30 Sept 2014

Degustabox September - Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code!

The September Degustabox arrived a few days ago and as usual it was packed full of interesting new products. Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out an exciting selection of products from new and established brands. It always has a great mix of useful groceries and tasty treats. With Christmas approaching, I think Degustabox is worth keeping in mind as a unique gift for the foodie in your life. 

Discount Code: 4784565

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 - 4784565

Once again there is an alcoholic and non alcoholic version of the Degustabox and these either contain the Righteous Salad Dressing or the La Vieja Fábrica marmalade below. Here's a quick round up of all the products inside this months Degustabox:

Little Miracles: These are a lovely blend of organic tea and fruit juice. With added ginseng and açai they provide a boost of energy whilst being sweetened with natural agave. Each drink has less than 90 calories and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. I'll have a full review soon.

Burts Lentil Waves: These are made from lentil flour and contain 40% less fat than standard Burts potato chips. They are also free from artificial flavours, colourings, MSG, and hydrogenated fats. Each Degustabox contains three flavours; Thai Sweet Chilli, Sour Cream & Chive, and Lightly Salted. I had to drive straight in and give these a try and I found them very delicious. Nowadays, I actually prefer snacks like these to potato crisps, as they taste less greasy and salty, but are still flavourful. The Burts Lentil Waves range is available at Waitrose - £0.69p each.

Righteous Salad Dressings: Righteous are made using only 100% natural ingredients and contain no additives, preservatives or thickeners - or basically anything that you wouldn't find in your own kitchen. The range is available at Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Ocado and independent food shops. I received three flavours; Lemon & Mustard Seed Dressing, Raspberry & Sweet Basil Dressing, (these are both vegan) and English Blue Cheese & Cider Dressing. 

Carnation Cook with it!: This is one of those products that I doubt I would have bought myself, but now that it's here, I'm really pleased to have it. It's a versatile way to add a creamy taste to savoury dishes without using cream (I don't like cream so I try to avoid it). It's made using fresh milk and with 68% less fat than single cream. I actually can't wait to give this a try soon, I'll probably use it in a quiche or pasta dish.

Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins: I love that Degustabox always include a chocolatey treat and this month it comes in the form of the brand new Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins. These are delicate layers of dark chocolate with mint, sprinkled with crunchy mint sprinkles. It probably goes without saying, but I'm really looking forward to giving these a try! Available at Tesco - £2.50.

La Vieja Fábrica Seville Orange Marmalade: I enjoy marmalade but I honestly can't remember the last time I bought any, so I was thrilled to find this included in the Degustabox. I'm looking forward to a weekend breakfast of thick toast with marmalade! The La Vieja Fábrica marmalade is extra special as it's made to a traditional 170 year old recipe and is produced in Seville using only the best Seville oranges. It's available at Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons - £1.59p. 

Bahlsen Pick Up!: Two multi packs of Bahlsen Pick Up! are included this month, including the new variety Black 'N' White. I've had these before and they're deliciously thick slabs of chocolate sandwiched between two crisp biscuits. They're individually wrapped which I always prefer in terms of keeping the product fresh. 

Jordans Simply Granola: A massive bag of crunchy baked oat granola with a hint of honey. You really can't go wrong with granola and this is a great flavour that everyone in my family can enjoy (no fruity bits!). I love to add a handful to a bowl of bran flakes in the morning or have it with yogurt as an afternoon snack - just delicious. 

Crabbie's Alcoholic Fruits: The alcoholic version includes this Crabbie's Fruits drink which is available in three flavours; Black Cherry, Zesty Lemon, and Raspberry & Rhubarb. These drinks are made with 10% fruit juice and are free from artificial colours or flavourings. 

Crabbie's Traditional Cloudy: This is included in the non-alcoholic version of the Degustabox; available in Ginger Beer, Lemonade with a twist of ginger, and Raspberry. They're free from artificial colours and flavourings, and are made using a secret recipe combining spices, fruits and real ginger. I'm not sure yet whether it's possible to choose between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic boxes when signing up to Degustabox. If anyone has any experience of this then leave a comment below - thank you!

Once again I was really happy with the selection in this month's Degustabox. It has a great selection of products, all of which appeal to me, although my preferred box would be the non-alcoholic option with the marmalade. I was especially delighted with the Burts Lentil Waves, Jordans Simply Granola, Carnation cream, La Vieja Fábrica and Elizabeth Shaw chocolates. 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.

New Instore: Nakd Christmas Pud Bars & Cadbury Layers of Joy

A few great spots that were sent to me by Lucy W. after a shopping trip to Asda. Thanks for the brilliant photos Lucy! :)

Nakd Christmas Pud: There really isn't avoiding Christmas in the supermarkets anymore, but who cares when the products look this good.This is such a wonderfully festive edition from Nakd. It has the usual Nakd raw fruit & nut usual base of dates, raisins and cashews. There are also a few other new bars in the Nakd range (which I saw on their Twitter feed here); Nakd Bakewell Tart, Trek Peanut Power, Trek Berry Burst and Trek Cocoa Chaos.

Cadbury Layers of Joy: These chilled layered desserts are available in three flavours; Chocolate, Black Forest and Caramellionaire. I really want to try the Black Forest one! 

Asda Millionaire's Melt in the Middle Puddings: This is described as a moist toffee cake with a melting caramel heart, covered in a Belgian chocolate ganache. Lucy actually tried this one and was disappointed with the overly sweet and dry sponge. 

Thanks again to Lucy W! If you spot any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you - email me: grocerygems@gmail.com.

29 Sept 2014

New Instore: M&S Christmas Biscuit range!

Just a quick post with a few Christmas themed biscuits I spotted in Marks & Spencer this weekend (sorry about the blurry photos below!). 

Christmas Pudding Cookies: This is such a great idea from M&S, making a cookie inspired by Christmas pudding. Even though they contain raisins (so no one else in my family will eat them apart from me) I'm sure I'll still be tempted to pick up a pack nearer to Christmas! 

Cranberry & Chocolate Jaffa Cakes: I did however, already purchase a pack of these Cranberry flavoured Jaffa Cakes. Even though I wasn't overly impressed by their summer Peach & Passion Fruit jaffa cakes,I couldn't resist picking up this new flavour. Review coming soon!

Clementine Flavour Teacakes: I love that M&S has put a Christmas twist on several of their popular biscuits. I'm not a fan of teacakes but I wonder if the clementine flavour will make a difference in these? They also had packs of Redcurrant Puffs in the same red Christmas packaging, but I'm not sure if those are new.

Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules: And just a quick heads up for any Nespresso owners. M&S are selling their own brands of Nespresso compatible coffee capsules. There were an impressive five different varieties in my local store: House Decaf, M&S Café, Columbian, Lazy Weekend, and Classic. I'd quite like to try the M&S Café ones!

If you've tried any of the products above then please leave a comment below with your thoughts on them.

28 Sept 2014

Ritter Sport Winter Edition 2014: Coffee & Hazelnuts

Ritter Sport is a brand that I've enjoyed discovering since starting this blog. I love how they bring out regular seasonal editions and constantly update their flavour selections. Last year there were three Winter Editions released; Caramel Orange, Coconut Macaroon and Caramelised Almonds (see my reviews HERE and HERE. I haven't yet seen any news about the Ritter Sport Winter Editions this year, so I was quite surprised when my brother found this new Coffee & Hazelnuts Winter Edition. I don't think Ritter Sport have released this flavour before but if anyone has any information please feel free to leave a comment below.

EDIT: Thanks to the very quick commentator below who helped me out with the other 2014 Winter Editions! They are; Gebrannte Mandel (the same as last year's Caramelised Almonds) and Vanillekipferl (roughly translated as Vanilla Crescent Cookies) which was previously released as a Winter Edition in 2011. Listed at the bottom of the Ritter Sport shop page HERE.

The Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts is described as "milk chocolate with a cool, melt in the mouth, coffee cream filling (45%) and chopped hazelnuts (3%). I'm not usually the biggest fan of coffee flavoured chocolates but the combination of coffee and hazelnuts was enough to convince me to give it a try.

The Ritter Sport milk chocolate here has a lovely smooth texture and flavour, although I did find that it was much sweeter than some of their previous bars I've tried. The coffee flavour starts to come through once the initial sweetness of the chocolate has abated but it's quite a mild and creamy coffee. It's more of a milky cappuccino than an espresso flavour but it suits the softer texture of the filling. The hazelnut pieces are very small but they do provide a nice crunch throughout the chocolate. Even though there is 'hazelnut paste' listed in the ingredients, I would have liked the hazelnut flavour itself to be stronger. I was expecting there to be a flavour akin to having a 'hazelnut flavoured coffee' but that was lacking. Instead the chocolate is merely coffee flavoured with some hazelnut pieces within it. Altogether, it's still an enjoyable chocolate, but it didn't quite reach my high expectations. I also found the overall experience a bit too sweet for me, with a throat-burningly-sweet sensation kicking in after just a few pieces. Ironically, I felt like I needed to make a strong cup of coffee in order to enjoy it! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Probably not, but hopefully there will be other Winter Editions to try.
Purchased: At a local shop.
Price: £1.50. 

27 Sept 2014

Soreen Halloween Lunchbox Loaves - Toffee Apple and Chocolate!

Soreen have released two new Lunchbox Loaf flavours in it's limited edition 'Scream' range for Halloween: Toffee Apple and Chocolate. Each pack features fun Halloweenm themed games on the side and images - even the name on the pack has changed from Soreen to Scream. It's great to see such a well known brand having a fun with their packaging and getting into the Halloween spirit - they even played an early Halloween trick on me, but more about that spooky surprise at the end of the post!

Each multipack comes with five individually sealed loaves - ideal for packed lunches. I much prefer these smaller Lunchbox Loaves to the larger Soreen loaves, just because I find those so difficult to cut into slices! They're so squidgy that I can never cut them properly. These mini loaves remove that issue entirely as they're already the ideal portion size. 

The Chocolate Scream is a chocolately twist on the classic Soreen malt loaf, with added chocolate chips. It still has that recognisable malted flavour of the original Soreen but with a lovely chocolate edge. It's a really good combination, surprisingly not too sweet, but still tasty as a chocolate treat. The texture is just like the rest of the Soreen range - quite  chewy and squidgy.

The new Soreen Toffee Apple is a toffee apple flavoured malt loaf with toffee pieces.

Toffee Apple is such a great flavour for this time of year so I was really excited to try this one out. Once again, the flavour here has that familiar Soreen malty goodness, this time with a sweet toffee edge. I couldn't really detect the toffee pieces, although there were a few visible ones on the outside, but the whole thing does have a mellow toffee flavour. I could detect the apple mostly in the fruity scent of the loaf, but the apple flavour itself is quite delicate. This is more of a toffee, malty affair. It also has a super squidgy texture, which I wasn't sure about at first, but it does taste lovely with a hot drink to balance the squidginess! 

I was lucky enough to be sent a few of these new Lunchbox Loaves to review, and the spooky surprise was when I opened up the parcel...

I nearly did SCREAM when I saw all the cobwebs and spiders - they look so realistic! But it was a great trick and, of course, I immediately closed the box, pretended I hadn't opened it yet, and got Mr. Grocery Gems to open up the box when he got home - mwahahahaa *evil laugh*. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Halloween Scream Lunchbox Loaves

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - the kids really enjoyed them.
Purchased: Available at Tesco and Asda.
Price: £1.00p RRP for five pack. 

PR Samples sent for an honest review. 

26 Sept 2014

Ben & Jerry's Satisfy My Bowl - Special Edition

I've often complained about the lack of decent banana flavoured ice creams, so I was delighted when I heard about the new Ben & Jerry's Satisfy My Bowl. This Special Edition (is that the same as a Limited Edition?) ice cream is being released as a tribute to Bob Marley, and features a banana ice cream with caramel and cookie swirls and chocolate peace signs. I found these on half price offer at Tesco.

Awesomely, I was greeted with the sight of a chocolate peace sign right on top of the ice cream.

The banana ice cream itself is just as good as I hoped, with a sweet and strong banana flavour. It's quite natural tasting but still robust enough to compete with the other flavours. Throughout the banana ice cream there are light swirls of caramel sauce that has cookie pieces within it. I really enjoyed the flavour of this caramel, but I wished there was a bit more of it within the ice cream. Caramel and banana are two flavours that are perfect with each other and I enjoyed this ice cream the most when those two flavours came together. In contrast, there are plenty of the dark chocolate peace sign shapes, I only had to dig a few spoonfuls down to get the photo above. I'm not sure if they were entirely necessary in this ice cream in terms of flavour, but they probably fit the theme that Ben & Jerry's are going for here. I have to admit I would have preferred more caramel and less of the dark chocolate, but that's probably just me! 

I'm really pleased that I finally got to try a banana flavoured Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and even though it's extremely tasty, it doesn't replace my favourite from their range (the Blondie Brownie Core).

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ben & Jerry's Satisfy My Bowl

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Probably not.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £2.24p (half price offer). 

25 Sept 2014

Review: Peppadew Piquanté Peppers stuffed with Cheese and stuffed with Tuna

I previously reviewed the Peppadew mild peppers in my post HERE. If you've never tried them before they look like large cherry tomatoes and have a unique "sweet heat" flavour. We've been using them a lot to pep up salads and pasta dishes, my husband especially is a fan of their zingy flavour. The lovely people at Peppadew very kindly sent me a very generous selection of their stuffed Peppadew range. There are two varieties; Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Tuna and Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Cheese. They're both described as being fantastic to accompany an antipasti selection or as an appetiser with drinks. I have to immediately say that both these varieties are absolutely delicious!

Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Cheese: These just look amazing, each pepper is large and plump and has been generously filled with a soft fresh cheese (fromage frais). The cheese has a creamy flavour that works amazingly well with the sweet piquanté peppers. The flavour combination is similar to mozzarella stuffed jalapeños but even tastier with a fresher profile. I really enjoyed the cheese stuffed Peppadew peppers, the two flavours here are an ideal match, with the cheese softening the heat of the peppers, whilst the peppers themselves give the cheese an extra kick. Just delicious!

Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Tuna: I wasn't sure if I was going to like these as much as the cheese version but I couldn't have been more wrong. If anything, they are even more delicious. The combination of the sweet and hot peppers with the slightly salty tuna is just perfection. As soon as Mr. Grocery Gems tried one he just said "that's a ten out of ten for sure". He loved them. I don't think I will ever serve up a Peppadew pepper without first stuffing it with tuna - the pairing is just THAT good. 

Overall, these are outstanding snacks, a real decadent treat. I think these would make a lovely gift for the foodie in your life or perhaps as a unique addition to a Christmas food hamper. It's an obviously premium product that uses quality cheese and tuna that is stuffed into each Peppadew by hand. If you've tried the Peppadew stuffed range before then I'd love to know your opinion in the comments below.

Peppadew Piquanté Peppers and Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Cheese, are available at most supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, and Waitrose. The Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with with Tuna, are available at Tesco and Waitrose.

For more information take a look at: www.peppadew.co.uk

Grocery Gems Verdict: Peppadew Peppers stuffed with cheese/tuna

RATING: 10 out of 10
Buy them again?: Yes!
Purchased: Available at Tesco and Waitrose.
Price: £3.99p (stuffed varieties) and £2.99p for the original Peppadew Mild & Hot.

24 Sept 2014

Sneak Peak: Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coffee & Hazelnuts Chocolate 2014

Just a teaser for this new Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coffee & Hazelnuts. Review coming soon!

New Mr Kipling Gingerbread Whirls

I wouldn't normally buy a Christmas themed product so early in the year but I couldn't resist these new Mr. Kipling Gingerbread Whirls. Even though the box features "maids a milking", the design is actually not too Christmassy. I think gingerbread is quite an Autumnal flavour too - that's my excuse anyway! 

The whirls have a gorgeous colour and light dusting of icing sugar - I think they look really pretty! Funnily enough, I've never tried a Mr. Kipling Whirl, even counting the regular variety, I'm not sure why considering I love Viennese biscuits. 

And I'm so pleased that I decided to give these shortcake biscuits a whirl (sorry!), they're far tastier than I though they would be. The biscuit itself is quite soft, sort of a cross between a biscuit and a cake, but the texture works well with the creamy buttercream filling. The winning element here is the gingerbread flavour which has a lovely gingery warmth and depth to it. I was expecting these Whirls to just be quite sugary and bland but the ginger flavour is very robust and joined by other spices such as cloves and nutmeg. I think these will be especially tasty once the evenings are colder - perfect with a hot drink too!

Anyone who was a fan of the Winter Whirls from last year will be pleased to know that they are back again this year. There is also a Halloween variety called Toffee Terror Whirls which I might have to pick up at some point! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Mr. Kipling Gingerbread Whirls

RATING: 8 out of 10
Buy them again?: I'd try their other varieties.
Nutrition (per whirl): 135 calories.

Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.00p (pack of six). 

23 Sept 2014

CaféPod Limited Edition Friends Boxes & win a trip to New York!

It's hard to believe the the first episode of the iconic TV show Friends aired 20 years ago this week. CaféPod are celebrating by teaming up with Friends as their official coffee partner and have released a great looking range of limited edition Friends themed boxes. Join CaféPod on Twitter where they're asking for your favourite Friends quote or episode! My favourite episode would have to be the Thanksgiving Flashback episode, especially all the scenes set in the 1980s! 

If you're near Westfield Stratford this week, then make sure to visit the touring Friends Sofa from Central Perk, which will be there from 22-29 September. You can have a coffee and get your photo taken on the sofa where it all began! More details HERE

I was lucky enough to recently be chosen as a CaféPod Ambassador and you can read my original review of the four CaféPod blends; Ristretto, Intense, Arabica Lungo and Smooth HERE


CaféPod are also running a competition for a chance to win a trip to New York. It's an easy to enter competition - just fill in your details here: http://cafepod.com/friends. There's also the chance to win some coffee via CaféPod on Twitter - check out the #Friends20th hashtag and @CafePodTweets.

PR Samples.

22 Sept 2014

New Instore Round Up - Cakes, Christmas & More

A quick post today with a few new and limited edition products that I've spotted instore recently. Considering the time of year I was disappointed at the lack of autumnal themed products in the supermarkets. It would be great to see just a few pumpkin spice or cinnamon spice limited editions. As always let me know in the comments if you've spotted anything new instore or if you've tried any of the products I've featured below.

Toblerone Merry Christmas Tablet: I might as well start with a couple of Christmas products since most supermarkets seem to jump straight from summer to Christmas, ignoring Autumn altogether. This Toblerone Merry Christmas tablet features a new format for Toblerone, it's a large flat chocolate with snapable triangle shaped segments. £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Gingergread Whirls: Even though I dislike Christmas products appearing in the supermarket so early, and usually refrain from buying any until at least late October, I have to admit I'm really tempted by these Gingerbread Whirls! I might have to give these an early try. £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Festive Bakewells: These Festive Bakewells aren't exactly new, but they do have a new look for 2014. Instead of a little Christmas trees on the icing, these are covered in "festive sprinkles". £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Chocolate & Slime Slices: I've only spotted one new Halloween themed product instore, these Mr Kipling Chocolate & Lime Slices. I expect there will be more Halloween products hitting the shelves in a few weeks time. £1.00 at Asda.

Philadephia Lactose Free: I know that the Lactofree brand already make a cream cheese spread but I was still pleased to see this version from Philadephia. There was also a half fat version too. £1.99 at Tesco.

Kinder Surprise Barbie Fashionistas: The Kinder Disney Princesses range from earlier this year was incredibly popular and it's a shame that these surprise eggs are now Barbie themed again. Good news for Disney fans though is that there is a Disney Fairies Kinder range coming soon. £1.89 at Tesco.

Kinder Surprise Transformers: These are a worthy follow up to the previous Marvels Heroes theme. I know my kids would like to collect these (and probably my husband too!) but I'll wait until I see the individual eggs rather than these Triple Packs as they only contain one Transformers toy out of the three eggs. £1.89 at Tesco.

Nestlé Gluten Free Cornflakes: Interesting to see a major brand offering a gluten free version. There was also a Nestlé Gluten Free Cornflakes with Honey variety available. £2.00 at Asda.

Nutella Limited Edition 1kg: Anyone with willpower issues look away now! I know this massive Nutella jar has been available before but I personally haven't seen it in my local supermarkets. Anyway, I don't think I could be trusted with a 1kg jar of Nutella in the house! £5.00 at Asda.

Asda Bourbon Biscuit Spread: I wonder if this means Asda will also be selling a Custard Cream spread like Tesco? £1.30 at Asda.

Reese's Peanut Butter: I was quite tempted by this one! £3.49 at Asda.

Gale's Honey with Cinnamon: At least I managed to find one new cinnamon product. I love the idea of this Gale's Honey with Cinnamon on porridge during the winter months. £2.99 at Asda.

Gale's Honey with Vanilla: This vanilla flavoured honey also sounds delicious. I'll probably try these at some point, especially the cinnamon variety. £2.99 at Asda.

Febreze Winter Collection Vanilla Latte: A solitary non-food item for this round-up, but I was quite surprised by this offering from Febreze. Vanilla Latte seems like such an unusual scent for an air freshener. £2.00 at Asda.

Tesco Smoky Bacon Weirdoughs: Bacon flavoured doughnuts? Even though these bacon flavoured mini doughnuts sound more appealing than the other flavours in the Tesco Weirdoughs range (cheese & onion and salt & vinegar), I'm still going to take a pass on giving these a try. £1.00 at Tesco.

Ben & Jerry's Satisfy My Bowl: If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you've probably seen my enthusiastic posts about this new ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. Inspired by Bob Marley, it's a combination of banana (yes!!) ice cream, caramel and cookie swirls, and chocolate peace signs. The good news is that it's currently on a half price offer at Tesco for £2.24. Review coming soon.

And to finish here are a few celebration cakes at Asda that are new since the last time I blogged about their cakes (in May).

Despicable Me Minion Dave Celebration Cake: This is such a great looking cake, perfect for fans of the Despicable Me films. £10.00 at Asda.

Muppets Kermit Cake: This cake also looks good - I'm a real fan of the last few Muppets films! £10.00 at Asda.

Swizzels Squashies 2 Tier Cake: A cake for anyone with a seriously sweet tooth! Asda (not sure about exact price).

Charlie the Chocolate Gingerbread Man Cake: I'm not sure if this large cake is actually gingerbread flavoured or just a chocolate cake in the shape of a gingerbread man. Either way it's an adorable looking cake. £10.00 at Asda.

Disney Frozen Celebration Cake: A pretty cake for any Disney Frozen themed birthday party. £10.00 at Asda.

There were also a few other new cakes that were sold out, including a Mankini Cake, an M&Ms Sofa Cake and of course the new Asda Piñata Cake (see my review HERE). Let me know if you spot any interesting new products instore in any of the supermarkets - I love hearing about them! grocerygems@gmail.com

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