Confirmed sighting: Coldpress fruit juices/ Review of 2012
Posted: 19:25 Mon 31-Dec-2012. Price: £2.79/750ml. Location: Tesco, Surrey Quays. Sub-flavours: Pink Lady apple; Granny Smith apple; Valencia Orange etc.
reports: These Coldpress juices have been kicking around in Waitrose since at least spring, but I was unable to resist them when they also started appearing in Tesco and that giant discount store near Lewisham station. The idea is that they're pasteurised using high pressure rather than heat, and the effect is perhaps as revolutionary as the arrival of not-for-concentrate brands like Tropicana - they actually taste of fresh apples etc, which they flaunt to the extent of having different apple flavours in the range. My prediction: one of the warring giants like PepsiCo/Tropicana/Copella or Coke/Innocent Smoothies will either buy the company, or copy the technique (possibly even including the graduated tint on the bottle which makes you think there's authentic sediment inside).
...Joining Coldpress in my round-up of the best products of the last 12 months, I'd also raise a glass to (and of) Stella Artois Cidre Pear. Other highlights have included
Greggs The Baker's pre-baked baguettes, Kettle Tortilla Chips, Cadbury Choc Full Of Popcorn, Dark Chocolate Peanut M and Ms and, for pudding, a tie between
Ben and Jerry's Cores and McDonald's Orange Flavour Chocolate Pie. And in the "worst-named" category, Haagen-Dazs Secret Sensations narrowly lost out to Marks and Spencer's "Percy Pig flavour" Hollow white chocolate pig with dried raspberry and strawberry concentrates and decorated with sprinkles.
Just to continue stealing the best ideas from Gobble Monkey (and nicecupofteaandasitdown), Snackspot will be on indefinite holiday during 2013 and beyond. I'll update the right-hand margin with some more blog links for keeping track of the snacking universe, plus you can still comment on stories from the last 6 months here - but, for now, thanks for all the comments and sightings over the last 10 years, and hopefully I'll see you again sometime, on this site or another. - Dave
Confirmed sighting: Lotus Caramelised Biscuit Spread
Posted: 18:05 Mon 24-Dec-2012. Price: £2.49/400g jar. Location: Waitrose, Glasgow, Scotland. Sub-flavours: Smooth or crunchy.
Zeddy reports: Stand aside peanut butter, there is a new kid on the block and it means to sweep aside all pretenders to its throne.
Remember those Lotus biscuits that you often are offered with a coffee in upmarket waiting rooms?
Remember how good they actually taste? That's the cinnamon in them.
Lotus bakeries have now launched the fabled spread that was mentioned a long while back on www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com. I bought the crunchy variety and can announce that it is fabulous. Like the biscuit but as a spread with little crunchy biscuit pieces within it! They tell you to try it on toast but that for me will only be the beginning.
My other half has suggested "icing a cake" with it and that may be on my to-do list.
If you like the biscuits I think you will love this stuff.
...Thanks Z - if only "Matthew" had provided similar evidence of the Kit Kat Chunky Champion 2013 Editions (mint, hazlenut, chocolate fudge, or coconut), claiming he: "Just popped into my local [Norwich] newsagent and saw these all stacked up on the counter - different set of flavours this year. I have bought a coconut one, which I have yet to eat. Best sighting ever. The Facebook page is up too - http://www.facebook.com/kitkatuk/app_464212296957743."
Snackspot should be back next weekend for the usual review of the best and worst products of the year, so get your nominations in now - and, while you're not doing that (or even while you are), have a great Christmas!
Semi-international sighting: Milka Raspberry Cream
Posted: 10:33 Sun 18-Nov-2012. Location: Polish store.
"Kev's Snack Reviews" reports: I presume it's intended to be a Polish-only edition as there is no English on the back of the wrapper (but there is on the front, strangely). I can't help but wonder if this bar had a different recipe to regular Milka bars, because the sweetness totally overpowered any taste of chocolate.
The raspberry sauce was very artificial-tasting; the kind of flavor those cheap kiddies juice drinks used to have. And the "cream" pretty much just tasted of sugar.
...The search for nicer imports continues on "Kev's Snack Reviews blog", though he's not much more complimentary about Côte d'Or Speculoos Lait ("an awful musty smell with a hint of cinnamon") or the almost mythological-sounding Nestle Orion Margot Artemis ("Marzipan with out of date rum flavoring that's been left on a shelf for five years, then wrapped up and sold [...] DO NOT BUY.")
Elsewhere in the Kraft/Cadbury corporation: four "individually wrapped milk chocolate egg shells filled with a mousse" constitute Easter's upcoming Egg 'n' Spoon special; plus both Tesco and Asda are rolling out more in-store fixtures dedicated to imported US products, expected to include
"Hershey's chocolate, pretzels, mustard, squeezy cheese, macaroni cheese and cereals".
Confirmed sighting: Kingdom BBQ Meat
Posted: 18:04 Sun 04-Nov-2012. Price: £1.60. Location: See below. Nutritional unusualness: "Chinese marinated dried meat product similar to jerky, made in the form of flat thin sheets".
"yschean" reports: Biltong, jerky yes, but BBQ Meat? Never heard of this product before but came across this at the Speciality Food Show the other day and it tastes fantastic! It's kind of a ready-to-eat meat snack just like beef jerky. But these are made from pork and have some real flavour to them. 2 flavours on offer - original pork and black pepper. Personally love black pepper.
Spoke to the guys at the stall and can only get it from their online store for now. Lovely guys and with a very exciting new snack, hope they will get onto the supermarket shelf soon!
...Hmm, maybe there is a slight taste of press-release speak to "yschean's" first-time sighting - but, in other vaguely sausage-inspired surprises: I thought I'd previously been underwhelmed by a
McDonald's Spanish Grande with Chorizo
(part of their current Great Tastes Of The World 2012 campaign), but I could be thinking of Burger King's 2008 Chorizo Angus; and Pret A Manger's new breakfast rolls (with Bacon, or Ham and [boiled] Egg, before 10:30 am only) are nicely done, but still not quite in the league of Leon's Poached Egg Pots (toppings include various combos of Ham, Truffle Gruyere, Chorizo, "Saucy Beans").
Confirmed sighting: GlaxoSmithKline Lucozade Pink Lemonade
Posted: 18:05 Sun 28-Oct-2012. Price: £1.19/1-litre bottle. Location: Sainsbury. Nutritional unusualness: 57 kcal, 13.6g sugars per 100ml.
"Grocery Gems" reports: A lot nicer than the recent Lucozade Cola!
Once poured I was glad to see that the Lucozade Pink Lemonade has the same lovely blush pink colour as the bottle. The drink is fizzy and very sweet as you would expect from a high glucose drink. For a "lemonade" drink it doesn't taste very strongly of lemons, which may be disappointing to lemon fans. It just has a soft fruity taste that is not immediately identifiable. The ingredients list the fruit juices (2%) as lemon, cranberry and raspberry. If you don't like your lemonade too "lemony" then this is the drink for you, but lovers of real lemonade should probably steer clear.
...Thanks "GG" - I found the flavour similarly tricky to pin down, until I remembered Maynards Sour Patch Kids from a couple of weeks ago. (And, with the launch earlier this year of Lilt-alike Lucozade Energy Caribbean Crush, maybe GSK will roll out extra-sugary versions of every soft drink on the market?) For a more "traditional" energy rush, there's also the option of: raspberry flavoured Mountain Dew Game Fuel (which I've seen in Asda, but only in 1-litre bottles); Emmi's Caffe Latte Cappuccino (pictured here with their similar Flat White product, which it may be replacing); or - for those above legal drinking age - Carling's Zest Refreshing Winter Lager with a hint of Spiced Orange, which I enjoyed for both its citrusy taste, and because including "Refreshing" in its name reminds me of Mitchell and Webb's sketches about two alcoholics.
Confirmed sighting: Ben and Jerry's Winter Berry Brownie Ice Cream
Posted: 18:40 Sun 21-Oct-2012. Price: £4.25. Location: Asda, Southampton.
"Choccieman" reports: Time for another new flavour from B+J's. This is vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces and a raspberry and blackberry swirl.
I'm not normally fond of anything fruit related but have to say this is really rather good. The raspberry/blackberry taste is there but it's very subtle. The brownie pieces and vanilla ice cream are the usual B+J quality that you will have probably already tried in other varieties.
There's also another new flavour about called Cow Power, but I haven't seen it and it sounds very similar to Fossil Fuel.
Now if only they hadn't stopped doing Coconutterly Fair...
..."Choccieman" there, apparently prefering this to 2007's similar-sounding Bohemian Raspberry, itself begat by 2006's Glastonberry (aka Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies). In other Unilever subsidiaries: my local Sainsbury has just started a £2 introductory offer on Ben + Jerry Core-style 450ml Walls Magnum Luxury tubs, but I actually preferred their sponge-layer-featuring My Carte D'Or Tiramisu (something like £1.50/200ml in Asda), which would be a strong contender for one of the products of the year if it wasn't up against Pizza Hut's pioneering Hot Cookie Dough Desserts (£3.75, now also available in Cheesecake form).
Confirmed sighting: Maynards Sour Patch Kids/ Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo
Posted: 11:21 Sun 14-Oct-2012.
A double-helping of Kraft creativity, with first-time spotter "M. Ainston" basically providing a link to this article on the Jelly Baby-like "fruity flavour quirky candy characters" (offering a choice of orange, lemon, raspberry, lime or blackcurrant, in the form of "tongue-twisting sour sensation, followed by a mouth-watering fruity flavour ending on a sweet note").
Still, it makes a change from the current relentless onslaught of Cadbury products - "Those Krafty chocolatiers can't seem to stop with the 'new' bars," said Zeddy regarding the Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo he paid £1 for in Scotmid, Hamilton, Scotland: "120 grams of Dairy Milk with Oreo pieces and vanilla flavoured filling. Tastes surprisingly good and has a nice crunch like Galaxy Cookie Crumble albeit with a vanilla undertone. One of their better efforts."
...Speaking of Cadbury, Grocery Gems has been working through their
Dairy Milk Mint Bubbly and
Halloween-themed Crunchy Spiders. But, back with fruity chews: Swizzels Matlow are transforming their "most iconic" brands - Love Hearts, Drumstick Lollies, Double Lollies and New Refreshers - into gum-based Squashies, while Wham Rockets are acquiring a Sherbet Dip Dab-style extension - or, as Marks and Spencer might put it, "a mix of sugar crystals and sherbet eaten with a raspberry foam dipping stick".
Confirmed sighting: Cadbury Dairy Milk Toffee Popcorn
Posted: 16:38 Sun 23-Sep-2012. Price: £1.50. Location: Tesco, Hayes. Nutritional unusualness: "Contains popcorn".
Foodstuff Finds has the lowdown on the same manufacturer's Golden Biscuit Crunch, but "Allan" fails to elaborate on whether this variant's as good as their bag of choc-coated popcorn, alleging that it's merely: "More American-inspired produce from the company formerly known as Cadbury."
...Anyway, in other chunky chocs: I'm unsure if Nestle Lion Cereal has been continuously available for the last 9 years, but if not, it's back in Sainsbury's; while the UK-or-import status of these White or Peanut Lion Bars (60p, News Plus, Dundas Street, Edinburgh) remains tantalisingly unresolved, as "Phill" relates: "Found these in a shop near one of our offices on Wednesday, but had no money to get them. I was back at the other office today, so made sure I picked them up."
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Deep Ridged
Posted: 18:31 Sat 15-Sep-2012. Location: Tesco, Hayes (and currently £1/ multipack in Sainsbury). Sub-flavours: Ready Salted, Cheese and Onion, Salt and Vinegar, Grilled Steak.
Walkers' bare-faced attempts to dominate all crisp categories continue - these are currently co-existing with last
year's Walkers Crinkles and the more recent Walkers Ruffles, although additionally feature, as "Allan" reports, "Massive ridges like I've never seen before!" According to "Allan", Tesco Hayes also had Walkers Extra Crunchy in "At last some new flavours. New packaging design too," (specifically, Cheese and Red Onion, or King Prawn Cocktail) - presumably a Walkers Deeply Crunchy Ruffley range can't be far behind.
...There's no arguing with the potent flavours of the Deep Ridgeds, though I wondered if they'd been extruded Pringles-style from potato dough, as the surface texture is like KP Skips? In other substantial savouries: I was pleased to see some branches of Greggs The Baker joining the pre-prepared hot sandwich wars with these reasonably priced baguettes (usually not much more than £2, even in central London) - plus I'd just like to pay tribute to the sadly no-longer-updated Gobble Monkey blog that specialised in Percy Pig (and other snack) news. The mint that tastes twice as extra strong, burns only half as extra long, Gobble Monkey - and you have tasted so very, very strongly, come back soon!
Confirmed sighting: Mars Bar Limited Edition caramel
Posted: 20:52 Sun 09-Sep-2012. Price: 59p. Location: Spar, Hamilton, Scotland.
Zeddy reports: I awaited this bar's launch with a little excitement. The Milky Way variety sold in the US is superb - like a normal sized Mars bar with the nougat layer taken out and the space filled with extra caramel. Plus, it has that malty flavour that once graced our own Mars products.
Alas, Mars UK disappoint once more. The Mars caramel resembles a flattened, smaller Mars (45g) that exhibits that oh-so-sweet flavour that has me thinking, "Is this a Mars analogue made on the cheap by another manufacturer?"
The lack of height compared to a standard Mars bar deprives you of the joy of sinking your teeth into a deep slice of gooey caramel.
Sorry Mars UK, not good enough. Go on folks, try a Milky Way Simply Caramel from an import store and compare with this.
...Yup, after the smaller-than-usual Snickers Maximus, this is more like a "Mars Minimal" (clever wording, I know, cheers) - fortunately Zeddy also got his teeth into these Rocky Chockas Toffee and Choc (£1.00, Tesco, Carluke, Scotland, also in Double Choc, or Honeycomb), alliterating: "More new fayre from Fox's. These lovely biscuits have the usual crunchy middle to them but have little pieces of the different fillings mentioned.
The toffee ones are my favourite so far but the honeycomb will no doubt win my approval (tasting pending). Come on Britain! Let's get out of this recession by embracing great new varieties of snacks (Take note Nestle!)"