28 Apr 2015

Review: The Laughing Cow Mini Cravings

A quick review for these new The Laughing Cow Mini Cravings cheese cubes. These are seriously cute little snacks! There are three varieties available; Original, Cheese, and Flavoured Cheese selections. 

The Flavoured Cheese selection has 24 mini cubes in 3 different flavours; Ham & Herb, Garlic & Herb and Three Cheese. 

Each cube is quite small, and has only 14 calories, but is still enough to cover a cracker or melba toast (I used the Melba Thins from this post). 

Garlic & Herb: This was my favourite flavour from the selection. It has a pale colouring with visible herbs, and a lovely flavour that is mild and creamy. The garlic and herb flavour here even reminded me of the Philadelphia Duo Cremeso with Garlic & Fine Herbs

Ham & Herb: These had a lovely smoked ham flavour which compliments the base cheese well. The meaty flavour dominates but there are still distinctive background herby hints too. It's quite different from any Laughing Cow cheese I've tried before and we all really enjoyed it.

Three Cheese: These had the most recognisable "Laughing Cow" cheese flavour of the lot, and has a similar flavour to the original triangles, but with a superior and stronger taste.  

I have to admit I bought these more for novelty value than anything else (I thought the kids might enjoy them as a one-off), but they were actually really tasty and I'll definitely be buying the Flavoured cheese pack again.

Grocery Gems Verdict: The Laughing Cow Mini Cravings

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per cube): 14 calories. 
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £0.94p (special offer.

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24 Apr 2015

New Instore at Iceland - Part 2!

A few more new items that I spotted in Iceland recently. 

Iceland Cone Sensations Peanut & Banana (above): Another interesting flavour from Iceland, especially for an ice cream cone. This one has a peanut flavoured ice cream with a banana sauce in the middle. Only £1.00p for 4 cones.

Iceland Black Forest Cheesecake: This is a combination of chocolate cheesecake, decorated with cream, morello cherries and topped with dark chocolate flakes. I think Iceland had a similar cheesecake previously but that one contained brandy. £1.50p each.

Massive Ben & Jerry's tubs: This is not a new product but I don't recall ever seeing Ben & Jerry's ice cream in such big tubs before! Iceland has 750ml tubs, instead of the usual 500ml tubs (like the Dairy Milk tubs in the photo above), in the Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Cookie Dough varieties. £4.00p each. 

Iceland Majestics Cookie Orange Crunch: I mentioned the new Peach Melba flavoured Majestics in my previous post but there is also this new Cookie Orange Crunch variety available. Both are very original flavours for ice cream sticks. £1.50p - pack of 3.

Iceland King Cones: These monsters are more than DOUBLE the size of a regular ice cream cone. They're certainly going against the trend of mini versions of ice creams. Available in Vanilla or Chocolate. £2.00p - pack of 2.

Iceland Cheesy Potato Swirls: I didn't really look at these too closely but they're frozen swirls of mashed potato with added cheese (Red Leicester). £1.00 each pack.

Iceland Dipping Chips: These are described on the front as "scoop shaped chips". From what I could see, they look like wider chips with a deep groove down the middle. Available in Chip Shop Curry and Garlic & Rosemary varieties. £1.00p each pack .

Let me know if you've spotted any other new products at Iceland or if you've tried any of the products above!

Review: Limited Edition Capri Sun BanApple Drink (Minions)

I don't usually buy sugary drinks like these but I couldn't resist trying this limited edition banana and apple flavoured drink from Capri-Sun. It's just such an unusual combination for a squash and as a fan of anything banana flavoured I had to give them a go.

The Capri-Sun BanApple is a still fruit juice drink which is made from water, fruit juices (banana 3%, apple 3%, lemon and lime) with sugar and natural flavourings. The flavour here is mainly a sweet banana one, which I'll happily admit that I really enjoyed! It's a bit like the sweet flavour that is found in a banana foam sweet or ice lolly. The apple only comes through as a background flavour, with the banana being far stronger overall. This is one of those flavours that is very love/hate. My eldest son thought it was horrible whilst my youngest son gave it the thumbs up. It's definitely worth a try if you're a fan of banana as a flavour.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Capri-Sun BanApple

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 76 calories per 200ml pouch.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.94 (pack of 10).

Review: Haribo Tangy Minions

A quick review of the Haribo Tangy Minions sweets. Last year I reviewed the Haribo Minions, which jelly sweets, so I was keen to also try this recent sour version too.

There are two main sweets in the pack; the classic blue and yellow Minions and a red and orange version that I assume is the evil Minions. Some of the blue and yellow candies were also foam backed, although there were hardly any of those in my pack (two in total). 

Both flavours in these Tangy Minions are quite generically fruity, it's hard to pin down the exact flavours at play. At a push I would say the blue and yellow sweets have a sweet and tangy apple and blackcurrant type of flavour, whilst the red and orange ones have more of a citrus/tropical edge to them. However, it's the tangy coating and sour combination which really makes these sweets extra tasty and superior to the original Haribo Minions (which were quite bland in comparison). 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Haribo Tangy Minions

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.00.

23 Apr 2015

Review: Kellogg's Disney Frozen Cereal

Aswell as the recent Star Wars cereal, Kellogg's have also launched this cool looking Disney Frozen cereal. I bought both from Asda for only £2.00p each (they're also currently available on a 3 for £5 if you want to stock up). 

The Kellogg's Disney Frozen cereal is made with a blend of rice, maize, and wholegrain oats, in a mix of star and ball (snowball perhaps?) shapes. I was pleased when I heard that this cereal is a "sweetened vanilla" flavour as it's actually surprisingly hard to find a simple vanilla flavoured cereal for children. Most cereals of this type tend to be honey flavoured which my kids are not particularly keen on, but they both enjoyed the vanilla flavour here. It's nicely sweet, without being too overpowering and keeps it's flavour well in the milk. I have to admit that I've been enjoying this cereal as a snack too (just dry cereal in a bowl but it's really good!).

Just like the Kellogg's Star Wars cereal, the packaging is really well done and looks wonderful. There isn't a back or front to the box, with both sides featuring different characters in full - either Anna & Elsa or a cheeky Olaf. 

Overall we all really enjoyed this new Kellogg's Disney Frozen cereal, especially the sweet vanilla flavour. It's interesting to note that the US version of this cereal (also by Kellogg's) contains additional blue and white marshmallow pieces (see last photo here).

Have you tried this cereal yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Grocery Gems Review: Kellogg's Disney Frozen Cereal

RATING: 8 out of 10,
Buy them again?: Yes.
 114 calories (per 30g serving).
Vegetarian: Yes.
Price: £2.00p (350g box).

Kenco Millicano Dark Roast Wholebean Instant Coffee

Even though I have a Nespresso machine and a cafetiere I still like to keep a jar or two of instant coffee in the cupboards for busy mornings or when I just fancy a change. Unlike most instant coffees, Kenco Millicano also contains finely milled wholebean coffee (around 15%), to give an aroma and taste that is more reminiscent of roast and ground coffees. I was sent their newest addition, the  Kenco Millicano Dark Roast, to try.

I like the packaging and the fact that the Kenco Millicano comes in a tin, much easier to deal with in the morning than a heavy glass jar. The appearance of the coffee is appealing too, with large granules and an absolutely mouthwatering rich coffee aroma. It's simple to make too, with one or two spoonfuls according to taste and hot water, just off the boil. I found one and a half spoonfuls created the best results for mee. It's also a good idea to stir it immediately when adding the hot water.

Once made, the coffee looks similar to any other instant coffee, although you can get little flecks of the ground coffee, especially towards the bottom. The flavour is definitely reminiscent of a ground coffee but with the smoother influence of the instant coffee too. It's a good blend of both and creates a very smooth and strong morning cup of coffee. I much prefer the flavour here in this Dark Roast to the original Kenco Millicano coffee (which I've tried in the past) which I found had a bitter aftertaste. I was pleased that there was no such bitterness in this Dark Roast, it has a much richer and cleaner flavour. Of course, it's not a replacement for freshly ground coffee, as the flavour is not as strong as that, but the added milled ground coffee does make is a lot more flavourful then many other instant coffees.

Kenco is supporting a project called Coffee vs Gangs which helps young and vulnerable young people in Honduras a chance to train as coffee farmers - offering an alternative to gangs and a chance at a better future. For more information: www.coffeevsgangs.com

PR Samples.

22 Apr 2015

Review: Müller Corner Hawaiian Dream - Coconut Crunch & Mango Crunch

I recently bought a multipack of the new Hawaiian Dream Corner yogurts to review. I was looking forward to trying these as they have two of my favourite yogurt flavours; coconut and mango. Each multipack comes with 3x Coconut Crunch yogurts and 3x Mango Crunch yogurts.

Müller Corner Coconut Crunch: This is a coconut flavoured yogurt with a side portion of chocolate coated cornflakes. The coconut yogurt has a smooth texture and a very strong coconut flavour that is a little artificial tasting. I did enjoy the combination with the chocolate cornflakes and the whole thing is a nice coconut treat.

Müller Corner Mango Crunch: This was actually my favourite of the two flavours. The mango yogurt has a lovely fruity flavour and creamy texture. The white chocolate coated cornflakes are very sweet and create a very tasty combination with the mango yogurt. My eldest son really liked this one too.

Grocery Gems Review: Müller Corner Hawaiian Dream Yogurts

RATING: Coconut Crunch: 7 out of 10, Mango Crunch: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
 145 calories.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Price: £1.94p for a pack  of 6 (special offer).

21 Apr 2015

Review: New Kellogg's Star Wars Cereal

It's not often that we get movie tie-in cereals in the UK, in fact the last one I remember is the Nestlé Monsters Inc cereal. The good news is that this month sees the release of two new cereals from Kellogg's dedicated to popular films - Star Wars and Disney's Frozen. Although it could be argued that these particular movies have no need for additional promotional merchandise, I'm still excited to see these cereals launched in the UK.

The new Kellogg's Star Wars Cereal (Tagline: A New Force at Breakfast!) is a chocolate flavoured wheat, wholewheat and rice cereal shaped into stars and moons. The cereal itself has a good crunchy texture that keeps it's shape well in the milk - basically it doesn't go soggy too quickly. The flavour is sweet and chocolatey with a strong wheaty background taste. My kids both found this cereal tasty enough but they did comment that it tastes the same as Kellogg's Coco Pops Mini Crocs. I think they were expecting the flavour to be a bit more exciting but they both liked the stars and moons shapes. 

And don't worry, I don't use a star shaped bowl to serve cereal, I just thought it was fitting for the theme. I'm sure that any real Star Wars fan will have a full set of authentic 1970s Star Wars cereal bowls plus matching spoons lurking in the back of their cupboards to use with this cereal. 

The packaging is the real winner with this product. There isn't really a back or front to the box, both sides look equally as good. I really like the retro feel of these images, especially compared to some of the dire products from the most recent films. I expect this to be the start of many more Star Wars themed grocery product this year... watch this space.

Have you tried this cereal yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Grocery Gems Review: Kellogg's Star Wars Cereal

RATING: 7 out of 10,
Buy them again?: Yes.
 113 calories (per 30g serving).
Vegetarian: Yes.
Price: £2.00p (370g box).

New Instore at Iceland: Authentic Italian Gelato, Walls Big Bite and more!

I popped into Iceland today and spotted so many new ranges of ice creams, bakery products and summer treats. Here's a round up of my top picks.

Iceland Lemon Delights & Coconut Delights (photo above): Years ago I used to buy a product like this from Costco that included lemon, orange and coconut icecreams in their shells. Sometimes Lidl has a coconut version, but I'm really pleased to find them easily available in the UK. I'll have a full review soon. £2.00p - pack of 2.

Iceland Bellissima Italian Gelato: I couldn't get a decent photo of these but they look absolutely gorgeous. Each tub has several different ice cream flavours. There are two varieties available: a fruity combination and a chocolate version. The fruity version is a quartet of Peach & Mango , Strawberry, Cherry and Lemon iced fruit desserts with sauce and white chocolate curls. The chocolate variety is a combination of White Chocolate, Chocolate & Cocoa and Hazelnut & Chocolate ice creams with a rippled sauce and white chocolate curls. £2.00p each. 

Iceland Prime Italiano Ice Cream: There is also a great looking range of authentic Italian ice cream in several different flavours; Mint Choc Chip, Cherry Ripple, Raspberry Pavlova, Vanilla and more that I can't remember! £1.50p each.

Iceland Solo Ice Lollies: Fans of Solero ice lollies may be interested in this similar looking version from Iceland. There are two varieties available; Exotic Burst and Berry Burst. Each ice lolly has 94 calories. £1.00p - pack of 3.

Iceland Ice Cream Biskits: My kids are big fans of the Oreo ice cream sandwiches and these look very similar. I picked up a box so I'll have a review soon. Also pictured are the new Mini Ice Cream Donuts which look quite interesting. Both £2.00p - pack of 8.

Iceland Majestics Peach Melba: I've tried the Iceland Majestics range before (they're a bit similar to Magnums) and they've always been very good. I love peach so I can't wait to try these Peach Melba Majestics soon. £1.50p - pack of 3.

Walls Big Bite Ice Cream: A new ice cream tub from Walls available in two simple flavours; Vanilla & Strawberry or Vanilla & Chocolate. £1.00p at Iceland.

Iceland New Yorker Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza: This was labelled as new in my store but I'm not really sure if it is or not. Let me know in the comments below! £2.00p each.

Iceland Nacho Quarter Pounder Burgers: These are described as beef burgers with tortilla breadcrumbs, mature cheddar and chilli. I'm sure Mr. Grocery Gems will be tempted to give these a try! £2.00p - pack of 4.

Iceland Summer BBQ Range 2015: There are plenty of new barbecue products as you would expect, such as an extensive range of summer inspired kebabs. 

Iceland Salt & Pepper Pork Twisters: I'm not sure what these things are but they certainly look different! If you've tried them then let me know what you thought in the comments below. £2.00p - pack of 6.

Iceland Pork Sausage Curls: I bet Mr. Grocery Gems is hoping that I bought these! £2.00p - pack of 5.

Iceland Stonebaked Bakery range: I also spotted an extensive bakery selection of part-baked frozen products. There is absolutely loads in this range - just in the photo above there is; Ciabatta, Rye Bread, Corn Bread, Sourdough Loaf, and a Cinnamon Raisin Loaf. Also available is also Pain Parisienne, Petit Pain Brown, and a Dinner Roll Selection, Yum! From £1.00p each. 

Iceland Patisserie Bakery Range: There is also a sweet selection of frozen bakery products available. In the photo above are; Belgian Vanilla Waffles, Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffles, Raisin Danish, All Butter Croissants. There are also Pain au Chocolat available. I'll be trying some of these for sure! From £1.00p each.

Let me know if you've spotted any other new products at Iceland or if you've tried any of the products above!

20 Apr 2015

Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles Smooth Mint

Cadbury have been on a roll for sometime now with some interesting product launches under the Dairy Milk brand, most recently with the Oat & Crunch and Marvellous Ice Creams. However, I was quite surprised when I first saw the new range of Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles chocolate bars - the whole design and concept just seemed so unappealing to me. However, I decided I should at least give them a try when I found out that these are the first Cadbury tablet sized chocolate bars that contain a soft centred filling.

I have to be honest, the appearance of this bar does absolutely nothing for me, in fact I find it quite off-putting. The swirly "puddles" look more like bug eyes to me and even Mr. Grocery Gems declared it as looking ridiculous. On a more serious note, this bar is also very small at only 90g, I can't help feeling that this indented "Puddles" design is all about giving us less product for the same price as  a 100g bar.

However, all that is nothing compared to the visual grossness of the mint filling of the Dairy Milk Puddles. Why choose such a yellowy shade of green for a mint filling? It should be white or at least a greener colour. Honestly, take a bite and get a bit of this gooey stuff trailing down and it looks disgusting. Anyway, I know this is all purely about the appearance so I'll move on.

The flavour itself is tasty enough, with the smooth Dairy Milk providing a nice background to the mint filling. The mint flavour is very sweet but it does have a refreshing peppermint edge to it. The texture of the filling was softer than I was expecting, but I would describe it as oozy rather than runny. 

Overall, we did enjoy the flavour here (apart from Mr. GG who wouldn't try it) but we are obviously not the target market for the Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles. I've really liked most of the recent Cadbury new releases but this one just isn't for me.

Grocery Gems Review: Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles Smooth Mint

RATING: 5 out of 10.
Buy them again?: No (although I'm sure I will try the Hazelnut version eventually).
Nutrition (per 1/4 of bar)
 112 calories.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Price: £0.98p (special offer).

Review: Pringles Tortilla Chips Nacho Cheese

I picked a few of the new Pringles Tortilla Chips flavours yesterda. I decided to go for the Sour Cream and Nacho Cheese varieties. There are two other flavours available also - Original and Spicy Chilli. I don't really buy Pringles very often but the boys in the Grocery Gems household are all big fans of tortilla chips and they were looking forward to giving these new Pringles Tortilla Chips a try.

Everyone was keen to try the Nacho Cheese flavour first, although I was a bit reluctant, mainly because I hate Tangy Cheese Doritos and I thought they might be similar. Luckily the cheese flavour here is nothing like the Doritos one. It's less overpowering but is still robust enough to satisfy any cheese fan. The texture of these Pringles Tortilla Chips is really interesting too, they have the same type of crunch as most Pringles, which is not as hard or crunchy as regular tortilla chips. They have the distinctive Pringles appearance and texture (great for dipping!) but all the flavour of corn based snacks.

Overall, we did enjoy these Pringles Tortilla Chips and I'm sure they will be very popular. I would probably buy them again but the only negative I have is the long ingredients list which includes MSG. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Pringles Tortilla Chips Nacho Cheese

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Asda. 
Price: £1.49p.

19 Apr 2015

New Instore: Asda Cherry & Cinnamon Pressé Drink and More

Asda Cherry & Cinnamon Pressé: For a cinnamon fan like me this just looks like a delicious combination. It's a sparkling blend flavoured with fruity cherry and a hint of warming cinnamon. I'll be tracking down this one soon. £0.50p each (250ml) at Asda.

Heidi Dark Chocolate: Asda is now stocking seven different varieties of Heidi dark chocolate bars. There are lots of interesting flvours such as Pistachio, Espresso, Cranberry and even a Mint & Lemon. £1.15p at Asda.

Liberté Yogurt Seeds & Mixed Fruit: I mentioned this new range of Liberté yogurt pots, which also includes a Muesli variety, in my previous post. There are two Seeds varieties; Seeds & Mixed Berries and Seeds & Mixed Fruit. £0.85p at Asda.

Many thanks to Lucy W. for all the great finds and photos in this post. As always, if you've spotted or bought any interesting new products then I'd love to hear from you too - grocerygems@gmail.com or @grocerygems.

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