A knock on the door, a man with a box under his arm – it can only mean one thing. It's the arrival of our December Degustabox; so, with a, "Healthy New Year!" Let's crack it open and go ahead with the review.
As you can see - it's another wonderful selection from out friends at Degustabox,
Hip Pops - RRP £1.00 per pack
First out of the box is two packs of Hip Pops! These are healthier snacks than regular baked or fried snacks (we're talking about 98 Kcal per 25g bag and less than 11% fat). We were sent the Cheese and Onion and the sweet Chilli Flavour packs. (There are 6 different flavours available, 4 of which are gluten free).
I have to say – love the taste! They have a good balance with their flavours – the sweet chilli as an example having a bit of heat, but plenty of flavour. The fact that the snacks are 'popped' rather than fried or baked means they have a satisfying crunch to them too. Brilliant! Would love to try some of the other flavours in the future!
Fabulous Bakers Mango and Pineapple Bars - RRP £1.80
These are nice! I wish there was more than four bars in the box! But wait, I've gotten ahead of myself. Next up we have a four pack of Mango and Pineapple bars from the Fabulous Bakers. These tasty bars are loaded with fruity flavours; texture-wise they feel a little like a popcorn bar – but made with real fruit and oats they are a high in fibre, slow energy releasing snack free of sugar or 'nasty' additives. Love them!
Nothing But - RRP £1.69 per pack
Next up – we have a couple of freeze-dried fruit snack packs from "Nothing But". One pack of Pineapple and Grape and one pack of strawberry and banana. Freeze drying seems to be in vogue at the moment (I'm sure I've said that before), but I'm not complaining! I'm a definite fan!
I've had freeze-dried strawberries and banana before; so obviously went straight for grape and pineapple. Obviously, you get a bit of a crunch (if you want to crunch it); but if you let it sit on your tongue and rehydrate a little you get that slight fizz and fruity flavour on your tongue.
Love these; and I think it isn't just for the novelty of it all either. I'm definitely a freeze-dried fan!
Barilla's Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce and Whole-Wheat Fusilli pasta
- RRP £2.00 and £1.50 each
The Degustabox product of the month is next up; we have Mediterranean Vegetable sauce and whole wheat pasta from Barilla. We are pasta fans, but haven't gotten around to sampling this yet – it looks really tasty and a great combination – so we don't expect this to sit around of the shelf for long!!
The sauce is a combination of Italian tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine and sweet peppers with no added preservatives. The pasta gives you 20% of your daily fibre needs which is essential for body balance (I think that means it keeps you regular lol).
Crabbie's Light Ginger Beer and Red Square Toffee Vodka
- RRP £1.49 and £1.99
Well, this is one of the first times we've actually attempted one of the Degustabox recipes; on the back of this months list was the "Crabbie's toffee mule" which combined ice, half the bottle of the red square toffee vodka and the majority of the Crabbie's light ginger beer to make Crabbie's Toffee Mule! Not bad (although probably better if I had ice to add).
The light Crabbie's is what you'd expect; a gentle ginger beer with an alcoholic kick. As a Ginger beer and alcohol fan I love it. The Red Square Toffee vodka though, that is something special. It's like a little bottle of alcoholic, liquid toffee. I can see why they only gave us a 5cl bottle – any more and this review would be a rambling drunken rant! Love it! (Probably far too much)!
Betavivo crispy oat heart cereal - RRP £1.00
Almost every month in the Degustabox selection we get something breakfasty; this is a nice thing - it's good to have a little variation in our morning food selection. This month is no exception and we've been given a couple of packs of Betavivo crispy oat heart cereals. These heart shaped cereals are apparently good for reducing the cholesterol in your blood – so - it's a good healthy thing. I tried a pack with another of the Degustabox items, the KoKo coconut milk (which I'll talk about in a moment).
The cereal, it is heart-shaped; but I can't help but look at it and think "cat treats!" It keeps its crunch, even after sitting in the milk for a while; although, to be honest I don't see anything remarkable about the taste. To me, it tastes like it needs a little sugar adding – which probably would go against some of the good intentions. Saying that though, you would probably get used to it after a while...
Koko coconut milk - RRP £1.79
Now I know we've had a few milk alternatives in the past; and while some people are fans of them, a lot of people aren't. The problem I think you usually find is that you have pretty much a good idea of what milk should taste like, so when you see claims that "it tastes remarkably like cow's milk on breakfast cereals, cooking and hot drinks" you automatically have you sceptic's hat on.
In truth, this isn't bad. It is sweet enough. It is close to milk, but it isn't milk. You taste the coconut, which isn't bad; but it does taste coconutty. Which should be expected. You get both the sweet and that kind of dry taste that you get from dried coconut you'd use in a trail mix or recipe.
I don't mind it; it's probably an acquired taste – but – I could see for anyone wanting to have a healthy alternative to cow's milk – particularly for allergy related issues, this would be a viable alternative – and you would probably get used to it.
Love Kombucha Ginger - RRP £2.25
This is the Db discovery this month; it’s an organic drink filled with probiotics, organic enzymes and amino acids … and it's fermented... and I should like this... I should like this; I like ginger, and I like lime... but... this just does not do it for me. The problem I have with this is that the fermentation process leaves a bit of a "gone off cheese"-ness to the drink. The ginger isn't strong, and doesn't give it a nice kick or anything.
I managed to drink about half the bottle before giving up.
Which is a big shame, because this drink is packed so full of good stuff; there are three other flavours, Blueberry, Ginger and Lime and Original. It would be interesting to see how the others match up, but, for me – the ginger is a no-no. Sorry!
Complete Energy Bites - RRP £1.99
These look really nice but Neil grabbed these for next time he does sports. There are two chocolate bites infused with 1 premium coffee's worth of caffeine in each.
I've not had any of these "energy things" before; so I was quite pleasantly surprised when I opened the packet and inside are two squares in a plastic seal. Ideal (I'd imagine) for keeping in a runner's pocket ready to munch on after a few miles.
Trying one square. It's a nice lemon/ chocolate mix. It's a little like a firm chocolate truffle, but not bad. Taste wise these can't be confused with chocolates you'd find in a box of milk tray; which is a good thing. The amount of caffeine might have made me a little hyper and a whole box might be disastrous!
Liked them though. Will consider using them next time I run a significant distance!
Drink me Skinny Chai Latte
As a special gift, we have a sample sachet of "Drink Me" Chai Latte, Skinny Blend. Neil's a hot drink fan and really is a fan of chai – so I let him have this to try this.
He said that it had a pretty good taste; he needed to add a couple of sugars because he's got a bit of a sweet tooth; but it had a good chai taste. He'd have it again.
And there we have it – another Degustabox full of things; some of them have been added to our "new favourites" list – others – we have been glad to have the chance to try because it's something we probably wouldn't pick up. That's the beauty of these boxes – it is a selection of things you know and love, haven't heard of – but will love, and a few things you'll either love or hate. It gives you a chance to sample and expand your culinary range.
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 £6 off their first box. The code is:
We are very happy to recommend the service and selection they provide.
Disclaimer: The December 2015 Degustabox was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.