22 Jun 2016

Review: CaféPod Coffee Pods (Nespresso Compatible) & 20% Discount Code


I reviewed the CaféPod range of capsules in 2014 (see review HERE) but earlier this year they've undergone a rebrand and redesign. Not only are the innovative boxes much sleeker but more importantly there is now more coffee per pod and stronger flavours overall. 

Discount Code

GROCERYGEMS20


If you haven't given CaféPod a try before or haven't tried their coffee for awhile then it might be time to rediscover the range. CaféPod have offered my readers 20% off any coffee purchase for first time customers, excluding subscription. It's valid until 30th September, with one use per customer. 
Just use the code GROCERYGEMS20 at the checkout.



I was sent four CaféPod varieties to try out; two from their Single Origins range, Sumatra and Colombia, and two of their strongest blends, the Ristretto and the Supercharger. I did find that all the blends were much stronger than the first time I tried this range. I also preferred the new box design. They're about half the size of the previous boxes so are much easier to stores. I also liked the easy-open design and dispenser.


CaféPod Colombia: This was one of my favourites of the four. It produced a wonderfully thick crema on top of each cup of coffee. The flavour is satisfyingly strong but with a silky smooth blend which is just how I like my coffee. 

CaféPod Sumatra: The Sumatra blend is even stronger than the Colombia but still without any bitterness. The crema was not as thick but the overall flavour was robust and rich. It's smooth enough to enjoy with or without milk and I didn't need to add any extra hot water.


I was excited to try out the new updated CaféPod Ristretto and also the awesome looking Supercharger. I love the bright orange box with the battery charger symbols on the back - exactly what I need in the morning! 


CaféPod Ristretto: I enjoyed the previous CaféPod Ristretto but I have to admit that this one is definitely stronger. It has a full bodied flavour and I prefer it with the addition of milk. It's also great as a base for lattes.

CaféPod Supercharger: This is the newest addition to the CaféPod range and their first capsule with a 12 intensity. Funnily enough I actually found this blend to have a smoother and more mellow flavour than some of the others. It definitely has an intense coffee kick but the overall flavour is lovely and smooth. I usually find the higher intensity Nespresso pods too intense and bitter for me but that's not the case here.


Overall, I was really impressed with the improvements to the CaféPod range. I didn't find any of their coffees to be weak tasting (which I did for a few of them last time). It's definitely worth a try for anyone who loves coffee - there's a great Taster Pack on their website which includes eight different blends. 

I used a Nespresso Inissia machine (the type with a lever that is pushed down) for this review and tried each coffee with and without milk (just a very small amount of almond milk).

PR Samples. 


21 Jun 2016

Review: New Kellogg's Special K Nourish


Special K Nourish cereal is a nutritious combination of multigrain flakes, wheat bran flakes, clusters and seeds. There are three flavours available; Nourish Dark Chocolate & Coconut, Nourish Dark Berries (Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries & Redcurrants) and Nourish Nuts & Seeds (Hazelnuts, Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds). The Special K Nourish range is also high in fibre (6g per 100g) and is a source of Vitamin D and Vitamin B2.


Special K Nourish Dark Berries: This is the flavour that appeals to me the most and the one that I would normally choose for myself. It's a fruity combination of freeze dried blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants with oat, rye and seed clusters and multigrain flakes. There is a generous amount of fruit pieces within the cereal which add a tart fruity flavour. The oat & seed clusters are not as plentiful but do add flavour without being excessively sweet. Overall, this cereal is quite similar to my favourite Special K Berries but the added clusters and seeds provide an extra boost of flavour. 


Special K Nourish Dark Chocolate & Coconut: This was my favourite flavour of the three. I wouldn't normally go for a chocolatey cereal but the combination with the crispy coconut pieces is really delicious. The dark chocolate curls are not too sweet but add a lovely hit of flavour to each bite. The coconut and chocolate work well with the crispy clusters which are made with wholegrain grains such as oats, wholewheat rice and barley and also linseeds and sunflower seeds. 


Special K Nourish Nuts & Seeds: This is a combination of hazelnuts almonds and pumpkin seeds with crisp flakes and clusters. There's a good amount of small toasted almond pieces and sunflower seeds within the cereal which taste delicious with the wheat bran flakes and the sweet multigrain flakes. There didn't seem to be as many hazelnuts (unless they have all fallen to the bottom of the pack) and I would have preferred a few more, but I still really enjoyed their crunchy texture and nutty flavour. 

Overall this is a tasty range from Kellogg's Special K. The addition of bran flakes alongside the multigrain Special K flakes makes it extra appealing. It's a nice alternative to regular bran flakes rather than as a replacement for granolas etc. There are more flakes than the 'added' ingredients so this is really for people who enjoy bran flakes rather than super sweet or heavy cereals. The range of flavours is great too: I especially enjoyed the fruity and chocolatey varieties whilst Mr. GG preferred the nutty, seed combination.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Special K Nourish

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Vegetarian: Yes.
Calories (per 40g serving): Berries - 150; Chocolate - 160, Nuts - 162. 

PR Samples. 


16 Jun 2016

Degustabox May Box Review & £6 Discount Code


The May Degustabox was a real treat and absolutely packed full with a varied mix of surprise foodie products, including some perfect picks for barbecues and warmer days (which we're sure to get eventually, right?). 

Degustabox is a subscription service that promises to send out a big box filled with a surprise selection of groceries each month. Each Degustabox costs £12.99p but you can still get £6.00p off using the discount code below. Delivery costs are included in the price and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time.

£6 Discount Code: BLDEG15


Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with a massive £6.00 off, bringing the cost to £6.99 delivered. Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the discount code: BLDEG15


Here's a quick round up of all the products I received in May's Degustabox:


Pomegreat: Made only using the Wonderful variety of pomegranates grown in Californian orchards, Pomegreat is a gorgeously sweet and refreshing juice. It's bursting with unique flavour and everyone in the family enjoyed this tasty juice.


Cranes: This is a 4% alcoholic drink that is brewed from crushed cranberries and flavoured with added juice. It's available in three fruit flavours: Original Cranberry, Raspberry & Pomegranate, and Strawberry & Kiwi. Cranes is  made with 100% natural ingredients and is high in juice and low in calories (99 calories). The combinations are light and fruity with a refreshing edge. 


Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Barbecue Glaze: Barbecues are very popular in the Grocery Gems household at this time of year and this Jack Daniels glaze is exactly the kind of product that Mr. GG likes to stock up on! The sweet and sticky glaze can be used on ribs and chicken wings or even used as a dip for wedges and veggies. We used it to marinade some chicken wings and they were absolutely full of flavour and delicious.


Beloved Dates: This Date nectar is made from 100% pure dates and nothing else. It's described as perfect as a topping on porridge, pancakes or as an alternative to sugar in home baking. The flavour is quite rich with a burnt sugar type caramel taste. I've enjoyed it on porridge, although a little goes a long way as it's quite sweet. I have the Deliciously Ella cook book and she uses a lot of dates in her recipes so I'm planning to try this Date Nectar out as a replacement.


Mrs Crimble's Gluten Free Classic Madeleine: I was so excited to find these included in the Degustabox. Not only are they gluten free but they're also free of milk ingredients or butter, which is perfect for me.


There are six individually wrapped cakes in each pack, which is ideal for freshness, but I have to be honest these didn't last very long! Each cake has a light and slightly crumbly texture with all the classic vanilla flavour of a traditional Madeleine cake. Apparently these are stocked at Tesco and I'll be adding these to my online orders in future. Perfect with a good cup of coffee.


Get Fruity: These bars contain lots of fruit mixed with gluten free oats and virgin coconut oil with no added refined sugars. They're suitable for vegans and also count towards your five a day. I don't think I've ever tried a fruit bar exactly like this one. The combination of the strong strawberry flavour with the softly chewy oats is absolutely delicious. It's essentially an extra fruity flapjack and I just loved it. I highly recommend trying to track these down and it's easy to see why this is an award-winning product.


The Wonderful Company: There were two snack packs including in the May Degustabox; Pistachios and Almonds. Both types of nuts are sun-ripened in Californian orchards which apparently gives then a high quality taste. They're certainly full of flavour with a lovely, crunchy texture. 


Garofalo Bucati Corti: I've been a fan of Garofalo pasta ever since I tried it in a previous Degustabox and I always add a few packs with any Ocado order. It seems that not all pastas are created equally as this one has a superior flavour and texture compared to my usual supermarket brands of pasta. The Garofalo Bucati Corti has a springy corkscrew shape when cooked which my kids just loved!


Brioche Pasquier: This is the Degustabox Product of the Month. These croissants are free from preservatives, hydrogenated fats and artificial colours. It might not look like the most exciting product but these croissants are wrapped in pairs which means they stay fresher for longer and are perfect for lunch boxes. I've been looking for something like this for ages so thank you Brioche Pasquier!


Kallø: Another great product for on the go snacking are these rice and corn cakes from Kallø. The Yogurt Coated Rice Cakes are made with wholegrain brown rice and coated in a sweet yogurt layer. The Belgian Milk Chocolate corn cakes are coeliac friendly and contain 78 calories per corn cake. These are very satisfying as a sweet treat and I enjoyed the lighter texture and flavours. 


Overall I was really impressed with the selection in the May Degustabox. It's hard to pick the favourites this month as I loved all the products but the highlights are the Get Fruity bar, Brioche Pasquier, and Mrs Crimbles cakes.  If you're a subscriber then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox selection in the comments below.

For more details on Degustabox:

Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DegustaboxUK
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DegustaboxUK

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

14 Jun 2016

Review: Valsoia Gelato Ice Cream Sandwich (Vegan)


Ocado has recently started stocking Valsoia products which offer a range of vegan ice creams and frozen products from Italy. There is a vegan pizza, a vegan Nutella-style hazelnut spread and several different ice creams available. I decided to add the Valsoia Ice Cream Sandwich to a recent Ocado order just to test out the range.



There are eight ice cream sandwiches in the box and each one is individually wrapped. The ice creams all look very impressive, they're a decent size, with a golden biscuit outer and separate halves of chocolate and vanilla ice creams within. The biscuit layers are very soft and easy to eat with a lovely rich flavour. The ice cream is also very flavourful with a surprisingly creamy texture. The vanilla side is super sweet whilst the chocolate ice cream has a richer, darker flavour. I loved the combination of biscuit and ice cream here and the flavours are all spot on. These are perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike.

I also tried one of the Valsoia Magnum-style ice creams (no photos sorry - but see Ocado HERE) and although I enjoyed the dark chocolate flavour and creamy ice cream, I found the chocolate coating to be very brittle which made it quite difficult to eat. I'll definitely be sticking with the Valsoia Gelato Sandwiches but I'm also keen to try more from this range.

Grocery Gems Review: Valsoia Gelato Sandwiches

Rating: 9 out of 10.
Buy it again: Yes.
Purchased: Ocado.
Price: £2.69p for 8.


18 May 2016

Snack & Shopping Haul from Cartagena, Colombia


A family friend recently visited the beautiful city of Cartagena in Colombia. Luckily for me they also brought back an impressive array of treats for everyone. Apparently there were lots of grocery stores and supermarkets dotted around so it was easy enough to pick up Colombian brands. I must admit that when I go abroad this is one of the things I find most interesting and I always bring back a few groceries!  


Juan Valdez Vanicanela & Chocolate Café Colombiano: Colombia is famous for it's coffee production but I hadn't actually heard of this brand before. Juan Valdez is actually a popular coffeehouse chain in Colombia and I was lucky enough to try out a few of their flavoured instant coffees, a Chocolate flavour and the Vanicanela which is a blend of vanilla and cinnamon. These coffees are both absolutely delicious with natural flavours rather than being too artificial or overpowering. The Vanicanela is gorgeous with a delicate vanilla flavour and a hint of authentic cinnamon. The Chocolate flavoured coffee is delicious too, so smooth and a perfect balance of flavours without being too sweet. 

Juan Valdez Cafés de Origen Gourmet Selection: I also received this lovely ground coffee gift set featuring gourmet coffees from different regions of Colombia. We've been making these in a cafetiere each morning and they really provide a great kickstart to our day! All the varieties we've tried so far have created a smooth tasting, perfect cup of coffee.


Jet Chocolate: Jet is the most popular candy bar in Colombia and was apparently easy to find in a small supermarket near the hotel that my friend stayed in. They brought back two varieties, the original milk chocolate and a new Cookies & Cream version. The milk chocolate Jet was not really edible as the chocolate itself had a sour 'off' flavour. I'm not sure if this was because it had suffered some heat damage or if it's just too similar to Hershey's for my taste. In contrast, the Jet Cookies & Cream is a white chocolate and Oreo-type cookie confection that was much tastier and enjoyed by all.


Plantain Chips: I've always been a fan of plantain chips (see my reviews HERE and HERE) and these two are no exception. The NatuChips Platano Maduro had a lovely golden colour and rich fried flavour with a hint of salt, whilst the Turbana Chips had a delicious hint of Lime for added flavour.


NatuChips Yuca: Fried yuca is apparently popular in Latin American as a side dish and snack food. It's said to be a creamier and sweeter alternative to fried potatoes. I haven't had a chance to try this chip snack version yet but I'm really intrigued to try them - I'll update soon! 


Kellogg's Cinnabon: The supermarkets in Cartagena also had a lot of American groceries at very reasonable prices. I've been wanting to try this Kellogg's Cinnamon cereal for ages and it's impossible to get hold of in the UK (at least without paying a small fortune!). As a cinnamon fan, I really enjoyed this cereal and I wish Kellogg's would release it here too.


Wayuu Mochila Bags: Not food related, but you really can't go to Cartagena without buying one of the stunning handmade Wayuu bags - the more colourful and patterned the better! I also have one in black with a colourful strap that I wear more often, but this neon bright one just makes me happy to look at it!

I hope you enjoyed this Colombian shopping haul. A massive thank you to my lovely friend for utterly spoiling us all with these treats! 

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