Degustabox July 2014
After a very hectic few weeks of trips away and caring for a poorly pet rat (long story but she’s much better, thankfully!), I have finally got round to reviewing the July Degustabox! As usual, the box arrived on time, and features eight brands and a massive nineteen individual items, many of which I’d never tried before.
Degustabox did something slightly different this month and offered one box containing alcohol, and another without. I received the alcohol box, and the combined total value of the products is £22.19; a saving of almost £10.
Portlebay Popcorn (RRP £0.79 each)
Portlebay are a small company from Devon who make ‘great tasting, fun and interesting food’, including these bags of Kracklecorn artisan popcorn. I received three different flavours in the box – Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup, which unfortunately I can’t eat as it isn’t vegetarian, Chilli & Lime, and a classic sweet and salty flavour. The Chilli & Lime is particularly tasty, as the flavouring is very authentic and perfectly balanced, and is reminiscent of an Indian chutney. The bags are a good size too and provide a very generous portion – perfect for snacking, or as part of a packed lunch.
ZEO Drinks (RRP £1.29 each)
I’ve been seeing ZEO drinks around for a while now, so I was pleased to finally be able to try some. ZEO pride themselves on creating low-calorie, naturally sourced soft drinks that aren’t full of sugar, but are lightly carbonated with a hint of flavour. Again, I received three flavours in the box – Burst, Crush, and Zest. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting. The packaging and branding are very impressive, but the drink inside isn’t so much. The flavour is very subtle, so you get more of a taste of carbonated water than anything else, and it’s also quite dry. However, it does give a cooling and ‘tingling’ sensation as the packaging suggests, which is quite refreshing on a hot day. Not the best, but not awful.
Green & Black’s Lemon Bar (RRP £2.29)
I usually love Green & Black’s chocolate as it’s Fairtrade and amazing quality, but I’m in two minds about this particular bar. The chocolate contains 60% cocoa solids, so is lovely and rich, and is infused with a zesty lemon flavour. Though I like the smooth and luxurious depth of the dark chocolate, I’m just not sure about the lemon. It’s very tangy, which doesn’t seem to balance well with the bitterness of the chocolate. Rather, it makes it taste a bit sour, which isn’t really for me. I can only eat a few squares of this at a time before wrapping it back up, to the point that I still have most of the bar left, which is unusual for me! I personally think lemon flavours go better with sweeter white chocolate, but if you have less of a sweet tooth, then this may be for you.
The Berry Company Peach White Tea (RRP £1.49)
The Berry Company is a family business who produce nutritious and delicious juices and fruit flavoured teas. These new Special Teas are available in four different flavours – Green Tea with Blueberry and Aronia, Red Tea with Hibiscus and Cranberry, Black Tea with Elderflower and Lemon, and White Tea with Peach and Lemon, which is the flavour I received, and are pleasingly healthy. They’re full of antioxidants, vegan, gluten, dairy, lactose and fat-free, and contain no artificial colourings, preservatives or flavourings.
Hornsby’s Blueberry Cider (RRP £1.25 each)
Hornsby’s is one of the leading ciders in the USA, and is apparently best enjoyed straight from a chilled bottle. This is the second time the brand has been featured in Degustabox, but this month’s flavour – Blueberry – is new to me. I’m not much of a cider drinker so I’m saving these for when I fancy it, but I like blueberries so the flavour intrigues me. At 330ml the bottles are a good size, and great value at £1.25 each. Degustabox recommend adding a squeeze of fresh lemon for an added kick, which sounds great for summer.
FRANK Blueberry & Chocolate Bar (RRP £0.85)
This FRANK snack bar was my favourite item in the box this month – I wish there was more than one! I’ve really been getting into raw, healthier snacks lately, and this is honestly one of the nicest healthy bars I’ve tried. FRANK promotes ‘honest snacking’ and their bars are made with 100% natural ingredients, and are vegan, gluten and nut free, and also contain no refined sugar or dairy. This particular bar is Blueberry & Chocolate, and at first it has a slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate, but with a pleasant natural sweetness from the fruit that it contains. It also has a firm texture, offset by the smoothness of the chocolate, which gives the perfect balance of not too moist but not too dry. Overall, the bar is moreish and delicious, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for the other flavours, especially the orange one!
Dr. Oetker Violet Crystals (RRP £1.29) & Eton Mess (RRP £1.99)
Yet another offering from Dr. Oetker. That’s four boxes in a row now! Not that I mind, as I do like baking, but if it isn’t your thing then it could get quite annoying. These Violet Crystals and Eton Mess sprinkles are new to the range, and are inspired by the latest baking trends. They look absolutely fab and would give any cake the wow factor, and going on my experience of other Dr. Oetker sprinkles, I’m sure they’ll taste great too. I’ll keep you updated!
Maggi So Baked & So Juicy Sachets (Total RRP £5.54)
I was slightly disappointed when I saw these Maggi sachets in the box, as I assumed they weren’t vegetarian, but after carefully reading the ingredients I can confirm that all but the Chicken & Leek one are! I’ve used two of these so far – the Piri Piri Chicken bake, and the So Juicy Oriental Soy & Garlic Chicken, but rather than using real chicken I used Quorn fillets. The sachets are easy to use – with the bakes you basically just chop everything up and bung it in a baking tray with the spices mixed with water, and the So Juicy ones are cooked in a plastic bag that comes in the sachet. Both sachets worked really well with the Quorn, but with the So Juicy one I had to add water to the bag first, as Quorn doesn’t give off its own juices! The Piri Piri Chicken was incredibly tasty, and worked perfectly with sweet potato, red pepper and red onion, served with rice. A definite repurchase on that one.
Overall, this wasn’t my favourite Degustabox, but it was nice to try some new brands, and I’m especially glad to have discovered FRANK!
PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.
*This Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*