30 Sept 2013

Review: Robinsons Fruit Shoot Tropical Flapjack Fingers

These Fruit Shoot Flapjacks are actually made by the Fabulous Bakin' Boys, a company already known for their tasty oaty flapjacks and cupcake ranges. My eldest son is quite a fan of flapjacks and I'm always on the look out for new flavours for him. Many parents will know the Fruit Shoot brand as a very popular range of drinks for children. It's not a brand I've bought regularly for my kids, as the drinks contain artificial sweeteners, however I was pleased to see that these flapjacks are free from artificial colours or flavours. They come in two varieties; Apple & Blackcurrant and these Tropical.

Each brightly coloured box contains six individually wrapped flapjacks.

They contain real fruit chunks, in this case dried apricots, and additional natural flavouring. These had a lovely tropical pineapple flavour that gave the buttery flapjacks a real burst of sweetness. The base flapjack did taste identical to the regular Fabulous Bakin' Boys Golden Oaty Flapjacks, with it's classic golden syrup and butter combination, but with the added fruity flavour. My son is a fan of apricots so he loved the combination here and I'll definitely be buying these for him again.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Fruit Shoot Tropical Flapjack Fingers

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Will try the Apple & Blackcurrant flavour too.
Nutrition (per flapjack): 127 calories

Purchased: Co-Op.
Price: £1.00.

Chocolate By Genevie Competition Winner

A BIG thank you to everyone who entered the competition on Twitter and Facebook. The winner who will receive an E-coupon for the Gold Box 16 Chocolates pictured above is...


Congratulations! I have sent the winner a DM on Twitter to ask for their details. 
Don't worry if you haven't won this time, I have a very exciting competition coming up soon and there is still time to enter the Special K competition HERE!

29 Sept 2013

German Grocery Exchange - Sweets, Ritter Sport, Milka Biscuits & More!

I recently took part in a Grocery Exchange with Steffi from Germany. I've already reviewed some of the products that she sent me, such as the awesome Haribo Happy Cola with Liquid Filling and Katjes veggie sweets. I've been happily working my way through the rest of the awesome products which include sweets, biscuits, chocolates and even a savoury spread. Here's a German snack megapost!

Hussel Confiserie - Froschprinzen

Starting with the sweets, these Froschprinzen are made by one of Germany's more upscale confectionery brands.

As the name would suggest these sweets feature little Frog Princes, it's such a cute idea! My packet had four different flavours and they were all very fruity and delicious.

Hitschler Confetti & Brause

I loved these adorable little bags of shaped sweets, which are made by Hitschler, a sweets manufacturer based in Steffi's hometown of Cologne.

They're very bright and colourful, and would look great for cake decorating. They're also very tasty too. The Confetti are delicously fruity and chewy, shaped into largeish batons. The Brause Sterne are a sherbet chalky type sweet, a bit like Love Hearts but not as chalky, shaped into colourful stars. My kids were especially excited by these sweets when we first opened Steffi's parcel! 

Leibniz Pick Up! Choco & Caramel

Leibniz biscuits are usually either a plain buttery biscuit or chocolate covered on one side. Here the biscuit has been filled with an extra layer of chocolate and caramel, creating a classic sandwich biscuit, with added sweetness. 

The individual portion makes it a great little snack. There are several other varieties available in the Liebniz Pick Up range such as Choco & Milk and Choco Black & White which are both stocked in the UK by Monster Sweets. 

Alnatura Cocos Sesame Krokant

Thank you Steffi for adding something coconutty to the parcel! These organic sesame bars are essentially Sesame Snaps, but with added coconut flavour. They're a very sugary treat, but one that's great with a cup of coffee.

Milka Choco Pause

A huge tube of new chocolate filled biscuits from Milka. Steffi described them as a bit like Prince biscuits, a type of chocolate sandwich biscuits that is very popular around mainland Europe.

The outer biscuits reminded me of rich tea biscuits, but just a bit more golden and buttery. The inner chocolate is very tasty as you would expect from Milka! It's a classic combination that works very well here.

Ritter Sport Erdbeer Vanille-Waffel 

I love Ritter Sport bars and this new for Summer 2013 Strawberry Vanilla Wafer was no exception. In fact it was one of those bars that we finished in one sitting, it's just too good to resist.

The filling is a Loacker wafer biscuit base with a strawberry yogurt filling. I love Loacker wafers (see here) so I was intrigued try them in a Ritter Sport bar. Even though it sounds like quite a simple flavour combination, the overall taste is just fantastic. The strawberry yogurt filling is sweet, fruity and slightly tart, and the vanilla wafer provides the perfect crunchy backdrop. This is a Limited Edition, so they won't be around very long.

Tartex Kräuter

Lastly is this really interesting savoury spread which is described as a "herb pate". It's a spread made with organic parsley, chives and leeks, with yeast and vegetable oil.

I tried mine on some dark rye bread but it can also be used as a base for cooking such as in a pasta sauce. The flavour is unusual but very enjoyable, slightly salty and herby but smooth and creamy at the same time. It's totally different to anything I've tried before! Apparently there are also lots of other versions of these spreads in Germany, such as Ratatouille, chilli, and even mushroom.

 I hope you enjoyed this snack round up. Many thanks again to Steffi for sending these out and for providing so much background information to each snack. There is still one more review to come from our Grocery Exchange! 

27 Sept 2013

Review! New Special K Multi-Grain Porridge

This past week I've enjoyed trying out the new range of Multi-Grain Porridge from Special K. These come in individual portions which are easily prepared in the microwave. The porridge itself has 30% less fat (compared to leading porridge brands) and is made with three grains - oats, rye and barley - making it naturally high in fibre and full of texture and flavour. There are three varieties in the range; Simply Original, Almond & Honey and Red Berries.

Almond & Honey: I couldn't wait to try the Almond & Honey first, the flavour combination seemed the most intriguing to me. The ingredients listed are natural honey flavouring and almond pieces (2.5%), along with the whole oats, barley and whole rye.  The almond pieces give the porridge a very satisfying and slightly crunchy texture. The flavour of the porridge mainly consists of the sweet honey, which is not too overpowering, and works well with the subtle flavour from the almonds. 

Red Berries: Special K is well known for it's Red Berries cereal so I was interested to see how it would translate in a porridge. Here it contains the same type of freeze dried fruit (strawberries and raspberries) found in its original cereals, which have a slightly tart but sweet flavour. The combination with the porridge is absolutley delicious and was ultimately my favourite of the three - it's perfectly fruity with just the right amount of sweetness.

Simply Original: Even though I was intrigued by the flavoured versions, I usually eat my porridge quite plain (with just a bit of cinnamon), so I suspected that the Simply Original would be my favourite. Just like the previous two, this was super easy to make and created a very tasty and warming porridge. I found it to be quite sweet, a bit too sweet for  me, but I would still be tempted to use it as a base for adding some extra toppings.

I received these products in order to write an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own.


Grocery Gems Verdict: Special K Multi-Grain Porridge

RATING: Almond & Honey 8.5 out of 10, Red Berries 9 out of 10, Original 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - especially the Red Berries.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Nutrition (per 27g serving): 104 calories (Update: This does not include milk). 

26 Sept 2013

Review! Limited Edition New York Bakery Co Orange & Cranberry Bagels

A lovely new Limited Edition flavour New York Bakery Co, who have already released some brilliant flavours this year. Their Blueberry Bagel especially, was an instant favourite in the Grocery Gems household. I love the fact that the New York Bakery Co keep updating their bagels with new flavour combinations and seasonal editions, and I know I'm not the only one! The packaging of the new Cranberry & Orange bagels has a black and orange colour scheme that looks very appealing at this time of year - and especially for Halloween.

The bagels are very fruity and contain lots of dried cranberry and orange peel pieces. But when I first heard these were orange bagels, all I could think was - CHOCOLATE SPREAD. Indeed, on the packaging it says that these are perfect with chocolate and oh my, they really are! I did try to take a photo of these smothered in chocolate but I literally didn't have the patience to wait and take photos. All willpower and self control deserted me. The orangey chocolate scent was just too divine, and happily the delicious flavour fully lived up to my initial expectations.

I also tried one of these bagels with butter, and the overall taste was actually quite different. It was still very delicious, but this time the cranberry pieces delivered more fruitiness and the orange seemed less dominant. I think the sweetness of the chocolate spread really brings out all the zesty orange flavour and creates a wonderful combo - but either way these bagels are my new favourite. Next time I'm going to try them with some marmalade!

I received this product in order to write an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Grocery Gems Verdict: New York Bagel Co Orange & Cranberry

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Absolutely - they're perfect with chocolate.
Vegetarian: Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans.
Price: £1.60 rrp.

25 Sept 2013

Review! New Wonka Crème Brûlée Chocolate Bar

Following on from my reviews of the new Millionaire's Shortbread and Nice Cream, I was pleased to spot the third addition to the new Wonka range - the Crème brûlée. This is described as a vanilla creme with a caramel crunch.

The chocolate bar has a very neat appearance with an appropriately quirky look. Each precisely shaped segment is topped with what looks to me like chocolate coins - some featuring a swirly W. The outer milk chocolate has the same sweet creamy flavour as the previous bars in this range. It's similar in this regard to many of Nestle's other chocolate offerings. 

The inner filling immediately has an appetisingly sweet scent of caramel which carries through to the flavour itself. The crème brûlée theme is successfully captured in the flavour here. The filling is very creamy and has visible vanilla speckles which add a gorgeous vanilla flavour. This is then followed by the crunchy texture of the little caramel pieces. I loved the flavour of these, it's caramelised but with that slightly burnt edge to it that you would expect from a crème brûlée. The burnt aspect is thankfully not overpowering to the filling or chocolate, which I've found is often the case with crème brûlée themed chocolate bars. The only negative flavourwise is that the whole combination becomes a bit too sweet very quickly. (Another major negative is the calorie content - see below!).

It's still not the most exciting of chocolate bars and I would have liked to see some more wacky flavours from to justify the Wonka name. If crème brûlée, then why not make it a flavoured version? There are lots of interesting recipes for flavoured ones out there, like orange, lemon or coffee crème brûlée. Having said all that, this simple Crème Brûlée was still my clear favourite of the three Wonka bars currently on offer. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Wonka Crème Brûlée

 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Probably not - the calorie content is horrific!
111 calories per 2 pieces! 
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.50p each.

New Birds Eye Chicken Space Shapes & BBQ Chicken Bites

A couple of new additions to the Birds Eye kids range to share with you today. Firstly, are these fun looking Chicken Space Shapes - breaded chicken pieces in the shape of moons, stars and rockets. These are perfect for little astronauts!

Also new instore this autumn are these BBQ Chicken Bites - tender breast chicken pieces with a mild sweet BBQ flavour. Both of these new products are made from 100% chicken breast and are free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Chicken Space Shapes - 14 pack (350g) RRP £2.69
BBQ Chicken Bites - 16 pack (335g) RRP £2.69

23 Sept 2013

Review! Iceland McCoy's Potato Ridges & Hula Hoops Potato Hoops - Oven Food NOT Crisps!

I was quite surprised when I spotted these in the freezer section - at first glance they may look like normal crisp packets but they're actually large bags of frozen potato oven food! They are exclusive to Iceland and feature the official logo of McCoys and Hula Hoops. There is also an unofficial dupe that you can see lurking in the back of the above photo, but more about that later!

First up there are the McCoy's Potato Ridges. These were available in two flavours Cheddar & Onion or Salted. They consist of variously sized discs of ridged potato which need 18 minutes in the oven to cook. The result was very tasty with just the right amount of authentic cheddar flavour and a hint of onion. These were so good when straight out of the oven!

Next up is the Hula Hoops Potato Hoops. These were available in three flavours; Original, BBQ Beef, or Cheese & Onion. I decided to go for the Original flavour with these. They look really impressive, just like large Hula Hoops, and only take 14 minutes in the oven to cook. The flavour was not that different from a real Hula Hoop crisp especially once they had started cool down. It's worth keeping an eye on the oven and making sure these don't overcook as they get overly crunchy very easily.

Lastly are these Wot's this? Good question Iceland. Unlike the previous two delights this didn't have any official logo or trademark info on the back, so they're clearly a copy of a famous brand. Unfortunately, they were also the only ones that were not tasty at all. The cheesy flavour here is very artificial and quite overpowering. The texture however was nice, the inside is a bit like a potato croquette, with a soft mashed potato type filling.

Before they went in the oven; McCoy's Cheddar & Onion, Hula Hoops in the middle and Wot'sthis? at the top.

And after! Overall, these are definitely a fun and innovative idea, and one that I have never seen or heard of before*. Do other countries have oven products based on popular crisp brands? I'd love to know if the UK is the first!

Grocery Gems Verdict:

RATING: McCoy's - 7.5 out of 10, Hula Hoops - 6.5 out of 10, Wot'sthis? 4 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Probably the McCoy's & I'd try the other Hula Hoops flavours too.
Purchased: Iceland (exclusive). 
Price: £1.50 each.

*Thank you to the Lindsey and other commentators below who remember Hula Hoops and Wotsits frozen products existing in the past! If anyone else remembers these, please do add to the comments below :)

22 Sept 2013

Review: Green & Black's Dark Chocolate Lemon & Milk Chocolate Orange

Green & Black's were at Old Spitalfields Market proudly showcasing the newest additions to their organic chocolate range. The citrus inspired flavours in full are; Dark Chocolate infused with Lemon and Milk Chocolate infused with Blood Orange. I was lucky enough to be near Liverpool Street on Friday so I couldn't resist popping in to check out their lovely stand which featured fruit trees made of chocolate!

I managed to resist the temptation to pick an entire chocolate orange from the tree!

I always enjoy the flavour of Green & Black's chocolates but I have to admit I usually stick to their simple milk or white chocolate bar rather than any of their flavoured offerings. The idea of lemon with dark chocolate, however, is quite an unusual one (even though there are plenty of white chocolate and lemon meringue combinations about) and certainly not one I've tried before.

As a fan of intense coffee I've always been partial to Green & Black's dark chocolate as a perfect accompaniment to a cup of espresso. There's something sublime and complimentary about the meeting of two such strong flavours. The dark chocolate in the new Green & Black's Lemon bar has a 60% minimum cocoa solids content and a full bodied flavour to match. The inclusion of lemon oil adds a unique zestiness to the overall experience without being overpowering. Surprisingly there's no bitterness here, the flavours are smooth, fresh and completely delicious - although a few pieces go a long way to satisfy a chocolate hit.

Green & Black's already have an orange flavoured dark chocolate in their range, albeit in the form of the spiced Maya Gold bar, so it was interesting to try their take on a milk chocolate with orange. This classic combination has been given a slight twist with the use of blood oranges, known for their sweet and intense flavour.

What I loved most about this bar was the deliciously creamy milk chocolate used, it's superb here combined with the aromatic orange flavour. I'm not always a fan of chocolate and orange, as I find it can often be too cloying and sugary, but thankfully the flavours here are extremely well balanced and enjoyable.

Both bars will be available from the usual Green & Black's stockists from October.

I received these products in order to write an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Green & Black's Lemon & Orange

RATING: Lemon - 8 out of 10, Orange - 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - the orange is especially perfect for Christmas.
Vegetarian: Yes.

21 Sept 2013

COMPETITION! Win a Three Month Supply of Special K Multi Grain Porridge

As someone who loves porridge, I'm so excited that Special K is introducing its first ever version, perfect for warming up those inevitable winter chills. I'm even more excited that Special K has offered one of my readers the chance to win a THREE MONTH supply - keep reading for details on how to enter! The New Special K Multi-Grain Porridge is made from a three grain recipe using oats, barley and rye - making it 30 per cent less in fat than other porridges and naturally high in fibre. There are three flavours in the range; Original, Red Berries and Almond & Honey, which are all available in boxes of 6 x 27g sachets or in individual pots. Check out my reviews HERE.



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Review: Brain Blasterz - Super Sour Sweets!

Recently I received an awesome parcel of super sour goodies from the lovely people at Brain Blasterz. The whole range features fantastic packaging with it's bold warning colours and gnarly skull. It's all superb fun but don't worry if you're not a fan of sour sweets, many of these are actually very sweet. Since there are so many different products I'm going to start with the sweetest and end with the devilishly sour!

Apple Sour Straps & Strawberry Sour Straws

The Sour Straps and Sour Straws are definitely the sweetest of the bunch. The Sour Straps have a lovely apple flavour with a zingy aftertaste. The Sour Straws have a sweet strawberry flavour and even though I was expecting the coating to be a sour sherbert, it turned out to be quite sugary. I loved these!

Candy Brain Bitz

The Candy Brain Bitz (great name!) are very similar to Nerds candy, except with fruitier flavours and without the garish artificial colours. Each box feature two flavours which are partitioned down the middle. Either Apple and Strawberry, or Lemon and Raspberry.

The sweets are small, chewy and very addictive. The Apple is very fruity, with a predominantly sweet flavour. The Strawberry was surprisingly the most sour of all, with a really tart fruitiness. I loved the Raspberry ones, they're very sweet with a zingy sherbet type flavour to finish. The Lemon sweets have a zesty sour flavour whilst still retaining plenty of sweetness.

Oozing Brain Gum

Now we're getting on the the really sour stuff. The ones that you'll want to buy just to watch the expression on your unsuspecting victims face.

The little tub of Oozing Brain Gum (another brilliant name) opens up to reveal lots of individually sealed chewing gums. They're quite sticky because each gum is oozing liquid from the moment it's opened. The flavour is instantly very sour from the liquid within, but the sweeter outer gum helps to counterbalance the sourness somewhat.

Candy Spray

The Candy Sprays are really fun. They squirt a super sour shot. The apple has an instant sourness gives way slightly to a fruity apple flavour. The Raspberry is even more sour if that is possible.

This is definitely a product for the kids. For some reason they are able to keep keep a straight face while they spray this - whilst I look like a baby who's just been given a lemon. I don't know how they do it! Suffice to say they enjoyed these immensely.

Brain Blasterz Mega Sour

The sourest of all, these remind me of Toxic Waste sweets. They're more of a novelty candy that only really exists in order to watch the reaction of those that are brave enough to try one. These are perfect for trying out the Brain Blasterz Straight Face Challenge - try to keep a calm reaction on your face whilst eating one. It's impossible!

Inside the funky packaging there are lots of individually wrapped sweets in four flavours; watermelon, blueberry, lemon and apple.

The sweets are coated with an aggressively sour coating that is so sour it almost hurts (not literally but then I'm obviously a wimp). Hold out for long enough and you are quickly rewarded with the sugary fruity flavour of the sweet within. But just to make sure you haven't forgotten that first sour experience they hold an extra surprise too - a powdery sour centre!

I love the tagline on all the products - Warning! Not for Babies Wimps Adults. Suffice to say these are for firmly for kids - and and they will absolutely love them. My two certainly did and to be honest I'm quite happy to take the Sour Straws and leave them to the rest!

I received these products in order to write an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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