Posts tagged Cider

Winter Degustabox 2014


It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Degustabox, so today I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the Winter edition.

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The Winter Degustabox, received in November, included eight brands, and fifteen individual items, with a combined value of £20.94.  Each Degustabox costs £12.99, so this one saves you almost £8.00.

Lindt My Melting Moment (RRP £0.65 each)

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Once again I was pleased to see a Lindt Lindor treat in the box, this time in the form of five Melting Moments.  As usual, they taste delicious, are a good size, and have the same smooth and creamy texture that I love from Lindor.  They look great too, with a lovely snowflake shape and pattern.  One thing disappoints me though…  Considering this is a Christmas treat, I would have liked to see Lindor incorporate a festive flavour.  Ginger perhaps, or cinnamon, or even mincemeat!

Kent’s Kitchen BBQ Flavour Shots (RRP £1.85)

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These BBQ Flavour Shots by Kent’s Kitchen are one of my favourite items in the box this month.  The pack consists of four little pots of concentrated seasoning, which just needs to be stirred into meat a minute or two before serving.  I’ve used a couple of these so far, both with Quorn fillets, served them with rice, kidney beans and veg, and they are delicious.  The BBQ seasoning is intense, with a smoky but sweet flavour.  They make for such a quick and easy meal too, which is just what I want after a long day at work.  At £1.85 I’d definitely buy these again, and I’d like to try the other flavours too.

Cool Dawn Recovery Drinks (RRP £1.49 each)

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I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t actually tried these Cool Dawn Recovery drinks.  They’re herbal detox drinks which are supposed to prevent and cure hangovers, by drinking one before bed, and one in the morning.  They aren’t carbonated, and contain no stimulant ingredients, and though the citrus and liquorice flavour sounds intriguing, I’m not sure it’s a combination I’d enjoy the morning after a night of drinking!

Montano Cider (RRP £2.79)

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Montano Cider is an Italian cider made from apples grown in the foothills of the dolomites.  Apparently, ‘these orchards are the highest in Europe enjoying fresh mountain air and over 300 days of sunshine each year.  The result is a golden, elegantly sparkling, medium-dry cider with a refreshing, crisp finish’.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  I’m not the biggest fan of cider, but this one sounds that little bit more refined, so I may give it a go when the time is right.

Kettle Salsa & Mesquite Chips (RRP £2.19)

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Kettle reintroduced two old favourites as a limited edition over Christmas – Stilton & Port, and Salsa & Mesquite, which is the flavour I received in my box.  This was one of the original Kettle flavours way back in 1988, so it was nice to try a blast from the past.  As you’d expect from Kettle, the chips themselves are thickly cut, pleasantly crunchy, and the flavour is strong.  The salsa flavour shines through, and tastes very authentic, which makes these crisps oddly refreshing, if that’s even possible!

Pip Organic Cloudy Apple Juice (RRP £1.50 each)

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Pip Organic is a family run company based in London, which specialises in organic juices and smoothies.  In my box I received two small bottles of Cloudy Apple juice, which are the perfect size for lunch boxes.  The juice is made from 100% fruit, with no added sugar, water, preservatives or additives, and it shows.  The juice is thick, and has the sweet, sharp flavour that you get when eating an apple – very different to your bog standard supermarket juice.  However, at £1.50 for a small bottle, they seem rather expensive, and I’m not sure I’d pay that myself.

Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney (RRP £1.50)

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I planned on saving this new Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney for Christmas, but I ended up using it for packed lunches instead.  The chutney has a lovely sweetness to it that goes well with a variety of cheeses.  I tried it with a subtle, creamy Double Gloucester, and a strong, sharp Cheddar, and it complimented both.  I have plans for this chutney as I want to use it in tartlets with goats cheese, so check back in the future for a recipe post!

Holy Cow! Curry Sauces (RRP £1.69 each)

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Last but not least I received two Holy Cow! Curry Sauces – a Mughlai Korma, and a Madras Chettinad.  I’m yet to use the Korma, but I tried the Madras and it was incredibly tasty.  The sauce has a tomato base, but it’s the coconut, curry leaves and fenugreek that gives it a unique flavour.  The sauce is very hot, but the combination of the Indian spices with the coconut is out of this world.  It’s really easy to use too – just snip open the packet and pour into the pan with your meat and veg a few minutes before serving!

Overall, the Winter box is another impressive offering from Degustabox.  If you’d like to try Degustabox yourself, you can get £3.00 off your first box using the code ‘XI4CK‘.

Check back soon for my review of the December Degustabox!

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Winter Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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!

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go yourself, you can get a £3 discount by entering code R9CPO at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

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.*


Degustabox May 2014


I’m a little bit late with it this month, but here is my review of the May Degustabox, which unlike this post arrived on time towards the end of last month! The May box was a lot more savoury than April’s, but it contained some really lovely stuff, most of which I’d never tried before.



May’s Degustabox contains ten brands, and thirteen individual items, with a total value of £21.46. However, the box costs just £12.99, so you’re making a pretty big saving whilst getting to try some new, exciting foods! Here are my thoughts on each item…

Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Drink (RRP £1.00)


Cawston Press featured in April’s Degustabox with their Rhubarb and Apple drink, which was absolutely gorgeous, so I was happy to find another offering from them in the May box.  Like the Rhubarb drink, this Cloudy Apple version contains no preservatives, additives or artificial sweeteners, and is made from fruit juice combined with sparkling water.  The drink isn’t overly sweet, rather, it has a slightly sour tang, but it’s nice.  I don’t like it as much as the rhubarb flavour, but I’d still have it again as it’s lovely and refreshing when chilled.

Taylors of Harrogate Blackberry & Elderflower Tea (RRP £2.99)


I really enjoy trying new teas and infusions, so this was another addition to the box that I was happy to see.  Taylors of Harrogate have a range of teas created in partnership with experts at Kew Gardens in London, and this Blackberry & Elderflower blend is one of them.  The box contains twenty individually wrapped tea bags, so they’re ideal for popping in your bag when travelling, or going to work.  The flavour mix is really pleasant, offering a kick of blackberry with a subtle aftertaste of elderflower.  Perfect for summer when you fancy something light, rather than a big mug of breakfast tea with milk.

Raw Energy Chewing Gum (RRP £0.99 per box)


Raw is a sugar-free gum, which contains taurine and vitamin B, to give you a boost of energy on the go.  I absolutely hate energy drinks, especially those containing taurine as it makes me feel funny, so when I saw that these were basically a condensed version of an energy drink I was quite worried.  However, I decided to give them a go anyway.  They smell like Red Bull (yuck), but they taste slightly fruity (although that energy drink flavour is there too…), but to be honest they’re not that bad.  They keep their chewy consistency for a long time, and they didn’t make me feel any different despite the taurine.  That, for me, is a bonus, but if you actually want an energy boost from them you may struggle to get it.

Hornsby’s Crisp Apple Cider and Strawberry & Lime Cider (RRP £5.00 for 4)


I haven’t yet tried these ciders, but I’m looking forward to enjoying them one evening with a nice meal.  Hornsby’s is one of the leading ciders in the USA, and according to the bottle is an ‘American Classic’, best enjoyed straight from a chilled bottle.  The Degustabox contained two flavours – Crisp Apple, and Strawberry & Lime, which I imagine will be my favourite.  If I like these I’ll definitely repurchase them, as at £5.00 for 4 bottles they’re really affordable.

Kettle Sweet Chilli Sweet Potato Chips (RRP £2.49)



Kettle crisps are fab, and root vegetable crisps are fab, so combine the two and they’re a winner from the start.  Kettle’s Sweet Chilli Sweet Potato Chips contain 50% less fat than their usual potato crisps, and are free of MSG, and artificial flavourings and colours.  Sweet chilli happens to be my favourite crisp flavour, and combined with the sweetness of the sweet potato it works really well.  The chips are thin and crispy, and very moreish, and are a great alternative to potato crisps if you fancy something healthier and different.

Finn Crisp Original Sourdough Rye Crispbread (RRP £1.29)


I wasn’t exceptionally excited by these when I first discovered them in the box, but they’re surprisingly tasty.  Finn Crisp are a Nordic brand who use only natural ingredients to create healthy snacks.  Their sourdough rye crispbreads contain wholegrain, are low in fat, are packed full of vitamins and minerals, and are only 22 calories each, so they’re guilt-free and healthy (depending on what you top them with!)  Unlike a lot of rye crackers, these aren’t at all dry, and are satisfyingly thin and crispy.  I’ve been eating these as a snack topped with Lotus caramelised biscuit spread (yum), or soft cheese and cucumber, but they can also be used in baking and cooking to make crispy crusts.  I would 100% buy these again!

Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Cocoa Crunch Flutes (RRP £2.59)



Elizabeth Shaw always reminds me of Christmas at my grandma’s house, which is a good thing.  These slender flutes consist of rich, dark chocolate, and are studded with tiny nibs of crunchy cocoa.  The chocolate is already full of flavour, but the nibs add an extra depth and crunch that make these an extremely luxurious treat.  And only 23 delicious calories each!  When I eat chocolate, I tend to eat quite a lot of it, but these are so rich I can only manage one or two, which I suppose is a good thing as it means I can savour them.

Dr. Oetker Cake Release Spray (RRP £2.28)


I’m yet to use this Dr. Oetker Cake Release Spray, but it is a genius idea!  The spray is oil-based, and can be sprayed on the inside of cake tins and trays to grease them before pouring in the cake mix, making it easier to remove the finished product once it’s baked.  For some reason I’ve always disliked rubbing butter around cake tins to grease them, as it can be messy and somewhat time-consuming, so this quick and easy greasing spray is the ideal addition to my baking cupboard.

Cirio Supercirio Tomato Puree (RRP £1.10)


A tube of double concentrated tomato puree…  Not that exciting I know, but Cirio’s Supercirio is surprisingly good quality.  I’ve used this on homemade pizzas and in pasta so far, and it has a vivid colouring, authentic tomato taste, and it isn’t acidic like some purees.  A sound example of a good quality tomato puree.

Cirio La Classica Passata (RRP £1.35)


Passata in a plastic bottle seemed a little strange to me at first, but once I used it, it all became clear.  There’s too much passata in this bottle to use all at once, but the plastic bottle makes it easy to pour and store, compared to the usual cardboard cartons that get messy and don’t keep well in the fridge.  The passata itself is beautiful – packed full of flavoursome Italian tomatoes with a delicate sweetness.  A lot nicer than the watery, bland stuff I’ve tried in the past!

Garofalo Pasta (RRP £1.89)


Yay!  Pasta!  One of my favourite ingredients to use in hearty evening meals.  Garofalo is an Italian brand from near Naples, and have been making pasta since 1789, using durum wheat and bronze dies for shaping.  I’m pretty sure these pasta tubes are rigatoni, as they’re large, ridged, and slightly curved tubes, and they are delicious served al dente.

Here’s an easy recipe for a summery pasta dish, using Garofalo pasta and Cirio passata…

Summer Vegetable Pasta

(Serves 2 people)



200g Garofalo Pasta

250ml Cirio La Classica Passata

1 Courgette

1/2 Red Bell Pepper

1/2 White Onion

1 Garlic Clove

4 or 5 Sundried Tomatoes

1 sachet Oloves Olives


– Boil the pasta for 10-12 minutes.

– Meanwhile, chop and fry the courgette, pepper, onion and garlic until soft.  Add the olives and sundried tomatoes.

– Add the passata to the vegetables to make a sauce, and simmer for a few minutes.

– Stir in the cooked pasta and serve immediately, with a sprinkle of cheese.

This is my third Degustabox so far, and though it isn’t as packed full of sweet treats as the last one, this is still a brilliant box, and once again everything in it is vegetarian!  It was a pleasure to try so many new products and brands, and I’m pleased to have discovered a few new items to add to my weekly shopping list.

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go, you can get a £3 discount by entering code MZIIQ at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

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.*

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