Wednesday, 17 December 2014

New: Tesco Spiced Pear Pies & New Products Instore


I've had my eye on these Spiced Pear Pies from Tesco for a few weeks now, they look like an interesting alternative for anyone who doesn't like traditional Mince Pies. I reviewed a similar product from Tesco last Christmas, these Apple & Cinnamon Pies


There are six pies in each pack with a fairly hefty 236 calories per serving. The spices listed in the ingredients on the back are simply "mixed spice" and flavouring. 


I'll get straight to the point with this review - I found these Spiced Pear Pies to be absolutely horrible to the point of being inedible. The pastry is fine, but the filling was unpleasantly sour. It's not just a tangy or tart filling, it was just a horrible sourness that even left a burning sensation in the throat. Also there is very little in the way of any pear flavour or spices at all. I literally had one or two bites and couldn't eat anymore. The next day I tried again but it was the same story. My husband also agreed so it's not just me. I have to question whether I actually purchased a dud pack of these, I simply can't imagine they passed any kind of quality control test! Also most of the Tesco Christmas range this year has been wonderful so I'm not sure what has happened with these Spiced Pear Pies. Sadly the rest of my pack had to be binned.

Do let me know in the comments below if you had a different experience with the Tesco Spiced Pear Pies!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Tesco Spiced Pear Pies

RATING: 3 out of 10.
Buy them again?: No!
Nutrition: 236 Calories per pie.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.75 for six pies. 


And just so I don't leave on that sour note (couldn't resist!) here's a few sweeter products that were spotted instore by reader Lucy W. Thanks for the photos Lucy!




Tesco Indian Tonic Water: Lucy bought two new varieties; Elderflower and Jasmine. These sound like really lovely combinations! £0.45p each at Tesco.




Asda Blueberry Light Soft Cheese: This is a medium fat soft cheese that is flavoured and sweetened with blueberries. I can't wait to try this for myself! £0.88p each at Asda.

If you spot any new products instore then I'd love to hear from you too - email grocerygems@gmail.com.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Walkers Market Deli Review


Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend the launch part for the new Market Deli range of potato chips from Walkers (see HERE). This whole range has been inspired by the produce found in the finest delicatessens and features authentic and all-natural flavours and ingredients. I love the fact all of the different snacks in the Market Deli range (Pita Chips, Tortilla Chips and Potato Chips) are free from artificial preservatives, colours, and MSG, whilst still being packed full of flavour.

Last week I received a lovely selection of different flavours from the Market Deli range to review; Tortilla Chips - Anglesey Sea Salt with Cracked Black Pepper, and Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato; Pita Chips -  Roasted Garlic with Mediterranean Herbs; Potato Chips - Cornish Mature Cheddar, and Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onion. 


Potato Chips - Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions: The Market Deli Potato Chips all have a great texture - they're slightly thicker than regular crisps and are very crunchy. All the flavours are well seasoned with lovely strong flavours. The Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions is one of the flavours I hadn't tried before and it's now become my favourite from this whole range. 


Chorizo is one of my best loved cooking ingredients and it's great to finally see it successfully created as a potato chip flavour. The crisps have an authentic chorizo flavour that is meaty and smokey, with a delicious garlic edge. The whole flavour is sweetened by the addition of the roasted onion which means the overall taste is not too salty or overpowering. 

Potato Chips - Cornish Mature Cheddar: I've reviewed the Cornish Mature Cheddar previously HERE, and even though a few of my family members enjoyed them and found them tasty, I thought the flavour was a bit too cheesey.


Pita Chips - Roasted Garlic with Mediterranean Herbs: Unfortunately, my parcels had been quite badly crushed in transit, and the Pita Chips bore the brunt of the damage. I managed to find a few uncrushed chips in the packaging for the photo above. Regardless, these are a very enjoyable and versatile snack. The texture of these Pita Chips is more like crackers than crisps, and paired with a strong garlicy flavour, makes these a perfect partner for hummus and other dips. 


Tortilla Chips - Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato: The Market Deli Tortilla Chips are made with a mix of corn, seeds, grains and cracked peppercorns, which gives them a lovely light texture. I've bought Market Deli Tortilla Chips before and one thing I've been impressed with is how large each tortilla chips is - they're perfect for dipping! My packs arrived quite crushed so the photo above doesn't reflect their usual large appearance. The Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato would be my pick of the flavours available. The flavour is quite mild, especially in terms of heat, but the flavours make these a great partner for all types of Mexican food. 

Tortilla Chips - Angelsey Sea Salt with Cracked Black Pepper: These tortilla chips have the same great texture as above and are robustly flavoured with lots of the cracked black pepper. I'm a fan of cracked black pepper and I was pleased to find these tortilla chips just as peppery as I was hoping. 


Overall this is a great range with lots of delicious grown up flavours to choose from. They would definitely make a welcome addition at any Christmas party! My top picks from the Market Deli range are the Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions Potato Chips, the Pita Chips with Roasted Garlic and Mediterranean Herbs, and the Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato Tortilla Chips. 

Market Deli Potato Chips, Tortilla Chips and Pita Chips are available in 165g sharing bags with a RRP of £2.39. The Potato Chips are also available in 40g single bags with a RRP of £0.83p. 


Sunday, 14 December 2014

German Grocery Exchange Part 4 - Christmas Edition!


Followers of my blog may know that I've taken part in some wonderful grocery exchanges with the lovely Steffi from Germany. You can take a look at our previous exchanges posts; the original German Grocery Exchange HERE, Part 2 HERE, and Part 3 (the World Cup Edition!) HERE. I'm delighted that Steffi and I were able to arrange another snack swap (last month), and because it was so close to December we decided to make it Christmas themed. Germany is of course famous for it's Christmas markets and traditional yuletide snacks, so I knew that this was going to be an extra special exchange. Here's a quick run down of the delicious Christmas selection that Steffi sent me:


Haribo Color-Rado Winter Edition: This is a new limited edition of the classic Color-Rado Mix from Haribo. Steffi tells me that there are lots of new flavours in this pack and helpfully provided an explanation of all the flavous listed on the back. I'll have a full review soon. There are some really interesting flavours in here - far more unusual than we get in the UK:

Heiße Zitrone  - which is a hot lemon type drink (sounds like Lemsip!)
Winter Kirshe - literally translates as winter cherry 
Bratapfel - baked apple (yum!)
Vanillekipferl - a classic German Christmas biscuit 
Karamell-Lakritz - Caramel Liquorice
Schneeflöckchen - "Little Snowflakes" (they have a sweet fruity flavour)
Bunte Elche - "Colourful Mooses" - there are different flavours including gingerbread.


Nimm2 Lachgummi: A large bag of fruity gummies. These sweets come in lots of shapes that kids can use to build faces with, and this special limited edition includes Christmas shapes too. If you look closely at the left hand lower corner of the packaging you can see a reindeer made of the fruity pieces. My boys are absolutely loving these sweets - they are so sweet and fruity and the shapes are super fun too!


Yogurette Wintertraum - Bratapfel & Zimt: Yogurette are similar to Ferrero Duplo sticks (and are also made by Ferrero), but are seen as a healthier version as they are made with yogurt flavoured fillings. In our last grocery exchange, Steffi had included the World Cup, Brazil inspired, limited edition Yogurette, which were a tasty white chocolate and lime combination (see HERE). This time there is a lovely "winter dream" edition which is Baked Apple & Cinnamon flavour - doesn't that sound gorgeous? I really wish we could get chocolates with such wonderful flavour combinations here in the UK. These are Steffi's favourites and I can see why, the sweet apple and cinnamon flavours make a delicious pairing with the tangy yogurt filling.


Haribo Weihnachtssterne (Christmas Stars): Another festive treat in the shape of these Haribo Christmas Stars. These are large foam, star shaped sweets in three flavours; cream, vanilla and caramel. The packaging looks wonderful, like a little gift, and would make a lovely stocking filler.



Heilemann Confisene Pralinés: Heilemann is a brand I've never tried before but Steffi tells me their chocolates are delicious. This Christmas selection looks beautiful in it's festive box with a little felt Christmas tree on the front. Inside there are four different chocolates; Gianduja-Nougat, Caramel Crisp, Christmas Nougat, and a marzipan. Each chocolate has a very fine appearance - I'll try to have a review of these soon.



Gewürz Mandeln (Spiced Almonds): These are spiced almonds that are coated in milk chocolate with a Gianduja nougat. The spices in these are described as being not too strong so that even children can enjoy them. These are so delicious! They have a very sweet, almost sugary, cinnamon flavour that is fantastic with the milk chocolate and the crunchy almond inside. I actually found the cinnamon quite strong but these are so sweet that it doesn't become too spicy or overpowering. It's such a simple idea but it works perfectly. And yes, my kids love them too!


Marzipan Kartoffeln: This literally means "marzipan potatoes" and these are a traditional German sweet at Christmas. Not to worry though, they are not actually potato flavoured, just super cute potato shaped marzipan treats. They remind me of potato shaped chocolates that I used to get as a child - anyone else remember those?


Printen - Aachener Schokoladen: Some more traditional treats in the form of these Printen from the German city of Aachen. Steffi gave me lots of interesting information about these which is very useful to share here. Aachen is a city close to both the Dutch and Belgian borders. These Printen are similar to gingerbread, in terms of flavour, but are a bit firmer than Lebkuchen (German gingerbread). There are chocolate coated or plain versions available, and they are described as "spiced cakes" on the packaging but Steffi says that doesn't do them justice. This is one of the treats that I'm saving for Christmas!


Gesüllte Lebkuchenherzen (Filled Gingerbread Hearts): Another traditional treat that I'm saving for Christmas itself are these filled gingerbread hearts. They are coated in dark chocolate and have an apricot jam filling. These are made by a company called Lambertz who are well known for their biscuits. I think they sound really delicious and I'm looking forward to giving these Lebkuchenherzen a try.


Butter Spekulatius: "Spekulatius" is the German version of the speculoos biscuits. There are two kinds available in Germany; Butter or Gewürz (spiced). I have to admit these delicious buttery biscuits were the first to disappear when I opened the parcel from Steffi - everyone wanted to give them a try!



Ritter Sport Winter Editions 2014: Ritter Sport is one of my favourite German chocolate brands and Steffi very kindly included lots of mini sizes of the three new Winter Edition flavours. There is Kaffee & Nuss (Coffee & Hazelnuts - reviewed HERE), Gebrante Mandel (Caramelised Almonds - reviewed HERE), and Vanille Kipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookie). These mini sizes are adorable!


Ritter Sport Schokowürfel: Steffi tells me this is not a Christmas related product but she had to include it in her parcel because it's new - thank you Steffi! Each selection box is filled with individually wrapped segments of Ritter Sport chocolate. There are three flavours that are all covered in white chocolate; Latte Macchiato, Nut-Almond-Brittle, and Caramel Nut. I love that fact that all the chocolates here are white chocolates - it's such a super sweet collection! Full review coming soon.

I will update here with a photo of the parcel that I sent Steffi in return (once I know she's received it as I don't want to spoil the surprise!). Once it's up I will put "updated" in the title of this post.

In the meantime, I want to send a huge THANK YOU to Steffi for such a special festive Grocery Exchange. I've always wanted to visit Germany at Christmastime (especially for their world famous Christmas markets) and I'm delighted to have so many lovely German Christmas treats to try this year.

Let me know in the comments below if you would like to see any specific reviews for the products above or which one you would like to review first! :)

Nib Nibs Review & Competition!


Nib Nibs are an award winning range of premium snacks made in North Yorkshire that contain all natural flavours and hand picked ingredients from British suppliers. I was lucky enough to be sent some products from the Nib Nibs range to review, including their finest Cheddar Cheese Straws and Mini Cheese Straws tubs, and I'm delighted that they are also offering one of my readers the chance to win a selection of Nib Nibs - see the end of this post for how to enter! 


The tubs of Mini Cheese Straws comes in three flavours; Exceptional Cheddar Cheese, Exceptional Cheddar & Spicy Chilli, and Exceptional Cheddar & Cheeky Onion Straws. I had to start with the latter flavour as cheese and onion is one of my favourite savoury snack combinations. Each tub has a pull-back foil lid for freshness, and the the outer lid means these are easily resealable which is a bonus. I was also pleased to see that inside, the tub was filled to the top with snacks - no half empty pots here! The flavours here are all full on and utterly delicious, I don't think they could have added any more cheese and butter into each bite! The ingredients are all fantastic and the result is a surprisingly tasty snack. 


The Exceptional Cheddar & Spicy Chilli mini cheese straws also have the same base ingredients of wheat flour from Yorkshire Mills, mature British cheddar, and British butter. The addition of chilli powder and paprika powder gives these a real kick of heat towards the end of each bite. They really do deliver on the promise of a spicy chilli flavour and would make a great snack for any chilli lover out there! The larger Cheddar Cheese Straws and the tubs of Mini Cheddar Cheese Straws are also perfect snacks and manage to recreate the delicious flavour of a freshly baked cheese straw in a handy snack. I was really impressed by the overall quality of all the products here and I can easily see why they have won awards for their great taste. 

If you would like to try these artisan baked nibbles from Yorkshire yourself then check out their local stockists HERE. Don't forget to enter the competition below too! 


Competition!

I'm delighted that Nib Nibs have offered my readers the chance to WIN a selection of their delicious snacks. Nib Nibs are a range of bite sized snacks produced in North Yorkshire with the finest ingredients to create a truly local and artisan product. 

WIN A SELECTION OF NIB NIBS

HOW TO ENTER
  • Simply fill in the Rafflecopter entry form below to verify your entries (refresh page if not showing)
  • Competition open to UK residents only
  • Closing date 6th January 2015.
  • Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 12 December 2014

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Gingerbread Chocolate Spread


If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know that I'm a fan of the growing popularity of gingerbread inspired products this Christmas. On a recent visit to Hotel Chocolat I discovered that they had a few gingerbread treats available this year too. The most appealing of which was this Limited Edition Christmas Chocolate Spread - it's described as a warming blend of a 50% milk chocolate hazelnut praline spread, and gingerbread spices. 


Each pot is 150g which Hotel Chocolat estimate provides 10 servings. The ingredients give a lovely festive twist to the classic hazelnut chocolate spread and include; 50% minimum cocoa solids milk chocolate, hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and and ginger powder. 


The Hotel Chocolat Gingerbread Chocolate Spread has quite a thick texture, but it's refreshing to see a chocolate spread that is not all slick and greasy. I decided to try the Christmas spread on a croissant and, despite the slightly dense texture, it was still easy to spread. I haven't actually tried a Hotel Chocolat chocolate spread before, and I found the base chocolate flavour here incredibly rich and intense, without being too sweet or too bitter. It's clearly a high quality chocolate being used and it makes all the difference to the base flavour. The added gingerbread spices are robust and complex, adding a lovely depth of warming flavours to the indulgent hazelnut chocolate, especially from the ginger and cinnamon. A little goes a long way with this spread, as the spiced flavours are all quite strong, and I'm sure I will get more than 10 servings from one pot. It's a real festive treat and I think it would make a unique gift for anyone who's a fan of gingerbread and Christmas spices. 


I actually bought this Christmas chocolate spread as part of a gingerbread themed hamper that I made for Mr. Grocery Gems' birthday this week. Aswell as some gingerbread coffee syrup and gingerbread cakes, I also included the Hotel Chocolat Christmas Drinking Chocolate with Gingerbread Spice and a pack of the Hotel Chocolat Gingerbread Chocolate Truffles. It's an expensive selection but well worth it in my opinion for a special present. We haven't had a chance to try the Hotel Chocolat Christmas Drinking Chocolate or Gingerbread Truffles yet, but do leave a comments below if you would like me to review those too. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolate Spread

RATING: 10 out of 10 - a gorgeous blend of high quality chocolate and warming spice.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Hotel Chocolat.
Price: £6.00p.

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