30 Apr 2014

New Cadbury Neapolitan Mini Rolls

Last year I reviewed the ice cream inspired range of Cadbury Mini Rolls (see my review HERE), which were not only flavoured like ice creams but could also be enjoyed frozen. The whole range has been given a packaging makeover and two of the original flavours, Raspberry Ripple and Mint Choc, are now joined by a new flavour - Neapolitan. This new variety combines the three flavours of Neapolitan ice cream (strawberry, chocolate and vanilla), through a strawberry and vanilla flavour creme centred sponge cake, covered in milk chocolate.

The inner packaging once again features Mini Rolls enjoying various summer activities. It's worth noting that each new pack now has 5 Mini Rolls rather than 6 - and yes, the price is still the same per pack. D'you remember the good ol' days (last year) when we used to get 6 Mini Rolls for our pound? Ah, them was the days!

I decided to stick a few of these Mini Rolls straight in the freezer, it only takes 2 hours before they are ready to enjoy as a frozen treat. Of course, they can also be eaten at room temperature. Once frozen the cakes retain a soft texture, whilst the outer chocolate is cold but does not become too hard. The pink centre is very creamy with a lovely strawberry and vanilla combination, and is the only part that really benefits from being frozen. The sweet strawberry and vanilla flavouring of this inner creme, coupled with the chocolate coating, do successfully recreate the flavours of a Neapolitan ice cream. Overall, I much prefer these to the regular Strawberry flavoured Cadbury Mini Rolls, the creaminess of the centre here is very tasty, whether frozen or not. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Mini Rolls Neapolitan:

Rating: 7 out of 10. 
Buy Again: Maybe.
Nutrition: 120 calories.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.00p each pack of 5 Mini Rolls.

29 Apr 2014

New McCain Roasted Garlic Wedges

I was recently sent a few packs of the new and limited edition McCain Roasted Garlic Potato Wedges to review. They're described as being made from specially selected potatoes and seasoned with roasted garlic for an added punch of flavour. 

Even before I had opened the packet to put them on a baking tray, I could smell the appetising roasted garlic from these wedges. They are unmistakeably garlicky! Once cooked they had a lovely golden colouring and appearance, consistent across all the wedges. The texture was crispy on the outside but still fluffy on the inside. The garlic flavour in these is just wonderful too, it has the robust and slightly sweet flavour of a roasted garlic, without being too overpowering. These are definitely the ideal potato wedges for serving up in a big bowl with some dips - they are especially gorgeous with extra garlic mayo on the side! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: McCain Roasted Garlic Potato Wedges

Rating: 9 out of 10
Purchased: Available at all major supermarkets.
Price: £2.00 (currently on half price £1.00 offer in Tesco).

27 Apr 2014

Degustabox April - Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code!

The April Degustabox arrived yesterday and I have to say it's my favourite box so far, although I'm sure I've said that every month! Degustabox is a surprise foodie subscription service that sends out an exciting selection of products from well known and new brands, all in a gorgeously packaged box. 

Discount Code:

Each Degustabox cost £12.99 a month, which includes delivery, with no fixed contract involved. Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with the following Discount Code for £3.00 off your next Degustabox, bringing the cost to £9.99 delivered. Enter the code - BRKNL

Here's a quick round up of all the products inside this months Degustabox.

Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks' Chocolate - Two large 150g bars of chocolate which have been specially created for baking. I've got these marked for baking some brownies this week! The Extra Dark Chocolate has minimum 72% Cocoa Solids, and the Milk Chocolate has 35% Cocoa Solids.

McVitie's Jaffa Cake Mini Rolls Tropicool and Berry Burst - These new mini rolls are perfect for warmer days as they can be popped in the freezer and enjoyed as a refreshing treat. They remind me of the Ice Cream Mini Rolls from Cadbury last year (see here). Full review coming soon.

Keogh's Atlantic Sea Salt & Irish Cider Vinegar Crisps - This gluten free range is available in the World Foods section of Tesco in the UK. Keogh's Farm is a family owned business and each bag of crisps can be traced back to the field that they came from. The crisps in my packet came from the Ballamadun field, using Lady Claire potatoes and were cooked by Margaret. Brilliant stuff and they tasted absolutely delicious too! The vinegar flavour in these is just perfect. 

Clearspring Miso Soup on the Go - Two individual servings of miso soup which is made simply by adding water. These are vegan friendly, low in fat, and ideal for a quick and healthy lunch. I'm a fan of miso soup so I'm looking forward to giving the Clearspring range a try.

Lindt Lindor - I was surprised to see three Treat Bars of Lindt Lindor milk chocolate included in the Degustabox. These velvety smooth chocolate bars will not last long in my house! 

Go Splash Blackcurrant - Go Splash is a simple way to create flavoured drinks on the go. Each tiny pocket sized bottle can apparently make 30 servings of flavoured water. I'll certainly be putting that to the test! It's a low calorie squash which means there is no added sugar, and is made using natural blackcurrant flavourings.

Crabbie's Alcoholic Raspberry Ginger Beer - Also available in Strawberry & Lime flavour. Crabbe's Alcoholic Ginger Beer is blended using steeped ginger and the finest exotic spices. An interesting addition to the Degustabox.

Mornflake Superfast Pots - Another product that can be enjoyed on the go. The Mornflake Superfast Pots contain "magic milk" - just add cold water and it will turn into milk. There are two varieties; Raisin, Honey & Almond Granola, and Fruit & Nut Muesli, and each comes complete with a handy spoon. I like the fact that these can be made with cold water, very useful for making a breakfast if you don't have access to a kettle or fresh milk. 

Cawston Press Rhubarb - This sparkling apple and rhubarb soft drink is made without preservatives, additives, colouring or artificial sweeteners. The ingredients list is reassuringly simple; Sparkling Water, Pressed Rhubarb Juice (12%), Pressed Apple Juice (8%), Sugar, Malic Acid, and Vitamin C. I was delighted to see this in the Degustabox as it's exactly the type of drink that appeals to me, especially the apple and rhubarb combination. I love the fact that it's made using pressed juice rather than concentrate. 

Once again I was very impressed with the overall selection in the Degustabox. This month is quite chocolate heavy (fine by me!) but also has a useful variety of on the go food and snacks. There isn't a product in this line up that I wouldn't want to try and I was especially pleased to see the new Jaffa Cake Mini Rolls included! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

For more details take a look at the Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com

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

25 Apr 2014

Jacob's Mixed Seed Crispbread

Jacob's recently sent me a lovely parcel (check it out here) with a few of their delicious snacks to try and other goodies. As I'm already a fan of many of their products (totally hooked on Oddities and Mini Cheddars!), I was most looking forward to trying their new Mixed Seed Crispbread.

Each box of Mixed Seed Crispbread contains five individually sealed packs of four large crispbreads.

The crackers have a lovely golden colouring and are packed full of poppy and pumpkin seeds.

I tried them spread with a Laughing Cow Light with Emmental cheese triangle (only 25 calories each!) and a few slices of avocado. I had a few of these for lunch and I felt more than satisfied, they were very tasty and filling, perhaps because of all the seeds. The crackers are delicious even by themselves, they have a slightly salty edge to them and a golden crispy flavour, which means they don't have the cardboard taste of some other low calorie crispbreads. If you're a fan of crackers, or looking for a lighter alternative to bread, then I would definitely recommend giving the Jacob's Mixed Seed Crispbreads a try.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Jacob's Mixed Seed Crispbread

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes
Nutrition (per cracker)42 calories.
Purchased: Available at most supermarkets.
Price: RRP £1.39p.

24 Apr 2014

Review: Birds Eye Mashtags

I wish I had posted this review on the first of this month as I'm sure many would have believed these Mashtags were clearly an April Fools joke. But no, these are most definitely real.  It's official. Social Media is taking over the world - one potato product at a time.

The Mashtags (or should that be Mas#tags?) are shaped into five of the most popular social media symbols -  heart, smiley face, asterisk, @ symbol, and of course the hashtag.

They're easy to cook, just 15 minutes in the oven, and taste just like potato waffles. They also bear more than a passing resemblance to McCain Smiles, but are less aimed at kids, and more at the generic "Social Media Generation". Whoever that means. Plus, I just checked and there is actually a hashtag on Twitter just for the Mashtags, which in a moment of stunning originality is #mashtags

Grocery Gems Verdict: Birds Eye Mashtags

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: #maybe
Nutrition (per 100g)
159 calories.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.00p (offer price).

23 Apr 2014

Hong Kong Snack Haul!

Mr. Grocery Gems visited Hong Kong a few weeks ago and he somehow managed to bring a huge snack haul home with him. I've obviously trained him well as a snack spotter! Here's a quick round up of some of the products.

These Calbee Potato Grid Crisps have an interesting grid shape and are flavoured with onions, peppers and barbecue chicken.

The Calbee Olive & Garlic Pizza look similar to the Calbee Pizza chips that I reviewed HERE. Unfortunately, this Olive & Garlic variety was very disappointing - inside was a mostly empty packet!

My husband is quite annoyed that he made room in his luggage for a bag that has been pumped full of AIR. What a waste of time!

Potato chips from Nissin with pretty pink blossom packaging and an intriguing flavour too - Sour Plum! I'm not sure if I am brave enough to try them, the last time I tried a Sour Plum flavoured product it did not end well! See my review of the Ume Ninja Meshi HERE (third product down). 

A fab selection of sweets! There are Lemon Hi-Chew, Peach Hi-Chew, some Matcha Milk Candy, Puccho Soda Flavour, and lastly Puccho Miracle (assorted fruit flavour). 

The packaging of the Puccho sweets is so much fun - especially the rainbow bright Puccho Miracle!

Pocky Mango Mousse (I've reviewed these previously HERE), Calbee Jagabee potato snacks and Crunky Crunch Chocolate - the last two have been on my wishlist for some time.

It's quite hard to convey just how adorable this little box of 9 Mix chocolate are. I'll try to take better photos and do a full review soon. Each chocolate is wrapped with a completely different style of packaging, from retro to folksy, and yet the whole thing works together to create a bright appealing look. I can't wait to try these.

Oreo Chocolate Wafers - Strawberry flavour. I've tried a few of these Oreo wafers from China before (see review of the Peanut flavour HERE). I also have a box of Mint flavoured ones I bought from Chinatown recently. Reviews to follow.

I have a slight obsession with maneki-neko (lucky fortune cats) so I was thrilled with this bag of Kikko Lucky Cat Candy mix - hard candies in fruity flavours. The packaging really does make me smile! 

More cuteness in the form of these pastel coloured (and Bunny themed!) Hello Kitty candies. I should have reviewed these for Easter!

These look so cool! These Tada Banana Castella Cakes are bean paste filled banana sponge cakes that are also banana shaped AND even have the word Banana embossed across them. Just in case you didn't get the message. I expect these to be epic!

My husband bought a few products from the Bourbon range of Petit biscuits;  a Matcha Choc Chip and also a savoury Cheese Crackers variety. He said these biscuits were on sale everywhere in Hong Kong, and were available in such an array of different flavours, that curiosity got the better of him. I'm so glad it did as I've always wanted to try these mini biscuits. The Matcha Choc Chip variety are available from Oyatsu Cafe HERE

These beautifully packaged Coconut & Pineapple cakes from Aji Ichiban were mainly bought as presents for family and friends. 

Lastly an enormous "Gift of Hong Kong" box of biscuits with a delicious selection of flavours. The little Ginger Cookies and Jasmine Green Tea Cookies in particular, were divine, whilst the mini Panda Cookies are just too cute to eat!

All thanks to Mr. Grocery Gems - I think he may have brought home the equivalent of a small supermarket back with him! There were actually a few other items that I haven't included above (yes, really), like some noodle pots and even Hello Kitty shaped cookies. Bringing home new snacks is always one of the best aspects about going abroad! :)

18 Apr 2014

Review: New Cadbury Marvellous Creations Banana Caramel Crisp

Cadbury have released some innovative flavours under their Marvellous Creations range. Starting with the Jelly Popping Candy Shells and Cookie Nut Crunch, and who can forget their madcap Cola Pretzel Honeycomb? I'm not sure how I feel about this Marvellous Creations range. On the one hand I applaud Cadbury for bringing adventurous flavours to the confectionery mainstream market. On the other hand, even though I excitedly bought one of each of the original flavours when they first came out (almost a year ago now), I have never purchased another since. Of course the release of the new Banana Caramel Crisp Marvellous Creations was enough to rekindle my interest!

The Banana Caramel Crisp is a combination of Dairy Milk chocolate with Banana Flavour Candy Pieces (8%), Caramel Pieces (5%), and Malted Cereal Balls (3%). The bright yellow of the banana candy pieces are visible through the milk chocolate (see above), but disappointingly, the chocolate did not have a banana scent when I opened the wrapper.

The large white pieces in the photo above are the banana candy, and there are also visible caramel and malted cereal pieces. 

Below is a close up of the banana candy pieces as I'm sure most people will be most curious about these. The photo makes them look really big but actually they seem quite small within the chocolate itself and it's possible to eat whole chunks of the chocolate without tasting any banana pieces at all.

Even though the banana pieces look very chewy, they lean more towards a soft crumbly texture. The banana itself has an artificial candy like flavour, which I enjoyed, but this flavour is limited to any chocolate chunks with actual banana pieces in it. The caramel pieces didn't have much flavour at all, but do contribute to making this chocolate bar super sweet, much sweeter than the other Cadbury Marvellous Creations. Luckily the malted cereal pieces are delicious, a bit like even maltier Maltesers and were my favourite part of this bar - I'd love Cadbury to do a bar with just these in it! 

The combination of all these elements in one bar is interesting but quite separate from each other; sometimes a crispy malty bite, sometimes a sweet banana, sometimes the Dairy Milk chocolate itself. I personally would have preferred there to be a more consistent banana and buttery caramel flavour throughout the whole chocolate. Overall, it's a tasty enough chocolate and it's definitely worth a try - but probably more for novelty value than anything else. Let me know in the comments if you've tried the Cadbury Marvellous Creations Banana Caramel Crisp and whether you think it's one you would buy again! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Marvellous Creations Banana Caramel Crisp

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: I doubt it.
Nutrition (25g)
128 calories.
Vegetarian: Suitable for Vegetarians.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.50p for 200g bar (offer price).

17 Apr 2014

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Juvenate Revive Body Butter Review

Many thanks to Kev from Kev's Snack Review who kindly nominated me to receive this Hotel Chocolate Cocoa Juvenate Revive Body Butter as part of their Mother's Day campaign last month. I was so excited when the Revive Body Butter arrived last week, all perfectly packaged in an elegant gift bag. It's part of a luscious range of premium beauty gifts which are available from Hotel Chocolat.

The Cocoa Juvenate range uses cocoa to create beauty products that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The Revive Body Butter combines the Hotel Chocolate fine cocoa with premium natural ingredients, such as organic West Indian cocoa butter and Morroccan argan oil.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the tub was the wonderfully zesty floral fragrance. It's a scent inspired by freshly cut cocoa pods with notes of bergamot, green tea, lime, exotic florals and warm sandalwood. For me, the citrus notes of the lime come through strongly with a lovely sweet edge from the floral background. It's a unique fragrance which leaves a light scent that lingers on the skin. The actual body butter itself looked luxuriously thick but was actually very velvety and easily absorbed into the skin. There was no heaviness at all, just a wonderfully silky smooth feeling. I have very dry skin and I've already noticed a difference, my skin is much softer without any dry patches.

Overall this is an indulgent treat and a gorgeous gift idea, one that I'm sure any mum would be thrilled to receive. It would definitely make a very special alternative Easter gift, and one that would last a lot longer than an Easter egg! 

A big thanks again to Kev for nominating me - check out his original review here:

Grocery Gems Verdict: Hotel Chocolat Revive Body Butter

Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition: Not edible! :)
Purchased: Available from Hotel Chocolat online HERE
Price: £21.00.

16 Apr 2014

New Cornetto Chocolate Intense

The frozen aisles in the supermarkets are full of new ice cream products at the moment. The latest flavours from Cornetto caught my eye, and as I'm a complete chocoholic I was especially interested in the Chocolate Intense flavour. It's described as a dark chocolate ice cream, with a cocoa wafer cone and white chocolate curls to decorate. 

And these Chocolate Intense cones really were delicious, definitely the best Cornetto cone I've tried in a long time. The chocolate ice cream has such a gorgeously intense and rich chocolate flavour, whilst still being sweet and creamy. It's chocolatey heaven! The cone itself has a light flavour in comparison, but it's still tasty enough for this chocolate treat. I even loved the little white chocolate curls on top as they added a little extra sweetness to the initial experience. My husband and two kids also absolutely loved these so I doubt I will get a look in for the rest of the box!

I also spotted another new flavour, the Cornetto Cheesecake Glory, instore. My family were not so interested in trying this one but it looks really good to me! I'm sure I'll pick up a box at some point but if you've tried them I'd love to know what you thought in the comments below :)

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cornetto Chocolate Intense

Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition: 200 calories per cone.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.99 for a box of 5.

14 Apr 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.

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.

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