Friday, 4 October 2013

Necco, the original candy wafer


These aren’t your run of the mill sweetie or should I say candy?  They’re an American offering after all.  They certainly intrigued me when I saw them sat in a random sweet shop in a random town on a road trip around the States earlier this year.  I’m a sucker for old fashioned packaging and loved the simple paper wrapper.  I purchased both the original and the chocolate roll.

They’ve been around a long time - since 1847 - that’s older than the old Victorian cottage I live in, a little piece of history.  Apparently they were originally called Hub Wafers and were invented by a chap called Oliver Chase, an English immigrant.  They became Necco a bit later on, which stands for New England Confectionary Company.  During the Civil War and World War II soldiers would carry them, I’m guessing because they’re hardy and long lasting - my packs have a best before date of two years time.  I love a product with a story and these sweets definitely have that.

Sadly though, for me, the history is the best bit about them.  It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they’re not good.  They’re a treat that I could take or leave which, for me, kinda ruins the point.  I’m sure had I grown up enjoying Necco I’d feel a bit nostalgic about them, in a similar way that here in the UK many of us still hanker over Palma Violets or Love Hearts. 

Necco, the ‘original candy wafer’ and an ‘American Classic’ are fat free and, as far as I can tell, they’re essentially sugar, little crunchy discs of sugar.  The flavours in the original pack are orange, lemon, lime, wintergreen, clove, liquorice, cinnamon and chocolate.  I didn’t particularly like 50% of them and several of the flavours taste slightly medicinal which isn’t overly appealing to me.  The fruity ones aren’t as full of flavour unfortunately as they were the only ones I could really stand.  I think if you are a fan of liquorice or cinnamon though, then you might just rather enjoy those flavours.
Anyway, as I've already suggested, they’re not really wafers as we’d know them nowadays, they’re more like sugary chalk.  It’s an unusual texture for a sweet, especially for the chocolate version; I’m not entirely convinced about powdery chocolate discs.
I’m still deliberating whether or not I actually like them and, three months on, I still have over half a pack left of each of them which probably says it all.  Still I would recommend everyone try them, they deserve that, they’ve done their time (boy, have they done their time), they’re still super popular and selling well today so they’re doing something right I guess?!  And, if you don’t like them, maybe you have a great aunt or grandparent out there who might!
If you want to read a bit more about Necco, check out their Wiki page here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Discos - KP Snacks

I may have devoured the prawn cocktail ones before photographing...

Ah, Discos.  Retro.  If ever a crisp reminded me of my childhood, this was it!  They've recently made an appearance at one of my favourite bargain stores, Home Bargains.  I have it on good authority that they're also available in other 'pound' shops.  Umm, the trusty salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and my oh my, prawn cocktail…
Crisps are my vice.  I say vice singular, that implies I only have one.  I don’t.  I have many, including  cakes, chocolates, bread, pizza…but crisps?  Well, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t eat them for some reason.  I can’t get enough of them.  I eat at least a bag a day and can easily consume a 150 gram bag in one sitting.  We do crisps so well in this part of the world, nowhere else compares in my humble opinion and I’ve tried a lot.  When I was travelling around Europe plain salted crisps were prevalent, as was paprika, and I really missed the vast array of flavours we have to offer in  this country.
Anyway, Discos contain no MSG, no artificial colours or flavours and contain less than 150 calories per 28 gram packet, so they could be worse.  The packaging’s changed a bit, I miss the old packets with the big disco glitter ball on the front, but maybe that’s just me being overly nostalgic?
The crisps haven’t really changed; they’re still perfectly round, strong flavoured with just enough crunch.  I really enjoyed every single flavour in my multipack.  The cheese and onion were full of flavour and the salt and vinegar and prawn cocktail both had that tang, that sharpness that I personally can’t get enough of.  I love any crisp that offers that simultaneous burst of heat and flavour and they certainly had that.  In fact I think that back in the day that was the point, I seem to recall some sort of focus on the hard hitting flavour?  Actually KP still describe them as having 'more bite' on the pack.
A fabulous selection.
My favourite was the prawn cocktail (that kick - wow), then the salt and vinegar and finally the cheese and onion but all three flavours were great in my opinion.  This is a relief as so often is the case with multipacks you’re left with one flavour at the end that no one in the household particularly likes.
Didn’t Discos used to do pickled onion, beef and bacon flavours too?  What are your favourites?
This pack came from Home Bargains for the incredible price of 99p for 6 packs (plus 2 free)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lindt Lindor - Coconut (Limited Edition)

I first heard about Lindor Coconut earlier this year but for some reason they’ve eluded me until now.  Imagine my excitement when I happened across them in Sainsburys.  And they had a third off!  Chocolate that’s been reduced!  Is there any greater thing in life?
I have to admit I’m a huge coconut fan and one of my favourite brands of chocolate is Lindt so I had high hopes for these new (ish) little truffle balls.  I’m yet to stumble across a Lindt Lindor I don’t like if I’m being honest.  I adore the original milk chocolate ones and had a fondness for the mint in dark chocolate version, though correct me if I’m wrong, I believe they’ve been discontinued.  Oh, it was a sad day when my local Whittard’s stopped stocking them.  I used to love the fact you could pick and mix individual balls of Lindor, do they still do that?

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  Aren't they pretty?
As ever, the balls are individually wrapped and have a luxurious quality about them, there’s something ever so decadent about Swiss Lindt chocolate. 
The chocolate coating is as gorgeous and generous as ever and the coconut interior is incredibly creamy and sweet.  I like them, I really do, but they don’t quite match up to some of their other offerings in my opinion though I can’t put my finger on why this is. Apologies!  I think it’s partly because the truffle in these is akin to a coconut flavoured white chocolate.  I’m not really a fan of white chocolate as I find it overly sweet (picky little taste buds).  Maybe they would have worked well with a dark chocolate shell to balance out the sweetness?  Still, the combination of some of the nicest chocolate I’ve ever tasted and smooth, creamy coconut works well and I polished off my share of the box pretty quickly (share being 3:1 in my favour) Would I eat them again?  Sure, without a doubt, but would I go out of my way to buy them?  No, probably not.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Haribo Mice

Another Haribo product I couldn’t resist!  This time, it’s the turn of Haribo Mice.  Look how adorable these little guys are...

I originally picked these up as they looked rather ‘marshmallowy’ and I’d hoped that the white mice might taste like milk bottles or vanilla.  In actual fact I can’t actually tell you exactly what the flavour is supposed to be, only that they are very, very sweet.  The pink and white mice tasted rather similar and a little more artificial than I’d anticipated - great for kids I imagine but I felt a little let down.  To be fair, I partly blame myself as I had built them up in my own head. 
The consistency is a little hard to describe, they’re a hybrid of gum and mallow, they’re definitely chewy!
They’re a good fun, novelty snack and if you like really sweet treats you’re on to a winner!  Plus they’re really rather cute.
I picked this bag up in Poundland for – you’ve guessed it - £1.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Stone's Ginger Joe


I’m not a huge drinker; I drink but I have one of the most delicate constitutions in history.  Ginger, apparently, settles the stomach so if I fancy a tipple I’ll often turn to ginger beer!
As appealing as they seem, I've always struggled to drink lager and cider (though I do enjoy the variety of fruit flavoured options on the market) so have welcomed the recent wave of alcoholic ginger beer.  For some reason ginger beer doesn’t upset me too much so I’m delighted.

I discovered Stone’s Ginger Joe during the summer of 2012 and instantly fell in love.  It was a hot day and I’ve always enjoyed the taste of ginger so I decided to give it a try. And WOW.  The bottle is quirky, if not a little manly; it has an orange moustache on the front and describes itself as being refreshingly feisty.  A pretty good description I’d say!
I like it on ice, though my partner drinks it straight from the bottle.  Either way, it’s a lovely spicy, refreshing drink on a hot day with that little bit of a kick you’d expect from ginger. It’s not too big, not too small, it’s just right.
I’ve managed to get most of my friends and family addicted too so I am probably deserving of some commission but hey, it’s ok, I’ll let it go as long as they keep producing one of my favourite summer drinks.
Since then I’ve tried lots of other ginger beers on the market but Ginger Joe will always have a special place in my heart.
A 330ml bottle contains 4% vol and can be found in most supermarkets for about £1.50.
Check out their website to learn a bit more about Ginger Joe and to read an entertaining little story about the ginger moustached Joseph Stone, the inspiration behind the drink.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Metcalfe's Skinny Topcorn - Sweet Cinnamon Spice


Ah ha, what a find!  An actually rather generous portion of popcorn in a snack sized bag at just 117 calories in total?  This stuff must be pretty flavourless right?  Wrong!  It’s pretty lovely stuff actually.

I’m rather enjoying this recent popcorn craze lately.  Once upon a time you could only buy salty, sweet or buttered.  Nowadays you can get a vast variety of different flavours and Metcalfe’s Topcorn is one of the leaders of the pack.

The cinnamon in this pack wasn’t too overpowering and much of the corn had a very slight little sugared glaze.  It certainly satisfied my craving for something sweet and went down very well with a cuppa.  I don’t think there was a single unpopped kernel in the entire pack either! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it again.

I haven’t found this flavour in many shops in my local city of Bristol, but managed to pick this up in Portishead’s Waitrose for around 79p.  You can often pick up Metcalfe’s Topcorn in Primark and Pret  A Manger too.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Haribo Pandas

Seriously, how could I not pick up these little guys?  Too cute!
I admit I have never quite grown out of my Haribo addiction and have no intention in doing so either. 
I was drawn to these upon a recent trip to the supermarket and quickly opened them when I got home.  The gummy panda head is vanilla flavoured and the body is blueberry.  It's the perfect combo in my mind; the sweet and the sour balance each other out very well.  Whilst they might be too sweet for some I found them incredibly moreish, in fact I rather liked to eat the head and body separately, I love the vanilla flavouring and rather enjoyed the tang of the squishy body!
I'm sure they would be even more appealing to children, and I'm even more certain I'll be picking up some more of these adorable sweets when I next see them.
I found this pack in our local Asda for the bargain price of £1.