Saturday 31 December 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Jelly Babies

The jelly babies are one of the best parts of the Haribo Super Mix, seeing as I'm not a big fan of the Bassetts ones these really hit the spot. This dedicated bag of Haribo Jelly Babies has been around for a while, but they seem to have been rebranded as "The Juicy Wuicy One". so I wondered if the formula had changed.

These are different to the jelly babies you find in the Super Mix, they're substantially fatter, and with that comes a bit more filling that is very juicy. My main concern with the "classic Bassetts babies is that they're just too dry and chalky, and the ones in this bag seem to rectify that problem even more than the Super Mix babies. I'd have to say these are pretty perfect, a hard, chewy shell that gives way to a nice juicy jelly. A great bag of Haribo.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 30 December 2016

Today's Review: Euro Shopper White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

In the lull between Christmas and New Year, I've been too lazy to go out and get a proper food shop, so I popped down to the corner shop instead today, looking for snack-like sustenance. After all, the diet starts in a couple of days, right? I found myself perusing the packets of biscuits, and finally settled on these generic brand cookies, which contain white chocolate and cranberries. I thought they were mainly reserved for the supermarket in-store bakery cookies, but no, here they are packaged up for a reasonable price.

Turns out there's a reason for the reasonable price. These cookies are not too good. They're cookies, I'll give them that, and they're not awful, but they are a little gritty, and the chunks of stuff that are in there are few and far between. The chocolate is slightly noticeable, giving these a slightly creamy texture. The cranberries are very dried, and while they provide a slight fruity burst, it's not enough to make these worth bothering about. This pack of cookies is just bland, I'd go for the good stuff in the bigger stores.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 29 December 2016

Today's Review: Manomasa Tomatillo Salsa Tortilla Chips

I've gone back and gotten myself some more Manomasa chips. Last time I was mightily impressed with the lemon and peppercorn, this time I went for the salsa flavour, because we all love a bit of salsa, right? The chips contain red and white quinoa, and are flavoured with green tomato. These guys like using fruits that are different colours than usual apparently. There are some cheeky chillies popping out of the top of the chip there too, so I was looking forward to a bit of spice.

These chips have a good texture to them. Not quite as good as the lemon and peppercorn, they're a little on the dry side, but the quinoa gives them a nice grittiness and flavour. As for the salsa taste, they do a pretty good job. The tomato is very bold, but not too overpowering, it's a nice clean flavour that works very well with the texture of the chips. The chilli is a great addition, it starts off not too noticeable but builds up to a very satisfying level of heat. Spicy tomato salsa, in a chip. Another very nice flavour in the range.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Today's Review: Chilli Wizards Insane Ghost Pepper Peanuts

I do like my spice, but often I find products that claim to be spicy fairly lacking. So I was quite looking forward to this pack of peanuts flavoured with ghost pepper, one of the hottest chillies in the world. Of course, there was the possibility that these would let me down, but the warning plastered on the packet gave me some hope.

Oh boy, these are hot. Very hot. I guess that's what you can expect from a novelty product designed to be ridiculously spicy, but they've done a good job here. They've perhaps gone a little overboard on the spice, it does compromise the taste of the peanuts. But the spice is the point, and the peanuts are still noticeable, so it's not all that bad. I can imagine these would be quite intense for a lot of people, I can only really manage a few at a time before I need to wait for the heat to fade. But the form in which they're presented works in their favour. The spice may be very strong, but in peanut form it's somewhat manageable. This is a good bag of peanuts for anyone who loves a bit of heat. Or a lot.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Today's Review: Pez Hedz Bearz

That's a lot of "Z"s there, these sweets must be cool. I found this interesting little bag in Home Bargains, and while it sports the Pez name there's nothing particularly Pez about them. While they're distributed by Pez, they're made by Katjees, who are known for their gelatin free, gluten free sweets, and the Pez link is tenuous at best. Apparently they're in the shape of what the head of a Pez dispenser could look like. Right...

These are chewy sweets in various fruity flavours, and are similar in appearance and texture to the classic Percy Pigs from M&S. These aren't quite as good, but still, they're not bad. The gums themselves come in peach, grape or cherry flavour, and the ears possess fruity flavours of their own. They taste somewhat like the fruits but not really, pretty much how you expect an artificial version of the fruit to taste. Not awful, but definitely not natural. The texture is pretty good, slightly chewier than a Percy Pig, but pretty pleasant, and there is a slight tang to the overall flavour that does conjure up images of Pez. Otherwise though, the reference doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and all you're getting is a fairly average bag of chewy sweets. Quite nice, but nothing special.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 26 December 2016

Today's Review: Manomasa Green Lemon & Pink Peppercorn Tortilla Chips

I've tried out some Manomasa chips before, and found them to be not all that great. But they were still on offer in Tesco, and there were a few varieties I hadn't tried, so I figured I'd keep going. This one sounded pretty damn good, and a little on the fancy side too. Green lemon and pink peppercorn, because the regular colours of those weren't good enough for some reason.

You know, despite the chipotle & lime being pretty average, these ones are pretty damn good. The texture is a lot less dry than I found in the other chips, and they're helped along with some fantastic flavours. The lemon lends a great zesty citrus taste, and the peppercorn is very bold and sharp. They complement each other very well, with neither overpowering the other, and all in all it's a very well rounded flavour, the flavouring is very generously applied. This is a great bag of chips, and it's restored my faith in the range. I'll be going back and grabbing up some of the others before the price goes up again.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 25 December 2016

Today's Review: Rubis Chocolate Wine

Merry Christmas, y'all! I've eaten a whole lot of stuff today, but this is an interesting little number that stood out the most today. It's a chocolate wine, which I must admit sounded a bit disgusting, but I figured I'd give it a go anyway. So here's a quick little review before I collapse into a food coma.

This is actually some pretty good stuff. It's very rich, probably as you'd expect, and the heaviness does work against it a little, but all in all it's a pretty delicious wine, with fruity hints and a very well done chocolate flavour. It doesn't overwhelm the senses, it's a fairly delicate chocolate hint that blends in nicely with the red wine and makes for a good, full flavour. A good attempt at a quite different bottle of wine.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 24 December 2016

Today's Review: Rogue One

Another year, another Star Wars movie, we are getting spoiled. But this isn't the next entry in the episodic sequence, no, we need to wait until next year for that. But while we wait, Disney have moved from sequel territory to prequel, although it's technically a sequel as well... This is Rogue One, set some time after the events of Episode III, and less time before the events of Episode IV. It follows a rag tag bunch of rebels, lead by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as they attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star. That's about as much of the plot as I'll give away, I know people can be touchy about that (me included). 

This is a damn good Star Wars move, hell, it's a damn good movie. Many were extremely dubious when Disney bought the franchise, but I'd say they're continuing to deliver in better ways than anyone expected. Episode VII was a great callback to the original trilogy, and Rogue One shows what they're willing to do pushing forward. It brings the wars back into Star Wars, with epic fight scenes, great, sprawling assaults, and yes, battles in space. The visuals are top notch, the action is amazing, this is a blockbuster that delivers on a lot of fronts.

That's not to say it's not without its flaws. Since the action is pretty non-stop, the ensemble of characters doesn't quite get as fleshed out as they could. Some seem to be there just to being a different fighting style to the table, and while that's cool, they do lack the depth of others. Felicity Jones is a pretty good leading lady, and Diego Luna turns in a decent effort too, but with not much downtime between scenes there's not really enough time to build up the chemistry. In a way the plot suffers from this as well, it's a little linear and cookie cutter, but since this is a prequel with the story afterwards already very well known, it does well fitting in with the canon overall, and there are so many references and easter eggs scattered throughout that it connects everything up very nicely.

This is where Rogue One shines. It caters to the fans, and provides so many nods and continuities, but still stands as a great movie in its own right. Characters appear who have been pretty fleshed out in the TV shows (so I've heard, I haven't seen them myself), and there are yet more brief references to other things that already have a pretty firm standing in other parts of the franchise. There are some fantastic connections to Episode IV that are mostly very well done, overall this is a movie that was made with the fans very much in mind, and it's hopefully a glimpse of what's to come in what Disney have to offer to Star Wars. Rogue One is not the perfect movie, but it is a fantastic Star Wars movie, and I'm looking forward to Episode VIII even more than I was before.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 23 December 2016

Today's Review: Shloer Mango & Passion Fruit

I spied this interestingly coloured Shloer nestled amongst the other bottles on offer at Tesco. It says it's a limited edition, but I'm not sure exactly when it came out, because mango and passion fruit doesn't really sound like a festive flavour. But hey, I like a bit of tropical, so I snapped this one up.

It wasn't until after I tasted this that I realised it was also sugar free, but it turns out that's pretty noticeable from the taste. It's got that definite sweetener flavour, and it really overshadows the fruity elements. The mango and passion fruit really aren't that well defined, there's a hint of fruit, sure, but coupled with the sweetener it just tastes like some kind of white wine, a bad white wine. Shloer is pretty much there to emulate wine in a soft drink, so I'm not sure why they went for a mango and passion fruit, and then made it sugar free. Those fruits deserve a bold, sweet flavour, and it's just not in this bottle. Not very nice stuff.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 22 December 2016

Today's Review: Being Too Tired To Think Of Something To Review

I'm tired man, really tired, but I can't go to bed until I've published a review of some kind, as I've neglected to do so all day. The problem with being this tired, however, is that I can't think straight. It's hard to deliver criticism when all I can think about is my pillow. My pillow is nice actually, I'd give a good review to that. This feeling though, that gets low marks. Perhaps it's a lesson I'll learn, to get my reviews earlier, when my mind is sharper. But right now, my mind is blank, and is slowly shutting down, so this review is a cop out. Call it meta, call it a matter of fact stream of consciousness, whatever. The truth is I'm just really tired and can't bring myself to write anything of merit, and that sucks for everybody. This big fat zero is all on me.

My rating: 0/5

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Today's Review: Chicago Town Takeaway Pulled Beef Brisket Pizza

I don't normally buy frozen pizzas, but when one offers me a BBQ sauce stuffed crust and pulled beef brisket on top, as well as being on offer, that's one I'll be sticking in my oven. So yeah, apart from the beef and the stuffed crust, there are also peppers and onions, and cheese. Pizzas need cheese. Not sure why the football is emblazoned on the box, takeaways aren't just for football fans.

As much as I was looking forward to this pizza, overall it's very average. You may wonder what I expected from a frozen pizza, but it did promise some good stuff. The maple seasoned pulled beef was, well, some pretty okay beef. It's a nice topping, but not exactly gourmet. The vegetables are just vegetables, nothing special, though they do distract from the flavour of the beef a little, which isn't fantastic. The crust is pretty good, substantial and soft, and the BBQ sauce stuffing is a nice touch, combining well with the dough, even if it is perhaps a little too tangy. This may be better than many frozen pizzas I've tried, but it's not a fantastic offering.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Today's Review: The Lynx Manwasher

I've always wanted to try out the Lynx Manwasher. After all, I am a man, so surely this is the only thing I can wash myself with? Or maybe I'm meant to wash other men with it? I don't know, the name is ambiguous. But in lieu of other men to wash, I washed myself, and I was looking forward to the inevitable burst of testosterone that comes from something with such a manly name.

Well, this is definitely different from the brightly coloured puffs I normally opt for in the shower. Not in a good way, but different. The black puffy bit is slightly soft, but also quite coarse, and the thick chunk of rubber on the other side doesn't allow it much leeway to lather up effectively. I didn't even try the brillo pad looking side, I can only assume that's for when you've grown too manly to have a firmly established outer layer of skin, and want to prove your masculinity by scratching it all off. I'm not much of a fan of this, I guess it will become a little less coarse as I use it more, but I wouldn't recommend it for washing any men with, especially if washing men is a regular pastime. 

My rating: 1/5

Monday 19 December 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Snowy Delight Pots Of Joy

I may have made my way through a lot of festive treats over the last couple of months, but this one had eluded me until the week before Christmas. Mostly because they were really expensive, and now you can pick a four pack up for £1 in Tesco. But these are another seasonal edition of the Pots Of Joy, this time getting into the festive spirit by adding some white chocolate on top, because it looks like snow, innit. There's not much more to say than that, it's a melted Dairy Milk dessert with melted white chocolate on top.

Sure, these don't sound particularly interesting from the way I just described them, but they're pretty good. Simple but effective, I guess. The chocolate part is very nice, pretty much melted, slightly creamier Dairy Milk. Say what you will about the quality of Dairy Milk chocolate nowadays, but melted down into dessert form it still taste pretty nice. The white chocolate adds another extra creamy layer on top, it's not the best quality, as I already knew from Cadbury's previous white chocolate ventures, but it all works pretty nicely together, giving a nice, slightly lighter flavour that just a regular Dairy Milk Pot Of Joy. A simple idea for a limited edition, but it's pulled off pretty well.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 18 December 2016

Today's Review: Twister Strawberry

It's nice to check out Poundland every once in a while to see if anything new has popped up. I didn't find anything lining the shelves, but near the till was a stack of boxes of Twister, which turned out to be different varieties of filled chocolate balls. Think like Lindor, except, you know, it only costs a pound. I guess that should have been some indication of the quality, but I figured I'd give these a go. They had a few flavours on offer, including praline, but I went for this white chocolate and strawberry combo because, I don't know, maybe I'm longing for summer.

You know what, these aren't bad. I mean, they're not particularly good, but they're not bad. The chocolate isn't of the greatest quality, but it's hard to get white chocolate right, and it does a decent enough job. A little chalky, but the creaminess is good enough. The filling is actually fairly nice. There's a little too much of it, which makes it overly sweet overall. but the strawberry flavour is bold, if a little artificial. The texture could use a bit of work, it's fairly smooth, but it's a little too thick, it has something of a moussey hint to it which isn't particularly great. So yeah, definitely not a direct competitor to Lindor, but for £1 this isn't an awful box of chocolates. I'll probably try out some of the other flavours soon enough.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 17 December 2016

Today's Review: Birra Spalmabile - Golden Ale Spreadable Beer

It's another day where I've stumbled in close to midnight, and have neglected to post a review for the day. Thankfully, I've returned home prepared, as I was offered a taste of this spreadable beer that I happened across at a party. I'm not sure exactly how else to describe it really, it's beer that you can spread on things. Well, beer in spread form anyway, so let's see how close to the real thing this is.

I could do a really in-depth review of this, spreading it on different foods to see what it pairs well with, delving into the ingredients to see what makes it what it is. But for one thing, I don't have the time today, and for another, I think I got the information I needed from just trying a little bit on a teaspoon. It's spread, and it tastes like beer. It's pretty much like beer flavoured honey actually, it's not a bad taste, but it is a little overly sweet, which kind of detracts from the bitterness of the beer itself. But hey, it's not too bad, it's a unique flavour, and I defintiely got a beer-like hint from it. If it were simply beer flavoured I probably wouldn't want to spread it on my toast (or bagel, or whatever). But this stuff seems like it would be alright for a change. Not a fantastic spread, but it's something different.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 16 December 2016

Today's Review: McDonald's Chocolatey Banoffee Pie

Alongside the festive menu at McDonald's is also a festive pie. Gone is the mince and custard of last year, now it's time for banoffee and chocolate, which is much less seasonal in my eyes. But what do I know, I'm not the billion dollar corporation. So yes, this is like the classic apple pie, but instead of apple in the middle, it's got both a banoffee sauce and a chocolate sauce. You could probably guess that, but now I've made it clear.

The banoffee bit isn't all that fantastic. It's more banana than anything, there's a hint of toffee in there, but mostly it's overly sweet. The chocolate sauce lends a hand here, providing a smooth, slightly darker flavour that mellows the whole thing out. It's not the best quality sauce, I guess the clue's in the fact that it's "chocolatey" and not just "chocolate". It does a decent enough job up against the sickly banoffee part, but it makes for a pretty average filling overall. As for the pie part, it's the same you'd find in any McDonald's pie. A greasy, crispy batter that is strangely alluring, but at the same time leaves you feeling disgusting and unhealthy. That's the McDonald's way. But anyway, this pie is alright, nothing special. It doesn't beat the apple, so lets' get Christmas out of the way so we can get back to that.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 15 December 2016

Today's Review: The "Mummy Or McCain" Advert

"Mummy or McCain"? How about "Daddy or McCain?" Less punchy alliteration, I know, but I make the roasts in my household. I'm offended, do they think only mummies can make roasties? I'll tell you what, my kids would be able to differentiate mine from frozen, partly because I douse them in salt, but also because I've put the time and effort in to make them taste pretty damn good. Men can cook potatoes too, McCain, it's 2016, come on.

My rating: 0/5

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Today's Review: Manomasa Chipotle & Lime Tortilla Chips

This brand of tortilla chips has been around for a while now, but they only just seem to have gone on offer, which is always a selling point for me. These Manomasa chips come in a few interesting varieties, featuring olives, peppercorns and salsa. I went for the chipotle & lime, it's a fairly safe flavour, but I figured I could judge the quality of the chips, and I'm always up for a bit of chipotle.

Let's talk about the chips themselves. They're pretty good, a nice grainy texture with a nice natural corny flavour, they taste clean and well made. As for the flavouring, it could be better. With the first few chips, all I could really detect was the lime, and while it had a nice sharpness to it, it wasn't particularly strong, giving way to the chips themselves fairly quickly. As I made my way through the bag, a smokiness came through with a slight level of heat. Not very spicy at all, but the mellowness is pleasant enough. It's a shame the flavouring isn't a but more prominent, but these aren't awful. I wouldn't drop full price on them though, perhaps the other flavours are more deserving of praise, I'll try and make my way through them.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Today's Review: Christmas Ceiling Decorations Falling Down

It's a problem I face every Christmas, and I'm sure I'm not alone. One of the great Christmas traditions is not only hanging tacky stuff from your tree, but also hanging it from the ceiling. So there are paper snowflakes, metallic stars, and those godforsaken chains that stretch from one of the room to the others. No matter what they may be, at one point they're going to fall off the ceiling. They could be waiting for me when I get home from work, they might be trailing along the floor to greet me in the morning, or they might be bold and just drop on my head as I'm trying to relax. These things are insufferable, and not a Christmas goes by that I'm not periodically hopping onto chairs to reattach shiny things to the ceiling.

I know where I've gone wrong, I should use pins to hold the things up, but they leave unsightly holes in the ceiling. I use sellotape instead, and while applying enough tape does allow a decoration to stay up for a fairly significant amount of time, "enough" is roughly four or five pieces, which doesn't look nice, and it always succumbs to the forces of nature in the end anyway. I get the physics behind the tape failing, I know tape isn't the most effective method of hanging decorations, but that doesn't make the constant falling any less annoying. It's enough to turn me into a Grinch.

My rating: 0/5

Monday 12 December 2016

Today's Review: Lacreme Strawberries & Cream

Here's a pack of sweets that I excitedly picked up at the airport on the way back from holiday like two months ago, and then promptly forgot about. Anyone remember Campino? I sure do, those strawberry & cream flavoured swirly sweets were amazing, but like all good things, they didn't last, and I didn't know what I had 'til it was gone. So when these caught my eye I couldn't wait to snap them up, even though they were sugar free I still had faith. 

There's a reason I forgot about these, I popped a couple on the plane, and was thoroughly unimpressed. The packaging says sugar free, so I can't blame it that much, but these just aren't great. There's a certain creaminess to the taste, yes, but the strawberry is pretty flat and uninspired. The sweetener is definitely detectable, and it adds something of a sour hint to the whole experience. My Campino dreams are crushed, these are pretty horrible sweets, my Euros were wasted.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday 11 December 2016

Today's Review: Moana

Two Disney features in one year, we haven't been this lucky since we got two Pixar features... last year. Anyway, this is Moana, following on from the quite wonderful Zootropolis that released at the beginning of the year. It follows the titular Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) as she leaves the safe haven of her home island and journeys across the ocean to fulfil a mystical quest in order to stop darkness from spreading throughout the world. On the way she enlists the help of demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who has fallen from grace. They must work together to navigate the seas and face the dangers that await them.

This isn't your traditional Disney princess movie, but Moana does fit into that role. Longing for adventure, defying those who wish to keep her sheltered to truly discover herself, and her father is a chief, of course. There's no prince, which is a nice change, and the mythological elements are presented in quite a neat way. I can't help but feel the plot is a little too linear though. The set up for the journey is quite drawn out, and by the time it gets underway it's like a laundry list of "go here, do this, save the day", and barely deviates from that. There is a good offering of characters to help it along though. Cravalho is fantastic as Moana, putting in a fantastic performance for a 16 year old in her first role. Dwayne Johnson is, well, Dwayne Johnson, not Oscar worthy by any means, but he puts in a decent effort. Jemaine Clement is a pretty nice addition, it's always a pleasure when he turns up, but even he can't make this movie truly great. So let's segue into my next criticism.

The songs. The songs are not good. Even when Jemaine is singing one. We all know Disney can pump out some timeless classics based on their songs, and in recent years we also know they can produce some truly great stuff with no one singing a word (Wreck It Ralph, Big Hero 6). So Moana has songs, but they're just not good. I don't know what happened, but the lyrics are all over the place, the melodies aren't particularly memorable. After watching Frozen I was looking up the songs on YouTube for days after because I couldn't get them out of my head. After Moana I was looking them up just to remember what they were. The main ballad (How Far I'll Go) is a decent enough offering I suppose, but there's a song at the beginning about coconuts that's just awful, and The Rock pelting out a ditty is something I'd rather not hear again.

So yeah, it all evens out to a pretty average offering. Moana isn't an awful movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's just so bland. It looks amazing, and it has a few great elements sprinkled here and there, but looking at it as a whole it just sort of trundles along. If it were not for my compulsive need to collect every Disney feature, I don't even know if I'd pick it up on Blu-Ray. Sorry Disney, try harder next time.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 10 December 2016

Today's Review: Cheestrings Scoffies: The Purple One

Tucked among the Babybels and Lunchables, I was surprised to find a Cheestrings product I haven't seen before, and it's quite an interesting looking one at that. It's a variety of snacks bundled into one box, like a little Graze selection box for your packed lunch. They come in several varieties, all featuring cheese chunks, but with various things to pair them with, such as crackers, pretzels, fruit pieces and biscuits. I went with the purple one, which features cherry strings, biscuits and chocolate raisins, because they all sounded pretty good.

This is a nice little concept, I must say. It's like a Lunchable mixed with trail mix. Whether you work your way from top to bottom, or mix up the cheese with any of the other stuff, it all works pretty well together. The crackers may be a little on the bland side, and the cheese possesses that slight rubbery texture you'd expect from the snacking cheese section, but they still make for a good quick snack. The stuff in the bottom compartment was good, the cherry strings are surprisingly fruity, and the chocolate raisins are of a decent enough quality. The biscuit is slightly salted, and it brings out some nice flavour, especially when paired with the strings or raisins, or even the cheese. This is a neat little package of some good snacking bits that would fit well in any lunchbox, be it for child or adult. I'll most likely try out the other varieties in the near future.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 9 December 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Saft Goldbären

Here's a quick review for a little bag of sweets. I picked up a big old multipack of tiny Haribo bags from B&M a while back, because there were a few varieties in there that I hadn't tried out before. This was one of them, a twist on the classic Gold Bears, but this time with 25% fruchtsaft (that's fruit juice). Now, Gold Bears are a classic, so I was a little torn on whether the addition of real fruit could go some way to making them better.

The fruit juice is definitely noticeable, but I must say that they've chosen some odd fruits to chuck in there. The green is apple, that's fine, but the yellow is banana. I guess adding lemon juice might not be the tastiest option, but it's still a little odd eating a banana flavours gummy bear. Basically each bear is true to the fruit that lends its juices, but while 25% sounds a significant number, the flavour isn't perfect, it soon gives way to the regular old Gold Bear underneath. The fruitiness takes something of a back seat, but it's always present, and the juices are actually pretty nice. I don't think these beat the original Gold Bears, the mixture of natural and artificial flavours is slightly jarring, but this is a good twist on a classic.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 8 December 2016

Today's Review: Toad-Ally Snax Choczels

I'm quite late, I realise this. I just got in from my work Christmas meal, and I'm somewhat worse for wear, but let's put in a quick review for these chocolate pretzels I picked up a couple of weeks ago from a QD Stores.

When I think chocolate pretzels, my mind immediately turns to Flipz, or even the Cadbury offering, which are both pretty good. But these off-brand American guys want in on the action, and I've got to say, they do a pretty mediocre job. I wouldn't think chocolate covered pretzels are hard to make, but these ones are just decidedly average. The chocolate is not of a particularly good quality, and the pretzels themselves are pretty dry, you know, how pretzels normally are, but the chocolate goes no way to alleviate that. I thought I might be in for a Flipz-like experience, but all in all these just left me feeling disappointed. Not inedible, but nothing particularly good either. Not a great bag of pretzels.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Today's Review: McDonald's Festive Cheese Feast

It's winter, and that can mean only one thing. Cheese, apparently. This is McDonald's offering for the festive season, featuring both cheese and cheese sauce, for all your cheesy needs. Aside from the cheese there's the good old beef patty, lettuce and onions, and some bacon thrown in for good measure. 

Okay, so it just sounds like a bacon cheeseburger with extra cheese, and basically that's what it is. But it's actually pulled off pretty well. The beef patty is of a higher quality than the kind you'd get in your Big Mac, and the bacon has a nice smoked flavour to it. The lettuce is, well, just lettuce, but the onions are nice sizeable chunks that have been grilled pretty well. Still, while all those elements are very nice, there's not much outstanding about them. Thankfully the cheese is pretty well represented, the sauce is a nice light, creamy experience, and it helps to bring all the other ingredients together. Not an amazing, one of a kind burger, but this is a nice cheesy offering that provides a festive feeling.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Silent Bites

Just as I was giving up hope of seeing another new Christmas themed product, I stumbled upon this tub of Silent Bites in my local Co-Op. A festive take on the previously released Amaze Bites, these are chocolate brownie bites with a chocolate raspberry flavour. Now, I wouldn't particularly call raspberry a Christmassy flavour, but they've already used orange and mint, so what else could they do? 

I'm not sure if these were meant to be somewhat shaped like Christmas trees, or if the machine is just pumping them out in very non-uniform shapes. Either way, these probably don't look like they're supposed to. But hey, it's a lump of chocolate coated brownie, so it doesn't really matter what it looks like as long as it tastes good. Thankfully, these are pretty nice. The brownie is the same quality as you'd find in the Amaze Bites, a nice thick, chocolatey offering that does get a little sickly, but maybe eating the whole tub in one sitting isn't a great idea anyway. The raspberry flavouring isn't especially authentic, but there's a nice fruity hint to these that definitely has something of a raspberry taste. It's not too sickly sweet, but it does permeate through the whole brownie, and doesn't really detract from the chocolate experience. This is another pretty good flavour for the range, but it looks like it will only be around for Christmas, so it's worth tracking these down.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 5 December 2016

Today's Review: Mr. Kipling Bumble Bee Slices

Amidst the onslaught of Christmas themed cakes that Mr. Kipling likes to pump out at this time of year, I managed to find a pack of cake slices that I haven't seen around before, despite them apparently having been out for months. My local Tesco is a bit slow off the bat apparently, as these Bumble Bee Slices are much better suited for the warmer months. The bee reference is two-fold, one because they're honey flavoured, and the other because they're also chocolatey, resulting in stripes. Clever, eh?

I won't say that chocolate and honey is a strange combination, I mean, just look at the Crunchie, that's fantastic. In this case, however, I would say it's not particularly well thought out. The packaging says these are chocolate flavour, but I could hardly detect it over the honey. The honey element itself isn't too bad, it tastes like honey, but pretty much like if someone had just dipped a cake into a jar of the stuff. These slices are very sweet, and the honey flavour sticks around for a while after. It's not a bad taste, but it is a little overpowering, and a bit sickly. If the chocolate part were bumped up a little there might be more to write home about, but as they are these slices aren't great. Just a honey flavoured cake.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 4 December 2016

Today's Review: Chicago Town Chocolate Dessert Pizza

A chocolate pizza may sound like a novel idea, but the Goodfella's one has been around for a little while now. Now it's Chicago Town's go to have a crack at it, and I think competition would be nice, since the Goodfella's wasn't all that fantastic. This has been around for a few weeks now, but it's finally on offer in Tesco for £2, so I took the plunge. So here we have another go at a frozen chocolate pizza, this time featuring a chocolatey base, topped with chocolate sauce and white and dark chocolate chunks. Just pop it in the oven for ten minutes and you're good to go.

This is a pretty good dessert actually, I'll say that right off the bat. All that chocolate may sound like overload, but it's handled pretty well. The sauce isn't laid on thick, and while it does get a little sickly, it's not a major issue as long as you're sharing the pizza. You are sharing it, right? The chocolate chunks add some differing flavours while still adding to the chocolatey goodness, and even the base is a pretty good offering in this case. It has something of a brownie-like texture, and while it is a little stodgy, it's a pretty decent attempt at a sweet crust that works well with the toppings. This is a very chocolatey treat, and the box says it's a limited edition, so try it out while it's still around.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 3 December 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Little Cupcakes

More Haribo goodness to see the year out. I know this one has been around for a little while now, but I've only just managed to find a bag in my local Tesco. It's a build your own cupcake extravaganza, with a choice of two different bases and six different toppings. The possibilities are endless!

Okay, there are actually 12 possibilities. You can have a caramel or lemon base, and either one is good, there's a slight cakey flavour, mixed in with some pretty pleasant lemon and caramel tones. The toppings are pretty good too, definite fruity flavours that match what it says on the bag. They range from classic cake toppings like vanilla and strawberry to the more interesting cherry and blueberry. I couldn't really fault them, they're very sweet, but they all taste distinctly different. There is a slight let down in the texture, these sweets are very heavy, and combined with the sweetness they can get quite sickly after a short while. I guess that helps with portioning, but it does prevent these from being as good as they could be. A neat idea in this bag, mostly pulled off quite well. These are worth a try if you can find them.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 2 December 2016

Today's Review: TGI Fridays Jalapeño Poppers Snack Sticks

Just a few days after stumbling upon the TGI Fridays Crunchy Fries in Tesco, I came across another variety in Morrisons. Yes, Morrisons now have an American section. The one in my local is new anyway, perhaps they've existed in others before now, but it's all good. Anyway, this bag contains some cheddar cheese jalapeño poppers, which seem somewhat similar to the jalapeño Cheetos I love so very much. 

These are pretty similar to Cheetos, but more like the softer versions than the crunchy. Still, they're fairly firm, not quite as soft as your average Wotsit, and they pack a pretty good crunch. There's also a lot of flavour in these. The cheese element is noticeable straight away, and it's a pretty good quality. It soon gives way to the jalapeño, and they haven't skimped on that here. These sticks are spicy, very spicy, and I love it. I left a few of my work colleagues wide-eyed and coughing after I passed round the bag, so these may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they have a serious kick to them that just adds to the great flavour. I'll definitely be tracking these down again.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 1 December 2016

Today's Review: Tango Popping Candy

More, more Tango sweets! This time they're tackling popping candy, and I found this 12 pack in a QD Stores. What's interesting about this multi-pack though is that it comes in four different flavours. There are the classic drink flavours of orange, apple and cherry, as well as the blue raspberry that has been used in their other sweets.

I have to say, this is some fantastic popping candy. I've had a few brands over the years that are a little lacklustre, and this stuff feels almost explosive in comparison. As soon as it hit my tongue I was greeted with an intense fizzing, and some of the pops were so big they hurt a little. That's what popping candy should be in my book. On top of that, the flavours are great. The orange, apple and cherry are very faithful to the drinks, great fruity tones that last throughout the popping experience. The blue raspberry is good too, with a sour hint to it that's just great. I was mightily impressed with this stuff, this is one popping candy that I'd highly recommend.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Today's Review: TGI Fridays Extreme Heat Crunchy Fries

Tesco's American section is a nice little addition to the store. It's not the most extensive range of products, but there's often something there that I haven't tried before, and for a somewhat reasonable price. I picked up this bag of Crunchy Fries from TGI Fridays, which promised me extreme heat, which is nice, because that's one of my favourite flavours.

You may be able to ascertain this from the picture, but these aren't like actual french fries. They're crisps, very similar in texture to Chipsticks. As such, they're pretty decent, a nice maize crisp with a good crunch to it, and the texture allows the flavouring to seep through. These aren't the hottest of crisps, I probably wouldn't put the word "extreme" on there, but there's a lingering heat that is nicely spread throughout the sticks, there's not one mouthful that's without flavour. It's just a shame that the flavour's a little subdued. Still, that might just be me and my love of intense heat talking, this is a good bag to snack on, that has a somewhat decent level of spice.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Today's Review: KFC Colonel's Christmas Burger

It's the most wonderful time of the year, the time when the fast food joints roll out their festive burgers. This year KFC are getting in on the game, and they've actually knocked up a pretty novel burger that has a lot more Christmas spirit than some of the other offerings around. The is the Colonel's Christmas Burger, which consists of a chicken fillet, hash brown, cheese, lettuce, cranberry sauce and stuffing mayo, 

Yes, stuffing mayo, cranberry sauce! It's like a Christmas dinner in a bun, except not really. I applaud the creation of the stuffing flavoured mayo, although in execution it is a bit hit and miss. It does taste like stuffing, herbs and all, the authenticity is actually surprising, I'll give it that. But it's a very overpowering flavour that pretty much dominates the burger. Thankfully the cranberry sauce is on hand to deliver a nice sweet layer of flavour. It's a little thick, and provides something of a sharp contrast to the mayo, but it does help to take the edge off that stuffing taste. The chicken fillet is as good as ever, and the hash brown is always a welcome addition. Not so sure about the cheese slice, I know it's a classic burger ingredient, but mixed with stuffing and cranberry sauce it seemed a bit out of place. All in all, this is a very interesting combination, which works to some extent, although that mayo is just a bit much. I applaud KFC's efforts, but I can't see this becoming a classic festive treat.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 28 November 2016

Today's Review: Kershaws Frozen All Day Big Breakfast

I found myself wandering around the corner shop earlier, pondering what to eat for this week's meal for one. Stumbling upon the chest freezer answered the question instantly, as I was greeted with this frozen dinner, or should I say breakfast? Yes, for £1.69 you can enjoy a cooked breakfast at any time of day, from a box! It's a selection of tomatoes, baked beans, fried diced potatoes, sausages and "breakfast ham", whatever that is. I had very little faith in this from the start, I figured I'd just eat it so I could write about it after, I wasn't expecting anything delicious, or even nutritious. I even doubted I could get it to look anything like the picture. But after choosing the most disgusting cooking option (nine minutes in the microwave), I wound up with this:

It's no perfectly posed, photo shopped masterpiece, but it doesn't look entirely inedible. I probably could have gone at that strange star-like lump of egg with a fork to make it a bit more scrambled, but I wasn't bothered too much, I just wanted to see how it tastes. I started with the tomato and beans, and to be fair, they're actually pretty good, almost on par with the stuff you'd get served up in a greasy spoon. Don't get your hopes up too much though, it's all downhill from here. The eggs are a bit powdery, egg-like I suppose, but not great. The meat is the real let down here, which I guess I should have seen coming. The "breakfast ham" is just sliced processed goodness, opting for more of a general meat flavour than any specific animal, let's just assume it was bred in a lab. The sausages are of a slightly higher quality, but they're still very soft and squidgy, these are probably made out of the stuff that's not even good enough for other sausages. 

So yeah, this wasn't the best experience, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. The non-meat parts weren't entirely awful, perhaps there's a market for a frozen veggie breakfast. But if you're looking for a delicious, protein packed all day breakfast, you should probably avoid the corner shop freezer. But you knew that already, didn't you?

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 27 November 2016

Today's Review: Tango Mallow Cubes

I don't think Tango will rest until they've brought out every type of sweet known to man. Here's an interesting bag, some marshmallow cubes with a jelly centre. They've gone for a pretty interesting flavour here, in the form of blue raspberry. I had some faith in these, a pretty interesting idea, and they look pretty cool.

The jelly part is a lot more jelly-like than I thought. I was expecting something a bit more runny, but instead it's a substantial, chewy jelly pole running through the middle of the mallow. It's good, packs a lot of flavour with a slight tang, and has a great texture to it. The marshmallow around the outside isn't the best quality, it's got a slight chalkiness to it, but it's nice and soft, and pleasantly sweet. The main attraction here is the jelly filling, and it does a good job, so overall this is a pretty decent bag of sweets. Good to see Tango are still thinking up some nice ideas.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 26 November 2016

Today's Review: Where's Wally? Gummy Sweets

At the same time of picking up the Emoji gummy sweets that thoroughly disappointed me a few days back, I also grabbed this bag of sweets with a Where's Wally theme. I didn't fancy eating two bags of rubbish sweets so close to each other, so I saved these for today. There was always the possibility that these would be great, but I didn't want to take that risk. At least I've had a few days of looking at the easiest version of Where's Wally I've ever seen. Just look, he's everywhere!

Basically, these are fruity flavoured gummy sweets. Well, I assume they're supposed to be anyway, because they actually taste like chemicals. I mean, I guess the red ones taste slightly fruitier than the green and yellow, but that's like saying a dog would make a better lawyer than a rock. I guess these could be useful for placing on the pages of those Where's Wally scenes that you can't quite figure out, but then you've still got to worry about Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw, the Wally Watchers, the scroll, the key, the binoculars, the bone, the people who've carried over from previous scenes, and the miscellaneous extra bits in the checklist at the back. So is it really worth it? The answer is no. Unless you really like the taste of chemical infused gelatin, steer clear of these.

My rating: 1/5

Friday 25 November 2016

Today's Review: Asda Giant Pinwheel Buttons

I know these things have been around for a while, but my local Asda has been bereft of these pinwheel buttons for some time now. But finally, after a nice little shuffle around, the merchandising gods deemed it fit to line the shelves with these. So here's a quick review of them, because they're probably old news by now, and also because I just got in and it's 11:40, and I need to get this out before midnight.

These are pretty similar to Caramel Nibbles, but the chocolate is a mixture of both milk and white. The caramel surprise within is much the same, it's not bad, nicely sticky and sweet. As for the chocolate, it's not particularly great. Edible, yes, but it's not of a fantastic quality. The white suffers the most I think, and while it's somewhat creamy it's also a little chalky. I feel if the focus had been on the milk these might have been a bit better, but as they are these buttons are just pretty mediocre. A nice twist on a chocolate bag, but the Nibbles do it better.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 24 November 2016

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Baked Camembert & Oak Smoked Garlic

Limited edition Kettle Chips flavours are always ones that I snatch off the shelf. This appears to be their offering in the lead up to Christmas, and I guess it has some pretty strong festive tones. It also seems to be simpler than the last few concoctions they've whipped up, this is basically a combination of camembert and garlic, which didn't sound bad at all.

Now, I'm not normally a fan of predominantly cheese flavoured crisps, but these aren't bad at all. There's a nice creamy hint to the cheesy flavour, and while it is fairly strong, it's also nice and sweet. I wouldn't say it's exactly like eating a block of camembert, but it's definitely a nicer experience than other cheese flavoured crisps. The garlic is a nice addition too, a smoky undertone that stops the cheese from being too overwhelming, and that stays around nicely in the aftertaste. The camembert still wins out a little, there could be a bit more garlic in there, but all in all it's a good combination of flavours that forms a bag of crisps that's simple, yet effective.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Today's Review: Toffee Crisp Honeycomb Biscuits

Toffee Crisp is a pretty classic chocolate bar, and while I wasn't sure if I'd tried the biscuit version, I knew for sure I hadn't had this honeycomb variety. Look, it even says "new" on the packet. These are a combination of biscuit pieces, crisped cereal, caramel, honeycomb pieces and chocolate. Sounded good to me.

I was wondering how they'd pull off the biscuit part seeing as there's already a crispy element in the Toffee Crisp formula. But it turns out, it doesn't matter, because it's hard to differentiate anything given how strong the honeycomb is. It dominates the whole biscuit, to the point where I couldn't really taste much else. There's a nice crunchy texture to it, and a stickiness provided by the caramel, but the overall taste is pretty sickly. Not a biscuit I'd recommend, maybe stick to plain old Toffee Crisp ones.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Today's Review: Asda Lobster & Pink Champagne Crisps

More Christmas crisps, but this time I looked to the shelves of Asda, and left with this decidedly pink bag, sporting a lobster and pink champagne flavour. Now, I must admit I've never had lobster, and I'm not too sure if lobster and pink champagne is even a good combination, but I figured I could still make a judgement on whether this is a nice tasting bag.

These have a pretty good flavour, a nice hint of fishiness, combined with a good substantial meaty texture. So the lobster seems pretty well represented, and it's very tasty. As for the champagne, I can't say it's all that noticeable. There's a slight fizziness, which isn't a particularly nice addition, and there seems to be an extra layer of flavour, but it's not particularly champagne-like. I feel just the lobster would have been enough, but in trying to make it a bit more festive and fancy they've compromised the flavour. Still, this isn't a bad bag of crisps, it just only delivers on half of what it promises.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 21 November 2016

Today's Review: Pringles Xmas Turkey

Pringles released a Christmas flavour last year that I couldn't find anywhere. Thankfully I've had some Pigs in Blankets crisps this year, although I've neglected to review them so far. Today I'll focus on the other Christmas variety they've brought out this year, which I've been much more fortunate in tracking down. These are, quite simply, turkey flavoured Pringles, under the nonsensical banner catchphrase "Merry Pringles".

You know, sometimes simpler is better, and I believe that's the case here. These Pringles taste pretty good. Clearly it's not as authentic as shoving some roast turkey in your mouth, but these have a great meaty flavour that is reminiscent of the bird in question, with a few herby bits thrown in for good measure. There's even a nice little hint of gravy to round it off. Obviously a lot of those flavours are artificial, so these aren't perfect, but there's some chicken fat and "turkey powder" in there (turkey powder sounds wonderful, doesn't it?), so the meaty elements are pretty nicely represented, and it shows in the taste. A nice, seasonal tube of Pringles.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 20 November 2016

Today's Review: Emoji Gummy Sweets

Hey guys, do you like Emojis?! Do you ever put a fun picture on the end of your message and think "You know, I'd really like to eat that right now"? Well, finally your dreams have come true, because all your favourite Emojis are now available in the form of gummy sweets! Well, five of them, and they're probably not all your favourite. Most of them are faces.

Yes, four different kinds of shallowly stamped yellow faces, and a poo for good measure (there were only two poos in my pack though). As far as I can tell, each face design has a different flavour, at least there are five flavours listed on the back. The poo tastes a bit like cola, but I really couldn't really match up the faces with the flavours because all I was getting was "mildly fruit-like". There's some noticeable difference in taste, but it's just the difference between one artificial flavour and another. What's better is that these are less like gummy sweets and more like some chewier form of jelly bean. They got stuck in my teeth a lot, which is great, because I could enjoy the sub-par taste even more as I awkwardly angled my tongue to pry the pieces out. Don't eat Emojis, guys. No one loves Emojis this much.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday 19 November 2016

Today's Review: Caffè Nero Spiced Orange Latte

I don't normally visit Caffè Nero, but I found myself there the other day, and figured I'd take my pick from one of their festive offerings. The nice thing about these guys is that you can have each flavour as either a hot chocolate or latte, which is a nice change from the set in stone separation that you'd find at Costa. I went for the spiced orange, because it seemed a little different, and in the form of a latte, because apparently I need coffee to function like a regular human being.

I'm assuming all that's in the coffee itself is some orange syrup, because it seems the "spiced" part comes from the cinnamon they dumped on top. Now, don't get me wrong, I've had misgivings with cinnamon in the past, but it's something I quite enjoy now, just not in this quantity. I tried to go the route of sipping this thing without first stirring in the cream, and got an unpleasant mouthful of powder, so mixing it all up is pretty much essential. Even then, this isn't a particularly great cup. The cinnamon is authentic at least, but there's just too much, while the orange syrup isn't a particularly great match for a latte. There's a certain amount of fruitiness, but it's overshadowed by everything else and overall it's not a great combination or balance of flavours. There are worse things than orange coffee, and this isn't completely awful, but it's probably the worst festive drink I've tried so far this year.

My rating: 2/5