Another month and another food unboxing. As you can probably tell from previous blog posts, we're a bit of a Degustabox fan here at chez Webkin; this month we're looking at January's Degustabox which we received a few weeks back. (We do have to take time to sample the delights before writing about them after all, and there's so much in each box - it's more than a single meal's worth).
For those who have missed our previous unboxings and food reviews, Degustabox are a monthly "surprise box" food service where, each month, you get a surprise selection of food items for a more than reasonable £12.99 per box (including delivery). Often they have a theme to them, January's as an example is aiming towards the healthier side of foody stuff (to tie in with everyone deciding, as part of their "New Year's resolutions" to be healthy/lose weight/etc.); but more on that as we go through the contents.
Mornflake Top Porridge - RRP £1.19 per pot
One of the nice things about Degustabox is that they don’t limit themselves to only providing one thing. Each box is a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items – not to mention snacks, drinks and bake-it-yourself kits. To be honest, it’s one of the things I really like about them. In January’s box, the breakfast part came in the form of two pots of Mornflake Top Porridge. These are quick porridge pots, suitable to be carried with you and ate “on the go” – or, if you’re like me, as an alternative to ever needing to wash up an empty bowl of porridge later in the day.
There isn’t much really to be said about the porridge itself – porridge is pretty much a standard thing; although I did make the first pot a little too runny for my liking (or I ate it before the ‘let it sit 3 minutes’ was up – patience not always a virtue I have first thing in the morning).
Making up the porridge was simple – much like a ‘pot noodle’ – you fill to the line, stir, wait, add flavour (and yes, I did lick the rest of the golden syrup/Nutella out of the pot), stir some more, wait and consume.
Tasty, quick and easy to make – and no bowls to wash up (although you will still need a spoon).
Of the two, my personal favourite was the golden syrup flavour, although it was close!
Alfa One Rice Oil - RRP £2.00 per bottle
Next up is a bottle of oil. Can you contain your excitement? Okay, so bottles of oil aren't the most exciting things - but, keeping with the healthy January theme, this rice oil comes with a bunch of positives that help you with your positive and healthy start to the new year. It is high in natural antioxidants and has been shown to reduce cholesterol. It's quite a versatile oil for cooking in and with.
We used the oil to make a bit of a stir fry and have to say it had a nice flavour to it and didn't make the food taste like it was oily or greasy; in fact the taste of the oil seemed to complement the food we were making.
Again, it is just oil - but if it's healthy claims are as good as they say, then it will go that little further to help us when we chose to indulge in an occasional fry up! (Plus, for oils you cook with, the actual oil taste is much better than compared to other vegetable oils).
Magners Light - RRP £1.25 per bottle
Neil's the resident Cider fan so I swapped his usual beverage for this month's alcohol selection; a bottle of Magners' new Orchard Berries (light pear cider with berries).
He said that he loved the taste. It was nice, sweet, light and flavourful and compared well with other brand's "berry ciders. It didn't taste like it was lower calorie and there wasn't any sweetener aftertaste (which you sometimes get with low calorie things). The only problem he found with it, was that there wasn't enough of it! (Not that he meant he wanted more bottles (although he did) but the bottle is only 330ml - whereas your average bottle/can is around 440-500ml, which meant the pint glass ended up being only three quarters full! Not a problem though if you drink from the bottle...)
He said he'd definitely like to have it again (hint hint).
Little Miracles organic drinks - RRP £1.49 per bottle
We've been sent the Little Miracle organic drinks before, all the way back in our September 2014 Degustabox review. We liked them back then; in September we were sent the "Green tea, ginseng, pomegranate, açaí and agave" and "Lemongrass tea, orange juice, ginger, ginseng and agave" flavours. This time we were sent "Black tea, ginseng, peach, açaí and agave" and "White tea, ginseng, cherry, açaí and agave"
Neil loves these - he's particularly fond of the peach flavour one (He's had other black tea/peach drinks before and it's a favourite flavour combination). He wasn't as keen on the cherry/white tea (which he liked, but just not as much; he felt the combination wasn't quite as strong or potent as the other flavours). Really though, I don't think there's much we can add that we didn't say in our original review of the drinks. They're light, refreshing and flavourful. It's a bonus that they're low calorie but not loaded with artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners. Definitely would recommend these, especially to those who like the "iced tea" style drinks you can pick up.
Finn Crisp Original - RRP £1.20 per box
Think diets and low fat food, and you're going to at some point be drawn to the class crispbreads and thin rye cracker things that you always seem to get that have the consistency, and unfortunately often flavour, of cardboard. Okay, over the past few years a lot of the companies that make such things have mixed it up a bit by adding seeds and the like to give a little more flavour, but on the whole the standard basic crispbreads haven't really changed that much.
So, we were a little trepidatious when opening the box and seeing this box of Finn Crisps; but our worries were unfounded. These crispbreads are thin (we're talking a couple of millimetres), crispy, and actually have some flavour. While we weren't particularly adventurous with our toppings (we stuck with cheese, although Neil did dip some in humus) we enjoyed them. We found the flavour nice and complimentary - not overpowering. The fact they had a good crunch to them was nice too.
The final bonus though, is that the box is packed with them! Because the Finn Crisps are so thin, there must be around 40 or 50 in there! At time of writing we've had them about four times for snack-type lunches and we're not even half way through the box!
Haywards Piccalilli - RRP £1.89 a jar
Now this is a slice of nostalgia for Neil. As a child Neil never really got on with school dinners (and to be honest, was far too often conned out of my dinner money by children who he hopes went on to become used car salesmen or estate agents or QVC sellers...) so, after a while he took sandwiches in a packed lunch and ate those instead. He was a little picky as a child, so his sandwiches were almost always cheese, and with that cheese, was a good helping of piccalilli. And the piccalilli, he's sure, was always Haywards.
So, seeing this jar meant we gave a little whoop and a nostalgic air-punch. Over the course of the month Neil's been having cheese and piccalilli sandwiches and keeps asking "do we need more piccalilli yet?" -- I think he's worried we're going to run out! Definitely one of our favourites of this month's box!
Kabuto Noodles - RRP £2.00
Sent to all degustabox subscribers in time for the Chinese New Year (Gong Hey Fat Choy to you all), these noodles - looking a little like a "posh pot noodle" in our box were a curious item in our Degustabox this month.
Before we get onto the taste test, the packaging is brilliant! Lots of nice little things that made us chuckle (such as the suggestion that, while we wait for the noodles to cook we use the time to meditate, or brush up on our Karate).
The noodles were as easy to prepare as the porridge pots; just add water to the fill level, cover and wait. The noodles inside were much better quality (in our opinion) than your standard 'pot noodle' style package, with nice, thin, soft noodles filling the pot. The flavour was unlike anything we've tasted in other noodle pots - it was full of Asian flavour, with a clear ginger punch. Delicious! The only thing we thought, was maybe the flavour was a little more Japanese than Chinese - but - that's neither here-or-there. Very tasty. One for the noodle connoisseur, definitely!
Koko Dairy Free Original - RRP £1.39 per carton
Now Koko Dairy Free Original is an alternative to cow's milk. It's largely made with coconut milk, rather than the soy or almond-based alternatives. It claims to be remarkably like cows milk on cereals and in cooking and is good in tea and coffee.
While it wasn't my thing at all, Neil didn't mind it. (He's had experiences of being dairy free in the past and has tried a number of the milk alternatives). He said that it was close to the taste of cows milk; it's much closer than some of the other alternatives. Drinking it in the way one would fresh milk in a glass, it did taste a little more like watery coconut than cow milk, but the flavour wasn't that far off - and he was sure it was something you could get used to over time. Like all things, it is a taste you'd acquire - the big thing being that we are so used to the flavour of cow's milk it's hard not to make a comparison. If he did say though that in his mind it was comparable to skimmed milk.
The packaging blurb suggests that you should be able to use it in tea and coffee, or on top of your morning cereal. In tea, for the most part, it tasted fine - although on a couple of occasions there was a little bit of an aftertaste -- although that could have also been from leaving the T-bag in the cup too long, or not enough sugar...
On breakfast cereal (Wheatabix) it had a good milk-like flavour and it was easy to forget that it wasn't cow's milk in the bowl.
All in all, for a cow-milk substitute, it wasn't that bad. We're not avoiding dairy at this time, but should we need to for any reason in the future, we would definitely consider picking more of this up.
Simplee Aloe drink - RRP £1.79
This is a drink that combines Aloe Vera with grape juice. When we saw it in the box we though, "ey up, what's all this then?" (or something similar). Usually when you think of Aloe Vera, you think of skin care products and similar - or the plant itself I guess. You don't usually think of something you'd drink.
The Degustabox boxes come in two varieties, ones which contain alcohol and ones which do not. The ones which did not came with this instead of the bottle of Magners light.
Now this drink … it's a bit unusual. I'm not entirely sure I could describe the taste. It's not really like anything I've had before; that's not to say it's unpleasant - it isn't. It has a fresh, clean taste; there's a hint of a cucumber flavour to it while the grape juice and other flavours come through, but are much more subtle.
This was definitely one of those where you go "I'm not sure, let me try some more... still not sure, okay, I'll have more - oh - wait, I just drank it all!" - I think it's fair to say we're still a little undecided on this one!
Sukrin Cake Mix - RRP £5.00
The most expensive item in this month's box is the Sukrin cake mix - we haven't gotten around to baking this yet - but are BIG CAKE FANS so are looking forward to getting down with the mixing bowl and making this up. (Some boxes had a bread mix instead of the cake mix). This is a sugar-free cake mix that claims to make moist, full-flavour cakes with 80% less carbohydrates than regular cake mixes.
When we get around to making this (and our other "things to make" ) we will blog about it - it looks promising, and like I said, WE LOVE CAKE!
Sample pack of Clipper Fairtrade Green Tea (with Lemon)
As a bonus this month we were sent a sample pack of Clipper Fairtrade Green Tea. This is a lemon tea, and as Neil is the tea drinker, I handed him the pack and said "Drink this!" (He's not done badly this month for foody items - more stuff for ME next time please :-) ).
He is a fan of green tea; although sometimes he finds it hard to get the right mix of things to get the flavour right. Often he tries to have honey instead of sugar, but with these teas, he finds it tastes much better with sugar than any sort of substitute. The green tea went down well and he enjoyed it. He said it was lemony enough and pleasant (so long as he didn't leave the t-bag in there too long to stew) and it was a nice alternative to regular black tea or coffee; especially later in the day.
So there we have it. Another brilliant box of food from degustabox; a great selection with some old favourites and some new friends which we'll be introducing into our regular shopping and eating routine.
I should also mention, one of the great things about Degustabox is that they always give you recipe ideas along with the food to inspire you about ways you could use the products they send. I know we don't usually get chance to use them, but we do appreciate them - and they do inspire us - even if we don't get to write about them.
If you would like your own Degustabox, please go to their website. It costs £12.99 a box (including delivery) however Degustabox has given us a special offer code for our readers to get £3 off their first box. The code is:
We are very happy to recommend the service and selection they provide.