Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Innocent Defence Super Smoothie: Mango, Pumpkin & Echinacea

The Innocent range of Super Smoothies was released earlier this year so I know they're not exactly new. They've been around in little indvidual serving sized bottles but this is the first time I've seen the range in these larger cartons. There are three varieties; Defence, Antioxidant and Energise. The Defence Super Smoothie with Mango, Pumpkin & Echinacea, looked especially interesting. The black and orange colour scheme on the carton makes it look like it's Halloween themed - plus it has pumpkin listed in the ingredients (more about that later) so I had to give it a try.

I had to take a photo of the packaging because it's brilliantly done. Innocent often have imaginative designs on their cartons but this one is especially eye catching. My kids were enthralled by the images on the side and of course, it made them more interested in trying the juice itself. We've all had a horrible cold the last few days so I figured it couldn't hurt to try this juice.

As with most Innocent smoothies the main ingredients are not necessarily those that are highlighted on the front. The base ingredients are mainly apples and mango, along with one banana and one orange. The added ingredients are; pumpkin (2%), milled flax seed (0.06%), echinacea (0.04%), aswell as other vitamins and minerals and a squeeze of lime. I was disappointed by the small amount of pumpkin in this juice, it seems pointless to add such a small amount and it has virtually no impact in the overall flavour. I know Innocent are experimenting with adding veg to their juices, but I think they could have been braver and added more to the juice here. The flavour is predominately of a sweet mango with mild citrus notes, which was enjoyable, but not really what I expected. I wanted to taste the pumpkin! Having said that, my kids loved this juice and they've already asked if we can buy it again. I'll probably buy it again in the future, but only if it's on special offer.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Innocent Defence Super Smoothie

RATING: 7 out of 10 - lack of pumpkin, but still a tasty juice.
Buy It again?: Probably.
Purchased: Waitrose.
Price: £2.54 (introductory offer).

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Degustabox September - Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code!

The September Degustabox arrived a few days ago and as usual it was packed full of interesting new products. Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out an exciting selection of products from new and established brands. It always has a great mix of useful groceries and tasty treats. With Christmas approaching, I think Degustabox is worth keeping in mind as a unique gift for the foodie in your life. 

Discount Code: 4784565

Each Degustabox cost £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. Enter the code - 4784565

Once again there is an alcoholic and non alcoholic version of the Degustabox and these either contain the Righteous Salad Dressing or the La Vieja Fábrica marmalade below. Here's a quick round up of all the products inside this months Degustabox:

Little Miracles: These are a lovely blend of organic tea and fruit juice. With added ginseng and açai they provide a boost of energy whilst being sweetened with natural agave. Each drink has less than 90 calories and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. I'll have a full review soon.

Burts Lentil Waves: These are made from lentil flour and contain 40% less fat than standard Burts potato chips. They are also free from artificial flavours, colourings, MSG, and hydrogenated fats. Each Degustabox contains three flavours; Thai Sweet Chilli, Sour Cream & Chive, and Lightly Salted. I had to drive straight in and give these a try and I found them very delicious. Nowadays, I actually prefer snacks like these to potato crisps, as they taste less greasy and salty, but are still flavourful. The Burts Lentil Waves range is available at Waitrose - £0.69p each.

Righteous Salad Dressings: Righteous are made using only 100% natural ingredients and contain no additives, preservatives or thickeners - or basically anything that you wouldn't find in your own kitchen. The range is available at Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Ocado and independent food shops. I received three flavours; Lemon & Mustard Seed Dressing, Raspberry & Sweet Basil Dressing, (these are both vegan) and English Blue Cheese & Cider Dressing. 

Carnation Cook with it!: This is one of those products that I doubt I would have bought myself, but now that it's here, I'm really pleased to have it. It's a versatile way to add a creamy taste to savoury dishes without using cream (I don't like cream so I try to avoid it). It's made using fresh milk and with 68% less fat than single cream. I actually can't wait to give this a try soon, I'll probably use it in a quiche or pasta dish.

Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins: I love that Degustabox always include a chocolatey treat and this month it comes in the form of the brand new Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins. These are delicate layers of dark chocolate with mint, sprinkled with crunchy mint sprinkles. It probably goes without saying, but I'm really looking forward to giving these a try! Available at Tesco - £2.50.

La Vieja Fábrica Seville Orange Marmalade: I enjoy marmalade but I honestly can't remember the last time I bought any, so I was thrilled to find this included in the Degustabox. I'm looking forward to a weekend breakfast of thick toast with marmalade! The La Vieja Fábrica marmalade is extra special as it's made to a traditional 170 year old recipe and is produced in Seville using only the best Seville oranges. It's available at Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons - £1.59p. 

Bahlsen Pick Up!: Two multi packs of Bahlsen Pick Up! are included this month, including the new variety Black 'N' White. I've had these before and they're deliciously thick slabs of chocolate sandwiched between two crisp biscuits. They're individually wrapped which I always prefer in terms of keeping the product fresh. 

Jordans Simply Granola: A massive bag of crunchy baked oat granola with a hint of honey. You really can't go wrong with granola and this is a great flavour that everyone in my family can enjoy (no fruity bits!). I love to add a handful to a bowl of bran flakes in the morning or have it with yogurt as an afternoon snack - just delicious. 

Crabbie's Alcoholic Fruits: The alcoholic version includes this Crabbie's Fruits drink which is available in three flavours; Black Cherry, Zesty Lemon, and Raspberry & Rhubarb. These drinks are made with 10% fruit juice and are free from artificial colours or flavourings. 

Crabbie's Traditional Cloudy: This is included in the non-alcoholic version of the Degustabox; available in Ginger Beer, Lemonade with a twist of ginger, and Raspberry. They're free from artificial colours and flavourings, and are made using a secret recipe combining spices, fruits and real ginger. I'm not sure yet whether it's possible to choose between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic boxes when signing up to Degustabox. If anyone has any experience of this then leave a comment below - thank you!

Once again I was really happy with the selection in this month's Degustabox. It has a great selection of products, all of which appeal to me, although my preferred box would be the non-alcoholic option with the marmalade. I was especially delighted with the Burts Lentil Waves, Jordans Simply Granola, Carnation cream, La Vieja Fábrica and Elizabeth Shaw chocolates. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

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

New Instore: Nakd Christmas Pud Bars & Cadbury Layers of Joy

A few great spots that were sent to me by Lucy W. after a shopping trip to Asda. Thanks for the brilliant photos Lucy! :)

Nakd Christmas Pud: There really isn't avoiding Christmas in the supermarkets anymore, but who cares when the products look this good.This is such a wonderfully festive edition from Nakd. It has the usual Nakd raw fruit & nut usual base of dates, raisins and cashews. There are also a few other new bars in the Nakd range (which I saw on their Twitter feed here); Nakd Bakewell Tart, Trek Peanut Power, Trek Berry Burst and Trek Cocoa Chaos.

Cadbury Layers of Joy: These chilled layered desserts are available in three flavours; Chocolate, Black Forest and Caramellionaire. I really want to try the Black Forest one! 

Asda Millionaire's Melt in the Middle Puddings: This is described as a moist toffee cake with a melting caramel heart, covered in a Belgian chocolate ganache. Lucy actually tried this one and was disappointed with the overly sweet and dry sponge. 

Thanks again to Lucy W! If you spot any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you - email me:

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Instore: M&S Christmas Biscuit range!

Just a quick post with a few Christmas themed biscuits I spotted in Marks & Spencer this weekend (sorry about the blurry photos below!). 

Christmas Pudding Cookies: This is such a great idea from M&S, making a cookie inspired by Christmas pudding. Even though they contain raisins (so no one else in my family will eat them apart from me) I'm sure I'll still be tempted to pick up a pack nearer to Christmas! 

Cranberry & Chocolate Jaffa Cakes: I did however, already purchase a pack of these Cranberry flavoured Jaffa Cakes. Even though I wasn't overly impressed by their summer Peach & Passion Fruit jaffa cakes,I couldn't resist picking up this new flavour. Review coming soon!

Clementine Flavour Teacakes: I love that M&S has put a Christmas twist on several of their popular biscuits. I'm not a fan of teacakes but I wonder if the clementine flavour will make a difference in these? They also had packs of Redcurrant Puffs in the same red Christmas packaging, but I'm not sure if those are new.

Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules: And just a quick heads up for any Nespresso owners. M&S are selling their own brands of Nespresso compatible coffee capsules. There were an impressive five different varieties in my local store: House Decaf, M&S Café, Columbian, Lazy Weekend, and Classic. I'd quite like to try the M&S Café ones!

If you've tried any of the products above then please leave a comment below with your thoughts on them.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ritter Sport Winter Edition 2014: Coffee & Hazelnuts

Ritter Sport is a brand that I've enjoyed discovering since starting this blog. I love how they bring out regular seasonal editions and constantly update their flavour selections. Last year there were three Winter Editions released; Caramel Orange, Coconut Macaroon and Caramelised Almonds (see my reviews HERE and HERE. I haven't yet seen any news about the Ritter Sport Winter Editions this year, so I was quite surprised when my brother found this new Coffee & Hazelnuts Winter Edition. I don't think Ritter Sport have released this flavour before but if anyone has any information please feel free to leave a comment below.

EDIT: Thanks to the very quick commentator below who helped me out with the other 2014 Winter Editions! They are; Gebrannte Mandel (the same as last year's Caramelised Almonds) and Vanillekipferl (roughly translated as Vanilla Crescent Cookies) which was previously released as a Winter Edition in 2011. Listed at the bottom of the Ritter Sport shop page HERE.

The Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts is described as "milk chocolate with a cool, melt in the mouth, coffee cream filling (45%) and chopped hazelnuts (3%). I'm not usually the biggest fan of coffee flavoured chocolates but the combination of coffee and hazelnuts was enough to convince me to give it a try.

The Ritter Sport milk chocolate here has a lovely smooth texture and flavour, although I did find that it was much sweeter than some of their previous bars I've tried. The coffee flavour starts to come through once the initial sweetness of the chocolate has abated but it's quite a mild and creamy coffee. It's more of a milky cappuccino than an espresso flavour but it suits the softer texture of the filling. The hazelnut pieces are very small but they do provide a nice crunch throughout the chocolate. Even though there is 'hazelnut paste' listed in the ingredients, I would have liked the hazelnut flavour itself to be stronger. I was expecting there to be a flavour akin to having a 'hazelnut flavoured coffee' but that was lacking. Instead the chocolate is merely coffee flavoured with some hazelnut pieces within it. Altogether, it's still an enjoyable chocolate, but it didn't quite reach my high expectations. I also found the overall experience a bit too sweet for me, with a throat-burningly-sweet sensation kicking in after just a few pieces. Ironically, I felt like I needed to make a strong cup of coffee in order to enjoy it! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Probably not, but hopefully there will be other Winter Editions to try.
Purchased: At a local shop.
Price: £1.50. 

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