Monday 31 October 2016

Today's Review: Blind Pig Bourbon & Blueberry Cider

There's an interesting new range of cider out, incorporating different fruits and spirits, under the name of Blind Pig. I saw these in Tesco, on the 3 for £5 offer, and there were three flavours, it was like destiny. The one that interested me the most was this bourbon and blueberry concoction, so bottoms up and all that.

This is good stuff, I didn't much doubt that as soon as I saw it. It could have gone bad, I suppose, but it's tasty. The blueberry is a nice sweet flavour, while the bourbon provides a more bitter note that packs a little bit of a kick. It's not the best quality bourbon, sure, and the bitterness wins out a little, but the different flavours incorporated with the cider makes for quite a refreshing drink, with a nice edge to it. It's a cider with a difference.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 30 October 2016

Today's Review: Maoam Fizzingz Pinballs

Damn, Haribo are really churning out the flavours lately. They're not skipping over Maoam either, as I found this bag of "fizzingz" Pinballs in Tesco today. Why there needs to be an extra "z" in "fizzing", I don't know, maybe it makes it sound edgy. But these are basically fizzy Pinballs. Now, Pinballs are great just as they are, so I was interested to see what this bag would bring to the table.

It's important to note that "fizzingz" doesn't equate to sour. Sour Maoams have been around for a while now, and they're pretty good, but these ones have gone for a different approach. They have the distinct sugary coating you would see on a regular sour sweet, but this stuff is more like sherbet powder, and it's similar in taste to that you'd find in Refreshers bars or sweets. It makes for an interesting addition to the exterior of the Pinball, but while there is a nice fizzy sensation at first, it doesn't last for all that long. There must be something about it though, because the interior of the Pinball is quite different as well. The original ones are very chewy, to the point where I've had jaw ache getting through a bag before. These ones have a harder consistency, but it's also quite... I'll say crumbly? They don't last as long as the regular Pinballs, and they have a somewhat gritty texture, which makes them seem overly sweet. The fizziness persists a little inside, so maybe that's brought about the change, so it's not all bad, but I can't say I prefer these over the originals. This is a good attempt at trying something new, but they don't really stand out for me.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 29 October 2016

Today's Review: Kingsmill Mixed Berry Toasties

Breakfast is a good time for baked goods. There's the classic toast, the bagel, the waffle, even the English muffin. But apparently there aren't enough options, because Kingsmill have brought out a range of "Toasties", flavoured bread products designed for chucking in the toaster during the morning rush. I've just read the press release on these, which says this release will remind people that bakery items at breakfast "can be both exciting and delicious" Toasties come in mixed berry, cinnamon & raisin and honey, oat and red berry.

Wow, I'm excited. Well, actually, I was a little, to be fair. Bread is a bit of a soft spot for me, especially toasted. These Toasties are comprised of a soft dough, with a fairly generous amount of berries scattered throughout. Basically, you just pop it in the toaster and eat it, which is great for when you're in a rush. The only thing is, the dough isn't fantastic. It's nice and soft, but even with the berries throughout it does become a bit dry. I don't know if you're meant to apply butter, but I couldn't see anywhere to do so that wouldn't result in me getting covered in butter when I ate it. It's also a bit bland. There are a fair amount of berries in here, but they're not exactly bursting with juice. They provide some respite from the pure dough, just not enough. Still, they taste alright, the softness of the dough is nice, it's just they end up being a little stodgy. These things aren't going to revolutionise breakfast, they're just an average alternative.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 28 October 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Snow Balls

Cadbury are branching out lately, changing up their seasonal treats to suit a wide range of occasions. First we had Wini Eggs, then Ghooost Eggs, and now Egg 'n' Spoons have been tailored to fit the festive season, in the form of these Snow Balls. It's the same kind of formula as the Egg 'n' Spoon, a Cadbury chocolate ball filled with vanilla mousse.

This one seems to be victim to the old Cadbury shrink ray. The change in shape allows for less chocolate overall, but these are still the same price as the Egg 'n' Spoon. The filling is still the same, and it's good, nice and smooth with a bold vanilla taste. The chocolate part is good, it's Dairy Milk so it's nice and creamy, although it does seem a bit thinner than the Egg 'n' Spoons. It might just be the shape, I don't know, all I know is I feel a bit cheated. These are nice enough, another version of a winning formul, but you seem to be getting quite a bit less for the same amount of money. Where's your Christmas spirit, guys?

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 27 October 2016

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Chef's Signature Burrata Mozzarella & Sweet Chilli Jam

The Chef's Signature range launched last year, and while it promised some good quality, fancy flavour, I didn't think all that much of them. I've been waiting for a new flavour to drop for a while, and when I spied this one the other day I thought it was mightily promising. Chilli jam is a winner as far as I'm concerned, and there's some mozzarella in here too, what could go wrong?

These crisps are good quality, just like Kettle Chips are known for. They have a decent crunch, and there's a decent amount of flavouring thrown in there. The chilli jam is very bold, and very well done. It has equal amounts of sweetness and spice, and I could even detect a slight stickiness in the texture. The mozzarella, unfortunately, isn't as well represented. There's a hint of cheesiness, but the jam overwhelms it most of the time. Now that that's awful, the jam is good, but if you're coming for the mozzarella you may be a little disappointed. Still, these are some good sweet, spicy crisps with a fairly nice cheesy undertone. A good addition to an otherwise fairly average range.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Minions Featuring Banana & Ice Cream

Haribo Minions have been a thing for a while now, and they've gone through a few iterations. The inclusion of purple minions a couple of years back was pretty good, but now they've added the very Minion themed flavour of banana, as well as tossing in some ice cream flavoured foam backing for good measure. Now, I'm not sure exactly which flavours the original Minions were meant to be, but this bag has a nice list of which flavour's which on the back, a trend that I've quite enjoyed on recent Haribo bags. Aside from banana, there's also apple, cherry, raspberry and blueberry.

I'm not sure if having the flavours spelled out for me helped all that much. I guess it gave me an idea of what flavour I'm looking out for, but a lot of these don't really have that authentic a flavour. The banana is certainly noticeable, and the apple is actually very nice, with a slight tang to it. The others seem a little generic, not particularly bad, they just taste fruit flavoured rather than a specific fruit. The ice cream backing is alright, I can see where they're coming from, and it's somewhat sweet and creamy, but I wouldn't say it particularly tastes like ice cream. Overall I'd say this is a pretty average bag, some flavours are bland, some are good, but they don't beat the varieties being churned out for the Starmix bags lately.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Today's Review: Choccers

That's right, Choccers, ain't you heard of Choccers before? Well, I certainly hadn't, until I laid my eyes upon this questionably designed bag in Poundworld. They're knock off M&Ms basically, and I don't know where to start, even before I've opened the bag. The off kilter name, all in lower case? The mountains of half eaten candies, emphasising the fact that these contain chocolate, despite being called "choccers" and having "chocolate" written in the top corner? I think I'll talk about the obvious, which is the anthropomorphic "choccers", clad in sneakers for some reason, with what I assume would be happy faces if they hadn't each had a bite taken out of them. Instead their faces are fixed in abject horror, their mouths and eyeballs contorted in all directions due to the brain trauma they have clearly sustained from being eaten alive. If that doesn't make you want to eat some cheap M&Ms, nothing will.

As the old saying says, you should never judge a bag of chocolate by its cover, so these could be fantastic. Well, they're not. I mean, they start off promising enough, the shell has a nice little crunch to it. It's just a shame it gives way to some low quality chocolate that almost crumbles in the mouth, leaving a gritty, sugary texture with a funny aftertaste. These things are not good. I don't even understand the need to create a cheaper version of M&Ms, when you can buy the real thing for £1 often enough. Choccers? More like shockers, am I right?

My rating: 1/5

Monday 24 October 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Starmixmas

The folks at Haribo sure have been busy this year. They've brought out two new Frenzy mixes, two Halloween themed bags, and now they've revamped Starmix for a third time with this Christmas edition that I found in Poundland. This one boasts some festive flavours, which I guess are easier to think of than the "horror flavours" that came in the Scaremix. This bag features eggnog flavoured eggs, gingerbread gummy bears, rings that emulate cherry crumble and apple strudel with custard, apple strudel bottles and cherry trifle hearts. That's an impressive range of complicated flavours, I was very interested to see how they'd pull this off.

You know what, I think they've done it again. These taste pretty much like what they say on the bag. The eggs taste eggy, with a hint of nutmeg, and the gingerbread bears are actually spot on. I didn't think I'd enjoy a ginger flavoured sweet, but these are great. As for the other desserts, the apple strudle is fantastic, a lovely fruity flavour with a hint of cinnamon, and while it tastes like both varieties have a bit of custard thrown in, it tastes pretty good. The cherry ones are good too, with the foam backing of the hearts adding a bit more of that custard flavouring. This is a great range of new Starmix flavours, with a definite winter feeling. Another hit Haribo bag to see out the year.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 23 October 2016

Today's Review: Butterkist Choc Mallow Popcorn

Here's the other new flavour of Butterkist I was sent to try out, and after the coconut & raspberry that I found pretty okay yesterday, I had higher hopes for this one. It does what is says on the bag, it's popcorn with a chocolate and marshmallow flavour toffee coating. It has some cocoa powder in it, so hopefully that would lend some authenticity to it.

The first thing I noticed when biting into these was the marshmallow flavour, it's quite intense, and not bad at all. It's got a sort of toasted edge to it, and while it's not as good as proper, chewy marshmallow, the flavouring is fairly accurate. I would have been nice to have the texture in there as well though. The chocolate is less pronounced, but as I made my way through the bag it became a more predominant flavour. It's a good combination, two sweet flavours interspersed with a soft, chewy popcorn, this stuff does taste like chocolate and marshmallows. Not entirely authentic, but this is a good effort at a unique bag of popcorn, and it's well worth picking up while it's around.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 22 October 2016

Today's Review: Butterkist Coconut & Raspberry Popcorn

There are two new Butterkist flavours out now, which is always a reason to celebrate. I figured them coming out at this time of year would mean they're seasonal, but they don't seem to be thematic in nature. I was sent a bag of each to try out, and here's the first one (the other one is choc mallow, I thought I'd save the best sounding 'til last). Yes, while other popcorn companies have been exploring the savoury flavours, Butterkist are still working on the sweet ones (although their pulled pork was pretty great). I love raspberry, and I've grown quite fond of coconut recently, so a combination of the two sounded good to me. 

It says coconut & raspberry on the bag, but I really couldn't detect much coconut. Normally I'd consider this a good thing, too much coconut can really ruin a snack, but I was expecting a bit more than the fleeting coconut moments I got, the flavouring is pretty diminished. The raspberry element is much more noticeable, and actually pretty pleasant, a nice, slightly tangy, fruity taste that works well with the texture of the popcorn. Note it's a raspberry & coconut flavoured toffee on these kernels, so it's not going to be as great as popcorn embedded with real fruit pieces, but it holds up well enough. It's just a shame the coconut is so weak, if this were just a raspberry popcorn I might score it higher, but it doesn't really deliver on half the name. It's not a bad popcorn, but it could be a lot better.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 21 October 2016

Today's Review: Walkers Stax Paprika

Crisps in a tube, what do you think of? The correct answer is Pringles, as Pringles is the only answer. Others have tried and failed, Pringles reign supreme, but that doesn't mean Walkers isn't going to have a go at it. So here we have Stax, Walkers crisps in a tube. I'm guessing they're a limited edition for Christmas, although I found them in the regular crisp aisle. I chose the paprika flavour, because they only ever seem to release new kinds of crisps in ready salted, some form of cheese/sour cream & onion, and spicy, and the spice would win for me every time. 

These look a little... misshapen? I'm going to compare them directly to Pringles, I don't think that's unfair, they're the standard all tube based crisps will be measured by. In comparison, the Stax are slightly thicker, which leads to more crunch than Pringles. They're also flatter, which I think loses them points against the other guys. Sure, they still fit on your tongue in the traditional way, but I sometimes like to flip Pringles upside down and place them horizontally along my tongue, it provides a satisfying hit of flavour (you know what I'm talking about, right?) Doing that with the Stax doesn't yield great results, it seems a lot of the flavouring is concentrated on just the one side. It's a minor complaint really, but it's one that makes me side with the Pringles. In all honesty though, these aren't bad, they're just nothing special. They taste kind of nice, not particularly spicy, but there's some good peppery flavouring in there, could do with a bit more though. I had no problem eating quite a few of these, but I must admit the whole time I was longing for Pringles. They're just better, and these don't stack up. Ha, get it? Stack? Stax? Okay, I'll leave now.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 20 October 2016

Today's Review: Drumstick Squashies Creepy Orange & Blackcurrant

I've been impressed with the new flavoured Halloween stuff that's come out this year. Haribo released a new version of Starmix, and now Drumstick Squashies are getting involved, churning out this "creepy" bag of orange and blackcurrant sweets. It sounds like a bit of an odd combination, I would say it's because they needed the colours, but I wouldn't say I consider orange and purple to be entirely horrifying. Maybe I should stop pondering why they are the way they are, and instead talk about how they taste.

The first thing I noticed is that these are significantly less "squashy" than the original Squashies, at least at first. They're pretty firm, but that's not really a bad thing, and these soon give way to a nice chewy, fruity sweet as soon as you start chewing. Both the fruit flavours are accurately represented, there's a bit of bold blackcurrant goodness, with a nice citrus undertone. I didn't think the two fruits together would work all that well, but I was pretty impressed. I'd put these on par with the original bag, they're pretty fantastic, and it's a shame they're only going to be around for the next couple of weeks. Grab them while you can.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Today's Review: Sweetly American Candy Box - October

If you don't know me by now, I'll tell you that I love me some American candy. Well, actually, I love pretty much all candy, as well as most food, but I always enjoy trying out stuff from across the Atlantic that just doesn't exist here. The situation has gotten much better over the last few years, many shops are stocking American products, but it only scratches the surface of what's on offer over there. Online import stores have a bigger range, but that can get pretty pricey pretty quickly, so what's a man to do? Well, thankfully I received an email from the guys at Sweetly, a new American candy subscription box service, who offered to send me a box of sweets to try out. That's not an opportunity I'll ever turn down, so soon enough this box of goodies was delivered.

It's a relatively small box, but it's quite rammed with a lot of stuff. If you sign up to the service, a box is sent out each month, with a promise of between 12-14 items, five of which are "premium". I guess that means "normally pretty expensive", I know some of this stuff can be a bit hard to get hold of. Let's see what we've got packed into this box.

To be perfectly honest, I've tried quite a few of these before, but I've been an avid snack hunter for a good few years now, so it didn't surprise me. As a starter box, this is a very nice selection. There are all time classics, such as the Twinkie and Moon Pie and Nerds, and the Butterfinger is one of my go to American candy bars, so good. There's stuff I've seen before in Cyber Candy, but didn't really want to pay the inflated price for, such as the Mallow Cups and the Watchamacallit (not pictured, I found it hiding in the box after I'd tucked into a couple of these). There's even stuff I've never heard of before, like the Gummibursts and the U-No bar, so expect a review of those individually in coming days. The can of Gatorade was a nice touch as well, I'm looking forward to seeing which other sodas might make an appearance. 

All in all, this box was very impressive. It's a great mixture of the familiar and the new (to me anyway), and it's all tasty stuff. There's a nice variety of both chocolate and sweet products, and I think the Kool-Aid is a fantastic touch, I'm making my way through the jugful that provides at the moment. This is what October's box looked like, but sadly the ship has sailed on this one, and orders are now being taken for November's offering. If it's anything like this selection, I'd be happy, and I'm quite tempted to give it a go myself. This looks like a great service for those who love American candy, and especially for those who like a surprise as well. 

My rating: 5/5

If you'd like to give Sweetly a try, head on over to the site. There are three subscription options available, with varying prices depending on how long you sign up for. A one off box will set you back £16.99, while a 6 month plan will cost you £13.99 a month. It may sound a little steep, but I can tell you that whenever I visited Cyber Candy on a trip to London, I easily spent £12 on an average of five or six items, so this is actually a good deal. If you're still not entirely convinced, the Sweetly guys have given me a discount code to share with you, which will knock 10% off your first order. Just use the code AREVIEWADAY10 at the checkout, and you could get your boxes for as little as £12.60 each on a 6 month plan, that sounds good to me. Happy snacking!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Today's Review: KFC Original Recipe Stacker

I tend to make a visit to KFC whenever a new promo burger comes out, although the last one was a little disappointing, basically a smaller version of the previously released Zinger Stacker. This new one follows the winning formula of the Stacker, but uses original recipe chicken instead of the Zinger fillets. It definitely looks stacked in that picture there. This burger consists of two original recipe fillets with cheese and lettuce, covered in both barbecue sauce and new baconnaise sauce.

Yeah, baconnaise, I guess that was the selling point for me. Some may say instead of baconnaise, why not just have bacon and mayo, but I was intrigued to find out what it would taste like. Quite simply, this is a great burger. I really loved the Zinger Stacker because it packed a substantial amount of chicken into the bun and layered on some great sauces, and this one is no different. The stacked chicken made it difficult to fit into my mouth at times, which to me is a sign of a good burger. The barbecue sauce is a great addition, but we all know barbecue sauce and chicken is a magic combination. The main thing is that there's a definite bacon taste present here, despite there being no bacon, so the baconnaise really does a good job. It's creamy and meaty, and just works really well with the chicken. This is another great stacked burger from KFC, I hope they continue this trend in some way, could this be the next step towards getting the Double Down released over here...?

My rating: 5/5

Monday 17 October 2016

Today's Review: Passion Fruit Fanta

It seems we have quite a limited range of Fanta flavours compared to other places, or maybe we all just have different flavours. I was pretty pleased to find this passion fruit flavoured Fanta in Portugal, I do love a passion fruit flavoured drink. I know it's one of the fruits present in the Fruit Twist variety, but I can't say I can detect it that much among all the others. I thought it would be good to see what a solely passion fruit Fanta tastes like.

The answer is that it tastes pretty great. I've had mixed experiences with foreign Fanta flavours before, from abysmal apple to mediocre mango, but this one fares better than the other two. It's a very bold and sweet flavour, perhaps a little too much, but seeing as it's passion fruit it actually works quite well, the fruit itself definitely doesn't pull any punches in terms of flavour. It's a pretty authentic taste, which I guess makes sense seeing as it's 9% passion fruit juice, and while it is a little syrupy, I can't complain too much about this. It's refreshing, tasty, and has a totally tropical taste. Oops, wrong drink.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 16 October 2016

Today's Review: Maxibon Pops

I have returned from my time in the sun, hooray, back to chilly England! My snack hunting didn't stop on holiday though, although it was slightly diminished due to my laziness. If there's one thing I look for on a European holiday, however, it's a Maxibon product, and there happened to be one on sale at the bar by the pool, so I didn't have to go very far. These are Maxibon Pops, small ice cream pieces coated in chocolate and crunchy stuff.

I must admit I blindly followed my love of Maxibon with this one, even looking at the picture on the tub you can tell it's not the same as the fantastic ice cream sandwich, there's not a soft cookie to be seen. Indeed, these are just vanilla ice cream with a chocolate coating, embedded with crunchy pieces, and I've got to say they're bland. The ice cream isn't really anything to write home about, and that seems to be the main feature here. They did the trick for a quick afternoon snack, but I'd never buy them again, not when there are proper Maxibons on offer with their fantastic cookie half. These are not worthy of the Maxibon name.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 15 October 2016

Today's Review: Vimto Double Spray

The Vimto candy range seems to be ever expanding, I'm not sure how many forms sweets can take, but I'm sure Vimto have tried most of them. It looks like they've exhausted all the ones that you need to chew, so they've just moved onto putting their sweets in aerosol form. This is a candy spray that comes in both original and cherry flavours.

This stuff says it's candy, but it's more similar in consistency to the Vimto drinks. It's not particularly strong, and it's more liquid like than syrupy, which means it's not sickly, but it's not that great either. The original Vimto tastes a bit like original Vimto, and the cherry has a slightly fruitier flavour to it, but squirting this stuff on your tongue doesn't make for a fantastic experience. It's a quick hit of fruity flavour, and you can mix it up and squirt both at once if that takes your fancy, but overall it's just pretty bland. I think in the future I'll go for the sweets I can chew on.

My rating: 2/5

Friday 14 October 2016

Today's Review: Dream Pretzels Pressels

This is an interesting little bag of baked goods. New, fresh varieties of crisps have been popping up all over the place, but pretzels have been around for ages. So here we have Pressels, which are like pretzels, but in the shape of tiny, flat bagels. Confusing, I know, but they are, in essence, still pretzels.

These taste pretty good, the salt is bold and layered on pretty thick, but that's how a pretzel should be. They have a great crunch, and pack a lot of flavour, there are some good quality ingredients put into these. They're not perfect though, they're pretty small, so it takes a small handful to get anything substantial. Even then, they're pretty dry, but I guess that's a problem with salted pretzels in general. It's a good effort to make a pretzel snack that's a little different, but it falls a bit flat. The Pressels are making me thirsty!

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 13 October 2016

Today's Review: Pop Works Peanut Butter & Caramel Popcorn

I know, I know, it's the third Pop Works flavour in a row, but I'm not even in the country right now, so you're at the mercy of my scheduling. I've saved the best 'til last, at least in terms of the excitement I felt when I grabbed it off the shelf. This isn't the first peanut butter popcorn that's come out, Propercorn do a pretty good peanut and almond. But this one promises peanut butter and caramel together, which sounded quite heavenly.

The predominant flavour here is the caramel, which is a bit of a shame, but it's not so bad. It's some good caramel, and the salt that's thrown into the mix blends in very well to create a salted caramel experience. The peanut butter is not that noticeable at first, but it does build up while eating and ends up as a lovely, nutty undertone that really rounds off the flavour. It would be nice if there was more peanut butter involved, but this is a good bag of popcorn that's quite different from anything else. Well worth picking up.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Today's Review: Pop Works Sticky Toffee Pudding Popcorn

There's a new popcorn brand in town, as if there weren't enough already. I'm not mad though, I like popcorn, and Pop Works seem to have a nice selection of interesting flavours that will hopefully shake things up a little. Sticky toffee pudding seems to be their least ambitious, so I figured I'd try it out first to see how good their popcorn is in general.

I like it, this is some nice popcorn with a good crunch to it. There were a few unpopped kernels along the way, but overall it's a pretty good experience. The toffee flavour is very sweet, although a little dark, it's not the kind of toffee you'd find in Butterkist, and does seem to replicate the pudding more than just regular toffee. It's probably just personal preference, but I think I prefer the lighter version, although there's no doubt that this sweet toffee flavouring is pretty good, and the molasses in the ingredients is a good indication that this is good quality stuff. Pop Works have managed to bring out a good, old fashioned flavour with a nice little twist, I look forward to seeing what else they've got.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Today's Review: Pop Works Apple Pie Popcorn

I'm back with another Pop Works flavour, this time I'm tackling the apple pie variety. I can't say I've really tried apple popcorn before, let alone one that tries to fulfill the pie element as well, but I had faith that this could be pretty good.

Wow, these taste like apples, that's for sure. It's a very bold, fruit flavour with a great sharpness to it, and depending on how much flavouring is caked on the kernels, it can be couple with a satisfying crunch that adds to that apple experience. As for the pie, I wouldn't say it taste a whole lot like pastry, but there's some cinnamon thrown in here that's pretty noticeable, and adds a nice warming spice to the overall flavour, toning down the sweetness of the apple and evening it all out to a pretty fantastic popcorn. I'm not sure how I'd feel about this stuff tasting like an entire pie, but I really liked this stuff, it's a successful attempt at an interesting flavour.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 10 October 2016

Today's Review: Lilley's Mango Cider

There's a cider shop fairly local to me that I've neglected to pop into since it opened. That seems quite out of character for someone like me who's always looking for quirky new food and drinks, so I popped in there the other day and emerged, victorious, with this mango cider. Mango is fast becoming a favourite flavour for me, and to have it in cider form was too good an opportunity to pass up. 

This is pretty dangerous stuff. For a cider, I'm not sure I detected much alcohol at all. Instead I was presented with a clean, crisp, mango flavoured drink that isn't too heavy on the flavouring. I was expecting something a lot more syrupy, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easily this stuff went down, I had to stop myself glugging it like a bottle of juice more than once. It's not the most alcohol content you'll get in a cider, but it's covered up very well anyway, and this is a drink that is more than welcome to a spot in my fridge.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 9 October 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Tangfastricks

Turns out this Halloween we have not one, but two new Haribo bags to get through. I tackled the interestingly flavoured Scaremix yesterday, but this one is a different offering entirely. These Tangfastricks have the same flavours as the original bag, but with a devious twist. Some are super sour, and some are spicy. It's a great idea, I couldn't wait to be caught out with a chilli cherry, and I was looking forward to see how sour these sweets could get.

I don't know if it was a psychological effect, they got their chemical composition wrong, or I just got a dodgy bag, but any deviation from the original flavouring just seemed to start burning my tongue. There were some of these that were spicier than others, that definitely belonged in the hot category, but others were less fiery, which I suspect might have been the super sour, except they weren't super sour. All I really got from this bag was several waves of somewhat unpleasant heat. I know that it says some are hot on the bag, and these spicy ones are definitely not bad compared to other chilli sweets I've eaten, but there was just too much heat and not enough of the other stuff. I'd avoid this bag, it's more trick than treat.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 8 October 2016

Today's Review: Haribo Scaremix

Even after releasing another differently flavoured bag of Starmix mere months ago, Haribo have brought out a Halloween themed bag that gives their classic sweets some "spooky" flavours. I'm not sure what counts as a spooky flavour, but they've got some blood orange in the cola bottle, bears and rings, so that's something. There's a seasonal offering in the toffee apple eggs, and there are also other horrifying flavours such as *gasp* blackcurrant, and *shriek!* cherry! There's also some blueberry chucked into one of the ring varieties, I know a guy who would absolutely class blueberry as terrifying, so I guess that's something. But enough about trying to attribute horror to fruit, how do these things taste?

These are pretty great actually, every sweet tastes like it says on the back. The lime bears especially are pretty authentic, while the blood orange provides a nice, dark, citrus taste. Blackcurrant and cherry are faithfully represented, and while the toffee apple eggs taste a little weird to start with, they're a nice addition that injects a bit of autumn goodness into the bag. The hearts, my favourite Starmix sweet, have a pretty wacky combination of blackcurrant and bubblegum, which is actually very tasty, not as good as the original, but a very interesting change. I can't really fault these sweets, there's a good combination of a lot of interesting fruity flavours, and it's pulled off very well. Definitely a new favourite Halloween release of mine.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 7 October 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Ghooost Egg

Halloween has rolled round again, and despite the Christmas stuff lining the shelves since the beginning of September, it seems the spooky stuff is only just starting to come out. Thankfully there are a few interesting products making their debut this year, and this looked like one of them. The last couple of year's we've had Screme Eggs, with their distinct green fondant, and now we have Ghooost Eggs. A terrible effort pun-wise compared to the other ones, but I was hoping it indicated a difference in what's in the wrapper.

Of course, it didn't. This is a Creme Egg. Actually, it's worse than a Creme Egg, because the stuff inside is just white, there's no yellow fondant in sight. Fitting with the ghost theme, sure, but it's quite a cop out. To make matters worse, it turns out there are a few out there that do have yolks, and finding one means you've won a family ticket to Alton Towers. So they've removed a key feature of the Creme Egg, and left some in as a prize winning gimmick. I mean, I might be making too big a deal out of this, the yellow and white fondant are pretty indistinguishable anyway, but this is pretty unoriginal compared to the Screme Eggs. We're just left with an egg with less features than the original, and since they've changed the chocolate they're not that great anyway. Poor effort, guys.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 6 October 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Spicy Thai Sweet Chilli Crisps

More crisps from Tesco, they really can't get enough of these new flavours these days. This time they're tackling the thai sweet chilli, something Asda has already done, but which paled in comparison to the mighty Walkers Sensations. I figured I'd see what Tesco's take on it is, I had some faith that maybe these could be as good.

The texture of these is a pretty good start, there's a nice crunch to them, and they're some nice, sizeable crisps. They definitely have a sweet element to them, but the spice is quite dull in comparison. There's something there, but it's really not enough to call these "spicy". It's not a bad flavour overall, there may be too much sweet in these, but it's not completely overwhelming. This isn't a great bag of crisps, but they're certainly edible. They're just very lacking in spice.

My rating: 3/5 

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Today's Review: Starbucks Citrus Mint Green Tea Latte

Alongside the Teavana range that I reviewed yesterday, there are a couple of tea lattes gracing the menu, that I was invited to try out the other day. There's a chai tea latte on offer, which is much like a chai latte, but a little more tea like, it's nice, but nothing extraordinary. The other latte, however, is an interesting combination of green tea and mint with a citrus twist.

Now, I never considered myself a fan of green tea, and just a couple of weeks ago I was saying how mint flavoured drinks should not be a thing, so by all means I should not have enjoyed this drink. In reality though, it's damn good. It has a nice thickness to it provided by the steamed milk, and the flavours in the tea and syrup seep through really well. The green tea provides a nice clean flavour base, which the mint then builds upon with a hint of freshness that doesn't overwhelm the rest of the drink. It's subtle, and blends in nicely with the tea, perhaps if it were just mint in the syrup I would have thought differently, but the citrus twist really makes this. There's a bold lemon taste throughout that really brings everything together, and there's a sprinkling of lemon essence on top to bring out more citrus notes. The separate elements didn't sound great to me, but they make a great combination, providing a fresh, filling and all round tasty latte. This is one of my new favourites for the season, that is until the red cups come around...

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Today's Review: Starbucks Teavana Range

I was invited to the Starbucks store in Wardour Street last night to sample their new Teavana range that is launching this week. There are a whopping ten varieties available, on top of some interesting new tea lattes, but I'll go over them later. For now I'll focus on these wonderfully presented bowls of tea leaves, which come in a nice mix of flavours.

Now, I'm not tea expert, but thankfully there was one on hand to explain the processes of tea to me. I didn't take any notes because at heart I'm unprofessional, but I think I can remember the gist. Tea leaves are picked from the same plant, with each "leaf" consisting of a bud and two young leaves. Depending on how the leaves are processed, you can end up with a lovely selection of different teas. The youthberry shown above is a white tea mixed with acai and pineapple. This is good stuff, the tea is quite subtle, while the fruity notes develop quite nicely, and they're all pretty easily noticeable. It's refreshing and fruity, with a lovely bold red colour, and definitely was my cup of tea.

The jasmine pearls create a pretty fresh green tea, leaves bundled up and wrapped in jasmine that give it a nice aromatic taste. I can't say I've ever considered myself a fan of green tea, and this one didn't particularly rock my world, but it's a nicely brewed tea with some fresh, clean flavours.

I didn't quite get to try out the whole range, but what I did taste was pretty good, certainly better than the tea bags I've dabbled in at home. There are some great looking ones on offer, from a classic English breakfast to a chai tea, so there's probably a bit of something for everyone. Unless you don't like tea, in which case I'd probably say you haven't met the right tea yet. The range is on sale now, so you can pick up a box of whatever tickles your fancy. Tune in tomorrow, when I'll be going over the tea lattes.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 3 October 2016

Today's Review: Poundland Peach Rings

As far as sweets go, you can't really go wrong with Poundland. Their Haribo selection is very respectable, they have a nice selection of American candy, and they also have big, generically labelled bags of other sweets, like these here peach rings. It's my firm belief that the Lidl peach rings are the best, but to be fair they're the only other ones I've really tried, so I needed to try these to get a proper opinion.

These could be exactly the same as the Lidl ones actually, it's been a while since I had them, and these look pretty much like the same one repackaged in a clear bag. They're pretty good though. They taste like peach, with a nice squishy underbelly and a pleasant sugary topping. A good amount of chewiness that lets the flavour seep out, although after a few chews the taste does become a little too artificial. It's not a big problem though, as the fruitiness does stick around, just less dominant then before. They're good peach rings, they're rings and they taste like peach, can't ask for much more than that. You get a fair amount in the bag too, so good going Poundland.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 2 October 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Beef Steak & Spiced Mustard Crisps

It's time for another new flavour of crisps, Tesco seem to be churning them out like nobody's business nowadays. These ones didn't exactly tickle my fancy, as they feature both meat and mustard, which I don't believe translate well into crisp form. But, for science, I figured I'd give them a go. After all, they might surprise me, or better yet, give me some ranting material for a negative review.

Well, they're better than I thought they'd be, but I didn't think they'd be all that good. The steak is quite nicely done, a meaty undertone that has an element of juiciness, it tastes like steak, but not so much that you'll be mistaking it for a T-bone on a plate. It tastes good while eating, but leaves behind that strange meaty crisp aftertaste. As for the mustard, I was hoping it wouldn't blow my head off with unpleasant spice, and it didn't really. It is quite intense, at times taking over the whole flavour, but there are some other spices thrown in that make it a lot better than just straight mustard. But while these aren't as bad as I thought. they're not fantastic. I enjoyed the experience somewhat while eating, but I don't think I'll pick these up again.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 1 October 2016

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Blueberry Pie

Dunkin' have another new range out to round off the summer, three new pie themed varieties. There's the classic apple, and the more American style blueberry and pecan. I can't resist a bit of blueberry, so that's the one I snapped up. It consists of an iced donut with blueberry filling, topped with blueberry swirl and some crumbly pie bits.

The blueberry filling is the main attraction, and thankfully there's a lot of it. It's somewhat dark and very sweet, definitely with a blueberry flavour, although it is perhaps a little too artificially sweet. I guess that's how American blueberry filling would taste, and it's alright, but it could be better. One other thing I would say is that the crumb on top, while adding a bit of extra texture, isn't all that noticeable alongside the filling, so this is less of a blueberry pie and more of a straight blueberry donut. It's not bad, but it's not one I'd rate alongside the classics. Perhaps I'll give the others a try.

My rating: 3/5