Monday, 21 August 2017

Magnum Double Raspberry (Tesco)

This weekend I stayed with my sister and we found ourselves craving some proper comfort food. Both of us were super-achey (she’s training for the Cardiff Half Marathon) and I’d started phase two of the Crusader Strength Program*. We needed stuffed crust cheese pizza and ice cream. But what ice cream to have? Lou, like me, has a strong love for all things Black Forest (I think we’ve got our grandma’s Xmas roulade to thank for that) and so it didn’t surprise me that she was drawn to the new double raspberry Magnums whilst we were on our junk food hunt in Tesco.

I was unimpressed with Magnum’s 2017 flavours when they were announced earlier this year. Double raspberry? Double coconut? Meh. As you might’ve gathered I’m not Magnum’s biggest fan, but I wasn’t about to argue with my sister! 

"Raspberry ice cream with a chocolate flavour coating (8%), raspberry sauce (19%) and milk chocolate (24%)."

The ice sticks have a similar layout to the Double Peanut Butter Magnums; i.e. the ice cream resides in the centre, surrounded by a chocolate layer, then a sauce, all coated in milk chocolate. 

Biting into the stick revealed the tetralogy of distinct layers. The ice cream in the middle had a pleasant berry flavour, but you'd be hard pressed to ascertain that it was raspberry and not strawberry. This might sound like a complaint, but I was fond of the seemingly discontinued white raspberry Magnums, and so did enjoy the ice cream. 

The raspberry sauce was sticky and oozed from between the chocolate layers. It was much thinner than the sauce in the double peanut butter Magnums, and I preferred it as such. Magnum have made it from raspberry puree, which was a wise idea as it gave the sauce a sharpness that counteracted the sweetness from the ice cream wonderfully. 

The milk chocolate coating was just as tasty as I'd hoped it would be. Magnum might've reduced the size of their lollies quite considerably in recent years but they don't seem to have messed with their chocolate. However, I can't help but think that this ice cream would have been really special had Magnum have opted for a white chocolate coating. I mean, white chocolate and raspberry were just meant to be together weren't they?

Thanks Lou bum to treating me to the Double Raspberry Magnum (especially as I've promised to not buy any more new ice cream until I've got my collection under control). 


 *please check it out if you fancy building some strength and muscle with an extensive full-body plan, I can’t believe the changes I’ve seen in five weeks.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Efectiv Pro & Oats High Protein Flapjacks (Online)

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t eat oats in some form or another. In fact, it was the food I missed most when in Malaysia earlier this year. Almost every morning is kick-started with a bowl of protein oats (proats if you will), but I also love granola and flapjacks too. Protein flapjacks however are often disappointing, and tend to be so far removed from real flapjacks that I’d rather have a real flapjack and get my protein elsewhere. I’m not averse to trying new products though and so when Efectiv contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to try their new protein flapjacks and Dual bars, I accepted their kind invitation. After all, the protein bar market is rapidly evolving. Gone are the days of chewy bricks, thank goodness! 

Their flapjack range currently consists of three flavours: Chocolate Orange, Toffee Oat & Cherry Bakewell. Each 70g bar is less than 270 cals and contains 14g of protein (check the bottom of the review for the full macros). They’re made with gluten free oats and whey, with no palm oil or gelatine. Efectiv have also used natural flavours and sweeteners, and the flapjacks are GMO free and certified Halal. One massive bonus for me is that they contain no soya protein or polyols, making them much kinder on your stomach. This makes them higher in carbs, but also the perfect post-workout treat. I say treat, but that’s only right if they taste good… 

Cherry Bakewell
I’d normally save the flavour I’d anticipate would taste the best until last, but my preconceptions on what these bars would taste like wasn’t especially high and so I thought I’d give Efectiv the best chance possible. 

The first thought that struck me was how much closer to a real flapjack this bar looked. It was also a decent size too. The second realisation was just how soft the bar was - often protein flapjacks are either super dry or gluey, but this was neither. 

The texture was spot on. Soft and gooey, with a pleasant chew that wasn’t hard work. The cherry flavour however was milder than I’d have liked and I couldn’t help but think that either a layer of jam or chunks of dried cherries would improve the taste. It was still the best protein flapjack I’d tried to date though. 


Chocolate Orange
Unlike the Bakewell bar, this flapjack was dark in colour. Texturally it was very similar though. 

As for the flavour, this time it was much punchier, although I’d describe it more as cocoa orange as it lacked the milkiness that I’d associate with eating a bar of orange flavoured chocolate. In fact, the flavour kind of reminded me of something that Trek might make, but it was much tastier than Trek’s protein flapjacks. 


Toffee Oat
I saved this bar until last and found myself really looking forward to it. 

I wasn’t disappointed either. The bar tasted like a proper flapjack! It was gooey, sweet, soft and chewy with a lovely toffee undertone. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I’d happily eat the Efectiv toffee & oats pro&pats flapjack instead of a normal flapjack and I’ll be hunting down more to try in the future!


All in all, I was mightily impressed with these protein flapjacks from Efectiv. I do feel like the flavour of the Cherry Bakewell bar could be improved slightly, but that’s just a mini moan! Thank you to Efectiv for sending me the samples. The flapjacks (and the new Dual bars, watch out for the review) are available from their website.

*as promised, here's the Macro breakdown:

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Honeycomb & Caramel Dairy Ice Cream (Sainsbury's)

A few weeks ago I discovered the peanut buttery tub of joy that Sainsbury's surreptitously keep in their freezers, and so I couldn't help but return to my local store to find out what else I was missing...

Cookie dough and honeycomb & caramel are the other two flavours in Sainsbury's own dairy ice cream range. It was a fairly easy choice between these two tubs for me; cookie dough is fairly widespread and never as good as Ben & Jerry's, whereas there's a distinct lack of luxury extras-added honeycomb ice cream -especially since the sad loss of Morrisons' Shortbread Millionaire's mash up. 

"Caramel flavoured dairy ice cream swirled with toffee sauce, honeycomb pieces and chocolate coated shortcake pieces."

I swear the caramel ice cream was softer in this tub than in the peanut version, but I must have imagined that because there appears to be similar ingredients in both: skimmed milk, double cream, sugar, skimmed cows' milk concentrate, glucose Syrup - AKA the good stuff. Perhaps it was the sauce that made it seem looser. As well as the textural issues this toffee ripple provided, it was also problematic on the flavour front. You see, the peanut tub worked well because it had the nut brittle to counteract and cut through the sweetness, but this toffee sauce just tipped the ice cream into sickly territory. Not great.

So what would make a caramel ice cream and toffee sauce even more cloying? Oh yes, that's right, honeycomb pieces. There was an abundance of them, and they were light and crunchy... but this tub really didn't need any more sugar, and remember, this is coming from an out & proud sugar addict. Ok, ok, yes I've also recently acknowledged that I can't hack a great deal of honeycomb, so maybe if you're a Cadbury Crunchie fan this might be up your street. It's just not in my neighbourhood. 

Thankfully, redemption reared its head when it came to the chocolate coated shortcake pieces, which were both buttery and crisp. The biggest issue with biscuit in ice cream is the fact that it often goes soggy, but the coating prevented this nicely. The chocolate wasn't anything of note, but it wasn't awful either. Which reminds me, I must try the McVities nibbles soon. 

Meh. As you might've gathered, I wasn't overly fussed on this tub. Bert however really enjoyed it, and said that he'd happily have it instead of Ben & Jerry's. If we were talking about the Sainsbury's peanut tub I'd agree with him, but this one? I'd rather pay the extra 50p and have B&J's any day. 


Friday, 18 August 2017

Nestle White Chocolate Crunch (Poundland)

I often moan about the lack of white chocolate bars on the market. Are the sweet-toothed big kids among us really that far and few between? In any case, none of the primary mass-manufacturers of chocolate in the UK seem to be that interested in it, with one exception to the rule - Nestle. I can't help but feel disappointed by that, namely because I don't really like Nestle's chocolate. Except Milkybar. The release (or rather re-release) of the Smarties Milkybar was a great idea on Nestlé's part, but I fear that that's about as exciting as the white chocolate market is going to get over here for now. 

Luckily, my instagram feed is full of fellow chocoholics who also love finding unusual/lesser known bars...

...and this is how I came to find this white chocolate Crunch bar. I'm aware that some newsagents sell smaller versions of it, but I haven't seen any in eons, and I don't think I've ever actually tried it before - hence the review.
The bar was imported from the Netherlands, and I found it after spotting this post by junk food genius Niki. Poundland it was, post-haste! 

Who didn't grow up on Rice Krispie cakes? If memories of sticky fingers (or every body part in my case) whilst pouring a box of puffed rice into melted chocolate wasn't a staple part of your childhood I feel sorry for you. For some reason we never made white chocolate versions, and that seems like a shame. 

Luckily Nestle have gone some way to rectify this mistake with this Rice Krispie filled bar. I loved the craggy shaped blocks and the big lettering down the smooth side - which I assume is there in case you forget what you're eating. The underside looked like it had contracted a nasty case of acne. Wait, that's not a very appetising description is it? 

Don't let my gruesome analogy put you off though, the bar was yummy in a cheap yet nostalgic kind of way. I mean, it was a far cry from the likes of the luxuriously silky Choc Affair bars. It tasted slightly chalky and especially sweet -but was also oddly comforting. The texture lived up to expectations; delivering a crunchiness that wasn't off-putting whilst simultaneously invoking memories of Sunday afternoon 'baking' sessions with my siblings. 

If you're a fellow sweet toothed white chocolate lover than this bar is well worth a trip to Poundland for! It's not about to win any awards, but it's sure to make you smile. 


Thursday, 17 August 2017

NEW! Cadbury Crunchy Melt Chocolate Centre Chocolate Chip Cookies (ASDA)

Christ that's some title! Is it awful that it bugs me that it would be perfectly alliterated if it wasn't for that damn melt? They'd better be melty.

I was actually on a mission to pick up (yet another) pack of the new banoffee caramel digestives (our fifth packet so far) when I spotted these new cookies. I haven't given in to the new wafer based 'Roundies' yet, but filled cookies? Count me in.

At £1 per pack they didn't seem to bad value either, and I was torn between the trio of options: chocolate centre, soft cookie centre and double chocolate with a chocolate centre. I was tempted to buy all three, but then the rational side of my brain kicked in (there's a first time for everything) and I thought I'd try one first - I could always go back for the others after all. 

"Crunchy chocolate chip cookies with a soft melting centre."

The pack contained 6 cookies, and the inner plastic tray successfully kept them intact. Some of the cookies were more adorned than the others. I spotted the serving suggestion that they were 'even better warm' so tried one warm and one ambient. You know, for review purposes, because I'm good like that! 

The ambient cookie was far crisper than I imagined it to be. Crunchy is certainly right, although I must admit that I much prefer a soft, chewy cookie. I can't really complain about the texture though, seeing as they're marketed as 'crunchy melts'. It had an oily aftertaste to it too, and I can't say it was particularly enjoyable. As for those chocolatey chips, they were minute, and I can't even admit to tasting them.

But what about that chocolatey filling? I hear you ask. Well, the product description reads: "Biscuits with milk chocolate chips (15.4%)* and a filling (25.9%) with milk chocolate (4.5%)."

A filling with milk chocolate. Oh dear. That doesn't sound like a milk chocolate filling does it? 

It didn't taste much like one either. In fact it tasted hazelnutty to me, which is odd seeing as the ingredients list doesn't include any nuts. It wasn't particularly an issue as I love both hazelnuts and Nutella, but it didn't taste even remotely of Cadbury's chocolate. Hmm. 

Would they be better warm? 

The packet suggested microwaving it for between 10-12 seconds but warns not to heat for any longer. I don't have a digital timer on my microwave, so I obligingly counted to eleven elephants before retrieving my cookie and waiting the designated minute before munching. 

The centre was slightly better warm, but it didn't really improve the cookie at all. Meh. 

I shan't bother with the other cookies in this range. I feel like the Cadbury packaging is a clever ploy from Mondelez to lure us chocoholics to buy another one of their very mediocre products. These 'Crunchy Melts' are clearly made with cheap ingredients, and without the nostalgia factor that other mass-marketed biscuits have, they're nothing shy of a disappointment.


*My arse. 1.54% more like. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Crunch Bars (Sweet Victory Products)

A week or so ago I received the following message from Sweet Victory Products:

"Hi Amy,we noticed you are a fan of peanut butter and was wondering if you would like to sample some of our sugar free peanut butter crunch bars for a review?"

Well, of course I did, how could I refuse such a gracious offer? A couple of days later a parcel arrived containing a purple pick and mix bag...

The bars are made by an American brand, Atkinsons, who make all sorts of sugar-free sweets. As you may have gathered, I've recently been venturing into sugar free sweets (courtesy of Sweets Without) but had never come across peanut butter flavoured ones!

"Crispy, crunchy and completely peanut buttery! Peanut Butter Bars are packed with our famous peanut butter and handmade with Splenda."

Uh oh. That sounded remarkably similar to the description of my peanut butter nemesis: the Butterfinger bar. They did however smell extremely peanut buttery and so I put my preconceptions aside to give them a good go!

They tasted delicious! The peanut butter was prominent throughout, with a resounding sweetness. I tried my hardest to suck them as I would a normal boiled sweet, but due to their size (and the overwhelming temptation to crunch) it wasn't long before I cracked them open between my molars. 

Unlike the Butterfinger bar, they didn't make my jaw ache and were fairly soft. Without the chocolate coating, they were also far less sickly than the Butterfingers, however, they did lodge themselves between my teeth -making them fairly awkward to eat in public. Fortunately, I'm not particularly ladylike so I've kept on eating them regardless, but I thought I should let you know what you're letting yourself in for with these Atkinsons peanut butter crunch bars!

At £1.59 for 100g I think these are excellent value for money, and are perfect if you want a sweet (yet sugar free) peanut butter fix to keep in your handbag (or car). As far as I'm aware, we have nothing similar to these in the U.K so please do head over to Sweet Victory's website where you can benefit from 10% off your first order with the code AMYS10!


Thank you to Sweet Victory for the samples!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Coffee Nut M&Ms (A Taste Of The States)

If you read my review of the American white chocolate M&Ms a couple of weeks ago, you might recall my rant about the appalling lack of flavours we have in the U.K. Luckily, we've got A Taste of The States who have come to our rescue and brought the funkier flavoured editions to British shores on our behalf. Do you remember I mentioned the gift card they gave me? Well as well as the Mrs Freshley's cinnamon swirl bun (now back in stock), I also ordered a pack of the Coffee Nut M&Ms.

The coffee nut M&Ms were the winners of a flavour vote last year which coincided with the US presidential elections and included three options: coffee nut, chilli nut and honey nut. I must admit, I'd have gone for coffee nut too! Honey nut also sounds tempting, but I wouldn't have tried the chilli nut. Bleurgh. Which one would you have chosen? Drop me a comment below (or on Instagram) and let me know!

I was surprised by the strength of the coffee aroma that welcomed my nostrils as soon as I opened the share sized bag -which for info is 92.7g and equates to 2 servings, although I'm not sure how one measures 46.35g of M&Ms 😉! The candies, again, were larger than the British counterparts -but that does't surprise me anymore. 

Each M&M contained a full sized peanut, wrapped in chocolate and covered in the standard sugar coating. Mars have shun their usual bright colours too, opting for coffee-esque shades, which I think was a smart choice. 

I didn't really expect the full on mocha hit that I experienced with these M&Ms. In my head, the flavours shouldn't really work well together -no coffee shop that I've ever visited has offered peanut syrup- but I really enjoyed them. Admittedly, the coffee and chocolate completely overshadows the peanut, meaning that all the centre really offers is a textural contrast with a slight earthy undertone.

I can't help but wish that Mars had chosen to fill these coffee nut M&Ms with either whole almonds or hazelnuts, but I'm not really complaining. They're unusual and wholly addictive. In fact, they're my favourite M&M flavour to date. 

You can order these coffee nut M&Ms from A Taste of The States, and also benefit from 20% off the entire site with the code: AMYSEEKS20. Go on, treat yourself!


Thank you to A Taste of The States.