Confirmed sighting: Cadbury Dairy Milk Hot Choc Chunks
Posted: 17:19 Sat 28-Mar-2009. Price: £2.19/ box of 10. Location: Tesco, Lanarkshire.
"Robert Funland" reports: The blocks do just look like giant blocks from Dairy Milk bars, but they aren't solid - they are filled with soft chocolate mixture. I think you are supposed to just place the block in a mug and pour hot milk over it, because adding the block to a saucepan of hot milk makes it look like you've burned the chocolate. Doesn't have the heavy aftertaste which clings to your tongue like regular hot chocolates :D
...First-time spotter "Robert" shares some of Foodstuff Finds' puzzlement over how these are supposed to work - I found that they make a recognisably Cadbury's-flavoured beverage when added to microwaved milk (though not as nice as the Gu Hot Chocolate from the Waitrose cafe on Edgware Road), especially if you resist the temptation to take a peek at the chunk while it's disintegrating.
In other Cadbury creativity: they're also producing a new range of Cadbury Clusters, Cadbury Peanuts and Cadbury Raisins (all from 50p); I was completely wrong about Green and Black's Creamy Milk being a Dairy Milk-alike, as it actually has a burnt-sugar taste much more like Galaxy; and "George and Kim" were at least intrigued by this Bournville Orange bar (launched in conjunction with
Bournville Old Jamaica) which "My dad Ian found while on a chocolate binge in the Cadbury shop in Portsmouth. It has strange almost jelly-like pieces in it. Not unpleasant but not quite as nice as Terry's Chocolate Orange."
Confirmed sighting: Pepsi Raw
Posted: 22:09 Thu 27-Nov-2008. Price: About 99p/300ml (3 for 2 in some branches). Location: Waitrose, Dorking. Nutritional unusualness: Contains apple extract [...], citric, tartaric and lactic acids.
Expanding on Chris Heathcote's comprehensive blog post and energy drink connoisseur Lee Maguire's comment, "Tastes like the soda-stream needs cleaning," "James Baker" reports: They were selling these in individual 330ml glass bottles at my local Waitrose in Dorking. Very tasty, but as a Cola aficionado I can tell you it tastes EXACTLY the same as Sainsbury's Regular Classic Cola. As far as I know they both contain cane sugar so I assume that's why. I haven't seen it available in Waitrose Dorking since.
...And in case you're wondering, the photo is from one of the London pubs that currently have it on the menu. That said, it hasn't been a great month for PepsiCo, who've scrapped both PJ Smoothies and Tropicana Spirit (is it just me, or does Marketing Week's photo look like this Snackspot one from April?), though at least they stuck around longer than Nestle's Boosted Smoothies. Personally, I'm not entirely convinced by the (slightly pineapple-flavoured?) alternative offered by Monster Energy Drink (around £1.03-£1.19/500ml), especially when you can now get Rockstar Juiced for less than a pound in Tesco.
Confirmed sighting: Glaceau Vitamin Water
Posted: 22:52 Thu 21-Aug-2008. Price: £1.80/500ml. Location: Euston Station, London. Sub-flavours: "Power-c" (dragonfruit), "Essential" (orange), "Spark" (tropical citrus), "Multi-v" (lemonade), "Revive" (fruit punch) and "Defence" (raspberry-apple).
"newmiyamoto" reports: I've been waiting for Vitamin Water to hit the UK for over a year since tasting it in the states and as usual the drink ends up here in a smaller bottle and tasting decidedly diluted (just like Mountain Dew all those years ago). Still the closest I'll get, so Dragonfruit here I come.
...A no-messing-about sighting from first-time spotter "newmiyamoto", with this (unexpectedly Coca-Cola-owned) brand that's now appearing all over North London. Still, they've got more flavours than the
Mulberry Fair juice (£2.99, Selfridges, in Mulberry and Sanguinello Orange, or Mulberry, Crushed Shiraz Grape and Limonera Pear) that "Jenna" was almost suspiciously enthusiastic about, claiming: "I spotted this just as it was taking up two shelves with introductory offer signs - hard to miss. They were both being launched last week, a 'UK first' of fresh Mulberry juice. The Mulberry and Orange variant reminds me of juices I've had in Europe (which the boyfriend liked) while the Mulberry and Pear is more to my liking. They're both pretty nice and have lots of potential for good mixing with alcohol!"
Or, for those of us old enough to be measuring out our lives in JD Wetherspoon's, there's now the additional option of "easier drinking" 4% triple-filtered Stella Artois, or - at long last - the TwinIce cider dispense system, which presumably avoids dilution of iced drinks via a process which "freezes and dispenses a layer of cider (not water) to top the draught beverage".
Confirmed sighting: Barr's Originals
Posted: 19:41 Mon 11-Aug-2008. Price: 99p/750ml (on offer, usual price £1.49 or £1.99 - I forget). Location: Waitrose, Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Sub-flavours: Dandelion and Burdock [tested]; Cream Soda with a twist of Raspberry; Ginger Beer; Traditional Lemonade. Nutritional unusualness: Colouring is described as 'burnt sugar extract' - is that just caramel by another name?.
"cerealsnacker" reports: While shopping for a picnic the other day I was racking my brains for a suitable drink. Unable to find those diddy bottles of Woodpecker's Cider in the local Waitrose (well, it was a bit of a fancy picnic) while snooping around the soft drinks section I spotted some bottles I didn't recognise. Lo and behold, AG Barr's have released a new range of drinks in screw-capped glass bottles (750ml).
There appeared to be 3 flavours - cream soda with a twist of raspberry, lemonade and dandelion and burdock, which I tried. It was very nice, not too fizzy and without the chemical taste that is sometimes found in D-and-B flavoured things - probably because they never go anywhere near either dandelions or burdock root. The colour wasn't that deep purpley-browny-black I've grown accustomed to of late but was a bit more translucent, presumably because of the use of burnt sugar extract as colourant. The flavour was good, if perhaps not as strong as a hardcore D-and-B fan such as myself would like. All in all though, very nice indeed, it'll certainly work its way into my basket again before they put the price up!
..."cerealsnacker" expands on our previous look at the Fantastically Fiery Ginger Beer variety, while - for those who prefer cream without the soda - Zeddy clarified that it's not (as I had assumed) 4 "fridges" that must be destroyed by the apparent re-incarnation of Frijj Vanilla as Frijj Vanillaaaaarghh (99p, Scotmid, Strathaven, Lanarkshire), slurping: "A new edition to the Frijj range and very vanilla it is too. There is even a competition to win Cineworld tickets using the [presumably identical on each bottle?] barcode at http://www.fourridgesmustbedestroyed.com/win/."
International sighting: Schweppes Spirit Lemon and Strawberry
Posted: 20:25 Thu 24-Jul-2008. Price: 49 Euro cents. Location: Carrefour supermarket, Roses, Costa Brava. Sub-flavours: Mandarin and Kiwi; Orange and Grapefruit.
Zeddy reports: I spotted these on holiday when in store for the stinking flanks of dried ham that the Spanish hang from shop ceilings (NOT!!). The Lemon and Strawberry one was very tart but nice, the Mandarin and Kiwi one OK (the kiwi was a tad lost in the flavour) and the Lilt-a-like one was lovely. I incidentally bought a can of Gini [French lemonade] there too. I love the stuff but apparently the Brits don't. The best one was cans of Mountain Dew for 36 Euro cents (I KNOW!!). The missus was doing back flips.
...Slightly closer to home, Zeddy seems to be making do with Sweet Rewards' "99% fat free and gluten free" Jelly'gnite Party Mix from Farmfoods, Hamilton, Scotland, exploding: "These are tasty! The stawberry ones were especially good. Like Haribo Starmix with real fruit flavour. They have real fruit juice in them so we can count them as one of our '5-a-day'. 29p for 200g! What value!"
Back with beverages, Lakeland The Home Of Creative Kitchenware are reviving the Sodastream (again), with new concentrates that include "high levels of fruit juice", "natural flavour" and caffeine-free cola, while first-time spotter "yorkhouse" hasn't been put off by the prospect of "our own whey powder" in Starbucks' Vivanno Nourishing Blends (in Orange Mango Banana or Banana Chocolate, £3.25), noting that they are a "New line of milk-and-banana smoothies launched in Starbucks on Wednesday (in London at least). 157-181 calories depending on variant and they add whey protein and fibre powder. None of the crunchy bits of ice you get in a Frappuccino but left an odd salty aftertaste behind (maybe I should have tried it with an espresso shot). The healthy eating agenda is presumably to blame for this..."
International sighting: Red Bull Simply Cola/ Pepsi Boom
Posted: 19:39 Thu 15-May-2008. Price: About 4 Swiss Francs. Location: Shell Garage, Allschwill, Switzerland. Nutritional unusualness: 100% Naturell. Pasteurisiert. Lots of ingredients.
Two caramel-coloured beverages today, though "Stewart" doesn't go into too much detail about Switzerland's Red Bull Simply Cola, describing it as: "Quite nice, kind of somewhere between Pepsi and Classic Coke I think. I guess this area is a cola test-marketer's dream as it was just over the border in France I found Coke Blak." Still, he sounds a bit more energised than "Chubworth", who paid 85 euro-cents for a can of
"Senza Caffeina" Pepsi Boom (Standa supermarket, via Pietraspana, Florence), only to postulate: "Caffeine-free Pepsi, which has no real reason for existence given that, without sugar or caffeine, there is never going to be any sort of boom going on here."
...In other soft-drink targets: apologies for this rubbish phone photo of Selfridges' (frankly terrifying-looking)
Diet Coke In The City promotional tie-in; I'd have to make an effort to tell the difference between Barr's Originals Ginger Beer (99p/750ml, Tesco) and Schweppes' new Classic version (currently £1.49/1.25 litres BOGOF, Sainsbury) - though Sainsbury's own brand now makes the intriguing claim "We don't use Aspartame... this product is sweetened with Sucralose"; and Nestle are catching up with the increasingly crowded cold coffee market with their Nesfrappe Chilled Lattes, in Classic or Mocha, 250ml for around £1.69.
Confirmed sighting: Gatorade UK
Posted: 23:11 Thu 17-Apr-2008. Price: £1. Location: Sainsbury's, vending machines. Sub-flavours: Orange or Lemon.
Once again, I've been scanning the shelves for
Red Bull Simply Cola, Nestle Boost Smoothies and Pomegranate and Raspberry, Mango and Mandarin, or Apple and Dragonfruit Fruitiser, but "David" has identified the official British launch of a brand that's been sponsoring UK events for at least 5 years, reporting: "Spotted 2 variants of Gatorade in a vending machine the other day so I took a look in Sainsbury's when I was next in there. They had the same 2 flavours, Orange and I believe the other was Lemon or Lemon and Lime. The bottles are tall and thin containing 500ml, quite odd for anyone who has had the drink in the USA! They have released a UK website for it, gatorade.co.uk. When will they do the same with Mountain Dew?!"
...In other supposedly life-giving liquids: it's good to see Lucozade Alert Mental Edge (89p/ 250ml) advertising its "45 calories per pack" credentials but, at 99p/500ml, I think I prefer Rockstar Juiced's genuinely fruity response to Relentless Juiced Energy. On the other hand, Ribena 100 Per Cent Pure Juices tastes far too much of real blackcurrant, compared to the much more palatable Tropicana Spirit, whose Orange and Mango variety has exactly the same flavour as a melted Solero Exotic, ice cream and all. And for those above legal drinking age, Strongbow's Jacques Fruit Cider offers a subtler alternative to Kopparberg Mixed Fruit, while the pioneering Poles have succeeded where Holsten Fusion failed, with these convincingly orange, apple or raspberry-flavoured Redd's Beers that I found for 89p each in a Polish food store in Golders Green.
Confirmed sighting: Coca-Cola Relentless Juiced Energy
Posted: 18:48 Tue 25-Mar-2008. Price: £1.12/ 500ml. Location: Morrisons. Nutritional unusualness: 50% juice, 10.4g sugar, 0g fat, 0.05g sodium per 100ml.
"John Rosevear" reports: Relentless has done it again, this time in juiced form! Not only were they the first big brand energy drink producers to bring out the larger/higher value 500ml cans to the UK, they've also introduced new flavour concepts such as
Citrus Original, Inferno Orange, and now this new 50% orange and tropical fruit juice version to the much saturated citrus fruit energy drink market which was initially created by the grandfather of all energy drinks, Red Bull.
When I cracked open my first can the first thing that came to mind was the smell of Lilt with its tropical flavour, but pour it into a glass and you'll find an orange juice quality. With its graphically yellow/green jungle-like can design, Relentless Juiced is a refreshing new taste experience with a unique orange and tropical fruit flavour, which offers the energy drink lover a much-needed taste alternative. Definitely worth trying and a great alternative to high-caffeine fans and new energy drink consumers.
...Our regular Relentless correspondent "John Rosevear" sounds a bit like he's writing a press release on this one - though omits the quote from William Wordsworth's notoriously hellraising Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey on the can. Still, it's not like other drinks companies have much going on, with "robertster" shrugging off PepsiCo's Tropicana Smoothie (£2.99 - 2 for 1, Brighton Sainsbury's, in Strawberry and Banana, Blackberry and Blueberry, Pear and Cranberry, etc) as: "Tasty stuff, but not really any different to any other quality smoothie out there. I can't see myself buying this once the offer ends" - and Schweppes launching at least 3 new flavours, including Apple, Pear and Cinnamon, "Classic" Ginger Beer, and Cloudy Lemonade.
Confirmed sighting: Fanta Still
Posted: 19:33 Fri 22-Feb-2008. Price: 80p/ 375ml. Location: Newsagents, Bournemouth. Sub-flavours: Orange Tropical, Orange Citrus, Orange Tropical Zero. Nutritional unusualness: (Orange Tropical) 7.2g of sugar per 100ml/ 6% fruit juice (from concentrate).
Before this week's sighting, just a quick update on those slightly pricey Crusha Blasters (£1.09/ box of 6, Tesco, potentially strawberry-only at the moment) - the packaging instructs you to "Pinch bottom end of straw over glass to release Crusha into milk", then you "Pinch top end of straw, blow through it and watch the bubbles froth up." All very well, but you then can't actually drink the shake through the straw because the ends keep closing up again (unless you cut them off or something) - the box doesn't specifically imply this is possible, but it's a bit of a minus point compared to the cheaper Nestle Magic Straws.
Anyway, if you're looking for an altogether less effervescent experience, "Dave Allen" reports that the Fanta Still Orange Tropical he tried had a: "Really good fruity taste although a bit like Sunny D. Not sure really about the sugar/ acesulfame K/ aspartame/ sodium saccharin used as sweetners though."
...You know, I'm not sure why they're in there either, as Coca-Cola also do a "proper" (0.9g sugar/ 100ml) artificially sweetened version, aka Fanta Still Orange Tropical Zero. Elsewhere, Pepsi have gone for a "lightly sparkling" blend of juice and mineral water for their Tropicana Spirit range (in Orange and Mango, Blueberry and Blackberry, or Lemon and Grapefruit), plus an even wider range of flavours for their new Tropicana Smoothies - leaving the
ever-annoying Innocent Drinks to branch out into a line of perhaps unfortunately-titled Big Yoghurt Thickies.
Confirmed sighting: Peartiser
Posted: 23:11 Thu 07-Feb-2008. Price: 79p. Location: Waitrose, London Finchley Road. Nutritional unusualness: "100% pear juice" (from concentrate), no added sugar, 8.4g per 100ml.
reports: I don't know what they do to fruit juices over at the Coca-Cola factory, but this tastes exactly like Appletise(r), with a slight hint of pear. To be honest, I wouldn't normally give it its own sighting, but a) I've been hunting for it for almost a year, and b) it's the ideal pretext to (blearily) announce the results of my extensive research into the current onslaught of fruit-flavoured ciders, with the pleasingly Strongbow-style Maguires Pear (£1.59/ 500ml, Sainsbury) being by far my favourite, compared to the likes of Bulmers Pear and even this exotic (but ultimately disappointing) trio from Brothers and Churchwards (featuring Cranberry and Apple, or Orange and Raspberry, 3 for £4, Asda Old Kent Road).
...If you're not old enough to try such dubious delights, I'd still like to hear more about this (otherwise undocumented?) Silver Spring Coco Pina which I recently glimpsed in a South London convenience store. Alternatively: I consider Galaxy Creamy Hot Chocolate (with Melting Marshmallows) probably the most succesful so far of the seemingly endless variations on Moment Du Chocolat; Mars have at last listened to sense and produced two sweetener-free (13.8g carbohydrate/ 100ml) Starburst Drinks in "Sensational" Strawberry and Raspberry or "Outrageous" Orange and Pineapple; and, in all that excitement, I haven't even got round to trying the syrup-filled Crusha Blasters response to Nesquik Magic Straws.