29 Dec 2017

Review: Toblerone Vs Twin Peaks (Poundland)

After some dispute with the makers of Toblerone, and a few changes to the design and colour scheme, Poundland were finally able to release their Twin Peaks chocolate bar. Instead of taking it's inspiration from Swiss mountains, the Twin Peaks bar is a much more British affair that is 'inspired by the Wrekin & Ercall Hills'. Of course since they are both comprised of milk chocolate with almonds and honey nougat, I thought they deserved a side by side comparative review.

Whatever it's origins, the Twin Peaks bar is definitely good value for money at 180g compared to the Toblerone at 150g. There are bigger Toblerone bars available but this is the nearest in value. Ironically enough I actually bought this Toblerone in a Poundland too.

The Twin Peaks looks solid and chunky next to the longer and slimmer Toblerone. This is my first time seeing the new design of the Toblerone, with it's bigger spaces in between each triangle, and it doesn't look as ridiculous as I had thought it would. The Toblerone's outer packaging of cardboard and inner foil still makes it look more expensive compared to the Twin Peaks single plastic wrapper.

Left: Toblerone   Right: Twin Peaks
The chocolate itself has visible differences. The Twin Peaks chocolate (on the right) is very impressive looking with it's darker colouring and larger chunks of nougat throughout. The Toblerone has a creamier complexion with much smaller bits of nougat. Taste wise it was a close win for the Toblerone amongst my family of taste testers. The creamier and smoother chocolate of the Toblerone gave it a more enjoyable edge. As much as I hate to admit it, the larger spaces between chunks made the Toblerone simpler to eat, with each piece snapping off with ease. The Twin Peaks felt much harder to bite into, and whilst the flavour is satisfying enough, it's slightly sweeter and grittier than the Toblerone.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Toblerone Vs Twin Peaks Poundland

WINNER: Toblerone - but the Twin Peaks is still worth a try.
Buy it again?: Maybe.
Purchased: Poundland.
Price: £1.00p each.

18 Dec 2017

Fine Coffee Club Gingerbread Cookie Flavoured Espresso (Nespresso Compatible)

A very quick review of this limited edition flavour from the Fine Coffee Club. I've tried their Nespresso compatible pods before (see original review - Fine Coffee Club Review) but I haven't ordered them again in a long time. However, I couldn't resist when I saw this gorgeous looking new festive flavour - Gingerbread Cookie. 

I have to admit I've been very disappointed in the official holiday flavours from Nespresso this year - so much so that I haven't even reviewed them yet. I always review the latest flavours from Nesperesso but I just can't muster the enthusiasm this year.

Anyway onto the Gingerbread Cookie flavoured espresso from Fine Coffee Club. These were thankfully just what I was hoping for. The coffee flavour itself is good, it's strong without any bitterness. The Gingerbread Cookie flavour is delicious - there's just enough ginger and biscuity hints coming through to make the coffee interesting but not too much to make it cloying. It's the perfect balance.

I'll be keeping an eye on any future flavoured coffees from the Fine Coffee Club and I definitely want to try their Earl Grey Tea and Hot Chocolate pods for the Nespresso machines next! If you've tried any of these let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Fine Coffee Club

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Online www.finecoffeeclub.co.uk
Price: From £2.80p per box of 10 pods.

Degustabox November Box Review & Discount Code!

The November Degustabox arrived with a festive theme for the Christmas holidays. I'm posting this review quite late and it's only a few days until the next Degustabox is due to arrive! As always, the November box was packed full of groceries and treats but the Christmas theme made it even more exciting to open up and discover what was inside.

About Degustabox & Discount Code8TL75

Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. 

The discount code is a massive £7 off, making the first box only £5.99 delivered! Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the new discount code: 8TL75 

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in the latest Degustabox:

Weetabix Additions Apple & Raisin: I enjoyed the Coconut & Raisin Weetabix Additions from a previous Degustabox ( see Review - Degustabox August Review). The Apple & Raisin flavour was also a hit, the lovely hint of cinnamon with the apple is just perfect for this time of year. 

Planters Fruity Chocolate Crunch: This large sharing bag is perfect for the festive season (if it lasts that long because let's face it I've already started on my Christmas snack stash!). The Planters Chocolate Crunch is made with peanuts, cranberries, jumbo raisins and milk chocolate buttons. It's a great mix of sweet and salty flavours.

Cadbury Picnic Bites: I'll be honest - I haven't had a Picnic bar since I was a kid but I used to really like them. These Cadbury sharing bags contain mini versions which are great for snacking. I always make sure we have a bag or two for any Christmas movies we go to see (or watch at home!). Most of my family declared they don't like Picnic bars so I kept this bag all for myself.

The English Provender - Caramelised Red Onion Chutney: I was really excited to find this in the November Degustabox. I always try to find a few jars of 'posh' chutney for the Christmas period. This one is quite unusual because it's made with caramelised red onions. It's ideal for serving with cheeses or to add flavour to sandwiches.

Subscribers will receive one of three Filippo Berio products; a jar of classic Pesto, a bag of Fennel & Garlic Crostini or a tin of Rio Mare Tuna in Olive Oil. 

Filippo Berio Fennel & Garlic Crostini: Made with extra virgin olive oil and perfect for serving with cheese and the above chutney!

Rio Mare Tuna in Olive Oil: Made with the best quality tuna caught using Pole & Line methods. The tuna is canned with olive oil giving it a gorgeous Italian flavour.

Alo Light Cucumber & Cantalope: It's been a few years since I've reviewed an Aloe Vera juice drink on this blog. These drinks come with added pulp which gives it a unique texture that I really enjoy. The flavour here is very refreshing - I loved the strong melon flavour and crisp cucumber finish.

Dalston's Fizzy Apple: A fizzy apple soda made with Jonagold, Idared and Bramley Apples from farms in Kent. This had a unique apple flavour - it's tart and flavourful, almost earthy, and not too sweet. 

Kallo Organic Stock Pots: Available in three flavours - chicken, beef and vegetable. These little pots are super easy to use as they can be stirred into any dish. I love how they dissolve so much quicker than standard cubes.

Taylors of Harrogate - Cacao Superior Columbia: A single origin ground coffee from Columbia with sweet undertones of chocolate, malt and berries. It's a very smooth tasting coffee without any bitterness - ideal as a morning cup. 

The Jelly Bean Factory Super Sours: Each pack contains 9 different flavours such as Sour Lemon, Sour Cola and Sour Grape. The Jelly Bean Factory sweets are made using natural flavours and colours and are also gelatine free, gluten free and nut free (although they do contain beeswax so are suitable for vegetarians but not vegans).

Ryvita Multigrain Rye Cakes: It's nice to find a healthier snack in this month's Degustabox. I'm a fan of Ryvita crackers but I'd never tried these Rye Cakes before. The texture is a bit like rice cakes but the multigrains make them more flavourful.

Propercorn Perfectly Sweet Popcorn: I'm already a big fan of Propercorn popcorn so this was a very welcome addition to the Degustabox. My favourite flavour is always Sweet & Salty but this Perfectly Sweet is a close second. This smaller bag is a great size for portion control too.

Overall, my whole family enjoyed this months Degustabox, it had a good mix of treats (Cadbury and Planters), aswell as useful groceries (Weetabix, Ryvita). My favourites this month were the Rio Mare Tuna, Propercorn and Taylor's coffee. If you received the November Degustabox then I'd love to know what you thought of it in the comments below! 

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

15 Nov 2017

Degustabox October Review - Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code

A quick review of the latest foodie box from Degustabox. These boxes are always packed full of surprises and would make a wonderful gift for the foodie in your life. Once again Degustabox have provided a generous discount code for my readers:

About Degustabox & Discount Code8TL75

Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. 

The discount code is a massive £7 off, making the first box only £5.99 delivered! Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the new discount code: 8TL75 

Here's a round up of all the products I received in the latest Degustabox:

Hippeas Organic Chickpeas Puffs: I've tried these vegan friendly snacks before and really enjoyed them. The flavour 'In Herbs We Trust' is  a delicious combination of Mediterranean herbs and spices. They're quite garlicky with lots of rosemary and oregano flavour coming through too.

Lee Kum Kee: Two sauce sachets from Lee Kum Kee's wide range of classic Chinese flavours. The Sauce for Tomato Garlic Prawns is made with tomato, chilli peppers, honey and garlic. Other flavours include; Sauce for Kung Pao Chicken, Sauce for Broccoli Beef in Oyster Sauce and Sauce for Honey Garlic Spare Rib.

Lo Salt: A sample size 'free gift' of LoSalt which has 66% less sodium compared to regular table, sea and rock salts.

Heinz No Added Sugar Hoops: I haven't had tinned spaghetti hoops for years! This was fun to try again and my kids enjoyed them too.

Pulsin Kids' Fruity Oat Bars (left): A small orange chocolate chip oat bar made with all natural ingredients and no added sugar. It's rich in fibre and one of your five a day. I had to give this vegan treat a try myself and I'm glad I did because it was very tasty. It's full of chocolate chunks and has a lovely sweet orange flavour.

Pip's Real Hot Chocolate (middle): An orange flavoured hot chocolate chunk. Simply pop into hot milk and stir to create a delicious drink. I made this for my hot chocolate crazy son and he loved it!

Pechkeks Misfortune Cookie (right): Fitting for an October box is this black fortune cookie with a dark humorous fortune inside.

Feel Good Drinks: Two large bottles of Feel Good Drinks that are made from 100% natural ingredients. They're a simple blend of water, fruit and natural flavourings. I received two flavours; Orange, Mango & Water and a Strawberry & Mint Infusion.

Cirio Valfrutta: An microwaveable Bulgar Quinoa Riso Rosso that is ready to eat in 2 minutes. It's a delicious combination of bulgar, quinoa and red rice, flavoured with tomatoes and green olives. There are lots of other flavours in the range; Cous Cous with Mixed Vegetables, Basmati Rice & Lentils, and a Spelt with Black Olives.

Kabuto Noodles - Thai Green Chicken Curry: A gluten-free noodle pot inspired by the green curries of Thailand. It's full of natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives and is ready in minutes.

Nuttvia Breadsticks Snackpack (left): A hazelnut chocolate spread with added dipping breadsticks.  It's even better that the Nuttvia spread is made with zero palm oil and 97% less sugar. The flavour is delicious and is sure to be a hit in lunchboxes.

Michel et Augustin (right): An individual snack pack of two oversized chocolate cookies with a melty hazelnut chocolate centre. Combined with the added chocolate chips this is a decadent sweet treat. These cookies are also made with real fresh butter and free range eggs which makes them extra delicious.

Vimto Millions Gift Jar: A fun combination of the classic Millions sweets with the distinctive flavour of Vimto.

Overall I was delighted with the wide selection of different products in the October Degustabox - there were plenty of sweet treats but also useful groceries for my family too. This month, I was especially pleased with the Cirio Valfrutta, Nuttvia Snackpack, and Pulsin Oat Bar. 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.

27 Oct 2017

Review: Jordan's Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice & Pumpkin Caramel

I've been looking for a decent pumpkin spice flavoured syrup to try to recreate my favourite Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte at home without much luck. So far I've tried the Pumpkin Spice Syrups from Monin and Sweetbirds which were both a total waste of money. The Sweetbirds one especially was so horrid it had to be thrown away. 

The Skinny Syrups brand is one that I've found a few times before in TK Maxx. I like their sugar free Vanilla and Gingerbread syrups and prefer them now to the full-on sugary kind. My husband bought me their Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Caramel varieties as a gift recently (I think he paid a fortune on Amazon) and thankfully I enjoyed both varieties more than the other brands I've tried.

The Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice has a nice amount of spices coming through with the sweet pumpkin, especially scentwise. It doesn't come through as much in the actual flavour although it does add plenty of sweetness - a little goes a long way with these. The Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Caramel variety is even sweeter and has a creamy undertone. As they're both sugar free they do have a bit of an artificial aftertaste, which might ruin the flavour for some - I found it especially noticeable in the Pumpkin Caramel variety.

Even though neither of these flavours is a patch on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice (why don't they just sell Pumpkin Spice syrups instore already?), I'm glad that I tried both these flavours. I would probably buy the Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice variety again next year. but I'm still waiting for a proper Pumpkin Spice syrup!

Grocery Gems Review: Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition0 calories.
Purchased: Amazon.

Review: New Quaker Oats Pumpkin Spice (UK)

Pumpkin Spice seems to be gaining popularity in the UK and I was excited to finally find the new Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice flavoured oats from Quaker Oats. It's a microwaveable porridge with added pumpkin seeds, sugar and natural flavourings.

The pumpkin spice flavour itself is quite subtle and light. It's not heavily spiced at all (I couldn't really taste any cinnamon or nutmeg), but there's a lovely sweet pumpkin flavour coming through that I found delicious. The overall combination with the pumpkin seeds is both creamy and crunchy, and very satisfying. I have to point out that my fellow taste tester, the Pumpkin Spice Super-Fan Mr Grocery Gems, doesn't really agree with me about the flavour here. He thought the pumpkin spice was too weak and he wanted a  much stronger flavour. However, I like the fact that it's not too overpowering and it's obviously made with extra toppings in mind - get sprinkling some extra cinnamon on there!

At the moment these oats are on offer for £1 a box - I'll be stocking up on a few more boxes of this limited edition for myself. If you've tried the new Pumpkin Spice Quaker Oats then I'd love to know what you thought in the comments below!

Also Spotted is a limited edition Quaker Oats Toffee Apple flavour too - perfect for November!

Grocery Gems Review: Quaker Oats So Simple Pumpkin Spice

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per sachet with semi -skim milk ): 226 calories.
Price: £1.00p for 8 sachets.
Purchased: Asda.

15 Oct 2017

New York Bakery Co Maple Mini Bagels & Easy Halloween Bagel Ideas!

The new Maple Mini Bagels from the New York Bakery Co. are perfect for this time of year. These mini sized bagels can be popped into the toaster whole and used to 'rip and dip'! I could honestly get through a whole bag of these by myself because they're just so delicious.

I was delighted to be sent these bagels by New York Bakery Co. and asked to create some fun  (and in  my case easy!) Halloween treats with them. More about that after a quick review!

Firstly I have to review the actual bagel itself and show you the lovely golden colouring. There are actually little pockets of maple syrup but the flavour is surprisingly not too sweet. These bagels could definitely be used for sweet or savoury meals. My kids enjoyed them with peanut butter or chocolate fillings but I loved them just lightly toasted and buttered or for dipping in a pumpkin soup.

Anyway, onto my super easy peasy fun Halloween ideas!

Spooky Critters Halloween Bagel Ideas:

Cute Monster Bagel - okay so this one is more smiley than spooky. Simply cut out jagged teeth shapes into an apple slice and prop open a peanut butter filled Maple Mini Bagel. You could also cut out two fangs on the apple slice to make it a vampire bagel! I used Wilton candy eyes which look great (I got these on Ebay) but dark chocolate chips or simple white icing are also good. 

Spooky Spider Bagel - our spider bagel is simply made with chocolate spread and Matchmaker legs (you could also use chocolate dipped pretzel sticks). This one was my kids' favourite!

Petrified Mummy Bagel - I used cream cheese frosting (just cream cheese with icing sugar and a little vanilla) to pipe on a simple mummy design. Then I just added two dark chocolate chips for eyes. 

Gruesome Toothsome Duo - my son had the idea to use mini marshmallows for teeth and it's such a simple and cute idea. These two are definitely the goofballs of the bunch. We also had some teeth shaped sweets (which you can just see in the background) which would also be fun to use.

Batty Bagel - a bat bagel (or is it an owl?) made with chocolate spread and Oreo cookie wings - just separate the biscuit and cut each side in half to make the wings. Couldn't be easier! 

We had lots of fun creating these easy Halloween bagel ideas - imagine what you could do for Bonfire Night too!

Grocery Gems Review: New York Bakery Co Maple Mini Bagels

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes - I'll be stocking up.
Nutrition (per mini bagel): 96 calories.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Price: £1.30p

PR Samples.

Review: Nakd Breakfast Bars including Apple Danish flavour

I was recently sent the delicious looking range from Nakd featuring four of their Breakfast Bars. The flavours are; Cocoa Twist, Berry Bliss, Banana Bread and Apple Danish. I was especially excited about the Apple Danish flavour! These Nakd Breakfast Bars are suitable for vegans and contain oats, dates, raisins, and cashews as the base ingredients. The addition of oats makes these really filling and delicious as a morning snack.

Nakd Apple Danish: This was my favourite flavour and is the most delicious Nakd bar I've ever had. As a cinnamon fan I appreciated just how gorgeously flavoured this bar is. The tart apple is delicious with the sweet cinnamon and nutmeg spices coming through perfectly. It tastes like an indulgent apple danish but all for under 100 calories. 

Nakd Banana Bread: This banana flavour is the classic Nakd bar flavour but I don't think I've ever reviewed it on the blog before. This is one flavour I always go for - it has such a strong banana flavour that I keep coming back to it.

Nakd Berry Bliss: The Berry Blast is another favourite flavour. It has a tangier taste that is delicious as a morning snack. It really does taste like it's packed full of raspberries and provides a real fruity hit.

Nakd Cocoa Twist: The Cocoa Twist flavour is not really for me but funnily enough it's one of my husband's faves. It has a very strong cocoa flavour but I just prefer the sweeter and tarter fruity flavours!

Overall I love the textures of all these Nakd bars, they're so soft and chewy without being cloying or crumbly. The Apple Danish flavour is definitely one I'll be buying again. Each of these bars is now under 100 calories, which I prefer, but they're also slightly smaller than their previous 35g bars. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Nakd Breakfast Bars

RATING: 9 out of 10 for the Apple Danish!
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per 30g bar): Banana - 94cal, Berry Blast - 99cal, Cocoa - 99cal, Apple - 98cal.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegans.

PR Samples. 

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