Sunday, 23 August 2015

Degustabox Review - July 2015

"Knock! Knock! Knock!" goes the door and the other side of it is a nice man with our Degustabox delivery for July; we always look forward to these foody surprises and can't wait to break into the box and see what delights are waiting for us this month: Cue box shot:




Now we try to place all the notes and flyers and things on one side before delving into the box – we don't want to ruin any surprises; and this month's box is a good one; but I'm not going to linger on this introduction any longer – let's crack on with the product selection!


Say Yes to No sour cream and onion toasted bread chips-  RRP £1.49





We like snacks – which is good because this month’s degustabox has a bunch of them in there – but we’re not talking high calorie, high fat junk food – we’re talking fairly healthy, low fat things that are full of flavour. The first of which was the bag of “Say Yes to No” Sour cream and onion toasted bread chips.

Now moving away from the more traditional potato or corn-style chips and crisps seems to be very much in vogue at the moment; we’ve tried a few of the “bread chip” style of crisp over the last year – usually they’re nice, but a bit thick and hard. Sometimes the flavour is a bit questionable. With these “Say Yes to No” chips though they seem to have struck the balance right. The chips are thin – so a decent amount of crunch, but no need to worry about losing teeth biting into these.

The flavour is delightful; a great combination with the texture of the bread chips. The only negative we really have, is that the bag was so full of crumbs! (Although, that’s not really a negative – so long as you’re ready for it and don’t mind licking crumbs out of your hand or the bag - but this could have happened in transit). 

Each bag contains three servings (if you can manage to restrict yourself to only eating the recommended 25g portion size) – which, if you are calorie conscious, works out as 106Kcal. Very tasty – and we like the ethics of this company with their dedication to nothing artificial (in the product, or the material used to promote it) and total honesty!

Additionally, there was a leaflet in the box advertising the "Say Yes to No big Feastival" in the Cotswolds between 28th and 30th of August. (The feastival is hosted by the chef Jamie Oliver) and Alex James from the band Blur! For more information : www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival


Fru Snax - RRP £1.25 each





Now these were completely not what we were expecting! When you see a pack that says "dried yoghurt and fruit" you imagine something like yoghurt coated raisins or similar. When you open the bag though, you find pieces of fruit and little yoghurt rectangles! I've not seen anything like it before.

There were two flavours in our box, the first being strawberries with raspberry yoghurt and the second being sour cherry yoghurt with figs. In both cases, there was a sweet tang to the yoghurt bits, and a nice sweetness to the fruit. The fruit, being freeze-dried, has a nice crunch to it. The yoghurt almost has a fizziness to itself when it goes in your mouth and starts rehydrating.

You know when you have something and say "I don't know if I like it, I'd better have more to see... ...oh, I've eaten them all!" Well these fall into that group. I found myself going "interesting," and "curious," and "I'm not really sure," and "aw, they're all gone!" on the first bag (strawberry/raspberry) and then, "Mmm, I definitely like these. Nom. Nom. Nom." on the second.

All in all these are quite unusual, but a fair bit of fun. They're relatively low calorie too at under 50 Kcal per pack. Definitely something I have to try again and am going to keep my eyes peeled for in the snack aisles!


Tasty Little Numbers Chilli Beef Con Carne and Chicken Tikka Masala
- RRP £3.49 each




These cute little ready meals are just the thing for those who are looking to cut calories and things and not having to have diet food full of sweeteners and artificial stuff. These are full of "real, natural ingredients" and are decent sized snacks, or part-meals. (You can easily add a portion of rice or a side salad or something to make it a full-blown meal).

The Chilli Beef Con Carne is delicious. There's a good amount of beef in there and there is decent amounts of flavour. The chilli isn't overpowering so you can actually taste the ingredients (when I make chilli I'm often guilty of one or two teaspoons too much of the chilli powder/ flakes – which always leads to too much fire, not enough flavour); in this the balance is just right. Very tasty and a fair sized portion. Really enjoyed it.

The Chicken Tikka is just as good. It has lots of good flavour and while it is a little spicy, the spice doesn't spoil the other flavours going on in there. At only 200 calories it wasn't bad for a snack, but I had it with some rice and a side for a main meal (coming in at around 400 calories – a very tasty dinner!).

Really enjoyed both of these; I think the only thing stopping us from running out and buying loads of them is that the price puts them on the slightly more premium side of snack/ ready meal; saying that though, you can taste the quality.


Newton's Appl Fizzics - RRP £1.20





Now I'm drinking this as I write this; it's essentially carbonated apple juice in a bottle, but it's nice.

We were sent the "Just Apple" flavour which tastes more than a little bit like a nice bottle of cider – although it is totally non-alcoholic; which makes it a nice substitute for anyone down as the "designated driver" on a night out, or anyone that fancies a nice non-alcoholic alcoholic tasting drink to accompany a meal.

Really liked this and would definitely look for it when doing the weekly shop!


Weetabix on the Go - RRP £1.49 each




I bet you've seen the advertisements with that guy who is just too busy for breakfast... well, in this month's box we were given two flavours to sample and give a go. So we did. First we tried the Chocolate flavour – expecting something thick and wheaty … although, really, it tasted a lot like chocolate milk and not really that much like the chocolate cereal in a bottle we were expecting.

Next up was the vanilla, which felt a little thicker. It had a great taste and was really nice; I have to say that my favourite shake flavour tends to be the vanilla so I might be a little biased... but still it was nice.

Now I have to say these don't feel as filling as a proper breakfast. I don't know if some of that is psychological, or if there's something to all that chewing we do that helps us feel full – not really looked into the science of it all – but as nice as they are, I did find myself feeling a little hungry before lunch and thinking "I should have had some toast too". It might be something, over time, that you get used to. It might be that I downed the drink too quickly. Either way, I enjoyed both flavours, but tend to prefer actual cereal in a bowl, toast, or those breakfast biscuit things people make to feel full. Maybe this would be mote suitable for people who don't normally have breakfast in the morning to try.


Taking the Pea - RRP £1.50




This made us chuckle; both in the name of the product and the picture on the packet. We were sent the "Smoked Ham" flavour crunchy peas. And that's exactly what they are, crunchy peas that taste like smoked ham.

The ham flavour reminds me of things like ham flavoured mini-cheddars (and similar). The look, is a bit pale, but not too dissimilar to corn nuts (although, more pea-ish). They have a definite crunch to them, and the flavour isn't bad – you get the ham immediately but on chewing this dissipates and you get the sweetness of the pea coming through.

I've had Wasabi peas before (elsewhere), and I'm happy to see that that's one of the other flavours available under this brand (there are four all told including the smoked ham; Cheesy Peasy & Onion, Chilli Salmon and Wacky Wasabi). Something I'll definitely look for in the snack aisle in the future!


Lambrini So Strawberry - RRP £3.29




This is nice. (okay, I'm sampling it as I write this... so... if I lose track of words or trains of thought or something...) What we have here is a beautifully red wine-based drink from Lambrini; although with a luscious taste of strawberry running through it.

I like this. I like it a lot! I have to say, when I was younger and tried "alcopops" (I was over 18... but that was a little while ago now) I was disappointed that the alcopops tasted nothing like fizzy pop... and didn't really taste that much like nice alcohol. It just tasted of – well – I can't remember what... but this Labrini so Strawberry feels like you're drinking some sort of soft drink. It is sweet, refreshing and full of strawberry goodness.

Alcohol-wise, we're talking 5% (the whole bottle is just under 4 units) – and it's also nice that it has a calorie count on there (57 calories per 100ml) for those taking note of such things. (I know a lot of people will save some of their diet allowance to have alcohol; although I've not done the maths to work out how many calories that actually works out for the entire bottle!)

The only problem I have with this is how nice it is and how easy it is to drink it quickly. It feels very much like a social drink, rather than one you'd get out to have with food (although maybe with a fruity dessert maybe?)

Loved it! Would like to get it again!


Geeta's Premium Mango Chutney - RRP £2.09




Now this is one of the Degustabox "Db's Discoveries". It’s a combination of spices and fruit to make a great tasting Indian Chutney. We like chutney here so couldn't wait to get it out of the jar and onto our plate... well... sandwich in this case (rather than just dolloping it straight onto a plate).

I'm going to be honest, this is great! You have the sweetness of the fruit with what tastes very like your 'nice curry' spice selection; which means every mouthful is great. You have the flavour, but you don't really have the heat – which is nice! It means you can use it in a variety of ways where you do want that Indian flavour, but don't want something that'll burn your tongue off!

Loved it!


Vybe Jele Collagen + Vitamin C




Finally, not listed on the main sheet, but mentioned on one of the flyers in the box is a repeater from last month that we enjoyed then and enjoyed now. Essentially it's like a fruity, jelly drink – where you actually get bits of jelly in every mouthful. Last month we likened it to drinking "bubble tea". We liked it then, we like it now!

And that was it – we always like surprises, and Degustabox doesn't let us down; through Degustabox we have been given an opportunity to sample food and drinks we might have missed on the supermarket shelves – which would have been a shame because some of these go from being unknowns to being "must sample again" (from this month's box the majority of items have gone on our "keep eyes open for" list).

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:

1IDMA


We are very happy to recommend the service and selection they provide.


Links: 
Disclaimer: The July 2015 Degustabox was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Competition: Win A Japan Candy Box

A couple of days ago I did a review for the brilliant Japan Candy Box. The box contains 8 - 10 Japanese candies and snacks. We had great fun tasting the amazing selection. 


What I got in my box (each month the box is different so the prize will be different)

Now I have been given the chance to give away a box to one of my lucky readers. If you would like to enter the competition please enter by using the rafflecopter below. The competition is open worldwide. 

Good Luck! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Listed on Loquax
UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Japan Candy Box - June 2015

A month ago we received a nice surprise from the makers of Kawaii box (we reviewed a Kawaii box back in December), although instead of being full of cute Japanese things you can … um… do stuff with, this was full of candy (10 items). Although, saying that, there was one item in there that you could, actually, do stuff with… But I’ll stay vague right now and keep you in suspense! (A harmless bit of suspense is probably good for the soul or something). 

So, without further ado (or waffling), on with the unboxing and sampling.




We were sent June’s Japan Candy Box and, as you can see, it was packed full of candies. Also, usefully, it contained a contents list which is really useful in working out what everything is (although most things seem obvious, there are a few things that make you go “oh, that’s not what I was thinking at all.") 

Puccho Mixed fruit Chewy Candy 




First thing to be opened was the packet of Puccho “juicy, assorted fruit flavour” candy. The first thing that catches your attention is all the cute characters on the silver wrapping paper. (I mean, the whole box is overflowing with cuteness) Opening each individually wrapped piece gives you a mostly white, mostly square candy (I say mostly; when you look at it, it has a sense of being folded into itself or something). 

Taste-wise, it is fruity. I’m not sure I can say what fruit it is specifically, so I'm going to go for some sort of fruit punch mix-up. There is a slight juicy element, but it’s not bursting liquid (like some of the candies I've seen in recent years) and the texture is quite similar to the “foam gummy” sweets you can get. 

These get a thumbs up from us, so onto the next candy.


Yaokin Sour Paper Candy




Next up is the packet of Yaokin Sour Paper candy. I don’t know if it shows on the photo that well, but this is quite a thin looking packet, but quite long. It also is quite bendy – which made us wonder “what’s inside?” 

Opening up the packet reveals a single, long piece of candy covered in a sugary coating. A little like a wide “fizzy lace” or a sugary “fruit winder” sort of thing. 

Flavour-wise, it was cola and didn't taste too different to other cola-flavoured candies. There was a slight sour-ness to it, but not a “suck-your-face-inside-out” like you get with some sweets where they’re deliberately trying to overload the sour receptors in your taste buds. 

It was flexible, but kept its shape. It tasted nice. The only problem was there was only one and went far too quickly!


Marukawa Fusen bubble gum 




Now we have the first of two types of bubblegum in this package, the Marukawa Fusen Bubble Gum. Now this we discovered by a process of elimination – with its logo only in Japanese, and its box being quite tiny and not really giving the game away as to what it was… we had to go through the list and candies we could identify (which, fortunately, was all of the others ) and go “ah ha, you must be this!” 

Inside the box are four small pink-purble balls. Each one is a fruity bubblegum. Imagine the gum balls you get in screwballs; they a little bit smaller than that – say half the size. They do feel very gum-like, so if we’d not been able to work it out by elimination, we’d have worked it out by texture and taste. 

Flavour-wise, I’d say they’re similar to American “grape” flavoured candy. The flavour is good and seems to last a good while. It has been a bit-of-a-while since I blew bubbles, but I gave it a go a few times; first with 2 balls, then 3 and finally all 4… …and success! I managed to get a couple of small bubbles out of it before giving up – expecting I was courting disaster and it was only a matter of time before I was wearing the gum in my eyebrows.

Kabaya Pikachu Pretzels 




Now these are nice; what we have here in a very cute Pokemon themed box are some chocolate-pretzel flavoured, yoghurty coated … um... stick things. Essentially it's like Pikachu themed pocky sticks, or mikado or whatever you might know them as. 

They are tasty, a good mix of flavour and … gone too quick. 

Like all these things, the level of detail is great; even the inner wrapper is covered in a myriad of joyous, bouncing Pikachu. Loved these. 

Lotte Koala March Biscuits 




These are cute! You can see from the pictures that the foil bag is covered in happy, cheery koalas - but - when you open the pack, you can see that the koalas come with you. 



Inside you find that there are a lot (probably a dozen or so) koala shaped biscuit things, with cute chocolate-printed pictures of koalas! So cute! 

Taste-wise we have a thin, crispy, biscuit that tastes a little like a fortune cookie all around a soft chocolatey filling; the filling has a taste similar to chocolate spread or nutella. 

 Very nice! And hugely cute! 

Meiji Choco Baby 




This is cute! (Cute is probably the word of this review!) In a tiny box we have a some tiny, little chocolate cylinders. These is so cute! It's like a box of chocolates for Tom Thumb or Thumberlina or something. 



But would our tiny friends like them? I'd say these milk chocolates taste a little like the sort of chocolate you get from companies in other parts of the world; say Hershey in America. It's nice, but it's not Cadbury. With this sort of thing it always depends on whether you like that sort of thing - I always have so I'm all smiles. A bonus for kids out there is that the box is a perfect size to make a kitchen food-related accessory for a doll or other toy. (A similar thing could be said about the petit bubblegum). 

Great, cute and lots of fun! 


Dorayaki Japanese Hotcake 




This is nice and tasty - essentially what we have here is a lovely, little, chocolate - filled, sponge-sandwich. It tastes just like a tiny sponge cake with a chocolate filling! Lovely! (I think that's all I can say about it - it was lovely though!) 

Kabaya Fish/Frog gummies 




These are nice, fruity gummy shapes. We received the fish shapes, but others would have received frog shapes in their box. You mostly get a citrus taste, which is quite nice; and the jelly/ gummy-ness of the shapes is nice. It's a little firmer than - say - jelly babies; more like the sort of firmness you get with gummy rings. 

Marukawa Fusan Bubblegum 




Next up is the second bubblegum of the box, Marukawa Fusen bubblegum. 

First things first, very cute packaging; although a little bit worrying that we have cute cartoon bubbles drinking bubbly soda... and it looks like being chased by a bubble! On removing the shrinkwrap, what's kinda cool is that the "cute/ worrying" cartoons tell a bit more of a story, which is nice. 

Anyway, enough of that - although I am suitably impressed with the packaging (especially the "dispenser" part of the packet which I thinks puts all our candy-packaging to shame!); onto the more interesting part of the review... This gum has a definite cola-mixed-with-fruit-mixed-with-soda-mixed-with... well, I don't know what! It's a definitely a nice taste combination. 

The tiny little gum squares do need a few to be chewed at a time if you have any hope of blowing a bubble though -- not that I'm that good at it (although, there is always something about bubble gum... that knowing you have it in your mouth means you have to try and blow bubbles). 

Popin' Cookin' Neri Candy Land DIY Kit 




Saving the best to last - the Popin' Cookin' Neri Candy Landy DIY Kit! This was the candy we were most interested in when we saw the contents list - DIY candy? The box I think you can see shows you how to mix the candy stuff together and make different shapes and things - with a reminder to first wash your hands! 

Well, what's it like? 

As you can see from the photo, opening the box has a foil bag inside; inside the foil bag is a tray , and inside the tray is five little packages of coloured candy; pink, blue, white, yellow and black. There's also a stick and a small bag of hundreds and thousands. 

The packaging shows how to mix and gives a bunch of ideas of things you can make... so let's give it a go. 

One of the first things you notice is, much like plasticine, the coloured blocks start firm but after a little working become pliable and malleable. Also, I think like modelling clay products, it starts off smooth but can get sticky if you work it for too long.




Like most of these things, the only thing that limits you is your imagination... oh, and the amount of clay (candy) you have. And the ideas on the packaging help with any lack of imagination... ...but what is the final product like? 

Well, appearance wise... it looks like something someone made… taste-wise, it has a bit of a fruity bubble-gummy sort of taste, with a degree of fizziness. I liked it! 

There is a lot of fun to be had here; great for the young and young at heart... 

Overall we were impressed with the box; it was a really good selection, and although some of the items were fairly small, their diminished sized didn't make our appreciation any less! If you would like to receive your own box visit the Japan Candy Box website, they cost $19.90 for one month (and less if you subscribe for longer) this includes free postage to the UK.  

Brilliant! Just the fun thing for anyone with a surprise-desiring sweet-tooth!


Links:

Japan Candy Box Website
Japan Candy on Facebook
Japan Candy on Twitter


Disclaimer: The Japan Candy box was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.