8 Aug 2016

Review: Haribo Starmix Frenzy - Carnival Edition

Last year I reviewed the Haribo Starmix Frenzy Edition which introduced some more exotic flavours into the popular Haribo range. This year the Haribo Starmix Frenzy has been updated to this limited edition Carnival edition. With the yellow and green colouring of the packaging and the new tropical flavouring this is a clearly inspired by a certain sporting event being held in Brazil.

The new flavours listed on the back are Watermelon (pink bears), Grapefruit & Pineapple (green soda bottles), Lime (purple bears), Peach (yellow hearts), Mango (green eggs), Banana (blue bears), Peach & Apricot (pink and yellow rings), Mango & Peach (green and yellow rings), and Mango & Lime (green and purple rings).

I don't think I've ever seen some of these flavours available from Haribo UK - especially the mango and banana flavours!

The colours are great, lots of yellow and green sweets to match the carnival theme. The flavours are all really good but some are stronger than others. I'm not sure I would have guessed all the flavours without having the packaging in front of me. I enjoyed the mango and peach flavoured sweets the best, they have a lovely, sweet and tropical flavour. The blue banana bears are not as strongly flavoured as I was expecting, but they definitely have a subtle banana flavour. The grapefruit & pineapple combination in the blue bears was quite zesty with the pineapple coming through strongly. The lime and watermelon sweets were both nicely fruity and added to the overall fun theme of this Carnival Edition - I'll definitely be stocking up on a few bags whilst they're still available.

If you've tried these then I'd love to know what you thought too - leave a message in the comments below. Thanks! 

Grocery Gems Review: Haribo Starmix Frenzy Carnival Edition

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Local corner shop.
Price: £1.00p.

7 Aug 2016

Degustabox July Review & £7 Discount Code - Including New Fruit Pastilles Infusions & Seabrooks Lattice Chorizo

A round up of all the products which arrived in the July Degustabox. It's very different to last month's BBQ themed June Degustabox, this time with more drinks, a few condiments and useful groceries and of course, sweet treats.  

Discount Code: BLDEG15

Degustabox is a subscription service that promises to send out a big box filled with a surprise selection of groceries each month. Each Degustabox costs £12.99p, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time.

The discount code has been increased and now offers a massive £7.00 off, bringing the cost to £6.99 delivered. Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the discount code: BLDEG15

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in the July Summer Degustabox:

Jordans Swiss Style Muesli: I was pleased to find this large 800g bag of muesli in the July Degustabox as I had just run out of my usual cereal.

The Jordans Swiss Style Muesli is a combination of crispy wheat flakes, oats, raisins and finely sliced almonds with no added sugar. I really enjoyed this muesli, it's not very sweet but there are plenty of juicy raisins to sweeten the mix. I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon on top for extra flavour.

Seabrook Lattice Crisps: I was excited to see this new Chorizo flavour as it's been developed in conjunction with the charcuterie Three Little Pigs - see my review of their delicious chorizo HERE. Funnily enough this flavour is suitable for vegetarians, although it does contain lactose (why do so many crisps have lactose added?) so unfortunately it's not suitable for vegans.

This was my first time trying the Seabrook Lattice Crisps and I was impressed by the pretty lattice pattern of each individual crisps. The flavour is excellent, with a delicious garlicky and meaty chorizo flavour. I definitely want to try the other new flavour in the Seabrooks Lattice range - a Chicken Jalfrezi flavour created with Akbars Restaurants.

Rejuvenation Water: I've tried the Apple & Mint flavour in a previous Degustabox review and this time it's the turn of the Spanish Orange flavour. This water is enriched with amino acids which claims to help the immune system and other health benefits. The orange flavour is very refreshing, especially as this water contains stevia based sweeteners rather than sugar.

Qcumber: This is a sparkling blend of natural cucumber and carbonated spring water and cane sugar. It has 65 calories per can and is great for mixing with other drinks.

ALO Drink: This Real Aloe Vera Drink is made in Taiwan and is exotically flavoured with Mangosteen & Mango. Like other Aloe Vera drinks I've tried before, it contains small pieces of aloe vera which take on a soft jelly-like texture. I loved the sweet combination of flavours here and the interesting texture. There's even a QR code on the side for free music to match the drink!

Brookside Chocolates: This is a range of soft centred dark chocolates in several exotic flavours such as Pomegranate, Mango & Mangosteen and this Acai & Blueberry Flavour.

These chocolates are so dark and glossy they almost look like black olives. I was expecting the flavour to be quite bitter and boring but that couldn't be further from the reality. They have a delicious fruity centre with an almost fudgey soft texture. The chocolate is sweet and smooth and quite creamy for a dark chocolate (it does contain milk). The combination is lovely and is definitely worth a try if you like soft centre fruity chocolates.

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins: This crispy seaweed is harvested from South Korea's crystal clear seas. They're naturally packed with zinc, iron, B12 and iodine and have only 13 calories per pack. I have to admit that I really didn't like the flavour of these on their own, it's a salty fishy flavour that just didn't agree with me. I couldn't eat these as a snack but they're good for sprinkling on salads or other meals.

The Cracker Drinks Co: A large carton of Pineapple, Coconut & Lime Juice Drink. The range is made of great blends but with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Each serving has 1 of your 5 a day and is less than 90 calories. The flavour is very similar to other pineapple and coconut drinks but the addition of lime adds an interesting twist.

Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles Infusions: Infusions are a grown-up twist on the classic Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles featuring three new flavours: Orange & Grapefruit, Apple & Elderflower and Raspberry & Pomegranate.

The flavours here are all quite subtle. These are definitely first and foremost Fruit Pastilles, with that familiar sugary hit and chewy texture. The fruit flavours make an impact after the initial sugar burst but aren't as strongly flavoured as I was expecting. The Apple & Elderflower flavour works best and is very reminded me of similarly flavoured juices. I found that the Raspberry & Pomegranate had the lightest flavour and I couldn't really taste the fruits in question, it's more of a generic berry flavour. The Orange  & Grapefruit starts with a stronger orange flavour but the grapefruit is there in the background.

Felix Gherkins: Sweet pickled gherkins which are handpicked in Sweden in late summer. They are prepared using a traditional Swedish recipe with vinegar, sugar and spices. These are a useful store cupboard staple as they taste really sweet and have an extra crunchy texture that is great in burgers or sandwiches.

Sarson's Balsamic Vinegar: Sarson's have been vinegar experts for over 200 years and they're now also bringing us an authentic balsamic vinegar from Modena. I've tried this balsamic vinegar before nad it's definitely one that I would buy again. The tangy and distinctive flavour is perfect over salads.

Berrywhite Organic Drinks: Berrywhite is a premium range of organic sparkling fruit drinks which have no added sugar or artificial ingredients. Purchasing these drinks also helps support a charitable foundation which provides education for underprivileged children around the world. The flavours are all interesting blends and taste delicious. I tried the Sparkling Lemon & Ginger and the Sparkling Cranberry & Guava. I liked how refreshing and fruity these drinks are, without being overly sweet.

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz: Four handy portion packs of Choco Leibniz with two biscuits each. These are great for on the go or for lunch boxes and are useful for portion control too.

Overall I was very pleased with the varied selection in this months Degustabox. There was a great selection of drinks and savoury snacks - ideal for a summer box. My favourites this month were the Seabrooks Lattice, Fruit Pastilles Infusions, and Berrywhite drinks.

For more details on Degustabox:

Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

29 Jul 2016

Review: Walkers Max Jerk Chicken Crisps

A quick review of this new(ish) Jerk Chicken flavour from Walkers Max which came out earlier this summer. I was pleased to see a new flavour in the Walkers Max range as I really enjoyed the previous new release, the Walkers Max Cheeseburger flavour that came out in January.

The new Walkers Max Jerk Chicken flavour features the same large ridged crisps as the rest of the Walkers Max range. Each crisp has a lovely crunchy texture and is loaded with flavour. The Jerk Chicken flavouring here is quite sweet, the base flavour reminds me of Walkers Tomato Ketchup flavour crisps. However, this is joined by a punchier main flavour that provides a kick of spice and a little extra heat. I really enjoyed the combination of sweet and spicy flavours at work here and I would definitely buy this flavour again.

Grocery Gems Review: Walkers Max Jerk Chicken Crisps

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per 50g serving)
268 calories.
PurchasedLocal newsagent.
Price: £0.69p for 50g bag.

1 Jul 2016

Degustabox June Review & £7 Discount Code!

The June Degustabox arrived last week and I was super excited to find that it was a BBQ themed box. There are plenty of groceries  inside for serving up summery dishes as well as plenty of new treats too!

Discount Code: BLDEG15

Degustabox is a subscription service that promises to send out a big box filled with a surprise selection of groceries each month. Each Degustabox costs £12.99p, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time.

The discount code has been increased and now offers a massive £7.00 off, bringing the cost to £6.99 delivered. Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the discount code: BLDEG15

Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in the June BBQ Degustabox:

Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn: I was pleased to find a large bag of the new Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn in this month's Degustabox as I've been meaning to give it a try. It's a yummy combination of light air-popped corn with a creamy yogurt coating. It's extremely sweet and tastes more like white chocolate than yogurt, but we still managed to polish off most of the bag in one sitting! 

Amoy Coconut Milk: This is a useful store cupboard ingredient to have. Amoy Coconut Milk is sourced from plantations in Thailand and is made from ripe, fresh coconuts. It can be used to add flavour to many types of traditional Asian dishes such as Thai curries. I'll be using this one to make a creamy chicken Korma.

Haywards Silverskin Onions: It wouldn't be a BBQ themed box without some kind of pickles. These Silverskin Onions are small pickled onions with a sweet and tangy flavour. I'm not really the biggest fan of pickled onions but Mr GG enjoyed them!

Smooze Mango & Coconut: I first reviewed Smooze Fruit Ices back in 2013 and I absolutely loved the range. Take a look at my full review HERE. I'm so pleased that these all natural fruit ices are now easier to find in the shops. They're so creamy and delicious but best of all they are free from all major allergens and are suitable for vegans. The Mango & Coconut is my favourite flavour too!

Wychwood King Star: A craft lager from the Wychwood brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire. It's described as being full bodied with a delicate balanace and hint of sweetness. My dad certainly gave it the thumbs up! This is for those receiving the alcoholic Degustabox option. 

Sacla Pesto Pots: A pack of four single serve mini pots of Pesto. These are useful for whipping up an easy and super fast individual meal. My kids are both fans of Sacla Pesto so I'm sure this will come in handy for when I need to make a quick meal.

Destrooper - Olivier Belgian Butters: These Butter Waffle Crisps are made in Belgian using the best ingredients. They have a deliciously buttery flavour and are perfect with tea or coffee. Most of the biscuits in my box were a bit crushed but luckily the broken ones were still good for sprinkling over vanilla ice cream or yogurt. I'll definitely be tracking down some more of this range from Waitrose.

Bakedin Chocolate Mug Brownie Mix: This little pot contains enough mix to make one Mug Brownie. Apparently it takes just 60 seconds in the microwave. I'm going to giving this a try later today and I'll update on here.

Branston Spicy Tomato Relish: This tomato relish has a nice spicy kick to it that is great with burgers (see below) or hot dogs. It's also a nice alternative to tomato ketchup. I enjoyed the spicy flavour here which is balanced by the sweetness of the relish.

Schwartz American Smokehouse Homemade Burger Mix: This is an easy way to create burgers at home. Simply add to mince, shape the burgers and grill. The American Smokehouse flavour here is delicious and gives the burgers a tasty sweet and smokey flavour. We also enjoyed it with the Branston Spicy Tomato Relish above.

Zeo Cloudy Lemon: Zeo is a range of drinks that combines fruit extracts with a blend of botanicals. I've tried a few of their drinks before and found the flavours to be a bit hit and miss. However, I did enjoy this one, it has a refreshingly tart and unique flavour.

Overall I was really pleased with the selection in the June Degustabox. My favourites this month were the Butterkist Popcorn, Schwartz Burger Mix, Smooze Fruit Ices and the Belgian Butters biscuits.  If you're a subscriber then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox selection in the comments below.

For more details on Degustabox:

Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DegustaboxUK
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DegustaboxUK

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

22 Jun 2016

Review: CaféPod Coffee Pods (Nespresso Compatible) & 20% Discount Code

I reviewed the CaféPod range of capsules in 2014 (see review HERE) but earlier this year they've undergone a rebrand and redesign. Not only are the innovative boxes much sleeker but more importantly there is now more coffee per pod and stronger flavours overall. 

Discount Code


If you haven't given CaféPod a try before or haven't tried their coffee for awhile then it might be time to rediscover the range. CaféPod have offered my readers 20% off any coffee purchase for first time customers, excluding subscription. It's valid until 30th September, with one use per customer. 
Just use the code GROCERYGEMS20 at the checkout.

I was sent four CaféPod varieties to try out; two from their Single Origins range, Sumatra and Colombia, and two of their strongest blends, the Ristretto and the Supercharger. I did find that all the blends were much stronger than the first time I tried this range. I also preferred the new box design. They're about half the size of the previous boxes so are much easier to stores. I also liked the easy-open design and dispenser.

CaféPod Colombia: This was one of my favourites of the four. It produced a wonderfully thick crema on top of each cup of coffee. The flavour is satisfyingly strong but with a silky smooth blend which is just how I like my coffee. 

CaféPod Sumatra: The Sumatra blend is even stronger than the Colombia but still without any bitterness. The crema was not as thick but the overall flavour was robust and rich. It's smooth enough to enjoy with or without milk and I didn't need to add any extra hot water.

I was excited to try out the new updated CaféPod Ristretto and also the awesome looking Supercharger. I love the bright orange box with the battery charger symbols on the back - exactly what I need in the morning! 

CaféPod Ristretto: I enjoyed the previous CaféPod Ristretto but I have to admit that this one is definitely stronger. It has a full bodied flavour and I prefer it with the addition of milk. It's also great as a base for lattes.

CaféPod Supercharger: This is the newest addition to the CaféPod range and their first capsule with a 12 intensity. Funnily enough I actually found this blend to have a smoother and more mellow flavour than some of the others. It definitely has an intense coffee kick but the overall flavour is lovely and smooth. I usually find the higher intensity Nespresso pods too intense and bitter for me but that's not the case here.

Overall, I was really impressed with the improvements to the CaféPod range. I didn't find any of their coffees to be weak tasting (which I did for a few of them last time). It's definitely worth a try for anyone who loves coffee - there's a great Taster Pack on their website which includes eight different blends. 

I used a Nespresso Inissia machine (the type with a lever that is pushed down) for this review and tried each coffee with and without milk (just a very small amount of almond milk).

PR Samples. 

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