Sunday, 31 January 2016

Today's Review: Chokablok Caramel Yolkie

I do like a good bar of Chokablok, especially their seasonal offerings, but they're mostly large and quite expensive to boot. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this nice little bar nestled among the other 3 for £1 goodies in the Easter aisle. It's a mix of milk and white chocolate, with a bit of caramel nestled inside that yolk there.

Okay, this isn't quite as interesting as other Chokablok bars, which are normally embedded with all sorts of delights, but it's still pretty good. The chocolate is of nice quality, I was sure I got a hint of dark chocolate while munching my way through it, I had to check the packet to make sure it was milk, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just created a bit more juxtaposition between that and the white chocolate. The milk does taste a little dark, but in the end it evens out to a nice, satisfyingly thick and creamy chunk of chocolate. The yolk is a fun little addition, the outer shell gives way to a nice glob of caramel that is lovely and sweet. It's a shame it's so concentrated in one place, it would have been nice to taste that caramel throughout the whole bar, but that's the nature of a yolk I suppose. This is a nice little bar from Chokablok, it's good to see not all of their seasonal stuff consists of huge bars and eggs, and I'm sure I'll pick up a couple more of these before they disappear.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Today's Review: Ritz Breaks Smoky Bacon

While I'm a big fan of bacon, bacon flavoured food can be a bit hit and miss. At first I was reluctant to pick up these bacon flavoured Ritz, but I tried out the bacon Tuc a couple of years ago and found them to be not entirely unpleasant. These are Ritz Breaks, so they come in nice little portion sized packs of five elongated crackers. 

It's not a particularly strong bacon flavour, but it is present. It's a little more smoky than meaty, but it's not bad, and does a pretty good job of reminding me of the real thing. It is lost a little to the crackers themselves though, and for some reason these Ritz don't seem quite as salty as the original variety, which is weird, as saltiness and bacon go together pretty well. So while these aren't awful, they are a little bland. They could do with a bit more flavour and salt, but what is there is executed fairly well. It won't sway me away from the original Ritz, but they're alright for a change.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 29 January 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Butterscotch Hot Cakes

I've been looking for some of these for a while, and have only just found them, perhaps because they've been selling like hot cakes. Har har. But yes, it's another new Cadbury product (or at least fairly new by now), and I'm all for a nice hot pudding. Despite having "hot" right there in the name, the box states these can be enjoyed hot or cold. But can anything really be enjoyed cold when the alternative is hot? I'm not sure, but I didn't want to take that risk, so in the microwave they went.

I went for the butterscotch flavour as I figured they'd be more interesting than the regular chocolate, and also because I love butterscotch. I must say, these are pretty good. They're not amazing, but I was expecting something decidedly average after trying the Cadbury Sticky Puds, and these surpassed those expectations. The sponge is soft, and although it is a little thick, the melted chocolate coating adds a nice gooey texture. At first it seemed like the butterscotch filling was quite sparse, but it holds its own pretty nicely, delivering another layer of sweet flavour. It's not the most authentic butterscotch taste, but it's good enough. The Hot Cakes definitely beat the Sticky Puds in my opinion, I'd happily put these on my dessert menu again.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Today's Review: Asda Blueberry Muffin Milk

Alongside the disappointing Frijj Strawberry Cheesecake shake I tried the other day, I found this interesting little offering from Asda. Now, I've never had a blueberry milkshake, let alone one that chucks a bit of muffin in as well. I was immediately reminded of Tesco's carrot cake and marmalade on toast yoghurts, and had some high hopes for this one. 

Blueberry is the first thing I picked up from this milk, which is no surprise as there's actual blueberry in it. It is a pretty authentic taste, although the natural tartness of the fruit is somewhat offset by the creaminess of the milk itself, but it's not a bad thing, blueberry and milk works pretty nicely together, and this is pretty refreshing. The muffin part is a little less developed, it's by no means a predominant part of the drink, though there is a little hint of something cake-like in the background. Perhaps it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but on the whole I did get a slight impression of blueberry muffin. Not quite as strong as I'd have hoped, but this is a nice, creamy, fruity, refreshing drink.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Today's Review: Starbucks Coconut Milk Latte

After seeing Kev's review of the new coconut milk latte yesterday, I made the very difficult decision of stopping by Starbucks today to pick one up. I'm a sucker for a latte, and while I have nothing against cow's milk, I was interested to see how it would taste with the coconut version. Of course, this is more likely intended for those who are vegan or allergic to dairy, but that doesn't stop me having a go.

This isn't that bad, it's a nice, somewhat milky tasting coffee. It's doesn't taste as full or creamy as a regular latte, and does seem quite watered down in comparison to cow's milk, but that's just how coconut milk is I suppose. I wasn't expecting a big hit of coconut flavour like the kind you'd find in coconut sweets, but there is a definite hint of it throughout the coffee. All in all it tastes lighter than your regular latte, it may not be that much healthier, but it seems like it. However, I can't get fully on board with this, I prefer my lattes full and creamy, and this doesn't quite deliver. It's nice enough, and is a great choice for vegans and those with allergies, but I think I'll stick with the regular milk.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Today's Review: Monster Energy Ultra Sunrise

Whaddya know, a few days after I lament my inability to find the orange Ultra Monster, I find all three of them in Asda. First I had the truly divine regular white Ultra, then I had the truly red-tasting Ultra Red, so I was longing to try out this citrus variety. It's called Sunrise, because buzz words are cool, but the can is orange, so I just assumed it was orange flavour.

Would you believe it, I was right. There's a definite orange flavour to this drink, and it's pretty nice and bold. There are some hints of other citrus stuff in there, but since there's not much natural stuff in there it's hard to tell exactly what they were going for. They have put "lemon fruit" in the ingredients, and I suppose there is a certain tartness throughout that has a lemon air to it, but it's easy to confuse it with that slight bitterness you sometimes get with sugar free fruit drinks. The fruit flavours are nice while drinking, but after every mouthful I was met with that token low calorie sweetener after taste. It doesn't make for an awful drink, but it's just not as nice as the other two Ultra flavours. I'd say it's pretty close to Fanta Zero in taste, but it has that added bonus of waking you up a bit more. This isn't a fantastic drink, but it's nice enough.

My rating: 3/5 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Today's Review: Asda Jalapeño & Cheese Tear 'N' Share Bread

I usually blaze through the bread aisles of the supermarket, picking up my regular loaf and not paying the smallest bit of attention to different doughy varieties. But there are so many good breads out there, and I'm making it my mission to try some out, even though eating a whole load of bread is very bad for you. But I'll certainly make an exception if you put chillies in your bread, as is the case with the jalapeño bread from Asda. It implies in the name that it's for sharing, but since no one else in my family is keen on spice, I kept it all for myself.

It's pretty easy to bake, just pop it in the oven for eight minutes and you're good to go, straight from the packaging. The result is a pretty fine piece of bread. It has a lovely crisp exterior, giving way to a soft and chewy dough inside. It is perhaps a little stodgy, but it's a lump of bread, so I can't hold that against it. What makes this good is the jalapeños spread throughout. There aren't any concentrated chunks of spice, just an ever present heat that provides a little bit of flavour. The cheese is nicely executed as well. Instead of being a mere lump of cheese on top, it's given in the form of a cheese spread, which melts quite nicely and permeates some way through the bread itself, providing a cheesy taste throughout rather than in a few patches. I was pretty impressed with this bread, it could probably do with a bit more cheese around the outside, but I had a good time eating it. I'll be on the lookout for any other flavours next time I'm hanging around the bread.

My rating: 4/5 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Today's Review: Frijj Supreme Strawberry Cheesecake

Ah, Frijj Supreme, they're like Frijj, but with fancier flavours. I've tried out some of the other Supreme flavours, and found them to be pretty enjoyable. The raspberry & white chocolate is tasty, and the sticky toffee pudding is pretty authentic, so I was excited to see a new strawberry cheesecake variety was coming out. Unfortunately I couldn't find it for a while, but Asda had my back today and I managed to grab a bottle. I couldn't wait to drink me some cheesecake.

I'm not sure what makes this a strawberry cheesecake milkshake exactly. there's nothing remotely cheesecake-like in the ingredients, and it shows. In fact, the entire thing is pretty bland, I couldn't even taste the strawberry all that much. There were hints of flavour here and there, a little bit of biscuit, a smidge of strawberry, but I made it through the entire bottle without tasting all that much. It's like they took a perfectly good strawberry milkshakes and added a load of stuff in an attempt to make it taste like cheesecake, but just ended up nullifying the flavour. Perhaps I just got a dud bottle, who knows, but I do know that I was very disappointed in the shake.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Today's Review: Monster Energy Ultra Red

It's been a good few months since I found the Monster Ultra, and I've been on the hunt for the other varieties ever since. I finally stumbled upon the red version yesterday, and I don't think I've grabbed a can so quickly in my life. I've looked around to find out exactly what the "red" part entails, but there's no mention of fruit, merely of a "refreshing, crisp" flavour. A bit vague, but at least they're not pretending it tastes like something it doesn't.

I must say that it does in fact taste crisp and refreshing, and it also tastes quite red. To me there seemed to be a slight hint of cranberry, but all in all it just gives an overall fruity flavour that's reminiscent of a combination of dark, red stuff. It does taste a little on the lighter side than most red fruit based drinks, so I'd probably say it was more pink than red, but what do I know? I'm not a drink colourologist, probably because that's not a thing. So anyway, this is nice stuff, due to the zero sugar it's not overly sweet or gritty, but while the flavourings are good they do sometimes obstruct the refreshing nature of the drink itself. I much prefer the original Ultra can, it just has a nicer taste to it and left me feeling slightly more satisfied. This is still a good addition to the range though, and I'll definitely be grabbing another one whenever I next find it.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 22 January 2016

Today's Review: Kinder Choco-Bons

I'm sure these have been around for a while, but I've never picked up a pack before. These are Kinder Choco-Bons, and while the packet size is very small, it was somewhat reflected in the 49p price tag. They're small chocolate eggs that contain a milky hazelnut filling. 

The chocolate coating is your standard Kinder chocolate, a nice light, creamy offering. The innards are quite interesting, sort of a middle ground between the milky part of a Kinder Surprise or Joy, and the hazelnut filling of Bueno. So it's a smooth, creamy filling with a slightly nutty undertone, perhaps it needs a bit more of the hazelnut, as it doesn't make too much of an impact here. On top of that there are only five eggs in the bag, but for 49p I suppose it's not too bad. These make for a nice little treat, but I still prefer the Kinder Surprise.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Today's Review: Kettle Bites Maple Barbecue Wholegrain Waves

I suppose it's the time of the year to be healthy, and while walking down the crisp aisle isn't quite conducive to that goal, there are some healthier snacking options available. I picked up these maple barbecue Kettle Bites because they sounded pretty delicious, the 95 calories per pack was an added bonus at the time, but it's probably good for those watching what they eat. I soon found out why the calorie count was so low though:

Yes, the bag is particularly empty, and I counted the crisps inside and came up with around ten (accounting for broken off bits). At first I was very disheartened, but the weight of the contents is 22g, and a regular Walkers multi pack bag is 25g, so I suppose it's more about substance than quantity. Turns out these are really good. The waves are quite thick and pretty filling, with a great wholegrain texture that is a lot more satisfying than your average potato chip. It's clear they're baked, there's no greasiness, they just taste like wholesome, clean crisps. As for the maple barbecue flavour, it's great. There's a fantastic smoky undertone with a sweet, but not overwhelming taste layered on top, with a bit of salt thrown in that really brings the flavours out and together. Looking at the ingredients, there's all good stuff in there, peppers, tomatoes, onion, and even real maple syrup, and that authenticity is reflected in the taste. So don't be put off by the picture up there, the portion may seem small, but these are filling and tasty.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Today's Review: Cadbury Creme Egg Layers Of Joy

I thought I'd made my way through all the new Easter products already, but I stumbled upon another one the other day. These are Creme Egg Layers Of Joy, an apparently "eggciting" dessert. It seems quite a bit like the Creme Egg Pots Of Joy that I reviewed last year, but there are some noticeable differences. First of all, there's a nice big sponge disc slapped in the middle, and the stuff underneath is a chocolate mousse rather than the melted chocolate of the previous dessert. As far as I know, the stuff on top is still the same, but the specifics of it aren't mentioned in the description, they instead decided to call it a "fun egg looking dessert". Very helpful.

I don't know if I'd call the egg looking stuff particularly fun. It does have something of a fondant texture to it, and there is a slight hint of a Creme Egg flavour to it, but it didn't exactly bring memories of the real thing flooding into my head. It's nice, sweet and creamy, but not a great emulation. The sponge disc in the middle provides a difference in texture, but not much else. It's a plain sponge, not even chocolate, and it's a little dry. I wouldn't say it ruins the pot, but it doesn't add anything of importance. The mousse underneath is good, a nice chocolatey offering that takes up the majority of the pot, but it doesn't beat the fantastic creaminess of the melted chocolate found in the Pots Of Joy. So all in all, this is a pretty average dessert. I wouldn't call it bad, but it's not particularly interesting, and it doesn't taste all that much of Creme Egg. You're better off buying the real thing.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Extreme Chilli Houmous

Houmous is great, a tasty treat to dip all manner of food in. But have you ever wanted a houmous that would blow your head off? Tesco thinks you have, because they've brought out an extreme chilli houmous. I didn't know I wanted it until I saw it, but I quickly snagged it up.

This is a houmous mixed with red chilli purée and jalapeños, and it shows. It's quite an intense heat, not awful, but it's the defining element of the houmous. Underneath there's a nicely textured houmous that goes some way to taking the heat off, so it's still a nice pot to dip your pitta in, but the heat did take over quite a bit as I made my way through. As someone who loves spice, it wasn't so bad, but this could probably do with a bit less chilli and a bit more houmous. It does live up to its name though.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 18 January 2016

Today's Review: Kinder Joy

After seeing these reviewed on both Grocery Gems and Reaching For Refreshment, I made it a personal mission to pop into every Co Op I could find to pick up some of these Kinder Joy eggs. Thankfully I only had to go into two, but I would have tried more. We all know the joy of a Kinder Surprise, a lovely chocolate shell with a funky little toy inside. But now you can know the surprise of a Kinder Joy, which has the same principle but in a different form. Observe.

Yes, this egg splits in two, and shows one half is filled with some chocolatey, crispy balls embedded in some nice looking creamy stuff, while the other half contains the funky little toy. I guess that removes the danger of choking that has seen Kinder Surprise banned in America. I was hoping for a cool toy, but instead I got these rings:

I assume you're meant to give one to a friend, and you're meant to bring them together in a sort of heart necklace sort of situation, but due to the orientation of the rings I can't figure out how two people wearing them could effectively put the shape together. This toy makes no sense, I want a car or something. But I can't hold that against Kinder too much, we all know the toy is the luck of the draw. What isn't is the stuff in the other half of the egg, so how does that taste?

It's actually pretty damn good. The two balls consist of a nice crunchy wafer with a nice texture on the outside. The insides consist of a chocolate cream, which is very nice and sweet, but overall they're quite small and not all that satisfying. Thankfully the stuff they're swimming in is pretty great. It's a mix of milky and cocoa cream, it's quite thick and there's a fair amount of it. The combination of flavours does give it a taste similar to that of the hazelnut cream you'd find in a Kinder Bueno, but there is in fact no hazelnut in here. It's a good flavour, very sweet but not too sickly, and the amount of cream goes some way to make up for the shortfall left behind by the pretty tiny crispy balls. I wouldn't say I prefer these to Kinder Surprise, but it's certainly something different that is worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Today's Review: Warheads Sour Jelly Beans

I reviewed the Warheads Chewy Cubes the other day, and was less than impressed. But I also picked up these sour jelly beans at the same time, and they're one step up on the sour meter, so hopefully they would fare better with me. These come in six flavours, like the cubes, but some are slightly different. There's just plain old cherry instead of black cherry, and the strawberry has been swapped out for lemon.

These are more sour, I'll give them that, but they're nothing spectacular. There are two whole more scales to get through on the meter though, so I'll forgive them for not leaving my face inverted. As for the flavours, they're hit and miss. Some are quite bland and artificial tasting, such as the apple and cherry. The watermelon and lemon are pretty damn good, but the best are the orange and blue raspberry, which both contain very bold, tasty flavours while helping to accentuate the sourness. So they're not particularly great, but there are more good ones than bad, so they're not a lost cause. They're definitely better than the Sour Patch Jelly Beans, so if you've got a very specific hankering for sour jelly beans, these are your best bet (if Jelly Belly aren't available of course).

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Today's Review: Yushoi Sweet Chilli & Lemon Snapea Rice Sticks

There are quite a lot of interesting crisp products lining the shelves at the moment, and these looked like a nifty new addition. It's a range of sticks made from green peas and rice from Yushoi, that come in a few tasty sounding flavours. While I was tempted by the salt and szechuan pepper, my spicy senses were tingling and I reached for this sweet chilli and lemon variety.

The texture of these is pretty odd, at least at first. The sticks are quite soft, but they do have something of a crunch to them. I'd place them somewhere between a Wotsit and a Chipstick, and while I wasn't sure at first, by the end of the bag they'd grown on me. Not quite as satisfyingly crunchy as a potato chip, and they are a little greasy, but they are pretty good. The flavouring is very nice as well, the sweet chilli provides a nice, mild, long lasting heat, while the lemon adds equal parts sweetness and bitterness. I was expecting the flavour to be quite subdued as the sticks themselves are quite thick, but it holds up pretty well, and this was definitely a satisfying bag to get through. These are well worth trying out, and I'm sure I'll be going back for some of the other flavours soon.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 15 January 2016

Today's Review: Warheads Chewy Cubes

I remember getting Warheads out of sweet machines as a kid. The sour ones blew my head off, and the hot ones were entirely unpleasant. But then they disappeared, and apparently they've only existed outside the UK. So I was happy to grab a box of these sour cubes when I saw them in Poundworld.

These come in six flavours, from the standard orange and apple to the more interesting watermelon and blue raspberry. There's nothing particularly wrong with the flavours, but there's nothing gray about them either. The worst thing is they're not that strong, and for the size of the cubes I was expecting more flavour. Instead they're pretty bland, and the chewiness means they last a fair while. Even the sourness isn't done right, I know the box says they're "mildly sour" but I often couldn't taste any hint of sourness at all. So while these cubes are definitely chewy, and there's some amount of nice fruity flavour in there, they're not particularly nice. I'd give these a miss.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Today's Review: Carte D'or Cinnamon Biscuit

I reignited my love for Carte D'or a few days ago, and since then I went back to peruse the ice creams they have on offer. I settled on this cinnamon biscuit variety, having been mightily impressed with Ben & Jerry's new cinnamon offering. This version is pretty much in the same vein, it's a cinnamon biscuit flavour ice cream with pieces of cinnamon biscuit throughout. 

It sounds like a lot of cinnamon, but the flavour thankfully isn't too strong. It's undeniably cinnamon, but the ice cream itself is very light and creamy, with just a hint of spice that manifests itself as a nice, gentle heat. There's also a hint of the biscuit flavouring in the ice cream, which makes for a slightly fuller flavour, and overall it's very tasty and moreish. The main biscuit element comes in the form of the pieces scattered throughout. They don't really add much to the flavour, since they taste the same as the ice cream, but they do provide a change in texture. Unfortunately the texture could have been better. With biscuit pieces I was expecting a nice crunch, but these chunks are very soft, almost bordering on tasting soggy. Still, it's not that bad, it's still nice to have a bit of biscuit spread throughout the tub, and the overall flavour isn't affected. This may not quite rival Ben & Jerry's, but it's still a very nice ice cream.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Twists: Chilli, Sour Cream & Lime

Of all the available shapes of crisps, the twist is probably one of my favourites. There are lots of little books and crannies for the flavour to get into, and a greater surface area than the more chunky offerings. I like the salt and vinegar ones that I pick up for my kids' birthday parties, but the other day I saw Tesco have some in a more interesting flavour, and they sounded pretty delicious.

Chilli, sour cream and lime. It sounds like a good combination, some spice, something to cool me down, and a bit of fruitiness. All the flavours are actually pretty well represented here. The chilli provides a mild but lingering heat, allowing the sour taste of the cream to come through. The lime adds a certain amount of zest, and layers on a bit of extra tartness. But while the balance of flavours is great, the intensity of them is not. These just don't quite taste bold enough to overcome the twists themselves, which are fairly thick and a little stodgy. So what could have been a fantastic bag of crisps is instead somewhat bland and disappointing. It's quite a shame.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Today's Review: This Exciting News About Myleene Klass

Facebook is good for a lot of things, and it tries to be good at a whole lot more, and often fails. The fancy little "trending" bar that has been around for a while sometimes catches my attention if it relates to something in my interests (read: nerdy), but often it's populated things that I couldn't care less about, and this is the epitome of those things.

It's about Myleene Klass. Yeah, I know who that is, I was around when Hear'Say were a thing, and I've skimmed enough magazines to know of her dabbles in modelling and presenting. Perhaps something important has happened to her that requires my attention. Oh no, it's about her wearing a swimsuit, with a low neckline, and on holiday no less! But it's not just about her wearing a swimsuit, oh no, this is about a photo that appears to show her wearing a swimsuit. Is it a trick of the light? Is it photoshopped?

Actually, no, it is a photo of her wearing a low cut swimsuit. Facebook just decided to use cryptic wording to entice me to click on it. Guess where it lead me? The Daily Mail of course. Now, I could go on for hours about the transgressions of The Daily Mail, but they've all been said before. Reading through the article, which is far longer than it should be ("woman wears swimsuit" would suffice), it seems that something seems a bit off. In between multiple references to Myleene's "flawless figure" and "pert derrière" there are several shout outs to Littlewoods, who supplied the costume, and for whom Myleene is a model. There's even a link to the specific page to buy the damn thing, so it's pretty clear this is all a big advert.

So there are two ways this could have reached the top of the trending topics on Facebook. Either humanity has reached a point where the best thing they have to talk about is a woman wearing something in a swimming pool, or a retailer has paid for an advert disguised as a non news article to be drawn up, and again to get it posted around Facebook enough to reach the top of the rankings. I guess the latter is better than the former, but what is unchanging is the fact that I still couldn't care less about Myleene Klass in a swimsuit.

My rating: 0/5

Monday, 11 January 2016

Today's Review: Ice Breakers Sours Mixed Berry, Strawberry & Cherry

I reviewed the citrus version of the Ice Breakers Sours a few days back, and wasn't overly impressed, but I spied this berry variety in another Tesco I popped into the other day, and I always prefer berry flavours to citrus, so I snagged it up pretty quickly. These are sugar free sweets that come in three flavours: mixed berry, strawberry and cherry. 

Much like the other Ice Breakers, the only way to tell these apart is to examine the flecks on each sweet. All purple means you've got cherry, all red means strawberry, and a mixture of both gives you mixed berry. It's not a particularly great identification system, but it's pretty easy when you know how, and thankfully all the flavours are pretty great. The cherry is very bold, perhaps a bit too sweet, it carries on the trend of other cherry sweets that just taste too artificial. The strawberry is a cleaner flavour, again pretty sweet but more well rounded and closer to the real thing. The mixed berry is probably my favourite, a lovely fruity number with a definite hint of raspberry. Every one of these has that great sour kick to them, which lasts throughout the whole sweet and provides a very nice tingle on the tongue without skimping on the flavour. Unfortunately they also possess that "freshness" that caused me to dislike the citrus varieties, but in this case the darker, bolder flavour do a lot to alleviate it, I found this to be a much better pack overall. The berries win, this is a box of Ice Breakers I'll most likely be picking up again.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Today's Review: Tyrrell's Aberdeen Angus Beef & English Mustard Crisps

I was impressed with the last meaty themed Tyrrell's crisps I tried, so I thought I'd go for another one. I skipped over the roast chicken, because there was nothing interesting attached to them, but these beef crisps are paired with mustard, which sounded pretty tasty to me. The best thing is that these flavours are authentic, in the form of ground mustard and beef powder, sure, but the real things are in there, so they were promising to be pretty flavoursome.

The mustard is probably the most outstanding part of these crisps, and outstanding it is. There's not too much, just a solid, ever present flavour that provides a nice mellow heat that lingers on the tongue, pumping out an authentic mustard taste. Underneath there's a lovely, substantial beefy element, but it's not quite like chomping down on a joint of beef. It's more like a beef gravy experience, but it's a great flavour that works very well with the mustard. As I said, the mustard does dominate a little, it would have been nice to have a bit more meatiness, but as they stand these are some very nice beefy crisp with a good kick of heat, and the bag didn't last very long. Well done Tyrrell's, another great flavour.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Today's Review: Carte D'or Chocolate Hazelnut Log

With all the Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs around, I often neglect Carte D'or, but they make some pretty good ice creams too. So while I've skipped over the regular tubs for quite some time, I couldn't pass this chocolate hazelnut log by once I'd spied it. It looked pretty delicious, like a more decadent Viennetta. There's a lot of layers packed into this. The middle is made up of dark chocolate and hazelnut ice creams, with dark chocolate chunks and hazelnut pieces throughout respectively. There's also a milk chocolate sauce and a biscuit base at the bottom of the ice cream, and the whole thing is wrapped up in a layer of milk chocolate and topped with golden dark chocolate curls.

So there's a lot of chocolate, and a decent amount of hazelnut, and it makes for a good dessert. I was worried the hazelnut might be a little too much, but the ice cream is nice, light and creamy, and the pieces within a small and crunchy, providing a nice little boost of texture and flavour. The chocolate ice cream is great, very sweet and creamy, and it works very nicely combined with the hazelnut stuff underneath. The chocolate coating is nice and thick, but not enough to be sickly, it just adds some more chocolatey goodness, and it's slightly lighter than the ice cream, so helps alleviate the slight bitterness that that provides. So all those bits are great, and there's still more in the form of the biscuit layer underneath the ice cream. It's a brittle, crunchy piece of biscuit that reaches the whole way through the log, and it works nicely with all the other elements. While there's a lot going on in this log, none of it is particularly overdone, it's simply a nice, tasty chocolate hazelnut ice cream log that is definitely worth picking up.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 8 January 2016

Today's Review: Portlebay Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Popcorn

I reviewed the lemon sherbet flavour of Portlebay popcorn last week, and loved it, but I also picked up this crispy bacon and maple syrup variety at the same time. I've had a dalliance with bacon popcorn before, from import to right proper Butterkist, and I've never been impressed. But Portlebay have made some pretty great flavours, so they can tackle this one, right?

Well, yes and no. The maple syrup is a nice little elements, it's a lovely sweet undertone that certainly taste like the real thing, and sadly it's needed because the bacon part just isn't quite right. At first it tastes like bacon, sure, a nice smoky, meaty flavour with a bit of salt thrown in to bring out the taste. But the aftertaste leaves a lot to be desired, the smokiness kind of lingered on the back of my tongue and I could feel it on my breath for quite a while afterwards. The quality of the popcorn itself is as good as ever, but the flavouring is just a bit off. Perhaps bacon is simply a lost cause in the realm of popcorn, I've tried a lot of savoury flavours and loved them, but bacon seems to consistently fail to impress me. Don't worry Portlebay, I haven't lost faith in you, just in bacon popcorn.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Today's Review: Dairy Milk Oreo Eggs

While you can't beat a classic bag of Mini Eggs, it's nice to see Cadbury expanding their range. These Oreo filled eggs carry on the same theme as the Daim eggs that were already around. I'm not sure if these are new this year, but I certainly didn't grab a bag last year, so they're new to me.

There's not too much to say to describe these. They're Dairy Milk chocolate eggs, filled with Oreo creme filling. It's the same filling as you get in the Dairy Milk Oreo bar, a smooth, creamy chunk with bits of chocolate embedded inside. It makes for a good centre, and there's definitely enough to make for a delicious, Oreo flavoured experience. But the egg is pretty full, and the balance between the innards and the chocolate coating is a little off, there's just a bit too much creaminess that results in the egg in its entirety being a little sickly. It's not that bad though, I still managed to make my way through the bag very quickly. I'd rather have too much filling than not enough, seeing as the Daim eggs disappointed me before, so this is a nice bag of Easter treats that you should pick up while they're around.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Today's Review: Ice Breakers Sours Green Apple Watermelon & Tangerine

I've seen these in Tesco several times now, but at £1.50 a pot they seemed a little pricey. Apparently not by too much though, because now they're on offer for £1.20 I didn't hesitate in buying some. These are disc shaped candies that come in three flavours: Green apple. watermelon and tangerine.

I was put off at first because these looked too much like a pack of mints, but the flavours swayed me into buying them. However, regular Ice Breakers are indeed mints, and I've found that a lot of the fruit variations from regular mint brands often have a strange menthol like taste to them. This is the case here, unfortunately, and while it does provide a little hit of freshness, in my view it compromises the flavour. The fruits are pretty well represented though. The watermelon has that great sweet flavour that you find in most watermelon flavoured candy, but it does succumb to the mintiness quite quickly, and that overwhelms it a bit too much. The green apple doesn't hold out for long at all, and while there's definitely a hint of fruit, it's not that great. The tangerine goes some way to make up for all that, it's a lovely, bold orange flavour that lasts throughout the entire sweet, and it's the one I reach for the most when I open up the pack. So I guess there's slightly more bad than good in here flavour wise, though I must say the sour element is very well done. It's not going to blow your head off, but it's a strong sour kick that permeates right through to the centre, and it actually satisfied my desire for sourness where many other sweets have failed. All in all, these aren't great, but they certainly could be worse. Nice and sour, with some interesting flavour, but ruined a little with the strange fresh aftertaste.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Today's Review: M&S Tex Mex Burrito Bean Chips

I like crisps that are made out of other things besides potatoes. So I was happy to see M&S have brought out an interesting new range of chips in all manner of flavours, but this one in particular caught my eye. I like a good burrito, so why not eat it out of a bag? These chips are made from kidney beans, with some cheese flavouring and ancho chilli thrown in for good measure.

The kidney beans add a lovely texture to these chips. Sure, they're still mostly maize, but the beans give them a much fuller flavour, and a slight, shall I say, chewiness that lends to a more burrito-like taste.The chilli is well used, instead of overpowering everything else, it provdes a mellow heat that lasts throughout the life of the chip and sometime after. The cheesiness is probably the least effective part. It's noticeable, sure, but doesn't feel quite as authentic as the other ingredients. Thankfully there are some other spices, along with tomato and onion, thrown in there, and overall it creates a very burrito like experience. I know I wouldn't normally say this, but perhaps it could have been improved with a bit of meat, but the kidney beans go some way to providing the texture to fill that gap. These are very nice, and while it's not as good as eating a real burrito, it's probably as close as you're gonna get in a bag of chips.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 4 January 2016

Today's Review: Galaxy Golden Eggs

Well, it's January, and that means it's time for Easter. I hear cries of despair all over at the Easter products lining the shelves, but I don't mind, it means I can pick up more chocolate goodness over the next few months. It also means there are some new products around, and this is one of them. I like the increased variety of mini egg bags over the last few years, and these Golden Eggs from Galaxy certainly looked delicious. They consist of Galaxy chocolate eggs embedded with crunchy caramel pieces, and "rolled in gold".

That last bit of the description threw me off a little, but check out those bad boys, they look fantastic. Every egg is a uniformly gold coated delight, and the insides are even better. The egg itself is your classic creamy Galaxy chocolate, and each egg is a decent size, giving a nice fix of chocolate. The caramel pieces are probably the best bit about these though. I do like a bit of caramel, but I've found with all the other caramel flavoured eggs, it's just gooey stuff put inside a hollow chocolate shell. Often this leads to the caramel dominating the flavour, and leaves me wishing for more chocolate. But the caramel in these eggs is in condensed, crunchy form, packing in a lovely sweet caramel taste while not compromising on the amount of chocolate. These eggs are a gorgeous addition to the Galaxy range, and I'm glad I tried them out so early this year, it means I can pick up lots more bags before they disappear.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Today's Review: Flame Grilled Steak Pringles

After many fruitless attempts to get my hands on the seasonal Pigs In Blankets Pringles over the last few months, I stumbled upon this flavour in Asda earlier. I assume it's new, it says it right there on the can, but you never know with some packaging. I'm still bitter about the lack of crisps that taste like sausages wrapped in bacon, but I thought these might be some consolation.

These do taste meaty, I'll give them that. I wouldn't say they taste exactly like steak, but they do have a definite beefy taste to them. Not the meatiest tasting crisps ice had recently, but not awful. There's also a lovely undertone of onion throughout that adds a bit of an extra kick, though at times it does overwhelm the beef flavour a little. Sirloin steak these Pringles are not, and I don't think I'll be buying any more. But for those who like meat flavoured crisps, these aren't too bad. Just not my cup of tea. Or rather, my can of Pringles.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Today's Review: Portlebay Lemon Sherbet Popcorn

I reviewed the cappucino flavour of Portlebay popcorn a few weeks ago, and now they're on offer in Tesco, so of course I picked up a couple more. This lemon sherbet one stood out in particular, it's another popcorn flavour I've never really seen done before, apart from the slightly disappointing Tyrrell's offering.

This is some pretty good quality popcorn, nice chunky kernels with a very satisfying crunch to them, and I think I only found one unpopped one at the bottom of the bag, so good going there. The flavouring on top is fantastic as well, a sweet but satisfyingly sour lemon, and authentic as well, there's lemon juice in the ingredients. But wait a minute, this isn't just lemon flavour popcorn, it's lemon sherbet, and that's pretty clear from the fizz you get when you pop a kernel in your mouth. It's pretty much like the corn has been rolled through a tray of lemon sherbet. This is lovely, fizzy, sweet, crunchy popcorn, I'd probably even pick up a bag at full price, that's how good I think it is.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 1 January 2016

Today's Review: Argos Touch Screens

Everyone like a bit of Argos, don't they? They stock all manner of things, and there's no need to browse countless aisles, just look up the number, type it in and someone upstairs does all the leg work for you. It's a winning formula, and it's even better when you can reserve something online and just wander right in and pick it up. But every once in a while I find myself going into Argos without a specific plan of action. Perhaps I want to look something up on the fly, and that is when I am confronted with the horror of the Argos touch screens.

There are two types of commonly used touch screen technologies. There is capacitive, which utilises the electrical current running through your body, and there's resistive, which relies on pressure applied to the screen itself. The Argos touch screen appears to be neither. While I suppose it falls into the latter category, I often find myself pressing down harder than I probably should onto the screen with little visible effect. About one press in five I find a letter appears on the screen, which is a nice sign things are going my way. But when it comes to the space bar you can never tell if you've been successful. The only way to find out is to press hard on another letter, and more often than not I find it appears as an extension of the previous word, forcing me to jam my finger down on the delete button and try all over again. It wouldn't be so bad if there was any visual clue that the button was pushed, but no, it's a static row of letters, watching me silently.

The only reason I can think of as to why these screens are so useless is that it's a thinly veiled attempt to fight back against the rising tide of technological advance. If I can't work the touch screen, I'm more likely to talk to an employee, or flick through the massive, plentiful catalogues that they still insist on churning out at an alarming rate. But even if I use the catalogue and want to check stock, I still have to use the touch screen, and it's infuriating. I suppose I should give it at least some credit, I can actually get the job done. It's just I don't highly rank a screen that gives me sore finger tips after a minute of use. Sort it out, Argos.

My rating: 1/5