1 Jul 2016

Degustabox June Review & £7 Discount Code!

The June Degustabox arrived last week and I was super excited to find that it was a BBQ themed box. There are plenty of groceries  inside for serving up summery dishes as well as plenty of new treats too!

Discount Code: BLDEG15

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, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time.

The discount code has been increased and now offers a massive £7.00 off, bringing the cost to £6.99 delivered. Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the discount code: BLDEG15

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in the June BBQ Degustabox:

Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn: I was pleased to find a large bag of the new Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn in this month's Degustabox as I've been meaning to give it a try. It's a yummy combination of light air-popped corn with a creamy yogurt coating. It's extremely sweet and tastes more like white chocolate than yogurt, but we still managed to polish off most of the bag in one sitting! 

Amoy Coconut Milk: This is a useful store cupboard ingredient to have. Amoy Coconut Milk is sourced from plantations in Thailand and is made from ripe, fresh coconuts. It can be used to add flavour to many types of traditional Asian dishes such as Thai curries. I'll be using this one to make a creamy chicken Korma.

Haywards Silverskin Onions: It wouldn't be a BBQ themed box without some kind of pickles. These Silverskin Onions are small pickled onions with a sweet and tangy flavour. I'm not really the biggest fan of pickled onions but Mr GG enjoyed them!

Smooze Mango & Coconut: I first reviewed Smooze Fruit Ices back in 2013 and I absolutely loved the range. Take a look at my full review HERE. I'm so pleased that these all natural fruit ices are now easier to find in the shops. They're so creamy and delicious but best of all they are free from all major allergens and are suitable for vegans. The Mango & Coconut is my favourite flavour too!

Wychwood King Star: A craft lager from the Wychwood brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire. It's described as being full bodied with a delicate balanace and hint of sweetness. My dad certainly gave it the thumbs up! This is for those receiving the alcoholic Degustabox option. 

Sacla Pesto Pots: A pack of four single serve mini pots of Pesto. These are useful for whipping up an easy and super fast individual meal. My kids are both fans of Sacla Pesto so I'm sure this will come in handy for when I need to make a quick meal.

Destrooper - Olivier Belgian Butters: These Butter Waffle Crisps are made in Belgian using the best ingredients. They have a deliciously buttery flavour and are perfect with tea or coffee. Most of the biscuits in my box were a bit crushed but luckily the broken ones were still good for sprinkling over vanilla ice cream or yogurt. I'll definitely be tracking down some more of this range from Waitrose.

Bakedin Chocolate Mug Brownie Mix: This little pot contains enough mix to make one Mug Brownie. Apparently it takes just 60 seconds in the microwave. I'm going to giving this a try later today and I'll update on here.

Branston Spicy Tomato Relish: This tomato relish has a nice spicy kick to it that is great with burgers (see below) or hot dogs. It's also a nice alternative to tomato ketchup. I enjoyed the spicy flavour here which is balanced by the sweetness of the relish.

Schwartz American Smokehouse Homemade Burger Mix: This is an easy way to create burgers at home. Simply add to mince, shape the burgers and grill. The American Smokehouse flavour here is delicious and gives the burgers a tasty sweet and smokey flavour. We also enjoyed it with the Branston Spicy Tomato Relish above.

Zeo Cloudy Lemon: Zeo is a range of drinks that combines fruit extracts with a blend of botanicals. I've tried a few of their drinks before and found the flavours to be a bit hit and miss. However, I did enjoy this one, it has a refreshingly tart and unique flavour.

Overall I was really pleased with the selection in the June Degustabox. My favourites this month were the Butterkist Popcorn, Schwartz Burger Mix, Smooze Fruit Ices and the Belgian Butters biscuits.  If you're a subscriber then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox selection in the comments below.

For more details on Degustabox:

Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DegustaboxUK
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DegustaboxUK

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

22 Jun 2016

Review: CaféPod Coffee Pods (Nespresso Compatible) & 20% Discount Code

I reviewed the CaféPod range of capsules in 2014 (see review HERE) but earlier this year they've undergone a rebrand and redesign. Not only are the innovative boxes much sleeker but more importantly there is now more coffee per pod and stronger flavours overall. 

Discount Code


If you haven't given CaféPod a try before or haven't tried their coffee for awhile then it might be time to rediscover the range. CaféPod have offered my readers 20% off any coffee purchase for first time customers, excluding subscription. It's valid until 30th September, with one use per customer. 
Just use the code GROCERYGEMS20 at the checkout.

I was sent four CaféPod varieties to try out; two from their Single Origins range, Sumatra and Colombia, and two of their strongest blends, the Ristretto and the Supercharger. I did find that all the blends were much stronger than the first time I tried this range. I also preferred the new box design. They're about half the size of the previous boxes so are much easier to stores. I also liked the easy-open design and dispenser.

CaféPod Colombia: This was one of my favourites of the four. It produced a wonderfully thick crema on top of each cup of coffee. The flavour is satisfyingly strong but with a silky smooth blend which is just how I like my coffee. 

CaféPod Sumatra: The Sumatra blend is even stronger than the Colombia but still without any bitterness. The crema was not as thick but the overall flavour was robust and rich. It's smooth enough to enjoy with or without milk and I didn't need to add any extra hot water.

I was excited to try out the new updated CaféPod Ristretto and also the awesome looking Supercharger. I love the bright orange box with the battery charger symbols on the back - exactly what I need in the morning! 

CaféPod Ristretto: I enjoyed the previous CaféPod Ristretto but I have to admit that this one is definitely stronger. It has a full bodied flavour and I prefer it with the addition of milk. It's also great as a base for lattes.

CaféPod Supercharger: This is the newest addition to the CaféPod range and their first capsule with a 12 intensity. Funnily enough I actually found this blend to have a smoother and more mellow flavour than some of the others. It definitely has an intense coffee kick but the overall flavour is lovely and smooth. I usually find the higher intensity Nespresso pods too intense and bitter for me but that's not the case here.

Overall, I was really impressed with the improvements to the CaféPod range. I didn't find any of their coffees to be weak tasting (which I did for a few of them last time). It's definitely worth a try for anyone who loves coffee - there's a great Taster Pack on their website which includes eight different blends. 

I used a Nespresso Inissia machine (the type with a lever that is pushed down) for this review and tried each coffee with and without milk (just a very small amount of almond milk).

PR Samples. 

21 Jun 2016

Review: New Kellogg's Special K Nourish

Special K Nourish cereal is a nutritious combination of multigrain flakes, wheat bran flakes, clusters and seeds. There are three flavours available; Nourish Dark Chocolate & Coconut, Nourish Dark Berries (Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries & Redcurrants) and Nourish Nuts & Seeds (Hazelnuts, Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds). The Special K Nourish range is also high in fibre (6g per 100g) and is a source of Vitamin D and Vitamin B2.

Special K Nourish Dark Berries: This is the flavour that appeals to me the most and the one that I would normally choose for myself. It's a fruity combination of freeze dried blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants with oat, rye and seed clusters and multigrain flakes. There is a generous amount of fruit pieces within the cereal which add a tart fruity flavour. The oat & seed clusters are not as plentiful but do add flavour without being excessively sweet. Overall, this cereal is quite similar to my favourite Special K Berries but the added clusters and seeds provide an extra boost of flavour. 

Special K Nourish Dark Chocolate & Coconut: This was my favourite flavour of the three. I wouldn't normally go for a chocolatey cereal but the combination with the crispy coconut pieces is really delicious. The dark chocolate curls are not too sweet but add a lovely hit of flavour to each bite. The coconut and chocolate work well with the crispy clusters which are made with wholegrain grains such as oats, wholewheat rice and barley and also linseeds and sunflower seeds. 

Special K Nourish Nuts & Seeds: This is a combination of hazelnuts almonds and pumpkin seeds with crisp flakes and clusters. There's a good amount of small toasted almond pieces and sunflower seeds within the cereal which taste delicious with the wheat bran flakes and the sweet multigrain flakes. There didn't seem to be as many hazelnuts (unless they have all fallen to the bottom of the pack) and I would have preferred a few more, but I still really enjoyed their crunchy texture and nutty flavour. 

Overall this is a tasty range from Kellogg's Special K. The addition of bran flakes alongside the multigrain Special K flakes makes it extra appealing. It's a nice alternative to regular bran flakes rather than as a replacement for granolas etc. There are more flakes than the 'added' ingredients so this is really for people who enjoy bran flakes rather than super sweet or heavy cereals. The range of flavours is great too: I especially enjoyed the fruity and chocolatey varieties whilst Mr. GG preferred the nutty, seed combination.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Special K Nourish

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Calories (per 40g serving): Berries - 150; Chocolate - 160, Nuts - 162. 

PR Samples. 

16 Jun 2016

Degustabox May Box Review & £6 Discount Code

The May Degustabox was a real treat and absolutely packed full with a varied mix of surprise foodie products, including some perfect picks for barbecues and warmer days (which we're sure to get eventually, right?). 

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. Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the discount code: BLDEG15

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in May's Degustabox:

Pomegreat: Made only using the Wonderful variety of pomegranates grown in Californian orchards, Pomegreat is a gorgeously sweet and refreshing juice. It's bursting with unique flavour and everyone in the family enjoyed this tasty juice.

Cranes: This is a 4% alcoholic drink that is brewed from crushed cranberries and flavoured with added juice. It's available in three fruit flavours: Original Cranberry, Raspberry & Pomegranate, and Strawberry & Kiwi. Cranes is  made with 100% natural ingredients and is high in juice and low in calories (99 calories). The combinations are light and fruity with a refreshing edge. 

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Barbecue Glaze: Barbecues are very popular in the Grocery Gems household at this time of year and this Jack Daniels glaze is exactly the kind of product that Mr. GG likes to stock up on! The sweet and sticky glaze can be used on ribs and chicken wings or even used as a dip for wedges and veggies. We used it to marinade some chicken wings and they were absolutely full of flavour and delicious.

Beloved Dates: This Date nectar is made from 100% pure dates and nothing else. It's described as perfect as a topping on porridge, pancakes or as an alternative to sugar in home baking. The flavour is quite rich with a burnt sugar type caramel taste. I've enjoyed it on porridge, although a little goes a long way as it's quite sweet. I have the Deliciously Ella cook book and she uses a lot of dates in her recipes so I'm planning to try this Date Nectar out as a replacement.

Mrs Crimble's Gluten Free Classic Madeleine: I was so excited to find these included in the Degustabox. Not only are they gluten free but they're also free of milk ingredients or butter, which is perfect for me.

There are six individually wrapped cakes in each pack, which is ideal for freshness, but I have to be honest these didn't last very long! Each cake has a light and slightly crumbly texture with all the classic vanilla flavour of a traditional Madeleine cake. Apparently these are stocked at Tesco and I'll be adding these to my online orders in future. Perfect with a good cup of coffee.

Get Fruity: These bars contain lots of fruit mixed with gluten free oats and virgin coconut oil with no added refined sugars. They're suitable for vegans and also count towards your five a day. I don't think I've ever tried a fruit bar exactly like this one. The combination of the strong strawberry flavour with the softly chewy oats is absolutely delicious. It's essentially an extra fruity flapjack and I just loved it. I highly recommend trying to track these down and it's easy to see why this is an award-winning product.

The Wonderful Company: There were two snack packs including in the May Degustabox; Pistachios and Almonds. Both types of nuts are sun-ripened in Californian orchards which apparently gives then a high quality taste. They're certainly full of flavour with a lovely, crunchy texture. 

Garofalo Bucati Corti: I've been a fan of Garofalo pasta ever since I tried it in a previous Degustabox and I always add a few packs with any Ocado order. It seems that not all pastas are created equally as this one has a superior flavour and texture compared to my usual supermarket brands of pasta. The Garofalo Bucati Corti has a springy corkscrew shape when cooked which my kids just loved!

Brioche Pasquier: This is the Degustabox Product of the Month. These croissants are free from preservatives, hydrogenated fats and artificial colours. It might not look like the most exciting product but these croissants are wrapped in pairs which means they stay fresher for longer and are perfect for lunch boxes. I've been looking for something like this for ages so thank you Brioche Pasquier!

Kallø: Another great product for on the go snacking are these rice and corn cakes from Kallø. The Yogurt Coated Rice Cakes are made with wholegrain brown rice and coated in a sweet yogurt layer. The Belgian Milk Chocolate corn cakes are coeliac friendly and contain 78 calories per corn cake. These are very satisfying as a sweet treat and I enjoyed the lighter texture and flavours. 

Overall I was really impressed with the selection in the May Degustabox. It's hard to pick the favourites this month as I loved all the products but the highlights are the Get Fruity bar, Brioche Pasquier, and Mrs Crimbles cakes.  If you're a subscriber then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox selection in the comments below.

For more details on Degustabox:

Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DegustaboxUK
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DegustaboxUK

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

14 Jun 2016

Review: Valsoia Gelato Ice Cream Sandwich (Vegan)

Ocado has recently started stocking Valsoia products which offer a range of vegan ice creams and frozen products from Italy. There is a vegan pizza, a vegan Nutella-style hazelnut spread and several different ice creams available. I decided to add the Valsoia Ice Cream Sandwich to a recent Ocado order just to test out the range.

There are eight ice cream sandwiches in the box and each one is individually wrapped. The ice creams all look very impressive, they're a decent size, with a golden biscuit outer and separate halves of chocolate and vanilla ice creams within. The biscuit layers are very soft and easy to eat with a lovely rich flavour. The ice cream is also very flavourful with a surprisingly creamy texture. The vanilla side is super sweet whilst the chocolate ice cream has a richer, darker flavour. I loved the combination of biscuit and ice cream here and the flavours are all spot on. These are perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike.

I also tried one of the Valsoia Magnum-style ice creams (no photos sorry - but see Ocado HERE) and although I enjoyed the dark chocolate flavour and creamy ice cream, I found the chocolate coating to be very brittle which made it quite difficult to eat. I'll definitely be sticking with the Valsoia Gelato Sandwiches but I'm also keen to try more from this range.

Grocery Gems Review: Valsoia Gelato Sandwiches

Rating: 9 out of 10.
Buy it again: Yes.
Purchased: Ocado.
Price: £2.69p for 8.

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