Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Today's Review: TGI Fridays Extreme Heat Crunchy Fries

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

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

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Today's Review: KFC Colonel's Christmas Burger

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

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

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 28 November 2016

Today's Review: Kershaws Frozen All Day Big Breakfast

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

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

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

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Today's Review: Tango Mallow Cubes

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

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

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 26 November 2016

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

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

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

My rating: 1/5

Friday, 25 November 2016

Today's Review: Asda Giant Pinwheel Buttons

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

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

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 24 November 2016

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

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

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

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Today's Review: Toffee Crisp Honeycomb Biscuits

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

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

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Today's Review: Asda Lobster & Pink Champagne Crisps

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

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

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 21 November 2016

Today's Review: Pringles Xmas Turkey

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

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

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Today's Review: Emoji Gummy Sweets

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

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

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Today's Review: Caffè Nero Spiced Orange Latte

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

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

My rating: 2/5

Friday, 18 November 2016

Today's Review: Häagen-Dazs Honey Walnut & Cream

I always do a double take in the freezer aisle when a new Häagen-Dazs flavour pops up, and this honey walnut & cream was no exception. I've had my eye on it for a little while, but I was waiting for a good old fashioned offer to be put on it, because I like a good deal. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long, as I was sent some vouchers so I could try out this new flavour. So here we are.

With the myriad of flavours and chunks that Ben & Jerry seem to be cramming into tubs lately (not a bad thing of course), it's easy to forget that good ice cream can be simpler, as is the case here. This is ice cream made predominantly with fresh cream, completed with a honey swirl and some caramelised walnuts. The result is something very sweet indeed, and I like it. The ice cream definitely has a creamy texture to it, with a fuller flavour than you'd find in your regular vanilla. It looks like the honey up there is akin to a Ben & Jerry's Core, but it does spread to throughout the entire tub. It's a good quality honey, very sweet with a nice syrupy stickiness to it. The walnuts add another layer to the flavour, some crunchy, nutty goodness that's pretty abundant throughout the tub. I would say that the nuts overwhelm the honey a bit, they're both quite sweet and vying for attention, and the swirl doesn't quite reach every spoonful in equal amounts. Still, this is a good tub of ice cream. A simple combination of flavours that works very nicely.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Black Forest Cake Donut

I came home this evening to a wonderful sight, a box of Dunkin' Donuts. Of course, only one was for me, a half dozen is only enough for one for each member of the household (and one to spare...), but I knew that my lady would have tried her best to deliver me a donut I hadn't tried before. Lo and behold, here is the black forest cake donut. I'm not sure if that's exactly what it's called, because I haven't visited Dunkin' in a while. I'm also not sure if it's promotional, but I can only assume it's tied to the festive season. What I can tell you is it's a chocolate cake donut, topped with an iced white glaze, chocolate curls and a cherry sauce.

I haven't had many of these cake donuts since Dunkin' Donuts opened, but I will say that while they're definitely chocolatey, they're also quite thick and stodgy. This one was no exception, the chocolate is somewhat dark, and the cake itself was a little dry. It's saved to some degree by the topping, the icing is smooth and creamy, and couple with the jam it adds a nice bit of moisture to the whole experience, while also capturing that black forest flavour. The curls are a nice touch too, providing a chocolate taste that isn't couple with that slightly disappointing stodginess. So the top bit is good, the bottom bit isn't great, all in all this is a pretty average offering. Hopefully Dunkin' Donuts will be pulling more out of the bag for Christmas.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Today's Review: New Recipe Wham Bars

I was recently sent a few Wham bars to try out for review. Now, Wham bars aren't a new thing at all, but they're being re-released with a new recipe, including fruit juice and more sour crystals. I mean, Wham was pretty good to begin with, so I was interested to see what the new formula would bring. Not that I'm one to particularly pay attention to the weights of things, but the traditional Wham bars apparently come in 25g, whereas I received 16g. I was assured that both sizes are still available, and that these guys haven't pulled a Toblerone. But I digress, let's get onto the taste.

I could definitely tell the addition of fruit juice in this version, it's a much more fruity experience than the previous Wham bars. I feel the composition has changed slightly too, it's a bit softer, and slightly less stickily chewy. I haven't had a Wham bar in a while though, so I could be imagining it, but it's not a bad thing, it's a nice texture that still retains some chewiness. At first bite I felt that the sour crystals didn't quite pack the punch they used to, I remember there being concentrated pockets of sourness, and these bars don't seem to have that. What I did notice was a consistent sour taste that spread throughout the entirety of the bar, and a grittiness in the form of many crunchy crystals. It's a little different from the old bars, but it's not bad, I personally like concentrated sour pockets, but this one is more consistent, and the sourness hangs around in the after taste. All in all, this is a nice new recipe, whether it's a marked improvement on the old bars, I don't know, but it's still good and still definitely a Wham bar.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Salted Caramel Filled Muffins

More Christmas! After reviewing the Tesco Red Velvet Muffins a little while back, I went back and picked out this more traditional festive flavour. They've got salted caramel in the middle, and some salted caramel bits sprinkled on top. That's pretty much all there is to say about them, so let's talk about how they taste.

These are some pretty good quality muffins, soft cakey goodness that's a little on the dark side, but pleasantly so. The pieces on top have a slight crunch, a slight chewiness, and the flavour is pretty good, distinctly caramel. As for the sauce in the middle, I feel it's a little weak, it's definitely salted caramel, but skimping a bit on the salt. Still, it provides a good bit of moisture, and is plentiful enough to get a bit in every bite. The caramel taste in there is pretty great too, and it works well with the muffin itself to provide a slightly dark, very sweet overall flavour. These are some good muffins, so grab them while they're in season.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 14 November 2016

Today's Review: Turkey 'N' Chips

Even if your product is exclusively based on fish and chip shop delicacies, you can still push out a Christmas flavour. Just look at these "Turkey 'n' Chips", they're Fish 'n' Chips with a turkey flavour. I know they've already released a Chicken 'n' Chips variety, so it's not exactly a great leap to get to turkey, especially in terms of crisp flavourings.

I wouldn't say these are particularly turkey flavoured, I'd go more with them tasting like gravy. It's a pretty nice gravy flavour, sure, but the turkey kind of takes a back seat. There's still a certain meatiness there, and it is reminiscent of the bird, but the after taste is predominantly gravy like, and the flavouring itself isn't exactly liberally applied. I don't know, these aren't awful, but they didn't make me think of Christmas, and they don't taste all that much of turkey, which is apparently what they were going for. If you're looking for sharing crisps in a tub this Christmas, I'd go for the classic Cheeselets or Cheese Footballs. These just aren't all that.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Orange & Cranberry Popcorn

It's been a couple of days since I did something Christmassy, so let's get back into the festive spirit. New seasonal flavourings seem to be appearing in drips and drabs, and today I found this limited edition variety of Tesco Finest popcorn nestled among the rest. Thankfully they've forgone the obvious ginger, and have instead opted for a fruity concoction of orange and cranberry. There's also a cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, because Christmas.

I'm glad they went for the fruity option here, because this is actually some pretty good stuff. The orange toffee gives a nice citrus punch, and the cranberry pieces give a burst of juiciness, even if the flavour isn't overly noticeable at times. The cinnamon sugar provides a nice, warm hint of spice, nicely rounding off the flavour. The only thing I would say is that the kernels were a bit inconsistently coated. The majority were fine, but there was the odd one that had barely any flavouring at all, and it was a little jarring. Still, this is a decent bag of popcorn, one that packs a very festive flavour, so pick it up while it's still around.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Today's Review: McDonald's Mexican Stack Burger

It's time for the final burger in the McDonalds Great Tastes of the World promotion, not that you'd know that from only reading my reviews, because this is the first one I've written about. What can I say, my release schedule is confusing and inconsistent. Anyway, this burger is around for a mere two weeks, although at the time of writing we're down to one and a half, so time's a-wasting. This is a Mexican inspired burger, boasting two beef patties, bacon, pepper jack cheese, habanero chilli mayo and mango sauce, all wrapped up in a paprika topped bun. Also, there's lettuce. There's always lettuce.

Habanero and paprika? Sounds spicy, and it is actually. It has a fairly nice kick to it, not enough to blow your head off (sadly), but the mayo packs a decent punch, with the cheese and bun providing a consistent mellow heat that takes a bit of the edge off. The mango sauce isn't overly noticeable, which is a shame, I think I'd have enjoyed a bit more fruitiness. It seems like the focus here is the spice and the meat, and this burger does deliver on both fronts. The double beef coupled with the bacon is pretty juicy and filling, and the cheese melted between the patties provides a nice hint of heat that helps to carry the spice throughout the entire burger. So all in all, this is a pretty damn good Mexican themed burger. Could use more of that mango sauce though.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 11 November 2016

Today's Review: The Idea Behind This Morrisons Roulette Pizza

I'm not reviewing this pizza, because I haven't eaten this pizza, nor have I bought it. No, I am reviewing the thought process behind it, the very foundation that this pizza was built upon. This is a Roulette pizza, following on from the latest craze of hiding really hot foodstuffs in the middle of blander foodstuffs. Doritos have done it, even Haribo have brought out spicy gummies, but this appears to be the ultimate hidden spicy pizza challenge. I just don't quite understand how it works.

It's a seemingly normal meaty pizza, it's got pepperoni, smoked sausage and green peppers. But there's a "hidden splash of fiery chilli sauce" hidden in there somewhere, and the question is "will you get the spicy slice?" Well, that depends on how you slice it, doesn't it? How big is the splash of chilli sauce? Is it tiny and therefore potentially unnoticeable? If it's too large it runs the very real risk of reaching across two slices, because if you don't know where the chilli sauce is, there's no way of knowing where to cut it to ensure the hot stuff stays on one slice. Then the very nature of the roulette game is ruined, and you might as well have doused the whole pizza in spicy sauce (that would be my preferred option). 

I'm most likely making this out to be worse than it is, but this pizza leaves more room for error than I'm comfortable with. Of course, all my misgivings could be entirely inaccurate, because I haven't eaten the thing, so take my opinion with a palmful of salt. I might pick it up at some point, but if anyone can shed some light on whether this works out or not, please let me know. For now though, I can't get on board with this.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Today's Review: The John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016

Yes, it's that time of year again. I normally see the arrival of the Coca Cola truck as the beginning of Christmas, but in recent years it's become apparent that the fervent social media masses are frothing at the mouth for whatever sentimental story John Lewis will churn out in order to peddle their wares. Speaking of rabies, this one features a dog. Called Buster. Here's a link to the merchandise page.

I would say spoilers ahead, but if you can't take time out of your day to watch a video that's just over two minutes, you shouldn't get mad when someone spills the elaborate plot. Buster belongs to a girl named Bridget, who is established as a bouncing enthusiast from a few-seconds long clip of her bouncing on her bed. Unbeknownst to her, her father is assembling a trampoline in the garden for the big day, a montage of which makes it out to be a long and arduous task, but couldn't be that bad because the parents still have time to watch TV after. "Bridget will be so pleased", they must think, as two foxes, a badger, a squirrel and a hedgehog decide to have a go on the thing first. 

I had images of them all breaking it, and having put their woodland differences aside for longer in order to fix it, but apparently they just make the dog like, well jealous, because in the morning Buster rushes out in front of Bridget and christens her new gift right in front of her (with bouncing, not urine, although it's not outside the realm of possibility that the wild animals marked their territory). Buster bounces around joyously, while Bridget looks on, mostly confused, but definitely disappointed. "Gifts that everyone will love", they say, as the hashtag comes into view, and we're encouraged to click on and discover that we too could buy a £200 trampoline for our dogs.

Cynical, snarky commentary aside, it's not an awful advert, but there had to be a point at which the John Lewis amazement train started slowing down, and I feel this is it. Other years have been touching, some very well thought out, but this seems a little lacklustre to me. The woodland creatures seemed a little unnecessary, I know they serve to make the dog jealous, but he's already been watching the girl bounce around for ages, so he was probably already raring to go. Could it be they added in more animals to sell more cuddly toys? No, surely not. 

I guess the truth is that I don't care about these people (and animals). Bridget is happy when she sees her gift, sure, but is positively bewildered at the end, and I'm not particularly overjoyed by seeing a boxer getting his jollies on a trampoline. My emotions escaped unscathed, and so too has my wallet. Not that I'd shop at John Lewis anyway, you can always get it cheaper online...

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Choco-Nut Malted Wheats

I love a big old bowl of Coco Shreddies, but being a stickler for that yellow shelf sticker, I don't find them on offer all that often. It seemed Tesco was there for me though, in the form of these Malt Wheats with a chocolate flavour, and there are even hazelnuts thrown in for good measure. I would have settled for just the chocolate, but hey, nuts are good too.

I'm not sure whether these should be Choco-Nut or Nut-Choco, the predominant flavour here is the hazelnuts. It's a nice, authentic, nutty flavour, but it seems like there's just too much of it, the chocolate part seems a bit like an afterthought. It's there, sure, lurking in the background, and it does show up a fair bit in the after taste, but these just aren't as chocolatey as I'd hoped, which is a shame, as the chocolate part is pretty decent as well. These Malted Wheats are a good quality cereal, pretty similar in texture to Shreddies, but the flavourings are just a bit too imbalanced. Too much nut, not enough choco.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Today's Review: Maryland Creations Choc Dipped Dark Choc Chunk Cookies

Maryland haven't impressed me much with their last few releases, but I found this pack of cookies that seemed quite promising the other day. I love the Fox's dipped chocolate cookie, and this seemed pretty much the same deal, except it's all chocolate. A chocolate cookie with dark chocolate chunks, and dipped in chocolate for good measure. Also, they appeared to be following the classic Maryland recipe, none of this soft baked or gooey shenanigans, so what could go wrong?

These are good cookie, on the whole. It's a lot of chocolate, but it's all utilised pretty well. The texture is great, a nice crunch with a good amount of crumbliness, and the chocolate flavour of the cookies works pretty well, not overly sickly. The chocolate coating is a nice touch, and helps round off the overall chocolate flavour. I would say there's perhaps too much chocolate going on here, especially in the form of the dark chocolate chunks, which adds a twist of bitterness that brings the sickliness up a notch. It's a minor thing, but if just one of the chocolate elements wasn't here this would probably be a more balanced cookie. These are still good though, the best Maryland product I've tried in a while, so they're well worth seeking out.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 7 November 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Black Forest Cookies

Another festive bakery offering from Tesco today, and this one is definitely more seasonal than the red velvet muffins I looked at the other day. They follow the same theme as the other filled cookies that have popped up in previous years, except the cookies are chocolate and the filling is cherry jam, hence the black forest. How very festive.

Despite them being more Christmassy in nature, I can't say I enjoyed these more than the red velvet muffins. The chocolate cookies are okay, chewy and quite flavoursome, but a little bland and dry. The jam goes some way to alleviate it, but there's not all that much of it, and it's quite dark and not all that sweet. The cookie tends to overwhelm it, and overall it's quite a dry experience. A chocolate cookie with a hint of fruit, but just not that tasty overall. Hopefully some of the other bakery goods will put me more in the festive spirit.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Today's Review: Kopparberg Spiced Apple Cider

I do enjoy a good seasonal cider, they mostly turn up around the summertime, but Kopparberg have one that's primed for winter. Apparently this has been around for a while now, but this is the first time I've seen it. It's a classic apple cider, with some added cinnamon spice, and it includes instructions on how to properly heat it, so it can be enjoyed warm as the chill sets in. I can't say I'd ever had a warm cider, but I know it's a thing, so I figured I should give it a go to experience this bottle like they wanted me to. So in the pan it went, and soon I was enjoying a mug of warm, spiced cider.

It's not too bad, it has the classic, nice apple cider that you'd expect from Kopparberg at the base, crisp and flavoursome. The spice is an interesting addition, but I don't think it panned out all that well. It's a bit too much, and it makes the whole thing a little sickly, especially when served warm, it seems to bring the spice to the forefront and it's just not nice enough to carry the whole bottle. I wish there was more apple to balance it out, but even then I'm not sure if it would be a firm favourite. This did warm me up on a cold evening, but the taste left something to be desired. It's not an awful bottle, but it's not one I'll be trying again.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Today's Review: Tesco Red Velvet Muffins

All other festivities are pretty much out of the way, so from now on it's all Christmas, all the time, and Tesco have updated their bakery section to reflect it. There are a few new additions, but this one stood out the most to me, despite not being overly Christmassy. These are red velvet muffins, which consist of red sponge with a cream cheese flavoured filling, and finished with a nice snowy dusting.

Looks good, right? Well, it is. The sponge is great, nice and moist, a little heavy I guess, but it's not exactly pretending to be a light snack. The dusting on top adds another layer of sweetness, and overall it's a pretty great muffin. The cream cheese filling is not so perfect, it tastes kind of accurate, but it's a little too sweet, and at times there's not quite enough of it to make a perfect balance. It's a minor thing though, on the whole this is a nice twist on the regular muffin, and it's pretty delicious. Definitely worth picking up while we're in the season.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 4 November 2016

Today's Review: Bebeto Ice Cream

Bebeto is like the weird, foreign cousin of Haribo, except Haribo is also foreign, and they aren't related. I've stumbled across a few bags of Bebeto sweets before, but seeing as they're normally the same kind of sweets that Haribo pump out, I've regularly left them on the shelf. These ones are a bit different though, they're ice cream flavoured sweets, with both vanilla and strawberry tops. 

I say they're ice cream flavoured, but I'm not entirely convinced. The bag proudly states they have real fruit juice, but surely the only fruit juice needed would be strawberry, so I'm not sure what else they've pumped in there. To be fair, the pink tops do have a strawberry like flavour, and the vanilla ones have something of a creaminess to them, but they're all a bit ruined by the cone part. I have no idea what it's supposed to taste like, but they don't taste like ice cream cones, and they also don't taste like any fruit I've eaten. If I had to describe it, I'd say it tastes like the colour brown. If you can't quite understand that, imagine a taste incorporating elements of dirt, cardboard, and other brown things. You're probably still confused, so I'll just say it's not nice. So while the tops of these sweets have some saving graces, it's all ruined by whatever the hell they put into the cones. Not a good bag of sweets, this is not the one to go to for your ice cream fix.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Today's Review: Costa Lindt Hot Chocolate

The Christmas drinks are out at Costa, and it looks like a fairly decent lineup this year. I'm sure I'll make my way through them all before the season is out, but to start with I couldn't resist the call of a Lindt hot chocolate. Unlike the other hot chocolate varieties, this one only comes in a cortado size, which was seemed a little cheap, but I assumed it just might be too decadent to be served in a regular size cup.

This is very chocolatey, I'll give it that. It's a little dark, and has a nice, slightly frothy texture to it, but the flavour does remind me of Lindt chocolate. As far as the size goes, I'm not sure this is amazing enough that it can only be served in smaller portions, so I don't see why they're only doing it in this size. It's a little sickly, sure, but it's not that bad. Despite it tasting like Lindt, it's not the same experience as having one of their truffles, and at the end of the day this is still a hot chocolate, just one with a little extra goodness. So while it's nice, it's not so nice that I'm willing to pay almost £3 for a cup that small. I'm glad I tried it, but I won't again.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Today's Review: Kingsmill Honey, Oat & Red Berry Toasties

I tried out the mixed berry flavour of these Toasties the other day, and while I didn't find them all that great, I figured I'd give them another go with this honey, oat and red berry variety. They still have the berries, but I thought the addition of honey would make them a bit less dry, and add a nice flavourful kick. These toasties are the same as before, pop them in the toaster, tear them in half and have a quick breakfast.

I don't think I get on with these. The honey is a noticeable addition, but it's not all that well implemented. It's present in some places but not others, and while it's a nice sweet taste when it's there, it doesn't do much to alleviate the dryness of the bread. The berries provide a little bit of moisture, but seeing as they're sharing the limelight with the honey, there aren't as many of them as in the mixed berry variety. I can't help but feel disappointed, these will fill you up quickly in the morning, but they're not great. A slightly fruity, sweet, but mostly bland breakfast alternative.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Today's Review: Oreo Split Pot Yoghurt

Oreo's a big thing over here nowadays. Oreo cheesecakes, Oreo milkshakes, as well as the many varieties of cookies lining the shelves. Now it seems they want to move into the yoghurt market, with this split pot, featuring a vanilla yoghurt with a helping of Oreo crumb. Simple idea, but it's a good one.

Let's start with the crumb, because we know that's good, and it is good. It's authentic Oreo chunks, and the flavour carries over well, a nice, bold, chocolatey taste that everyone can identify with. As for the yoghurt, well, it's vanilla yoghurt, there's not much more to it than that. I understand that the creme in an Oreo is vanilla flavoured, but in that case I was hoping for something that tastes more like the proper Oreo creme, instead of a generic vanilla flavour. It kind of sours the experience. I mean, it's not bad, but it doesn't lend to the Oreo taste, so we're just left with the cookie crumb holding this entire pot up. A pretty average offering, I was expecting something a bit more.

My rating: 3/5