31 Aug 2015

New Instore: Bounty Spread, Betty Crocker Coffee Frosting & More

Thanks to Lucy W. for the following photos!

Betty Crocker Classic Coffee Icing: According to Lucy the names of the Betty Crocker cake mixes have all been updated, for example from Victoria Sponge to Velvety Vanilla. There are also a few new products in the line including this coffee flavoured frosting. Available at Tesco.

Bounty Spread: I really need to get a move on and find this one! I'm excited to try it but it does seem a shame that it's a creamy white spread and not a milk chocolate based spread. Sainsbury's used to have an own brand milk chocolate and coconut spread which was just amazing (anyone remember that one?). This Bounty Spread looks more like the Lidl White Chocolate Coconut Spread. Available at Tesco.

Tesco Crunchy Carrot Slices: These are oven-dried sliced carrots which have been turned into a crunchy and crisp snack. It's part of a range that includes Crunchy Beetroot Slices, Crunchy Apple Slices, and Crunchy Sweet Potato Slices. 

The Snack Organisation Freeze Dried Pineapple and Apple: Staying on the healthier theme is this new range of dried fruit crisps. Lucy also spotted Strawberry and Apricot flavours in this range. Available at Tesco. 

Asda Banana Flavour Milkshake Malties: Asda released lots of new kids cereals during the summer including these banana flavoured Milkshake Malties which are also available in Chocolate or Strawberry Milkshake flavours. I took these photos a few weeks ago but if you've tried any of them then I'd love to know what you thought of them in the comments below. £1.18p at Asda.

Asda Strawberry Squares: There are also a few new strawberry flavoured cereals - Strawberry Squares, which look a bit like Krave cereal, or Strawberry Flavour Snaps, a type of puffed rice cereal. £1.18p at Asda.

Thanks again to Lucy W. for the first photos. If you've spotted any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you - email grocerygems@gmail.com or tweet me @grocerygems.

New Instore: Snack haul from Portugal

Just a few items which I spotted in supermarkets in Portugal. 

Limited Edition Retro 7UP cans (above and below): I loved these limited edition 7UP cans featuring throwback designs from different decades. I couldn't resist seeking out all the different designs.

They had information on the back with details of which decade each can was inspired by. These are from (left to right) the 1930's, 1970's and 1990's. 

There was also a cool 1980's inspired can which I managed to find in the last few days of our holiday - this was my favourite!

Nestlé Lion Chocolate & Caramel Milkshake Mix: I mainly bought this for my son who likes Nesquik chocolate drinks. We haven't tried this chocolate and caramel Lion bar version yet but I'll have a review up soon. 

Cheetos Sticks: There are lots of Cheetos varieties available on the continent, but the main reason I'm mentioning thse Palitos/Sticks is because they are Ketchup & Cheese flavour. I'd never tried ketchup flavoured cheetos before so I had to get these ones! 

Savora Yogochup and Savora Ketchapple: On the subject of ketchup there were also these bizarre combinations. Available in a blend of ketchup & yogurt or ketchup & apple... I wasn't tempted by these!

Lipton Ice Tea Piña Colada: There are lots of interesting flavours of ice tea available across Europe, I especially liked this fruity pineapple and coconut flavoured version which was just delicious. I wish this was available in the UK!

Milka Splash Mint: The Milka equivalent of the dire Cadbury Puddles. Even though the packaging is a more appealing than the Cadbury one, I still wasn't interested in trying this one. In past years I would have bought it just to do a comparison with the Cadbury version but I really don't ever want to try that one again. Although I do wonder if the Milka one has the same horrible yellowish-green colour inside!

Olá Ice Cream Board 2015: Most of these ice creams from Olá (basically Walls ice cream) are known in the UK but there were a few new ones. The swirly Tornado in the bottom left hand corner is quite unique as it's Cotton Candy flavoured (and really delicious too!). I also enjoyed the Cornetto Taco which I don't think I've seen in the supermarkets here.

Nestlé Ice Cream Board 2015: The Nestlé board is slightly more exciting as it has a lot more ice creams that aren't available in the UK including Cookie Maxibon and Brownie Maxibon.

However, I was most excited to see a new flavour for the Jungly banana-shaped peelable ice lollies (see one of my favourite reviews ever HERE) - an Orange and Lime flavour. Quite why a banana shaped lolly needs to come in any other flavour other than banana is a mystery, but it was still fun to try! The watermelon ice cream was super cute and refreshing too.

If you've tried any of the above products then I'd love to hear from you in the comments below - thanks!

30 Aug 2015

Review: Oykos Oh So Heavenly Vanilla or Devilishly Delicious Salted Caramel Yogurts

Oykos have released two new four-packs of yogurt this summer - the Oh So Heavenly Vanilla and the Devilishly Delicious Salted Caramel. I've been wanting to try both these flavours so I was delighted to be sent a few packs to review. 

Oykos Devilishly Delicious Salted Caramel: This is a tempting combination of Greek-style yogurt over a thick layer of Salted Caramel. The yogurt here has a deliciously creamy and fresh flavour. It's not as tangy as my usual Greek yogurt - this is more of an indulgent creamy treat. The Salted Caramel layer adds to the indulgence with it's smooth texture and buttery, rich, slightly salty flavour that is not overly sweet. This is a really gorgeous treat that tastes more like a dessert than a yogurt!

Oykos Oh So Heavenly Vanilla: This is described by Oykos as the more angelic one with it's simpler combination of Greek-style yogurt with ground vanilla beans. I'm always on the lookout for vanilla flavoured yogurts made with real vanilla because it's a flavour that the whole family can enjoy. I often buy larger tubs of vanilla yogurt from other brands, but these individual four-packs are much more convenient. The yogurt here has lots of visible flecks of vanilla bean which add a deliciously sweet and creamy flavour to the Greek yogurt. I'll definitely be buying these in the future.

Grocery Gems Review: Oykos Luxury Greek Style Yogurts

RATING: 9 out of 10 for both flavours.

Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 162 calories (Vanilla), 172 calories (Salted Caramel).
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Available in all major retailers until mid-October.
Price: RRP £2.39p for 4 x 110g.

PR Samples

Review: Walkers Bring It Back Flavours - Barbecue and Cheese & Chive

Walkers have revived five retro flavours and are asking fans to vote for which favourite flavour they'd like to see return. There are five flavours from the Walkers back catalogue to try out and vote for - Cheese & Chive, Barbecue, Lamb & Mint, Toasted Cheese, and Beef & Onion. I found all the flavours in my local newsagent and since I don't remember most of them from their original releases (I think some are much more recent than others), I decided to give them a try, starting with Cheese & Chive and Barbecue.

Walkers Cheese & Chive: According to the Walkers website this flavour was around in the 1990's, and a few of my family members say they remember this one. I really enjoyed this flavour, so much so that it might be the one that ultimately gets my vote. The flavour is deliciously cheesey and salty, with visible flecks of chives that add a herby and slightly sweet flavour. The overall combination is really well balanced between the cheese and chive, creating a flavour that is not as strong or overpowering as classic Cheese & Onion and without the creaminess of Sour Cream & Chive crisps. I actually think the Cheese & Chive works better than those more traditional flavours but perhaps it's just the novelty value of them winning me over! 

Grocery Gems Review: Walkers Bring it Back - Cheese & Chive

RATING: 8 out of 10.

Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 168 calories per pack.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Newsagent.

Price: 2 packs for £1.00p (32.5g each).

Walkers Barbecue: To be honest I didn't even realise that this flavours wasn't already a permanent Walkers vareiety. It just seems like one of those flavours that has always existed. Perhaps it's because Walkers describe this flavour as a "recent star". I'm not sure how recent but if anyone knows then please leave a comment below. Anyway the flavour here is spot on for recreating the taste of a smokey barbecue sauce with a little dash of sweetness. I have to admit to a fondness for ketchup flavoured crisps and this Barbecue flavour appeals to me in a similar sweet and salty way. However, I don't think I would vote for this flavour overall as it doesn't seem very unique or different.

Grocery Gems Review: Walkers Bring it Back - Barbecue

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 169 calories per pack.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Newsagent.
Price: 2 packs for £1.00p (32.5g each).

You can vote for your favourite flavour online: www.walkers.co.uk/bringitback/how-to-vote

28 Aug 2015

New Instore: Mini Summer Round Up

Just a very quick post to highlight some new products instore. I've been away for a few weeks but over the summer fellow new product fans have been getting in touch to send me photos. Here's a round up of what I've been missing!:  

Belvita Soft Bakes Red Berries: The latest breakfast biscuit from Belvita are these Soft Bakes which are available in three varieties: Red Berries, Chocolate Chip or Golden Grain. £2.79p per pack at Tesco.

Owl's Brew Coco-Lada: Lucy W. picked up this American Owl's Brew tea crafted for cocktails from Marks & Spencer food hall. The flavour combination sounds amazing - it's a blend of black tea, coconut, chai spices and pineapple. Lucy says it's definitely one she would buy again.

Müller Corner Caribbean Dream Limited Edition: This looks very similar to the Müller Corner Hawaiian Dream yogurt but it's actually slightly different. It's a smooth coconut yogurt with a side portion of coconut clusters coated in milk chocolate. Actually Lucy sent me this photo last month but it still seems to be available so I thought I would include it here! £0.68p at Morrisons. 

Oreo Peanut Butter & Golden Oreo: Nathan S. sent me this photo of the new UK release of Peanut Butter flavoured Oreo and Golden Oreo which were released last month. Thanks to Kirk N. who emailed me about these too - it seems from the packaging that they're actually made in Spain. I still haven't tried these yet! £0.54p at Morrisons.

Thorntons Chocolate Caramel Wafer Rolls: Thorntons have extended their range to include biscuits. There are quite a few varieties available: Thorntons Wafer Rolls in either Chocolate Caramel or Double Chocolate flavours; Thorntons Melts in either Mint Chocolate or Double Chocolate flavours; and Thorntons Caramel Squares Biscuits. Let me know if you've tried these! £1.80p a pack in Asda.

Cadbury Heroes new pack: Thank you to Luci J. for also sending me this photo of a new smaller pack size for Cadbury Heroes at 185g (shown next to the 323g size in the photo).

Tesco Finest Scones: In Red Berry or Triple Chocolate flavours - these look delish! Thanks to Richard W. for the photo via Twitter. £1.00p at Tesco for a pack of two.

Milkybar Mousse: Lastly this new Milkybar Mousse which is different to the smooth custard style Milkybar Dessert. Hazel K. sent me the photo above and described the Milkybar Mousse as being creamy, delightful and low in calories so it's a win, win. 

Many thanks again to Lucy, Nathan, Luci, Hazel K. and Richard W. for the photos. If you've spotted any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you - email grocerygems@gmail.com or tweet me @grocerygems.

21 Aug 2015

Review: Iceland Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffles

A few months ago I posted that Iceland had launched a new range of frozen bakery and patisserie items. I finally decided to give the range a go with the Iceland Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffles, which are fairly pricey at £3.00p for a pack of four. 

The instructions are to grill the waffles for 2 minutes on each side, but we found they needed quite a bit more than that to defrost fully and get a good colouring. The end result however is absolutely delicious waffles. These are so indulgent with a gorgeous buttery flavour, rich chocolate chips, and a lovely texture that is both crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. These would be divine with as a proper dessert - and especially amazing if topped with vanilla ice cream.

Grocery Gems Review: Iceland Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffles

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Iceland.
Price: RRP £3.00p.

16 Aug 2015

Around the World - Malaysia: Double Decker Cheese Rings

In an attempt to get a move on with my Around the World Challenge I decided to buy these Double Decker Cheese Rings. I was a bit hesitant as I thought I should be able to find a more interesting snack from Malaysia. Anyway, how bad could a Cheese Rings snack be?

It turns out that they could be SO BAD that they're the worst snack I've ever tried. Not just the worst cheese snack, the overall worst snack of any type. It's not just their Day-Glo florescent orange colour that makes these so horrendous (and by the way I didn't edit the colour in the photo above - that's just how orange they are) but also the actual texture and flavour that are terrible too. The texture was not crunchy enough, so that they're slightly soft and almost chewy. Then on top of that there is so much seasoning powder on each snack that they have a chalky consistency. Mmmm chalky AND chewy. I could barely eat one of these Cheese Rings so this whole product is a bit of a disaster.

To be fair to Double Decker perhaps something went wrong in transit that caused them to be stale or damaged (although I'm not sure that can explain the orange-ness). Also, I'm pretty sure I've tried some other Double Decker branded snacks that were okay (but didn't take photos) so these are not a reflection on the rest of the range. 

On the plus side there is a Double Decker theme song on the back of the packet which I think deserves a couple of points on the Grocery Gems rating! 

Around the World: Double Decker Cheese Rings

Rating: 2 out of 10 (would be 0 out of 10 without the song on the packet...)
Country of Origin: Malaysia.
Purchased: Local grocery store.
Price: £0.99p (60g bag).
Nutrition: 550 calories (per 100g).

14 Aug 2015

Review: Tesco Canadian Maple Syrup Pancakes

I was looking for a breakfast treat for my eldest sons recent birthday when I spotted these Canadian Maple Syrup Pancakes in Tesco. We've had a similar product from Asda before, although their Maple flavoured pancakes are much larger.

The Tesco Canadian Maple Syrup Pancakes have a lovely golden colouring and an immediate maple syrup aroma. Once toasted they're sweet enough to enjoy just on their own with a little butter - the maple syrup flavour comes through in the extra sweetness within the pancakes. Mr. Grocery Gems decided he still needed to pour maple syrup over the top and the result was deliciously syrupy.

Grocery Gems Review: Tesco Canadian Maple Syrup Pancakes

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £0.90p.

13 Aug 2015

Review: Arden's Gruyere & Spinach Twists and Savoury Selection

I was recently sent a selection of Arden's savoury nibbles to review; a Savoury Selection of All Butter Chive & Onion Twists, Cheese Twist & Salted Breadsticks; and a pack of Gruyere & Spinach Twists. The Arden's range was created by a family of foodies who travel the continent to discover the tastiest snacks.

The Arden's Gruyere & Spinach Twists were discovered on a trip to Switzerland and are described as a double act of spinach and Gruyere cheese, enveloped in the flakiest puff pastry. The twists have a lovey appearance with their twirled pastry. The texture is flaky and crumbly from the sheer buttery nature of the pasty but still provides a light crunch too. The combination of Gruyere cheese and spinach provides a gorgeous twist of flavours too, giving a delicious edge to the main body of flavour of the buttery pastry.

The Arden's Savoury Selection box contains three different flavours of twists and breadsticks which are all individually sealed - great for if you just want to try one variety at a time. The Butter Chive & Onion Twist also have a delicious rich and indulgent buttery taste. The gorgeous combination of onion and chive add a touch of flavour without being too overpowering. The Cheese Twists are again made with Gruyere cheese and have the same extra buttery pasty and flavour. The Salted Breadsticks are nicely crunchy breadsticks with a light sprinkling of salt. I was pleased to find that the overall flavour was not too salty, making these great for snacking or dipping. 

Grocery Gems Review: Arden's Gruyere & Spinach Twists and Savoury Selection

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Available at Asda, Waitrose, Ocado and other stockists.
Price: £1.59p and £1.69p.

10 Aug 2015

Snack Haul & Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar!

A while ago I was sent a gorgeous parcel of goodies from the lovely @BanjoChocolate who's running a great campaign to get Mars to bring back the much missed Banjo Chocolate Bar. More support is always needed so please take a look at the dedicated Facebook page and sign the petition HERE. Retro comebacks are growing in popularity all the time and I really do hope that the Banjo can have a new release too!

Here's a closer look at the amazingly tasty selection of snacks:

Eridanous Soft Nougat Selection: This was available during Lidl's "Taste of Greece" week. There are three flavours of soft nougat included; Cranberry, Strawberry & Hazelnut.

I've never really tried flavoured nougat before so this whole product was a real revelation to me. The nougat has a lovely soft and melt in the mouth texture without being too sticky. 

The different varieties were all incredibly good too, with plenty of added fruits and nuts providing plenty of flavour and crunch. My favourite was the super sweet strawberry!

Flipz White Fudge: If you read this blog regularly then you might assume that I've tried most the big-name confectionery from the US, but the truth is that there are plenty of popular snacks from both sides of the Atlantic that I haven't tried yet. One of those is the Flipz range of pretzels - it's one of those products that I keep meaning to try but just hadn't got around to yet.

And I'm so glad I finally tried them because they're just my type of sweet and salty treat. The white fudge coating on each snack is quite thin but still provides a super sweet contrast to the inner salted pretzel. These are just too good, I could easily have eaten the whole bag by myself.

Walker's Banana Split Eclairs: @BanjoChocolate described these as being similar to the long gone banana flavoured Toffo sweets. If you were a fan of the Banana Toffos then you really need to find these Walkers Banana Split Eclairs. They're soft buttery toffees with a delicious sweet banana flavoured filling - so delicious and perfect for any banana fans.

Tesco Crispy Seedy Nutty Bites: These are deliciously crunchy biscuits made with sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, oat flakes, honey and currants. I was expecting these to be quite hard in texture but the crunch is very satisfying without being too dense. The flavour is very sweet and sugary but so good at the same time. They're a bit like Sesame Snaps but with added nuts and currants - dangerously moreish!

Thank you so much to the wonderful @BanjoChocolate for sending me such an awesome selection (and I still have the Polish Limited Edition Lindt to try!). All these products were incredibly tasty and I thoroughly recommend giving them a try if you spot them.

Once again please take a look at the Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Facebook page - all Likes, Comments, and Shares are greatly appreciated!

9 Aug 2015

Review: Jacob's Cracker Crisps

I received these Jacob's Cracker Crisps as part of a Bzzagent campaign. There are three flavours in the range; Thai Sweet Chilli, Sour Cream & Chive, and Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar. 

The Jacob's Cracker Crisps are squarish shaped snacks with a thick crunchy texture. Compared to the recent Ritz Crisp & Thin, the Jacob's Cracker Crisps are much thicker and heavier - they're basically flavoured crackers. All the varieties in the range are generously seasoned with plenty of flavouring. The Thai Sweet Chilli has a lovely sweetness without any real heat (which is how I prefer this flavour). My favourite was the Sour Cream & Chive which had a strong onion flavour with a creamy background. Overall, these are tasty snacks, and make a pleasant change to plain crackers or breadsticks for dipping - we enjoyed them with houmous. 

Grocery Gems Review: Jacob's Cracker Crisps

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: #GotItFree (BzzAgent campaign).
Price: RRP £1.99p.

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