Monday, 29 February 2016
There's a lot of cool and fancy Easter Eggies in the shops right now (see my post on the best ones here), you'll be spoilt for choice this Easter, seriously! My money is on the Tesco Finest Coconut Egg being the best of the bunch (see Hannah The Review Addict's Review), but sadly I don't have much money to splash out willy nilly, so when I fancied an Easter Egg fix I decided to make do with this cheaper Tesco Finest White Chocolate & Coffee Egg which costs £3 for 100g. I loooove coffee, and I looooove white chocolate, so having the two combined in one egg sounded like coffee heaven. I tried Marks & Spencers Coffee Lovers Egg last year and that was pretty awesome, but this sounded potentially even better...?
Unfortunately, it was nowhere near as good. Boo! It's described as "Belgian white chocolate egg with Finest Colombian coffee and Belgian milk chocolate decoration", but reading the ingredients (after I'd already bought and eaten it!) I noticed it contains only 0.5% coffee, which explains why it wasn't quite the coffee hit I was seeking!
The white chocolate is pleasant enough, very creamy and sweet as expected, not the "finest" around (har har) but it was good. The coffee added a very vague coffee flavour but it was so faint I could hardly tell it was there, it was more of an aftertaste. It wasn't even worthy of being called a Cappuccino flavoured egg. Disappointing!
Overall, if you're after a good coffee and chocolate Easter egg I wouldn't bother with this. Try the Coffee Lovers Egg from M&S instead, or even something from another supermarket...just don't waste your time with this.
5 out of 10.
Monday, 22 February 2016
Exhibit A (shown above): the very pricey and beautiful Giant Cosmic Egg from Marks & Spencer. There's only 5000 of these in existence, which isn't surprising since they're £40 each!
There's also this Saturn Egg with Marc De Champagne Chocolates from M&S, which resembles something Lady Gaga would put on her head...
|A chocolate planet!|
If you're on a budget, there's this cheaper version from Asda who seems to be half egg and half chick!:
|Is that a banana in your hand or are you just pleased to see me?!|
As if all these weren't enough, The Teletubbies have been resurrected and given their own bizarre Egg and Breakfast combo set (because giving children chocolate for breakfast is normal?!). Find it in B&M Bargains:
|Where's the Pot Noodle?!|
|Love it or hate it? Or not fussed either way? |
There's also plenty of non egg-themed products, such as Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Cookies and Egg-cellent Gluten Free Cupcakes from Asda, and also this Easter Egg Custard Bizarre bar from The Chocolate Smiths, which contains a custard flavour filling with white chocolate. Sounds delicious!
I could go on, there's lots more glorious Easter products in shops right now, particularly Marks & Spencer and Tesco, but I think that's enough excitement for one day! :)
Please stay tuned for my review of The Tesco Finest White Chocolate & Coffee Egg, coming shortly....
Follow me on Instagram for the latest snack spottings, which includes plenty of Easter Eggs!
What fantastic Easter products have you seen in shops this year? Let me know in the comments!
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
It's been a while since I tried the White Magnum Signature chocolate bar last year, in fact I wasn't all that interested in these bars to be honest because they're pretty much just using the same chocolate that's on a Magnum and putting it in bar form. And as nice as it is, the chocolate isn't really the main attraction of a Magnum ice cream is it?
Still, these bars can be found for a very reasonable £1 in WH Smiths so they're a good choice if you're on a budget and only want to pay a quid for some quality chocolate.
I decided to go for the Dark Signature bar this time, which contains cocoa nibs as well as the dark chocolate used on dark Magnum ice creams.
It tastes as you would expect; fairly rich semisweet dark chocolate with a bit of extra cocoa crunch. I wouldn't say the cocoa nibs enhanced the taste all that much, in fact I'm not fond of the texture of cocoa nibs so they didn't do much for me. But still this was a nice enough bar, satisfying with a cup of coffee.
Overall, this bar won't set your tastebuds alight but if you fancy some decent chocolate at a cheap price it's pretty good. I think the White and Milk varieties are much better though!
7 out of 10.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
When I saw these "White chocolate caramel" coated rice cakes in Tesco's Free From section recently I got rather excited...not only are they gluten-free, but it sounded like they were topped with a potentially Caramac-like chocolate coating! Yay!
Sadly it tasted nothing like Caramac. The rice cakes were tasty enough and the coating did liven them up a bit compared to regular rice cakes, but it wasn't quite the caramel hit I was hoping for. I tried eating the topping in isolation which was difficult, I had to nibble bits off the rice cake, and it just tasted of regular sweet white chocolate with a vague hint of caramel. Nice enough, but nothing majorly different from the regular white chocolate rice cakes from Nature's Store.
Overall, if you're looking for something gluten-free, healthy but slightly naughty, these are worth a try but I'd recommend the White or Milk chocolate versions instead.
7 out of 10.
Monday, 15 February 2016
Whilst in Tesco recently I noticed this Reese's bar that I've never seen before...I thought I'd tried everything from Reese's but this took me by surprise! Reading the description, it sounded like an amalgamation of Nestles Butterfinger and traditional Reese's peanut butter, which sounded like a potentially lethal, sweet and nutty combination!
And that's pretty much how it tasted; it's very reminiscent of Nestle Butterfinger with a hard crunchy interior, which is nice but a bit overly sweet. The peanut butter saved the day though, bringing that unmistakable Reese's peanut butter loveliness.
Overall, this is a nice enough bar, it's sweet, crunchy and nutty...but I think Reese's Nutrageous and the traditional Reese's cups are much better, this one is just a bit too sweet.
7 out of 10.
Friday, 12 February 2016
Recently Guylian offered to send me a box of chocolates...not for me, for my Valentine of course...so I couldn't really refuse that! They arrived promptly by courier, and as soon as I gave them to my Valentine (before Valentine's Day of course...oh it's a tough job being a snacks reviewer!), before I knew it half the box had vanished. I think that's testament to just how tasty they are!
They're "hazelnut praline filled chocolate hearts", and of course very similar to the Seashells Guylian are most well-known for. Rich Belgian chocolate, creamy hazelnut praline...what more could you want?
Overall, if you're stuck for a Valentines gift this weekend you can't go far wrong with these Guylian chocolates. They're far nicer than Milk Tray or Dairy Box so do the right thing and go for these instead! You may be rewarded for it later... ;)
8.5 out of 10
Thursday, 11 February 2016
A few years ago Salted Caramel was the latest foodie trend, but this year it seems that it's all things raw/vegan/vegetable and...coconut. Ahh, the humble coconut, how I love thee so! (Though not as much as my coconutter pal Reaching For Refreshment does!)
Whilst in Morrisons recently a new coconutty treat caught my eye in the Free From section...these "Slightly Peppered Crispy Coconut Curls" made by Ape Snacks. They're a company that "aim to be awesome and make snacking better", and to that end these coconut curls contain only coconut, pepper, salt, cardamom and cumin powder. They're gluten free, sugar free, vegan, high in fiber, 107 calories and also part of your 5 a day - hurrah!.......right?!
These cost me £1 for a mere 20g, which is a bit of a ripoff if you ask me. They were pretty tasty though for a "healthy" snack. They had a nice crunchy texture and the spices made them taste savory rather than sweet, which was the odd thing about them really - I usually associate coconut with sweet things so to have them as a savory snack felt a bit weird. They were nice but after eating them I was still hungry...I felt like I'd just eaten a rabbits portion of food (and I'm sure any rabbit would still be hungry after these too!)
Overall, these are a decent snack if you're on a sugar-free/paleo/vegan diet, but the price for the amount you get is just extortionate and so I can't endorse them. I would stick with the similar Crisp Coconut you can buy plain from Holland & Barrett instead, you get a lot more for your money!
7 out of 10.
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Over Christmas I was lucky enough to make regular visits to Aldi, the perfect place for a quick late night cheap choccy fix, and whilst there I spotted these Dairyfine Milk Chocolate Caramel Buttons...which look suspiciously similar to Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Nibbles! I mean, even the name Dairyfine is an obvious ripoff of Dairy Milk!
I can't say I'm bothered though because Dairy Milk is a bit rubbish these days...but how does Aldi's version compare?
Well, these Buttons cost a lot less than Cadbury Caramel Nibbles, I believe they were about 80p although I can't remember exactly. (For comparison the RRP for Cadbury Caramel Nibbles is about £1.99, although they're regularly on offer for £1) You get plenty in the bag too, no doubt more than the Cadbury version!
They're shaped like...erm...nipples rather than buttons (come on, we were all thinking it!), they're slightly larger and chunkier than the Cadbury ones with a less scuffed appearance. So far so good!
They tasted just as good too, if not better! There seemed to be more caramel in them and it was runny rather than chewy, just the way I like it. The chocolate wasn't as waxy as Dairy Milk is these days and tasted a tad richer with a more solid texture. These were some tasty Chocolate Buttons indeed, very moreish, and because there were plenty in the bag they lasted a bit longer than usual (which isn't long for me haha).
Overall, I have to say these Dairyfine Caramel Buttons have triumphed over the Cadbury version, they're better value and IMO taste much nicer. If you're lucky enough to have an Aldi nearby and in need of a cheap snacks fix; buy a pack, you won't regret it!
8.5 out of 10.
Sunday, 7 February 2016
So it's Day 7 of my gluten-free snacks week (I must be setting a record here with having a review 7 days in a row!) and here we have the M&S Gluten Free Brownie Bar. I've already reviewed Costa's Gluten Free Brownie which is the best available in the UK...so how does this M&S version compare?
Sadly it's not as good, but that's not to say it's not a nice brownie in its own right. Nothing could compare to the Costa one unless they nicked the recipe, quite frankly!
This brownie is very moist and chocolatey, there's definitely a good amount of dark chocolate in there, but for me the texture was a bit lacking. It was a little too...eggy, or something, I can't put my finger on what exactly was up with it, but it wasn't as moist or melt in the mouth as the Costa version. Presumably it has a different ratio of ingredients, I can't tell unfortunately as I no longer have the wrapper. The white chocolate streaks running over the top of it were a nice touch.
Overall, this is a pretty decent Gluten Free brownie, if you're in M&S and in need of a chocolatey fix you can't go wrong with it, but I actually prefer the gluten free mini chocolate cakes they've recently introduced. Look out for them near the sandwich aisle!
7 out of 10.
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Recently I was offered to review some bars from The Primal Pantry, and since at the time I was on my sugar-free diet I thought I'd give them a try. The Paleo Diet as many will know eschews refined sugars and grains in place of natural fruit sugars, nuts and so on. To that end these Primal Pantry bars are made with mixtures of dates, dried fruits, nuts, coconut, cocoa etc. They're rather similar to Nakd bars, but have less fruit and more nuts. Below are my thoughts on each flavour:
Coconut and Macadamia:
I love coconut, and I love macadamia nuts (despite my on-off allergy to them) so the two in one bar sounded like heaven. And this is indeed a very tasty bar, it's very filling and satisfying, and reassuring to know it contains healthy fats from the macadamias and coconut. Luckily no allergic responses! Very tasty indeed. 8.5 out of 10.
Almond and Cashew:
I love cashews as much as I do macadamias, but sadly they don't always love me back. I chanced it this time and luckily had no problems! This is a very tasty bar indeed, sweet and chewy with a nice creamy flavour from the cashews and slightly nuttier savory edge from the almonds. 8 out of 10.
Apple and Pecan:
Hazelnut and Cocoa:
The first chocolatey bar of the bunch, this one let me down a bit in that it wasn't quite "Nutella in bar form" like I'd hoped, but it was still a very tasty bar despite that! It's like a richer nuttier version of the cocoa Nakd bars. 7.5 out of 10.
Brazil Nut and Cherry:
This one was interesting...I'm not a great fan of Brazil nuts but they worked well here combined with the cherry..nice if you like a sharper, sour taste. 7.5 out of 10.
Overall, I have to say these Primal Pantry bars are all very tasty and filling, and a nice alternative to the omnipresent Nakd Bars, but flavour-wise they're a mixed bag. Some of the combinations are perfect such as macadamia and coconut, whilst others don't quite work. I think it's due to the different types of nuts used, some of them don't translate well in bar form. Still these are tasty bars and if you're avoiding gluten, dairy or refined sugars they're a perfect on-the-go snack.
Friday, 5 February 2016
Whilst visiting IKEA over Christmas I spotted this Gluten Free Blueberry cake at IKEA, in the imported foods section. They had loads of Swedish goodies there but this excited me the most...I've been off gluten for a while now and it's impossible to find a gluten free cheesecake for some odd reason! The closest you'll come to one is Almondy Tarts, which incidentally this is very similar to.
Like the Almondy tarts, the base is made with almonds and apricots. I think perhaps they're made by the same Swedish company.
The filling is very creamy and with a nice cheesy tang, although it wasn't quite the same as real cheesecake. It was tasty though. The blueberry filling on top is sweet and fruity, but perhaps not the best fruit to use in a cheesecake...I think something like Passionfruit would have worked better. Still, this was a very tasty cake and felt like a real treat, speaking as someone who is avoiding gluten. There's a serious lack of good desserts out there for us!
Overall, if you're avoiding gluten this is definitely worth a try, it's a bit different and makes a change from the regular Almondy tarts you can get in most supermarkets now.
7.5 out of 10.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Recently Marks and Spencer have added a few new products to their gluten-free range, including brownies, cookies, cakes...bravo to them for that! Since salted caramel is still the "in thing" in snacks, it's no surprise they have jumped on the bandwagon. And unlike the Boots Salted Caramel slice I reviewed last year, I can report that this version from M&S was much, much better. Hurrah! (Apologies for the bad pic but I was on the bus - it was hard to get a decent shot!)
The slice consists of a base of buttery polenta style shortbread, salted caramel, chopped hazelnuts and a layer of milk chocolate. All I can say is...this slice tasted fantastic! The base is rich and buttery, softer than regular shortbread but just as nice. The caramel layer is also buttery sweet with a nice lick of salt that is neither overpowering nor weak...it was "just right". The hazelnuts brought a bit of crunch and nutty flavour but didn't overpower the caramel at all. The chocolate tops everything off perfectly with a creamy cocoa kick, making this slice the perfect combination of buttery, salty, creamy sweet flavours.
Whether you're gluten free or not, this is one seriously tasty Millionaires Slice that I'd recommend to anyone! You can find them in the sandwich section of M&S, there's also a gluten-free brownie bar and a Chocolate Cake slice.
8.5 out of 10.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
It's here...part 3 of my Gluten Free Snacks Bonanza Week! Today's review is for the deliciously squidgy, gooey Belgian Chocolate Brownie sold in Costa stores all across the country.
I've been eating these brownies for years now so I don't know why it's taken me so long to actually review them....I guess other snacks got in the way!
You can find these Brownies near the tills at every Costa in the country - even the smaller ones, which is mighty handy if you're in need of a gluten free fix! - they're plastic wrapped to differentiate them from the regular "gluten" brownies sold underneath the pastry counter. They cost £1.70 and are rectangular rather than square. The ingredients are a mixture of dark chocolate, eggs and ground almonds, with some tasty white chocolate chunks added in for good measure. They even have a hint of coffee!
These are hands down the best gluten free brownies I've tasted, and taste just as good as - and even better than - regular brownies! They're gooey and fudgey with a deep chocolatey flavour, which is nicely balanced with a little creaminess from the white chocolate. The added coffee compliments the chocolatey flavour but doesn't overpower it, bringing a nice rich, toasted finish to the brownie.
Overall, I have to say this is the best gluten free brownie out there...it beats all supermarket brands hands down and I wish I could buy them in bulk! (Dear Costa; please give me the address of your supplier!) All my friends agree this is as good as a regular gluten-containing brownie, some even said it was better! If you're gluten-intolerant and haven't tried one of these yet what are you waiting for...make it a priority!
If youv'e tried these please share your thoughts in the comments...are they the best gluten-free brownies around? Is there better out there? Let me know!
9 out of 10.
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
So for the second post of my gluten free snacks week, here we have another Udi's Cookie variety: Peanut Butter and Coconut. I know a certain coconutter who would no doubt loooove these cookies if it weren't for the peanut butter in them that would make her go pop :(
Like all Udi's Cookies they come in a plastic tray with two sections of five cookies. The cookies are super chunky and thick. These were a tad more crumbly than the Pecan & Maple variety.
However they tasted a lot better! The coconut flavour was delicious, with a delightfully light, toasted flavour. The peanut butter flavour didn't come through as strongly, which is a good thing as it meant the coconut had more of a chance to shine. The cookies had a lovely buttery, indulgent taste, and I thoroughly enjoyed them dunked in a cup of coffee (which proved tricky since they're so thick and chunky!) Overall, these are a definite gluten free winner!
8.5 out of 10.
Monday, 1 February 2016
So this week I've decided to review only gluten free snacks. I'm sensitive to gluten and have been off it for a while now, and have been a bit disappointed with many of the gluten free choices out there. It's mighty hard to find a good gluten free cookie in the shops, in fact it's impossible to find the gooey, buttery fresh ones, so we're left with only the dry, shelf stable kind to nom on :(
One of the new kids on the (gluten free) block is Udi's, a brand popular in America that has only recently made its presence felt on UK shores. They make various bread rolls, bagels, toaster pastries, and more. My local large Tesco stocks a few of their Cookie varieties, which usually cost £3.50 (too much for my budget!) but when they're half price I sometimes buy a pack.
They're currently half price in Tesco again and for £1.75 I decided to give this "Dark Chocolate Chip, Pecan Nut & Maple Flavour" variety a try.
You get ten cookies in a plastic tray split into two sections. This may not sound a lot, but the cookies are quite fat and chunky, more so than regular cookies that contain gluten.
They had a pleasant maple aroma although I could tell they were "factory" made cookies rather than fresh...they just had that smell about them.
They tasted pretty decent...the texture was soft rather than crunchy or crumbly, with a strong vanilla edge. I could taste the maple and the pecans but oddly the dark chocolate chips didn't come through very well. Somehow, the flavours didn't really work together, maybe it's just a duff combination but it didn't taste all that fresh or moreish to me, I didn't really feel that urge to keep eating after one. I know Udi's make better flavours though because I've tried their Salted Caramel cookies before which are LOVELY. I think I must have got either a duff batch or a duff flavour here. Udi's also do a peanut butter and coconut variety, which are also nicer than these.
Overall, I have to say Udi's do make some nice cookies, they're different to most "crunchy" shelf stable cookies and most "chewy" fresh cookies, they have a soft, comforting texture which is entirely different but very nice when you get the right flavour combination. I wasn't a fan of this particular flavour, but I do like the Salted Caramel ones so my recommendation would be to try those first. I'll have a review of them up eventually!
7 out of 10.