Monday, 14 April 2014

Ritter Sport Cookies & Cream and Meringue Nuts

I've been getting my chocolate fix a bit early this year thanks to Steffi and our recent Grocery Exchange. As a fan of Ritter Sport I was excited to try these two varieties from the Spring 2014 range; Cookies & Cream and Baiser Nuss (Meringue Nuts).

First up, the Cookies & Cream which is a flavour that was released as a Spring limited edition last year, and that I somehow failed to try. I'm always drawn to "cookies & cream" chocolates so I was keen to put that to amends this year!

The Ritter Sport Cookies & Cream is identical to most chocolate bars of this type in having a vanilla cream centre with chocolate cookie pieces. The textures were all excellent, with a smooth chocolate and vanilla cream, coupled with plenty of crunch from the biscuits. The vanilla flavour is quite strong and reminiscent of a vanilla milkshake, whilst the cookie pieces were sweet, but in comparison didn't really add much flavour. It's still an enjoyable chocolate, but more of a crunchy vanilla flavoured bar rather than a cookies & cream one. 

Next up is the new Baiser Nuss which provides the unusual combination of meringue pieces and roasted hazelnuts in a milk chocolate. 

The chocolate is packed full of crumbly meringue and crunchy nut pieces. Steffi had described this bar as a love it or hate it type of chocolate, and luckily enough we all enjoyed it. I can understand why some might not like it as the meringue pieces make this a very sugary sweet chocolate bar. However, I found that the robust flavour of the roasted hazelnuts more than made up for the sweetness of the meringue, creating an unusual but tasty harmony of flavours. 

Many thanks again to Steffi for sending these out! If you'd like to find these bars in the UK then I highly recommend Monster Sweets for all your Ritter Sport needs here:

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ritter Sport Cookies & Cream and Baiser Nuss

RATING: Cookies & Cream: 7 out of 10, Baiser Nuss 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Review: New Toffee Crisp Cereal

I was recently sent a box of the new Nestlé Toffee Crisp Cereal as part of a Bzzagent campaign. I had been meaning to buy this cereal for a weeks now so I was pleased to be asked to give it a try. It's described simply as a crispy toffee and chocolate cereal, and has been released partly due to the success of the Lion Cereal (still haven't tried that one!). 

I'm not a big eater of this type of cereal myself, I tend to stick to porridge or muesli in the morning. However, I have been known to snack on chocolate cereal from time to time (without milk in a bowl), and this Toffee Crisp cereal is perfect for that! I enjoyed the larger crispy cereal pieces that are coated in a caramel flavoured chocolate. The caramel flavour here is very sweet but with a lovely creamy edge. The smaller toffee balls are quite unusual for a cereal as they are coated in a soft caramel paste layer. 

Overall, it's a tasty snack and one that successfully recreates the flavours of a Toffee Crisp chocolate bar in cereal form. Personally I wouldn't want to eat it with milk, but my eldest son does enjoy it this way and gives it a thumbs up! It's interesting to not that Nestlé are marketing this as the first chocolate cereal for adults, as it was definitely more popular with the junior members of Grocery Gems. Let me know in the comments what you think of this cereal :)

Grocery Gems Verdict: Toffee Crisp Cereal

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition: 187 calories (per 30g with semi-skimmed milk). 
Purchased: Available at most supermarkets.
Price: £2.49p.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Review: Lay's Kyushu Seaweed Flavor Potato Chips

Hong Kong has long been on my wish list of dream destinations, and I was so excited when Mr. Grocery Gems had the fantastic opportunity of taking a trip there a few weeks ago. As you would expect he brought home lots of interesting snacks! I keep meaning to do a blog post about his "Hong Kong Snack Haul" so watch this space. In the meantime I had to blog about one of the most awesome products he found, these Lay's Kyushu Seaweed Flavor (no U on purpose there!) potato chips. 

This flavour has been around for a few years in some parts of the world. My pack has Product of Taiwan on the back and is distributed in Hong Kong and Singapore. I wasn't sure what to expect from the flavour "Kyushu Seaweed", especially since my only reference point for seaweed as a food is the fried sugary "seaweed" that Chinese takeaways sell. 

The crisps themselves are golden and crunchy, with the same texture as Walker's crisps (the UK equivalent of Lay's). There is a generous seasoning of finely shredded seaweed on each of the potato crisps, giving these a lovely strong flavour. The initial taste is quite sweet, just like the takeaway seaweed, with a salty soy sauce and garlicky flavour to follow. This is joined by a hint of fishiness, which sounds like it should be awful, but just seems to really work here. In fact, these crisps are incredibly moreish and satisfying. If I saw these for sale again (any import shops stock them?) I would absolutely want to purchase a few more packs.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Lay's Kyushu Seaweed

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition: 137 calories per 25g.
Purchased: In Hong Kong.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Quick Review: Maynards Discovery Patch Myths & Monsters

A quick review of these new Maynards Discovery Patch sweets. There are three varieties to choose from; Body Bits, Animals (reviewed by The Review Addict here) or Myths & Monsters. I had assumed that my boys would want to try the Body Bits sweets but they actually choose the Myths & Monsters as the most interesting of the bunch. I was quite curious myself to see which mythical creatures would be depicted in candy form!

There were only five different shaped sweets in our bag; Mermaid, Unicorn, Yeti, Dracula, and a dragon (or perhaps the Loch Ness Monster?). The sweets varied between jelly sweets, foam backed sweets or full foam sweets. They all had pleasant, but quite generic fruity flavours, such as strawberry, apple, and blackcurrant. There were quite a few milky vanilla flavoured Yeti monsters in our pack too. My kids enjoyed these but I did find them to have quite an old fashioned type of taste and texture, a bit like Wine Gums, rather than Haribo. They're not my favourite type of sweets but I would probably still try the other varieties in the range.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Maynards Discovery Patch

Rating: 7 out of 10.
Purchased: Tesco
Price: £1.00 (special offer across the Maynards range).

Monday, 7 April 2014

German Snack Megapost - Grocery Exchange Part 2!

Last year I took part in a brilliant grocery exchange with Steffi, a lovely reader and fellow snack fan from Germany. We both enjoyed the experience (it was so much fun choosing what to send!) and we agreed to do it all over again! You can find the details of our first Grocery Exchange HERE. Safe to say I had a great time taking part again! Take a look at all the wonderful goodies Steffi sent me and a few quick reviews. There will be more reviews once I've devoured more of the contents! I've also included a photo of what I sent to Steffi at the end of this post.

Ritter Sport Cookies & Cream and Baiser Nüss: I'll start with the Cookies & Cream because it was the one product that I asked Steffi to include if she could find it. I love anything Cookies & Cream inspired and being such a fan of Ritter Sport Chocolate, so this is one I had to try. Steffi also included a new bar from Ritter Sport, Baiser Nüss, which is an interesting meringue and nuts combination. I'll have a review of both of these soon!

Haribo Sweets: I loved the liquid filled Haribo Cola Bottles that Steffi sent me in our last swap so I was thrilled to find some more Haribo in the parcel.

The Haribo Bärchen Päachen are completely adorable! They are cute little bear couples that are holding hands and are sour on one side and sweet on the other (Steffi's brilliant description!). There was lots of oohing and aahing when I showed these to my family, and I had to take very quick photos as everyone was so eager to give these a try! There are six fruity flavours; apple, orange, lemon, cherry, blueberry and blackcurrant. The bear on the left of each pair is the sour one. They're not too sour but but each one has a completely different flavour from the sweet side of the pair. Isn't it just such a clever idea?

The Haribo Jogi Fari are yogurt animal shaped sweets. Steffi tells me these are new and already very popular in Germany. I can see why, as they taste absolutely delicious! There is a varied mix of fruity flavours; apple, pineapple, apricot, strawberry, cherry and passion fruit. The white pineapple flavoured ones were my favourites, so fruity and sweet but with a pleasant yogurt kick too.

Milka Brezel Time: Steffi made the valid point that most new German Milka bars are quite similar to Cadbury products we can already get in the UK, but she still managed to find me a brilliant exception. I had to exert real willpower not to just crack this open straight away. I love Milka chocolate and this one sounds so good - salty pretzels in milk chocolate. Review coming soon!

Jumpys: Another cute snack! These are paprika flavoured potato snacks that are kangaroo shaped! Steffi tells me that these have been around for a long time and she remembers them fondly from her school days. I had sent some llama shaped snacks in my parcel so it made me smile that we both selected animal shaped savoury snacks!

And, oh my goodness, these are so tasty I could just devour the whole bag in one sitting! The Jumpys are hollow potato snacks with a wonderfully crunchy texture, very similar to crisps. The flavour is of a sweet paprika rather than smokey one, making them incredibly moreish. I need to find a shop near to me that stocks these!

Alnatura Nougat Oster Tierchen: The ingredients in these Alnatura Easter shapes are wonderful in their simplicity. They're made from; organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, hazelnuts (13%), milk powder and cocoa mass. I'm going to save these gorgeous looking organic chocolates for Easter. 

Vivani Weisse Mango Cocos: I was so happy to see this Vivani chocolate bar included in the parcel! I've actually tried this one before and it's a heavenly combination of white chocolate with mango and coconut. A real gourmet treat of a chocolate bar.

Dinkelchen: These are little organic spelt cookies covered in chocolate. I don't think I've ever had a spelt cookie before so I'm looking forward to these! Steffi recommends them for snacking but also for adding to muesli with fresh or dried fruit. I've been eating muesli for breakfast everyday recently so I'll definitely be giving that suggestion a try.

Hitschler Apfel Schnüre: Hitschler is a sweets manufacturer based in Cologne. Steffi included these especially for my boys and it was a spot on choice because they were super excited when they saw these! Apparently these Schnüre (laces) are often used to make "nests" of grass for giving sweets and chocolates at Easter. It's so close to Easter now that I decided to save these sweets for that very purpose. I'll hopefully share some photos before they all get eaten :)

Since Steffi doesn't have a blog I took a quick photo of the parcel I sent to her before packing it up (don't worry it won't spoil the surprise as she's already received it!). There were quite a few smaller snacks but some of the main items were; Propercorn Coconut & Vanilla, Eat Natural Almond & Apricot bars, Chokablok Banoffee Bonanza, Prestat Cinnamon Chocolate, Yu! Snacks, Nakd Crunch bar, some M&S Easter sweets, and a few other bits and pieces.

A massive THANK YOU to Steffi for another awesome Grocery Exchange! I love everything that I received and the products are all ones that I would buy for myself and my family if I went to Germany! That's it for now but look out for some upcoming reviews from this yummy swap! :)

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