Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Snack & Shopping Haul from Cartagena, Colombia


A family friend recently visited the beautiful city of Cartagena in Colombia. Luckily for me they also brought back an impressive array of treats for everyone. Apparently there were lots of grocery stores and supermarkets dotted around so it was easy enough to pick up Colombian brands. I must admit that when I go abroad this is one of the things I find most interesting and I always bring back a few groceries!  


Juan Valdez Vanicanela & Chocolate Café Colombiano: Colombia is famous for it's coffee production but I hadn't actually heard of this brand before. Juan Valdez is actually a popular coffeehouse chain in Colombia and I was lucky enough to try out a few of their flavoured instant coffees, a Chocolate flavour and the Vanicanela which is a blend of vanilla and cinnamon. These coffees are both absolutely delicious with natural flavours rather than being too artificial or overpowering. The Vanicanela is gorgeous with a delicate vanilla flavour and a hint of authentic cinnamon. The Chocolate flavoured coffee is delicious too, so smooth and a perfect balance of flavours without being too sweet. 

Juan Valdez Cafés de Origen Gourmet Selection: I also received this lovely ground coffee gift set featuring gourmet coffees from different regions of Colombia. We've been making these in a cafetiere each morning and they really provide a great kickstart to our day! All the varieties we've tried so far have created a smooth tasting, perfect cup of coffee.


Jet Chocolate: Jet is the most popular candy bar in Colombia and was apparently easy to find in a small supermarket near the hotel that my friend stayed in. They brought back two varieties, the original milk chocolate and a new Cookies & Cream version. The milk chocolate Jet was not really edible as the chocolate itself had a sour 'off' flavour. I'm not sure if this was because it had suffered some heat damage or if it's just too similar to Hershey's for my taste. In contrast, the Jet Cookies & Cream is a white chocolate and Oreo-type cookie confection that was much tastier and enjoyed by all.


Plantain Chips: I've always been a fan of plantain chips (see my reviews HERE and HERE) and these two are no exception. The NatuChips Platano Maduro had a lovely golden colour and rich fried flavour with a hint of salt, whilst the Turbana Chips had a delicious hint of Lime for added flavour.


NatuChips Yuca: Fried yuca is apparently popular in Latin American as a side dish and snack food. It's said to be a creamier and sweeter alternative to fried potatoes. I haven't had a chance to try this chip snack version yet but I'm really intrigued to try them - I'll update soon! 


Kellogg's Cinnabon: The supermarkets in Cartagena also had a lot of American groceries at very reasonable prices. I've been wanting to try this Kellogg's Cinnamon cereal for ages and it's impossible to get hold of in the UK (at least without paying a small fortune!). As a cinnamon fan, I really enjoyed this cereal and I wish Kellogg's would release it here too.


Wayuu Mochila Bags: Not food related, but you really can't go to Cartagena without buying one of the stunning handmade Wayuu bags - the more colourful and patterned the better! I also have one in black with a colourful strap that I wear more often, but this neon bright one just makes me happy to look at it!

I hope you enjoyed this Colombian shopping haul. A massive thank you to my lovely friend for utterly spoiling us all with these treats! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Degustabox April Review & Discount Code: Featuring new Popchips & Milkybar Chocolate


The latest Degustabox arrived this week and as always it was full of foodie treats, including a new and limited edition flavour of Popchips. 

Degustabox is a subscription service that promises to send out a big box filled with a surprise selection of groceries each month. Each Degustabox costs £12.99p but you can still get £6.00p off using the discount code below. Delivery costs are included in the price and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time.

£6 Discount Code: BLDEG15

Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with a massive £6.00 off, bringing the cost to £6.99 delivered. Enter the Discount Code: BLDEG15 

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in April's Degustabox (there are a LOT of photos!):


Popchips Limited Edition Sea Salt, Garlic & Rosemary: A large bag of new Popchips Sea Salt, Garlic & Rosemary. There is also a limited edition Popchips Sea Salt, Caramelised Onion & Thyme flavour, which some Degustaboxers may have received instead.


I'm a big fan of Popchips and this new flavour is just spot on. All the elements of sea salt, garlic and rosemary work together to create a delicious flavour. I especially love the strong rosemary combined with the garlic - just snacking perfection.


Veetee Rice: Two packets of microwaveable rice from Veetee in Wholegrain Brown Rice & Quinoa and Basmati. I do buy this brand of easy to make rice packets every once in a while. They're just so useful to have in the cupboard for those super busy days.


Levi Roots Jerk Coat 'n Cook Sauce: My son is already a fan of Levi Roots sauce so when he saw this packet he wanted to make it straight away. Since it's an instant sauce and doesn't need marinading I decided to give it a go with some chicken breasts. 



We had the chicken sliced with a colourful salad and sweet potatoes. The chicken only took about 25 minutes in the oven and was lovely and juicy. I'm always sceptical about instant marinades but the flavour worked well here and the chicken was delicious with a real spicy kick. 


Pimm's Cider Cup: A summery English Cider flavoured with Pimm's and a hint of strawberry and cucumber. It's great to enjoy now that the days are getting longer and warmer!


Bebeto Fruit Strings: This fruity snack has been awarded a Product of the Year award for their innovative use of fruit juice. They're also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 


These are so cute! There are 7 packs inside, each printed with a different day of the week. This will appeal to any kids (like mine) who like to keep things in order. I'll definitely get in trouble if I put in a Tuesday bag into the lunch box if it's actually Friday!


The flavours in the pack are Raspberry (2 bags), Apple (2 bags), Blackcurrant (1 bag), and Strawberry (2 bags). The texture is soft and chewy and all the flavours were really tasty - very sweet and fruity.


Green Lady Sparkling Tea: This is an interesting drink. It's a lightly sparking tea, made with Green Darjeeling tea leaves and the finest all natural ingredients. I like the fact that the ingredients list is so simple and includes flavourings such as nutmeg. 


Canderel Sugarly: This is described as a zero calorie sweetener that looks like granulated sugar and tastes like sugar. It can be used in hot drinks, on fruit and cereals and for baking. I'll be giving this a go for baking some low calorie banana bread. 


Smarties & MilkyBar: I'm always pleased to find some chocolaty treats inside the Degustabox and this month was no exception as I haven't tried either of these. 


Smarties Sharing Block:  A bar of sweet and creamy milk chocolate packed with colourful mini Smarties. This is a super sweet bar and definitely one for anyone with a sweet tooth! I could only eat a small amount of this at a time but I have to admit I did like the texture of the crunchy Smarties in the creamy chocolate.


Milkybar Milk & Crunchy: This is a new chocolate from Milkybar, a small sized bar for kids, in a fun cow shape. Each bar has a creamy and crispy centre covered in a layer of white chocolate. I couldn't resist having a sneaky one of these myself and I really enjoyed the creamy and sweet flavour.


Rejuvenation Water Apple & Mint: Rejuvenation is a spring water drink enriched with amino acid glutamine which has been shown to have benefits for the immune system and for stress, depression and anxiety. I can't speak for any of the health claims but I did enjoy the flavour of this drink. The apple and mint is an enjoyably sweet combination and a very refreshing one too. 


Parle: One of the things I love about writing this blog is discovering brands from around the world. I hadn't heard of this Indian brand before but apparently Parle-G are the largest selling biscuit brand in the world. 


Parle-G Biscuits: These biscuits are made with milk and wheat for 'all round nourishment'. They're simple biscuits with a sweet flavour and golden, buttery texture. These are lovely with hot drinks and a nice treat for little hands too.


Parle Rusk: These rusks are enriched with cardamom and have a surprisingly sweet flavour and light texture. I really enjoyed the flavour here - they're light and sweet which makes them absolutely perfect with tea.  If you've never tried these before then you should definitely give them a go.


Overall, I was delighted with the impressive selection in this month's Degustabox - it's one of my favourite boxes so far. I was especially pleased with the Popchips, Levi Roots sauce, Parle, Bebeto Fruit Strings and the Milkybar Milk & Crunchy.

For more details:
Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Chocolate Review Megapost: Gnaw Peanut Butter, Deluxe Banana Milk Chocolates & More!


A massive thank you to the wonderful +BringBack Banjo who recently sent me a massive box full of delicious chocolates and treats. Running the Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar takes a lot of time of effort but somehow BBBC manages to also keep her eye on spotting interesting new products. I always love her selections and this time was no different! 

Inside the parcel I found an awesome banana spread called I'm Bananas from The Wild Peanut, a Gnaw Peanut Butter chocolate, Snyder's Pretzel Pieces in Honey Mustard & Onion, a Twix Cappuccino, Chewits, Oh So Good Chocolate (no added sugar or dairy and with a boost of friendly bacteria), Tago Chocolate Muse (from Poland), Deluxe Banana Coated in Milk Chocolate, and Maui & Sons Dark Chocolate Coconut Chips.


Maui & Sons Dark Chocolate Coated Coconut Chips: Even though I love coconut, this isn't the sort of product I would usually go for. I think I would assume that the flavour would be a bit dry and boring, but I was happy to find that that's not the case!


Each dark chocolate coconut chip has a lovely crunchy texture that gives them an almost caramelised taste. The dark chocolate coating is really sweet but still has a strong chocolate flavour. Of course, the best part is the coconut flavour that comes through with each crunchy mouthful - it's sweet and just delicious. Even my kids couldn't get enough of this snack and they don't usually like coconut. I would definitely buy these in the future. Rating: 9 out of 10.


GNAW Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate: Gnaw is a range of handcrafted chocolates made in Norfolk. I love just how extensive the range is in terms of different flavours. As a fan of peanut butter I was excited to give this particular one a try. 


The Gnaw Peanut Butter is described as a milk chocolate with ground and chopped peanuts. There isn't any peanut butter as such in this bar, just little pieces of peanuts. The milk chocolate itself is very tasty, with a creamy flavour, but the little peanut pieces just provide a salty, peanut flavour rather than a 'peanut butter' one. It's still a tasty enough chocolate bar, especially for any peanut fans. Rating: 7 out of 10.

  
Lidl Deluxe Banana Coated in Milk Chocolate: I've often been tempted by the range of chocolate covered fruits in Lidl (such as the Deluxe Cherries Coated in Dark Chocolate) but I've never tried them before. I don't think I've ever seen this banana version or I would have snapped them up!


I'll be honest, I was quite shocked that these chunky chocolates were so dark inside - I was expecting a yellow coloured centre! Thankfully, the flavour is much tastier than I was expecting from appearances. The centre has a softly chewy texture and the whole thing has a deliciously sweet and ripe banana flavour. I really did enjoy these! They taste quite rich and satisfying, and the chocolate is very sweet, so I only eat one or two at a time, but I'll still be stocking up if I ever see these instore. Rating: 8 out of 10.

If you've tried any of the snacks in this post (or any of the products in the first photo) then I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Look out for the rest of the reviews from this parcel soon.

Another big THANK YOU to the wonderful @BringBack_Banjo 
Don't forget to take a look at the Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Facebook Page and please sign the petition here. There seems to be a trend for bring back retro snacks and chocolates so let's make it happen for Banjo Chocolate Bar too!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

New Instore: Asda Celebration Cakes, Mr Kipling Bumble Bee Slices & More


A few more new finds spotted instore.

Asda Una the Unicorn Cake (above): Asda always has the best celebration cakes but this unicorn cake might just top them all. It's so cute! £10.00p at Asda.


Asda George the Corgi Cake: This one just makes me smile. A cute little corgi cake topped with a crown. I think Asda have released this one with the Queen's upcoming 90th birthday celebrations in mind. £10.00p at Asda.



Asda Smash Cake: This is a new concept to me but it looks really fun. This large Smash Cake features a hollow chocolate dome, on top of the cake, which can be smashed to reveal lots of sweets. It's available in white chocolate or milk chocolate. £13.00p at Asda.


Asda Baby Elephant Cake: It was hard to get a good picture of this but it's a lovely looking cake - I really like the simple design and pretty pastel colours. £9.00p at Asda.


Barbie Party Cake: This is a super bright and colourful cake. Is it just me or is the design quite retro and 1980's looking? I missed the price on this one!


Batman Vs Superman Celebration Cake: There are two Batman Vs Superman themed celebration cakes available at Asda. This is the simpler one and features a fairly basic printed design on top. £10.00p at Asda.


Batman Vs Superman The Ultimate Showdown Celebration Cake: There is also this impressive looking, and much larger cake, with a chocolate logo on top and black and red capes to decorate. £20.00p at Asda.


Mr Kipling Bumble Bee Slices - Chocolate & Honey Flavour: This is such an interesting new flavour from Mr. Kipling. I love the dark brown and yellow striped pattern on each cake which is similar to the previous Mr. Kipling Tiger Slices. £1.50p at Asda.


Barny ABC Bears: These mini bear shaped biscuits look just as cute as the Barny Bear Cakes. They're available in Vanilla or Cocoa flavours. £1.00p at Asda.


Maryland Creations Choc Dipped Cookies: Maryland speciality cookies are being rebranded as 'Maryland Creations', alongside this new addition to the range, Choc Dipped - Dark Choc Chunk Cookies. £1.00p at Asda.


Asda Carrot Cake Puds: There lots of new cake themed desserts at Asda which come in twinpacks. Thank you to Fran T. who spotted the delish sounding Carrot Cake Puds. There are quite a few other varieties in this range also such as a Gingerbread Latte and Blueberry Muffin. £1.50p at Asda.

Asda Coconut Sublimes & Dessert Islands: These tropical flavours from the same range look delicious too!  £1.50p at Asda.

Many thanks again to Fran for the photo. If you spot anything new instore and fancy sending me a photo then let me know via email: grocerygems@gmail.com or Twitter: @grocerygems.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...