30 Apr 2013

Aero Bubbles Mint half and half are back!

A very quick post - I was sent these Aero Bubbles as part of a Bzzagent campaign. Aero Bubbles are returning to a "half and half" look, rather then being completely covered in milk chocolate.

I do prefer this half and half look - having some visible green colour makes these immediately a "minty" snack. The previous Aero Bubbles all had the same milk chocolate coating, regardless of the flavour within. Now all three varieties of Aero Bubbles, orange, milk and mint, have their own unique appearance.

This might seem to be merely a cosmetic change but it does actually alter the balance of flavours. The previous Aero Bubbles had a much thicker layer of milk chocolate, and this was reflected in a smooth chocolate flavour to go along with the refreshing minty filling. These half and half Aero Bubbles have hardly any outer milk chocolate, and even that is a very thin covering. These are practically just an Aero mint layer by itself in a ball. Personally I would prefer it to be half milk chocolate inside aswell, which would give a bit more interest to the overall flavour.

UPDATE: Check out the excellent round up and history of Aero Bubbles so far, on Kev's Snack Reviews!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Aero Bubbles Mint

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Probably.
: 195 calories, 1.7g protein, 22.5g Carb, 22.4g sugars, 10.8g fat.

29 Apr 2013

Oreo Ice Cream Cones Review

I was so excited when I first heard about these Oreo Ice Cream Cones. They probably look completely dull to anyone on the other side of the Atlantic, but to me this is exciting stuff! I knew I would buy them at some point, so when I saw them on a half price offer in Waitrose, it seemed like a good time to indulge.

There are four large cones in the pack and each one is brightly packaged in their blue wrapping.

The cone itself is a very dark brown, almost black, just like an Oreo biscuit really! It has a great texture, with a satisfying crunch, and a lovely chocolate flavour. It's the perfect base for the creamy ice cream and so much nicer than the usual plain wafer cone.

There are lots of chunky Oreo pieces on top of the cone, which add an instant crunchy texture. The ice cream is deliciously smooth, with a sweet vanilla flavour and creamy consistency, and is studded throughout with tiny pieces of Oreo biscuit. It tastes very similar to Oreo blended milkshakes that I've had in the past and it's a combination that works very well.  Overall these ice creams have quite a simple flavour but they're still very tasty and an absolute must for any Oreo fans.

Kev's Snack Review has some great photos of what the cone looks like inside, it's been thoroughly dissected, so be sure to check out his review!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Oreo Ice Cream Cones

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
: 195 calories per cone.

Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Waitrose.
Price: £1.39p for 4 pack (on half price offer, usual price £2.79).

Sainsbury's also have these on a slightly cheaper half price offer at the moment - £1.24 for a 4 pack!

28 Apr 2013

Danio Super Thick Yogurts Review

I've been meaning to give these new Danone Danio yogurts a try ever since I heard they were being launched in the UK. The Polish version of the Danio brand has already been available in my local Polish shops, and I'm glad to see them getting a wider release.

Danio Super Thick yogurts are available in six varieties; Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Blueberry, Peach, Cherry, and Raspberry. All those flavours looked good to me but I plumped for the Blueberry and Peach varieties to try first.

I know these yogurts are called Super Thick but I was still surprised by just how thick the consistency was. They're not like a thick Greek style yogurt, the texture is more like a mascarpone cheese consistency, whilst still being incredibly smooth and creamy. The yogurt has a very mild taste to it, without any real tanginess that you can sometimes get in yogurt.

The fruit layer at the bottom is quite generous with a syrupy sauce and small chunks of fruit. It compliments the thick plain yogurt perfectly and I loved the fresh fruity flavours in both the peach and blueberry varieties.

I really did enjoy these yogurts, especially the thickness of the yogurt itself. Both yogurts are very high in protein and low in fat, which is excellent, however, they're also quite high in sugar with 18g per pot. I would really love to see these available in smaller pots as I found the 160g size quite large. I usually eat yogurts as a post lunch treat but these are almost too filling for that. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Danio Super Thick Yogurt

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes, I'd like to try all the flavours.
Nutrition: Blueberry -
 154 calories Peach - 157 calories

Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £0.85p per 160g pot.

27 Apr 2013

Katjes Better Bunny (Veggie sweets)

I'd never heard of Katjes confectionary before, but apparently it's a family owned business based in Germany, and is the second largest producer of fruit gums and licorice in Western Europe. The brand is available in the UK for the first time (at Tesco) with the Better Bunny vegetarian friendly sweets.

These bunny sweets bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain range of piggy shaped sweets made by M&S. Yes, I'm talking about Percy Pig. Having taken a quick look at the Katjes website it seems that they also produce a pig shaped sweet, called Pauly the Pig, although only in a veggie version. Funnily enough, M&S now sell a vegetarian version of Percy Pig. So which was first? Veggie Percy or Pauly the Pig? 

Update: In fact since writing this review I've realised that Katjes are actually the makers of the Percy Pig sweets' range. No wonder they look so similar!

Now, I'm no expert on Percy Pig sweets, please check out Gobble Monkey for all your Percy Pig needs. I haven't even tried the Veggie Percy yet, so I can't really compare them to the Katjes Better Bunny in terms of taste. I can only say that I really enjoyed these bunny sweets, especially the texture. They're super squidgy and soft, without any of the chewiness that you would find in a traditional jelly based sweet. The flavour is fairly simple and very sweet, with the fruitiness of the 3.5% apple juice coming through nicely. They do have a slight tart edge in them too, especially the white ones, which provide a pleasant counterbalance to the sugary taste. The pink ones were much sweeter, but still apple flavoured, which is slightly disappointing.

Overall, these are a very tasty treat, and it's always great to see a different brands of vegetarian sweets becoming available in the UK.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Katjes Better Bunny

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
: 340 calories per 100g.

Vegetarian: Yes (but not vegan as beeswax is listed as an ingredient).
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.48p for 170g bag.

26 Apr 2013

Ritter Sport Noisette Review

The Ritter Sport Noisette has been around for a few years but it's always proved extremely difficult to find. I was lucky enough to be sent a bar to review by Monster Sweets, who stock an impressive range of Ritter Sport bars, including all the newest releases, in their online store.

The description for the Noisette is fairly simple; it's a "milk chocolate with hazelnut paste", making this a gianduja based chocolate bar. I know it probably makes me sound like some kind of chocolate philistine, but when I hear the words chocolate and hazelnut in the same sentence, I instantly think of Nutella. I can't help it, that's the kind of girl I am.

The Ritter Sport Noisette has a completely smooth consistency, there are no bits in it at all; nuts or otherwise. The smoothness is emphasised by the extremely soft texture of the chocolate. This softness sets the Noisette apart from most hazelnut chocolate bars I've tried, and gives it a wonderfully silky melt in the mouth feel.

The flavour of this hazelnut chocolate is indeed very reminiscent of the aforementioned Nutella. The nuttiness is full flavoured and delightfully satisfying. The chocolate itself is notably creamy and sweet, providing a suitably indulgent base for the hazelnut. Overall, the Ritter Sport Noisette is extremely delicious, with a perfect combination of hazelnuts and chocolate that is made all the tastier by it's favourably soft texture.

Monster Sweets kindly sent me this product for an honest review but all views expressed are my own.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ritter Sport Noisette

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Absolutely.
Purchased: Available at Monster Sweets.
Price: £1.55p.

25 Apr 2013

Ritter Sport Kokos (Coconut)

Ritter Sport have chosen an exotic coconut cream flavour as their new "Variety of the Year" bar for 2013. As an ardent coconut fan, the Kokos sounds like a very worthy recipient of that title! It was very kindly sent to me by Monster Sweets, who stock lots of hard to find Ritter Sport bars and other tasty products from around the world. I love the turquoise wrapper for the Ritter Sport Kokos, it's a very simple look but one that instantly gives it a glorious summer look and tropical feel.

The Ritter Sport Kokos is described as an "Alpine milk chocolate with a coconut milk cream filling and crispy coconut flakes". This all sounds completely heavenly to me, and once I opened up the wrapper the delicious coconut aroma was immediately evident.

I always prefer coconut when it's actually combined with chocolate, rather than by itself in a sugary Bounty type filling. Thankfully the Ritter Sport Kokos is exactly what I would want from a coconut bar and it's simply one of the best chocolates I've ever eaten. The coconut centre is encased in a fluffy white layer which looks and smells sensational from the outset. It tastes similar to a smooth white chocolate, but one that is fully imbued with coconut flavour. This white filling is extremely creamy and indulgent, and proves to be the perfect base for the strong and sweet coconut. Within this, there are also lots of toasted coconut pieces, that are notable for their lovely crunchy texture. Each little piece seemed to provide another extra burst of coconut flavour.

The sweet inner filling is complimented by being surrounded by the Alpine milk chocolate; it provides a rich cocoa flavour with caramel undertones that is an ideal partner for the coconut layer. I don't hesitate in giving this Ritter Sport Koko a 10 out of 10;  for me, it's not just Ritter Sport's "Variety of the Year", it's also the best Ritter Sport bar I have ever tried, and without question my favourite chocolate of the year so far.

Monster Sweets kindly sent me this product for an honest review but all views expressed are my own.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ritter Sport Kokos

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes!

Price: £1.55p.

24 Apr 2013

Sprecher Beer Flavoured Kettle Chips Review

I was so pleased to hear the news that CyberCandy are now selling unique potato crisps from around the world. Unusual crisps are one of the first items, along with chocolate and candy, that I bring back from my travels - and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. These Sprecher Beer Flavoured Kettle Chips are certainly a very fascinating product and I couldn't wait to give them try.

Sprecher is a Wisconsin USA based independent brewery that is famous, not only for it's high quality beers, but also for their extensive range of sodas; from the classic Root Beer to the finest Cherry Cola and lots more inbetween.

Even though I'm not a big beer drinker, it's obvious that beer and potato crisps are a perfect snack match. Whether it's a beer or a soda, most people like to drink something fizzy with their salty snacks! With these Sprecher Beer Flavoured Kettle Chips you get that flavour of having a beer with your crisps without actually having a beer - or any alcohol. The only way this could be matched is by making a beer that tastes like potato crisps, but that wouldn't be half as appealing!

These crisps are traditional kettle chips, meaning they are slow cooked in kettles to give them a distinctive crunch and texture. They've been flavoured with a dried beer extract, which is essentially a dehydrated beer - the Sprecher Special Amber beer to be exact. The beer flavour is described as a "hint of Sprecher" on the packet, and even though it's quite subtle, the crisps have an unmistakable beer taste. They are also quite sweet crisps, with honey notes, that give these a perfect sweet & salty balance. This combines with the malty and beer flavoured undertones to create a very delicious and distinctive flavour.

CyberCandy kindly sent me this product for an honest review but all views expressed are my own.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Sprecher Beer Flavoured Kettle Chips

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.

Nutrition: 250 calories, 2g protein, 26g carbs (3g sugars), 16g fat.

Vegetarian: Appear to be suitable for vegetarians.
Price: £1.39 for 50g bag.

23 Apr 2013

New Cadbury Pots of Joy - Caramel Review

There are three varieties in the new Cadbury Pots of Joy range and I've already reviewed the White Chocolate Buttons and Dairy Milk (see below for links). Today it's the turn of the Caramel which is the only pot to feature two separate layers.

Each variety of Pots of Joy has it's own unique style of packaging and the Caramel is no exception with it's long time mascot, the Caramel Bunny, adorning the pots.

The Caramel Pots of Joy is described as a "smooth & creamy dessert made with melted Cadbury milk chocolate with a rich caramel layer".

If you've read my reviews of the other two varieties of these desserts then you'll probably know what I'm about to say now. This Pots of Joy is smooth. Super silky smooth in fact. The consistency is much thicker than a chocolate sauce, and this thickness means that the dessert easily holds it's own shape on the spoon. The top layer is essentially the same as the Dairy Milk variety, a lovely rich Cadbury milk chocolate. The caramel layer has the same amazingly smooth and indulgent texture. It has a delicious butterscotch brown sugar quality, that gives it a greater depth of flavour than a standard caramel. The overall combination is delicious and works together very well.

Without a doubt my favourite flavour from this range was the White Chocolate Buttons Pots of Joy. The lovely texture is matched by an equally fabulous flavour and I don't think there is any other white chocolate dessert like it. Let me know which one is your favourite in the comments below! :)

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury White Chocolate Buttons Pots of Joy

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Maybe.
Nutrition (per 70g)
150 calories. 1.8g protein,  19.0g carbohydrates, 7.7g fat.

Vegetarian: No - contain pork gelatin!
Purchased: Co-Op.
Price: £0.64p (on half price offer for 2 x 70g pots).

22 Apr 2013

New Cadbury Pots of Joy - White Chocolate Buttons Review

Following on from my review earlier today of the Dairy Milk Pots of Joy is this White Chocolate Buttons variety. It's simply called "buttons" on the packaging but all the promotional material I've seen refers to it as the White chocolate Buttons so I'll go with that, for now!

The packaging has a fun look with it's wide eyed cartoon penguin, who you might recognise as the character featured on the little bags of Cadbury white chocolate buttons. The pots are described as a "smooth & creamy dessert made with melted Cadbury white chocolate and whipping cream for maximum smoothness".

Just like the Dairy Milk version, this dessert had a silky smooth texture that was absolutely gorgeous. It's different from any other similar chocolate dessert that I've tried before, it's just utter perfection texture wise. I'll say it again - it's smooooth.

The flavour here is just fantastic too. I must admit I was expecting a fairly average and very sweet white chocolate with perhaps some vanilla to it, but it's so much more than that. It's a deliciously indulgent white chocolate that has a rich caramel, rather than vanilla, undertone to it. The white chocolate is sweet without being overwhelmingly so, and it's very creamy without being too milky. The combination is just delicious and anyone who's a fan of white chocolate should try to track this down immediately.

There are three varieties in the Pots of Joy range; Dairy Milk, White Chocolate Buttons, and Caramel. I didn't think the Dairy Milk Pots of Joy was special enough to buy very often but I know that I won't be able to resist buying this White Chocolate Buttons variety again in the future. Look out for my review of the Caramel coming soon!

Note: I would have given these a much higher score based on taste, but unfortunately they contain pork gelatin which is a bit off putting.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury White Chocolate Buttons Pots of Joy

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes!
Nutrition (per 70g)
160 calories. 3.4g protein,  21.3g carbohydrates, 6.6g fat.

Vegetarian: No - contain pork gelatin!
Purchased: Co-Op.
Price: £0.64p (on half price offer for 2 x 70g pots).

New Cadbury Pots of Joy - Dairy Milk Review

This new range of Cadbury chilled desserts, Pots of Joy, are made with melted chocolate and whipping cream to create "maximum smoothness". There are three varieties in the range to choose from; Dairy Milk, Caramel, and White Chocolate Buttons. 

I bought all three varieties from Co-op where they're currently on an introductory half price offer - £0.64p for a twinpack. The pots are quite small at 70g each (for comparison an Activia yogurt pot is 125g). I like the simple packaging with it's distinctive Cadbury purple, however, I'm not totally sold on the name "Pots of Joy" (or on the whole "Joyville" theme in general). 

I decided to try the Dairy Milk Pots of Joy (nope, still not working for me) first. I was interested to see how these would differ from the Cadbury Mousse desserts that are already available (I reviewed the Mint version here). This new Dairy Milk dessert is wonderfully glossy and looks silky smooth. The whipped cream certainly gives the melted chocolate a lighter feel and flavour. But boy are these smooth. They really couldn't have made them any smoother and the result is absolutely delicious. The Dairy Milk flavour is just perfection here too, sweetly chocolately but not too cloying. 

Even though this Dairy Milk Pots of Joy was extremely tasty, I have to point out that I probably wouldn't buy them very often. The calorific content is very high for such a small pot. I'll stick to the mousse versions which have almost half the amount of calories. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Dairy Milk Pots of Joy

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Maybe.
Nutrition (per 70g)
160 calories. 4.2g protein,  25.6g carbohydrates, 11.7g fat.

Vegetarian: No - contain pork gelatin!
Purchased: Co-Op.
Price: £0.64p (for 2 x 70g pots).

21 Apr 2013

New Walkers Baked Hoops And Crosses Review (Crisps)

I must admit I'm quite partial to this kind of puffed corn snack, it makes a change from regular crisps and they tend to be quite light and less greasy in texture. These new Baked Hoops and Crosses from Walkers come in three different flavours; Roast Beef, Salt & Vinegar and Prawn Cocktail. Each bag has 85 calories, making them a slightly healthier option compared to other crisps. They're also made from wholegrains, have no artificial colours or preservatives and all three flavours are suitable for vegetarians.

The snacks themselves have a fun shape, although I'm not sure why they are called Hoops and Crosses rather than "noughts and crosses". It might be because there is already a snack called Noughts & Crosses  aimed at young children and toddlers, from the Organix Goodies range. The texture of these new Hoops and Crosses is very similar to other puffed corn snacks, with their light crunch followed with a quick melt in the mouth feel.

The Salt & Vinegar flavour is very tangy, with quite a sour kick from the vinegar. This will probably be a bit much for younger children, but older kids and adults will appreciate the full flavour. It's also worth noting that there seemed to be a generous portion of snack in each bag. It wasn't the usual half empty bag that I've come to expect from this type of snack.

The Roast Beef were the favourite of almost everyone who tried these snacks. It's a delicious flavour that is very similar to the Roast Beef from Monster Munch. It's just a good old fashioned meaty taste with no messing about with any seasonings apart from salt!

The Prawn Cocktail was my personal favourite of the three (I was the exception to all the above Roast Beef lovers in my household!), as they just had that tangy and sweet combination that I love. All the crisps were full of seasoning, making the prawn cocktail flavour strong and delicious.

Overall I'm loving this new range from Walkers. I don't think anyone will actually play noughts and crosses with these, my children certainly weren't interested in that, but they did love the fun shapes and the flavours. It's also great to know that these snacks have more fibre and less fat than regular crisps.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Walkers Baked Hoops And Crosses

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: 99p Store (Multipacks of 6 bags).
Nutrition: (per 18g bag) 85 calories, 1.3g protein, 11.0g carb., 3.8g fat.

Vegetarian: Suitable for Vegetarians.

20 Apr 2013

Bajeczny by Wedel - Polish Chocolate Bar Review

This Bajeczny chocolate bar is made in Poland by one of the oldest confectionery brands in that country, E.Wedel - established in 1851 no less! It was very kindly sent to me by a lovely Twitter user by the name of @Banjo_Chocolate otherwise known as Bring Back Banjo Chocolate! 

I should tell you all straight away that Bajeczny means "Fabulous" in Polish - it's a great name for a chocolate bar but one that sets expectations quite high! (Update: Please see comments below for correct translation).

The Bajeczny is described as a "traditional combination of wafers with nuts and milk chocolate". From the outside it does look like a fairly average wafer bar, however the inside reveals the true fabulousness of the Bajeczny :)

It's certainly not an average wafer that's for sure! The centre is more akin to a milk chocolate praline, with lots of small nut pieces and a delicious wafer and chocolate combination. The wafers have been densely packed in the chocolate centre, almost ground up into it, which gives the filling a crispy and slightly aerated texture. The nuts are flavoursome, crunchy, and generously distributed in the filling. The chocolate is quite sweet but it's well balanced by the surprisingly rich cocoa flavour (there is 31% cocoa solids in this bar). All the flavours and textures here work together incredibly well to create a very tasty chocolate bar. Without a doubt the best Polish chocolate bar I have tried and one I'll be looking out for in my local Polish shops!

Thank you so much to @Banjo_Chocolate, who also sent me some other delicious looking treats, all from different countries - reviews of those coming soon. Please support the campaign to get the Banjo Chocolate bar back in production! Check out the Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar Facebook page where you can also watch the original adverts for Banjo from the 1970/80s!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Bajeczny

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Check out your local Polish shops!
Nutrition: (45g) 247 calories.

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