest has a "mischievous" nature, with a flavour of orange, cherry and a hint of chocolate, while the Midnight Amber has a lighter mix of orange, mandarin and lemon.

Let's start off with the Midnight Forest. I wasn't sure how it would work out, the chocolate element put me off a little, after all, I've tried chocolate soda before and hated it. But this drink has turned out pretty well. The main mixture of orange and cherry tastes pretty authentic, perhaps a little too heavy on the orange, but both fruits are noticeable. The chocolate is a very subtle addition to the mix, a definite undertone that blends in pretty well with the fruity flavours and gives the drink a darker edge. It's a little heavy on the citrus, but still a pretty tasty beverage.

The Midnight Amber flavour is a much lighter experience. The orange and mandarin are refreshing and bold, a great fruity hit that makes for a refreshing drink. The lemon juice mixed in provides a nice tangy layer, but it does end up a little bit tart, although there's also a hint of spice that helps round the flavour out. Overall, it's a light, tasty J2O that's well worth trying out. Both these flavours are nice additions to the range, and make for a nice seasonal drink that doesn't rely too heavily on the regular Christmas staples. Grab some while you can.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 15 November 2015

Today's Review: Surf & Comfort Limited Edition Mistletoe Fragrances

I was recently sent this limited edition Surf and Comfort duo, a detergent and fabric softener that incorporate mistletoe just in time for the festive season. Limited edition fragrances are a pretty good idea, they use them in candles all the time, so why not with liquid detergents? Mistletoe is certainly fitting with winter, and it's combined with winter violet for the Surf detergent, and crocus for the Comfort conditioner.

I must say I had no idea what mistletoe smells like, and after some very superficial research on Google I've found that it doesn't really smell much like anything. There are a lot of mistletoe scented products out there though, and apparently a lot of them incorporate pine and winter berries to create a unique scent, and these detergents certainly have a distinct smell. They both have flowery tones, and a fresh hint of pine, and both smell quite different from each other due to the added scents. The Surf has a more aromatic smell with the addition of the winter violet, while the Comfort is more mellow due to the sweet crocus. The "mistletoe" smell is at the forefront of each though, and it definitely is a unique scent, though it is a little too woody and aromatic. They still smell good though, and the proof is in the washing. I always tend to use Surf and Comfort, they make clothes fresh and soft, and the ones I washed with these scents are no different. If you're looking for something different to pop in your washing machine this festive season, then these are worth picking up before they come off the shelves at the beginning of February.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 14 November 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Prosecco & Elderberry Crisps

The festive Tesco Finest crisp flavours have arrived, and while there are a few that have returned from previous years, this variety is certainly one I've not seen before. Everyone loves a glass of wine at Christmas, so Tesco have decided to encapsulate that experience in crisp form, for some reason. Well, they've pulled off other interesting food combinations, so I figured these were worth a try.

These crisps are describes as having the "festive fizz of Prosecco", and they're certainly right. The first thing I noticed when I popped one in my mouth was a massive hit of fizz on my tongue. I wasn't quite expecting it, and it certainly wasn't all that pleasant. Once it subsided it was somewhat bearable, and the actual flavour of the crisps came through. They certainly taste a bit like Prosecco, and there is a fruity tone of elderberry, with a slight tang that blends in somewhat well with the Prosecco flavour. So yes, these crisps taste somewhat authentic, but the question is do we really want Prosecco flavoured crisps? The flavours don't work all that well with the texture of the crisps themselves, and despite enjoying the taste a little more once the fizziness subsided, every few crisps I was once again greeted with a quite unpleasant amount of fizz that really put me off eating more. These crisps are an interesting idea, and they don't taste truly awful. I just can't get on board with fizzy crisps. I think I'll be buying the more meaty flavours from now on.

My rating: 2/5

Friday 13 November 2015

Today's Review: Simply Doughnuts Apple & Raspberry Mini Bites

I spotted this little pot of doughnuts at the bakery of Tesco Express, and figured they were worth a go. They're more the size of doughnut holes, but they're filled with Duerr's jam. I've had apple doughnuts, I've had raspberry doughnut, but not the two together, so I was interested to see how these would turn out.

These mini bites are certainly quite small, but that's alright, because you can easily fit a whole one in your mouth. The first thing I noticed is that they're pretty powdery, I like sugar as much as the next guy, but there's a little too much smothered on these. As for the dough, it's pretty average. Certainly sweet, but quite stodgy, and the jam inside is pretty unevenly spread. Some had too much, others not enough, and the quality of the jam isn't all that either. It's fruity, sure, but it can't seem to make up its mind which fruit it taste like. I got hints of both apple and raspberry, but mixed together it's not particularly great. These doughnuts are a quick, sweet hit, but there's nothing particularly great about them. Not awful, but there are many better doughnuts out there.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 12 November 2015

Today's Review: Jacob's Crackers

I was invited to the walkway over Tower Bridge last night for a pretty interesting event. It's Jacob's 130th birthday, and to celebrate the occasion they laid on a cheeseboard. Not just any cheeseboard though, this one was 40m long. Jacob's hopes to improve the British public's knowledge of cheese, as the average person can only name four varieties out of 700 British cheeses. 40m of cheese is a splendid sight indeed, but where there's cheese, you'll also probably want a good cracker, and what better crackers than Jacob's?

You can't beat a good cream cracker, and Jacob's are the original and the best. A modestly sized, crunchy cracker that packs a nice flavour on its own, but works especially well piled with cheese and chutney. Red Leicester and cheddar were the recommended toppings for these originals, and you can't go wrong with that. Jacob's Cream Crackers are nice and light, and give way very nicely to the flavours of whatever you put on top. Simply a classic.

I then wandered into stinky territory. I know many people who aren't, but I'm a big fan of blue cheese, so I was carving up those bad boys in no time. I'd probably normally stick my blue cheese on a regular cracker, but since the Cornish Wafers were laid out around these wheels I figured I'd give them a try, and it turns out they're a much better fit. They're slightly blander than the crackers, and significantly softer, so they really blend in well with the texture of the cheese itself and allow the fantastically bold flavour to come through. I can't say I've paid attention to the Cornish Wafers before, but I think I'll be picking some up in future.

You can't beat a bit of Brie, and apparently you can't beat a bit of Brie on a Choice Grain cracker. These crackers are a multi-grain option, and they're definitely a favourite of mine. They have a fuller texture, and a slightly sweeter taste, providing a lovely crunch to go with the soft Brie on top. I always figured Brie and grapes went together, but since there were pears laid out around this section, I gave it a go, and was pleasantly surprised. You could probably stick any fruit with Brie and it would all be good, but I must say the Choice Grain is a great choice of cracker to put it all on top of.

I finally reached the end of the table, where the savoury section greeted me with a nice selection of cured meats. Here were cheeses like Parmesan and Caerphilly, all packing great bold flavours. Paired with these was another cracker variety I hadn't yet tried, Savours with salt and cracked black pepper. It makes sense, a savoury cheeseboard requires a savoury cracker, and these ones fit the bill. They're small and very crunchy, and the salt and pepper work wonderfully with the saltiness of the cured meats, with the bold cheese really rounding off the flavour for an overall delicious loaded savoury cracker.

Man, that was a lot of cheese, and a lot of crackers. I've always been a fan of cheese and crackers, and this humongous cheeseboard has reaffirmed my view that Jacob's provide the best crackers, a great range that suit the massive variety of cheese out there. I'll certainly be stocking up for Christmas, and I suggest you all do too. After all, you can't beat a good spread of cheese and crackers.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Parsnip Crisps With English Honey & Paprika

The Christmas crisps are starting to line the shelves, and these Tesco Finest ones particularly caught my eye. I'm a big fan of sweet potato and parsnip crisps, but a lot of brands haven't added different flavours to them yet. This bag brings both honey and paprika into the mix, and quite frankly they sounded delicious.

These are some good crisps, I'll say it straight away. They're nice, and crunchy, and the natural sweetness of the parsnip really comes through. They are a little soft, I prefer the crunch of sweet potato crisps, but they still have a nice texture. The honey flavour really accentuates the sweetness, while the paprika adds a nice hint of spice that doesn't overwhelm, and lingers for a while after eating. There is a bit of an imbalance between the spicy and sweet, there could be a bit more paprika in there, but overall this is a very enjoyable bag of crisps that's certainly fitting for the festive season.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Today's Review: Goodfella's Sweet Fella's Dessert Pizza

I've been on the lookout for this pizza for a while, and I finally grabbed it for a cool £1.50 in Tesco. It's a dessert pizza from Goodfella's, because when you've had pizza for dinner, why not have another for dessert? This consists of a sweet dough base, topped with chocolate sauce, and white & milk chocolate and brownie pieces. 

Well, it kind of looks like the picture. I could have spread the topping around more I guess, but hey, it doesn't matter if it's going in my face, right? There's a generous smattering of toppings, and they're all pretty good, chocolatey and filling. The sauce is better than I thought it would be, it's smooth and creamy, and while it is somewhat sickly, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. As for the crust, it's strange. kind of like a crispy pastry mixed with a pancake. It's somewhat stodgy, and not as sweet and fluffy as I'd hoped, so it really does bring down the quality of the pizza overall. This dessert pizza is a neat idea, and it's pulled off well to some extent, but the base sure needs some work.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 9 November 2015

Today's Review: KFC Zinger Rice Box

I was recently sent a voucher to try out one of the new (well, fairly new) KFC Rice Boxes. I've thought about having one in the past, but in essence they seemed like a more disappointing version of the Burrito. But then, I do have an unnatural love for burritos, so maybe it was time to try it out. I went for the Zinger version, but they also come in Original and Pulled Chicken varieties. The Pulled Chicken clocks in at just 370 calories, while the other two are both under 600, so this does seem like a good choice for a light meal.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I guess the only big difference between this and the burrito is the lack of a wrap, and its absence isn't all that bad. There's a sizeable chicken fillet with a nice hint of spice, and a generous covering of mayo. Underneath is a layer of standard lettuce, and a nice thick bed of rice underneath. It's certainly not the best quality, somewhat along the lines of microwave rice, but nice microwave rice. There are some kidney beans thrown in, and it has a little hint of spice to it, and when mixed in with the rest it makes for a nice filling salad box. It certainly filled me up based on how few calories it contains, and it comes out at the same level as the burrito in my eyes, it just depend on whether you want the wrap or not. This is a nice healthy option from KFC that's worth picking up for a light lunch.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 8 November 2015

Today's Review: Terry's Chocolate Orange Minis: Toffee Crunch

I do love it when a new Chocolate Orange product comes out. Even if it may not be the most original, it means more Chocolate Orange, and that's only a good thing. This year Terry's have brought out a new pack of Minis, supposedly in an effort to catch up with the range of full size Chocolate Orange flavours. I reviewed the original Minis two years ago, the Exploding Candy last year, and now we have Toffee Crunch. The Toffee Crunch Chocolate Orange is an interesting one, not my favourite flavour, but certainly a tasty entry. I was interested to see how it would translate to miniature form.

They certainly are mini, but they pack in a lot of flavour. The toffee is noticeable straight away, a very sweet taste that lasts long after the chocolate is gone. There's also the classic orange flavour in there, but there is a bit of conflict between the two, and the toffee seems to win out a lot of the time. Still, whichever flavour is at the forefront at the time, it's still tasty, and these are some good little chocolates. I was worried that the crunchy bits from the full size orange may not translate all that well either, but there's certainly enough in each piece to give a satisfying crunch. These certainly aren't my favourite flavour of Chocolate Orange Minis, but they're a great version of the Toffee Crunch orange, and definitely a good addition to the range.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 7 November 2015

Today's Review: Chocologic No Added Sugar Chocolate Bars

Chocolate is great, but sugar is not. So wouldn't it be nice to get hold of a chocolate bar with less sugar? There have been a couple of no added sugar bars around in the past, but now there's a whole range being launched under the Chocologic brand, and I was sent a few bars to try out. This chocolate is sweetened with Stevia, the wonder sweetener that has been popping up over the past few years.

I'm all for less sugar, I cut out carbs for several months a couple of years ago and lost a hell of a lot of weight. There were chocolate cravings though, and these bars would certainly have come in handy. The milk chocolate contains only 33.7g of carbs per 100g, of which 20.9g are sugars. That's compared to 56g of carbs in Dairy Milk, all of which is sugar. The dark chocolate is even better, boasting 18.7g of carbs in 100g, of which only 3.2g are sugars. So the numbers add up, but I guess it doesn't matter much if the taste isn't up to scratch, right?

Let's start out with the milk chocolate. It's certainly not bad. It taste like chocolate, albeit slightly cheap chocolate. It reminds me of the stuff you'd find in your average advent calendar, certainly edible, but not really a match for the big shot chocolate guys. Still, for the amount of sugars that have been replaced with Stevia, it tastes pretty decent. 

The dark chocolate is a lot better in my opinion, which is strange as I don't normally like dark chocolate, it's often a little too bitter for me. This dark chocolate bar is certainly dark, but it has an undeniable sweetness that certainly doesn't ruin the flavour. Sure, the Stevia makes it quite a bit sweeter than most dark chocolate is, but it still makes for a good bar. This is definitely a bar that would help you out during your no carb diet cravings, a tasty bar that has a very small amount of sugar in it.

Finally, I tried the milk chocolate with hazelnut, and that is definitely a winner. While I wasn't too much of a fan of the milk chocolate on its own, the combination with hazelnut really seems to bring the quality up. It's a nice, sweet bar with a lovely nutty texture. The nut pieces are nice and small, so it really all blends in to give a uniform overall flavour, without adding in a load more carbs.

Chocologic is a brand that shows a lot of promise. These bars are pretty good efforts at delivering treats that are low in carbs. Some are better than others, but if I were to go the low carb route again I'd certainly stock up on these for when the cravings kick in. These bars will be hitting the shelves this month, as well as some Belgian chocolate seashells, and a Neopolitan assortment featuring a white chocolate. I'll definitely be looking out for those.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 6 November 2015

Today's Review: Hostess Chocolate Twinkies

Everyone loves a Twinkie. Oh no, wait, everyone loves a Slinky. Well, apparently everyone loves a Twinkie too, Americans seem to go crazy for them. I've tried the regular Twinkies before, and I can't say I enjoy them all that much. The sponge tastes a bit funny and the cream leaves a lot to be desired. I figured the chocolate variety would fare better though, so I snapped up this box for a mere £3. Lucky me.

Well, I was right, to an extent. The cream inside is a marked improvement on the original in my opinion. It's nice and smooth, with a light chocolate taste. As for the sponge, I still can't quite get along with it. It's soft enough, but it does have a funny taste to it, almost acidic like in places. Perhaps my taste buds are a little out of whack, but for something the Amerixans go crazy for, they're pretty average to me. But hey, they like Hershey's too and that tastes like sick to me. Maybe America and I don't get along so well after all. 

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 5 November 2015

Today's Review: Arizona Cowboy Cocktail: Mucho Mango

I tried out the lemon Arizona Iced Tea the other day, and found it to be pretty darn nice. I also managed to pick up a couple more flavour, this being one of them. This isn't an Arizona Iced Tea, but an Arizona Cowboy Cocktail, and a mango one at that. I've become a bit of a sucker for mango lately, so I was definitely looking forward to this.

This is basically a mango juice drink, which doesn't sound too bad, but in reality it falls a little bit flat. It tastes like mango, sure, the purée is in there to prove that. But it's fairly watered down, the fruitiness is somewhat weak. While the Iced Tea may have a few problems balancing out the fruit and tea flavours, it turns out that without a tea that drink is just pretty average. It's nice enough, but there are far better mango drinks out there.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Gingerbread Cupcakes

December is drawing ever closer, so bring on the Christmas treats. I'll be scouring the seasonal sections over the next couple of months to find anything I haven't yet tried, and these cupcakes seemed like a pretty good start. These consist of ginger sponge cakes filled with toffee sauce, topped off with a ginger icing and a cute little gingerbread man decoration.

Looking over the ingredients, all the ginger stuff actually contains ginger powder, and it shows. The cake is a nice, moist sponge with a nice spicy kick, and the frosting is smooth and creamy with the same full flavour. It's not overly gingery, but the spice lingers for a while after eating, the perfect amount of warmth for the winter. The toffee sauce is a lovely little touch, adding a gooey texture and an extra sweet kick. All in all these cupcakes are great, a lovely festive treat that will warm you up on a cold winter's day. I'll certainly be picking some more up while they're still around. 

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Today's Review: Sensations Roast Beef And Fiery Horseradish

After reviewing the new seasonal thicker cut cheese and cranberry Sensations last week, I figured I might as well go back and pick up the other flavour. I'm not quite sure why I did, I'm not a big fan of meaty crisps, and I certainly don't get along well with horseradish. But hey, this could perhaps be my gateway into the spicy stuff, and every flavour deserves a chance, so I tucked right in.

They say horseradish, and they mean horseradish. That's the first thing I tasted when I popped one of these in my mouth, a very bold, and pretty damn spicy horseradish flavour that didn't quite burn through my nose as much as the real stuff, but it certainly threatened to. I can firmly still say I'm not a horseradish fan, but these crisps sure do taste like the real thing, so good on Walkers for that one. For the beef side of things, it's certainly noticeable, a nice meatiness that lies underneath the fiery stuff. But it's a little imbalanced, and the horseradish wins out. So this is actually a pretty decent bag of crisps that delivers what's promised. It may be a little lacking on the meaty side, but even I went back for a few more after the horseradish got a little too much for me.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 2 November 2015

Today's Review: Arizona Iced Tea With Lemon

Arizona Iced Tea is one of those products I've heard Americans casually mention on TV, like it's some well established, tasty tradition. Well, I've finally found some bottles on our shores, and I figured I'd start off with a nice simple lemon one. I'm a sucker for iced tea, so I was definitely looking forward to this one. What I got was a pretty damn good lemon iced tea. There's not much to it exactly, it's tea with lemon, but it does it well. The tea is refreshing, and doesn't dry out the mouth as much as other iced teas I've tried, while the lemon flavour is quite authentic, although it's a little imbalanced, I found myself tasting quite a bit more tea than lemon. I can't hold that against it too much, perhaps it's just my personal tastes hoping for more citrus, this is still a pretty good drink, and one I picked up for under a pound. This is well worth seeking out.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 1 November 2015

Today's Review: Peanut Hottie Peanut Butter & Chocolate

I reviewed Peanut Hottie way back last year, and it certainly appealed to the peanut butter fanatic within me. So I was pretty delighted to find there's another variety on the shelves, in the form of peanut butter and chocolate. We all know how well those two go together, so surely it's the same in drink form? Well, I was convinced, so I snatched this up.

This is pretty much the same deal as the original Peanut Hottie, a nice, smooth, warm drink that certainly packs a great peanut butter flavour. As for the chocolate? Well, it's certainly not as pronounced. Sure, there's a hint of it in there, but it's kind of drowned out by the peanut butter part, and in fact I think it hurts the flavour overall. The peanut butter doesn't have the same chance to shine through, and it ends up tasting more like a peanut drink with a hint of chocolate, the buttery part is slightly lost. Don't get me wrong, this is still a tasty drink, but where I imagined the addition of chocolate would improve the recipe, I still prefer the original. Still worth a try for the peanut butter chocolate nuts though.

My rating: 4/5