31 Dec 2012

NEW Kit Kat Chunky Mint Review

Kit Kat Chunky will soon be welcoming four new flavours. They don't appear to have been officially released yet, and are proving to be quite hard to find, but it is possible to find them lurking in a few local shops. The four new flavours are; Mint, Coconut, Choc Fudge and Hazelnut. I reviewed the Coconut Kit Kat Chunky a few days ago.

The Kit Kat Chunky Mint is described on the wrapper as "crispy wafer finger covered with mint flavour milk chocolate". So just like the Coconut version, the flavouring is all in the chocolate rather than the wafer.

There is no mistaking this for a regular Kit Kat Chunky as it has a very strong minty smell as soon as it is out of the wrapper. I'm the kind of person that likes to nibble a little bit of the thick chocolate before taking a full bite and wow this chocolate really packs a minty flavour. At first it tasted of a very sweet mint but once the chocolate flavour ebbed away there is a lingering fresh mint flavour. This means the mint flavour builds with each bite. It's not an intense flavour as such, it's too sweet for that, I would liken it to the mint flavour in a Mint Aero bar.

The inner wafer doesn't have any mint taste but the mintiness of the chocolate is so strong it carries through the wafer and dominates the other elements. This is quite different to the new Coconut Kit Kat Chunky which has a more subtle hint in the chocolate - leaving the wafer and chocolate with separate flavours.

My brother found this chocolate bar and brought it over while we were having a family get together. It was a good opportunity to cut the chocolate into small chunks and test it on various members of my family and friends! I've said before that I'm not a fan of mint chocolate so I was keen to get the view of a friend who loves the stuff. They rated this bar as 10 out of 10. In fact they asked if there was anymore (sadly I only had one bar!). I'm sure the Mint Kit Kat Chunky is going to be very popular amongst mint chocolate fans and I wouldn't be surprised if it won the "Choose a Chunky Champion" vote.

And... whatever you are doing tonight have a very happy and safe New Year's Eve! I'll be back with more reviews in 2013!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kit Kat Chunky Mint

RATING: 7 out of 10 (or 10 out of 10!)
Buy them again?:  I will stick with the Coconut Kit Kat Chunky
Nutrition per bar: 246 calories, 2.7g protein, 30.8g carbohydrate, 12.3g fat.
Purchased: Local newsagents.
Price: 59p.

 Kit Kat Review Roundup:

Kit Kat Chunky Coconut
Kit Kat Chunky Mint
Kit Kat Chunky Choc Fudge
Kit Kat Chunky Hazelnut

29 Dec 2012

NEW Kit Kat Chunky Coconut Review

Nestle have released four new Kit Kat Chunky flavours which again ask the public to vote for their favourite. It's time to "Choose A(nother) Chunky Champion". As a self confessed coconut addict imagine how excited I got when my brother found this Kit Kat Chunky Coconut. Are you imagining? Now multiply that image by twenty and that's probably close to how excited I was. Think: five year old child on Christmas morning.

I'm not sure why the wrapper doesn't have a picture of a coconut on it, maybe that was just too obvious

Up close and unwrapped, the Kit Kat Chunky Coconut looks just like any other Kit Kat Chunky BUT the smell of coconut is immediately evident. This is because the outer chocolate is actually where all the coconut flavour is. The wrapper describes it as "crispy wafer finger covered with coconut flavour milk chocolate".

The chocolate is thick and creamy with a lovely sweet coconut flavour to it. It's quite subtle but is still strong enough to satisfy coconut lovers. I can't help but be a little disappointed that the inner wafer doesn't have any coconut flavour. It's the same wafer layers as a regular Kit Kat Chunky. I would have preferred a layer of coconut cream inbetween the wafers. Despite this, the coconut flavour in the chocolate does hold it's own quite well against the more dominant wafer layers.

Since I'm a coconut fiend I would have liked more coconut in this Kit Kat Chunky, but the subtle flavour has understandably been pitched for the more mainstream market. I still applaud Kit Kat Chunky for choosing coconut as one of their new flavours. There aren't enough coconut chocolates available (especially since weirdly enough I don't like Bounty's at all!). In a market with virtually no competition, this has become my favourite coconut chocolate bar!

Also released are the new Kit Kat Chunky flavours: Mint, Choc Fudge, and Hazelnut. Last time around the Peanut Butter Kit Kat Chunky was the victor. Which one do you think will win this time and which Kit Kat Chunky will you be voting for as your champion?

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kit Kat Chunky Coconut

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?:  In the interests of a fair review I need to try them all...
Nutrition per bar: 246 calories, 2.7g protein, 30.7g carbohydrate, 12.3g fat.
Purchased: Local newsagents.
Price: 59p.

Kit Kat Review Roundup:

Kit Kat Chunky Coconut
Kit Kat Chunky Mint
Kit Kat Chunky Choc Fudge
Kit Kat Chunky Hazelnut

28 Dec 2012

Sainsbury's Snowflake Milk Chocolate & Caramel Bites

I love the look of these Milk Chocolate & Caramel bites with their delicate snowflake design.

There is nothing new about the Milk Chocolate & Caramel bites themselves apart from the snowy patterns stamped on top. They remind me of these London 2012 Caramel Shortcakes which had a similar effect on them. I think they look very pretty - the white stamping is wonderfully contrasted against the chocolate background.

The bites consist of three layers; biscuit, caramel and a chocolate topping. The biscuit base is made from digestives, it's essentially a cheesecake type base. The Caramel layer is quite thick for such a small bite and has a smooth, almost fudge like, texture. The chocolate layer is very sweet and tops the whole thing off nicely. 

There is nothing really groundbreaking or innovative about the flavours here, even though they are very delicious and moreish, but it doesn't matter anyway as these Snowflake Bites are all about their great looks. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Milk Chocolate & Caramel Bites (Snowflake)

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?:  Nice as a one time treat.
Nutrition per bite: 59 calories, 0.69g protein, 6.9g carbohydrate (4.4g sugars), 3.2g fat.
Purchased: Sainsburys.
Price: 2 packs for £1.00p.

27 Dec 2012

Angry Birds Sweets (Fazer)

A few month ago I tried the US Angry Birds Fruit Gummies which I thought were awful beyond belief. We literally ate a few and had to throw the whole box away, they were so artificial and chemical tasting. I briefly reviewed them here. Luckily for Angry Birds fans there is a new range of gaming sweets available from European brand Fazer (which are made in Finland to be precise).

After my previous experience, I looked at these Angry Birds sweets by Fazer a little suspiciously, until I happily noticed the "100% Natural Flavours" tag on the front - sold!

But it's not just the flavour which is a million times better, the shapes used for the actual sweets are cuter and more interesting. The bag I purchased featured pigs, various building blocks and a few eggs - all with different flavours. The sweets themselves are a bit like jelly babies in texture, they are jelly like in the middle with a slightly harder coating on the outside.

Sweets to play with!
The flavours were all very good, thankfully there were no nasty flavours with these. The pigs had a pear or apple flavour and were fruity and sweet, without tasting artificial at all. The "wood" blocks were all passion fruit and pineapple flavour. The pineapple was not as flavourful as I was expecting, but they did have a pleasing vague tropical fruit flavour. The "ice" blocks had the strongest flavour of the bunch with their sweet lemon taste.

The egg shaped sweets are awesome because, once bitten into, they have a gooey centre that looks like the yolk. Fantastic stuff! They have a great caramel flavour that provides an extra sweetness amongst all the other fruity flavours.

The shapes all look fab, I loved all the little attention to details, like the "wooden" blocks which had little grooves to make them look like wood.

There is also a linked version of these sweets available which features sweets in the shape of the Angry Birds themselves. I haven't been able to find any of these yet which is a shame as it would be great to have both packs.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Angry Birds Sweets

RATING: 8 out of 10
Buy them again?: Without a doubt.
Nutrition per 100g: 350 calories, 2.0g protein, 84g carbohydrate, 0.3g fat
Purchased: Tiger Stores (one of my favourite shops!)
Price: £1.00p for a 150g bag

24 Dec 2012

Ikea Gingerbread Dough Review (Pepparkaka Deg)

Even though it is not best known for it's food, I can't seem to visit Ikea without coming out with bags of produce from their Swedish food section. Anything that makes the festive season a bit easier always catches my eye and I immediately saw lots of potential for this block of gingerbread dough, or Pepparkaka Deg.

The dough was extremely simple to use. Even though it seemed like a hard solid block it can still be used straight from the fridge. There were no problems at all in rolling the dough out, it was very smooth and easy to work with. Purely in the interests of this review I had a sneaky taste of the unbaked dough. If you are one of those people that likes to eat raw cookie dough, I can tell you that this one tasted pretty good!

Instead of the usual gingerbread men, we cut out Christmas tree and Snowmen shapes... and of course one or two pac-man and ghost shapes!

I can't take any credit for the Snowmen, my hubby is much more artistic than me and he helped the kids create some super cute Snowmen using white icing and a few mini smarties. For decorating the trees we made some green icing and then used Dr. Oetker Soft Gold Pearls and Dr. Oetker Sugar Stars to finish. I also had a little bag of yellow and green star shaped sweets that were ideal as the tree toppers.

The finished biscuits tasted absolutely delicious. They have a lovely sweet ginger flavour, with added cinnamon and clove undertones. Kids will love these as there is no heat from the ginger. The biscuits also had a soft chewy consistency, pure bliss compared to shop bought biscuits, which are often rock hard. Overall I was very impressed by this gingerbread dough; it was easy to work with, baked perfectly, tasted good, and most importantly, was lots of Christmas Eve fun for the kids!

The only question is; which one should we leave out for Santa tonight?

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ikea Pepparkaka Deg

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Ja!
Nutrition: None given.

Purchased: Ikea.
Price: £1.85 for a 550g block. 

 And to everyone who reads this blog, I would like to wish you all:

A Very Merry Christmas!

23 Dec 2012

Arden & Amici Chocolate Panettone Review

I have already reviewed the Arden & Amici Chocolate chip Panettone but I wanted to highlight their Chocolate Panettone too as it is quite different, even though the packaging is almost identical. They both come elegantly wrapped, great for if you need a last minute gift idea for a chocoholic!

The main difference with the Arden & Amici Chocolate Panettone is that it has a rich chocolate coating over the top of the bread, aswell as the chocolate chips within it.

From an aesthetic point of view, it is fabulous. The chocolate is a glossy dark brown, whilst the golden colour of the actual bread is mouthwatering! The smells from the panettone are pretty fantastic too, it has a delicious buttery chocolate fragrance.

The texture of the bread was slightly drier than the other panettones I have tried from the Arden & Amici range which is to be expected with a chocolate chip panettone. It is still fantastically soft compared to most panettones I have tried from other ranges. The chocolate chips and outer coating have a sweet but rich cocoa flavour. Overall it is a fantastic bread, especially to enjoy with a strong coffee, and it looks gorgeous too.

I received the Arden & Amici Chocolate Panettone to review but all views expressed are my own.

The Arden & Amici Panettone range is available in Waitrose.

21 Dec 2012

Morrisons Mince Pie Popcorn Review

A big Thank You to reader Jo S who spotted this Mince Pie Flavour Popcorn from Morrisons. I would never have found this without her comment! Even after I knew of it's existence it was very hard to find instore. It wasn't displayed in the popcorn section or in the Christmas section, instead I finally found it at the end of an aisle near the tills.

It comes in a large 150g bag which is perfect for filling up a large bowl! I like the simple red and white packaging and at only £1 it is a great bargain too.

The popcorn is described simply as "fluffy corn coated in a spicy mincemeat flavouring". The popcorn certainly had a subtle spicy smell noticeable as soon as I opened the pack. The colour was quite pale, without any thick toffee coating, which is how I prefer it. The texture was indeed very fluffy with a slight chewiness. The consistency was very high throughout the bag, there were no over baked pieces or unpopped kernels.

The flavour was delicious too, there were lots of different spicy flavours, I could especially taste the cinnamon, ginger and clove. These spices were not overpowering, they tasted quite delicate and sweet. I wouldn't say that the popcorn tasted like "Mince Pie" as such, as there was no overt fruitiness to the flavour. I would describe it as a Christmas spice popcorn instead. My husband in particular really enjoyed this popcorn, he found it very moreish and easy to eat and he doesn't even like mince pies (he hates raisins). However he loved all the warming spices in this popcorn. It doesn't have the layering of flavours of the gourmet brand of popcorn I have tried recently but it's a fantastic buy for a value price.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Morrisons Mince Pie Flavour Popcorn

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes, my husband loved them!
Nutrition (per 50g): 
239 calories, 2.8g protein, 38.3g carbohydrate (15.9g sugars), 7.4g fat.
Purchased: Morrisons.
Price: £1.00.

20 Dec 2012

Morrisons Candy Cane Bread

I saw this bread featured on the blog Your Star Will Shine and I couldn't wait to give it a try. Morrisons have come up with a fabulously innovative festive bread with this Candy Cane shaped loaf. Apparently it came about as a direct response to customer feedback which questioned why so many seasonal breads are fruit based. Any dried fruit phobics reading this will be glad to hear that this Candy Cane has a chocolate orange flavour and no fruit at all.

These Candy Cane breads are prepared each morning in Morrison's in-store bakeries and come displayed on a silver card base, ready to be sliced up and served. The bread consists of two separate doughs, one chocolate and one plain, which have been plaited together to create an attractive candy stripes effect. The top is sprinkled with a "sugar nibs" topping.

The bread had a much softer texture than I was expecting. It had the soft airy feel of a brioche loaf rather than a typical bread. Each piece has a lovely half golden, half chocolate appearance with a decent distribution of chocolate chips throughout.

I've often said that I'm not the greatest fan of chocolate orange as a flavour combination, but it works very well in this bread. The orange is not overpowering despite being fairly strong. It works exceptionally well with the soft bread base and rich chocolate flavours, without becoming overly sweet. The chocolate chips look dark but don't taste as intense as dark chocolate, but they do provide a simple burst of sweetness. The sugar nibs on top give the bread an extra little crunch and sweetness.  The overall flavour is delicious and I have to admit it's much tastier than I thought it would be.

With some products it's possible to say that one piece is enough, but this bread is so moreish it really is hard to stop at one piece! It's a large sized loaf but somehow I wouldn't expect it to last very long at all!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Morrisons Candy Cane Bread

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes, I hope Morrisons bring this back next year!
Nutrition: None given.

Purchased: Morrisons.
Price: £2.00.

19 Dec 2012

Marks & Spencer Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Crisps Review

Don't these look cute? I love the bright red snowy packaging and little robin on the front, it's very festive. My expectations are always quite high with Marks & Spencer and I had no doubt that these Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry crisps would be an improvement on the other Christmas crisps I tried recently (from Tesco).

Straight out of the packet I could see that these M&S crisps looked fantastic; there were no over baked or limp looking crisps here. The colour is invitingly golden, with a visibly abundant sprinkling of seasoning.

The initial flavour was very good, they had a rich meaty taste. The stuffing flavour was delicious too, there was lots of herb flavour coming through and quite a lot of onion too. In fact I would say the onion flavour was particularly dominant in these crisps and left a lingering aftertaste. 

Unfortunately there wasn't any cranberry flavour that I could detect, which is only a problem because M&S include the words "& Cranberry" in the product's name. I can't even say that there was an underlying sweetness to the flavour as the crisps are predominantly salty and meaty. However, as a simple roast turkey and stuffing flavour they were delicious.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Marks & Spencer Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Crisps

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes, it's Christmas - time to ditch non-festive crisp flavours!
Nutrition: 205 calories,
2.2g protein, 22.0g carbohydrate (1.6g sugars), 11.6g fat.
Purchased: Marks & Spencer.
Price: £0.55p for a 40g bag.

17 Dec 2012

Joe & Seph's Gingerbread Popcorn Review

I was left wanting to try more varieties from gourmet popcorn makers Joe & Seph's range, after I reviewed their delicious Smooth Caramel, Coconut and Cinnamon popcorn. Their Mince Pie popcorn has been the range's top seller in the run up to Christmas but, for me, the Gingerbread Popcorn was top of my list to try.

Joe & Seph's Gingerbread Popcorn, like the other popcorn in this range, has some fantastically simple ingredients. Unlike a lot of sweet treats, I can actually list the ingredients in a short sentence (and note how none of them sound like a character from a sci-fi film); corn, sugar, butter, corn syrup, stem ginger, ginger powder, cinnamon, raising agents. When it comes to ingredients less usually means more in terms of quality.

The Joe & Seph's range is known for their unique cooking process which ensures the flavours are released at different stages whilst you are eating. This creates a fantastic layering effect of flavours. Even though there are only two main components in this popcorn, caramel and ginger, Joe & Seph's have managed to create three separate layers of flavour to experience.

First there is the smooth caramel flavour which I love because it is not overly sickly like other toffee popcorns. Then the caramel is soon given another dimension as the ginger flavour bursts in. It's a sweet ginger taste much like you would find in a delicious gingerbread biscuit. Then just as the sweet ginger flavour is ebbing away, a spicier and more warming stem ginger taste builds.

I don't eat popcorn too often as, more often than not, it's a rubbery chewfest of a snack. Thankfully that is not the case with this range. I love the fact that the Joe & Seph's popcorn has a light and fluffy interior making it a joy to eat. Each bag is 80g (although they do sell larger jars of popcorn too) and it's the kind of snack you'll want to savour, piece by piece, allowing the flavours to slowly develop.

Don't worry Joe & Seph you won't need to eat your hats, because I absolutely love your popcorn.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Joe & Seph's Gingerbread Popcorn

RATING: 9 out of 10
Buy them again?: I've got my eye on the Toffee Apple & Cinnamon popcorn next.
Purchased: Lakeland
Price: £2.99p
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