Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Halloween Hat-trick or treat!


Happy Halloween everyone! Tonight’s the night when the spirits are most restless, rise and seek revenge on the living. So sit back, relax (though not too much don’t want to be grabbed by the ghoulies!) and read these devilishly delectable treats I have assembled for you. Before you begin to wonder yes I may have a trick or two in store for you lucky mortals!

The items before you are possibly the last we will see on here of creepy candy before we bury the dead for another year. By the look of some of the half-arsed attempts this may not be totally bad. I say possibly, because in pursuit of this challenge I may have gone a bit over the top in Halloween prep. I half expect to open my cupboard to be greeted by a goblin chocolate I’ve forgotten about. Hell it’s still sweet so I’ll just eat it and tell you all.
Gloriously green goop a plenty
First up today we have a Cadbury’s cream… sorry SCREAM egg. Hoho Cadbury’s I see what you did there! Basically we have the good old crème egg from Easter but dyed green. I’ve got to admit when they did this for the first time I thought it was pretty clever. Also I get another opportunity to “enjoy” their eggs. Why quotes you ask? I have an odd relationship with Crème eggs I think I like them and find that once I start eating them I regret it immediately. As usual I don’t keep this in mind as I unwrap, and bite off the top. Initially as usual all I get is a nice large chunk of Dairy Milk goodness as the great green goo has slimed its way into the bottom half.
I peer inside and see the green goo in all its gory glory, got to admit it is rather off putting and unsettling seeing the luminous gunge before me. I dig a finger in regardless and try some. Yep the regular rich and overly sweet crème I’ve come to know and love/hate. It’s not bad on its own but when I eat it with the chocolate as intended I feel rather sickly and in need of a lie down. Hopefully I haven’t been poisoned and Cadbury’s charged with murder most foul!
Eeeeewwww it's like some kind of plant thing!
I feel the effects waning and prepare myself for the next item and I have to admit I am not looking forward to this one. Weirdly it’s an item I’ve always wanted to try but in the example I have before me I have little confidence. I found this chocolate coated apple in a petrol station, cause enough for health concerns when it comes to food alone. However this item also doesn’t have any information on the packaging… Not even an expiry date, which technically is illegal.
 
                                                         Look at the scaredey cat

Remember folks if this kills me take solace that I died on this day of all days and that I did it for you. Well not entirely my compulsion with candy spurred me on a little but if it gets you through the grief I did it for you! I take a bite and wow was I right! The chocolate is cheap and tasteless with a greasy texture, and the apple beneath is worse! It’s clearly been beaten and abused prior to dipping as it’s so soft and mulchy I wouldn’t be surprised to find a maggot or two in my mouth now. Worst of all I think is the fact that underneath all this chocolate is something that could have been considered healthy. That is something that definitely has no place here on this blog. Or does it?
                                                    What kind of Witches hat is... healthy

Here it is folks then, the trick in this tales tail. The last item of the Halloween challenge! What could it be? It’s a cabbage, A CABBAGE! Surely some curse has befallen me, nope it’s a cabbage. To be precise it’s called a Witch’s hat cabbage. Basically a purple conical cabbage, now I don’t go near veg often so have no idea how to approach this … thing. I break a leaf of and try, with its weird earthy taste I screw my face up in disgust. I did boil it as you are supposed to and got an interesting result.
The cabbage turned the water a cool bluey purple hue which was great except it also changed the colour of the pasta I had included. The result was a rather appropriate for Halloween dinner of pumpkin pasta. I still had almost a whole head left so decided to try dipping it in random assortments. My favourites were good old fashioned sugar and the old reliable peanut butter. Rely on Roy to take the healthy and put it on its head… of cabbage. Hope you enjoyed my Halloween trials now their over I can continue my quest to try weird candies and not the usual stuff with a scary theme.

Score
Scream Egg- 4 out of 11
Apple- 2 out of 11
Cabbage- 7 out of 11

Found
Sainsbury's supermarket and a random petrol station!

Final Thoughts
Only on Halloween could a vegetable come out on top on this blog!
 
 


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hark how the bell gets ready to toll!

Really isn't long left folks until Halloween. I am fully prepared I believe now, I have a pumpkin for carving. I have a costume for treating and some friends for surviving. I hope you guys have this much planning or plotting in place. Of course the most important aspect is candy.

Today we have a few products themed towards Halloween as part of my spooktacular challenge. We have a spooky Cadbury's cinder toffee cake bar. I like the sound of this flavor and haven't seen it offered before. We have a skeleton chocolate lolly from Thornton's, Something for the luxuriously spoilt kids. For the cheap kids like moi we have a milky bar ghost whom was on offer when I snatched it up.
Don't know what qualifies cake to be spooky if I'm honest
First up the cake bar, according to the packet each is wrapped by mummies. Now I'm not certain but judging by the packaging it's the hammer horror kind not the maternal. Not sure this is that reassuring because I don't particularly think Egyptian mummies were big on hygiene. This aside I venture inside the tomb to try one of these "frightfully good" (slightly better than mediocre then eh Cadbury's?) cake bars.
Now I'm not normally a fan of cake bars but I'll try regardless.

As soon as I did I was pleased the chocolate coating was up to the usual milk chocolate standards but that's not what hit me. I was really hit by the toffee it was fangtastic, a beautifully rich taste and a nice fluffy sponge. However I found as I ventured further I found the toffee became rather sickly. Thankfully the sponge is light and unflavoured so there is slight balance. But not enough and I came out feeling a bit over indulged. the chocolate coating was good, melted well with a subtly sweetness.
At least he has that look of someone who's long time dead and not like...
Next the chocolate lolly, I like the design they have done a cool idea in using white chocolate as a picture on milk chocolate. Not a new idea but welcome never the less, unfortunately this often means the white chocolate passes unnoticed by the tongue. As I bit into it I recognized that same reoccurring them along with the Gothic themes. Cheaper blends of chocolate, I noticed the usual quality of Thorton's chocolate but with added sweetener and less cocoa. The was a nice subtle nutty aftertaste but I don't now if I was just seeking for excitement. I had noticed half the bar had bloomed, now I'd stored this with everything else and only bought it the other day so this was a concerning sign.

This guy who looks too happy and hyper and being deceased!
But I moved on to the last item a milkybar ghost. Not much to say really it is exactly the same chocolate we all know and love but in a spectral form. Although rather lazy at least they aren't scrimping on quality.

Overall I think the milky bar was the nicest although I could have just bought a regular version and been just as happy. The cake bar started so well I'm rather disappointed that it was a bit too much sweetness. However I may try the other one before it skulks off for another year.

Score
Cinder Toffee cakes- 6 out of 11
Skeleton Lolly- 5 out of 11
Milky bar Ghost- 6 out of 11

Found
Sainsbury's for the cake bars, Thornton's for the skeleton and Superdrug for the ghosty

Final Thoughts
What happens to all the shops Halloween items?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lemon and Slime- bad pun time!

Ok, so yesterday proved two things. One that I have built up a rather impressive stash of Halloween treats for you guys. Two thankfully I can and will be reviewing several of them in one post from now on in order to catch up with myself. Today we have two items that have both been waiting for their time in the spotlight for a while and deserve to be heard.

They are both however Halloween varieties of Halloween items so sadly I’m not expecting much from either of them. Although both have some differences that may make a difference but nothing unique or new on show here. That seems to be a running theme at the moment; it’s a great opportunity for a company is Halloween. We don’t care about the holiday enough over here to justify totally new ideas, so brands can just alter their packaging to suit the season and little else.
Bit disappointing the plain outside!
Thankfully with Christmas we are a bit pickier and new products seem to arrive, or old ones reappear that get the dust brushed off them when the festivities take them. For instance Cadbury snow bites a chocolate treat I love but only get to experience once the snow starts a dropping.

The first item up today however is something I don’t actually mind they don’t change too much as I love the regular item anyway. It’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin, it’s by Reese’s so I already know I’ll love it and the less they mess with their formula the happier I am. As soon as I take it out the packet I’m a happy undead bunny (if I were alive it might be too much like Easter!). I’m greeted by a lovely chocolate and peanut butter aroma and the chocolate on the outside is slightly melted and gooey, both are very good signs.

Though the sheer amount of filling makes up for looks
I snap it in half to judge the chocolate to peanut ratio is on offer here and I am surprised instantly. The peanut butter seems to make up the majority of this much thicker than their usual cups. My mouth starts a watering at this and I can’t keep myself from it for too long. I bite in and find the chocolate has great fudge like texture although a disappointing lack of flavour. This is made up immediately however by the amazing as always peanut butter. A lovely nutty sweet, yet salty taste that takes over the chocolate flavour immediately. No wonder with such a thick slab too, it’s not been blended too fine either so you get tiny little nutty bits for added texture.

It’s good but I’m not sure it’s up to their usual quality and nowhere near as amazing as my favourite white chocolate cups. I think they have definitely sacrificed some of the chocolate quality and quantity here. On the flipside the peanut butter is better and more than usual so it kind of balances out. At least they haven’t scrimped on quality too much here. One thing I am slightly disappointed about however is the lack of design on the item itself. I was expecting a jack-o’-lantern type face to be on the surface but unfortunately it’s rather plain.
Impromptu photographic skills required in the field
The next item I have is a festive edition of much loved Jaffa cakes. By the way in case you wondered these are definitely cakes and not biscuits as many believe (Biscuits go soft when stale, these like cakes go hard #science). These are quite a cool idea as these Halloween editions have a different flavoured jelly, instead of the normal orange we have lemon and lime (sorry SLIME, get it) on offer here. McVities are really impressing me with the effort they are making towards Halloween as there digestives yesterday did well too. These taste great the new flavour really compliments the basic formula well and the flavour seems to have infused with the sponge. I hope this isn’t a passing visit as I’d like this to become a regular variety. Having said that if it did it would make the product no better than the other products I chastise for not changing.

Overall I was happy with both of these products, although if we are honest the Reese’s was the same basic cup but I didn’t complain because of favouritism. Secondly my thought on the new flavour becoming available all year round would create the problem I complain about. Can we ever truly be happy?


 Score
Pumpkin- 6 out of 11
Jaffa CAKE- 8 out of 11

Found
Pumpkin is from a local sweet shop that sells American sweets, the Jaffa Cakes I got from Sainsbury's but are widely available.

Final Thoughts
Wow I am a bit of a hypocrite this week aren't I?


Monday, 28 October 2013

Hellish Halloween Hamper

Right I'm back from the mystical Isle of Wight, slightly earlier than I had hoped but safe at least which I guess is what matters. I almost didn't make it! I could have been stuck there for eternity without hope, without escape and without internet! It doesn't bear thinking about really.

The reason I had to rush home is that if you believe the weather reports the UK is about to be blown away by a coming storm. Considering how I needed a ferry to return home I thought it would be best to beat said storm, turn tail and run. I don't feel like a sissy because at least it allows me to bring more reviews to you my adoring




fan (no plural needed).

I seem to remember before leaving that I'd do a bumper review in return for my absence so here we go. This could get quite intense hope you can keep up!

First up lets consider some cookies, I have a terrible trio here for your delights. Another pumpkin shaped ginger biscuit from the folks at Costa coffee. Now it wasn't too bad but a bit bland and lacking in fire as usual. Nowhere near as bad as This, but certainly not as good as This. The biscuit itself was overall nice however the incing has no taste in itself and is a bit hard. When dunked it added a little sweetness but little else.

We have a chocolate cookie from Morrison's with a weirdly worried looking marshmallow skeleton. It has a nice chocolate hint to it and tastes quite fresh despite not being part of their freshly baked range. It dunks really well and the chocolate is brought out quite nicely when it's slightly damp. The marshmallow is a nice chewy offering, good level of sweetness and a subtle hint of vanilla. 

Lastly we have a cool idea from McVities in these snaptastic biscuits. basically one big chocolate digestive that you snap into individual characters. The chocolate layer is good quality and tastes superb with the dreggs of my coffee. The biscuit underneath is nicely oaty and has it's own distinct flavour once the chocolate has melted away.

With the biscuits and their crumbs brushed under the carpet let's have a blast from the past in the form of the last treat from Mark's and Spark's. These are called Super Scary Skulls, basically little jelly sweets. When I pulled one out the bag I was slightly unnerved as they have a weird ancient Mayan look about them in my opinion and one of the freakish things I've tried so far. I popped it in my mouth regardless and was pleasantly surprised. They taste rather nice, a good subtle blackcurrant and raspberry taste to them. Not too sweet and definitely not artificial tasting. I was disappointed that the jelly inside wasn't runny as it was the impression I got from the packets description.

The last product in this bonanza is some weird little chocolate critters. I can't actually remember where I found these however I'm afraid, clearly more of an impulse buy than usual. They are kinda cute although they lose points for using redundant cardboard just to add to their design. The chocolate itself is quite nice not quality as I clearly got these from a cheap store somewhere. They have the look and smell of advent chocolate and my tummy turned at this thought. However when I actually tried one  I found it tasted rather nice. Not amazing quality by any means but nicely chocolaty and milky, it didn't taste like sweetener or additives which is always nice.

Overall most of these Halloween goodies are good. Clearly my brief and slightly shortened holiday weekend has subdued my cynical and critical side. Now how will I write reviews, The world sucks like that doesn't it!

Score
Costa Biscuit- 5 out of 11
Morisson's Skeleton- 6 out of 11
McVitie's gang- 8 out of 11
Jelly skellies- 7 out of 11
Creepy critters- 5 out of 11

Found
Numerous places some I don't even remember!

Final Thoughts
I'm tired out, still have a lot of stock left too!

Friday, 25 October 2013

We're all going on a Halloween Holiday

Sorry folks I'm shutting up shop here!

No not indefinitely don't worry, who booed just then? Come on own up who booed at the idea that I'm not giving up blogging and settling down to  life of crime. You know crime that has its basis in confectionery. I'm not quite sure what form that would take I assume some chocolate bootleggery or force feeding someone masses of molasses.

Anyway I'm off on holiday tomorrow to the Isle of Wight and probably won't have the blogging capabilities that my home offers. We can strike a deal though, hows this one. I won't be able to review for Today, Saturday and Sunday but once I get back I'll do a mega review to make up for it.

In return I'll have a great time staying with an amazing friend and exploring his island habitat. More so I'll do this exploring with an amazing beautiful and intelligent woman on my arm. I know you guys are getting so much back from this deal. I may even get you some souvenirs. By this I mean I'll buy tourist crap and review it later.

Well see you all when I get back to the mainland.

Byeeeeeee xx

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

How to really phone it in!

No need to fret folks we are back to normal as of today. Ok so not normal, and not really right back to normal just kinda not like yesterday. I mean I could never truly be normal could I? Also what is normality anyway? Surely it’s subjective and we should all stop finding that perfect normal. Maybe I’m rambling on an odd tangent for a sweet blog. Maybe I kinda like it.

Anyway, to explain oneself. By back to normal I mean back to sweets, unlike yesterday when we had a savoury experience. Of course I’m also not completely back to normal just yet as it still isn’t Halloween which means there’s plenty more Halloween stuff to scour through. Todays review also isn’t back to Marks and Spencer’s territory, I’ll save the last product for a few days.
Somethings not quite right here
There is a reason for this although don’t start thinking it’s to raise tension and that there’s some big payoff. No that comes with the final post where I have a big surprise for you all on the wicked night itself. I bet you can’t wait! If that thought has got you excited and wetting yourself then I’m sorry. Sorry but you need to get out more and while your there buy some adult diapers.

Geez another tangent, time I got on with the review. Anyway today we have a Halloween themed version of a product that not long came out over here in Blighty. Maynard’s Sour patch Kidz have really only been around for under a year I think. They have proved quite popular and at one point all the shops in my area had sold out. Already we have had additions to the line in the form of Soda Popz, now we have Heads and bodies for October’s festive period.

Somehow I think sour should be in inverted commas
Basically they are the same as usual except the heads have been cut off these patch kidz. It’s no wonder their sour then ‘haha great pun there!’ I hear you roar. Rather disappointedly is that in losing their head they have also somehow lost their range of flavours? As these Halloween themed offerings only come in blackcurrant and orange flavour. Further disappointment came to me because my bag was lacking in blackcurrant heads. In fact I had only two blackcurrant pieces in the whole bag! Somehow to avoid opening the racism door we should move on quickly and not dwell.

I popped one of the abundant orange pieces in my gob and was struck immediately. Not however as you’d imagine by how sour they were, no my face didn’t twist into an unearthly shape. As there is literally hardly any sourness on offer here what so ever. The sour coating melts away in seconds and has nowhere near the punch of the regular range. The orange underneath was very strong too which didn’t help as it overpowered any tastes that preceeded it. It didn’t have the old artificial sweetener taste which is a bonus, however it still didn’t taste like orange. More like undiluted orange squash, in a rather unpleasant burns your mouth kind of way.

Had to make Popcorn cake to cheer myself up
I moved on once the flavour had gone (about four days later) to try one of the blackcurrant pieces. Again the sour coating dissolves in seconds and you barely notice it’s been. The blackcurrant itself is thankfully a little less powerful than the orange so it doesn’t blow your head off. Again doesn’t actually taste of natural blackcurrant more like how a stepford wife version would taste of. Perfect in every way and therein lies the problem.

These are rather disappointing on several levels. Firstly, only two flavours on offer. Really they could have had the usual range at least. Not only are they phoning it in for Halloween here, they are phoning in sick and not even fake coughing! Secondly what has happened to the sour coating? The regular varieties while not amazingly sour like Toxic Waste do at least have some kick in them. Lastly I kinda feel like taking the heads off deprives us all of the rather guilty pleasure we all share in eating humanoid food. Biting the heads off! I had to settle for gnawing on a leg!

Overall this is a rather poor effort for a range that was showing promise. Let’s hope it’s only a temporary setback and we don’t end up with Santa shapes in only cherry for Christmas.

Score
5 out of 11

Found
Local Co-Operative shop, but they are everywhere.

Final Thoughts
Why are the heads so enlarged too? What happened prior to separation?

Poisonous Scorpions

Can you guess what todays review is. Regular readers will know it’s likely to be Halloween themed due to myself made Halloween challenge. Essentially I have been grabbing any and all Halloween tat I can find to get into the festivities. Really regular readers will have their suspicions that its product two of the Marks and Spencer offer I took advantage of. Lastly all of you will be expecting me to be reviewing something sugary and sweet right? Well you’re DEAD wrong!

Yeah smart guys your wrong. Today’s review isn’t a sweet at all in fact it’s a savoury item. I hope I haven’t lost some of you there down to pure shock. Let’s face it with my readership I can hardly afford to lose anyone. Anyway so yes todays review is savoury but don’t worry it’s not healthy that would be a step too far even for me wouldn’t it?

Scorpions are exactly the focal point weirdly.
Today’s item is a bag of poisonous scorpions. No not one of those bush tucker trial things that come out whenever ‘I’m a Celebrity’ comes back on tele. (although I wouldn’t mind eating bugs, just once to try. Twice, if I like it perhaps.) Nope these are crisps in the shape of scorpions, hopefully the poisonous is just an adjective and Mark’s aren’t trying to diminish the population. Although let’s face it as a rather middle class store the way they would do it is through their offers, so they can kill off the ‘riff raff’ like me.

These are described as pickled onion flavoured corn snacks, so essentially monster munch. I do love monster munch especially the pickled onion flavour so when these were on offer I snatched them up with glee. It’s a bit of an odd one though why have they decided that scorpions that are poisonous would best suit pickled onion. Also why is the main picture a mummy instead of you know… a scorpion? Pedantic picking aside let’s move on.

I burst open the bag and I’m instantly met with a strong punch of onion, great sign. Let’s face it if I can’t get this smell out my house in a week it’s a sign they have done their job. Several of my housemates who I was going to offer them to recoiled at the smell. Pickled onion is one of those love it, or hate it things I guess. The smell is pretty damn pungent as one of my friends walked out the room!

The photo doesn't show off how weirdly greenish these are!
The scorpions are quite nicely molded although they are worryingly pale. Monster munch have a nice golden colour to them these are very pale almost like glow in the dark paint. At the thought of this I got excited and thought Mark’s put authentic scorpion detail in and they glow in the dark. Unfortunately when I turned off the lights all I got was confusion as to where my snacks were.

I popped one in my mouth and chewed it well. Unfortunately I was immediately disappointed. These aren’t like Monster Munch; nope these are like the cheap crisps we get in newsagents. I think they are called Space Invaders and cost about thirty pence. These taste exactly like them but were about seven times the price. Yes its’ a bigger bag but not seven times it. They taste rather stale and have nowhere near enough potency for me.

I guess if these things truly are poisonous they probably don’t have enough kick to knock me out let alone kill me. They are crunchy, which is something I guess. It indicates they aren’t past their best. No it suggests they never had a best in the first place!

Overall these are rather disappointing on pretty much every level apart from smell and toxicity. I should have just gone for Monster Munch after all they are practically Halloween themed all year round.

Score
4 out of 11

Found
Mark and Spencer's

Final Thoughts
 I need to get me some authentic Monster Munch as an anti-venom.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Crazy chocolate crispy bites.



 Ten days left people that are all! Ten days until troublesome tomes and wicked witches besieged our doors in search of sweetness. Ten days until I don’t have to review products that is apparently Halloween themed because someone stuck a white sheet on the packaging.

Perhaps this challenge has done something terrible and made me jaded towards festivities. Then again judging how excited I got when I saw Marks and Spencer’s had their Halloween range on three for two perhaps not! Not going to lie I got rather excited. After all I get to try three whole products and save money whilst I do it. So here we are one of the three items I got on offer. Hope you enjoy hearing about them as much as I enjoyed saving money on them!
I don't know if the ghost looks scared or about to chow down

First up we have “Ghostly Bites” wooooooo, these are little blocks of chocolate coated caramel rice crispies. So not very ghostly so far, but wait! On top of the chocolate is sugar coated ghouls, yep that’s what make these different from the range five feet away! Although not complaining too much as I do usually like these cereal bites and extra sugar is never a bad thing.

showcasing those "amazing" sugar ghosts (crucifixes)
The true test is in the taste so let’s try them. I open them up and to my horror (not the good kind) I find that they have been rather stingy on the chocolate. I had assumed that the picture on the front where the bite isn’t completely covered is to display the cereal beneath. Nope, there is literally only chocolate on the top and dribbled down the sides! To give them credit it is a thick layer and is further topped by those famous sugar ghosts. Which incidentally look more like tiny little crucifixes? Pretty much the opposite of what they should be going for then.

I take a bite out of the cereal. It’s actually very nice a great combination of crunchy rice crispies which taste nice and decent and gooey caramel which too is of considerable quality. Perhaps I’ve been a bit too quick to judge these little bites. They taste very similar to Kellogg’s Rice crispie breakfast bars but a bit nicer with caramel instead of marshmallow. Usually when you get store brand breakfast type bites they are lower quality and rather stale. These though taste really fresh and you get a fair few in the tub.

Turtling to demonstrate the lack of chocolate
I try the chocolate next and get a bit disappointed again, it’s not great just the usual cheap milk chocolate. Not quite advent calendar cheap but still more sweetener than milk. Looking at the ingredients it doesn’t surprise me that under the chocolate the first ingredient is sugar. What does surprise me is reference to sweetened condensed milk but have no idea where to find it in the product!  Of course we now move onto the important part, the reason we are all here. The sugar decorations! Yeah their crunchy and taste of sweetness, what were you expecting?

This came out bloody terrifying!!!
Altogether you get a nice mix of crispy caramel taste with a nice cereal afterthought. Initially you get a taste of chocolate; however it’s faint and rather fleeting. The sugar decoration just adds an extra crunch that’s more of a distraction than any helpful addition.

Overall I think I’d rather just buy a Kellogg’s cereal bar next time, there are more varieties of them and they tend to have better chocolate.


Score
7 out of 11

Found
Marks and Spencer's

Final Thoughts
There is also an ingredient called

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Green Gooey Goodness

Well after a few reviews that have been lacking in chocolate it’s time to go back. Not that it wasn’t an eye-opener as I found out that for one I don’t mind cupcakes. I also found out that my stomach is strong enough to survive the trials of a very fake blood bag. Well today as I say it’s back to the warm comforting bosom of chocolate (my relationship with cocoa would give Freud something to say I’m sure).

They are presented really nicely
The chocolate in question comes from Montezuma, a chocolatier who sell luxury and intriguing combination chocolate. I’ve seen a few of their lines in Waitrose but other than that you have to go instore to find their more obscure concoctions. Recently I noticed that they have had a rather large Halloween range and unlike some people cough Nestle cough aren’t just repackaging old items. Take todays item for instance their gooey chocolate eyeballs.

These are quite a cool idea with a cool eye-catching (hahaha) design that shows they are in the festive spirit. The outside is a milk chocolate shell with a green thing centre. A bit concerning is that I’m not sure what the green stuff is their description is “natural green centre”. Notice they don’t say chocolate, I may be slightly worried but hey ho that’s the fun of Halloween right there right? A really nice touch is the addition of white and dark chocolate for the details like the pupils.

I couldn't have it look at me before I ate it
But all these details and decoration mean nothing if the taste is disastrous so without further ado I try the eye. I’m not going to lie it doesn’t feel quite right, I don’t get that squeamish about eyeballs like a lot of people. Hell in my science class I was one of the only people who could dissect a lambs eye. As far as I remember it wasn’t filled with anything green, natural or otherwise. I took a big bite out of the eye and found the milk chocolate shell to be very pleasing. Nicely sweet and milky, not up to their usual rich standards however so we have another company using less cocoa and more sugar. However nowhere near the Easter egg standards before.

The natural green substance I think is some form of white chocolate however it does taste very similar to the outside milk chocolate. On second trying of the shell I find that it tastes very similar to a milky bar which as you know is white chocolate. The white chocolate on top is hard to find any flavour to as there is so little of it. Ironically the dark chocolate disk did come through however and I could detect a nice rich and bitter dark chocolate.

Natural Green centre?

Overall these are nice; it’s great that they can get into the spirit of festivities without compromising too much on their taste. True it’s nowhere near some of the standards of their luxury range but still pretty decent. Although at £4.99 for a bag of about six I would expect the effort.

Score
8 out of 11

Found
Montezuma store

Final Thoughts
May have to go back in for the bag of frogs just to use the phrase mad as a punch of frogs.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cupcake conundrum


Have no fear readers I am still alive. Yes I managed to stay at the Murder Motel and come out unscathed. It appears as if my insanity was too much even for the ghosts and ghouls that roam those halls. Either that or the Blood Bag yesterday was actually edible (barely) and wasn’t as toxic as it looked/tasted.

So onwards with our adventure to the foulest and most fun day of the year, Halloween. While yesterday’s review may have been a washout the principle of an item I have yet to touch is maintained in spirit today. For like yesterday todays item or rather items are things I never buy, mainly because I don’t usually like them

Today’s review is of two Halloween themed cupcakes, one from Gregg’s and one from a local baker. I don’t know what it is about cupcakes that I don’t like they just always seem a bit disappointing. Before you all arrive at my door pitchfork and torches in hand let me expand on my opinion. I know that it probably is one held by few especially it seems at the moment when cupcakes with unique and exciting toppings are all the rage.

To be fair perhaps the eyeball one would be more Halloweeny
The problem is however indeed those unique and exciting toppings. Gasp, shock, and horror I know. It’s just yes those toppings are cool and tasty but the cakes underneath are usually all the same and the majority of what you’re eating. There are only a few varieties of flavour that you see underneath and most of the time it’s vanilla. The toppings are where the makers focus all their efforts as they know it’s where your attention is. Sneaky folks these bakers (no offence it’s a clever ploy after all!) However I thought in all things new experiences I would bite the sponge (probably vanilla) and try a couple to see if my tastes have changed.

So first up we have Gregg’s cupcakes, they had two types in stock I picked the left hand one in the photo with orange buttercream icing. It looked nicer and at least it has some chocolate so I’m not too far from my comfort zone. I may go back and try the eye one but the topping just didn’t look so nice (see even I’m a sucker for looks). I took a lick of the topping and found it to be a rich butter cream as I had expected, a bit too rich really. Although when I bit into the cake as a whole finding vanilla (knew it!) I also found that actually a planer sponge taste compliments the sweetness well. Anything more would be too sickly, after all this comes close as it is.

How much is that ghosty in the window?
Yes it was nice but I’m afraid nice doesn’t make me a lover of cupcakes from now on. The second one I tried from a local baker came as a result of not absolutely hating the first. Also the one I saw made me chuckle and when that happens I’m in love. The one I plumped for is the cheerful little ghosty at the front as he captured my heart. The buttercream on top of these were described as cream cheese frosting so I had high hopes to begin with. Again I started by giving the topping a lick first and found it to be subtly sweet with a good cheesy afterthought. I plucked off the icing ghost too and ate him separately. He was nice although I did feel a heavy pang of guilty as I knew his hopes for life (this worlds and the next) had now been crushed. As a whole the cupcake tasted ok, sadly the cake underneath wasn’t carrot cake. Strange that they didn’t go for a carrot cake bottom considering how the top was cream cheese. They may have missed out on some extra brownie points there.

Overall they were nice but they neither surprised me nor turned me into a cupcaker. After all the toppings were the main attraction again.

Score
Gregg's ghoulish offering- 6 out of 11
Bakers benign treat- 8 out of 11

Found
Gregg's and high street baker

Final Thoughts
Never seen a cupcake with topping underneath, could be interesting and errrm messy 

Candy Blood Bag

I’ve reached a worrying point in this review. I have real concerns that today’s item could do me some serious harm. Perhaps if it does and I do go belly up after consuming this… interesting specimen I’ll be in the ground in enough time to rise again on the big night itself (Halloween). If the worst does happen I hope you, my valued and varied reader knows that I did it for them.

Furthermore I hope someone will pick up my mantle and carry forth the torch o everything I stand for. To be honest it will be a pretty easy task as I stand for very little (I don’t even give up my seat on the train). What could possibly be causing me to have such concerns for my health? Is it worth it? Not really to be honest but in the interest of my self-made challenge when I saw this for as little as a pound I had to purchase. It’s an interesting item to say the least, it’s a blood bag!
To be fair on them they put effort in.
 Before you all throw up your breakfast I’ll point out this is a candy blood bad containing what it claims to be strawberry flavour liquid candy. This is a first for this blog so at least if this challenge item does kill me it has done its job in getting me to try new things. While this looks like a product I wouldn’t trust usually I must commend them on getting into the fun of the festivities. From the packaging to the product itself the thing screams Halloween.

The brand is called Murder Motel, which makes me wonder what they produce the rest of the year. I can’t imagine that one good season can cover them for the entire year. There are a few “hilarious” puns too. It’s apparently owned by DR. Acula, oh as in Dracula. I see what you did there how witty, Oscar Wilde would be green with envy at not thinking this himself. Furthermore it appears to be the blood of victim no. 505 AKA Will B.Back, pure genius clearly. The best joke however is the slight attempt to appear healthy with the proud proclamation that it’s “Fat Free” that’s hilarious. I did notice on the back the notice that “E129 may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. OH GOD, WHAT WILL IT DO TO ME THEN!
Yeah, doesn't look too confidence filling
 I can’t put it off any longer and in the interest of science and all things candy blogging I snip the end off and prepare myself. Sucking on the end I watch the gooey substance slowly inch towards my mouth. The build-up and tension is killing me, what the hell is this stuff? Why it is so slow and why am I doing this? Then it hits me!

It tastes about as expected, terrible. Although initially not too bad I thought perhaps I had misjudged it, then realisation comes in. It tastes sickly and sour and way too syrupy, like drinking pure sugar water with some artificial strawberry flavouring added for bad luck. Which I fear is essentially what it is. It gets worse as once it hits your throat it creates a burning sensation. Needless to say this went in the bin quickly and definitely won’t B.Back (see what I did there).


Overall this is terrible but then again I knew it would be. I bought it because it was cheap and I have yet to review anything liquid based. I’m really regretting this decision. Hope you guys appreciated this, because I didn't.

Score
2 out of 11

Found
Halloween section in a newsagents

Final Thoughts
If the Overlook had been named Murder Motel perhaps the shining would have been completely different!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Hotel Chocolat- Trick or Treat

Fourteen days until Halloween guys. Have you got your costumes and carving pumpkin yet? I hope you have you don’t want to be rushing in the last week and end up with a rotten pumpkin and child’s pirate suit. That’s pretty much been my last five Halloweens but this year it will be different. This is mainly because this blog is making me think of Halloween each day when I do my review. Sometimes I don’t even have to go out looking for these reminders as they are thrust upon me.

Take today’s reviews for example which came to me through the post courtesy of Hotel chocolat. This is where I lay the cards on the table and state that today’s review was sent to me by them. I was yet again honoured to receive their email asking me to try one of their new autumn ranges.  With my current challenge in mind I opted for their Trick or Treat! Pouch which fits my Halloween themed posts of late. I will state here that just because I received these for free I am going to stay as impartial as I can be.

I think the presentation itself is the treat
Upon opening the rather large parcel I found the item inside to be equally as big. These chocolates are presented in an amazing and beautiful velvet bag. Embossed with a glittery purple spider that made my girlfriend squeal, take a photo and stake claims for it in the event of my death. I am impressed already, although not entirely surprised after all Hotel Chocolat is meant to be connoisseurs of luxury chocolate and considering the retail price of this product (£21.00). I just hope that this extends to the chocolate (sorry chocolat?) and isn’t just decoration.

Inside is 32 pieces of milk chocolate and white chocolate in five freakishly festive shapes. As is natural I felt the packets and opened a bunch to assess the shapes and you know eat them. I do this not for fun you realise but for the pursuit of science. The different shapes I found were: a cat, a bat, a ghost, a skull and my favourite a gravestone. They are all nicely moulded and the reason the gravestones my favourite is that the owners demise apparently occurred by chocolate. Considering this bag contains a hell of a lot of choccy I think it may be my own.

The skull is pretty chilling for chocolate!
Although I do realise that really these are meant to be handed out to the wee trick or treaters who may turn up on my doorstep in a few weeks’ time. Cleverly they are individually wrapped for this very purpose. It seems the good folks have thought of everything but remember at that price you would expect them too. I’ve seen Haribo treater packs in my local Poundland for well a pound. I think given the choice of the two and the fact that I’m handing them out for free I know which I’d choose. It is however a good idea for a party or get together with friends or kids Halloween party, may sound harsh but at least then the expense goes on people I care about.

None of the presentation matters anyway if the chocolate tastes foul so let’s move on to the important factor and chow down. I think I’ll break from my natural instinct and try the white chocolate first. After all if we don’t spice things up once in a while we can get stuck in a rut can’t we? So picking out my champion in the form of the gravestone I try a piece. It’s good smooth, creamy and milky whilst avoiding the usual pitfall of white chocolate by being sickly. However I’ve tried their usual white chocolate and have to say this isn’t up to their luxury tastes. It seems that they are using a cheaper variety here. Although again it’s still a very good standard of white chocolate, however between this and 25 pence milky bar I know what I’d buy for a small snack.

I hope that death by chocolate doesn't exist and is just a trick.
Next I picked the milk chocolate ghost. This was impressively thick and rather big slab considering their treat like purpose. This piece again tasted rather luxurious surprisingly rich and creamy with a nice sweet taste. Definite quality milk chocolate however yet again tasting slightly cheaper than their slab chocolate. It melts really nicely with a good chocolaty milky taste. Both of these varieties will impress when compared to the usual standard of Halloween candy. One point I find odd is the fact that there is no dark chocolate pieces you think they would want to include the entire trilogy.


Overall this product looks and tastes great but at the price they are asking for it, it needs to be. It seems a lot of that expense goes on look too which goes against its purpose a bit of giving this away to strangers. It depends how much of an impact you want to leave on your guests who at the end are getting free candy out of you in either situation.

Score
9 out of 11 for taste, 
5 out of 11 for price and purpose! 
Overall 7.5 out of 11

Found
In a box, in a beautiful bag, in the post

Final Thoughts


Why do they leave the e off of chocolate




Thursday, 17 October 2013

Doughnut Dangers

They say good things come in threes so perhaps todays review will prove this is true. That’s because todays Halloween temptation comes from the bakers doors once again. The baker in question is Gregg’s and after proving me wrong the other day. I decided to tempt fate and be tempted by their monstrous donuts.

Now I’ll confess here, I’m not a fan of donuts. I know, it’s terrible I’m so sorry. As someone who clearly revels in everything sweet you must respect it takes some serious guts to admit to that truth to the world at large. In fact I’ll go so far as to admitting distaste to most things pastry. There’s just something about dough and crusts that disappoint me. I love the fillings however, which puts me in a bit of a quandary. Especially when you factor in the point that often the filling is rather sparse as it’s the most expensive part to make.

His expression says many things scary isn't one of them
After yesterday’s discussion about how I would like to be challenged by you guys to make me step out of the norm, I thought I should compel myself to do so too. This plus the fact that actually these donuts look pretty tasty. Lastly it’s only seventy five pence, can’t go wrong at that price. If it is nice I spied that the doughnut next to it was a banana milkshake one which sounds rather tempting.

One problem I realised straight away is that these are not exactly fresh. As I say I’m not a fan of pastries and about the only time I fancy them is when they are baked fresh and warm. The last donut I had before this was I admit pretty amazing but I think this was more down to the event and the company I was with. Unfortunately this time its wet cold and I’m alone, I should point out I’m just walking to work not like being held hostage although many say it’s pretty much the same thing.

I took a deep bite into this donut straight away, mainly because in experience I’ve found the fillings tend to be rather central so best to get there quick. I was right there was a filling, disappointingly it was just jam. Don’t get me wrong I love jam but considering how the banana one had milkshake in it this is hardly special. To make matters worse the icing on top seems to just be coloured orange icing and provides no actual flavour. It seems we have another case of a company phoning it in a bit for the holidays.
What constitutes a scary chicken?

The dough on the outside is nice but would be much nicer if it was warm and fresh. Also it is a bit stodgy but not too bad considering my expectations I did have for Gregg’s. However next time guys can I get some more jam please. I will probably go back however for the banana shake. I may even review it.

Evidence of the phoning it in from the Gregg’s household was abundant in their windows. Several of their posters depicted their pastries beneath a Halloween pun. Guys just because you put a scarily bad pun above your product don’t make it festive to this hellish holiday.


Overall it wasn’t too bad, bit dull. It was essentially a jam doughnut with some orange icing on top. 
The design was kinda cool but only because the it looks more like the guys constipated or ill, which made me chuckle.

Score
5.5 out of 11

Found
Gregg's the bakers

Final Thoughts
I also want to try Starbucks new product the Duffin (doughnut muffin FYI)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Casper the friendly Cookie

There is a bit of a problem with myself made Halloween challenge. Can you see it? Basically all of the products I have tried and I am planning to try are a bit samey. I fear that by the time the bell tolls on Halloweens Eve I will be sick to death of creepy candy.

Take for example today's review item, a gingerbread ghost from my local bakers. Now it’s a perfectly good product and I know it’s going to be good quality. However it is the third ghoulish themed biscuit I have tried in a week. It’s why I set up the Challenge Me page because if I’m left to choose what I review it gets a bit familiar. It’s a problem we all naturally have that certain things will always be what catch our eyes.

Can you see what I mean about the basic shape?
So let todays post not only is a review of casper the friendly caper, but also a plea to you guys. Please send me challenges either in the comments of my posts or through my twitter HERE. Recommend or challenge me to find a product you know about I don’t care if it’s foul or fruity, salivating or shocking or even downright amazing.

Anyway on to today’s biscuit treat.  I spied this in my local bakers Reeves and thought it would be a nice accompaniment to my much beloved afternoon coffee. Regular readers will know two things at this point. Firstly my coffee lunch drink and biccy is very important and sets me right for the rest of the day. Secondly that when it comes to ginger based products I am very picky. There is clearly a right way to do it like these flapjacks and a very wrong way to do it like this terror.

First world problems right here!
However Reeves haven’t steered me too wrong in the past and it is fresh so we should be off to a good start. The design is nice if a bit of an odd shape. True it does look ghostly with the thick layer of white icing. Take that off however and it kinda looks to me like Mr Hanky from South Park. Not really wanting to dwell on that I’ll move on. It smells nice a gingery which is a good sign that it could be strong enough to satisfy my needs although I have been wrong before. Probably because my standards are a tad too high perhaps.

I nipped off a bit of the icing and find it to be rather solid almost like a sheet of plastic, luckly it doesn’t taste of such. In fact the icing doesn’t taste of anything much except sugar. Not necessarily a bad thing after all I wasn’t expecting any flavour. The biscuit itself has a nice fiery kick and good ginger taste to it, however it’s a bit hard and isn’t very sweet.

I saw the solution immediately have both bits together; you know how they intended it to be eaten. When both layers are consumed it does mix reasonably well. Although because both are rather solid to say the least the experience is a bit jarring, like biting a brick wall at times. One problem then occurred when the slab of icing completely fell away. Not a good sign really especially considering my earlier thought about how it looks minus decoration.

Not relevant but I made this, kinda proud :)
It’s not coffee and biscuit time without a mention to the dunking experience. As expected this is a good dunker and drinks the coffee in as much as I do. It tastes great this way too, no longer too hard and hasn’t turned too mushy the ginger flavour is really brought out. I soon munched the rest of the biscuit and then found a bag of icing left which I’m going to save for sweet snacking throughout the rest of the day.


Overall this was a great biscuit, however I would rather have had to seek it out rather than stroll past. Take this as a challenge from me to you reader, make me work for this blog!

Score
7 out of 11

Found 
Reeves the bakers

Final Thoughts
I hope I'm not coming off to strong or you guys will never call me maybe.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Monster Mash Well Jelly Really I Guess



Ok so far in my Halloween challenge we have had biscuits, chocolate and trepidation. I notice something missing there and in fact something that’s worryingly rare for my blog as a whole. Can you guess what? If not why not go back and read all my posts again, go on you know you want to.

For those of you not wanting to trawl through my blogging archive (I don’t blame you) I’ll give you the answer. My blog is frightfully devoid of all things chewy, it seems that I have rather favoured chocolates above all. So when I saw these monstrously cool looking lollipops I thought what better time to start to chew.

The monster looks a bit uncomfortable, there is a reason for this.
Today’s products are described as marshmallow and jelly decorated lollipops, they are essentially those jelly sweets with the hard icing on top. They don’t exactly appeal too many but in a weird way I find the crunch and taste of the cheap icing rather pleasing. I found two packs of two and an offer that allowed me to justify purchasing both at once happy days are here again folks.

So we have four different beasties here a bat, a witch, Frankenstein’s MONSTER (guys it’s not Frankenstein he’s the scientist!!!) and a mummy. They all look rather cool although the witch looks a bit orange and cheerful to be an evil witch perhaps she’s just a trick or treater. These are actually pretty impressive for their price as each is a different fruit flavour too. Some are a bit devoid of icing the monster particularly is mainly jelly but to be honest the designs are nicely done without it.

Which Witch is which? Hint- The one on the left.
First up I tried the bat, he is the most “frightening” of all four so I thought I’d better kill him off quick. It tasted how I remember these jelly type pops to taste. Rather sugary with a nice squishy texture that melts well and with the icing on top that adds an impressive crunch. I was surprised by how nice the blackcurrant taste is. Not too sugary and not too artificial, a nice balance has been struck. It has been a while since I’ve had these lollys. Perhaps significant developments have gone on in the field. It is after all an essential if we want our society to flourish!

Next up I tried the monster, unfortunately he fell off his stick. However I can’t really blame him the stick had been strategically placed where the sun doesn’t shine. He must have annoyed the moulder somewhat to deserve this cruel and rather unusual punishment. I didn’t have the heart to resign him to the torment and instead bit off his head! He didn’t have any real flavour to him unfortunately to the point where I couldn’t even tell what he was supposed to be. Added to this the lack of icing which seemed to just be his socks meant he was rather dull as dishwater.

Attack bat gets his own photo shoot, blatant favoritism
The witch went next, another good quality fruity jelly. She had a taste of Tangerine weirdly not normal Orange, a bit too sweet perhaps. Not artificially sugary, so still quite nice. She had the most icing too which I relished in. Lastly we had the mummy, the biggest of the lot of them it had a nice design. Although the eyes were a bit odd and looked more like a pig snout. When I bit in I found a nice and subtle Vanilla marshmallow taste which made a nice change from the fruit. Could have been a bit stronger perhaps, but otherwise really nice.


Overall I was impressed by these lollipop offerings especially as they are on offer. My favourite by far was the blackcurrant bat who boasted a nice flavour and good amount of icing. However all were well designed and didn’t have the artificial taste I had expected.

Score
8 out of 11

Found
Tesco's Halloween aisle on offer now!

Final Thoughts
I think all this sugars going to have me bouncing off the castle walls.

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