Thursday, 31 October 2013

Marks & Spencer SnowBall Crunch: White chocolate & cinnamon popcorn Review!

When I spotted this "New" Snowball Crunch amongst Marks and Spencer's bagged range I was itching to give it a try. Not just because it's a new and limited edition Christmas product, but because it's popcorn coated with white chocolate and cinnamon - two of my favourite flavours! This combination sounded fantastically novel and I imagined it would make for a perfect tasty treat.

Alas - it didn't turn out to be all that amazing! Mainly because it was too sweet, thanks to the dusting of icing sugar on the already overly-sweet white chocolate coated popcorn.

The description on the pack reads "Toffee popcorn covered in white chocolate with cinnamon (34%) and dusted with icing sugar (9%)".

That may sound like a small proportion of icing sugar, but it dominated the overall flavour of the popcorn - it was mega sweet! All I could really taste was a strong, sugary milkiness. There was no real flavour of white chocolate, and only a faint hint of cinnamon. What little flavour there was was just drowned out by the sugar. Which is a shame because amongst all the sweetness there was some semblance of a moreish and tasty snack. I think this could have been much improved by using a thicker coating of better quality, less sweet white chocolate, and a stronger dusting of cinnamon with no icing sugar at all.

Overall, this bag of SnowBall Crunch promised a lot but was ultimately disappointing. I'm not sure who produces M&S's bagged chocolates but I think they need to have a bit of a re-think with this one! I've also tried other products from their range and found them rather lacking (more reviews of those to come...)

Price: £1.50 or 2 bags for £2 (offer includes other M&S bagged chocolates).
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.
Allergy Information: Contains milk, soya. Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers.
Nutrition (per quarter pack): 115 Calories, 19.6g Carbs, 16.8g Sugars, 3.9g Fat, 2.1g Saturates.

RATING: 5 out of 10. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Milka Noisette Alpine Milk Chocolate Review

When I saw this Noisette bar in Tesco recently, I thought it was a new flavour of Milka at first. I've never seen it in any other supermarkets or shops before...but there was no "new" label on it so I presume it's a flavour that already exists in Europe but has been imported into the UK.

I paid £1.40 for it in Tesco, but I've also seen it in Discount UK for a mere 79p over the last few days - bargain!

The bar is a simple combination of rich alpine milk chocolate with a smooth hazelnut filling. Opening the wrapper I was blown away by just how intensely nutty it smelled!

I snapped the bar in half and bit into a piece. It had a delicious full-on hazelnut flavour that was very rich. It melted in my mouth like butter - it was so smooth! It reminded me of the hazelnut cream in Ferrero Rocher, although it was a lot richer.

Overall, this is a fantastic Milka variety which I would highly recommend if you like hazelnuts, Nutella or Ferrero Rocher! Also If you have a Discount UK near you I'd recommend snapping some of these up for 79p while you still can! (they also do the discontinued Milka with D'aim, Milka Caramel Cream, Milka Hazelnuts & Milka Happy Cows).

Price: £1.40 at Tesco, 79p at Discount UK.
Allergy Information: Contains nuts, milk, soya. May contain wheat.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Doesn't state.
Cocoa Solids: 30% cocoa.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Halloween Candy Blood Bag (Poundworld) Review

Whilst browsing the Halloween stuff in Poundworld recently I came across this rather gruesome product...a strawberry liquid candy-filled blood bag! I was a little surprised to be honest as it seems a bit of an "extreme" product for kids, but hey maybe I'm just out of touch!

The bag comes filled with a "sour strawberry flavoured gel candy", which tasted rather cheap and artificial. You can suck it from the straw part of the bag so as to pretend you're glugging on blood like a vampire; which is either really cool or gruesome depending on the person...personally I think the concept is a bit gross!

Overall, I suppose this is a good novelty Halloween product for those who like this sort of thing, but I think I'll stick to biting the heads off of gummy spiders instead!

Price: £1.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Peanut Hottie: Peanut Butter flavour hot drink review!

Many thanks to the makers of Peanut Hottie for sending me this jar of their new peanut butter-flavour hot drink to review!

Peanut Hottie is aiming to "make a storm in the nation's tea cups" with this drink, which is available exclusively from Sainsbury's. Apparently it's the first peanut butter hot drink on the market, which is surprising to me as I would've thought someone would have tried making one before now! Even more surprising is that it's made in the UK by a British company (not many of those left these days!) using American peanuts.

Peanut Hottie is also caffeine-free, suitable for vegetarians, contains no artificial additives or colours, and is under 100 calories per cup. Impressive stuff!

I made a cup as directed but added a little milk to make it creamier. This produced a brown, nutty-coloured drink with a slight froth on top as you can see in the pic above.

It tasted slightly salty and intensely nutty, but also surprisingly "light" and creamy. It's quite hard to describe the flavour, actually, because it was a differing mixture of savoury, salty, nutty, sweet and creamy. All the flavours worked really well together, in the same kind of way that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups do. It certainly captures the taste of peanut butter in hot drink form very well, although I was hoping it would be just a bit more intense. Perhaps adding a dollop of real peanut butter might add an extra kick...I shall have to experiment! (in the name of science, of course!)

Overall, this is a tasty and unique hot drink which I really enjoyed. It's the first of its kind that I'm aware of and I really hope it takes off! I'll certainly be buying this from now on as an alternative to regular hot chocolate.

Price: £2.99 a jar at Sainsburys.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.
Allergy Information: Contains milk and nuts.
Nutrition (per 20g serving): 83 Calories, 16.9g Carbs, 12.2g Sugars, 1.4g Fat, 1.2g Saturates.

RATING: 8 out of 10.

*I was kindly sent this product for an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Aldi's Choceur Rum Raisin & Nut Bar Review

After hearing about how good Aldi's chocolates supposedly are I thought I'd give one a go this weekend and see what all the fuss is about. I've tried their Moser Roth range before and really enjoyed it, but this time I was tempted by this Rum & Raisin bar from their Choceur range. It's described as "Smooth milk chocolate with rum, raisins and hazelnuts".

Rum and Raisin chocolates are quite hard to find these days - Cadbury's no longer make Old Jamaica, or at least I haven't seen it in years. I was hoping this would be a worthy replacement, but unfortunately it was pretty poor as rum flavoured chocolates go.

In a nutsehll, it tasted cheap and sugary. It comes in quite thick blocks (no pic I'm afraid), and after eating a piece I found myself eating a few more just to try and get a "taste" of something... anything! But it turned out there was no real taste to the bar at just tasted of sugar and milk! There were some raisins and chopped nuts scattered throughout the chocolate adding a bit of texture, but no real flavour to speak of. There was only a slight artificial tang of rum, but it was very hard to detect.

Overall, an overly sweet and disappointing bar of chocolate. I won't be bothering with Aldi's Choceur range again after this...I'll stick to their Moser Roth stuff instead which is usually pretty good.

Price: £1.19 per 200g bar.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.

RATING: 4 out of 10.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hotel Chocolat's Halloween Trick-or-Treat Box (Milk, White & Dark chocolates) Review

I was delighted when Hotel Chocolat offered to send me a product from their Halloween range to review recently. I had trouble choosing as there were so many fanatastic chocolates to pick from, but I eventually decided on this "Trick or Treat" box with its cool-looking Halloween shapes in milk, white and dark chocolate. The box contains 64 individually-wrapped chocolates (690g) in total. 

The dark chocolates contain 70% cocoa solids, whilst the milk contains 40%. The white contains 36% cocoa solids and 27% milk solids. All the chocolates are alcohol-free, gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.

Firstly I have to say I loved the presentation - the chocolates come in a massive box filled with shreds of spooky black paper, with the "trick or treats" hidden underneath. It took me quite a while to find them all! 

There were many different shapes including ghosts, skulls, monster claws, cats, bats...

...and these "death by chocolate" gravestones. I was a bit scared to eat one....would I still be alive afterwards?!

Of course, they all tasted as delicious as you would expect from Hotel Chocolat. The milk chocolates were smooth and creamy, with the higher percentage of cocoa solids really shining through - they tasted a lot richer and more intense than most mainstream milk chocolates.

The white chocolate was also very lovely; the high amount of cocoa butter and lower sugar content was obvious, and as a result it tasted less sickly sweet compared to most white chocolates. It was very creamy and had a nice comforting flavour. Kids will love this one especially with its many spooky shapes!

The 70% dark chocolates were the star of the show; Hotel Chocolat really excel at dark chocolate and it was very evident here! The chocolates tasted rich and flavoursome, with a surprisingly smooth melt. I say surprisingly because some dark chocolates can taste a bit chalky, but there was none of that here.

Overall, I have to say this is a fantastic quality box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. The shapes are cool-looking and perfect for Halloween, and will surely be loved by trick-or-treaters. However there lies the problem; who would buy an expensive box of chocolates like this to give to trick or treaters?! Unless you're very altruistic or have spare cash, I can't imagine anyone buying these other than to share with friends and family. That's what I did, and I'm very thankful to Hotel Chocolat for giving me the opportunity to do so!

If I could suggest one improvement I think it'd be nice if the box included some extra flavours for variety - perhaps Hotel Chocolat's signature caramel milk chocolate, or some minty dark chocolates...or even perhaps some chilli chocolates (just to make them that extra bit fiendish!)

Hotel Chocolat's Trick-or-Treat box is available in store or from their website for £37 HERE.

*I was kindly sent these chocolates for an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Rowntree's Randoms Phantom Mix & ScAero Bubbles - Nestlé's Halloween Editions Review!

halloween themed sweets from nestle rowntree

Whilst in Tesco over the weekend I spotted these new Nestlé Halloween "Special Scary Editions". They're only available at Tesco and Tesco Express, so if you're a fan of stuff like this head there to stock up!

Rowntree's Randoms Phantom Mix:
halloween themed limited edition chewy sweets in spooky shapes

Opening these I was met with a variety of colours and shapes, but I was surprised by just how many white foam sweets there were - they seemed to take up quite a large proportion of the bag:

halloween themed chewy sweets

They were all in ghost!

chewy ghost sweet

Overall I found 8 different jelly shapes in an assortment of colours. The shapes included skulls, spiders, spiders webs, ghosts, monster claws, bats, witches hats and pumpkins. I'm not sure if there's supposed to be more, so if you've found any others please let me know in the comments!

chewy halloween themed sweets

They were very tasty - slightly tangy and with a delicious fruity flavour. I'm not sure how they compare to regular Rowntree's Randoms, because in all honesty I've never tried them! I liked the white ghosts in particular because of their chewy, foamy texture. 

pumpkin jelly sweet

Overall, these are tasty jellies that come in a nice selection of fun Halloween shapes. I think it's great that Rowntree's have put some effort into making the shapes different, rather than just repackaging regular Rowntree's Randoms.

Price: £1 at Tesco.
Suitable for vegetarians?: No - contains gelatine.
Nutrition (per 7 sweets): 69 Calories, 16.1g Carbs (12.9g Sugars), Trace Fat.

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.

ScAero Bubbles:
bubbly chocolates halloween limited edition

When I first saw this bag of ScAero Bubbles I rolled my eyes. Companies are always making tenuous links with Halloween to sell their products, and this seemed like yet another "regular" product merely undergoing a packaging makeover. After photographing the bubbles though I realized they're actually quite appropriate for Halloween, as they almost look like little orange pumpkins!

halloween themed orange bubbly chocolates

I say almost because the layer of milk chocolate ruins this illusion. Why couldn't they have made them all orange, with little green stalks on top? That would've looked so cool!

Taste-wise they were very creamy and sweet tasting, with a nice orange flavour. They reminded me of Terry's Chocolate Orange, but with a creamier taste. It didn't take me long to eat most of the bag...they were terrifyingly moreish!

halloween themed bubbly orange flavour chocolates

Overall, although these are just regular Orange Aero Bubbles rebranded for Halloween, they fit the theme perfectly and vaguely resemble mini pumpkins, so they get a big thumbs up from me!

Price: £1 at Tesco.
Allergy Information: Contains milk.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.
Nutrition (per 9 Bubbles): 145 Calories, 8g Fat (4.9g Saturates), 16.9g Carbs (16.8g Sugars).

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.

Have you tried these spooky Halloween limited editions from Nestlé? Let me know in the comments! :)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Flame Chocolate Wafer Bar & Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar!

A big thankyou to Bring Back Banjo Chocolate for kindly sending me this cool-looking wafer bar as part of a snacks package recently!

Please take a moment to sign the petition to bring back the Banjo Wafer that was made by Mars Foods in the 80's. If you remember Banjo bars please do leave a comment! If not (shame on you!) see HERE for an introduction. Basically they were wafer bars similar to Kitkat that contained a hazelnut cream filling and were coated with chopped peanuts. There was also a coconut version, which sounds right up my street! I think there's definitely room in the UK snacks market for a return of such a unique retro chocolate bar...are you listening, Mars?!

Moving on...this Flame wafer has a really cool-looking triangular shape and is filled with chocolate cream. It reminded me of Kitkat Chunky, although it's much thicker in size. The texture is different from a Kitkat Chunky though; it's lighter and puffier, kind of like the wafer you get in Nestle Blue Riband wafers. It was light and tasty and made for a nice snack with a cup of tea. Overall, I think these are a good bargain - I believe they're currently available at Poundland in multipacks of 5, which is great value for such a unique looking wafer bar!

A big thankyou to Bring Back Banjo Bar for sending me this as well as some other stay tuned to find out what they are!

Please take a moment to sign the Bring Back Banjo Bar Petition HERE :)

Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar on Facebook.
Bring Back Banjo Chocolate Bar on Twitter.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Terry's Chocolate Orange Minis Review (plus some nostalgia!)

a mini bagged version of terrys chocolate orange

When I saw these Terry's Chocolate Orange Minis in Sainsbury's I wasn't all that excited to be honest. I like Terry's Chocolate Orange, don't get me wrong - I see it as a "Christmas staple", one of those products you just have to have in the house every Christmas whether you like it or not. Over the years though I feel like Chocolate Orange has gradually gotten sweeter and sweeter in taste, to the point where it's now just a sugar-bomb. Either that or my tastebuds have evolved...I'm not sure?!

So when I saw this Minis version I was a bit "meh", but since they were on a £1 introductory offer I thought I'd at least try some in the name of snacks research! I have to say I do like the packaging - it's very vibrant and has a matte feel to it, similar to Cadbury's bagged range (which makes sense since both Terry's and Cadbury's are owned by Mondelez). It's also reclosable so you can save some for later...not that many people will do that of course!

a mini bagged version of terrys chocolate orange

Opening the pack I was met with some very scuffed-looking chocolate orange segments, which didn't look very appetizing.

a mini bagged version of terrys chocolate orange

They smelled pretty good though, so I tried to overlook their appearance and popped one in my mouth. They tasted nice - chocolatey, orangey and creamy, as you would expect from Chocolate Orange. After eating a few pieces I suddenly found myself popping them in my mouth one after another...they were somehow incredibly moreish in mini segment form! Extremely sweet, of course, but that still didn't stop me from demolishing most of the bag.

a mini bagged version of terrys chocolate orange

Overall, I have mixed feelings about these Chocolate Orange Minis. They're a tasty, moreish snack and a good way of making Chocolate Orange portable (plus they solve the problem of having to "whack and unwrap" a Chocolate Orange in public!) However the scuffed looking appearance is quite off-putting, even though it's probably inevitable for a bagged product like this. Plus the RRP is about £2 depending on where you buy these, which is a bit pricey when you can get a regular Chocolate Orange for around £1 in most supermarkets (Morrisons recently did them for 99p, and Tesco had them for just over £1). Maybe I'm being pedantic though...I'm sure many people will love these, and they certainly make a nice alternative to regular bagged chocolates.

a mini bagged version of terrys chocolate orange
It's not Terry's, it's mine!
Price: Between £1.50 and £2 in most supermarkets.
Allergy Information: Contains milk and soya. May contain nuts & wheat.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.
Nutrition (per quarter bag): 180 Calories, 9.7g Fat (5.9g Saturates), 20.5g Carbs.

RATING: 6.5 out of 10. 

Have you tried Chocolate Orange Minis? Let me know in the comments! :)

In other Chocolate Orange nostalgia, who remembers the Minty Dark version of Chocolate Orange? It contained mint-flavoured dark chocolate rather than orange and was very tasty! Here's a pic:

Also who can forget the many amusing Dawn French Chocolate Orange adverts from the 90's and beyond? Here's a few I found on youtube:

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Spotted in Shops Xmas Edition! - Lindor Dark Orange, Mr Kipling Winter Whirls, Thorntons White Chocolate Snowman & More!

There's a lot of new and limited edition Christmas products popping up in shops recently that I'd love to try, but there's no way I can buy them all to review so I thought I'd snap a few pics for an Xmas edition of Spotted in Shops instead! Here's what I found...

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Orange:

I saw these Limited Edition Dark Orange Lindor in WH Smith. They cost £4.99 per box and are described as "Dark chocolate truffles with a smooth melting filling". They sound right up my street; I'll definitely be putting these on my Christmas wish-list!

Thorntons The Snowman & The Snowdog White Chocolate Snowman:

WH Smith also had this fantastic looking Thorntons White Chocolate Snowman, based on the popular animated film "The Snowman and the Snowdog". I think it looks super-cool and would love to get one of these for Christmas!

Maynards Christmas Jellies Santa:

I've seen these new Maynards Christmas Jellies appearing in lots of shops recently - they come in Elf, Santa and Snowman 100g jars. They contain different xmas jellies and sweets but don't specify exactly what type. If anyone tries these please let me know in the comments; I'm curious to know if they're any good! They look like they'd make great stocking fillers.

Mr Kipling Winter Whirls:

These new "exceedingly merry" Winter Whirls offer a different take on regular Viennese Whirls and contain buttercream and a mince pie flavour filling. Being a longtime fan of Viennese Whirls I'd love to try them! There's also a Black Forest version according to

Mr Kipling Festive Bakewells:

These aren't new, they were also out last Christmas but their festive packaging really caught my eye! They contain plum and raspberry jam with almond sponge and soft icing, decorated with holly. They sound delicious!

Kinder Schoko-Bons Milky Bites:

These Kinder Schoko-Bons aren't actually a new product, they've just been put in christmas-themed packaging, but nevertheless they look very fitting for the festive season! I'm yet to try any but they sound lovely. They're produced by Ferrero and contain a milk creme and hazelnut filling.

Thorntons The Snowman and The Snowdog Milk Chocolate Characters:

I'm not sure what these are exactly, presumably just solid milk chocolate shapes. Which may sound boring, but hey it's Thorntons so the chocolate is bound to be good quality, plus The Snowman is a lovely theme for Christmas chocolates!

Kinder Surprise Christmas Santa and Egg:

This Santa is clutching a Kinder Surprise egg, which is a bit of an odd concept for a Christmas product - seems like Kinder have got their Easter and Christmas themes mixed up a bit! Nevertheless I'm sure many kids (and big kids!) will love them. 

Kinder Fluffy Toys with Mini Chocolates - Reindeer & Penguin:

These Kinder fluffy toys look adorable and come complete with mini chocolates - what more could you ask for?!

Thorntons The Snowman & The Snowdog Christmas Selection Pack:

A Snowman and The Snowdog branded selection box from Thorntons...I'm not sure what varieties of chocolates this actually contains but I love the theme! This will surely be much better quality than the offerings from most other mainstream chocolate companies this year.

Well, that wraps up today's Spotted In Shops Xmas edition...have you spotted any of these new Christmas products? If so which ones are on your Xmas wish-list? Let me know in the comments :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Horlicks Cappuccino Review

After seeing sachets of these new Horlicks Cappuccino in supermarkets for the last few weeks my curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to try one. I wasn't too interested in them initially due to the rather dull-looking packaging, but the idea of a Cappuccino Horlicks had me intrigued. "Aren't coffee and Horlicks polar opposites?", I thought. After all Horlicks is usually advertised as a drink to help you sleep.

It turns out that Horlicks have thought of this and created a cappuccino you can drink at bedtime, by using decaffeinated coffee. Genius! It's described on the sachet as "The perfect fusion of real coffee and smooth Horlicks goodness" and contains added Vitamin D, plus other vitamins.

It tasted pretty good - like a milky, coffee flavoured cup of Horlicks, basically. Because of the malt it almost felt like a meal in a cup and was very satisfying and filling, but with a milky coffee edge. An interesting hybrid for sure!

Overall, I'm not quite sure Horlicks have cracked the "bedtime cappuccino" market just yet, but this Horlicks Cappuccino is certainly a good idea and it'll be interesting to see if it takes off. I expect Nescafe to get in on the act next!

Price: Around 40p, although I can't actually remember now, sorry!
Suitable for vegetarians?: Doesn't state on sachet.
Allergy Information: Contains wheat, milk & gluten.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 77 Calories.

RATING: 7 out of 10.