Friday, 21 November 2014

New Instore: More Christmas Treats & Santa's Reindeer Coke Bottles



Another round up of new products spotted instore.

Coca Cola Santa's Reindeer bottles: Coke bottles now have the names of Santa's reindeer on them. - such a cute idea. £1.25 at Morrisons. 


M&S Sage & Onion Stuffing Loaf: I'm thinking this sage and onion flavoured bread would make the ultimate Christmas leftovers turkey sandwich! There was also a sweet version available made with Cranberry & Raisins. £1.30p at Marks and Spencer.


M&S Mulled Wine Spiced Fruit Loaf: This is filled with sultanas and raisins soaked in mulled wine spices with sour cherries and ginger. I'm not really a fan of mulled wine but this is an interesting twist on that Christmas classic. £2.00 at Marks and Spencer.


M&S Mini Christmas Pudding Cakes: I also spotted a range of festive mini cakes at M&S. Each box was quite small but the cakes do look very cute. However, I'm totally put off by the ridiculously high pricing on some of these Christmas products - £4.00 for a tiny box of mini cakes? All these expensive ranges seem to be on a 3 for 2 offer. I'd prefer if they just had lower prices rather than higher prices that factor in the "free" product that I don't want. £4.00 at Marks & Spencer.


M&S Salted Caramel Hazelnut Diamonds: I like the idea of a salted caramel and hazelnut combination. But again, the price is very expensive for how small this packet is (they are mini cakes too). £4.00 at Marks and Spencer.


Haribo Limited Edition Smurf Chamallows: I've only seen these before from sites such as CyberCandy so I was surprised to find packs in my local 99p Stores. This Limited Edition is Smurfette themed and not only has the marshmallow Smurfs, but flower shapes too. Spotted at 99p Stores.


Comfort Creations Snowdrops & Winter Berries: I've been hooked on the Comforts Creations range ever since I tried their "Fine Fragrances" range (see review HERE). This new Winter Limited Edition bottle looks really pretty with it's wintery theme. £3.00p at Tesco.


Tesco Mince Pie Cookies: These look very indulgent - a mince pie filling in a bakery cookie! There was also a  white chocolate filled version available (just seen in the blue packaging above), called Melting Snowman White Chocolate Cookies. £1.00 for 5 at Tesco. 


Sainsbury's Christmas Meatballs: The frozen aisles are full of party food at the moment and most of it is the same old stuff that gets released every year. However, these Christmas Meatballs caught my attention - they look like little Christmas puddings! It's simply meatballs topped with mozzarella and a little green pesto, which makes me think these would be quite easy to recreate at home. £3.50p at Sainsbury's. 


Sainsbury's Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream Log: Also in the frozen aisles at Sainsbury's is this Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream log. This large family sized dessert looks like it's covered in hazelnuts - I'm sold! £5.00 at Sainsbury's. 


Sainsbury's Gingerbread Ice Cream: The trend for gingerbread flavours continues. I can't wait to try this Gingerbread Ice Cream as well as the Loaded Gingerbread Fudge ice cream from Asda (see HERE). £2.50p at Sainsbury's. 


Just Milk Lactose Free: I always buy Lactofree milk so it's nice to have a bit more choice in my local supermarket. This Lactose Free milk from Just Milk is a bit cheaper than Lactofree too. £1.10p at Sainsbury's. 


Tesco Turkey & Stuffing Weirdoughs: I've said before that I don't find the idea of wacky flavoured doughnuts appealing at all, so this product is definitely not for me. It's certainly an interesting flavour choice though and I'm sure these will be popular as a novelty snack. £1.00p at Tesco.

Thanks to Lucy W. for the next group of photos - she always manages to spot some awesome new finds. Thanks again Lucy!


Tesco Chocolate & Peppermint Muffins: Tesco have released quite a few of these more upmarket, coffee shop style muffins recently and it looks like they have added a few seasonal flavours into the range. I don't think I've ever had a chocolate & mint muffin before! They're quite pricey at £2.00 for 2 muffins.


Tesco Christmas Pudding Muffins: Another festive themed muffin. I wonder if these have filled centres or not? Also £2.00 for a twinpack at Tesco.


Tesco Free From Shakes: I really have to find these shakes - the flavours sound delicious! There is a Rich Coconut and Chocolate Shake and also a Smooth Coconut and Vanilla Shake. The latter looks especially appealing to me. Lucy tells me there was also a Coconut & Strawberry version too. Thanks Lucy for the photos! £0.60p each at Tesco.


Tesco Sprinkles Cinnamon & Vanilla Flavour: I also had a great find from Dan who emailed me about the new Cinnamon & Vanilla flavour sprinkles for coffee or hot chocolate at Tesco. I seriously cannot wait to find this instore! £0.99p at Tesco. 

Don't forget if you spot any new products in store please let me know via email - grocerygems@gmail.com. Thank you!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Taffy Mail - American candy & treats Subscription Box & Discount Code!


I've seen quite a few subscription boxes focusing on snacks from overseas but surprisingly enough never an American centred one. Thankfully, Taffy Mail is a new subscription box that fills the gap - offering a surprise selection of US candy and treats direct to your door each month. With Christmas fast approaching this would be a fantastic gift idea for the sweet tooth in your life!

DISCOUNT CODE: GROCERY2

Taffy Mail subscriptions usually cost £14.99 per month with FREE mainland UK postage and packaging. There is no contract or commitment involved - you can cancel at any time. Taffy Mail have very kindly offered my readers a discounted rate of £12.99 for your first THREE MONTHS! This discounted priced is usually only offered for new subscribers for their first month.

Simple enter the following code upon checkout: GROCERY2 


Here's a quick round up of what was in my Taffy Mail box:


A&W Root Beer: I love trying out different American sodas and this A&W Root Beer certainly looks like a classic. It's made with Aged Vanilla too which sounds very interesting!


Wonka Nerds  Wild Cherry/Watermelon: I've bought these a few times before from US import stores. They're moreish little fruit flavoured candies. 


Kellogg's Pop Tarts: The US gets the most awesome flavours of Pop Tarts compared to us in the UK. I'm always jealous of their fab seasonal offerings. The Taffy Mail contained a surprise silver foiled Pop Tarts duo - it was quite exciting opening it up without knowing what the flavour was going to be! I'm pretty sure this one is Hot Fudge Sundae - super sweet and very enjoyable.


Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme: I'm not usually a fan of Hershey's chocolate but the ONE exception is their Cookies 'n' Creme bar. After a trip to New York many years ago now, I became somewhat obsessed with this sweet confection! It was lovely to see this large bar in the Taffy Mail.


Nestlé Butterfinger: Another American classic chocolate bar. The Butterfinger is a crispy, crunchy peanut butter based treat. I thought I had reviewed this already but it turns out not to be the case - watch this space!


Pop Rocks Cotton Candy Flavour: Pop Rocks are apparently the worlds number one brand of popping candy. They're are lots of different flavours available but this Cotton Candy flavour looks fun.


Hard candies: There was also a selection of hard/chewy candies in the Taffy Mail box; Cow Tales Strawberry , Air Heads Blue Raspberry  and Jolly Rancher Cherry Stix. I haven't tried any of these before and they're all well known brands that I've wanted to try for ages.


Wonka Laffy Taffy: Three different flavours of Wonka Laffy Taffy; Cherry, Banana, and Sour Apple. It's great that the Taffy Mail actually included some Taffy candy!


Tootsie Roll: Finally there was a selection of iconic US candy Tootsie Rolls and two Tootsie Roll Pops - lollipops in Grape and Cherry flavours.

Overall I was delighted with the selection of US candy and treats in the Taffy Mail - my husband and kids were really excited too and I can definitely think of a few people in my family who would love to receive this as a gift! If you've subscribed to Taffy Mail then I'd love to hear your thoughts below - thank you :)

For more information check out: www.taffymail.co.uk
Follow on Twitter: @TaffyMail

PR Samples. 

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chips Ahoy! Chocolate Bar


Chips Ahoy! have long been my favourite brand of chocolate chip cookies, they just have the perfect crunchy yet melt in the mouth texture and sweet cookie flavour. I was so excited when I heard they had linked up with Cadbury to create a new chocolate bar! The Cadbury Dairy Milk Chips Ahoy! chocolate was released this summer, and it was about time I featured it on my blog - thank you to Cadbury PR for sending me a bar to try out!


The Cadbury Dairy Milk with Chips Ahoy! is described as milk chocolate with a biscuit flavour filling (38%) and chocolate chip pieces. It looks similar to the Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo, and since that's one of my favourite Cadbury chocolate bars, I couldn't wait to see how the Chips Ahoy! version would compare. By the way, the Chips Ahoy! cookies in the background above are the Original variety rather than the interesting flavours that were released in the UK recently (see my review of those HERE). 


The biscuit filling in the Cadbury Chips Ahoy! bar is utterly delicious with a sweet biscuity flavour that successfully recreates the famous chocolate chip cookies that it's based on. The generous layer of creamy biscuit filling is filled with little pieces of cookie and chocolate chips that add extra crunchiness and sweetness. The outer coating of sweet Dairy Milk chocolate is the perfect partner for the biscuity flavours and creates a satisfying sweet treat. The gorgeously simple combination of chocolate and creamy cookies ensures that the Cadbury Dairy Milk with Chips Ahoy! is just as tasty as I hoped it would be!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Dairy Milk Chips Ahoy!

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - already have!
Nutrition (per 3 chunks)
 85 calories.
Vegetarian: Not suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Available at most supermarkets.Tesco.
Price: £1.42p (but look out for special £1.00 offers).


Products sent for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

M&S Highland Burgundy Red British Potato Crisps


Marks & Spencer have their new food range of Christmas sandwiches and other treats in full swing at the moment. I've already covered quite a bit of the M&S Christmas food range, from their festive biscuit range to the lovely new Gingerbread Whirls. Whilst I was picking up a Christmas sandwich for lunch (it was a rare treat), I couldn't resist getting a pack of these new Highland Burgundy Red British Potato Crisps. The red and white packaging is so festive!


The crisps themselves were a much brighter, deeper red than I was expecting. They're made from Highland Burgundy Red potatoes which gives them their distinctive hue. The flavour is a simple "Lightly Salted" affair. At first I was disappointed that M&S hadn't given these crisps a festive flavour, however, the actual crisps are so delicious that I soon changed my mind. The sea salted flavour is perfectly combined with the natural sweetness of the red potatoes. These were the only festive crisps on sale in my local M&S but I have a feeling there are more flavours/varieties to come. I hope they are all as delicious as this one.


And for the curious, here's the Christmas sandwich I chose - Turkey & Roast Butternut Squash Stuffing. It's part of the M&S Count On Us lighter choices range and has 282 calories per pack. It was very tasty, especially considering it has almost half the calories of the M&S Christmas Turkey Feast sandwich. The filling was substantial with, turkey breast, roast butternut squash and bacon stuffing, cranberry chutney, lettuce, and herb mayonnaise. I would definitely buy it again.

Grocery Gems Verdict: M&S Highland Burgundy Red British Potato Crisps

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: I'd like to see bigger sharing packs for Christmas parties.
Nutrition: 200 calories per 40g pack.
Purchased: Marks & Spencer.
Price: £1.00p.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Nespresso Variations Limited Edition 2014: Apple Crumble, Mint Chocolate and Hazelnut Dessert


Last year Nespresso only released one new edition as part of it's flavoured Variations range (the Cioccorosso - see my review HERE), so I was especially excited to hear that this year it was back to business with the release of three new Variations. These new flavours; Apple Crumble, Hazelnut Dessert and Chocolate Mint, were released last week as limited editions and are available for the next few months. As with the other Nespresso flavoured coffees, these don't contain syrups or any calories, but instead are made by infusing the coffee itself with flavouring. 


The packaging is not exactly festive but it does feature a pretty silver lace design on the boxes and capsules. I have to admit that I rushed out on the day of release to pick up all three Variations, but you may notice that my review is quite late. That's because I've been having trouble getting along with any of these flavours. My first tastings were not good, apart from the Chocolate Mint, and I've had to experiment with different styles of coffee in order to get the best out of the flavours. 


Chocolate Mint: I'll start with the Chocolate Mint as this was easily my favourite of the three. As a simple lungo (with a little milk), the flavour was very similar to the Nespresso Ciocattino but with a little fresh minty burst at the end. The mint is not too overpowering and both the flavours, chocolate and mint, work together well. This was also my husbands favourite, and really the only one that he actually enjoyed. 


Hazelnut Dessert: This one has a stronger flavour than the Hazelnut Variation that was released in 2012 see my review (from the early days of my blog!) HERE. The new Hazelnut Dessert definitely has a rich hazelnut flavour with a sweeter almost cakey edge to it. Unlike the Chocolate Mint, I couldn't enjoy this one as a simple lungo or espresso. Even though the hazelnut flavour is well done, there is a bitter, almost artificial, aftertaste that I didn't like. However, it does work better as the base for lattes or with additional sugar or even syrup to take away the aftertaste and enhance the hazelnut flavours.


Apple Crumble: I was most intrigued to try the new Nespresso Apple Crumble Variation, it quite an unusual flavor combination for a coffee. It's described as evoking a "freshly baked apple crumble", but unfortunately I found flavour quite disappointing. There didn't seem to be any apple taste at all, let alone a baked apple crumble one. My husband thought this coffee had an almondy flavour rather than being fruity. Again, there was a strange aftertaste that I didn't enjoy. I tried adding sugar (which I don't usually take in coffee) which helped a little. This is another capsule that's destined to be the base for lattes and cappuccinos rather than enjoyed on it's own.


Overall, it's quite a muted response from the Grocery Gems household for the new Nespresso Limited Edition Variations 2014. On the one hand, I do like the Chocolate Mint, and would happily buy it again, but I'm very glad I only bought one box each of the other two flavours. I'd be interested to know if you've had a different experience with these capsules as opinion seems to be quite divided on the 2014 Nespresso Variations range!

A note on the flavourings and ingredients. The base coffee used in these capsules is the Livanto Grand Cru with an intensity of 6.  The ingredients only mention "apple crumble flavour", "hazelnut flavour", and "chocolate mint flavour" with no mention of whether the Nespresso Variations range uses natural or artificial  flavourings.


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