Thursday, 14 September 2017

NEW! Milk Chocolate & Irish Cream Brownie Slices (M&S)

Last week I combatted the change in seasons by celebrating the fact that M&S have just launched new desserts into their menu collection. Whilst the giant macaroons might've been a little more style over substance, I looked forward to trying some of the other unusual additions.

I was in luck too - a couple of days ago I found the new Irish Cream Brownie slices emblazoned with that promising yellow reduced sticker. £1.90 for two wasn't too bad! They're currently £2.80 but will be £3.50 when full price. Ouch. 

"Layers of earl grey mousse and Irish cream mousse, chocolate sponge, chocolate brownie and milk chocolate."

They were an usual shape too, and although they were well protected in the wrapper, they were a pain in the bum to plate up as they had a tendency to fall over. Squish them onto the plate a little -like I did- though and they should stand proud. 


Shall we do this by layers? Ok then..

The top layer was jelly like, and offered little in the way of flavour. I assume it was simply there for decoration, and the gold sparkle was pretty. Beneath this was the first mousse layer - and it was scrummy. It was light, chocolatey and delivered an almighty Baileys-esque kick. For teetotal Bert this wasn't a good point, but I'd bought them because they were labelled as Irish cream and so I was happy to find that M&S had followed through on their promise. Simply put, it reminded me of Christmas.


Next up was a layer of dry, bland "sponge" cake. Again I assume it's only role was to break up the layers as it wasn't a substance that I'd want to eat on its own.  Another mousse layer followed - this time it was Earl Grey. Now I don't like Earl Grey tea - to me it's equivalent to drinking my nan's perfume- and had I have read the product description properly I think I wouldn't have actually bothered with this dessert. On its own I found it sickly and floral, but I bore with it in the hope that when it was combined with the other elements that it would transform into something magical... 


At the base was the brownie layer, which was perfectly moist and utterly chocolatey - exactly how a brownie should be. 

But what happens when you eat all the layers together? 

A journey of flavours. First the alcoholic heat greets your tastebuds, followed by the mellow chocolate and then that perfume-like Earl Grey. Damn that tea! Take out the bottom mousse M&S and you'd be on to a winner, but for me it's just too much. Too fussy, and too delicate. Give me the simple, scrummy (and cheaper) Banoffee Cheesecakes instead anyway. 


7/10

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

NEW! Oreo Choc'o Brownie (Tesco)

There's lazy NPD (new product development) and then there's Mondelez. Mondelez are renowned for rehashing Milka bars under the Cadbury name, or combining their products to maximise profits - admittedly I do miss the Cadbury Philadelphia. This time though they've taken the biscuit. Literally. The UK has just been granted a new flavour Oreo, but have we got anything as exciting as the new Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie, Jelly Donut, or soon to be released Cookie Butter Oreos? Certainly not. We've got choco brownie. Yes that's right. A chocolate Oreo filled with chocolate filling. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Chocolate creme Oreos have been out in the UK for years, so what on earth are Mondelez playing at?



Last year, following the launch of the somewhat more exciting mint and strawberry cheesecake filled Oreos, the public were asked to partake in a month long flavour vote for the next flavour. So every day a few of us bloggers reminded each other to log on and vote - ok so we might've even used a couple of email addresses each. The choices were: lemon, coconut, banana and brownie batter. Yes, brownie batter.


Now of those choices, I was certainly team banana, but I would've been happy to try the lemon or coconut too. At least they were different. In fairness to those of you who opted for the brownie batter it did sound a little like a chocolatey cookie dough.. but you should've also realised that Mondelez like to cut corners (yep I'm referring to the peanut butter Oreo Dairy Milk for the umpteenth time). Anyway, apparently 43% of voters chose the brownie flavour -methinks their might've been some rigging for the easiest option at Oreo HQ. 


Anyway, the presumably-cooked-and-therefore-not-batter brownie flavour has now been released. So is it any different to the standard chocolate creme Oreo. No. Not in the slightest. In fact the ingredients are the same and they haven't even bothered to change the description*. They're still like an Oreo version of a Bourbon, but somehow not as good. I mean if I wanted a bourbon, I'd buy a bourbon -ya know? 

Christmas is in the shops already so please tell me this is an even more premature attempt at an April Fools.... 


2/10 (purely for taking the piss, Oreo). 

*Here's a comparison of the two packets, see what I mean?



Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Orion Studentská Pečeť Duomix: Nestle's White & Milk Chocolate Bar with Peanuts, Raisins & Jelly

Last week I popped into one of Hereford's Eastern European Deli's, one that I don't often visit due to its location. In it I found a number of chocolate bars that I've not seen before, by a brand I'd also never come across - Orion. However, when I picked up one of the bars out of sheer curiosity (I hope you'll understand why) I soon discovered that Orion is a nestle brand. Ahhh. Now I didn't give into temptation at the time, but posted a couple of stories about the range on my instagram. Within minutes I was inundated with messages about how great the bars were. I was going to have to try this unusual chocolate...



At £1.29 for 180g the bar was excellent value too - at least I thought so until I realised it was a month out of date. Oh well, it wasn't about to kill me. The Reese's cups that were 15 months out of date didn't anyway. Not being able to speak Czech or Slovakian I'm afraid I couldn't be sure of what the bar entailed. Google translate (of Orion's website) paints a very odd picture... 

"DUOMIXCan not you decide if you have a taste for a white or milk STUDENT CARE? Duomix offers a bit of each variation, while the tongue dissolves so quickly that you want to taste another dice."

I was met with a very aesthetically pleasing bar when I retrieved it from is foil wrapping. Made primarily of white chocolate, each cube was topped with a milk chocolate topping, whilst the underside was heftily nobbled. I hadn't seen a bar this interesting for a long time -if ever. 


Unfortunately the quality of the white chocolate wasn't all that great. It tasted chalky and whilst I wasn't expecting the creaminess of luxury Belgian white chocolate, I did expect it to be on par with Nestle's Milkybar. The milk chocolate topping tasted more like a smooth praline to me. The hazelnut flavour came as a welcome surprise though and complimented the white chocolate beneath.

But what about the pieces within the bar I hear you ask? Each cube provides a different textural experience thanks to the the abundance of chopped peanuts, raisins and jelly beans. Both the peanuts and raisins worked well with the chocolate. The peanuts of course added salinity and crunch, whilst the raisins added moisture and a slight chew. 

Those jelly beans though. They're the main reason I don't buy the Cadbury Marvellous Creation bars. Jelly in chocolate just doesn't work for me, and seems to be a cheap filler to bring down the cost of production. I find that they're obtrusive little pests that offer little in the way of flavour but seem to wedge themselves frustratingly between teeth. Perhaps that's just me though. 

All of my complaints make it sound like I didn't enjoy this chocolate bar, when it some strange way I did. There's a certain charm to it - perhaps because it's so unusual, or maybe it's because it didn't leave me out of pocket. I wouldn't rush to buy it again, but If you spot it and fancy something completely alternative to what we've got in the UK then give it a go! 


6/10

Monday, 11 September 2017

BelVita Breakfast Soft Bakes Chocolate Filled (Sainsbury's)

It's not just Nature Valley who've brought out new 'breakfast' biscuits in the last couple of weeks.  On a side not I still don't know why they're called breakfast biscuits. Do any of you actually eat them or breakfast? Please drop me a comment and let me know. Anyway, the other key player in that market -Belvita- have surreptitiously released two new filled soft bakes in chocolate and strawberry flavours. The did, of course, release the soft bakes range two years ago, but Belvita have obviously decided it's time to give them an uplift. Admittedly I'm more of a Nature Valley girl - but then I'm addicted to oats- however it's Belvita that are bought more often in this house.



And that is because of Bert. He just loves biscuits. Where I can't resist the call of chocolate, he's more into sweets and biscuits. In fact he actively avoids the biscuit aisle in the supermarkets because he knows he won't be able to resist munching his way through an entire pack once it's open - which is why the pre-portioned 'breakfast' biscuits are handy. That and the fact that he's either at work or working on the Landy - so is forever eating out of his lunchbox. So they're handy. For Bert, the Yogurt filled and original Belvitas weigh supreme. The yogurt ones because of the taste, the original because there's four in a pack and they therefore feel more substantial.

"Soft baked biscuits made with wholegrain cereals and a chocolate hazelnut flavour filling (15.6%) and added vitamins and minerals."

Anyway, it was him I picked up these new filled soft bakes for, however I ended up tucking into them first - probably because I bought the chocolate flavour. Sorry Bert. Just for info, I found them in Sainsbury's for £1.50, however I believe they're now in Morrisons too. 

The biscuit was every bit as soft as it promised to be, although not so much that it fell apart in the pack. The smattering of oats was a pleasant sight, as was the golden hue. Breaking it in half revealed a fair amount of spread-like filling. 




Omnomnom. It was cakier than a cookie -and far removed from your standard biscuit- but I really liked it. In fact the consistency reminded me of a nutrigrain, although it was moister than that. As hoped, the chocolate filling was reminiscent of Nutella, although weirdly there's not any nuts in the actual ingredients. That shouldn't really come as a surprise seeing as Belvita comes under the Mondelez banner, and they're notorious for not including nuts in their nut flavoured products (such as the peanut butter Oreo ice cream sandwiches, and atrocious peanut butter Dairy Milk Oreo). 



Despite the lack of actual hazelnuts, I was impressed with these biscuits and went back for the strawberry flavour, so stay tuned for a follow up review of them! But most importantly, what did Bert think?....

"They're nice, but they're not big enough."

There you have it. 

8/10



Sunday, 10 September 2017

NEW! Soft Centre Chocolate Macaroons (M&S)

M&S updated their 'Dessert Menu' collection this week. Well there's got to be an upside to the darker mornings and chillier days hasn't there? You might've noticed that most of the supermarkets have also launched Christmas sections too - but don't worry, I've not been struck by mince pie mania like last year. Yet. Giant chocolate macaroons though? Count me in!

"French almond chocolate macaroons - just warm for a soft chocolate ganache centre."

The new desserts in the range are all part of a 20% introductory offer. This double pack was still a pricey £3.20 though. Macaroons are always expensive but can they be spectacular enough to warrant the £3.80 (non-offer) price tag? Let's find out...


Each macaroon was about 10cm ish in diameter, and could be eaten warm or cold. To be honest, it was the idea of the molten middle that persuaded me to prise apart my usually tight purse strings. Call me simple but I really don't understand the fascination with macaroons. 25 seconds in the microwave and it was ready to go.


Microwaves have a habit of making crispy food soggy but the shell remained crispy on the outside and soft on the insider. There was a fair amount of cocoa flavour to it too, with the almond aftertaste following through. As for the ganache, it was, of course, undeniably decadent due to the dark chocolate (11%) and whipping cream (19%) and once warmed became more like a sauce. In fact, the whole experience was like eating a lighter warm chocolate fudge cake. 


The new giant Macaroons are great for the novelty factor, however  I can't help but feel they pale in comparison to the Gold Bullion bars in terms of creativity and innovation. That said, I'd happily pick them up as part of the Dine In for £10 meal deal (if and when they're ever included) but would never pay the full price for them. 


8/10. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Lacasa Turrón de Tiramisú (Home Bargains)

The trouble with being good friends with a chocolate blogger is that she's always finding delicious, tempting treats that get me salivating. Whilst Nat often reviews bars by well known brands from across the globe, she's also excellent at tracking down more unusual companies. Cue Lacasa. I'd certainly never heard of the Spanish chocolatier until she reviewed their 'Turrón de Cookies' bar  a few weeks ago. Boy doesn't it look delicious? She then got her hands on two of the Turróns de Tiramisú, and kindly offered to send me one -knowing how much I love the classic Italian dessert. Perhaps there's no problem with being friends with a temptress after all. Thanks Nat, you're a diamond. 

I'd never heard of a Turron before, but the imported label translated it as 'Tiramisu Praline Nougat'. The ingredients included a delectable mixture of cocoa butter, biscuit (15%), hazelnuts, almonds, and, um, cheese powder. Again! Twice in one week for chocolate bars with cheese powder. Who knew it was such a popular ingredient? I headed to Lacasa's website for a further description of this intriguing bar... 




"Tiramisu NOUGAt"All the flavor of the traditional Italian dessert, in this nougat, made with cheese, coffee, cake and the best cacaos. Format 100g."

Oh. I'm not sure that's any clearer. I tried..


I hope you'll agree that it was a very aesthetically pleasing bar. I loved the dual layers and simple decoration. But what on earth did it taste like?

Well there was a lovely cocoa flavour to it, with a respectable coffee kick and notes of Masala. A wonderful creaminess came from the top layer, which had a slight tanginess to it - in fact Lacasa managed a more convincing cheesecake flavour than KitKat did! 

I loved the combination of textures too; the top was smooth whilst the bottom was crumbly with a slight crunchiness to it. Where the nougat element comes in I'm not sure, as it wasn't remotely chewy. Additionally, there wasn't any large nut or biscuit pieces in the bar, but it wasn't as smooth as a traditional praline either. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much though - because it was utterly different to anything we've got here. 

Interestingly though, Nat experienced something quite shocking with her bar, but you'll have to read her review to find out what went down...  

Thank you to Nat for sending me this beautiful bar. According to Nat they're available in Home Bargains, but Hereford hasn't had any - so I hope you're in luck if you fancy trying it!

8/10


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Recipe: Jammie Dodger, Biscoff & Reese's Blondies

Sunday was a grizzly day. It was pouring with rain, I was feeling pants and it was a rest day. Humf, I could sit and stew in my misery, or do something about it. Baking has always been one of my favourite ways to relax,  once upon a time I'd spend my days pestering my gran until she'd pour over her ancient cookbooks with me and help me perfect the art of shortcrust pastry (always roll onto a slab of marble, and make sure your hands are cold) or light sponge cakes (always fold with a large metal spoon). Oh dear, I'm rambling again aren't I? Anyway, I knew the best way to cheer myself up was to pop on some Jazz music and bake something... but what to bake? 


Then, I had a brainwave. I recalled seeing Ellie's incredible looking Jammie Dodger blondies last year. The ones I promised I'd get around to making. No time like the present. I couldn't find Ellie's picture anymore, but I remembered that she'd found the recipe online, and a quick google search revealed Katie Cake's recipe. That's the badger!

What you may or may not know about me though is that I'm terribly indecisive. Like awfully so. So I actually made a smaller amount of her brownie batter and used it to make three variations on her recipe: Reese's, Biscoff, and Jammie Dodger. 

So here's my amended version Katie's recipe for the blondie mix (which makes 6 blondies).



Ingredients:
60g butter
85g caster sugar
1 large egg
100g plain flour
85g white chocolate

Toppings:
Mini Jammie Dodgers & Jam
Biscoff Spread & Biscoff Biscuits
Reese's mini peanut butter cups & peanut butter. 

Method:

1)  Preheat the oven to 175C

2) Slowly melt the butter and white chocolate together in a saucepan on a low heat, being careful to stir constantly and avoid the chocolate catching. Once melted, remove from the heat and set aside.

3) Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg and sugar until light and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes on a high setting). Then pour the chocolate mixture in, and stir until combined. 

4) Gently fold in the flour, being careful not to knock too much air out of the brownie mix

5) Pour the blondie mix into a greased, suitably sized receptacle (I used an individual brownie pan, which I bought from ASDA for £5). 

6) Now for the fun part - the toppings! For the Jammie dodger ones I dolloped about a tsp of jam in each brownie, and swirled with a toothpick before adorning with mini Jammie Dodgers. For the Biscoff I swirled in some Biscoff spread and placed a Biscoff biscuit on top*. The Reese's one? Well that was just a tsp of peanut butter swirled in, and then I broke up some mini Peanut Butter cups and topped them with that! 

7) Bake for 20 mins! 

8) Enjoy - warm, cold & with or without ice cream. They also freeze well too! 



*In hindsight, I wish I had added cinnamon to the mixture too. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Mrs Freshley's Frosted Strawberry Mini Donuts (A Taste Of The States)

Isn't it odd that I've reviewed more Mrs Freshley's products on the blog than Mr Kipling? I'm not sure it's because they're that much more innovative, but probably just because they're American and I haven't had them before. Actually, I've changed my mind. Frosted strawberry doughnuts are infinitely more exciting than Viennese Whirls. IMO. 



Anyway, I've already tried the crunch and Cinnabon Mrs F's mini ring donuts with relative success so couldn't help ordering this variety from A Taste Of The States too. Strawberry doughnuts of course aren't a new thing, but I'm used to them being plain donuts topped with pink icing (Bert's favourite), strawberry jam filled, or a combination of both. Never have I tried a strawberry flavoured doughnut. 


The pack contained 6 "confectionary coating" covered rings, which were all evenly coated with a chocolate-esque coating. Of course it's not real chocolate, it's made from sugar, palm oil, cocoa, soy, salt and artificial flavouring -just a handful of ingredients on the epic list.  I can't tell you that it tasted all that great either. Fake chocolate just isn't my bag I'm afraid. Unfortunately, the doughnuts were a bit of a let down too. The dough was extremely dry and cloying, but there was -at least- a sweet strawberry flavour to it.  


Meh, sorry Mrs F but you haven't quite scored a mini doughnut hat-trick here. However, if you fancy trying these unusual creations, or perhaps the nicer Cinnabon or crunchy doughnuts, or even some Hostess Donettes then please head over to A Taste Of The States where you can benefit from 20% off with the code AMYSEEKS20.

5/10

Thanks to A Taste of The States for providing me with a gift card to order these with!


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Takeaway Cheese & Tomato Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza (Iceland)

Apparently it's "National cheese pizza day". Honestly, who thinks these things up? I'm not complaining really; who wouldn't want to celebrate pizza? It's one of my favourite foods, and I even invested in a pizza oven in place of a normal BBQ this summer. Thanks Aldi for making them affordable. Anyway, Bert came home from work one evening a few weeks ago insisting that we try Aldi's hot dog stuffed crust pizza. The lads had all been discussing how great it was, and poor Bert felt left out*. I cycle pass Aldi every day so popped in on the way home to pick up said pizza.

Oh.

New York or BBQ: that was the choice. Now Bert is exceptionally fussy when it comes to food. The only vegetables he eats are sweetcorn and carrots (at a push) unless you count baked beans. If we go out for dinner then the restaurant must have steak (no sauce) or burger and chips (no salad, no dressing, no mustard, relish or ketchup, thank you). He'll eat pizza.. but only if it's deep pan or calzone and certainly not if it's got mustard or BBQ sauce on it - as both these pizzas had. Hmm. Back to the drawing board. Did anywhere else make Hot Dog stuffed crust pizzas? 

Yes! Iceland to the rescue. For £2, I bought the 531g cheese and tomato hot dog pizza. It also meant I could add red onion to my side and mini sausages to his. Win win. For the record Iceland, this pizza does not serve three adults. Who would just eat a third?

"A smoked hot dog sausage stuffed crust pizza base topped with tomato ketchup, mozzarella cheese and red Cheddar cheese."


I found that it took much longer than the suggested 15 minutes to cook - but my oven admittedly isn't the most reliable. After 20 minutes I was too hungry to wait any longer and retrieved the anaemic looking pizza. 


I don't think I was expecting the pizza to blow my mind, which was a good job really seeing as it wasn't particularly exciting. The base was a bit stodgy but nowhere near as bad as the cheapie frozen deep pan supermarket pizzas. The topping had a good covering though, and wasn't particularly strong - a plus point for mild cheddar loving Bert, but a downside to me and my affinity towards the smellier cheeses**. 


As for that hot dog crust, it was a cheap but cheerful affair that gives you that 'I really don't want to know what meat it's made from, or if it's even meat' thought. I did think though that it needed to be surrounded in cheese, or sauce, or something. Needless to say I had a handy supply of (ASDA's maple bacon flavoured) ketchup to dunk the crusts in, but I still thought it was lacking. Cheese makes for the perfect stuffed crust, but hot dog? I'd rather not, dog. 

6/10

*Please don't feel too sorry for Bert, I make him (from scratch) homemade Calzones on a weekly basis. 


**Munster is my favourite but I'm a sucker for Stilton and goats cheese. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

NEW! Chocolate & Caramel Pyramids (M&S)

I couldn't help it, ok?

After I tried my luck with the banoffee semifreddos at m&s I went back to see if any of the other frozen luxury desserts would work in the Dine in for £10 promotion. They all looked delicious but it was these chocolate and caramel pyramids that caught my eye. Not because they were particularly ground breaking in terms of flavours, or elements, but just because they looked so damn pretty. Fancy clothes might not tempt me, but pretty food? Always. 

"A cocoa sponge base topped with a Belgian dark chocolate pyramid mousse, a caramel ganache centre and caramel decoration."

I found myself thanking M&S once again for their clever packaging and thankfully, unlike their fresh banoffee cheesecake slices, the pyramids had remained perfectly intact - please ignore the freezer burn caused by my freezer blip. M&S suggests that they require defrosting for 5 hours, but I hadn't been that well organised and took mine out of the freezer a couple of hours before serving. 


That cocoa mousse was rich and fluffy with a deep flavour that I imagine would please most dark chocolate lovers, whilst remaining sweet enough to avoid offending us who prefer their chocolate milkier. Where was that sponge base at though M&S? I thought Waitrose's version was stingy but this was none existent.


Things got worse as I hunted for that supposed caramel ganache. At first I refused to panic, having been initially disappointed when digging into the Waitrose salted caramel mousse (before finding the pocket at one end), but as I got towards the last spoonful I realised I'd been duped. At best there had been a slightly sweeter mouthful, but where was that oozy caramel sauce or sticky dulce de leche?



I thought perhaps I'd got a duff one - but if I did then so did Bert. He didn't even realise that it was meant to contain caramel, and actually asked me not to buy them again as he found them too rich. Admittedly, he's not as chocolate obsessed as I am though.  Meh. Another case of style over substance, that is, unless you're after a show stopping chocolate mousse - in which case, head to Marks and knock yourself out! 

7/10

Sunday, 3 September 2017

NEW! KitKat Chunky NY Cheesecake (Tesco)

It's been just over a year since we last had a new flavour to the KitKat chunky range. Have you tried the Cookie Dough version? I must admit that I wasn't taken with it. In fact I haven't bothered buying it since that review. The KitKat peanut butter bites were a pleasant surprise however, so I tried to hold back my preconceptions and get excited when I saw that Nestle had released NY Cheesecake Chunkys. The new KitKats are currently stocked in Tesco and are part of their very handy 3 for £1.20 mix and match chocolate bar offer (or else they're 60p each). 


"Crispy wafer with a New York Cheesecake flavour topping (19%) covered with milk chocolate (60%)."

As normal, the Chunky comprised of three segments. Within these segments were the bottom layers of wafer topped with that "New York Cheesecake" layer. Now I've only recently mentioned by ambiguity towards NY cheesecake, and it's lack of identifiable flavour. Was this going to be just another cover up from Nestle, another marketing ploy for what was essentially a pretty dull vanilla topping?


Well kind of. It was vanilla-ry but there was a slight sour tang to it that I've not tasted on any KitKat before. I mean, it wasn't groundbreaking and it certainly didn't make me squeal with delight, but it wasn't resigned to the bin either. The ingredients list includes "powdered soft cheese", so there is some authenticity to the title, but without any hint of biscuit (digestive, graham cracker or otherwise) can it really be labelled as cheesecake? In any case, the topping worked fairly well with the standard KitKat milk chocolate and wafer layers; i.e. it didn't jar, but didn't provide something entirely new or interesting either.

If you're intrigued by the bar then please do give it a go, at least there's no new product premium to pay -as is so often the case nowadays- and it's inoffensive. As the Cookie Dough before it, I probably won't bother with it again though -  I'd much rather the double caramel, peanut butter or white chocolate KitKats. Well actually, I'd rather that Nestle brought over the Raspberry Cheesecake Duo KitKats that our Australian cousins are lucky enough to have - of which you can read Nat's review here.

7/10

Saturday, 2 September 2017

NEW! Nature Valley Nut Butter Almond Biscuits (Sainsbury's)

If you're a regular reader you might've already read my review of the new peanut butter filled Nature Valley biscuits. They were so good that I detoured the very next day via Sainsbury's to fork out another £2.90 for the other flavour: almond butter. Now, I do like almond butter, but never get around to buying any, always favouring my beloved peanut butter when buying a new jar of nut butter. Actually, my dad used to keep me in almond butter, but it must've been a couple of years since I last had any ...

*hint hint, Christmas hamper idea Daddio?* 😉.

"Crunchy biscuits made with wholegrain oats, barley and cinnamon with an almond butter flavoured filling."

What I hadn't realised when buying the peanut butter biscuits was that the almond version incorporates cinnamon. I bleeding love cinnamon, and so it wasn't long after I got home that I flicked the kettle on and opened a pack whilst sitting down to write that peanut butter review. On a side note, I don't think I mentioned before that both of these new Nut Butter biscuits are individually wrapped, making them handy to pack into lunch boxes or handbags.


Wowzers. The biscuit is even better than the ones used in the peanut butter ones. They'd got the same oats, hobnob vibe going on, but this time there was a beautiful sweet warmth coming from the spice. As a cinnamon fiend, I was so pleased to find that Nature Valley hadn't underplayed it either. There's absolutely no escaping it, but why would you want to. It's got me wondering why McVities haven't brought out cinnamon Hobnobs actually...

Anyway, I digress, again.


That almond butter was scrummy - soft and smooth with an underlying nuttiness. Some might say that the cinnamon overshadowed the delicate flavour a little, but actually I liked the ratios that way round - it made the eating experience very different to that of the peanut butter biscuits.

I'm actually torn between which flavour I like better. At £2.90 they're on the expensive side for UK mass-made granola biscuit bars, but I'll definitely be stocking up when they inevitably come on offer. 

10/10




Friday, 1 September 2017

Belgian White Chocolate & Raspberry Sauce Ice Cream Sticks (Tesco)

Hey, do you remember when I moaned (yes, I know I'm always moaning) a couple of weeks ago about Magnum's double raspberry ice creams, and more specifically about the fact that they'd chosen to coat them in milk chocolate instead of white? Well, I was in Tesco the other day when I spotted something that might just be the solution to said grumbles: a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream with raspberry sauce. Hurrah!

I had actually forgotten that until this summer Tesco sold white chocolate and raspberry ice creams that were pretty good rip offs of the white chocolate and raspberry Magnums - but now both Tesco and Magnum's versions have been sadly discontinued. Boo. Let's hope that Tesco have made up for it with these 2017 editions - which are slightly cheaper than Magnums At £1.50 for three sticks  (Magnum doubles are currently on offer in Tesco at £2 for 3).

"Vanilla dairy ice cream, covered with raspberry sauce, coated in Belgian white chocolate with freeze dried raspberry pieces."

Please agree with me that the raspberry flecked ice creams looked beautiful; to me they screamed luxury. However, I still find myself taken aback however at how small all these new 90ml sticks are (new Magnums are the same size). Biting into the stick revealed the shocking pink sauce that looked stunning against the vanilla ice cream and white chocolate. 


Unfotunately, it was one of those occasions where the taste just didn't quite live up to the looks. God damnit, I wish appearances weren't so deceptive. Perhaps I'm being harsh here, because the white chocolate was fairly good -it's no Magnum covering though- and the ice cream was creamy -it just lacked the real vanilla flavour that I longed for.


It was more the sauce that I was disappointed by. The sauce in the double Magnum had a real tang to it, more like a coulis, whereas this was more like a standard Askey's ice cream topping. I mean, it was just very sweet, and lacked the tartness that I'd hoped for. The raspberry flavour was a little lost actually, and I found myself wishing that they'd used a raspberry ice cream (as Magnum had) to really boost the contrasting flavours. 


These are great if you're after a pretty ice cream, but they're another case of style over substance. Considering the uncompetitive price-point, I probably won't bother with them again. 

7/10


Thursday, 31 August 2017

NEW! Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Oreo 41g Bar (Tesco)

I don't think that any of us have quite got over the atrocious "peanut butter" Oreo Dairy Milk; It was an absolute insult to us nut butter lovers. I even refused to buy the mint version of the Oreo Dairy Milk on the back of my disgust, despite reading raring reviews on it, and enjoying the actual biscuit mint flavoured OreosI also didn't fancy buying a 100g mint chocolate bar when I'm not the biggest mint chocolate fan. Sometimes the combination reminds me all too much of toothpaste, and other times it's the refreshing hit that I crave. Kind of like Mars bars - I just have to be in the mood. So when I found this single serving 41g bar in Tesco last week, I put my reservations to one side and took a punt on the minty, biscuity, Cadbury chocolate bar. 

"Milk chocolate with a mint flavoured filling (36%) and biscuit pieces (14%)."

I still expect to see the old cube shaped segments when opening a bar of Dairy Milk. Do you experience the same thought, or am I just getting older (back-in-the-good-old-days-esque). I was pleased however to find that each bubble contained a generous amount of filling, which was a less ludicrous shade of green than mint Aero, and jam packed full of cookie pieces.


The overall flavour was pretty good. As per the Oreos, the mint was well balanced - not knocking into Aquafresh territory but standing it's own against the milk chocolate and cookie biscuit pieces. As for the chocolate, it's been so long since I last bought a Dairy Milk that I can't acurately comment on whether it's the same stuff used in the unadulterated bars. All I can say was that it had that undeniable Cadbury taste.


The cookie pieces were wonderful. They were the only aspect that I enjoyed in the [don't make me say it again] "peanut butter" Oreo bar, and they worked well once more - but this time the filling around the biscuit didn't grate on me. They were perfectly crunchy and added welcome texture, as well as a touch of added flavour depth from the cocoa which had the added bonus of breaking up all the sweetness. 

Then it dawned on me. I know why I was enjoying the bar so much. It reminded me of Viscount biscuits. Do they even still exist? As a child they were the holy grail of party food, I guess because they were the closest snack one could get to the Christmas luxury biscuit selection boxes*. Talking of which, If you didn't grab the foil covered ones first, there's something wrong with you.

Next time I'm craving mint chocolate, I'll probably choose this bar over an Aero. Cadbury's milk chocolate might've gone downhill, but it still beats Nestle's every time. 

8/10