April 28th: Bits & Bobs: New UK Misc Products - April 2012

There have been an tremendous amount of new products released by some of the big brand names already this year. Some of them I've found in my local supermarkets .... others I've sourced from different corners of the globe :-D ... take a look at what I made of them:
Marks & Spencer Percy in the Pink
Kcal 20 Fat 1.2g Fat(sats) 0.7g Carbs 2.4g (per 4.0g pig)

I never hide the fact that I'm a big M&S food fan and I don't think there is a person out there who doesn't have a little soft spot for their iconic Percy Pigs. Since the creation of the first gummy sweets in the mid nineties the range has grown considerably - our pink little chum even has his own wikipedia page - See HERE. You can correct me on twitter if I'm wrong here, but I believe 2012 is the first time that Percy Pig has come in chocolate form. Although I didn't quite get around to reviewing it this year, Percy even got his own chocolate Easter egg (See HERE) - This I believe was the brands debut in chocolate form. Well a few weeks on we now have these 'Percy in the Pink' pigs - 'white chocolate with dried raspberry and strawberry concentrates'. Priced at just shy of £1.00 these small pink coloured pig shapes came in a 90.0g bag baring the familiar Percy branding. Opening up the bag the first thing that struck me was how these smelt EXACTLY like the Percy gummy sweets - no difference whatsoever with the fruity, candy floss like sweet scents forthcoming. That word 'sweet' was a word I was desperate not to use up until describing the taste as there is genuinely nothing else that I can use to describe it better. Indeed these were as sweet as any chocolate I've ever tasted in my lifetime. Sugary doesn't begin to describe these - yes there were red berry fruit elements underlying but there was no getting away from the sugar - after just a mouthful I could feel my throat burning up and my teeth crying for help. I think you all know that this sort of chocolate isn't what I like so take from this what you will. I wont be buying these again but I'll take the inevitable backlash from the Percy Pig cult following with good jest :D

 5.2 out of 10

McVitie's Jamaica Ginger Cake BarKcal 111 Fat 5.9g Fat(sats) 2.9g Carbs 13.5g (per cake bar)

Although I could name a handful of different cake varieties that I would choose to have before ginger, the McVitie's Jamaica Ginger Cake Loaf is one often spotted in our tea room at the office. Normally I would say that flavours like Carrot, Lemon Drizzle or Coffee offer more excitement, but these new Jamaica Ginger Cake Bars sounded like they had more to them with the addition of a chocolate cream layer and outer coating of milk chocolate. These bars came in pack of six that I picked up from my local Sainsbury's on one of the infamous £1.00 introductory deals. Out their very cool looking retro wrappers, the bars looked no different to any other cake bar I've seen before. That said the gingery smells were indicative of the cake at hand and it set expectations well for the taste. The gingeryness from the cake was the main flavour focus, though the additional chocolate elements weren't lost and I liked how they set an initial milky sweetness to it all before the more spicy cake came in to play. The chocolate cream layer was certainly a nice addition and it's light texture meant it provided a nice texture contrast. I wouldn't rush out to buy these again but at I did enjoy these a lot more than I thought I would.

8.0 out of 10

Kinder Pingui CoccoKcal 143 Fat 9.8g Fat(sats) 6.5g Carbs 11.6g

Back last July I posted some reviews of some Kinder cakes that I found in one of the local shops near where I lived. One of these products was the Kinder Pingui Chocco (See HERE), and it was a cake that received a well deserved endorsement along the lines of this: 'Although light and mousse-like in texture, the cream itself still managed to establish a pleasant fresh dairy cream taste that left me wanting more'.Well 9 or so months on I found myself confronted by a coconut variation of the aforementioned Chocco original. The cake, again originating from Poland, was branded and detailed on the wrapper all in Polish - DOH!That said the coconut content was instantly recogniseable thanks to the on-pack pictures and gorgeous coconutty scents that emerged once opened. To keep this short and sweet I can best sum up the taste experience by saying that it was utterly delicious. The chocolate coating was short lived due to it's thinness, however it still managed to establish the cocoa before the creamy coconut flavours swept in and took hold of the taste. Much like I concluded about the Chocco version this was again frustratingly non-fulfilling, but taste wise I couldn't have asked for more from something that cost just over £0.40. If you like your coconut flavoured confectionery you should be very interested in trying one of these.

7.7 out of 10

Aero Bubbles OrangeKcal 146 Fat 8.1g Fat(sats) 4.6g Carbs 16.3g (per 9 sweets)

If I was given a pound (rather than having to spend one :D haha) for every 'NEW' Nestle Aero product I've reviewed this year I would be a rich, rich man! Ok, ok ... I'm exaggerating, but I would still be around £10-£15 pounds better off :D Yes indeed the sheer quantity of 'New' Aero products this year has been rather incredible, though if I had the motivation to list them all out it would soon become apparent that 90.0% of them have been just new varieties and formats for the already existing flavours (see them all by looking under the Nestle tag HERE). What my long winded (but relevant!!) introduction here is leading me on to, are my thoughts on these Aero Bubbles Orange - yes yet another reformatting of an existing Aero product. I bought this 80.0g bag in my local newsagent priced at £1.00 - a 20.0g smaller product when you compare it to what the same money buys you for the chocolate in it's bar form (See HERE). Whilst I will complain about the value for money, I will be more positive on the taste which I found a little more manageable in terms of it's sweetness with the smaller sized Bubble pieces vs the blocks of the bar. The orange flavours were still a little artificial and the milk chocolate a little generic but I was never expectant of anything else. This experience with Aero Orange was a little more favourable but I will still stick with Terry's Chocolate Orange for my cheap chocolate orange thrills.

7.3 out of 10

Nestle Snack Milkybar
Kcal 185 Fat 11.6g Carbs 17.6g (per bar)

This was a bar I found in a local paper shop near where I live and appears to be a bar produced by Nestle Polska i.e. Nestle Poland. From the wrapper, displaying Polish language of course, I could determine that this was a wafer based snack with a Milkybar coating. The best translation of the on-pack descriptor would have me guessing something along the lines of 'crispy wafer layers filled with milk creme and a white chocolate coating' - a proposition in my eyes that had potential if done well. At just £0.50 for the 33.0g bar I had little to lose anyway, so I parted with the change in my pocket and gave one a try. Sensing this might be one of those very sweet Nestle white chocolate experiences I decided to eat this in compliment to a strong brew black coffee that I brewed up mid-morning. The pairing of the two was a good match, and I especially enjoyed the times I dunked the sweet wafer into the bitter roasted bean coffee. In terms of what to expect here you can probably predetermine what I'm going to say. The experience altogether was nothing groundbreaking or special but the combination of the crisp wafer, sugary chocolate and creamy inner creme made for a nice enough snack. Given the product name I feel anything other than a 'thumbs-in-the middle' to 'thumbs-up' would be being harsh.

7.5 out of 10

Meiji Chocolat de Tomato
Kcal 175 Fat 11.7g Carbs 15.8g (per 30.0g serving)

As I mentioned in my opening paragraph the products featured today have come from all over the globe and this particular one was sent to me by friend Peter @Jlist (See Twitter HERE). Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time will be aware that Peter is an American expat who runs the company J-List out in Japan. Peter has very kindly been providing me with Japanese snack products for many years now, check the archives here to see the mad stuff he has sent previously (HERE). Whilst a fair few of the products he has had me review before have been pretty crazy, wasabi, green tea ... you name it!? What he has never sent me was anything to do with tomatoes and chocolate :-D ... well until last week of course! Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Meiji Chocolat de Tomato - a product described as 'a delightful combination of the flavour of tomatoes and chocolate'. Being the silly soul I am I was keen to give this a try and I wasn't exactly perturbed by the attractive job Meiji did with the packaging. The first warning signs however came when I undid the first of the lovely little red wrappers - the savoury vegetable smells felt instantly out of context for what I was prepared for - they just smelt wrong and not sweet like chocolate should do. Against my better judgement I tasted a fair few of the sticks - every time trying to convince myself I would 'get used' to the flavours presented to me. Unfortunately, I could just never come to terms with the savoury nature of the taste. The white chocolate basis to each mouthful gave a sweet context, but at the melt progressed the flavour development took more of a savoury, earth vegetable route that felt against what I desired from a chocolate snack. These were by no means 'spit out the mouth' repulsive or anything along those lines, but they just didn't fundamentally taste that pleasurable. Trying them to say I tasted tomatoe flavoured chocolate was worth it, though I wouldn't ever have them again.

4.9 out of 10