Wednesday 26 September 2018

Today's Review: A Review A Day

Well, this is awkward. For a blog named "A Review A Day" there seems to be a significant amount of days now without a review. I'll preface this by saying I'm fine, nothing traumatic has occurred to explain my absence. On the flip side, I haven't been off sunning myself in an exotic location either. I'm afraid the reasons for my lapse in reviewing are fairly mundane. Life has simply caught up with me lately.

Those of you who read my reviews daily (there may be a few of you out there) may have noticed over the last month or so that I've had periods of a few days where I've failed to write anything, only to catch up after the fact. Even then, my reviews have been brief, uninteresting, mundane. Simply put, I've been ticking boxes. Phoning it in. 

I started A Review A Day over seven years ago, a young man with a semblance of a dream to become a writer. I worked in Blockbuster at the time, and watched a hell of a lot of movies, alongside my hobby of eating a hell of a lot of food. So I figured the best way to hone my writing chops would be to write a load of reviews, the daily element just clicked one day, and off I went, not knowing that it would lead me on a non-stop seven year reviewing journey. 

I've reviewed through good times and bad. I've lined up a week's worth of reviews to publish autonomously while I've been on holiday. I posted reviews while my baby daughter stayed in the ICU, and once later on while I applied pressure to her almost-severed finger in a hospital waiting room (keep your hands away from doors, kids!) I've written some reviews drunk, some half-asleep, some on trains, some in the middle of nowhere. I've received care packages, interesting products, I've been invited to press events where I didn't feel I belonged. I've been accepted into the fold of snack food bloggers (there's a lot of great ones out there, check them out for all your foodie needs). I've even received fan mail. It's been surreal at times.

At first I was full of ideas, I loved coming up with unique concepts and doing in-depth analyses of mundane things. After a few years I settled pretty wholly into snack foods. They were quick to write and delicious to eat. Well, some of them. But therein lies the problem. Naming the blog "A Review A Day" backed me into a corner from the start, I set myself a deadline out of the gate. Quick, easy reviews were the best way to reaach that deadline, and although I loved hunting down new and interesting foods (and still do), there are only so many ways I can say something is delicious, or disgusting, or somewhere in the middle. I may be consistent, but I'm a little stagnant. 

They say all good things must come to an end. I've contemplated it for a while now, and was waiting for some mind of nice rounding off point. I was hoping to reach my eighth anniversary, or my 3,000th review, but they're still a ways off. But family, career, general life have gotten in the way of me consistently cranking out a review every single day, and finally letting go of that daily deadline has alleviated my overall stress levels. So here I am, signing off. 

Wow, that's a lot of writing there. I'm a modest man, I'd be the first to say I'm not sure anyone will read this, but I know I have some fans out there, and I want to thank you all for accompanying me on this awesome journey. Just know that this is not the end, just the end of A Review A Day. I may yet come back with more reviews in a different form, and hopefully a more creative one. I may establish some other form of blog, I've toyed with a few ideas in the past, and letting go of this may allow me to focus on other projects in the future. Thanks to all my readers, you're all amazing.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 17 September 2018

Today's Review: Cadbury Darkmilk Roasted Almond

Perhaps I should have covered both Darkmilk varieties in the one review, but I have a slightly different opinion of this one. I was going to grab the almond one on its own, but went for both flavours just to get a nice comparison going. While I was blown away by the creamy darkness of the original Darkmilk, the addition of almonds here doesn't add a whole lot. Sure, they taste nice, but it's just a somewhat subdued nut flavour, especially with the chocolate there struggling for dominance. Maybe a different filling would work out better, but I prefer the unadulterated experience of this new dark(ish) chocolate. Worth a try, but grab one without nuts as well.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 16 September 2018

Today's Review: Cadbury Darkmilk

Cadbury have just brought out something a little different, instead of stuffing things into their Dairy Milk, they've gone and released a dark chocolate bar. Not majorly dark, mind you, this isn't a rebranded Bournville. This bar consists of 40% cocoa solids and 14% milk, so there's still a bit of creaminess in there to take the edge off. Dark chocolate has grown on me over the years, so I was hoping this would sit well with me.

Say what you will about Cadbury and their changing recipes, but I still enjoy it. This bar is another great effort, a lovely dark chocolate that is just the right balance of bitter and sweet. It's definitely dark, that's obvious from the first bite, but the milk is there to lay down a nice creamy base and make for a smooth, very chocolatey bar. Yes, I'm sure there'll be much uproar about the size reduction compared to Dairy Milk, but I still enjoyed my experience, and paid less than the retail price, pick it up for £1 in Tesco, it's worth it.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 15 September 2018

Today's Review: Gingerbread Matchmakers

It's September, so you know what that means. Yeah, it's Christmas! So cast aside those "it's too early" naysayers, and check out some of the new stuff starting to fill the shelves. Like these gingerbread Matchmakers. Last year saw the introduction of the excellent salted caramel flavour, so I was worried these wouldn't quite live up to those lofty heights. I was expecting something unpleasantly spicy, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. The ginger is mild, but has a nice impact on the flavour. Creamy chocolate with a nice little hint of spice, that builds up to a nice point but doesn't overwhelm too much. Eating a whole box full would probably get a bit too much (not that I'd know anything about that), but for a little Christmas sharing snack, these are sweet and warming. Not quite as good as the salted caramel, but another great effort.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 14 September 2018

Today's Review: 7 Days Bake Rolls Garlic

Well, that was quick. Yes, I picked up the other variety of Bake Rolls at Poundland, and after the fantastic pizza ones I was looking forward to these, although apprehensive that they'd be a little heavy on the garlic. The good news is they're not, but the bad news is that makes them a little on the bland side. not too much though, these are some lovely crunchy snacks with a nice garlic flavour, it's nice they didn't go overboard, I wouldn't have wanted to walk round with horrible breath all day. So yes, the pizza ones are supreme, but these are pretty good too, just not as flavoursome. Worth hunting down these bags of bagel shaped goodness.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 13 September 2018

Today's Review: 7 Days Bake Rolls Pizza

I've spied these treats in several places, but was always wary to take the plunge, pizza flavoured treats don't normally satisfy me, especially in what looks to be dry bread form. Still, I took the plunge after finding these on offer in Tesco, and I have to say they're absolutely delicious. The bag basically consists of a load of dry, crunchy bread rings, but the flavouring is top notch. You can taste the cheese, you can taste the tomato, there's a hint of herbs in there, these things taste like pizza, they deliver what they promised. I was worried they'd be a bit too dry, and I'd be choking them down like crackers after a few, but I polished off the bag with no worries. These are great, and I'm definitely going to seek out the garlic variety. Grab these bagel-shaped bites when you can.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Today's Review: Primo Magic Croissant

A little pick up from my local Polish store, I was promised magic in the form of a croissant, complete with chocolate, hazelnuts, shoved into a croissant so brown I can only assume it could be classed as triple chocolate. I was excited, despite this being an ambient pacakged croissant, fresh it was not. 

This isn't magic, well, it might be black magic. The croissant is indeed chocolate coated, but that coating is dark and bitter, and gives way to a dry doughy centre with no flavour. The hazelnuts are barely noticeable over that bitter chocolate taste, I had to give up halfway through this and throw it away. It's less a magic croissant, and more a pile of what that chocolate swirl up there looks like.

My rating: 0/5

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Today's Review: Maynards Bassetts Soft Jellies Wild Safari

It's time to go on safari! A soft jelly safari! These are safari themed animal shaped jellies, which are apparently new, but I think they're just another variety of jellies that have already been around a while. Either way, they're basically wine gums without the wine. The texture is a little firmer, but that's pretty good, more chewing means more flavour coming out. They're fairly generic fruity flavours, but there's a lot packed in to each sweet, and I found myself devouring quite a few before I was done. They don't beat wine gums, but they're a good alternative.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 10 September 2018

Today's Review: Durian Chocolate

Hailing from Indonesia, here we have durian chocolate. I knew this would be... interesting straight away, as I've heard durian is something of an acquired taste. Thankfully the chocolate is there to take the edge off, although it's not particularly great chocolate, a little dry and bitter. That's alright though, because when the durian kicks in you'll wish you could go back to disappointing chocolate. It's not an awful taste, it's just very weird, some combination of sweet and savoury, with some aromatic hints thrown in. A very odd flavour, and still a taste I have not acquired. Thankfully the chocolate helps, but I don't think I'd eat any more of these.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday 9 September 2018

Today's Review: Müller Light Banoffee Pie Yogurt

Müller limited edition flavours are something to look forward to, and they've bought into the recent banoffee craze with this Light yogurt offering. There's not too much to say about this, banoffee has been done many times before by many others, and this is a decent effort. The banana is there in full force, but not overwhelming the toffee, which is a smooth, sweet underlayer. It's a good blend, a tasty one, and definitely worth picking up for a mid-morning snack. I would say that the pie element is lost entirely, which I figured would be the case. Why not just call it banoffee flavour? Then I wouldn't expect some pastry flavouring chucked in. So I was a little disappointed, but this is still a pretty tasty yogurt.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 8 September 2018

Today's Review: Yushoi Inclusions Fire Roasted Chipotle

The market seems to be getting saturated with popped snacks these days, I guess everyone's hoping we'll be eschewing the classic crisp for its healthier cousin. As a result, I've met some pretty great flavours, and some that are very underwhelming. Fortunately these fall into the former. These popped chickpea based snacks are from Yushoi, who have already released a few tasty products, and the promise of some spicy chipotle led me to grab this bag, even though I was convinced the spice would be non-existent.

Oh how wrong I was. Not that these are really spicy, but they are very flavoursome, a rich tomato base that has a lovely build up of heat with a smoky flavour, these are just delicious, with the texture of the chickpea based discs providing a lot of surface for the flavouring to sit on, and a great overall taste. These are some fantastic popped treats, and they give me hope that more are on the horizon.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 7 September 2018

Today's Review: Cadbury Oreo Hot Chocolate

I'm pretty sure Cadbury won't rest until they put Oreos in everything, here we have an Oreo version of their got chocolate powder. Add some hot milk, mix it all together and you’ll have yourself Oreo in a cup, or that’s the idea anyway. This stuff isn’t bad, but it is unremarkable. It pretty much just tastes like hot chocolate, with a little hint of creaminess that doesn’t exactly emulate the stuff in the middle of the biscuit. It’s nice enough for a nice hot drInk, but it’s not worth paying a premium for, and this seems to be more expensive than the regular Cadbury powder.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 6 September 2018

Today's Review: Warburtons Toastie With Sourdough

I love sourdough bread, and I love Toastie bread. So to see the two combined in some striking black packaging was enough to get me salivating. I had to be careful not to crush the bread as I grabbed the loaf, and I had some slices straight in my toaster when I got home.

Now, please note, this is not purely sourdough bread, it's bread with sourdough, only 3% in fact. Still, the flavour shows up, and it's pretty good, not entirely authentic, but a lovely hint of sourness that really ramps up the flavour in the bread. Unfortunately the regular bread flavour wins out in the end, but this is a pretty good twist on the original Toastie, and I'm hoping it's a gateway to a higher ratio of sourdough in the future.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Today's Review: Rowntree's Watermelon

I've had my eye on this watermelon lolly all summer, but the multipacks have always been expensive, and the seaside shops have sold out. Well, I finally took the plunge and got a pack on a multi-buy, the promise of watermelon was too much to resist. Basically, as the name suggests, this is a watermelon flavoured lolly, but it's also in the shape of a slice of watermelon, complete with little chocolate button seeds.

It looks great (sorry for the lack of picture, they were all eaten very quickly), a nice bright and colourful watermelon wedge. The flavour is great, a natural fruity watermelon with a texture similar to ice cream. There's nothing more to it than the watermelon, so I guess it might be a bit bland for some, but if watermelon is what you want, this delivers. Delicious.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Today's Review: Croco Salt Crackers

I grabbed this bag of Croco Crackers at my local Polish shop, the pictures on the packet reminded me of Ritz, and seeing as it was less than a pound for a fairly sizeable bag I couldn't resist. Basically these are salty crackers, which are somewhat similar to the almighty Ritz, they're slightly buttery, but not quite on the same level. Thankfully the salt isn't overpowering, just enough to give a nice overall flavour that blends in nicely with the biscuit. These could just do with being a bit more buttery, they're a little dry, but they do taste good. A good, cheap alternative.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 3 September 2018

Today's Review: Snickers White

Another limited edition I picked up on my travels, though not as exciting as the Lion latte bar. Here we have a white Snickers, which is like a regular Snickers, but with white chocolate. It's a decent enough change, the chocolate on the outside isn't bad, but it doesn't blend well with the stuff inside. I think the chocolate is a bit too creamy to interact well with the caramel, it's a bit too sweet, and the peanuts don't do enough to bring it back down. An interesting enough change to try out, but I wouldn't take it over a regular Snickers.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 2 September 2018

Today's Review: Lion Latte

An interesting little pick up from the petrol station the other day, here we have a latte flavoured Lion bar. It doesn't seem to herald from the UK, there's not a lot of English on the packaging, so I don't know how successful a hunt for another would go. That's a shame too, because this is great. The regular milk chocolate has been swapped for a creamier coating, which emulates that milkiness. The insides contain a lovely coffee flavouring that doesn't overpower, and that blends in really nicely with the wafer to give that chewy Lion experience, but with the flavour of a latte. Really well done, I should have picked up a few more.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 1 September 2018

Today's Review: Oasis Aquashock Spicy Raspberry

I was not a fan of the cherry variety of Oasis' new flavoured water, but seeing another one while stopping for petrol, I couldn't help but give it another go. Here we have "spicy raspberry", which I thought was just a funky name, but it turns out it's raspberry and chilli flavoured. Why is there chilli in everything these days? I mean, I love spice more than anyone I know, but can I have a drink without my mouth burning?

Well yes, I can have this one, because it's not all that spicy. The raspberry is nice enough, I get something of a Volvic Touch Of Fruit vibe, but not as nice. The chilli tastes more like dodgy sweeteners than anything particularly spicy, and while it does leave a little bit of heat in the back of the throat after a few gulps, it's just not worth it. This is nicer than the cherry, but this whole Aquashock thing just isn't working for me.

My rating: 3/5