Friday, 30 September 2016

NEW! E.Wedel Caffe Latte Milk Chocolate (Polski Sklep)

Last week I was queuing up to pay for the peanut & chocolate croissant in the Polish deli, when a chocolate bar I hadn't spotted before caught my eye. It grabbed my attention for three reasons:

1. It was cheap (just 40p)
2. It was caffe latte flavoured (I love anything mocha)
3. It was made my E.Wedel...

...Why would the slightly obscure brand appeal to me you may ask? Well, I've seen their larger (and equally interesting sounding) bars in supermarkets, as well as reading a few favourable reviews* of their products, but have never taken the plunge and bought myself a bar. In the name of impulse, I grabbed the Pawełek and quickly bought it before I could remind myself of he numerous bars of chocolate already sat in my fridge.

Please can we just take a moment to take in the Google translation of E.Wedel's description of the bar on their website (where I also found out that it's new)!




"Pawełek flavored Caffe Latte in milk chocolate bar designed for lovers of coffee with milk and refers to the ritual of drinking this beverage in combination with sweet chocolate pleasure."

My heart sunk when I unwrapped the bar and spotted the White curse of spoilage lingering on the corners. Still, appearances can be deceptive, and I snapped the bar in half. I think I was expecting a truffle-esque centre enrobed in chocolate, but instead I discovered a gooey, fondant core (which smelt very alcoholic!).

Unfortunately in this case, the book should have been judged by its cover. The chocolate was waxy, and tasted cheap, reminiscent of Kinnerton's Christmas calendars. I'm a fan of liqueur chocolates, but I couldn't even detect the slightest hint of coffee, as it was totally overwhelmed by the throat burning alcohol. So potent was it, that I was left wondering how many bars you would need to eat before feeling woozy**.

It's such a shame really, considering the success I had with both of the last Polish chocolate bars I've tried (The Wawel Peanut Butter review here, and advocaat bar review here if you're interested) and the success other bloggers have had with E. Wedel. Maybe I'll give them another shot soon. Have you had any of their bars? If so, which is the best?

3/10

* Such as:
Kev's  Karmel-love! Caramel White Chocolate Bar review
Nibs' Crème Brûlée Bar review
and One Treat's Dark Tiramisu review

** At 2.1% of the bar's ingredients I guess it might be more than the taste led me to imagine!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Quest Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (Protein Pick & Mix)

Quest: one of the most famous and popular protein bar manufacturers. I first discovered Quest long before I returned to fitness, through my usual forum of food discovery -instagram. I remember being baffled by the amount of users (mainly young women) who ate Quests in place of chocolate bars instead of the sports supplement which I assumed they were. These women praised Quest for their deliciousness, which confused me at the time because I wasn't working out either, and therefore couldn't understand the need for additional protein in the diet. Anyway, fast forward a year and one of my favourite methods to wind down after a stressful day is to hit the weight section at the gym. As such, protein bars and supplements have been added to my diet to protect my muscles and fuel their growth. I've now tried many protein bars (although its seemingly an infinite market) and one of my favourites brands is Quest. Why? They're high in fibre and protein, whilst being low in sugar. The range also contains a huge number of flavours, many of which are famous for their "chunk porn" (large lumps of chocolate flavoured chunks/biscuit etc). Quest's biggest downside is their price however, and at between £2-£3 per bar they've become more of a treat than a diet staple.

If you're involved in fitness (or perhaps eat Quest in place of chocolate) then you're probably aware of the two new flavours which were released in the USA a couple of months back, and are now gradually making their way to British shores. I haven't been able to get hold of the Blueberry Muffin flavour yet, but yesterday my local sports nutrition shop received a delivery of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quests, and I stumped up the money to try one. They're also available to order from Protein Pick & Mix here.


"Decadent chocolate chunks, chewy bits of oatmeal, and 20g of protein transform the oatmeal cookies of your cheat day fantasies into an every-day protein-packed reality!"

I was pleased to see plenty of 'chocolate' chunks dotted throughout the bar. I've learned from experience that Quests are pretty grim cold, and are much improved by a quick blast in the microwave -or 10 minutes in a warm oven. I did sample a bit off the end at ambient temperature, and was instantly taken back by the strong cinnamon flavour. It was a pleasant surprise given my love of the spice, but I imagine it would be a shock if you're not a cinnamon lover. 


The warmed Quest was as yummy as most of the others in their range. The cinnamon and chocolate both came through in equal measures, although the Stevia did render the flavour rather sweet. My biggest gripe was the lack of oats, which was particularly noticeable to me given how regularly I munch on Reflex's R-Bar Flapjacks. Come on Quest, if you're going to call it 'oatmeal' then please deliver!  For those interested in the chunks, they weren't evenly distributed, but there was an ample enough supply of them, which had melted nicely thanks to my trusty microwave.


The new Oatmeal Chocolate Chip is a lovely new addition to the range -even if it should be called cinnamon choc chip instead. It's not my favourite Quest though; White Chocolate & Raspberry and Cookies and Creme still reign supreme in my book! 

7/10

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Toffee Apple Ring Doughnut (Greggs)

Do you ever find that once you've had a particular kind of treat you're left craving it again? I mean, I'm always craving chocolate, but once I've had a muffin or a slice of cake I'm left wanting to try all of the others on the market -almost like I forgot how good they are. This has certainly been the case with doughnuts this week (post maple crunch Krispy Kreme). The sweet, doughy treat left my taste buds demanding more, yet as I mentioned before, there's no KK for miles! Luckily for me, there's a couple of Greggs in the city centre, and they've recently updated their menu. This means that the rhubarb & custard doughnut is no more, having been replaced with a rather more autumnal flavour: toffee apple.

I giggled a little the other day when reading Junk Banter's review of the Hershey’s Caramel Apple Filled Milk Chocolate, complaining that there's pumpkin everything in the States (Candy Hunting's Instagram Stories attest to that) but seemingly no toffee apple. At least they've got one seasonal flavour that's having its heyday at the moment! There's no pumpkin here (unless you're after Starbucks' PSL or Bailey's new pumpkin spice flavour liqueur!) and there's minimal toffee apple either. In fact, this offering from Greggs is the first toffee apple product I've seen this year!


I requested a box to carry my doughnut in this time to prevent all of the icing running away (or glueing itself to the bag as per what usually happens). It worked too! Don't you think it's rather attractive? It wouldn't even look out of place on the shelves in KK.


"A ring doughnut topped with toffee apple flavour icing, hand decorated with white spin decoration and apple fudge pieces." 

The doughnut was light, and bore large air pockets once sliced in half. The texture was pretty good, tasting fresh, but nowhere near as fluffy or sweet as the aforementioned Maple Crunch. I'd describe it as more bread or bun like, but it was still yummy.


The icing was tasty. A stronger flavour came from the toffee, but the apple was evident, lingering in the background as it should. I just wish that there was more of the icing, and I would be better yet if there was a sauce running through the centre of the dough (a point I've raised before.) I was pleased that there were plenty of fudge cubes, which had all remained squidgy, thereby adding a lovely contrast in texture to the soft dough.

This seasonal Greggs doughnut is a pleasant, affordable treat for afternoons when those carb cravings kick in and there's no KK nearby. It's nothing overly special, but it fills the gap! 

7/10



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Shreddies Max Protein Cranberry & Oat Granola

I think I might've mentioned before that I've been patiently biding my time with this new cereal; eagerly waiting for it to come on offer. As always, I was lured in by the promise of 'high protein' but also was attracted to it because it's granola too. Granola is something I haven't bought I'm years, which is a bit strange really given how much I love oats -and of course flapjack. I tend to forget about the granola areas of the cereal aisle I think, normally making a bee line for the chocolate and/or sugar laden boxes instead. At £2.49-£2.79 per 400g box, I knew I could survive waiting a little while. Ok, well admittedly that and we had a bit of a glut of cereal in our house -I counted 16 boxes a couple of weeks ago and there's just two of us. Now we're down to *just* 9, and Shreddies Max is half price in Tesco I felt that I could buy a box  (thanks for the heads up on instagram @productsinstore). 

"Whole grain wheat & oat granola with malted cereal pieces & chopped cranberries."

I must first comment on the box design which -like many others- is resealable, but it tucks away neatly with no faffing required. 

A super sweet, syrupy aroma greeted my nostrils as soon as the bag was open, and I took my first peak at the granola within. The first thing I picked up on was the tiny clusters! I was expecting whopping great hunks of oats, but instead only spotted little nuggets. The second thought was regarding the Shreddies, which were dotted about between the oats. This was in line with expectations, and I looked forward to the mixture of textures and flavours. I then started to wonder where the dried cranberries were hiding, beginning to doubt their presence entirely. I shook myself a bowl, and still didn't find any, so took the childlike approach and stuck my hand deep into the bag to see what I could retrieve. Luckily I found a couple of fruity bits hiding towards the bottom, so I'm hoping that they've all sunk in transit and the last few bowls will herald a plethora of ruby treasures. Please note that the inner young Amy was disappointed that I didn't find a magic spoon in the box (currently in some promotional Kellogg's cereals). 



Given my addiction to sugar and oats, it's easy to understand why I enjoyed the flavour of the Shreddies Max Protein. A good soaking in milk turned the Shreddies soggy (just how I like them) whilst the clusters remained satisfyingly crunchy. The combination of malt and oat flavours worked in harmony, providing a slightly different taste with every spoonful.

I have to admit that a bug bear came from the high protein claim however, as 13g per 100g isn't the huge amount that its 'max' name alludes too. Shreddies Max Protein in fact contains far less protein than the 20g per 100g in Weetabix's chocolate protein crunch and 22g per 100g in the Mornflake chocolate porridge for example! Still, it's a tasty little granola and I'll continue to enjoy it.

7/10

Macros per 100g for those interested*: P13 C68 F7

*45g recommended serving size

Monday, 26 September 2016

7 Days Peanut Croissant (Polski Sklep)

I naively thought that 7 days is an American baked goods brand -but that's only because I've only come across their spotted their products on American Fizz. I'm not a huge croissant eater, not because I don't like them, but just prefer cinnamon based pastries such as whirls and buns. What's the fillings that could possibly change my mind? Peanut butter or chocolate of course! American Fizz do stock 7 days' PB&J croissant, but I always forget to add it to basket when excitedly making an order. 

Imagine my surprise when I spotted a range of 7 days croissants in one of our local Polish Delis. A bit of research later led me to realise that the brand is in fact International, trading in a number of European countries as well as the States.

Whilst the deli didn't stock the PB&J version (7 Days' website implies that it's only an American release) it did sell something potentially more exciting: Peanut & Cocoa croissants. I was a bit dubious about whether the filling would taste of my beloved peanut butter seeing as the ingredients only listed "peanut paste" and "peanut flavouring" however for 50p it was worth the punt.



If, like me, you become frustrated with the often ridiculous serving sizes on British packets (no one can eat a single twirl finger Cadbury or half an Aero for that matter Nestle) then pay a thought for our Polish cousins. The 60g croissant displays nutrition information for 28g! What the heck? Eat half, save half, give a couple of crumbs to the dog perhaps? Lord knows.


Anyway, the croissant was larger and more voluminous than expected; I assumed that It would have squished on the walk home -the same way I seem to damage most of my purchases recently. Once unwrapped I could smell a sweet, cocoa scent, which became stronger once sliced in two. Paul Hollywood might have even been impressed with the layers, which were multiple and light -another surprise considering that the croissants are a long life product. I was also pleased to discover a generous pocket of pale brown coloured filling in the centre, enrobed in a dark cocoa layer.


The pastry didn't taste as fresh as it looked unfortunately, but was certainly better than I had originally anticipated. The peanut centre was gooey, nutty and sweet -perhaps too much so, as I found the creme lacked the counterbalancing salinity of my favourite peanut butter. In any case, the cocoa was the much more dominant flavour, despite making up only less than a third of the filling (the ingredients list claims that cocoa makes up 7% of the entire croissant whereas the peanut accounts for 16%). This wasn't a problem as I find Nutella often comes to the forefront flavour-wise in my much loved Nutella-PB-&-banana toasties (they're incredible, if you haven't had one before please do, then let me know what you think!)

I was enjoying my first half of the croissant, but then popped the second half in the microwave for a quick blast - after all, croissants are always best served warm! 

Wowsers.


The now melted spread-like centre oozed between the laminated pastry layers, becoming all the more delicious. The texture gap between fresh and long-life became somewhat reduced as a result, and I sat grinning whilst savouring every last morsel.

I'm so glad I decided to try this 7 Days Peanut & Cocoa croissant, and I'm sure they'll become a regular treat! 

8/10

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cherry Bakewell Hipster Fudge (Etsy)

Did you watch GBBO this week amid the traumatic news that our much loved programme is channel hopping next series? Forget all the M.Bezzer stress for a moment, because I want to know if the episode had you hankering after a Bakewell as much as it did me -although maybe not Val's soggy bottom, eh? Hipster Fudge must've predicted my longing for all things cherry-almond because earlier this week they offered to send me a pack of their new limited edition fudge to try. I actually debated it for a second, because my last experience (Matt & Ben's Espresso Fudge) left me believing that I didn't like the sweet treat any more. Then I reconsidered, reasoning that I would share the Hipster Fudge at work, sampling it around the office to get a more balanced view.

If you haven't heard of Hipster Fudge yet, let me fill you in:

Hipster Fudge is relatively new. The company was born after the owner, Jonny Craft, made some fudge one day for his main business 'Sweet Pizzas'  to use as toppings . He sent some to his friends to see if they liked it and a lot of them said it was the best fudge they have ever had. He then started making more wacky flavours and posting them on a Facebook page he set up for the brand and the orders came flooding in. Hipster fudge has been trading on Etsy for a month now, and already has 60 orders. Jonny believes that Fudge is seen as an older persons treat, however Hipster Fudge aims to make it trendier, a bit like the current gin revolution. Flavours change regularly and currently include Oreo & Cashew, Aero, Reese's Pieces, and Ferrero Rocher -to name just a few.



The bar arrived just a day later, comprised of six squares -each topped with white icing and a single glace cherry. Notices on the back of the packet warned me of the inclusion of nuts, and also a polite memo to let me know it's better enjoyed from the fridge. 

That evening I was so curious to try the pretty looking bar now nestled among the chocolate bars in my fridge, that I broke off a couple of squares to tuck in to (forgetting the office ladies and gents in one fell sweep, sorry all). Despite being cold, the fudge had remained soft and malleable -just how I remember loving it as a child.



The flavour was bolder than expected, with the almond shining through the sugary sweetness. I loved the glace cherry on the top, which imparted the bakewell element into every bite. Perhaps that flavour may have been slightly more impactive if the fudge itself included chopped cherries -although I'm not sure if that would change the consistency, which squidgy and absolutely perfect.

I'm so grateful to Jonny at Hipster Fudge, not only for sending me the sample, but also for reminding me that I do love fudge. When I was a small child, my granddad used to walk up a steep hill to buy me fudge from a specialist shop in the town where we lived every day (even when he was dying from cancer). Hipster Fudge has brought back those lovely decades old memories of us sitting on the sofa together enjoying our delicious, golden, sugar-laden treats after his outing. 

Please do pop over to Hipster Fudge's Etsy Shop, and if you don't see something you fancy today then continue to keep an eye out, the flavours are changing on an almost daily basis! 

9/10

*You must go check out @sweetpizzas on Twitter, but it'll leave you salivating!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Carb Killa White Chocolate Mocha

If you regularly work out and/or take protein supplements, chances are you'll have heard about Grenade's newest bar. Added to the delicious range of Carb Killas (which FYI taste remarkably like chocolate bars) is the White Chocolate Mocha. I love anything mocha and always begrudge the fact that coffee is very rarely paired with white chocolate as opposed to milk or dark. As someone who likes their coffee mild, I prefer the sweeter white chocolate against the naturally bitter coffee. Still, one must not forget that the Carb Killa is a protein bar and not a chocolate bar; its main focus is meant to be delivering quality nutrition pre or post exercise.


"Delivering over 22 grams of protein per bar, Carb Killa® is a high protein bar that has been designed to provide balanced complete sources of protein, while limiting the level of simple, processed refined sugars. Unlike many other protein bars Carb Killa® is unique in the fact it is so low in carbs."

Slicing into the bar revealed the trio of layers: the mocha flavoured protein layer, covered in caramel and topped with the biscuit studded white chocolate. Normally I like my protein bars all warm and gooey but I decided to try the end section in it's ambient state for reviewing purposes. 


Boy I wasn't disappointed. The coffee flavour was milky but omnipresent, working wonderfully with the sweet white chocolate flavoured coating. The crunch made the texture all the more appealing, and I found it to be better than most real (non protein!) white mocha chocolate bars that I've tasted! As always, the protein layer was soft and lacked the dreaded chewiness (or whey flavour) of most bars.

I almost didn't warm this Carb Killa given how much I was enjoying it, but 20 seconds or so in the microwave rendered the bar even more delicious. Seriously, I'm sure my tastebuds thought I was eating dessert instead of a bar that was delivering much needed protein to my muscles pre-workout -it was that good!


I didn't think that Grenade could create a bar more scrummy than my beloved white chocolate cookie, but they've really worked their magic with this one! I'm hoping and praying that their next addition will be a peanut butter version..

Carb Killas are available from most decent sports nutrition retailers for about £2.50- £3 per bar.

10/10