28 Feb 2014

Review: Cherizena Banoffee Pie Flavour Coffee

Banoffee is one of my favourite flavours and I was delighted to be asked to review this new Banoffee Pie flavoured coffee by speciality coffee producers Cherizena - especially after reading Kev's review on his blog here. It's a Colombian Arabica Coffee with a blend of creamy banana and toffee flavours (and none of the calories of a slice of banoffee pie!). There are over 25 delicious sounding flavoured coffees available from Cherizena such as Cinnamon, Salted Caramel, Sticky Gingerbread, and even Chocolate & Coconut Flavour (oh my!). Each flavoured coffee is produced by infusing the beans with flavours and contains no syrups or coatings.

I like the brown paper bag packaging of the coffees, but then Grocery Gems does have a paper bag as a mascot! They're all fully foil lined to retain freshness and it's interesting to note that Cherizena offer a bespoke labelling service for their packaging. 

The coffee itself already had a wonderful aroma as soon as I opened the packaging. The sweet caramel and banana scent was immediately evident and incredibly inviting. 

The flavour is completely delicious too and fully lived up to my expectations. It all starts with the lovely base coffee used here, it's the ideal background for the added flavours, providing a full bodied and well balanced coffee. The Banoffee Pie flavour itself is extremely successful here too, with creamy banana and toffee notes that perfectly compliment the smooth coffee. I've only ever had disappointing experiences with banoffee flavoured coffees in the past so I'm delighted to have tried this fantastic offering from Cherizena.

They also kindly sent me their Italian Roast to try and I was impressed by it's medium to strong edge and rich flavour. It's a lovely coffee to enjoy in the morning, and I say that as someone who is extremely fussy about her morning coffee! 

The coffees are available as either ground (fine, medium or coarse) or as whole beans, and as a decaffeinated option.

More from the Cherizena range online: http://cherizena.co.uk

Follow on Twitter: @CherizenaCoffee

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cherizena Banoffee Pie Coffee

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - I'd love to try more of the range.

Purchased: Available online.
Price: £3.00p for 115g, £5.50 for 230g.

26 Feb 2014

Review: Walkers Pops - Melted Cheese & Crispy Bacon

Air popped crisps are becoming increasingly popular as a supposedly healthier version of regular fried crisps, and it's exciting to see Walkers creating their own version with these Pops. These have been air popped rather than fried and claim to have 50% less fat compared to standard potato crisps. There are three flavours available; Original, Sour Cream & Onion and Melted Cheese & Crispy Bacon. I bought a bag of the latter, with a 23g bag containing 102 calories.

Initially I felt that Melted Cheese & Crispy Bacon sounded like quite an elaborate flavour name for what would be a regular Walkers Cheese & Bacon, but it's actually a very good description of the flavour. The cheese here is quite a strong cheddar type flavour, but it does have a melted, almost toasty, quality to it too. Although the Crispy Bacon part of it is pretty much just the salty bacon flavour that you would expect. The seasoning overall is very strong on these crisps, slightly bordering on being too salty for me. The popped crisps themselves are large disc shapes which have a puffy and light texture. They're certainly tasty and enjoyable to eat and I would probably buy them again as an occasional treat. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Walkers Pops

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Maybe.
Nutrition: (per 23g bag) 102 calories.

Vegetarian: Yes.
Purchased: Local Newsagent.
Price: £0.60p (for one packet!!).

24 Feb 2014

Review: Cadbury Mousse Orange Chocolate

Cadbury seem to be rolling out an endless supply of new products recently, it's quite hard to keep up. I think for the sake of my waistline I will need to refrain from buying every new Cadbury product I see, there are just too many! To be honest there are so many new items that I can't even be 100% sure that this is new so if it isn't, apologies as always, and leave a comment below. Last week there were Cadbury Creme Egg Biscuits and the new Dairy Milk Ritz and Lu bars to try, and so far this week (it's only Monday!) I've already picked up these Orange Chocolate Mousse pots. Does anyone else agree that Orange Chocolate just sounds wrong? I keep wanting to change it to Chocolate Orange!

According to the Asda website this Cadbury Mousse variety is a limited edition. Just like the Cadbury Mint Chocolate Mousse which I reviewed last year, these come in a multipack of 4 pots each containing 90 calories. The mousse itself has a lovely light and fluffy texture that quickly melts in the mouth. The light chocolate flavour of the mousse is completely dominated by the strong orange which was very sickly sweet. But then again I'm not the greatest fan of chocolate orange pairings because they often end up far too sweet tasting for me. If however, you enjoy chocolate and orange as a combination then this would make a nice, and fairly light, treat to satisfy a chocolate craving, but overall I preferred the Mint Chocolate version.  

Another new Cadbury product (I know I should say Mondelez instead of Cadbury but that doesn't sound right to me either...) which was released last week is the Wispa Gold Hot Chocolate Sachets - see Kev's Snack Review HERE!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Orange Chocolate Mousse

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Probably not.
Nutrition (per 30g)
90 calories.
Vegetarian: Not Suitable.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.00 (for 4 x 45g pots).

23 Feb 2014

McVities Mini Vanilla Milkshake Biscuits

At the moment I'm still living in a building site and waiting for our kitchen, and other general house, renovations to be finished. What I've missed the most about not having a kitchen this half term is baking with my kids, especially anything sweet like biscuits and cakes. And when it comes to biscuits, although we can be quite adventurous, I can't escape the fact that simple vanilla cookies are the most requested by the kids! For that reason these new Mini Vanilla Milkshakes Biscuits easily caught my eye on a recent visit to the supermarket.

There are six bags of mini biscuits in each pack, and each individual bag contains 124 calories. The packaging has quite a quirky retro look to it and there are little milkshake facts on each bag. 

The biscuits look cute too and gave a lovely vanilla aroma as soon as I opened the bag. They have a delicious buttery flavour, almost like a shortcake, with a nicely rounded vanilla edge to them that is not too strong or artificial tasting. My kids loved these biscuits and they've already been asking me to buy them again! I hope they will do some other flavours in this milkshake range too, especially a banana version!

Grocery Gems Verdict: McVities Mini Vanilla Milkshake Biscuits

RATING: 9 out of 10
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition (25g): 124 calories
Purchased: Sainsbury's.
Price: £1.59.

21 Feb 2014

Review: Volvic Touch Of Coco Pineapple Inspired by Brazil

Thank you to the reader who asked me to review the new flavour in the Volvic Touch Of range. This Volvic Touch of Coco Pineapple is the second drink inspired by Brazil that I've reviewed recently, the first being the Lucozade Brazilian Mango & Mandarin. As we get closer to this summer's World Cup, I'm sure there we'll be seeing more and more of these types of "tropical" flavoured products supposedly inspired by Brazil! Just as an aside, has anyone seen any products themed or attributed to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, there doesn't seem to be anything at all?

I'd always assumed that these types of flavoured water had lots of artificial sweeteners so I was pleased to find that wasn't the case with this Volvic range. It's obviously not as healthy as plain water but it's less heavy than a fruit juice or soda. The Touch of Coco Pineapple has 21 calories per 100ml. The coconut and pineapple flavour is lovely, with neither element dominating the other or the water itself. Even though the coconut scent is quite strong the flavour itself is lightly done with a thoroughly refreshing result. Each sip provides an equal coconut and pineapple burst and it's a very familiar and successful combination. This will taste absolutely wonderful on a hot day over some crushed ice! 

When I was instore looking for the Brazilian inspired Volvic I also spotted this Touch of Tropical Fruits version. This also had new on the label but it turns out that it's been around since early last year.

This one is a pineapple, mango and passion fruit flavoured water so I wanted to see how it compared to the Coco Pineapple. The Volvic Touch of Tropical Fruits has a sweet and fruity mango flavour with the other tropical fruits adding a background depth. Again, it's wonderfully light and refreshing and I actually preferred the flavour (just slightly) to the Coco Pineapple. I'll definitely be buying both of these drinks again in the future, especially once the weather starts to warm up a bit!

Whilst the Touch of Coco Pineapple is a limited edition flavour there is also a new permanent flavour being introduced to the range, a Touch of Fruity Cherry. I love cherries so that's a must try for me then!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Volvic Touch of Coco Pineapple

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 21 calories (per 100ml).
Purchased: Sainsbury's. 
Price: £1.00p (1.5litre bottle).

20 Feb 2014

Review: Cadbury Creme Egg Biscuits

The vast majority of my reviews on Grocery Gems are usually quite positive, and it might seem like I'm the kind of person who likes all types of food, but that's not the case at all. I'm actually quite a fussy eater. Yes really! Anyway, I finally met a Cadbury product that I really REALLY didn't like, since starting this blog at least, in the form of these Creme Egg Biscuits.

There are not many biscuits in a packet, and each one is fairly small. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs but I still had high hopes for these biscuits, they certainly seem like an interesting idea for a new product.

Unfortunately most of the basic elements of these biscuits didn't work for me, and they just didn't taste good at all. The biscuit base was the biggest disappointment, the texture especially, was too gritty and not pleasant to eat. It's a shame it wasn't a buttery biscuit base here instead. The fondant Creme Egg layer did look appealing, but had a runny texture and was far too sickly sweet, not helped by the cheap tasting outer chocolate layer. Perhaps I got a dud packet but I won't be buying these biscuits again to test it out. I'd rather have an actual Cadbury Creme egg instead.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Creme Egg Biscuits

RATING: 4 out of 10
Buy them again?: No!
Purchased: Asda.
Nutrition per biscuit: 80 calories
Price: £1.00 each.

18 Feb 2014

Review: The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch Multi-Grain

This could be one of those products that is actually quite old despite the word "new" on the packaging as I can't really find anything about it's release online, so apologies if that is case. The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch Multi-Grain are little servings of crackers with an individual portion of cheese spread. They're apparently a good source of calcium and certainly make a very convenient addition for kids lunchboxes. There is also a Light and an Original version available in this range.

Admittedly, I only occasionally buy these types of cheese dippers for my boys, only because they seem to get bored of them quickly, so it's nice to see product that offers a bit more interest in this category. The different smiley faces on each cracker was guaranteed to make my children take notice and they couldn't wait to try them.

The crackers are certainly fun to look at and kept my boys keen to try another one to see if they had a different face. The flavour is nicely wheaty and crunchy, not too salty or greasy, unlike other cracker cheese dippers and have a good texture from the added oat flakes and seeds. The cheese dip is also remarkably tasty, much nicer than the Dairylea Dunkers equivalent. It's mild enough for kids but still has an interesting enough flavour for adults to enjoy too. I had to stop myself from finishing a whole pack when I had only meant to try one! Apart from me eating  more than my fair share, the kids still managed to thoroughly enjoy The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch and I'd certainly buy them again in future.

Grocery Gems Verdict: The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch Multi-Grain

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition:  105 calories,
Purchased: Asda.
Price £1.00p (multipack of 4).

The MAD 2014 Blog Awards!

MAD Blog Awards 

Just like the movie industry has the Oscars and the BAFTA's, the parenting blogging world has the MADs - the blog awards for Mums and Dads!

I set up Grocery Gems over one and a half years ago because, as a Mum to two young boys, we cannot go through a supermarket without buying at least one product that is new or limited edition. My first ever review was for a new flavour of Pom Bear crisps! I primarily started this blog to focus on family friendly new food and groceries. Since then my blog has grown rapidly, and I'm so grateful to everyone who reads this blog and who has sent me emails, tweets, messages and left comments telling me about the new products they have spotted!

There are lots of different categories in the MADs, from travel to crafting, and I'd be so grateful if you could spare a minute to nominate Grocery Gems in the Food category here - http://www.the-mads.com/vote/. using my blog url which is http://grocerygems.blogspot.co.uk
Thank you!

By the way, if Grocery Gems were a movie I like to think it would be Chocolat (the motto from the wonderful book it's based on is "try me, test me, taste me" after all) but my husband says it's more like the movie Airplane! He likes to tweak his favourite quote from the film to fit Grocery Gems - "looks like I picked the wrong day to start a diet!".

17 Feb 2014

Review: Kettle Chips Sea Salt with a Hint of Citrus Lemon

A simple new flavour from Kettle Chips - Sea Salt with a Hint of Citrus Lemon. There is also a Sea Salt with a Hint of Rosemary version available. These are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and are free from artificial ingredients or flavourings.

As soon as I popped open the packaging I could appreciate the lemony aroma of the crisps, it's initially quite a strong, but it marries well with the familiar hand cooked Kettle Chips scent. The flavour however, was exactly as the name of the flavour implies... with a hint of citrus lemon. It's impossible not to appreciate the simplicity of Sea Salted Kettle Chips, they're so crunchy and satisfying. The addition of lemon gives these Sea Salt crisps a background citrus flavour, with a subtle tanginess and sharpness, that is like having a much lighter version of a classic salt & vinegar combination. The seasoning could occasionally be uneven throughout the packet, with some crisps barely having a hint of lemon at all and others being very lemony. I actually preferred the stronger flavoured ones and even though I'd quite like to see this as a straight up Sea Salt & Lemon version, I can appreciate that it's nice to have a lighter seasoned Kettle Chips flavour to tuck into once in a while too!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kettle Chips Sea Salt with a Hint of Lemon

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: I'll definitely try the Rosemary version too.
Nutrition (per 100g)
504 calories.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £2.19p (or 2 for £3.00)

15 Feb 2014

Review: Limited Edition Kinder Surprise Disney Princess & Marvel Heroes

UPDATE: I would love to add more photos of these Kinder toys to this post - if you have a photo of your collection please send it to me at grocerygems@gmail.com. Full credit will be given. Thank you! 

Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs have been been available in blue and pink versions for a while now, since last year at least. As a bit of a Disney geek and with two children who are fans of Marvel Heroes, I'm loving these new Limited Edition Kinder Surprise. Let me know what you think about this latest release in the comments below!

Firstly the Kinder Egg Disney Princesses. There are seven princesses to collect; Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle, and Rapunzel. I'm old enough to know better but I still enjoy cracking the chocolate and opening up the little orange plastic egg to find out which toy is inside. Obviously I was holding out for Belle, as she's the BEST Disney Princess, no question.

Inside I found a little Princess Jasmine, made of three interlocking pieces. It's very easy to put together, i.e. even I managed it! I wasn't disappointed, she looks incredibly detailed for such a miniature toy, even her skirt is glittery (which doesn't show up on the photo I'm afraid!). I'll just have to buy a few more Kinder Eggs until I find Belle...

My kids however, were only interested in the Marvel Kinder Surprise. Unlike the Disney Princesses, these toys are not realistic miniatures, these are Marvel characters as rounded "Twistheads", a concept Kinder has used before in previous ranges. I'm not sure where these Twistheads originated or the concept behind them, so feel free to leave a comment if  you have any information. There are ten different Marvel characters to collect; Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Loki, Thor, The Lizard, Venom, and Green Goblin.

Super cute Wolverine! These toys have little twistable heads (well only their scalps really!) that will reveal a number when twisted off. The idea is simply to get more than one and pit them against each other, whoever has the biggest number wins. I liked the look of these and the little strings on their heads which mean they can be attached to school bags or clothing.

We also got a mini Loki. Guess who won in the Twistheads battle between Wolverine and Loki? Overall these are lovely little toys that I'm sure any little fan (and more than likely quite a few big fans too...) of Disney or Marvel will enjoy.


Our Marvel collection so far!

Here's an absolutely gorgeous photo sent to me by Sophie B. This is a full collection of the Disney Princesses completed by Ellie-May aged 2. Thank you so much for the lovely photo - the collection looks so wonderful displayed altogether! Well done for such a brilliant collection! :)

Kirstie L. sent me this fabulous photo of her Marvel Heroes collection. I love it, such a brilliant collage of photos that perfectly sums up the buy>devour>display sequence of trying to complete a full collection! Just three more to go for this collection, I'm sure it won't be long now. Thanks Kirstie!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kinder Surprise Disney Princess & Marvel Heroes

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes..
Purchased: Co-Op.
Price £0.79p each or 2 for £1.20.

14 Feb 2014

Review: Heart Shaped Strawberry Pocky!

I couldn't resist posting this review for these heart shaped Strawberry Pocky today. The packaging I have was actually from the Snoopy themed range which is not available anymore, but the heart shaped Strawberry Pocky itself is still sold in the regular packaging.

This product is just altogether adorable. Inside the box are 3 individually sealed portions of Pocky sticks, I love the heart shaped "window" in each packet. So cute.

The Pocky sticks have been shaped so that they have a heart running through the stick itself. It was quite hard to photograph, as it's much more obvious in real life.

The actual Pocky sticks have a natural strawberries and cream flavour, with little bits of dried strawberry imbedded in the cream too, adding extra fruitiness. The whole thing is very tasty and cute too, we all enjoyed the flavour and unique shape. 

I bought these from Oyatsu Cafe. Don't forget you can use the discount coupon GROCERYGEMS for 15% off any Oyatsu Cafe order. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Strawbery Pocky

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Available from Oyatsu Cafe.
Price $2.99 (approx. £1.83)

Beech's Turkish Delight Review & Discount Code!

I was delighted to be sent a few boxes of the gorgeous Beech's Turkish Delight to review. These are rose flavoured Turkish Delight covered in smooth milk chocolate. As with the rest of the Beech's range this is beautifully packaged with a Middle Eastern inspired pattern and vivid pink and purple design.  

Beech's is a fabulous British company that has been making chocolates since 1920. Take a look at their full range online and take advantage of the discount code that they have kindly provided to my readers, offering 10% off all purchases until 28th February - www.beechsfinechocolates.com. There is plenty to choose from and they even have a vegan selection, perfect for gift ideas! 10% off Discount Code: BFC21J1410

These just look gorgeous! Turkish Delight is one of those products that people seem to either love or hate, but luckily for me I absolutely adore it. Beech's Turkish Delight is made with all natural colours and flavours, and the milk chocolate contains 30% minimum cocoa solids. 

The Turksih Delight inside is a beautiful dark pink, with a firm but soft jelly like texture. The flavour here is exactly what I love in a Turkish Delight, sweet and delicately flavoured with rose. I love the slightly squidgey texture juxtaposed with the super smooth milk chocolate coating, it's such a delicious combination. The whole thing is completely divine and miles ahead of any of the other widely available chocolate covered Turkish Delights. Anyone who's a fan of Turkish Delight must try these!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Beech's Turkish Delight

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

Nutrition (per 20g): 82 calories.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Price: £4.49p (150g box).

Product sent for an honest review.

13 Feb 2014

Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Ritz and Dairy Milk LU

The new Cadbury Dairy Milk Ritz and Dairy Milk LU are a welcome British version of the European Milka with Tuc and Milka with LU that I reviewed last year (see HERE). The Cadbury products are almost identical, also featuring sweet and savoury crackers added to milk chocolate. For the Cadbury versions we get Dairy Milk with Ritz crackers (instead of Tuc), but also get the same LU biscuits, which are a popular type of simple buttery biscuit.

Both bars are quite small at 35g which amounts to four squares of chocolate and eight crackers (there are four crackers on each side). They look identical to the Milka versions, and I find the appearance very appealing. 

The Dairy Milk Ritz is my personal favourite, since I'm inclined towards sweet and salty flavours. The combination of Ritz crackers with chocolate is not as strange as it might sound, the crackers used here don't seem as salty as the real thing, and just provide a slightly savoury background, and subtle salty edge, to the sweet Cadbury chocolate. The only problem is that these are very moreish so I found the serving quite small, although that's no doubt a good thing for my waistline!

The Dairy Milk LU is a far more standard confection in terms of flavour. The combination of sweet and buttery biscuit with milk chocolate is one that we can find in any of the supermarket biscuit aisles, however that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a wonderfully delicious version. The LU biscuit has a sweet vanilla flavour which isn't overpowered by the rest of the ingredients and tastes fantastic with the milk chocolate. It's like eating a lovely biscuit that is covered in super thick chocolate - just gorgeous!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Cadbury Dairy Milk Ritz and Dairy Milk LU

RATING: Ritz - 9 out of 10, LU - 8.5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes, especially the Ritz.
Purchased: Tesco (a special stand in the freezer section of all places).
Nutrition per 35g: (Ritz) 183 calories (LU) 180 calories.
Price: £0.50p each. 

Valentine's Day Meal Deal at Asda for £10!

Asda have a great value meal deal for Valentine's Day. There are lots of options available, and the deal includes one Main for Two, any two Side Dishes, and any of the specially selected Valentine's Day Dessert options. Many supermarkets seem to have doubled the prices for their Valentine's Day meal deals compared to their usual prices, so I'm glad to see that Asda have some lovely options for a very reasonable £10! Here are some of my top picks:

There were lots of impressive main meals for two available in the deal . I was tempted by the Slow Cooked Seafood Paella, Slow Cooked Lamb Shank in Redcurrant & Port Sauce, or the delicious looking Seafood Risotto but in the end I choose the Beef in Red Wine with Herb Dumplings - I'm in the mood for comfort food! It's a large serving and can be prepared in either the oven or microwave.

Choosing two sides was quite hard as there was a lot of choice in this section! The first option was easy as I can never say no to bread and this Caramelised Shallot, Garlic & Herb Flatbread looked irresistible.

For my second choice (after a ridiculously long deliberation!) I decided on these Boulangère Potatoes, mainly because I've never tried this dish before. There were plenty of other potato options available from Dauphinoise Potatoes to Chunky Sea Salted  Chips, and vegetable options such as Parsnips in Olive Oil, and Carrot & Butternut Squash mash.

The dessert choice was easiest of all as I'd heard about these Melting Red Velvet Moments online a few weeks ago and can't wait to give them a try. It's a red velvet sponge, filled with a melting Belgian chocolate centre and covered in chocolate ganache, a lovely looking dessert for Valentine's Day. There was also a Belgian Chocolate & Salted Caramel Dessert which looked divine too.

Have a look at my post HERE for some Valentine's Day gift ideas from Asda. 

PR Samples.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...