International sighting: Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Nougat Crunch/ Chocolate Therapy
Posted: 10:10 Sun 15-Apr-2012. Location: Shoreline, WA, USA.
Fascinatingly, Chocolate Therapy was available in the UK (if not on the NHS) about 6 years ago, but as regular correspondent "Graham" reports: B+J have gone overboard on the chocolate with their newest US flavours. Nougat Crunch is their usual sweet cream ice cream, bits of wafer cookies and a tasty chocolate nougat swirl, but while it's not bad it's actually not all that different from their Americone Dream. Chocolate Therapy, meanwhile, is just chocolate cubed - chocolate ice cream with cookies and a chocolate pudding ice cream swirl. I like my chocolate, but even that is a bit too much for me.
...In other Unilever revelations: Solero Fruit Ice Pineapple is apparently "the only lolly product on the market made with real fruit pieces"; real fruit chunks are also a highlight of Strawberry flavour Carte D'Or (also now available in an Amaretto, Vanilla and Chocolate SKU); and light-brown coloured ice cream seems to be the distinguishing characteristic of this year's new Cornetto Enigma Yummy Cookie Flavour (about £1.50 or something in Tesco). Elsewhere, a promising contender for Worst Product Name Of 2012 arrives in the form of Haagen-Dazs Secret Sensations, echoing the unintentional hilarity of Surf's Twilight Sensations detergent and Primark's Secret Possessions underwear range.
Confirmed sighting: McVitie's Galaxy Slices Cookie Crumble
Posted: 09:01 Sun 08-Apr-2012. Price: Some introductory offers of £1 for pack of 6 individually wrapped slices. Location: Bourne, Lincolnshire. Nutritional unusualness: 150 calories, 12g sugar, 7.8g fat per slice.
"Allan" says he saw a resurrected from several years ago Limited Edition Yorkie Honeycomb for 70p in Tesco, Hayes - but today's main freezer-cake-resembling sighting comes from what may be the international web-activism collective "anon", who show their softer side with the report: A very nice soft chocolate biscuit base with chunks of Galaxy milk chocolate and a milk chocolate layer. Extremely addictive!
...To be honest, I haven't been particularly inspired by this year's Easter ranges, though there have been some interesting-looking Cocoa Deli eggs in pound shops, and I think I saw a giant Tango Egg and Mug in Morrisons. So I'll leave it to the ever-reliable gobble monkey to wish you a Happy Egg Day 2012, hopefully not excessively haunted by the prospect of Marks and Spencer's "Percy Pig flavour" Hollow white chocolate pig with dried raspberry and strawberry concentrates and decorated with sprinkles (2%), complete with (gobble monkey description) "edible thong".
Confirmed sighting: X-Presso Monster Coffee Energy
Posted: 16:41 Sun 01-Apr-2012. Price: £1.39. Location: Best Buy, Winchburgh. Sub-flavours: Hammer; Midnite.
Sorry, I was going to write a hilarious April Fools post in the style of Jim's Chocolate Mission or something, but fortunately received this recent sighting of something that's been around a while - anyway, as "Phill"
reports: Found these in my local shop. They're basically an energy drink latte. The tin says 'Do not shake' and I will say DON'T shake it. I think it's got a widget in it to mix it and foam it up. I told my girlfriend to shake it, as I'm used to shaking the Starbucks ones. Upon opening it, it sprayed everywhere. I then noticed the warning about not shaking it... Ooops.
...In other effervescent developments: "Phill"
avoided similiar problems with these Limited Edition Fizzy Cola Rocky biscuits, which he saw for 79p in Sainsbury, Cameron Toll, Edinburgh, "and couldn't resist. They smell and taste just like a cheap cola. Worth a try if you see them." GlaxoSmithKline have at last started to address their ludicrous sugar content with Lucozade Revive (in 11g-carbohyrdrate-per-bottle Lemongrass with Ginger, Orange with Acai, or Cranberry with Acai), plus a Caribbean Crush version of "the hard stuff"; or, for something even less sparkling, there's Flat White Emmi Caffe Latte, "mineral water and juice blend" Volvic Juiced, or tea/still lemonade non-carbonate Monster Rehab, which I thought I'd seen two flavours of in Wetherspoons but the other one might have been Monster Absolutely Zero.
International sighting: Toblerone Crunchy Almonds
Posted: 20:28 Sun 18-Mar-2012. Price: 11.20 Swiss Francs. Location: Geneva airport. Nutritional unusualness: Double almond hit.
"alan witthoft" reports: Found this at Geneva airport - was a bit sceptical at first as I am not crazy about almonds but then remembered Toblerone already has almond in it, so large crunchy bits of the stuff don't really change the taste, just the texture! It's really very nice. Toblerone with crunchy caramelised chunks of almond, it's a winner, I say get some!
...Further jet-setting here from "alan" while, in other Kraft Corporation concoctions, "Phill" provided this pic of the previously mentioned-in-passing Philadelphia blended with Cadbury Milk Chocolate, which he found for just 78p (introductory offer) in Best Buy, Winchburgh, admitting: "I've not tried this, but my girlfriend seems to be enjoying it." Oh and I naturally assumed there were almond pieces on the outside of Walls' for-once entirely-accurately-named Magnum Infinity (Tesco, something like £2.20/3), but they turned out to be cocoa nibs, contributing to an overall effect that should be advertised, Dirty Harry-style, as "Magnum Infinity, the most chocolatey icecream in the world - chocolatey enough to blow your head clean off."
Confirmed sighting: Ben and Jerry's Core Karamel Sutra
Posted: 10:05 Sun 04-Mar-2012. Location: Tesco, Southampton. Nutritional unusualness: 12% soft caramel core.
"choccieman" reports: Hurrah, it's always a good day when a new B+J's product hits the market. OK we're never going to get the kind of glorious variation they get in the states but it's a start. So this is the first flavour (of hopefully a whole range) to feature a caramel core (hence the name) running through the centre of, and partially separating, two flavours of ice cream.
In this instance those flavours are caramel and chocolate with chocolate chunks. Which is quite convenient as I like the chocolate and mrs choccieman likes the caramel. It's an excellent combination and whilst it isn't quite as good as the core sundae you'd get from a B+J's stand at the cinema and won't replace our current fave of Coconutterly Fair it's still great and hopefully there'll be more varieties to follow soon.
...Cheers "choccieman" - no sign of this so far in the Old Kent Road Tesco, but they did have the long-awaited UK version of The Vermonster, which was OK but in my opinion not as good as Cadbury's Gooing For Gold. For posher freezer cabinets, Foodstuff Finds detected "elements of fern and [...] a very fragrant but also slightly woody taste" in Heston from Waitrose's Chocolate and Rosemary Ice Cream, while we can also look forward to: Unilever's biggest chocolate hit yet - Magnum Infinity in Chocolate, or Chocolate and Caramel; Rowntree's Sour Pastilles ice lollies; plus, from Haagen-Dazs, both Mint Leaves and Chocolate flavour and these Secret Sensations, which contain "a liquid centre of sauce enveloped by ice cream", in Chocolat Fondant or Creme Brulee.
Confirmed sighting: Kerry Foods' Hungry Joe's Chicken and Bacon BBQ Melt with Wedges
Posted: 21:14 Sun 26-Feb-2012. Price: £2.00/ 550g meal for 1. Location: ASDA (currently exclusive). Sub-flavours: Triple Cheese and Pepperoni Lasagne; Mighty Meatball Pasta Feast; Chicken Tikka Balti with Rice and Naan; Chicken Curry with Rice and Naan; Jalapeno Chilli Con Carne with Wedges. Nutritional unusualness: BBQ Sauce (45%) , Potato Wedges (40%) , Cooked Chicken Breast (9%).
"Marc Carran" reports: After spotting 'Chicken', 'Bacon', 'BBQ Sauce' in the same description, I could not resist having a look at what this might be. From the box: "Joe hates to be hungry. His sweet and smokey BBQ melt recipe is packed full of flavour and is sure to feed your hunger. Chicken breast and crispy bacon pieces smothered in BBQ sauce and melted cheddar cheese served with potato wedges. Oven cook from frozen in 50 mins. When cooked in the oven my wedges really crisp up nicely!"
50 Minutes?!! Good thing there were some microwave instructions included too. 50 minutes is far too long to wait for Chicken and Bacon! Convenience meals... You know the score. Some are cheap (and nasty) and do the job, some are simple and exquisite and some are inbetween. After inspecting the ingredients, at around 15g of fat, I suspect this to to be somewhere inbetween.
Hungry Joe's, by the way, is a brand created by Kerry Foods. Joe (the guy I guess who is on the packaging) just looks like a normal bloke, your "Average Joe" I guess (arf).
Taste test now... It's good, but not great, everything's ok, but nothing special. However, one thing disappoints me, Onions! I hate them, I don't think they needed to be included with the BBQ Sauce. BBQ Sauce sauce needs to be thick and sweet with a mild tang.
...Always nice to hear from our old friend "Marc Carran" - while, in other meaty meals: beef chilli, hot beef chilli, or bean and vegetable chilli are the three variants of Baxters' new ambient Chilli Bowls;
Burger King have adapted last year's Melt 'n Middles into a Subway-style £1.99 King Of The Day; and, for struggling vegetarians like myself, I couldn't taste any pear in New Covent Garden's Passionate Pepper and Pear soup, photographed here with Iceland's equally alarming Beef Yorkshire Pudding Wrap with Gravy.
Confirmed sighting: Dairy Milk Bubbly/ US Dark Chocolate M and Ms
Posted: 12:29 Sun 12-Feb-2012. Price: £1.00 introductory offer. Location: Sainsbury's, East Kilbride, Scotland. Sub-flavours: Milk chocolate; or Milk chocolate-covered white chocolate.
Zeddy reports: Shock horror news! Cadbury make an improvement to an existing bar. Yes, the Bubbly bar has a new outer texture and has dropped to 100g in size BUT it is for the better (well not the size, obviously). The new knobbly outer surface makes for a visually appealing bar and actually improves the bar's feel in the mouth. The other variety has white chocolate encased in milk chocolate.
Now Kraft... if you can do a Bournville version and a Bournville with mint, they will steal a march on Nestle and their waxy Aero offerings.
...for what it's worth, I thought the bar looked a bit like something you might spray on the outside of a punctured spaceship in a 1980s scifi film, but in other blobs of chocolate: gobble monkey got stuck into Cadbury's Bitsa Wispa; while Zeddy also located two kinds of Dark Chocolate M and Ms for $3.50 in a CVS Pharmacy, Davenport, Florida, elaborating: "I obtained these when looking for some medicine to clear up the 'nasty infection' I caught whilst on holiday. (It turned out to be Norovirus, since you ask.) I think they are a progression into standard pouches from the special editions that they launched a couple of years ago in the US. They both have dark chocolate inside (the 'semi-sweet' variety that the Americans love - think Mars Midnight)."
"The raspberry ones do taste fruity, although whether I would say real raspberry is another thing. I don't like fruity chocolate 'and so for me, I'm out.' Others may like this sort of thing. The mint ones are great with the nice contrast of sweet dark chocolate and not too overpowering mintiness. My mint-hating other half actually likes them (she will happily eat After Eights, so she changes like the wind). Mars should do us a favour and bring them to the UK but when did they ever listen to the consumer?"
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Mystery Flavours A-C
Posted: 09:26 Sun 05-Feb-2012. Price: 45p/pack, or £2 for 2 multipacks of 6. Location: Local shop, Church St, Wolverton, MK; Tesco, Tovil (Maidstone); Tesco, Hayes. Sub-flavours: Mystery Dairy, Meaty and Spicy flavours.
Sorry I had a bit of a picture hiccup with these over the last week, plus everyone seems a bit cagey about their ideas for the flavour-identifying competition, eg "Marc One": "The latest offering/gimmick (delete as you see fit) from Walkers. Have all 3 but not tried yet. I already know what they taste like without trying them... They all taste the same don't they?"
"Found a six pack with two of each flavour," admitted "Allan", while "Pilch" didn't provide much more detail, confiding: "Knowing my penchant for unusual/new crisp flavours, my wife came home with these today. I would say what they taste like, but a) I haven't tried them yet, and b) there's money up for grabs! £50,000 per correct flavour guess, apparently..."
...Anyway, in other curious combos: The Grocer has energising news of a meat pie infused with Red Bull; Foodstuff Finds has dared sample possibly Birmingham-based delicacy Lucky Me! Artificial Bone Marrow Flavour Instant Noodles; and our old friend gobble monkey has found Kraft Philadelphia blended with Cadbury Milk Chocolate for £1.62 in Waitrose, presumably the ideal condiment to go in a sandwich made of Smarties.
Confirmed sighting: Mentos Up2U Gum
Posted: 18:59 Sun 22-Jan-2012. Price: Possibly £1/14 "sugarfree gums". Location: Asda, Old Kent Road. Sub-flavours: Sweet Mint and Bubble Fresh, other minty combos.
reports: In the US, it looks like the flavours include Mandarin/Strawberry-plus-Spearmint, but this was the most adventurous option I could spot in Asda (complete with perturbing Caesar quotation on the inside). Also, I didn't read the packet and assumed the pink flavour was strawberry, so imagine my surprise to discover it's much more like, well, whatever the hell Hubba Bubba is supposed to taste of. Overall, it's a zany idea with some snappy packaging, tragically overshadowed by the fact that I finally found their 3 Layer Gum with green tea in it in Tesco's, which is just a bit nicer all round.
...Anyway, in other fruity chews: Wrigley are doing a bigger launch of Strawberry Extras, plus a new kind of 5 which "which starts off as a sour pear flavour and turns sweeter as it is chewed". Plus: White Choc, Double Choc, Orange, or Peanut Butter are the competing Kit Kat Chunkies spotted by "hannah" in Nottingham Tesco, and
dismissed by "Allan" as "Four 'Facebook' flavours, three of which have been out before!" -
at least Gobble Monkey refuses to be taken in, perhaps deciding to "have a break" from the site's extensive Percy Pig coverage towards the end of last year.
Confirmed sighting: Frugo Ultra Fruity/ Review of 2011
Posted: 18:35 Sat 24-Dec-2011. Price: 33p/250ml. Location: Tesco, Old Kent Road. Sub-flavours: Ultra Green and Ultra Black (tested), also in Ultra Orange, Ultra Pink, Ultra White etc. Nutritional unusualness: 10.4g sugar per 100ml in Ultra Green.
reports: This was in the World Foods section so I naturally snapped up a bottle thinking it was Faygo - the "ghetto pop" constantly namechecked by the Insane Clown Posse. Also, it was only 33p. As it turns out, it's probably a Polish import but the Ultra Green variety in particular has a rare Kiwi-ish tang attributable to ingredients that include apple juice, lemon juice, passionfruit juice, kiwi juice and lulo fruit puree. Also, it was only 33p.
...It hasn't been a vintage year for beverages, which makes 2011's review of the last 12 months a bit simpler, Fanta Beach being one of the few I'd go back to. The (elusive) Scared Shrekless Chocolate Coated Apple, Mamma Mia! Pringles and Burger King Melt 'n Middles were my favourites from most of the other Snackspot sections, with BK getting an additional mention for their Hot Chocolate Brownie, and Kerrygold also sneaking in with their category-defying Honey Spread.
As for the hotly-contested Worst - and Worst-Named - winners: in a year that saw the release of Stella Artois Cidre, Marks and
Spencer's Chineapple Punks and Fluke
Pastilles, plus a Snickers "Maximus" bar that was smaller than a normal Snickers, the latter award still goes to Coca-Cola Relentless for rebranding their entire range with Transformers-ish names like Libertus, Origin and Immortus. But the very worst thing I tried was Jamie Oliver's Hello Sailor Rich Creamy Chocolate sprinkled with Sea Salt - it's "<1% sea salt", reassures the packaging, but the sea is only 3.5% sea salt, and you can really taste it here. Happy holidays!