21 Aug 2019

Review: New Nescafé Gold Vegan Oat, Almond & Coconut Latte Sachets

Nescafé Gold has released three new dairy-free varieties of their instant coffee sachets. I used to love these type of sachets when I was younger. I haven't had them for years but the release of these plant based lattes was enough to get me interested in coffee sachets again!

Each sachet is quite large and makes a decent 200ml of coffee. There are 66 calories per cup for the Oat and Almond varieties and 62 calories for the Coconut.

Almond Latte: Almond milk is my first choice of dairy free milk so I was excited to try this one first. It was sweeter than I was expecting with a mild coffee flavour. I would definitely have this as a soothing afternoon pick me up.

Oat Latte: This one was actually my favourite of the three. It seemed frothier and tasted creamier than the other two which made me enjoy it even more. 

Coconut Latte: The coconut aroma is quite strong here and leaves an aftertaste that I didn't really like. This is purely personal taste as I'm not really a fan of coconut milk. My vegan family members all enjoyed this one more than me.

Grocery Gems Review: Nescafé Gold Dairy-Free Oat, Almond & Coconut Latte

RATING: 7 out of 10 for the Oat and Almond.
Buy them again?: Yes.

Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £2.50p each (currently on offer for 2 packs for £3.00p). 

20 Aug 2019

Review: Vegan Go Max Go Chocolate Bars - Jokerz, Mahalo & Twilight

A trio of vegan chocolate bars for review today. I was lucky enough to get a lovely foodie gift basket from my vegan brother for my birthday. He included loads of interesting vegan treats that I've never tried before but he assured me were just as good (or better!) than the real thing. 

These Go Max vegan bars are all made in the US and have simple, yet distinctive, packaging. These are often sold as vegan versions of the popular chocolate bars - Bounty, Snickers and Mars Bar (the Milky Way Bar in the US).

Twilight: The Twilight bar is described as 'layers of chocolatey nougat and caramel in a chocolatey coating'. I've never been a fan of the regular Mars bar but the Twilight bar is a different story. The nougat is soft and delicious whilst the generously thick caramel layer is extremely satisfying. The outer chocolate is impressive for a vegan bar and adds enough cocoa flavour. The overall bar is very sweet but I really enjoyed it.

Jokerz: The Jokerz is described as 'caramel, peanuts and peanut nougat in a chocolatey coating'. I really loved the peanuty nougat in this one, the hint of saltiness from the peanuts really helps to balance out the sweetness of the nougat and chocolate. Maybe I'm greedy, but I would have liked a few more peanuts in the filling but overall it's a great vegan replacement for the classic Snickers bar.

Mahalo: Lastly is my favourite of the bunch! The Mahalo is described as 'coconut and almonds in a chocolatey coating'. This is billed as the vegan Bounty bar but in my opinion it's much superior. Even though I love coconut I don't like Bounty's at all, especially their horrible texture. The Mahalo bar in comparison has a gorgeously fudgey texture alongside the sweet coconut flavour. The combination of almonds too is a lovely addition. I'd take the Mahalo over a Bounty any day! 

Find the Go Max Go range from many online vegan stores. My brother bought them from www.veganstore.co.uk. They're quite pricey at £2.39 each (I assume because they're US imports) but they're also free from artificial ingredients of any kind or hydrogenated oils . Even my husband, who's not usually a fan of vegan chocolate, enjoyed all of these bars - they're definitely a treat but worth a try!

Grocery Gems Review: Go Max Go Chocolate Bars

RATING: 8 out of 10 (with 9 out of 10 for the Mahalo).
Buy them again?: Maybe next birthday - but YES.
Vegan: Yes
Purchased: www.veganstore.co.uk.
Price: £2.39p each.

11 Jun 2019

Review: Degustabox May (Brunch & Afternoon Tea)

The latest Degustabox arrived and the theme of the month is 'Brunch & Afternoon Tea'. Inside the surprise foodie box was another great mix of tasty snacks and sweet treats.

About Degustabox:

Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out 10 to 15 specially selected foodie products per box. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved. 

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

Koko Dairy Free: This Super Milk is enriched with 9 key vitamins and minerals. It's a great replacement for regular milk.  I only use dairy free milk for cereals and hot drinks so this was a very welcome surprise in the Degustabox.

Oteas: I love flavoured black teas so I was excited to try this new (to me) brand. The biodegradable teabags look lovely and smell amazing too! The tea itself is fragrant with a subtle sweetness from the fruity apricot.

Indie Bay: Tasty pretzel bites made with spelt flour and seasoned with rock salt. I enjoyed these as a snack and it's great to know that they are vegan and have less than 100 calories per pack.

Daelmans Stroopwafels: A single pack of Daelmans Stroopwafels which contains two waffles with a caramel filling. My son loved these so much that we've added them to our next shopping list.

Splenda: A mini pack of Splenda sucralose with 100 calorie free sweeteners. The Degustabox leaflet also includes a recipe for a Cinnamon Latte made with Splenda that I will have to give a try.

Fruity Beauties: A fun and nutricious fruity bar that is perfect for kids. This had a soft, chewy texture with a sweet and tangy flavour.

Free From Fellows - Midget Gems: As the name would suggest, these Midget Gems are made without sugar, gluten, gelatine and dairy. They're suitable for vegans and are also free from artificial colours and flavourings. I'm really glad that Degustabox introduced me to this brand as it's definitely one I'll be looking out for from now on. They also make Gummy Bear and Cola Bottles which I hope to find soon.

Hellman's Vegan Mayo: The iconic mayo brand is now vegan! I've been meaning to try this one so thank you Degustabox. The flavour is just as creamy and delicious as the Hellman's Real Mayonnaise and is perfect for sandwiches and veggie burgers.

Kuhne Gin Cornichons: Extra crunchy guerkins refined with a Gin to give them a refreshing, fruity edge. There is also a Whiskey Cornichhons variety available that adds sweeter, vanilla notes.

Firefly: A refreshing blend of Lemon, Lime & Ginger with botanticals such as nettle and dandelion. It's lovely over ice with a reviving citrus flavour.

Shore Seaweed Puffs: These are available in four different flavours - I received the Lime, Chilli & Coconut. They're full of flavour, with each of the three elements coming through. The chilli provides a bit of a kick but is balanced by the creaminess of the coconut.

MilkyBar Mix Ups: I've already bought these a few times since they've been released as my kids really enjoy them. The mix of white and milk chocolate makes these a winner.

Overall, I enjoyed the selection of surprise groceries in this month's Degustabox - there were plenty of new brands to discover. I was especially happy to find the Hellman's Vegan Mayo, Firefly Drinks and Oteas. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

For more details:
Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com

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

24 May 2019

Review: Asda Rainbow Hoops Vs Kellogg's Froot Loops

I couldn't resist reviewing the new(ish) Rainbow Hoops from Asda. This blog has seen more than it's fair share of reviews for brightly coloured hoopy cereal. There was the original  US Kellogg's Froot Loops, the launch of a UK Version in 2012 Limited Edition Kellogg's Froot Loops, which were followed in 2017 by a Unicorn themed variety. These last too are no longer available in the UK so I was pleased to find the Asda Rainbow Hoops to fill the gap. 

Add caption
The Asda Rainbow Hoops are the first time I've seen a supermarket own-brand join in. And luckily - I just so happened to have a box of Kellogg's Unicorn Froot Loops (from Germany!) and a mini box of the American Kellogg's Froot Loops in the house - so get ready for a lots of comparison photos.

Asda Rainbow Hoops: These are made with natural colours so it's not surprising that they are quite pale in colouring. They are also covered in a visible white sugary glaze which makes them even paler. The overall flavour is fine, although not as fruity as I was expecting, and far too sweet. I know this type of cereal is always going to be sugary but these were pushing it even for me.

Kellogg's Unicorn Froot Loops: I found these in Home Bargains for £1.49. I thought they were a return of the Unicorn Froot Loops from a few years ago, as they look identical, but it seem that these are imported from Germany (and even feature a wordsearch in German on the back). Even though these are also made with natural colours, they are much more colourful than the Asda Unicorn Hoops. The pinks and yellows are especially vibrant. I also preferred the flavour of these Kellogg's Unicorn Froot Loops, they manage to stay on the right side of sweetness and also have a generic fruity flavour in the background.

Kellogg's Froot Loops (US): Lastly, the craziness that is the original American Froot Loops from Kellogg's. These are packed full of colourings and look super bright next to the paler British versions. Personally, I find the bright blues and greens really off-putting in a food but they are fun as a one-off. The flavour is also the fruitiest and most distinctive. 

Overall, my favourites are the Kellogg's Unicorn Froot Loops which have the right combination of colourful fun and sweetness (I know fans of American cereals will disagree!). Sadly they don't seem to be available in the UK anymore, but look out for them in bargain shops as they are available in other European countries.

If you've tried any of these cereals, especially the new Asda Unicorn Hoops, then let me know in the comments below.

I'll be back with some more reviews soon so check back.

Katherine @grocerygems

23 May 2019

Coca-Cola Energy Drink Review

A new release by Coca-Cola is always an exciting prospect, even if it is an energy drink. This new Coca-Cola Energy is available in both regular Coca-Cola and Coke Zero Sugar varieties. The cans are small at 250ml but manage to contain 80mg of caffeine, plus added guarana and vitamins.

I tried the full-fat classic Coca Cola version first. The front of the can states that this is 'The only Energy Drink with a great Coca-Cola Taste' which sets the bar pretty high. The drink itself is much paler in colour than Coca-Cola and the flavour could only, at best, be described as having a hint of cola. 

The main flavour is a generic, fizzy fruity one with vague undertones of melted cola cubes or watered down cola. That said, I didn't find it to be an unpleasant flavour but it's certainly a disappointing one and nothing like Coca-Cola. As someone who has rarely had an energy drink before (perfect for this review I know), I can't compare the chemical aftertaste here to other energy drinks, but I didn't find this one overpowering. I also tried the Coke Zero Energy and that one had an even stronger chemical taste and not enough of a cola taste for me to be able to drink more than a few sips.

It will be interesting to see how popular this new Coca-Cola Energy is with the energy drinking crowd. I can see myself grabbing one of these cans if I really needed a pick-me-up - although I'd probably still go for a regular coffee or even a can of regular Coke first. 

Grocery Gems Review: Coca-Cola Energy Drink

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Maybe.
 105 calories per 250ml (for the regular Coca Cola variety).

Purchased: Sainsbury's Local.
Price: £1.25p per can.
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