30 May 2014

Degustabox May - Foodie Surprise Box & Discount Code!

The May Degustabox arrived yesterday and, once again, it was packed full of foodie treats. If you've never heard of Degustabox before, it's a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out an exciting selection of products from new and well known brands. It's a bit different from other snack subscription services I've tried, as it's more based on actual groceries and always contains tasty but useful items, as well as delicious treats.

Discount Code: GHZHC

Each Degustabox cost £12.99 a month, which includes delivery, with no fixed contract involved. Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with the following Discount Code for £3.00 off your next Degustabox, bringing the cost to £9.99 delivered. Enter the code - GHZHC

Here's a quick round up of all the products inside this months Degustabox.

Kettle Sweet Potato Chips - Sweet Chilli: These new Kettle Sweet Potato Chips are an interesting alternative to regular chips. They are oven baked so have 50% less fat compared to fried vegetable chips and don't contain any artificial ingredients. Available in Waitrose in Lightly Salted or Sweet Chili flavours. I'm glad these were included in the Degustabox as I've been wanting to try them.

Garafalo Pasta: I was very impressed by the Garafalo Wholewheat Spaghetti that was included in the Degustabox a few months ago (here) so I'm looking forward to giving their Elicoidale pasta a try. Garafalo has been making pasta since 1789 in Gragnano near Naples using the finest durum wheat to create high quality pastas.

Cirio La Classica Passata: There were two Cirio tomato products in this months Degustabox. My husband laughed when he saw this La Classica Passata because if there is one thing we have a lot of - it's passata. I'm known for bulk buying passata - I probably have about 10 packets in my cupboards at any given time! Mainly because I don't use tinned tomatoes in cooking, I really dislike tinned tomatoes actually, so for me passata is the basis of most meals. Whether it's Italian, Indian, Portuguese - it usually starts with passata.

Cirio SuperCirio Tomato Puree: Essential for thickening up the above passata! Cirio claim to only use ripe vivid red tomatoes to give it an extra rich, authentic and delicate flavour. I'm sure I'll be able to put both these products to good use. 

Raw Chewing Gum: Raw is a sugar free chewing gum which gives you a boost of vitamin B. Each pack contains 18 pieces of flavoured gum. I was expecting these to be minty but the flavour is more of a fruity one. I'd be interested to know where to purchase these again.

Hornsby's Cider: Hornsby's have taken inspiration for the USA to create a range of ciders combined with fruit flavours. There were two bottles in my Degustabox; American Classic Crisp Apple Cider and Crisp Pear Cider with Strawberry & Lime Flavour. I'm not really a cider drinker but I already have quite a few willing volunteers ready to take these off my hands! 

Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Cocoa Crunch Flutes: These are much more to my taste! Elizabeth Shaw's new Flutes range are batons of chocolate with a tempting selection of fillings and flavours. The Cocoa Crunch Flutes consist of rich dark chocolate with crunchy cocoa nibs - I haven't tried Elizabeth Shaw's chocolates before so I'm looking forward to trying out the range for the first time.

Taylors of Harrogate: A box of 20 individually wrapped Blackberry & Elderflower teabags from Taylors of Harrogate and created in conjunction with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. There are six tea infusions which have been created in this partnership, the other flavours are; Sweet Rhubarb, Chamomile & Vanilla, Lemongrass & Ginger, Peppermint Leaf and Spiced Apple. 

Cawston Press Cloudy Apple: A sparkling blend of pressed apply juice made using great tasting apple varieties; Cox's Orange Pippin, Braeburn & Bramley. The Cawston Press Rhubarb drink that came with last months box was absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend this range.

Finn Crisp Original: This month half of the Degustabox subscribers received Lizzie's Granola and the other half had Finn Crisp in their parcel. I obviously received the Finn Crisp Original thin sourdough rye crispbread, which is fine by me as these types of crispbreads have become a staple product in my store cupboard. These Finn Crisp crispbreads have only 22 calories per slice and are high in wholegrain fibre and low in fat.

Dr. Oetker Cake Release Spray: Very pleased to see this included in my parcel, as I've been wanting to try it for ages. Now I have the perfect excuse to bake a cake! It eliminates the need for greasing or lining tins before pouring in the cake mixture and is especially useful for irregular shaped tins. I have a Lego brick cake mould that never works properly no matter how well I grease it before baking - perfect time to give it another try I think!

Overall I was once again pleased with the selection in the Degustabox. It hasn't quite reached the heights of last months' chocolate and snack laden box, but as always, most of the products in this months box do appeal to me.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

For more details:
Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

29 May 2014

Nestlé Monster Cereal (Disney Pixar Monsters University) UK

I'm quite late with this review as this limited edition Monster Cereal came out a while ago to coincide with the release of Monsters University. However, I thought it was worth mentioning here as it seems to be popping up in lots of discount stores like 99p Stores and Poundland. What's interesting is that this cereal is basically a repackaging of Nestlé's popular European cereal Chocopic which is very hard to find in the UK.

Whenever my parents visit Portugal or France they always try to bring my kids back a box or two of Chocopic. It's a simple enough cereal consisting of chocolate curls, but it has a strong chocolate flavour that is not too sweet and stays crunchy in the milk. It's much nicer compared to the sweeter, soggier chocolate cereals we get in the UK like Coco Pops. It's definitely worth keeping an eye out for this Monster Cereal a.k.a Chocopic in disguise!

Be warned though - the front of the box is quite freaky with large cut outs for Sulley's eyes that seem to follow you around the room. Not a good first thing in the morning. 

Thankfully the back of the box is cute! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Nestlé Monster Cereal

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition: 117 calories (per 30g serving).
Purchased: 99p Store.

28 May 2014

Limited Edition M&M's Brazil World Cup (UK)

If you read my rather scathing review of the Limited Edition Kit Kat Chunky Orange last week (here), then you might expect a similar review for these Limited Edition Brazil themed M&M's. After all, the only thing that is different about them is the colour. The flavour is certainly nothing new, just good ol' peanut. But despite all that, I really like these colourful blue, green and yellow M&M's! 

The thing is I'm obsessed with flags (I have so many books about flags, posters, maps - even a flag globe on my Around the World page) so these type of flag themed products always appeal to me. I gave the London Olympics themed M&M's a big thumbs up back in 2012 too for the same reasons (review here - but be warned it's in the early days of my blog so it's pretty awful!). The supermarkets are full of party supplies featuring the Brazilian flag for the football World Cup and it's nice to have a chocolate product that fits in with this party atmosphere. I can imagine having bowls of these M&M's at any World Cup get together or even for watching a match on your own, and they will look great. I don't even mind that they are not a special flavour because that's not the point. It's all about the flag, the Bandeira do Brasil, and I think that's fabulous. If anything, I wish these were plain chocolate M&M's rather than peanut ones because they would appeal to more members of my family (i.e. my kids don't like the peanut ones!).

Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: M&M's Brazil Colours

Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.00.

Competition Time! Win 4 x boxes of Beech's Chocolate Creams

It's competition time again! The lovely people at Beech's Fine Chocolates recently sent me a very generous parcel of chocolates so I decided to share the love and offer my readers the chance to win! The prize is FOUR boxes of Beech's Chocolate Creams. (See my review here - they're delicious!).

The winner will receive all the chocolate in the photo above! 4 x 90g boxes of Beech's Chocolate Creams in the following flavours: 

Orange Creams
Rose Creams
Mint Creams
Violet Creams

How to enter:

Retweet one of my competition tweets on twitter & follow @grocerygems.

Winner will be chosen at random and competition closes at 5pm on Monday 9th June.

Good luck everyone!!

26 May 2014

New Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino (UK)

I was ridiculously excited when I heard about this new Mocha Coconut Frappuccino for Summer 2014. Not only is it coconut flavoured (already a winner with me!) but I don't think any of the major coffee shops can rival Starbucks for their Frappuccino blended ice drinks - they're just so good on a hot day. The Mocha Coconut Frappuccino is a blend of mocha sauce, coconut syrup and ice which is topped with cream (although mine is without), chocolate drizzle and coconut flakes. 

Here's the official photo with cream, as mine looks a bit flat! Even without the cream my Frappuccino was still generously topped with lots of toasted coconut and chocolate sauce. The flavour was absolutely delicious, with both the coconut and chocolate blending together to create a sweet coconut heaven. I had high hopes for this drink and it more than matched my expectations. In fact, since first trying the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino I have already been back twice more to get another refreshing coconut hit. This is quite something considering last year I probably had three Frappccinos in total during the whole summer. It's safe to say I'm now hooked! 

Grocery Gems Rating: 9 out of 10.

There are also a few new cakes and pastries for summer including this new Raspberry Croissant, which I can't resist just mentioning here. It's a croissant with a raspberry jam filling, decorated with icing and dried raspberries - and it's lovely too!

25 May 2014

M&S Coconut & Pineapple Cake

This Coconut & Pineapple is from the new M&S Summer of Flavour range. I featured it in my New Instore Round Up earlier in the week so I was pleased when Mr. Grocery Gems picked it up on his way home from work yesterday. 

It's a fairly small cake, ideal for an afternoon tea, but looks impressive enough with lots of coconut flavoured frosting on top and large coconut slivers to decorate.

Apologies for the terrible photo, I honestly wasn't in the mood to set up a decent photo and wait for the cake, I was too impatient and just wanted to tuck in! Within the cake there is a fruity layer of pineapple jam, which I couldn't quite capture in the photo but it's much more visible in real life. The sponge cake itself is super moist and buttery, with the jam layer adding a deliciously sweet and fruity flavour. I didn't detect much coconut flavour within the cake itself, most of the coconut flavour came instead from the thick buttercream on top. It's absolutely gorgeous, but the dominant flavour overall was from the pineapple jam rather than the coconut. The whole family found this cake to be immensely enjoyable and there wasn't one single crumb left after we had all tucked in!

Grocery Gems Verdict: M&S Coconut & Pineapple Cake

Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition: 292 calories (per 1/6 of cake).
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Marks & Spencer.

23 May 2014

Beech's Chocolate Creams Range - Orange, Rose, Mint & Violet

A few months ago I reviewed the wonderful new range of fine chocolate bars from Beech's (see review here). This month I have a selection of their best selling, and more traditional, chocolate creams to review. Beech's have been making traditional chocolates since 1920 and all their products are made using natural flavourings and colours. This fondant filled dark chocolate range is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They're all packaged in really pretty pastel coloured boxes. 

10% Discount Code:

Beech's have kindly offered my readers a 10% off all purchases for the next three weeks. Simply enter this promotional code at checkout - BFC11041410

Delivery is free on purchases over £12.00. 

There are eight different flavoured creams in the range; Coffee, Lime, Raspberry, Strawberry, Violet, Orange, Mint and Rose. I was sent boxes of the last four to review. Each box has 10 disc shaped dark chocolates and costs £2.99.

Violet Creams - The violet creams had the firmest centre of all the four varieties I tried. The centre is slightly crumbly and a little drier than the others. The natural violet comes through as a sweetly floral flavouring. These will appeal to anyone who liked violet flavoured sweets as a child! It's not really my type of chocolate, but my Mum absolutely adored the delicate flavours here. 

Orange Creams - The sweet fondant filling is ideally paired with a fresh orange flavour. I really enjoyed the orange and dark chocolate combination here. They're very sweet but the zesty orange makes them very moreish.

Mint Creams - These are a real classic combination of dark chocolate with a mint fondant. The texture of the centre was slightly softer compared to the others. The mint flavour is lovely and strong with a really refreshing edge. 

Rose Creams - Surprisingly enough these were my favourites of all the chocolates. As a fan of Turkish delight chocolates, I loved the familiar flavours in this sweet fondant format. The sweetness of the fondant cream really suits the rose flavour and created a creamier version of a Turkish delight.

This whole range of chocolate creams is undoubtedly high quality and full of fresh natural flavours. Each chocolate is so easy to eat and completely delicious too. They would make a great gift for fans of more traditional chocolates - the only difficulty is which flavour to choose!

Products sent for an honest review.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Beech's Fine Chocolate Creams Range

Rating: 9 out of 10 - an excellent quality range.
Buy it again: I would love to try the Lime Creams and the berry varieties!
Nutrition: 39 calories per chocolate.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Available online www.beechsfinechocolates.com
Price: £2.99 each.

22 May 2014

M&S Passion Fruit & Peach Jaffa Cakes

These Passion Fruit & Peach Jaffa Cakes are part of the new M&S Summer of Flavour range. As a fan of Jaffa Cakes I couldn't resist giving these a try! They're traditional sponge cakes topped with a passion fruit and peach jam filling, half covered in dark chocolate.

This is my first time buying M&S Jaffa Cakes and I was quite surprised by how thin they are compared to regular Jaffa Cakes. However, the smaller size means there are only 45 calories per cake (or should that be biscuit?).

Each rectangular shaped biscuit has thin layers of sponge, filling and chocolate. All the basic elements are tasty and well done here but it's peach and passion fruit flavour that I was really interested in. The passion fruit was immediately evident and is quite tangy, however I couldn't really detect any peach flavour itself. Taste wise they were actually very similar to to a regular Jaffa Cake but with a slightly tropical edge. I think because the layer of filling is so thin, some of the flavour gets lost. Still worth a try if you're a fan of Jaffa Cakes and I really hope to see more interesting flavours like this from other makers of Jaffa Cakes.

Grocery Gems Verdict: M&S Passion Fruit & Peach Jaffa Cakes

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition: 45 calories per cake.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians. 
Purchased: Marks & Spencer.
Price: £1.49 (two packs).

21 May 2014

Kit Kat Chunky Orange Limited Edition

Yesterday I posted a round up of lots of exciting new products being released for summer 2014. It's a shame I couldn't get as excited about the latest Limited Edition in the Nestlé Kit Kat range - the Orange Chunky. It's not that I'm unhappy to see the return of the Orange Chunky (it was around as recently as 2012 in the Choose a Chunky Champion promotion), far from it, and I'm sure chocolate orange fans will be glad too. It's just that it seems such an average flavour - surely this should just be part of their standard Chunky line up rather than a regularly trotted out "limited" variety? A tropical inspired Pineapple & Coconut or Peach & Passion Fruit would have been a much better limited edition choice for 2014! If it's going to be limited then surely that gives scope for being a bit braver and testing the waters?

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now. Funnily enough, I don't think I ever tried the Kit Kat Chunky Orange previously so I decided to give one a try this time (although I have already tried the Orange Kit Kat two finger bars that are always available!).

And it has to be said that the Kit Kat Chunky Orange is a very tasty chocolate bar. The outer chocolate has a lovely orange flavour that is quite zesty and fruity, and thankfully not too sweet. This orange flavour is well matched by the creamy milk chocolate and tempered by the plain inner wafers. Even though I'm not usually a fan of chocolate orange as a combination, I really did enjoy all the flavours here. It should definitely be part of the permanent range of Kit Kat Chunky rather than a limited edition!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kit Kat Chunky Orange

Buy them again?:  Probably not.
Nutrition per bar: 245 calories.

Vegetarian: Yes.
Purchased: Local newsagents. 
Price: 69p.

20 May 2014

New Instore Round Up: Summer & Brazil Edition

I've noticed that there are suddently lots of new summer themed products instore so I thought it was about time for another round up. With the imminent World Cup in a few months time, quite a few of these products are also inspired by Brazil. Kicking things off nicely are the above Pringles Brazilian Zesty Chilli Style. These carnival inspired bites are only around for a limited time and are exclusive to Asda (available instore from June).

Schwartz Brazilian BBQ Smokey & Zesty  - Also Limited Edition is this Brazilian inspired marinade mix from Schwartz. I haven't spotted this instore yet but Mr Grocery Gems is keen to try it out on his next BBQ.

Pot Noodle Brazilian BBQ Steak - Currently on offer for £0.75p in Tesco, I couldn't resist picking one up *guilty face*. I expect these will only be available for a limited time too. Suitable for vegetarians. (Tesco).

M&M's Peanut Limited Edition Brazilian Colour Mix - The colours of the Brazilian flag are used to fun effect in this latest edition from M&M's.  (Home Bargains).

Swizzels Matlow Football Fever - I'm pretty sure these come out every time there is a football tournament, but the football version of Love Hearts looks like fun! (99p Stores).

Haribo Football Mix - ditto! Not new, but no doubt will be available everywhere for the next few months. (99p Stores).
Müller Light Skinny Cappuccino - Müller have launched their first ever coffee flavoured yogurt a Skinny Cappuccino with dark chocolate sprinkles. I'm not sure about this one to be honest, what do you think? Reviewed by Toto Eats the World here.

Müller Corner Strawberry Chocolate Sprinkles - slightly less exciting are these new Müller Corner yogurts available as a multipack. There is also a new Müller Red Fruit Corner multipack - a red fruits combo of Red Cherry, Blackberry & Raspberry. (Asda).

Müller Light Inspired by Bali Coconut with a hint of lime - I reviewed these a few days ago here. (Asda).

Ski Smooth Limited Edition Coconut - I haven't seen these instore yet but I'm keeping an eye out!

Heck Plump Pork & Apple Sausages - I'm a fan of the Heck range of gluten free sausages and their high quality meat content. I'm not sure if the Pork & Apple variety is new but it's currently on an introductory offer at Asda. 

Asda Extra Special American Inspired Sausages - I'm loving the Asda summer BBQ range, they've got some really interesting new products like these Tennessee BBQ pork sausages and New York City Hot Dogs. There is also a Louisiana Cajun variety in this range of sausages too. 

Asda BBQ Pulled Pork Burgers - an interesting twist on standard burgers. 

Jus-Rol Cinnamon Swirls - who wouldn't want to bake cinnamon swirls at home without any fuss? Butter lovers look away now though as these seem to be vegan friendly! Of course, I snapped these up straight away so look out for a review soon. (Sainsbury's).

Seabrook Lattice Hand Cooked Crisps - large sharing bags of lattice shaped crisps. Available in three flavours; Farmhouse Cheese & Onion, Sun Drenched Natural Sea Salt, and Sweet Chilli. (Asda).

Asda Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Roll - such a cute idea!

McVitie's Strawberry Cheesecake Digestives - McVitie's Vanilla Cheesecake variety were launched last year and it seems they were popular enough to be joined by a new flavour; Strawberry Cheesecake. (Poundland).

M&S Summer of Flavour Hand Cooked Potato Crisps - M&S have a gorgeous new range called Summer of Flavour which was all displayed very artistically in my local store. There are lots of interesting products in the range, too many for me to list, but here are a few highlights. I'm sure I'll be picking up the Hand Cooked Prawn Tom Yum Potato Crisps at some point. The Soy & Balsamic Sweet Potato Crisps also look good.

M&S Hand Cooked Lemon Harissa Potato Crisps - another lovely sounding flavour!

M&S The Big Summer Selection - A massive box of chocolates that all sound absolutely delicious. Coconut & Passionfruit, Lime & Garden Mint, Peach Caramel are just some of the flavours - I'd love to try these!

M&S Passion Fruit & Peach Jaffa Cakes - thanks to Anne Cupcake on Instagram I knew to look out for these. I bought a pack but haven't tried them yet. Review coming soon.

M&S Coconut & Pineapple Cake - lots of coconut and tropical inspiration around this summer. Good news for all coconut fans. There was also a new Passion Fruit Victoria Sandwich Cake.

M&S Pulled Pork Recipe Paste - Marks & Spencer had an extensive range of new BBQ meats and marinades but I was most excited about the Pulled Pork Recipe Paste.

Cadbury Chocolate Doughnuts & Caramel Doughnuts - I'm sure these used to be available a few years ago. Let me know in the comments if you remember them! These are chocolate or caramel filled doughnuts covered with Cadbury chocolate. (Tesco Express).

As always if you spot any new items I'd love to hear from you. Email any photos or information to grocerygems@gmail.com. THANK YOU! I'll also be updating this post with a few more items in the next few days so do check back :) 

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