The June 2017 (BBQ) Degustabox

I honestly don’t know where time is going lately. Life has become incredibly busy and whilst I usually try to do a thorough review of each Degustabox* this month it’s more of an over-view and summary as I’ve literally run out of time to try everything included in the box!

This month the box had a BBQ theme, perfectly fitting for June even if it is currently pouring with rain and really quite chilly. I’m not 100% sure how everything in this box fits in with the theme to be honest but as ever there was a good selection and I’ll never not enjoy this monthly delivery.

So first up is an interesting sounding Brazilian chilli and coconut quick cook sauce from Capsicana which retails at £1.99. This is one of the products that I haven’t had a chance to try yet but the flavour combination sounds delicious and I’m looking forward to trying this out with chicken, peppers and onions as the brand suggests.
As is probably common knowledge by now I’m not a soft drinks girl but these energy juices from ENRJ do look appealing. The flavours sound great- Mango & Passionfruit and Apple & Berries. I’m definitely going to give these a go ASAP- at £1.75 they aren’t cheap but made from real ingredients (nothing artificial), no added sugar, under 100 calories per bottom and one of your five a day I think they’ll make a great occasional splurge.
Haribo! Here’s a product I immediately found time to try! These Summer Frenzy editions of classic favourites Starmix and Tangfastics are both delicious in my eyes. The Tangfastics have the edge for me with their ice cream flavours, the Starmix are berry flavoured which are also good but I’m a sucker for the sour. RRP £1 per pack.
Another product I haven’t tried is these light bites which I’ve seen for sale in my local Superdrug. I’ve been hesitant to try these because these are clearly marketed as a diet product but they do sound tempting and I think I will tuck in soon (solution- eat twice as many!) The mango and vanilla yoghurt fruit chips sound great, and at 46 calories per bag are great for anyone watching their weight. The superfood fruit bar is packed with goji berries, chia seeds, strawberries, blueberries and pumpkin seeds- all for under 100 calories. The fruit chips cost £1.49 per bag and the bar is £1.25. Expensive, but great for dieters needing convenience.
This month’s product of the month is these Original O’s savoury cumin and sesame nibbles. These are ridiculously addictive, I didn’t think I liked cumin until I tried these. These are great for sharing, if you can bring yourself to…at £2.99 probably best reserved for special occasions only but worth the splurge.
Cider is a staple at any summer BBQ around these parts so these Westons Ciders are bound to go down a treat. Here we have Rosie’s Pig flat tyre- a cloudy cider with rhubarb and Rosie’s Pig handbrake is a cloudy cider with damson. I haven’t tried these, I’m not a cider fan at all- although as soon as someone cracks open the Rhubarb one I’m sneaking a swig.
Schwartz packets are a staple in our cupboards and these new Authentic American Flavours are very exciting to me. There are five products in the range and here we have BBQ pulled chicken and Spicy Buffalo Wings. I haven’t had time to make them yet but as soon as the weather improves enough to get the grill out I’m there.
Eisberg alcohol free wine has popped up a few times in Degustabox and always goes down well at gatherings for the designated drivers and dieters. Made in the same way as your favourite wine but minus the alcohol this has only 28 calories per 125ml glass and is really quite excellent served with ice.

Berrywhite Organic Drinks have also turned up in Degustabox before and here we have an organic lemon and lime variant. Another expensive beverage at £1.39 each but 10% of the profit goes to the Berrywhite Foundation and they have no added sugar or artificial ingredients AND contain one of your five a day (oh, and it tastes really rather good!)

I’m not sure what granola has to do with BBQs but I am a fiend for granola so I was excited to see this in the box until I realised it has peanuts in which I can’t eat. Still, it sounds delicious and I’ve passed this on to my equally addicted Grandfather- I’m awaiting his verdict and will report back.
I’m also not sure what shortbread has to do with BBQ but who doesn’t love a biscuit? I’m a long term fan of Walkers shortbread and these Scottie Dogs are adorable- almost too good to eat. I could eat these all day every day if nutrition wasn’t a concern…shortbread fans seek these out!
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

end

Snacking with Dr Zak

I might not be your typical gym-going, exercise mad protein filled snack consumer but I am a serial grazer and on a mission to pack as much protein in to my diet as possible right now to help me re-build some strength. I also have a notorious sweet tooth and do have to keep an eye on how much sugar I let myself inhale in lieu of healthier options (I was that child who filled their boots on Haribo then couldn’t manage their dinner!). Therefore I was very interested when I got an e-mail from Dr Zak’s about their new range of high protein, low sugar cookies which boast an impressive 15g of protein per 60g cookie whilst keeping sugar content minimal. They very kindly sent over the range of cookies for me to try as well as some high protein clusters and I thought I’d pop up some thoughts here in case anyone else is in the same boat- or is in need of something to munch post workout.
All products c/o Dr Zak’s for blog consideration.
Kicking off with the protein clusters which I found made the perfect little snack to pack in my bag for work. These come in three flavours- chipotle chilli, fruit & yoghurt and chocolate. These 30g packs contain up to 12g of protein, are free from palm oil, made with high quality pea protein isolate and have under 130 calories per bag.

I’ll start off by saying the fruit & yoghurt variety wasn’t my cup of tea. They weren’t bad but did have that distinct “protein” taste about them and I had expected them to be much sweeter. I happily ate the pack and they certainly made for a filling snack for something so small but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have these again.

The chipotle and chocolate fared better. The chocolate were my favourite for sure, a good strong flavour and less after taste. The chipotle were also pretty good although I had hoped for a bit more heat. Again the stronger flavour of these took away the protein taste and I would pick up both of these flavours again if I saw them for sale.

The cookies also come in three flavours- salted caramel, chocolate chip and triple chocolate. These are made with high quality milk proteins and have a soft bake texture which reminded me more of a cake than a cookie. Again these are free from palm oil and contain no more than 3% of your daily sugar allowance. The 60g cookies are dense and filling but are fairly low calorie for a protein filled snack- each contains less than 220 calories for the whole cookie.

My favourite flavour was the salted caramel, hands down. This surprised me as I’m not usually a fan of this flavour at all but here it was a winner. The chocolate chip (sugar free) was a close second though and not far behind was the triple chocolate.

In short, I really enjoyed these. I gave some to my boyfriend to try and he wasn’t convinced at first but later said this is because he went in to it expecting a typical cookie- I mentioned before these have a more cake like texture and won’t compare to say, a cookie from Millie’s cookies or a bakery but in their own right they are really very good.

There are a whole host of items from Dr Zak’s I’d like to try- the peanut spread with it’s range of flavours looks especially intriguing!

Check out the website to find out your nearest stockists and if you are already familiar with the brand then please tell me which products I should be looking to try next!

end

Easter With Guylian

It’s less than one week to go until Easter (how?!) and I’ve actually done very little in the way of content around it this year for some reason. I just had to pop up a quick post about some tasty Easter treats from Guylian, a chocolate brand I generally love but for the life of me cannot pronounce the name of.
On the shelves this year you’ll find a selection of gifts that are bound to impress whilst remaining affordable- I love spoiling those around me on any holiday but don’t have £20 to spend on a luxury egg per person, so finding some cheaper but still luxurious options is a real bonus.

First up we have a box of filled mini eggs- individually wrapped in an assortment of three flavours; milk chocolate truffle, milk chocolate praline and dark chocolate praline. With an RRP of £4 these are perfect for sharing…or not.

Guylian are probably most famous for their seashell chocolates and they make a great gift year round. Comprised of roasted hazelnuts and creamy Belgian milk chocolate these will put a smile on the face of just about everyone (nut allergy sufferers aside perhaps). For those embracing the Easter theme you can find these coupled with a Belgian milk chocolate egg for a reasonable £4 or for the traditionalists a 250g box will set you back around £5.

Also on the shelves this Easter is an adorable bunny shaped box containing Guylian’s temptations in six incredible sounding flavours; original praline, milk truffle, caramel, dark praline, biscuit and latte. Again this is a very reasonable £5.

I was very kindly sent one of the Guylian milk chocolate eggs complete with seashell chocolates and despite there still being 6 days to go couldn’t resist cracking (terrible attempt at being funny there Laura) in to it. The milk chocolate egg is small but perfectly formed. It’s the kind of size where half isn’t really enough and although you kind of know you probably shouldn’t eat the whole thing at once it’s near impossible not to. Yum.

The seashells are exactly as I recall from years gone by- it’s reassuring to know that some of my favourite chocolates still taste like they should! This is a 65g box so just about enough to share out after Easter dinner. Or to sit on the sofa and eat whilst watching a feel-go film and nursing the bank holiday food baby.

All of these products are available to buy in all major supermarkets, selected independent stores nationwide and online from the Guylian website.
What’s your favourite Easter egg and/or chocolate treat?

end

The Easter Degustabox

Last week saw the arrival of Spring, apparently, and with it came the delivery of the March Degustabox*- named the Easter Box. I’m not entirely sure what made the box Easter themed as I didn’t spy a single bunny hopping about but it contained chocolate and that’s good enough for me!
This month’s product of the month were these two chocolate bars from Cadbury. I’ve gone off of Cadbury’s chocolate over the last couple of years but I was still excited by the release of these bars as they combine some of my favourite things. Initially I assumed I would like the peanut butter one the best but in reality it was a little bit of a let down (purely because it had so much potential, I was hoping to get something akin to Reeses) but the mint one is truly delicious. I love mint chocolate anyway, and the addition of the oreo pieces added a new dimension. Each bar has an RRP of £1.49- but you’ll find it on offer for around £1 in many shops right now.
What better to wash the chocolate down with than some cider? Well, not for me personally as despite my West-Country origins I’m not a cider lover. These were passed on to my Dad who dutifully tried them and approved. I don’t have the pricing or stockist information for these but if you happen to see them in the shops then they are apparently worth grabbing!
My dislike of coconut water is probably well known by now, but coconut milk I do like. This Chocolate “Mylk” from Rebel Kitchen (RRP £1.99) is delicious and has a reassuringly short ingredients list too. Probably not a direct substitute for a chocolate milkshake but a refreshing (and healthier) drink in it’s own right.
I’m not sold on the idea of “breakfast in a bottle” but did try a swig of the vanilla Weetabix on the go (£1.39). I can see where these have their place in the market and would be ideal for commuters or people who don’t like to eat first thing but I’m too dedicated to my morning porridge to ever see myself swapping. I didn’t try the protein variant (£1.99) as I don’t like the flavours but I imagine this would be ideal for busy gym-bunnies.
Nothing says Easter more than a share bag of Salt and Vinegar crisps right? These are really, really good crisps- made with good quality ingredients from named and passionate providers these really are “crisps as they should taste”- and this comes from someone who doesn’t generally like crisps. RRP £2.00 and perfect for Easter gatherings!
I’m getting really in to my cooking so it was great to see some new ingredients to play with in the box. I love the Maldon smoked sea salt flakes- they add a deeper flavour to all manner of dishes and I happen to think that they pair perfectly with fish (£1.50). The [Seriously] Good Sauce from Heinz is yet to be tried but has been earmarked for some kind of chicken dish as we’re not big fans of steak, which the jar suggests in this house. I’ll report back but I think these jars of sauce are a great size and there are some really nice sounding flavours in the range! (RRP £1.99 per jar).
A slightly random assortment in this section, first we have an organic lemon energy drink from Gusto (£1.50) which is an energising blend of lemon, guarana, ginseng and astragalus. This is an adult take on lucozade in my eyes and probably much better for you as it’s sweetened with agave nectar, apple and grape juice.
I was excited to try the new “full of super” bar from Whitworths as I love this kind of bar as a snack to keep in my work bag or when I’m out and about. This Cacao Raw Bar (£1.50) has almonds, coconut, chia seeds, golden flaxseeds, quino and acai (phew!) and are gluten free, soy free and vegetarian friendly. All that and they taste good too!
The final product in this trio was the intriguingly named “Naturelly” (£1.19) which claims to be a fun and refreshing juicy jelly snack, drink or dessert full of vitamins and with no added sugar. As curious as this product sounds I couldn’t bring myself to try it- it’s a texture thing with me, but if I do find a volunteer I’ll update this post.
If there’s one sweet I can’t resist it’s jelly beans. As soon as I saw this box of 36 flavours from The Jelly Bean Factory (£1.49 for 75g) I hid it away- there’s no way I was sharing! These have been my favourite brand of jelly beans for years, although I hadn’t had them in a while. I’m pleased to report they are as good as ever- and long gone!
Last but by no means least was a bag of chocolate eclairs from £onepounders (go on, guess the price!). I gave these to my parents to try and they raved about them. I’m not sure where you can buy these from although I’m sure I saw them in a local corner shop but dismissed them as “cheap and nasty”. Knowing now that they are cheap but certainly not nasty I’ll be seeking out more of these as well as other products from the over 65 strong range.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last few years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

end

Snacking: Quinoa Crinkles from Burts Chips

I’m going through a distinct savoury phases with my snacking at the moment. It seems to go in cycles where for a month or so all I want is biscuits (rich teas or party rings preferable) and then suddenly the need for something savoury kicks in and I become a fiend for salt. That being said, I’m not really a fan of traditional crisps- I prefer roasted chickpeas, Hippeas and Burts Chips Lentil Waves over a packet of Walkers so when Burts Chips got in touch to announce the arrival of their new “Quinoa Crinkles” and offered to send me some to try I gratefully and enthusiastically accepted.
Made with (the currently very trendy) grain Quinoa these are deemed to be a wholesome and interesting alternative to the traditional crisp and claim to combine delicious taste, a boost of fibre and top quality ingredients. Each pack comes in at around 85 calories making them perfect for anyone who is watching their weight and the Quinoa Crinkles come in two flavours- sweet pepper & chorizo and west country cream cheese.

I still can’t make up my mind on the sweet pepper and chorizo flavour. On the one hand it’s beautifully strong and definitely unique, but on the other hand my palette struggles to make sense of two such bold flavours together with the over-tone of the sweetness. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these, because I did…they just aren’t what I’m used to- but they have me wanting more which must count for something.

The West Country Cream Cheese was lovely. My experience of cheese flavoured snacks only extends to Quavers and Wotsits so I didn’t have the highest of standards for these to live up to. These are cheese snacks for adults, with a bold yet creamy cheese taste with a slight hint of onion. Out of the two these were my favourite but I’d happily buy and either either of them again. I’m also a massive fan of the Lentil Waves but in terms of flavour and texture the mighty Quinoa comes out on top.

For more information, stockists and the full nutritional breakdown pop along to the Burts Chips website.

Tell me about your favourite savoury snacks in the comments.

end

Big thanks to Burts Chips for the samples (and for setting off another snacking addiction).