Friday, 30 August 2013

I may need a lie down... In a dark room!

Right, so as anyone who may regularly read my blog (I hope these at least two, me being one) will begin to see a pattern possibly emerging. I like to try new things; I mean I don’t really care if I know the outcome will be bad I wanna try it. So when I find a product that contains several flavours in one package I get excited. I enjoy experiencing variety and then talking about it hence why I started this blog.

I thought that this blog would encourage me to seek out new chocolate to try, not that I needed much encouragement (I often squeal when I see new products!) It stops me becoming predictable at least and sales of Fredo bars are probably going to be on the decline! Since starting to seek new flavours I have discovered I like both nuts and mushrooms, two things that throughout my life I have had a hatred for. This discovery alone proves that we should try every opportunity we come across. Don’t get me wrong I’m still not going near a raw tomato and if you’re in the splash zone you’ll understand. I know in the grand scheme of things trying new foods isn’t exactly a momentous thing but it’s meant I’ve bought something that has travelled as far afield as Australia just for me to eat.
Bask in the image of possible perfection

This is a good link to today’s review. Firstly as it comes from Australia and secondly it is a bar made up of six whole different flavours. Practically variety in a tube, or a flimsy foil wrapper to be precise. I was very impressed when I found this as it meant I in theory would be trying six new things in one purchase, points for variety and value for money. Although the bar was like £3.50 but it had to pay extra for a kosher meal and leg room on the plane.

So todays review is of the Australian Cadburys snack bar (Different from the UK snack, which is essentially a chocolate biscuit and not so exciting.) These bars are made of six blocks of chocolate each with their own fillings. It’s like buying a very small quality street tin, if you have a good imagination.

I’ll be honest by the time I got round to trying this bar it was past its prime. At the time of buying it was beyond its best before and the week it spent in my cupboard was the hottest of the summer. I feel a bit bad basing my opinion solely on this one specimen, but then the packaging should prepare it for travelling. Enough chat however more stats, or whatever passes as a review around here.

It may have been squashed but I didn't care.
The first block in this bar is petty standard, a caramel filling. I expected it to be like your normal dairy milk caramel but was surprised at the difference.  The chocolate was much less sweeter than a dairy milk bar and tasted rather plain. This could be because the dairy milk in the UK is much sweeter than most other milk chocolate; I hoped so as if not it was because it may have gone bad. The other difference was the caramels taste as unfortunately it had absorbed much of the flavour from the Turkish delight block and lost the caramel taste. I had hardened a bit too and as a result was chewy rather than creamy. We were off to a bad start and I was worried.

The next piece was the Turkish delight, which ironically in its eagerness to spread its flavour was lacking. Compared to a Fry’s delight this was nothing it had a hint of that familiar taste but only a whisper in the night. This left the block tasting rather plain although it had maintained the jelly like texture so at least it had that.

Then came what I thought was Lemon but turns out it was meant to be pineapple. This alone will tell you a lot about the flavour on offer here.  It did have a slight bitter sweet taste but very sparing. Things were looking bleak and we are half way through. Disaster struck in the form of block four which tasted like a second Turkish delight. Had they miss manufactured this choccy with two of the same block? No surely not, for one it has a unique texture one I can’t quite put my finger on (not just for hygiene reasons.) I had to look it up, turns out it was coconut, well that explained the texture but not the taste. I was really disappointed now after all I’d had my RDA of Turkish Delight.

To cheer us up, heres a cat in a pop art hat
It ends on a slightly less sour note thankfully as the final two of strawberry and orange actually had a good quality flavour. However they were rather just like the normal crèmes you get in the variety boxes everyone throws around at Christmas. They tasted good though so I won’t complain about these.

Overall this bars failings are probably due to an overambitious idea. Even if it was in ship shape condition, having multiple flavours would always cause the weaker ones to be overpowered by the stronger flavours.  The chocolate probably would have had more flavour had it not been out of date and warmed, then cooled. As you can tell this bar rather disappointed I but I could always just buy a box of Roses. Then again where’s the fun in that? That’s too easy.

Begrudgingly 3 out of 11

Sweet heaven Bluewater

Final Thoughts
It may have to be retried later, although not for a while my heart can't take it. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cheap, Cheerful and the chocolates not bad either.

So I’m sat in a tent, plonked in a field, in Berkshire England. The first two being very unique activities for me individually but together well readers I’m through the looking glass. As those who have read my last post will guess this review is being written from the Reading festival (although typed up on my return and posted who knows when).

For those who don’t know Reading festival is named after the place not the activity and is a music event and not an enlarged book club. It’s about midday and the sun has heated this tent up to the point where I can barely stay awake. So here volunteering for a ticket, this basically means for a week I’m babysitting around 90,000 drunk and stoned music lovers. It’s been interesting so far to say the least, but hey-ho a free pass is a free pass right? In all this madness and second hand smoke I’ve managed time to divulge in my own personal recreational high of choice, sugar.

No expense spared on packaging clearly
Last night my two tent-mates and I went on an evening “stroll” to the local Tesco’s for supplies (local here meaning a two hour round journey/adventure). Somehow I “accidentally” stumbled upon the confectionary aisle, whilst there couldn’t help buying some form of chocolate for the times ahead. Fittingly I chose a bar of Tesco’s basic milk chocolate, partly due to a limited budget but it also fits in with the feel of “roughing it” of camping (I’m a manly man and therefore there is none of this
“Glam-ping”. No sir!)

To be honest despite dreading the idea of leaving my modern comforts behind and pitching what is essentially a plastic bag as shelter, I have found it quite relaxing. At one point I was caught lying down in the sun for quite some time content with doing nothing at all. So it seems right that the product for this review be in the same back to basic theme. Perhaps a bar of plain milk chocolate will refresh my palette which has become accustomed to weird combinations and exotic flavours of late. There is after all a large soft space in my heart for the dependable milk chocolate, especially if it features a happy frog at a happy 20 pence apiece price tag.

Simple things, simple minds
So here I am writing and eating chocolate together again for the first time in three days (at one point I almost went to the Samaritan tent for help!). Long story short, it was heaven as you can expect after the hiatus. They say your environment alters how you perceive the food you taste and in this case it is certainly true. The heat from the day has softened the bar in my bag to a perfect point where upon placing on my tongue it melts immediately. It may be Tesco’s cheapest bar but it tastes good. Very sweet, very creamy and very milky, just the way uh huh uh huh I like it. Nothing fancy but exactly what I needed. I’ve always preferred these cheaper milk chocs to dairy milk as they often tend to be a little too sweet and sickly. The textures great too as it has an almost fudgy feel as some of the cooler parts take longer to melt.

The other side to this tale comes to you later as the British summer does its thing and turns into a torrential downpour. My pod in the tent is like a freezer right now and I’m wrapped up and dreading the next shift I have to work. Growing weak this chocolate has to have enough strength to cheer me up as I’m buffeted by the breeze. Unfortunately in a cool environment this chocolate is like a Victorian Mother cold, harsh and reserved. Gone are smooth flavour, texture and sweetness. Somehow it has been replaced by a slab of solid tasteless chocolate which is chewed into a lumpy mush. It’s become very plain now and tastes quite cheap. Worse still some has gone crumbly and been lost to the crevices of my sleeping bag. Such a dramatic change demonstrates how delicate the simple bar of cocoa can be that the whole flavour can be altered by the weather.
My tea making facilities, impressed?

Overall though I did enjoy this bar, I knew I would as I have had it before. I f kept well this cheap bar can be as in flavour as the premium choices. It’s full of flavour and has a great texture. Be warned mistreat it and it will turn on you like a bitch.

5 out of 11

Tesco in Reading

Final Thoughts
Drunk and stoned people are great to have a conversation with believe me.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Explaining my Hiatus (This is not late at all)

You got anything excited planned for the next weekend? Oh yeah, right, that sounds good. Good to have plans and keep busy when you can I suppose. Me? Thanks for asking, I’m touched. Nothing much really just some volunteer work… at the READING MUSIC FESTIVAL!!! How cool am I?

Well so cool that amongst all the packing and preparation I still manage to find time for sweet obsession. Sometimes however these two seemingly conflict events overlap, when these glorious moments happen it’s like the planets aligned. That’s how I felt when whilst buying essentials I spotted this festival pack of Tic Tacs. Wow isn’t that spooky and ummm colourful!
All the colours of a multipack!!!

Boasting a whopping four different flavours (whoop di doo) what more variety could you want to get you into a festive mood? This pack combines the tastes (though none are new) of lime, orange, passion fruit and cherry. Now the cynic in me would like to point out these packs is mere lazy rebranding. Essentially it is the box of Orange& Lime mixed with the box of passion fruit &cherry. However the excited child in me slaps the cynic and points out not only how colourful the mix is but that these are my two favourite packs of Tic Tacs. Furthermore he explains by buying this pack of 100 I am saving money, so shut up!

One problem however with both of these packs is that I prefer one flavour over another. I’m sure we all would right? What we may not all do however is refuse to consume the favourite flavour until all of the lesser favoured have gone. Now when we are talking about four different varieties and not just two the problem just gets worse. However I soon worked out a preference order of lime, passion fruit, and orange leaving cherry for last. Even to me this begins to move away from a charming quirk into the realms of keeping dead road kill in the freezer style OCD. On the plus side the pack does last slightly longer.

Right so the flavours, these won’t come to any surprise to anyone who has ever tried these flavours as all like coloured Tic Tacs taste the same. So starting with lime we get the usual overly sweet and sharp taste of clearly artificial lime. Very chemical and not at all like any lime you would find roaming in the wild.

How my Tic Tac OCD starts.
As I write this I struggle to come up with a reason as to why I actually buy Tic Tacs. The most I can think of is out of habit combined with the ease of being able to carry them in my pocket to chug in times of boredom. I don’t particularly enjoy the flavours and have tried all of the current ones several times over. Yet I’ll catch a glimpse of Tic Tacs in the corner of my eye and throw them in with the rest of the shopping, only realising I’ve made the decision once I’ve left the store and eaten half.

Not dwelling on this rather predictable behaviour I move on to passion fruit. Again very sweet and chemical, unlike lime however I have never tried passion fruit and therefore I can’t compare these to the real specimen. I’m going to bet though that these have been no nearer said fruit than I have. Same procedure for both orange and cherry like overly perfected versions of their real life counterpart in pill form. They are like the sort of thing sci fi media will have you believe are dinners will be like any day now.
Yeah all festivals are this organized... right?

Tic Tacs are basically like super soldier version of the fruit they are meant to be impersonating. They taste like how you would describe the perfect version of the food to someone who’s never heard of them.  However they are missing something that fresh fruit has, every piece of fruit is different and has their own character about them. One apple will taste very completely different from another. Tic Tacs don’t instead the flavours don’t differ and this makes them, well just a bit dull. Hence why I tend to just buy these out of habit, in the newsagents I will just subconsciously add the pack to my purchases. I wish I could end this with a bit more enthusiasm, maybe if I do find a new colour I can be excited over Tic Tacs again. Until then we are just going through the motions.

Overall these are just the same Tic Tacs just mixed together. Also now that I rethink it do I really want a new flavour? After all new flavours means more sorting, I could just do a jigsaw. I'd like to add that I am now back from the muddy, druggy, smoke filled wasteland of awesome fun and hope to go back to regular blogging behaviour. If anyone missed me that is.  

5 out of 11

Boots cash chemists

Final Thoughts
I feel slightly conned and used by Tic Tac

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Not Quite Breaking and Entering, But Just As Bad

Would you go into somebody else’s house, take a look around judge their furnishings and then leave without leaving a note? Well I certainly wouldn’t!  Ok if I’m honest I would, but wouldn’t we all especially if there’s something interesting to look at. I think I’ve lost my point here. Basically I was going to say you should at least tell the person you’ve been right? So if you’ve taken the time to read my blog why not post a comment or even follow while you’re here?

Right enough blatant self-promotion on to reviewing something sweet and crunchy! Today I have a pack of Goobers I’ve been meaning to talk about. They are pretty damn good, fun to say, fun to eat and they make me think of Spongebob Squarepants. What’s not to love?

Not exactly going to win a beauty pageant 
I don’t remember what drew me to these, I’d like to say destiny but can’t help but feel that’s a tad too dramatic. Don’t think it was the packaging, poor things don’t exactly stand out if I’m honest. There is no smile enhanced mascot beaming at you, trying to hypnotize your child into pleading for them. No flashy “random” gimmicks or swanky typeface. No instead they just state plainly what they are chocolate coated nuts. After yesterday I think that comes as quite a breath of fresh air, simple honesty.

One thing that did stand out is the little boastful comment in the corner assuring that every serving contains 5 grams of protein. While this doesn’t sound as exciting as say, being able to play with them before eating. It does mean you can sit there smugly eating these knowing there could be some benefit to your gluttony. I’m not going to dwell on that idea as it either makes me sound rather petty or rather simple minded.

Pretty much how I feel when I eat them, Definitely a Goofy Goober
So moving on swiftly to the taste test, what I like to call my suck and crunch review style.  So as always, let’s start with suck. When you pop one of these into your mouth the sweet creamy chocolate immediately melts on your tongue. Its Nestle chocolate at its finest, there is something special about Nestle milk chocolate. It tastes amazing when it’s coating something like nuts or wafers, yet in slab form like a Yorkie bar it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s just me but there’s something about Yorkies that doesn’t work, too big and heavy. Bet some of you are chuckling right now about the irony that I don’t like Yorkies which are for real “men”. Well to you people I say shut up, and then I run and hide till I cry myself to sleep.

Anyway getting away from any breakdowns I may be having (I’m a manly man dammit) once the chocolate layer is gone you’re left with the roasted peanut. Now I do like to savour my sweets but even I’m not patient enough to erode a nut with my saliva. So I crunch down and yet more great flavours come out and combine perfectly with the chocolate that lingers. Wow, just wow these taste great to me.

I am not a Goofy Goomba however, sorry Goomby!
It seems a shame to have to even crunch just one of these, but crunch I must for you guys. As I thought if just chewed away you miss out on the point of these sweets. All mixed together the nut comes out strongest and you barely catch a taste of fleeting chocolate. No clearly these are meant to be savoured. Much like Flipz they work best when you melt the sweet chocolate and crunch the remaining savoury to fully appreciate the contrast in both flavour and texture. Clearly designed for me and a small bag can last quite a long time.

I don’t understand why Nestle haven’t launched this product over here in the UK. There is certainly a market for them, every supermarket stocks their own brand of chocolate or yoghurt coated nut/fruit. My only guess is that they don’t have the same health appeal that those trail mix type bags have and they don’t really appeal to kids either. There could still be a market in between however with health conscious parents getting little Timmy these to ensure he gets his protein.

Overall I’m in love with these Goobers, They are clearly meant for savourers like me, someone who is quite happy to take their time with each individual piece to fully enjoy them. Someone who may read blogs. perhaps they favourite or follow those blogs. Perhaps even tweet a link after they enjoyed a particular article. Ok I’ll stop now.

9 out of 11

Local Sweet shop that sells American candy

Final Thoughts 
I think I go off on some rather odd tangents sometimes.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Is this what we have become?

What was your favourite family holiday? I know what you’re thinking, that’s a random question to start a sweet review blog. Well yes it is and it’s also the most random thing you will find in this piece as well. Today I take a look at Rowntree’s “Random” Rip-em’s. See even that seemingly a random question has an explanation.

Oh I bet these are interesting...
I thought I’d try a new idea for today and not review something involving chocolate (normal service shall resume do not fear). Hopefully this idea of mine will work out somewhat better than Rowntree’s idea to slap Random on their products. I can only think that they are trying to jump on the whole random is funny bandwagon. The problem is said bandwagon of being random for randoms sake, is sailing off into the horizon now to the point that it’s becoming boring and anything but random.

The second problem is that their definition of “random” is a bit lacking in description. Judging by the products under this line so far to Rowntree the word involves them catching whatever drops off the other production lines and jamming them into a bag together. Basically taking the parts that don’t quite make their own quality control and putting them to good use. A good idea but not quite random I’m afraid guys. Well the next attempt at being kooky are these fruit strips or Rip-ems (bit violent sounding) and in reality they are really rather dull.

Nope maybe I was wrong.
The advert campaign for the release involved a man dressed as a parrot eating the strips and talking to himself. I’ll admit this is a bit random, it is also very annoying and really rather sad. So from the very get go I was wary of this product and its view on kooky. One thing I’d like to point out is that in the advert the parrot man-child thing eats these by pulling a single strip off and eating it. Hardly very random is it, he doesn’t mix flavours nor does he do as they suggest and mould them into something. Clearly the ideas department didn’t make it to marketing as there is no co-operation going on at Rowntree.

It just got a bit less random when I tried these strips, whilst they taste quite nice and have a good quality fruity flavour they are in no way random. The orange is orange, the Yellow is lemon, the purple is blackcurrant and the red is red flavoured (strawberry?). Well that’s randomly predictable isn’t it? Hey guys, you know you could have at least mixed the colours up a bit and kept us guessing. Would it have been too hard to even try some odd varieties, look at the Harry Potter jelly beans they are more random and they put the pictures on the back.

Well I tried at least
As sweets they are very nice good effort and admittedly better than their rival fruit strips, they taste quite clearly of what they are meant to be.  All this just adds insult to injury and that’s what annoys me these do not meet their description in anyway. I played their game though I tried to “Let my random side out” basically play with them. On the back of the pack they helpfully give advice on how to use them, on mine it appeared to be roll it into a ball, seriously! Am I the only person here that either feels like Rowntree either couldn’t be bothered here or are just scrapping the barrel to add to their “random” product line?

It could have been more effective if they had gone; hey everyone here’s our alternative to fruit wind ups. It would have made more sense and be a serious competitor because they are better. Yet instead they want me to play with these things. I don’t because I know where my hands have been (imagine how a pig farmer would feel). I’m not a child! I just want sweets, ah um bad point there perhaps. A bit off putting is that the colour fades when you move them too much and makes them look whitish like they are going off.

An omelette that's random, nope it too has meaning.
Now it’s not these sweets fault the way that they’ve been marketed to us. Therefore they don’t really deserve me ranting about the naming process. To be more honest there also isn’t much else to talk about because they are just so dull. Rowntree knew this and thought slapping the word random on them might drum up some attention. This is what annoyed me to contribute to the current trend of calling everything random to justify it being funny. Surely if we go round calling every slightly odd thing as random nothing is? Random is a beautiful word to be used sparingly, like on the odd occasion when a homeless man swears blind your name is Frank as he sells you a magazine (yes that happened). Random isn’t appropriately coloured strips of fruit sweet. See readers I’m a sage in these modern times really.

Overall they are nice as fruit strips but they are also rather dull.

4 out of 11


Final Thoughts
I feel rather guilty for having a rant at these sweets... sorry.

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