Saturday, 20 December 2014

Tesco Seasonal Juices: Mulled Red Grape and Clementine

I recently reviewed the Tesco range of seasonal smoothies that includes a Gingerbread inspired smoothie and a Figgy Pudding flavour. This week I decided to try their seasonal inspired fruit juices too. I picked up two varieties; Pressed Mulled Red Grape Juice Drink and 100% Pure Squeezed Clementine Juice.

I'll just quickly mention the Tesco Clementine juice, as even though the bottle looks very festive, I'm pretty sure that this juice is available all year anyway. It's a 100% Clementine juice that is not made from concentrate. The juice has a lovely fresh and sweet flavour that we all enjoyed, much sweeter than regular orange juice. It's not completely smooth, there is some pulp in there, but it's such a sweet juice that it still tastes quite light and refreshing. 

The Pressed Mulled Red Grape juice drink was the one that I was most excited to try. I'm not particularly a fan of grape juices but I like the idea of the additional spices. The ingredients are Red Grape Juice (99%), natural flavouring, cinnamon extract and clove extract. This juice can be enjoyed cold or warmed up as a hot drink. I've so far only tried it cold but it really is a deliciously spiced treat. As soon as I opened the bottle, there was a gorgeous cinnamon aroma, that is successfully carried through to the flavour itself. The background red grape juice works perfectly with the warming cinnamon spice and creates a lovely sweet drink. Mr Grocery Gems is a big cinnamon fan and he really enjoyed this juice - I think I might have to brave the Christmas crowds to stock up on a few more bottles!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Tesco Seasonal Juices

RATING: Clementine: 8 out of 10, Mulled Red Grape: 10 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - especially the Mulled Red Grape.
Nutrition: 67 calories per 100ml.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.48p each or any 3 for £3.50p.

Christmas Gift Idea: Costa Coffee Monin Syrup Set

A quick present idea for anyone who's left their Christmas shopping until the last minute! I didn't get the chance to put together a proper Christmas gift guide this year, but I couldn't resist highlighting one of my favourite finds this year. Costa Coffee shops are selling a gift pack of Festive Monin Coffee Syrups in new flavours for 2014 which reflects the Costa Coffee Christmas Menu this year. The packs costs £5.99, for five 50ml bottles, and is available in Costa Coffee shops. I bought a pack for my husbands birthday last week and we've been enjoying recreating a few Costa drinks at home.

I like these sets because even though they're an ideal gift for coffee lovers, the syrups don't just have to be used for coffee, they can also add flavour to hot chocolate, milkshakes, ice cream, and even for home baking. The five syrups this year are also different from the five available in the Festive set last year. This new set includes the following flavours (I've also given the inspiration drinks from the Costa menu to give you some idea of uses):

Orange - (Orange Hot Chocolate)
Praline - (Praline Cappuccino)
Brownie - (Brownie Hot Chocolate)
Pain d'Epices - (Gingerbread Latte)
Mûres - (Black Forest Hot Chocolate).

I should point out that I don't have any affiliation to Costa Coffee at all and I bought this set myself, I just think it makes a lovely gift and is a bargain at £5.99. 

You may also be interested in: Costa Coffee Festive Monin Coffee Syrups 2013.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Degustabox December: Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code!

December's Degustabox has arrived a little earlier than usual (the boxes are usually sent later in the month) but seeing as it's Christmas next week it's lovely to receive it as an early treat! Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that celebrated it's first anniversary last month. It's guaranteed to be filled with a surprise selection of products from new and established brands. Even though we don't know what products will be inside the Degustabox, it's always a great mix of useful groceries and more exciting treats. This month's box is an eclectic mix of indulgent goodies and healthier treats - Degustabox have definitely got their eye on January health kicks with this box!

Discount Code: 4D590

Each Degustabox costs £12.99 a month, which includes delivery, with no fixed contract involved. Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with the following Discount Code for £3.00 off your next Degustabox, bringing the cost to £9.99 delivered. Simply enter the code - 4D590.

Here's a quick round up of all the products inside the December Degustabox:

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz: I'll start with a treat, as thankfully Degustabox always saves a space for some chocolate in their boxes! There are two boxes of Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuits in each Degustabox, in both Milk and Caramel flavours. These are made with finest continental milk chocolate wrapped around butter biscuits and with added caramel in the latter variety. These are more chocolate than biscuit! 

Bonne Maman Coarse Orange Marmalade: This is made with thick shred orange peels for extra flavour and texture. I'm a fan of Bonne Maman jams and I also love marmalade so this was a lovely product for me to find in the Degustabox. It's very timely too as we've only just finished the Seville Orange Marmalade that was included in the September Degustabox

POPCHIPS: I received the Barbecue flavour but there are several different flavours in this range. Popchips have less than half the fat of fried crisps, fewer calories and no artificial colours or flavourings. 

The Chia Co Oats + Chia: A sachet of Oats + Chia dairy-free wholegrain oats and chia with real fruit and creamy coconut oil. It's described as making a healthy 'just add water' breakfast that is smooth and creamy without any dairy. I've reviewed The Chia Co Chia Pods and their Chia Oil previously and I'm really excited to try these new Chia + Oats. 

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine: At first I thought this must be one of those fruity fake wine drinks, but it's actually a real wine that has been 'de-alchoholised' - their word not mine! I think this is definitely a product aimed at any health kicks starting in January. It's available in Chardonnay, Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, with only a third of the calories of regular wine.

Pukka Herbs Clean Green Tea: This is a blend of pure organic green tea with a little lemony lift. I love green tea and drink it most days, but I've never tried a lemon flavoured version. I've also never tried any of the Pukka tea range before so I'm looking forward to giving this Clean Green tea a try soon.

Kent's Kitchen Meal Kits: Degustabox have featured the Kent's Kitchen Meal Kits before in their October Degustabox where I received a Bengal curry kit. I'm pleased that I received a different meal kit this time - the Brazilian Moqueca Capixaba - which is designed to be used with fish. It sounds delicious! These authentic pots contain all natural ingredients and are great for keeping in the store cupboard, I like the fact that they inspire me to cook something a little different.

Gloworm: A completely new brand to me - Gloworm are a premium range of stimulating drinks, specifically designed to be used as mixers and compliment a selection of spirits. Their formula is sugar-free and taurine-free and contains added caffeine. I'll be passing these onto family and friends as they are not really for me, however, the four flavours certainly look interesting; Raspberry & Orris (for Vodka), Cucumber & Apple (for Gin), Pear, Spice & Lime (for Rum), and Ginger & Lemongrass (for Bourbon). 

FryLight Infuse Chilli: A very useful product to have in the store cupboard. It's made with natural chilli extract and adds a spicy kick to any pan fried or roasted food. I'll have to use this the next time I'm making a curry or peri-peri chicken! I really want to try the garlic infused version of Fry Light too.

If you're a subscriber of Degustabox then I'd love to know what you thought of the December box in the comments below. Personally I like the fact that it has a healthier angle to it this month, and most of these products are ones that I find appealing. I know some subscribers were expecting more of a Christmassy box this month, but since I've been stocking up for Christmas for quite some time, it's actually nice to have some healthier products too. I'm especially pleased with The Chia Co Chia+Oats, the Pukka Clean Green Tea, and the Bonne Maman marmalade, as they are all products that I would buy for myself. 

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

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

New: Tesco Spiced Pear Pies & New Products Instore

I've had my eye on these Spiced Pear Pies from Tesco for a few weeks now, they look like an interesting alternative for anyone who doesn't like traditional Mince Pies. I reviewed a similar product from Tesco last Christmas, these Apple & Cinnamon Pies

There are six pies in each pack with a fairly hefty 236 calories per serving. The spices listed in the ingredients on the back are simply "mixed spice" and flavouring. 

I'll get straight to the point with this review - I found these Spiced Pear Pies to be absolutely horrible to the point of being inedible. The pastry is fine, but the filling was unpleasantly sour. It's not just a tangy or tart filling, it was just a horrible sourness that even left a burning sensation in the throat. Also there is very little in the way of any pear flavour or spices at all. I literally had one or two bites and couldn't eat anymore. The next day I tried again but it was the same story. My husband also agreed so it's not just me. I have to question whether I actually purchased a dud pack of these, I simply can't imagine they passed any kind of quality control test! Also most of the Tesco Christmas range this year has been wonderful so I'm not sure what has happened with these Spiced Pear Pies. Sadly the rest of my pack had to be binned.

Do let me know in the comments below if you had a different experience with the Tesco Spiced Pear Pies!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Tesco Spiced Pear Pies

RATING: 3 out of 10.
Buy them again?: No!
Nutrition: 236 Calories per pie.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.75 for six pies. 

And just so I don't leave on that sour note (couldn't resist!) here's a few sweeter products that were spotted instore by reader Lucy W. Thanks for the photos Lucy!

Tesco Indian Tonic Water: Lucy bought two new varieties; Elderflower and Jasmine. These sound like really lovely combinations! £0.45p each at Tesco.

Asda Blueberry Light Soft Cheese: This is a medium fat soft cheese that is flavoured and sweetened with blueberries. I can't wait to try this for myself! £0.88p each at Asda.

If you spot any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you too - email

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Walkers Market Deli Review

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend the launch part for the new Market Deli range of potato chips from Walkers (see HERE). This whole range has been inspired by the produce found in the finest delicatessens and features authentic and all-natural flavours and ingredients. I love the fact all of the different snacks in the Market Deli range (Pita Chips, Tortilla Chips and Potato Chips) are free from artificial preservatives, colours, and MSG, whilst still being packed full of flavour.

Last week I received a lovely selection of different flavours from the Market Deli range to review; Tortilla Chips - Anglesey Sea Salt with Cracked Black Pepper, and Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato; Pita Chips -  Roasted Garlic with Mediterranean Herbs; Potato Chips - Cornish Mature Cheddar, and Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onion. 

Potato Chips - Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions: The Market Deli Potato Chips all have a great texture - they're slightly thicker than regular crisps and are very crunchy. All the flavours are well seasoned with lovely strong flavours. The Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions is one of the flavours I hadn't tried before and it's now become my favourite from this whole range. 

Chorizo is one of my best loved cooking ingredients and it's great to finally see it successfully created as a potato chip flavour. The crisps have an authentic chorizo flavour that is meaty and smokey, with a delicious garlic edge. The whole flavour is sweetened by the addition of the roasted onion which means the overall taste is not too salty or overpowering. 

Potato Chips - Cornish Mature Cheddar: I've reviewed the Cornish Mature Cheddar previously HERE, and even though a few of my family members enjoyed them and found them tasty, I thought the flavour was a bit too cheesey.

Pita Chips - Roasted Garlic with Mediterranean Herbs: Unfortunately, my parcels had been quite badly crushed in transit, and the Pita Chips bore the brunt of the damage. I managed to find a few uncrushed chips in the packaging for the photo above. Regardless, these are a very enjoyable and versatile snack. The texture of these Pita Chips is more like crackers than crisps, and paired with a strong garlicy flavour, makes these a perfect partner for hummus and other dips. 

Tortilla Chips - Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato: The Market Deli Tortilla Chips are made with a mix of corn, seeds, grains and cracked peppercorns, which gives them a lovely light texture. I've bought Market Deli Tortilla Chips before and one thing I've been impressed with is how large each tortilla chips is - they're perfect for dipping! My packs arrived quite crushed so the photo above doesn't reflect their usual large appearance. The Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato would be my pick of the flavours available. The flavour is quite mild, especially in terms of heat, but the flavours make these a great partner for all types of Mexican food. 

Tortilla Chips - Angelsey Sea Salt with Cracked Black Pepper: These tortilla chips have the same great texture as above and are robustly flavoured with lots of the cracked black pepper. I'm a fan of cracked black pepper and I was pleased to find these tortilla chips just as peppery as I was hoping. 

Overall this is a great range with lots of delicious grown up flavours to choose from. They would definitely make a welcome addition at any Christmas party! My top picks from the Market Deli range are the Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions Potato Chips, the Pita Chips with Roasted Garlic and Mediterranean Herbs, and the Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato Tortilla Chips. 

Market Deli Potato Chips, Tortilla Chips and Pita Chips are available in 165g sharing bags with a RRP of £2.39. The Potato Chips are also available in 40g single bags with a RRP of £0.83p. 

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