Today Neil and I are reviewing the contents of the September 2014 Degustabox. For those of you who haven't heard of Degustabox before, it is a surprise subscription box service where you pay £12.99 a month and get sent a box of foody items. Our box came with the following items:
Three bags of Burts lentil waves, one 750g bag of Jordan's simply Granola, two 5-packs of Bahlsen PICK UP! biscuits, two Crabbie's bottled drinks, two bottles of Little Miracles organic energy drinks, two cartons of Carnation 'Cook with it!', a box of Elizabeth Shaw dark chocolate mint thins, a jar of La Vieja Fábrica marmalade and three flavours of Righteous dressings.
We'll waste no time and go straight into a review of the items (at the bottom of the review there is also a £3 discount for all you blog readers):
Little Miracles organic energy drinks (RRP £1.59 per bottle)
These two organic energy drinks are a mixture of tea and fruit juice; they claim to be a perfect pick-me-up morning, noon or night so we decided to put them to the test. I gave them to Neil to sample with the aim that he would replace his regular energy drink with them and drink them after sports. Typically he will do an hour of an activity (say football, jogging or badminton) and then consume a traditional energy drink to replenish the various things lost during the exercise. (At least, that's what he says - I think he just likes energy drinks!)
The two flavours we were given were "Green tea, ginseng, pomegranate, açaí and agave" and "Lemongrass tea, orange juice, ginger, ginseng and agave" and they were sampled on a couple of different days.
They both were great flavours; the "lemongrass tea..." one being particularly nice with its hint of ginger (Neil is a big ginger-flavour fan). They were very refreshing and Neil felt that they contained at least as much, if not more energy than regular drinks. He really liked their flavours and felt that the only problem he had with them is that there wasn't enough! He'd have liked bigger bottles!
I think you could say they delivered on their claims of being an anytime pick-me-up. Additionally, if you're interested, they're free of anything artificial and less than 90 calories a bottle.
Jordans Simply GRANOLA (RRP £2.69)
Granola is one of those things that seems to have snuck into the breakfast table selection over the past few years. Essentially we're talking little baked oat clusters; and they taste great! The Degustabox people suggested eating it with a mix of fruit and yoghurt - which we are sure is really tasty, but we like it just as it is with a splash of milk. The bag we were given (750g) contained enough granola for about 8 standard sized bowls, although if you enter into the mix-and-match theme you could easily get double that amount of breakfasts from it.
Both of us really enjoyed it and it gets a thumbs up from us.
Bahlsen PICK UP! and Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins
We were sent two packs of Bahlsen PICK UP! bars; the regular "Milk Chocolate" flavour and the brand new "Black 'N' White" Flavour. These come in a pack of five individually wrapped bars, making them ideal for lunchbox snacks. The milk chocolate flavour has two crispy biscuits with a thick layer of chocolate between them. (It is actually a firm, thick layer of chocolate rather than a softer fondant or crème filling).
The new "Black 'N' White" changes things around with two cocoa biscuits having a slab of white chocolate between them.
The Milk chocolate bars was an instant win. We both loved them and thought it was a great combination. The "Black 'N' White" bars were equally delicious - a great combination that was just as tasty (if not more so) than the regular flavour.
Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint Thins (RRP £2.50)
There is something about having a dinner party and then rounding off the evening with coffee and chocolate mints. I think we've probably all been brainwashed by adverts over the years to expect this, but to be honest I don't really mind. As a bit of a chocoholic any excuse to gobble up chocolate is a good one...
With these Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Mint thins we are in familiar after-dinner territory. However, unlike standard chocolate mints we are not talking thin chocolate sandwiching a mint fondant. These are far more classy with a delightful and generous dark chocolate base with a smattering of crunchy mint sprinkles on top.
The 100g box contains 18 chocolates which should be ample for most small gatherings, assuming your guests can restrict themselves to one or two chocolates each.
Burts Lentil waves and Righteous Dressings
Burts Lentil waves (RRP 69p per 20g bag)
There were three bags of Burts Lentil waves in our box; we're already fans of Burts traditional crisps and couldn't wait to tuck into these. First up we tried the lightly salted. As the 'waves' are made of a mixture of lentil flour and potato starch (plus flavourings) we thought it best to try the most 'natural' version of them first to get a feel for how these differ from standard potato or corn chips.
The lightly salted lentil waves have a subtle, not unpleasant, flavour to them. This is most likely the taste of the lentil flour filtering through. They were crunchy and really quite enjoyable and seemed significantly less greasy than the regular potato crisp alternative.
Additionally we should mention that they are less than 99 calories per bag for those who count such things.
Having tried the lightly salted we moved onto the more flavourful versions, the sour cream and chive and the Thai sweet chili. The Thai sweet chili was very flavourful; a nice flavour that grew in intensity with each bite - but never achieving an excessive level of heat. Warming and tasty!
The sour cream and chive were just as good. We thought that all the flavours were great and that the "lentil waves" made a great change from regular crisps.
Righteous dressings (RRP 73p per tub)
I should own up here; when we opened the Degustabox we mistakenly took these dressings for dips to be used with vegetables or crisps. A lesson here to read the packaging/box contents list and not just assume they're something based on what they look like.
We were sent three flavours, Lemon and mustard seed, raspberry and sweet basil and finally, mild English blue cheese and cider.
First up we tried the blue cheese and cider dressing. What we've noticed in the past with these sorts of dressings is that they either sit on the "not too cheesy" or the "very cheesy" side of the fence. This sauce is definitely more on the "very cheesy" side with a definite stilton-ish flavour going through it. Very nice and tasty!
Second one to be sampled was the Lemon and mustard seed which was brilliant and worked well; our final one was the raspberry and sweet basil. I'm going to be honest, we were a little apprehensive - it didn't sound like a regular salad dressing... but it worked well, it was a little sweet but full of flavour and worked well with the leaves we'd selected for the salad. Not something we'd've usually gone for, but now we've tried it there's no stopping us now.
Crabbie's Alcoholic fruits/John Crabbie's non alcoholic Scottish Raspberry (£1.50/£1.20 per bottle)
As this is a sample box we received one bottle of the alcoholic Crabbies and one of the non-alcoholic John Crabbies. The alcoholic flavour we received was the Zesty Lemon; the non-alcoholic flavour we received was the Scottish Raspberry (with a hint of Ginger beer). Both are best served chilled.
The Zesty lemon was a delightfully cloudy alcoholic lemonade. Slightly dry but full of flavour (unlike some brands of fruity alcoholic drinks).
The Scottish Raspberry with a hint of ginger was wonderfully refreshing. (We sampled this at the same time as the Righteous raspberry and basil salad dressing - it seemed the ideal drink to complement the meal).
La Vieja Fábrica marmalade (RRP £1.59 per jar)
We're occasional marmalade-on-toast people, so we rotated the La Vieja Fábrica marmalade into our regular breakfast selection. This shredded marmalade has a slightly bitter taste to it and is a great pick-me-up/wake-me-up in the morning.
Carnation Cook with it! (RRP £1.65 per carton)
We were also sent a couple of cartons of Carnation Cook with it! We've not had a chance to cook with these yet but are planning to use them in the near future. (Expect a future blog about our cooking experiences with them - assuming cooking successes!)
All in all we would say that September's Degustabox is incredible value for money. It had a brilliant selection of items in it, many of which we probably wouldn't have picked up for ourselves; which is where the box is great. We have been able to sample a whole bunch of flavours we otherwise would have passed by on the shelf (and have made a few new favourite flavour-friends) and it's an experience we would love to repeat.
As mentioned at the beginning of our review, Degustabox have given us a promotional code to share with all you readers to get £3 off your first box. The code is:
So why not give it a try for yourself?