Our November Degustabox arrived at the beginning of December. With Christmas and New Year being hectic we have only just got around to finishing our review.
The November box was full of delightful foodstuffs; from breakfast delights through to festive desserts. Lets have a look inside.
Butterkist popcorn - £1.49 / £0.55 per bag (156g/27g)
First thing that jumped out of the box at us was popcorn! We were sent two bags of Butterkist popcorn; one being the rather posh, share-sized 156g bag of Butterkist discoveries, salted caramel flavoured popcorn. The other, a smaller individual serving-sized 27g bag of Butterkist sweet and salted popcorn.
The first thing I have to say is that I have always been a fan of Butterkist. As a child, if I was to think of popcorn, it would be a bag of Butterkist. Now these two bags are very different to the caramel covered corn I enjoyed as a child. First up, the sweet and salted popcorn. This 136 Kcal, 27g bag (with 60% less saturated fat and best ever recipe). It's simple, but not detractingly so. It's a good balance of sweet and salty; exactly what it says on the packet.
Moving onto the Discoveries salted caramel. SOMEBODY TAKE THIS BAG AWAY FROM ME! I CAN'T STOP EATING IT! If heaven was popcorn, this would be it. The taste is similar to the butterkist of my youth, but, as if Heston Blumenthal was let loose on it and reinvented it and made it so much posher. This is divine popcorn. And although the recommended serving size is 20g, 81Kcal... I bet you can't but help shovel the whole lot in and munch like there's no tomorrow. LOVE IT.
Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries - RRP: £1.00
From divine tasting popcorn to Divine chocolate. I'm a fan of this. Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to win a chocolate hamper from Divine chocolate. There is something about them that is quality. Divine by name, divine by nature. The dark, velvety chocolate is complemented nicely by the raspberries. Fruit and chocolate – what is not to like?
(For those that need a bit more of a reason to like Divine chocolate over other brands; they are fairtrade, suitable for vegetarians and free of palm oil).
Nim's Pineapple and Mango Fruit Crisps - RRP. £0.99
Now these are an incredibly nice surprise. I was expecting thick chunks of dry fruit; but these are nothing like that. These are very thinly sliced. I think the thinnest slices of dried fruit I've ever encountered! And there is something definitely inspired about the Mango and Pineapple combination. Sweet and delicious, and counts as one of your five a day fruit-and-veg. They're high in fibre and Vitamin C and we love them!
Tuckey's Proper Digestives - RRP £1.80
Now this is a nice idea. The Db Discovery this month is a box of Tuckey's proper digestive biscuits. Proper? These 'demonstrably different' digestives are made from a 1950's original recipe.
Inside the 240g box are four packs of four biscuits; ideal to take as a snack in your lunchbox. I have to say that these are quite nice. I am a digestive fan, and these do have a different taste to them than your regular digestive. It's like a subtle difference, but it is there. It would be definitely be good to try other biscuits in the range and see how they compare.
I'm not just saying that because I like biscuits. Honest!
We enjoyed these a lot. Not sure we picked up on the nostalgic "before all the good was taken out 10-15 years ago" vibe though; but maybe that's because today's digestives don't actually taste that bad. But I think it's a personal thing. We'd like to try other biscuits from the range though, definitely.
Bourne and Wallis pickled onions - RRP £1.40
Just the thing to accompany our boxing day meal of Turkey, Chips and Pickles. And these are delicious! Some of the best pickled onions I've ever tasted! A lot of it is the vinegar. The vinegar has a distinct sweetness to it, but with a gentle hint of spice. And it perfectly compliments the onions.
With the Tuckey's biscuits; the difference between the traditional and the current, I feel is slight. With these onions though, you can taste something definitely more traditional about them. Almost a handmade-ness to them.
Like the jar lid says, "made with love and care" and they definitely taste like they are.
Belvita Soft Bakes - RRP £2.79
Now we are already fans of Belvita; they are our "go to" for a quick breakfast bite in the morning on those days where the alarm doesn't go off on time and we have to eat on the run. But these soft bakes are new to us.
Like other Belvita products, each box comes with a number of individually wrapped portions; 5 in the case of these soft bakes. Each portion contains a single, rather thick biscuit bar.
There are three different flavours available, but we were sent the Red Berries this time.
Sampling; they taste good. The soft baked bar has a slightly unexpected quality to it; I think being used to the firmer bars in the range didn't prepare us for how soft and chewy these are. There is a bit of a crunch to them though; which for some reason reminds me of a crumble.
All in all. Loved them. The only problem is that although one bar is enough, they're a bit more-ish and it's hard to just have one bar.
Teisseire gourmet flavour drops - RRP £2.79 each
Not necessarily just for breakfast, we were sent two little flavour drop, squirty pot... things. (I'm not entirely sure how you're meant to describe them); you've seen them before, usually adding cordial flavours to water bottles in the summer; these are for the coffee-shop connoisseur. We were given the vanilla and caramel flavour drop-pots; so set about using them right away.
All I can really say is they do what you'd expect them to. They turn an ordinary coffee into a vanilla one; they make a hot chocolate a caramel hot chocolate...
The flavours are good; they work well.
What I might do is – next time I'm at the coffee shop – sneak a squirt into my plain latte and see if I can save on the 30p plus they always charge for these little additions.
Cheddar and cracked black pepper Ryvita Thins - RRP: £1.89
Okay; you got me. How did you know my Achilles heel was cracker things I can dip into hummus (and similar things)? These are great. Alone you get a subtle cheddar flavour with the heat of the black pepper.
But with a flavoursome dip, the cracker thin seems to compliment and not overpower. The only problem I have with these is that they are far too more-ish! I can't stop eating them. Great for a party platter or a buffet style meal thing. Very nice.
Ryvita Green & Black Olive Crackers - RRP £1.29
A second cracker pack this month; whereas the other crackers were very much party dipping thins for sharing, these are individual packs of crackers for your packed lunch; or to help you with that all important portion control – or maybe, just maybe, to stop that annoying cracker malady that happens – the soggy, soft, open cracker disaster.
These are thin, crispy, firm crackers. I'd compare them to water biscuits, but with a bit more of a crunch to them. They're available in a variety of flavours, but we were sent the green and black olive flavour – and you can definitely taste the olive in there. At first bite it throws you, but subsequent nibbles and you wonder what you were worrying about.
Nice with stronger cheeses that would definitely compliment the cracker.
Williamson Lemon Tea - RRP £4.00
In previous Degustaboxes we've been offered Williamson teas before – a few boxes back it was the ginger tea – which is a firm favourite in our house. However, lemon teas we approach with some trepidation. Lemon tea is one of those things that... well... I'd say it doesn't always tickle our tastebuds.
First we tried the tea black; and it didn't do it for us. But, committing the heinous crime of adding a splash of milk and some sugar and it turned it around. There is a nice flavour there; the lemon is maybe a little subtle, but all in all, it's not bad.
Very much a quality product with their nice little fabric pyramid bags. This ethical tea … well... because we're not lemon fans, we won't be picking it up – but we'll definitely be keeping an eye open for their other flavours.
Branston Orchard Fruit Chutney - RRP £1.49
Unfortunately, we have so many open jars of chutney in the fridge at the moment, we didn't manage to get around to this one – however – it looks and sounds delicious! So we'll be looking forward to sampling it in a few months time when we throw away the last empty, open jar.
We're a fan of Branston – so are expecting something tasty!
Hartley's Jelly - £1.29
Another item we didn't manage to make up yet – but definitely will; we're Jelly fans! And the glitter sparkle jelly looks and sounds really cool. (We were sent Black Cherry Jelly and Strawberry Glitter Jelly). This one fell foul to us having too many mince pies, chocolate puds, Christmas puds, crumbles and other deserts to munch our way through... but... as most of those have now been eaten, these won't sit untouched for long!
Jim Jam's no added sugar Hazelnut Chocolate spread
And one final item we haven't gotten around to yet; we have some 'other brand' hazelnut spread on the go as I write this – although I expect that we will be onto munching this very soon. It looks good!
And that's it! That was the November Degustabox - another great value foodie box full of wonderful surprises.
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Disclaimer: The November 2015 Degustabox was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.