Peanut Punch Flavoured Milk Drink

A couple of months ago we valiantly reviewed ‘Eggnog Flavoured Milk Drink ‘ for your reading pleasure. We discovered that despite the name, it was in fact an unholy faux-banana-bubblegum-squirty-cream flavour. Even with the ‘artificial cognac brandy’.

We promised to review it’s nutty sibling the ‘Peanut Punch Flavoured Milk Drink’ (just brimming with pithy product name zingers aren’t they?) and… here we are!

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Don’t say we never do anything for you.

     Drink: Serge Island Premium Peanut Punch 240ml

     Bought at: Tesco

     Price: 75p

     Available at: TescoAmazon

Initially the promise of a smooth… creamy…. cool…… buttery……… nutty experience fills me with eager anticipation. The unassuming carton calls to me. It sings sweetly. Drawing me to it with it’s siren song….

 

I remind myself that this shelf stable ‘flavoured milk drink’ was snatched off a dusty shelf from a forgotten corner of Tesco for 75p. Surely it can’t be a lot better than the last box of disappointment?

Let’s just get it open and have a swig.

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Stabbing your way in through a two dimensional peanut feels a bit OTT. Haven’t they suffered enough already?

There is 10% peanut butter, 9.1% peanut and a massive 25g of sugar in this little box. I am therefore expecting a huge, sweet peanut ice cream flavour as I take a gulp.

Hmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

This is not what I expected.

The initial creaminess gives way to a raw, natural and unroasted peanut flavour. It’s a strange experience that is borderline cloying at first, and then a bit too woody and green tasting at the finish. It manages to miss the mark in opposite ways at the same time. Wow.

I am not quite sure if I am enjoying it or not, but I can’t stop drinking the stuff and marveling at the trip happening on my tongue. I offer Megan a go but I am not sure she is game.

Lottie: “Have another sip, it’s not too bad!”

Megan: “I will not.”

Is it delicious? No. But it is fascinating and worth a dabble if you are a foodie thrill seeker.

4/10

itsu Chocolate Edamame

Here’s another snack we found on the bottom shelf of the Sainsbury’s ‘impulse buy’ section near the till. We chose these because of the weird AF packaging – a bikini-clad woman’s bum? Really?

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Lottie: “I like how they put the window over the ball but not over her arse.”

Snack: itsu chocolate edamame 35g

Bought at: Sainsbury’s local 

Price: approx. £1.20

Also available from: OcadoWaitrose

On closer inspection, it appears itsu, the company behind these chocolate coated edamame beans, is actually the official partner of the Volleyball England Beach Tour, and, looking at their website, much of their packaging features photographs of volleyball players. But maybe they should have put, say, a banner across the front of the box, rather than a tiny logo on the side, so that people don’t just think they’re being weird and trying to sell ‘healthy’ snacks with scantily-clad ladies?

Looking into itsu further, it turns out they were founded 20 years ago by one of the people behind Pret A Manger, and currently have 70 stores, but we’ve never heard of them before. Then again, Sheffield only got its first branch of Pret last year, so we’re not exactly in a Mecca of trendy brands here.

itsu seem to be very health focussed, and bill this product as high in fibre and a healthier alternative to chocolate-coated peanuts, but they actually have more fat per 100g than a kitkat. And they’re stupidly expensive.

Despite having put effort into a slick website, there’s a typo in the first sentence of their ‘about us’ section, and, EVEN WORSE, they use the motto “eat beautiful”:

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Lottie: screams “That doesn’t make grammatical sense!”

Down to the eating: we’re expecting these to be a lot like chocolate coated nuts or coffee beans, but less delicious, and we’re not wrong.

On opening the inner packet (and do they really need a cardboard box as well?) the beans do look temptingly dark and glossy. Biting in, the chocolate has a good flavour, and it’s a nice thick coating of it. The roasted edamame interior is crunchy, and very faintly nutty/salty, but to be honest it isn’t doing much.

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Shiny.

They’re perfectly pleasant to eat, and we polished off the rest of the (small) packet easily enough, but what is the point? We’d rather have some chocolate almonds or peanuts, but even if you’re looking for a healthier snack, you’d be better off with a few squares of some better dark chocolate. Purely based on the product, we give these:

4/10

But, particularly given the high price for such a small product, and how much the packaging offends us on a really primal level, we’re going to reduce the score to:

2/10

Oishi Crablets

Q: What’s snappy, crabby and can be lured from Scarborough Harbour with bacon bits?

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‘Hmmm… Lottie after a pasting at Pirate Adventure Mini Golf?’

Yes.

But also: crabs, which are what today’s snack adventure is alllllllll about.

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Crab shaped, crab flavoured, crab named and 1% crab powder. Crab level: MAX.

Snack: Oishi Crablets 40g

Bought At: Oriental Supermarket, Sheffield

Price: 95p

Available From: Amazon, Eastern Fortune, Fresh Oriental

These were an impulse buy at our local Asian supermarket. The bag looked really fun and, as you no doubt know by now, we are suckers for novelty. The packaging informs us that this snack is made in China and, like us, is ‘Ready to eat’.

We are hoping that these little crispy crustaceans live up to the super crabby flavour inferred by the bag. As such there is a danger that these are going to be a bit stinky when we crack ’em open.

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Tuck your trousers into your socks. The crablets cometh.

There is something almost intimidating by the huge number of tiny crunchy critters spilling from the bag. Perhaps it is the anatomical oversight of the crabby design (which has omitted a pair of legs), that makes it appear that the bag contains a deep fried pile of mites.

We gather up courage and take a sniff from the bag and find that the aroma is mild and a little like a batch of freshly fried prawn crackers. The crablets are not as big as we were expecting – we thought they would be Monster Munch like in size and texture but they are quite delicate and small.

Megan: ‘Can I make a diorama of crabs against a seascape?’

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Sure. You do you.

As for the flavour, it is pretty good! A light saltiness gives way to a creamy seafood flavour, ending on a very subtle crabby note. So subtle in fact, that if we weren’t reminded in every way that these are CRAB snacks made with CRAB, then we probably would have assumed they were prawn flavour. The taste is very reminiscent of those Nong Shim Shrimp Crackers that you see in Asian supermarkets. The texture is particularly good – the crablets are very light and almost melty like a Pom-bear.

Verdict: These are a really fun novelty snack with a good flavour, but could perhaps use a little more of the flavouring powder on them to stand out from the other crispy seafood snacks out there.

7/10

Polly Puffar Sea Salt

Here’s another snack we picked up on our trip to Stockholm – Polly Puffar Sea Salt.

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Lovely sea imagery in the background there.

Snack: Cloetta Polly Puffar Sea Salt 150g

Bought at: 7-Eleven in Stockholm

Price: £2ish

I grabbed these at 7-Eleven because I have been completely taken in by the trend for salted caramel and salted chocolate. Also, our friends Bella and Cyd gave us a bag of regular Polly a while back which we enjoyed. The regular Polly are sort of chewy, sort of marshmallowy things coated in chocolate (the manufacturer’s website says “delightfully chewy foam drops”), but Polly Puffar are rather different.

The Puffar are “salty corn puffs covered with milk chocolate”. Oddly, the front of the packet is entirely in English (except for the word ‘puffar’), which makes sense as these are sold in several countries – no point repackaging them I suppose. However there is absolutely no English on the back of the packet. Puzzling.

Moving on to the Puffar themselves: they are rather unfortunate looking. That’s wishful thinking on the packaging. Imagine someone gave some Niknaks a not-very-smooth chocolate coating and you’ve pretty much got the idea. They look like the droppings of a small woodland creature. Lottie also likened them to Jumanji playing pieces. Take a look for yourselves:

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Hmmm.

Thankfully they made up for their lacklustre appearance by being incredibly moreish. On first bite, we both think we’ve eaten something like this before – but what? We can’t quite place it.

The closest comparison we came up with is a giant Crispy M&M, minus the sugar shell, and with a bit of salt. Texturally, the innards are similar to Niknaks, Monster Munch, Golden Nuggets cereal, and other forms of extruded puffed corn (I like the word ‘extruded’). I think the middle is just salty, with all the sweetness coming from the chocolate coating. They’re very light and easy to eat, rather like Maltesers.

Basically, I think if you like Maltesers and other forms of crispy things coated in chocolate, and you also like the salty-sweet combination, then you’ll find these slip down far too easily. 

8/10

Crispy Moth Lentil Bhakarwadi Rolls

Moth. Lentil.

I don’t think I have ever seen these two words used in conjunction with each other before. One of these things I find alarming, unsettling and silently horrifying. The other is a nocturnal flying insect.

Lol just playing – lentils are inoffensive and the very culinary definition of bland. Moths are terrifying and I am the first to exit the room flailing at the sight of the flappy little villains. If you think that irrational, then you are lucky not to have had my mate Tina tell you her infamous horror story about the moth that popped in to say hello to her brother and ‘never left again’… Keep wondering. You do not want to know.

Anyway! Let’s have a gander at the snack:

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Despite a resemblance to Pedigree Chum Tasty Bites, these are in fact vegetarian.

     Snack: Kohinoor Bhakarwadi 200g

     Bought At: Tesco

     Price: £1.09

     Available from: Tesco and ASDA

The description on the back of the packet makes me love the people at Kohinoor:

‘Specially packed for the crunchy munchy time… treasure the solitary moments that you much deserve.’

Ahhhhh. In’t that nice?

Well this time I choose to share the crunchy munchy time with Megan, which is fortunate as this modest sized bag of snacks contains a whopping 1074 calories!

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Thankfully no moths were found within.

The aroma wafting from the bag is reminiscent of curry flavoured instant noodles with an extra fruity layer wafting over the top. The neat little rolls hold together well and look reassuringly like the picture on the packet. We take a bite:

Megan: ‘Ooh! Not what I expected. It’s sort of like a deep fried fig roll with extra spice.’

The flavour is mild, but far more complex than I expected – a salty buttery flavour gives way to a tangy fruit flavour with a warm, mild spice finish. The texture is great too – crisp and crumbly it disintegrates on your tongue and melts away like flaky pastry.

Very nice, but perhaps doesn’t have enough flavour to justify the enormous amount of calories contained within. They would make a really nice addition to a buffet alongside the usual savoury snackage, where they couldn’t be snarfed down in large quantities by just one person.

7/10

Mallow and Marsh Raspberry Marshmallow Bar

I’ve seen these swanky marshmallow bars in the shops before, but always felt that I couldn’t justify spending £1.35 on a fancy marshmallow. But this one was reduced! It’s not near its best before date, so I suspect (and the dust on the wrapper was a big hint) that most Sheffielders – even those frequenting Sainsbury’s, where I bought this – feel the same way I do about over-priced, supposedly fancy snacks.

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Snack: Mallow and Marsh Raspberry Marshmallow Bar Coated in 70% Dark Chocolate

     Bought at: Sainsbury’s Local

     Price: Normally £1.35, but reduced to £1.00

Available at: Mallow and MarshSainsbury’s

First of all: the name is just lacking in imagination. It’s like entry-level “How to make your product sound vaguely artisan and hipstery”. To be fair, these do seem to be made by a small company rather than a multinational conglomerate.

Another point in its disfavour: it has a couple of “friendly” messages in speech bubbles on it. It’s self-consciously quirky and it annoys me. One of them is even written from the bar’s point of view. I hate it.

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*TYPOGRAPHY KLAXON*

 

Even worse: they printed the weight and best before information in COMIC SANS.

FFS.

You go to all that effort to design reasonably tasteful packaging and then you go and ruin it.

Now, I’m a sucker for all things raspberry-and-chocolate, so I’m hoping for good things…

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Taking an artistic first bite is hard.

Sadly, the marshmallow fails to deliver with only a hint of raspberry flavour. It’s also a bit too airy for my taste – or rather the bubbles are a bit too large. It’s nice, but not actually nicer than a bog standard marshmallow (a pink one, obvs, they’re the best).

The chocolate is good – it’s nice dark stuff, with just the right amount of sweetness. The thin layer might not look it, but it’s the perfect amount to pair with the marshmallow.

All in all, if these were cheaper, I’d be all for it, but at the current price point, I won’t     be bothering. Sad.

     5/10

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Style Yogurt

As it’s February, you may believe that you have escaped the tyranny of the ubiquitous Pumpkin Spiced Latte for another year.

You are mistaken.

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NO ESCAPE.

Snack: Müller Corner Pumpkin Spiced Latte Yogurt

Bought at: Tesco

Price: 55p

Available From: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and just about every other UK supermarket

Müller have put on their yoga pants and jumped on the pumpkin spiced latte bandwagon to Basictown Nomville in the hope of creating something innovative and, presumably, delicious.

We are sceptical that this melange of strong flavours is going to come together into something tasty. But of course there is only one way to know… Let’s crack her open!:

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We weren’t expecting the interior to be so… greige.

The pumpkin spiced bit looks uncannily like McDonald’s sweet & sour sauce. Now my instinct is to dunk chips in it. I am a monster.

After inspecting the sepia tinged innards, Megan declines to lick the lid of life.

Megan: I don’t want to risk catching bloaty head disease!

A valid concern. Those of us who have managed virtual hospitals are all too aware of the difficult process bloaty head sufferers have to withstand in the inflation clinic.

Brutal.

Given that I don’t know what pumpkin spice, or indeed pumpkin tastes of, I decide to taste the yogurt first. It’s rather delicious actually! I really enjoy the tangy, creamy yogurt against the mild coffee flavour. Megan on the other hand finds the tangy coffee a weird experience and does not enjoy it very much.

What of the pumpkin spice corner mix? No. Not really for me. The mix is mildly sweet but very cinnamon heavy and a bit overwhelming on the senses. It also has a jelly-like texture and has a spoon shaped dent in it where we scooped a bit out. Hmmm. I imagine though, that it is a pretty good approximation of the pumpkin spiced latte if that’s your cup of tea coffee. Megan however really likes the mysterious goop.

Megan: Can I just have this bit?

Yes. Yes you can Megan. We polish off the two sections separately #teamwork

In summary – an unusual combination that will probably delight pumpkin spice latte fans, but wont win any newcomers over to the flavour combo.

5/10