Confirmed sighting: Mars Galaxy Chocolate Caramel Bites
Posted: 21:02 Sun 05-Jun-2011. Price: Around 54p/ 40g bag. Location: Various Tescos and Morrissons, and probably Sainsbury's as well by now. Nutritional unusualness: "Milk chocolate (50%) balls with a chocolate caramel centre (50%)".
These have also been compared to both Galaxy Caramel Pieces and Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Nibbles but, as Greg Lowe
These are similar to the caramel sweets from Mars Planets but with thicker Galaxy chocolate.
...In other semi-original nibbles: Foodstuff Finds found "nothing to dislike" about Cadbury's Flake Allure, and the probably familiar-to-many "American grape" taste in the new Grape and Lychee Twist Tic Tac Summer Editions, while declaring Thorntons Eton Mess Limited Edition "the perfect summer bar". And Fruit-tella are launching products puzzlingly called One-Two-Three, Children's Farm, Happy Jellies (all in 150g sharing bags), Sour Drinks (in 150g or 50g bags), or Sea Life (50g only) to take on the likes of Rowntree's Sour Pastilles and Very Berry Jellies, Sour Faces and Jelly Aliens lineup currently available in supermarkets for £1 introductory offer if you think WH Smiths are taking the mickey charging £2.49.
Confirmed sighting: McVitie's Twix Caramel Slices, Twix Minis
Posted: 12:16 Sun 15-May-2011. Price: £1 each. Location: Sainsbury's, Heaton.
Jim's Chocolate Mission slammed the Caramel Slices as a "repackaged, [...]
even poorer" version of McVitie's Caramel Shortcake Slices, but "Greg Lowe" either didn't know or didn't care about their predecessors, reporting: Twix Minis are the small Twix that you get in Celebrations but in a pack of their own. However the gem here is Twix Caramel Slices - I would liken them to a fatter, wider Twix with 5x the caramel, they taste amazing.
...In other bite-sized brand extensions: Jim's Chocolate Mission has been unusually upbeat about
Cadbury's Dairy Milk Bliss Truffle Bars (ie Dreamy Chocolate, Irresistible Hazelnut, or Scrumptious Toffee, on introductory offer for £1 in Sainsbury's recently), while
Foodstuff Finds has also been on the case with Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocos and Galaxy Chocolate Caramel Bites, as well as the all-new Jaxx Mouthy Chocolate Crunches (available in Milk Chocolate, Double Chocolate, or Orange). Plus, if this hot weather continues, I'll definitely be tempted by Almondy's frozen Toblerone cake, or Starbucks' current half-price offer on all Frappuccinos from 3pm to 5pm apparently at most UK branches until the 22 May.
Confirmed sighting: Fox's Clearly A British Celebration glacier sweets
Posted: 18:10 Sun 01-May-2011. Price: 99p in the 99p shop and a bit more than that otherwise. Location: Spotted on a royal wedding tat display at Waterstones.
We've had a bit of coverage of these already, but it was only due to this sighting that I managed to track them down to the Camden 99p store (and also discover that you can identify the flavours without opening them by holding them up to a bright light, or the sun). Anyway, as "yorkhouse" reports, these are: Commemorating the royal wedding with red, white and blue Fox's in raspberry, blueberry and (err?) cloudy lemonade. Wish they'd just bring back the good old red and black Glacier Fruits though.
...Something of a traditionalist's reception there from "yorkhouse"
- I haven't seen many post-wedding bargains so far, but Foodstuff Finds has a bit more by way of celebratory confectionery, in the form of Marks and Spencers' white chocolate Jazzies and New Royals (the latter being "strawberries dipped in white chocolate, and made to look like potatoes").
Oh and in other stuff I meant to mention a couple of weeks ago: Flood is the latest berry-flavoured addition to Wrigley's baffling 5 brand; my brother found this Stride Shift Flavor Changing Gum on a recent trip to California, which starts off citrus-y enough but (perhaps thankfully) doesn't get too minty when you hit the microgranules; and we can only assume that Tesco Little Miss Chatterbox and Friends soft fruit flavour gums (currently around £2/2 bags) are meant to arrive stuck together like this, unless it's like that time I got a bag of Haribo Star Mix from a rail station vending machine that had been in the sun all day, transforming the contents into a giant, gelatinous mass of technicolour protoplasm that I did my best to extract recognisable blobs from until I finally got home.
Confirmed sighting: Krispy Kreme Easter Egg doughnuts
Posted: 17:36 Mon 25-Apr-2011. Price: £1.55. Location: WH Smiths (and most Tescos). Sub-flavours: Chocolate or vanilla.
reports: These are a (temporary?) replacement for Krispy Kreme's recent Glamour Glaze tie-ins, which looked like nail varnish but apparently tasted of strawberry and blackcurrant - the Easter ones are vaguely ovoid in shape, and are topped with either chocolate or vanilla icing plus a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands. In other words, KK haven't strayed too far from their presumably successful formula, though both of these tasted ever so slightly salty, which I thought was probably the custard "yolk" inside but in retrospect might also have been the buttery icing.
...In other, immediately-discounted alternatives to those ever-controversial Spring Spheres: Foodstuff Finds seems to have detected "orange and mango flavours" in special edition Haribo Eggstras, while Marks and Spencer's overly-literal product descriptions have continued with two different variants of the Baby Basil Hollow Milk Chocolate Duck, whose packaging will hopefully avoid the sinister greenhouse effect inflicted on just one of these Thornton's Bunny Pals observed by "Mr Simon" around this time last year.
Confirmed sighting: Rowntree's Sour Pastilles
Posted: 19:01 Sun 17-Apr-2011. Price: 50p/48g bar. Location: Budgens, Belsize Park. Sub-flavours: Cherry, Pineapple, Blackcurrant, Melon, Lime. Nutritional unusualness: 25% fruit juice (also includes grape and apple), 84 kcal per 7 sweets.
reports: Rowntree's are also believed to be taking on Haribo with sharing bags of Very Berry Jellies, Sour Faces and Jelly Aliens, but these are slightly more Randoms-sized packs of sweets that aren't completely what you'd expect (if you're expecting sour versions of Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles, that is). The lime one's maybe not a wild departure and the blackcurrant's fairly recognisable - they're all loosely shaped like the fruit they taste of, which means the cherry one is like a smaller version of Haribo Sour Cherries. The pineapple (oh those sour pineapples) isn't super-strong but a decent variation - I assumed the other one was peach but apparently it's supposed to be melon, I preferred it when I thought it was peach but nice try nonetheless!
...Haribo are hitting back with 180g bags of Hearts and Rings and Other Nice Things, while in other fruity chewiness: Britvic/ Robinsons have teamed up with Monty Bojangles to produce Barley Sugars Boiled Sweets and Fruit Shoot Juicy Jellies; Mentos have invented a 3 Layer Gum in strawberry, apple and raspberry, or mint, green tea (and presumably another mint layer); while Foodstuff Finds has pics of 2 in 1 Raspberry and Lemon flavour Smints and the Blue Is Here Skittles as briefly mentioned by "conor martin" - the Skittles review containing a spoiler warning if you don't want to know what the blue flavour is before trying it, peach-vs-melon-style.
Confirmed sighting: McVitie's Temptations Bite-Sized Biscuits
Posted: 18:25 Sun 10-Apr-2011. Price: £1/box of 6x "duo packs" (introductory offer). Location: Tesco, Brent Cross. Sub-flavours: Belgian Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Layer (tested); Belgian White Chocolate and Truffle; Belgian Milk Chocolate and Praline. Nutritional unusualness: 50kcal, 3.4g sugars, 3g fat per biscuit.
reports: McVitie's may be rebooting their embattled Boasters brand (now in Belgian Chocolate Chunks or Belgian Chocolate Chunks and Hazelnut), and teaming up with Mars to create Twix Caramel Slices. But all I've seen so far are these intriguingly portion-controlled versions of what I think they put out last Christmas to compete with the Fox's/ Marks and Spencer's-style collections. The ones I tried weren't quite up to that "indulgent" sort of standard and have the lighter texture of meringues or macaroons, but it is odd unwrapping the individual duo packs (which look like something you'd get as part of an airline meal) - shown in the photo here with a 50p to indicate scale.
...Presumably everyone wanted to launch new stuff before this year's ultra-late Easter, but also currently melting on shop shelves are: more
Big and Chunky Flapjack Cookies from Maryland; Smarties, Toffee Crisp and Rolo variants of Millie's Cookies; plus Nestle Aero Biscuits, Cadbury BiscBits (in Caramel Crisp, Chocolate Crisp, Honeycomb Crunch or Orange Crunch), and Mars' distinctly European-seeming Balisto bars (in Crunchy, Muesli, or Forest Berries) which have also been on introductory offer in Tesco at £1/pack of 9.
Confirmed sighting: Kraft Oreo Double Stuff
Posted: 11:11 Sun 06-Mar-2011. Price: 80p. Location: Asda, Southampton. Sub-flavours: See below.
"choccieman" reports: AT LAST! Double Stuff Oreos arrive in the UK. I'm a big Oreo fan and Double Stuff are the best of the lot IMHO. The extra cream filling makes a significant improvement over regular Oreos, making them less 'dry'.
These appear to be an Asda-only offer at present (that 80p is a trial price). It's unclear if these are limited editions or not. As long as we're spared from the Double Stuff Racing League.
Also worth noting is Asda are still stocking the milk- and white-chocolate covered Oreos which previously have been limited editions - these are definitely worth giving a try too if you haven't already. Naturally I'm already looking forward to what flavours they might bring to our shores next: Golden Oreos or (better) Uh-Oh Golden Oreos (golden biscuit with chocolate cream)?
..."choccieman" confirms "Chester's" previous comment here - Asda Wembley Park also had these new Fox's Ambers (in Chocolate, Caramel or Praline), Lu/Glico's Totally (hazel)Nuts Mikado, and an extensive selection of Pepperidge Farm Milanos. While in other, non-icing-intensive indulgences: I agree with Foodstuff Finds that Cadbury's Bournville Biscuits are the boldest of the recent chocolate tie-ins, including Thornton's slightly-too-subtle-for-me Cookies range, recently on introductory offer for £1/200g in Camden Morrisons.
Confirmed sighting: Mars Snickers Limited Edition Maximus
Posted: 10:20 Sun 20-Feb-2011. Price: 55p. Location: Sainsbury's.
It's Maximus by name and, er, nearly 10% smaller than usual, as "Jim's Chocolate Mission" reports: It came as no surprise to me that this bar came in a smaller 52.5g compared to the 58.0g original - this is the size that all Snickers limited edition have come in down the years. In better news there were no issues when it came to the bar keeping its shape despite the lack of a firm nougat base. For those of you wondering the chocolate, caramel and peanut ratio of this bar was 31.0% chocolate, 42.0% caramel and 26.0% peanuts. Below the chocolate, both the caramel and peanuts were blended into one, ensuring the bar kept some level of viscosity even at room temperature. The golden caramel was chewy even when soft and when heated supplied its usual array of sweet, buttery toffee flavours.
Overall I felt my experience with this bar was very similar to the times when I used to come across solid milk chocolate Kit Kats as kid. The fact that things weren't how they usually are was a novelty for a second, but at the end of the day the lacking element (in this case the nougat) didn't benefit the product at all. It would be harsh to brand this bar as pointless, but I'm personally struggling to think of a reason for making it - wouldn't of it been cooler if they had given us the new Snickers Peanut Butter Squared they have now in the US?
...Thanks "Jim" - in other humdrum chunkiness, Foodstuff Finds seems a bit underwhelmed by both Nestle's Aero Caramel and McVitie's Penguin Caramel Wafer, and I didn't think McVitie's Hobnobs Cookies had much to entice fans of either Hobnobs spinoffs or Burtons's Marylands. On a slightly more positive note, however: The Big Race bar is set to be Cadbury's next baffling Olympic tie-in; and Nestle have reformulated a 70% cocoa solids Kit Kat Dark, as well as officially launching Kit Kat Pop Choc in the UK, though they have been intermittently available here for at about 5 years.
Confirmed sighting: Sondey Jaffa Cakes
Posted: 08:33 Sun 16-Jan-2011. Price: 79p/around 300g. Location: Lidl. Sub-flavours: Orange, Cherry, Raspberry, Mini Orange Jaffa Cakes. Nutritional unusualness: 55% filling.
"Marc Carran" reports: How on earth can people not [have] tried these? Hailing from discount supermarket chain Lidl, are these classic twists to all-time favourite, the Jaffa Cake. They're a little different to your McVitie's brand. When you first see them, you will notice they seem a lot darker, a lot smoother, and a lot flatter. On first look you may think "I've got a poor man's Jaffa Cake." Then you take a bite and realise how wonderful they are! Take a bite... enjoy first, the luxurious crunch to the dark chocolate, the soft jammy center and the thin but soft base! The Mini bags I would say have roughly the same amount of Jaffa's as 2-3 of those Mini Lunchbox ones you had when you were a kid!
The flavours: Orange - good. Raspberry - at first you're thinking "Raspberry and Cake" sounds out of place, think "Raspberry and Chocolate", and now it seems much better. Cherry - this one comes with icing across the top of the cakes. Not sure why, but it seems to go pretty well!
In summary, if you have any spare time and want a cake that simply can be loved by everyone, eaten anytime and is also cheap, head over to Lidl with a few quid, share a few, and see how long the box ends up lasting.
...An impressively extensive review of this (Lidl exclusive?) brand - and, in case you're wondering, I think it's a different "Marc" to last week, though the style is similar. In other orangey semi-originality: Nestle are bringing back a £1 Aero Orange Block as well as a 56p Aero Caramel, though neither I nor Foodstuff Finds detected any hint of mutton in their Aero Bubbly Lamb. Citrus flavours probably also appear in Haribo's Easter Jelly Bunnies, Eggstras, and Tangfast-chicks while, as promised, here's a slightly traumatised-looking Smarties Spring Friend hanging from a Christmas tree - though quite not as out of place as this aimed-at-stockists Lindt internal publicity you can probably still see on the street en route to Kentish Town tube.
International sighting: Dove chocolate balls/ Review of Last Year
Posted: 10:09 Sat 01-Jan-2011. Price: 11.20 Renminbi (Yuan). Location: Beijing.
Zeddy reports: Hmm, how to describe this one... well, Mrs Zeddy took a trip to China and came back with a few confectioneries of which this was one. It is essentially little dark chocolate Galaxy balls without the crispy shell of Minstrels. Not flat either but randomly spherical/oblate. They are very rich indeed with a real feeling of having eaten a lot more chocolate than one little ball. I would say almost that they taste slightly like those "cool cup" foiled chocolate sweets found in the UK which makes me think they may have sorbitol or its ilk within them. Who knows? I cannot read Chinese!
They are certainly a bit different and worth trying, and come in a lovely little plastic tub with a flip top lid that adds to their charm.
...And so the new year begins in a similar manner to the previous one, though thanks too to "Nick T" for nominating Indian-themed sausages Mr Singh's Bangras as 2010's best name for a new product, and for also feeling the need to mention Bags of Ducks' Heads for Snacking Upon, which he "saw on sale in Guangzhou earlier this year (no picture I'm afraid, but there are plenty if you google it :("
And just to try and banish that image as swiftly as possible, my best of the last 12 months are, by category -
Sweets, biscuits, cakes: Gu Chocolate and Sour Cherry Cookies, Burton's Big and Chunky Marylands, and Mr Kipling's Neapolitan Bakewells (soon to be replaced by Trifle Bakewells).
Crisps and snacks: McCoy's Sausage Striker, and the American Cheeseburger Flavour Cup Walkers. Cereals, pudding, icecream: Kellogg's Hot Oat Krumbly, and Asda's (now-discontinued?) Loaded Black Forest ice cream.
Drinks and/or alcohol:
Laverstoke Park Farm Buffalo Milk, and KFC's limited-edition trial of Coffee Krush'ems (despite my extensive attempts to get similar effects by pouring Starbucks Discoveries, Monster X-Presso or McDonald's Lattes into an empty McDonald's cola cup that still has ice in the bottom). Fast and/or hot food: McDonald's Festive Deluxe, and Pret A Manger's New York Deli Toastie. Let's hear your choices, and of course have a tasty 2011!