The Snack Organisation presents.. Rice Crackers

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A little while ago I received an email from The Snack Organisation asking me if I’d like to try a couple of their products. Fast forward to last week and a couple of their products means an enormous box full apparently! I’m not complaining..

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Inside were three different flavours of rice crackers. I’ve not tried a rice cracker beforehand and so I was quite looking forward to trying them. I have one question (or suggestion) for The Snack Organisation though, serving size is a quarter of the sleeve so wouldn’t some kind of resealable packet work better? It doesn’t affect the product immediatly but we’ll wait and see how any leftovers taste. (Edit: there weren’t any so someone else might be able to offer up a bit more about that!)

I expected them to resemble rice cakes if I’m honest but the textures couldn’t be more different. They’re very solid and reasonably thick, definitely thick enough to load up with toppings and have a very satisfying crunch.

Sweet Chilli

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I do eat sweet chilli flavoured food quite regularly though and I was quite alarmed at how these smelt. Not remotely sweet chilli like at all with the strongest vinegar scent I’ve ever smelt.. It was ridiculous and a little off putting if I’m honest.

The crackers look a lot more interesting than stadard boring crackers with a Wotsit like orange dusting. I’m not really into it, but 1/4 of the whole box is only 105 calories so if you are after a low cal snack, I think it’s a very decent serving size.

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If you too have the same issue with far too much vinegar smell, do not let it put you off. I promise you don’t taste like pure vinegar.

I found they had a delicious sweet chilli flavour that was so addictive the 105 calorie portion went out the window when I ate them all.. Whoops! They aren’t spicy spicy but they definitely have a little kick to them, the spicy side actually reminded me of Nice’N’Spicy Nik Naks and Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch – probably why I enjoyed them so much!

Some did have a slight vinegar flavour but these were the less orange crackers, as you can see there weren’t many and it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all.

Teriyaki 

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Next I tried the Teriyaki flavour, not only did they look a lot more like what I expected from a rice cracker with less of the neon orange, and they lacked any vinegar smell, thank God! Instead they were an anaemic creamy colour and had a reasonably salty scent.

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I love love love the sweet and savoury blend in these. Salty and sweet with a flavour that reminded me a hell of a lot of real Teriyaki beef I ate recently, these rice crackers need no accompaniment. O.K they got a little dry, but I worked my way through these plain and was left licking my lips searching for more!

One minor niggle I have is that as the teriyaki flavouring isn’t quite as in your face as the sweet chilli, there wasn’t as much disguising the typical rice-y flavour and as such a few crackers had an aftertaste a little like a plain rice cake.

Lightly Salted 

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Last but by no means least, I tried Lightly Salted.

Strangely they had less of a salty scent than the Teriyaki but I’ve learnt now not to judge these by how they smell at all. Actually they looked identical to the Teriyaki flavour – it’s a good job I tried them all separately!

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I thought these would be boring and require some sort of tasty topping but again I couldn’t have been more wrong! Of course they’d be delicious with something spread on top but they’re far from plain. They reminded me a lot of ready salted crisps and certainly had the same salty addictive quality. They don’t taste like ready salted crisps mind you, think less saltiness more flavour and the flavour of the rice crackers is really complimented by the salt.

Rating: 8/10 

All three flavours were really, really good. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed these actually. As it stands I have three different brands of crackers in my cupboard as I always buy, eat and then they inevitably go stale.. I thought these would be the same story but once I tried the first flavour I was hooked – we both were!

They aren’t oily or greasy despite having a shiny slick finish but they weren’t dry at all. Very unusual for a cracker and there’s no way I could demolish a box of Jacobs as fast as we did these. Confession time: between two of us we ploughed through 6 boxes of these in three days… Oops!

As a huge bonus, not only are they addictively delicious, they’re gluten free too so everyone can enjoy.

Thank you very much to The Snack Organisation for the delicious crackers and opening me up to another new regular purchase!

Twix Bites

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A short but sweet review for today, it’s hot, it’s friday and they’re not really new!

Twix Bites! The brother of Mars Bites, Snickers Bites and I hoped would be the cooler, better cousin to the unrecognisable Cadbury Dinky Deckers.

There were a fair few tiny Twix bites and the bag contained a much more noticeably biscuity scent than I’ve found with a normal Twix.

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There are two ways to eat these Bite bags, individually or shovelling them in like the gannit I really am. Let’s start with one treat at a time… (ha)

It was very similar to the Mars Bites, these usually chocolatey bars shrunk down really brings out the chewiness and stickiness of the caramel. Happily it’s not an overly sugary caramel and has a lovely flavour. The biscuit base seems a lot clearer to taste too, it’s the same as in a proper Twix but again these smaller proportions really emphasises it. Lastly came the chocolate flavour, same stuff as ever just not the star of the show for once.

Obviously, should you choose as I did to eat them by shoving in as many and as quickly as you can, then things change. The chocolate becomes stronger and the bites have an overall sicklier sweet taste. But I couldn’t keep that up for very long anyway..

Rating: 8/10 

What’s with all these 8s lately?

I’m loving these Mars Chocolate bite sized bags, they’ve nailed what Cadbury are supposed to be  the masters in! Delish.

 

Sulá Sugar Free Sweets (Sweets Without)

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The lovely Peter over at Sweets Without sent a parcel containing three boxes of sugar free sweets from Sulá for me to try. All three are boiled sweets, are sweetened using sweeteners and made using natural flavours.

Rhubarb And Custard 

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Rhubarb And Custard won the battle of which flavour first (remember, they’re sugar free so you don’t want to eat too many at once!). The sweeteners used are isomalt and sucralose and the sweets contain 4% butter as well as actual concentrated rhubarb juice amongst other flavourings.

They stick to the typical pink and  yellow theme you’d expect from a rhubarb and custard flavoured sweet and have a strange plasticy look to them thanks to a quite matte finish.

Make sure you don’t forget the warning because these are addictive! They are a delicious triple threat, lovely and sweet in contrast to the sharpness from the rhubarb all blended together with a wonderfully buttery creamy flavour. Sulá have nailed Rhubarb And Custard and all this without any nasty artificial sweetener flavours at all.

I’ll be buying these again, sugar free or not.

Mint Humbugs

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I’m loving the fact that the sweets actually look like they’re supposed to!

Mint Humbug was next, same sweeteners used, same warnings but this time the sweets are made using 6.9% cream as well as butter. The addition of cream and peppermint flavourings seem to be the only differences I can find but it does have an effect on the feel of the sweets. They were far easier to crunch than their Rhubarb & Custard companions and while I enjoyed the choice, they aren’t going to last as long if that’s what you’re after.

At first all I could taste was a strong and refreshing mint. I’m normally really torn on mint but I enjoyed it quite a lot in the humbugs, the fact that mint is followed swiftly by a smooth creamy buttery flavour is probably what swayed it, but I loved the blend of the flavours together.

Once again there was no artificial sweetener flavour, making for another very addictive sweet!

Butterscotch

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Finally the flavour I expected would be good, Butterscotch.

I’ve had the Werthers Sugar Free Originals, which are pretty much the standard and these already have the edge over the worldwide giant in that they aren’t wrapped.. I tried to eat Werthers on the sly once (I’m still too young to be caught eating Werthers while I’m out!) and it was a nightmare opening each individual wrapper – these were much easier!

I suspect now that the softer texture may be due to the dramatic increase in temperature recently, but these had a slighter softer and shorter suck and were a lot easier to crunch through.

Butterscotch was surprisingly the sweetest of the three flavours, mainly at the very beginning and end of each sweet but it was noticeable, not quite artificial sweetener sweet but about to head down that track. The vast majority of each boiled sweet had a delicious creamy butterscotch flavour though. Butterscotch flavour actually uses slightly more cream and butter and it made for a very moreish sweetie. Probably the most addictive of all three, you have been warned!

Rating: 8/10 

I’d happily eat any of these again and so, I suspect, would my newly diagnosed diabetic granddad. Add to the fact they’re not only sugar free but gluten free too – they’re a tasty sweet pretty much anyone can have!

Thanks very much again to Peter from www.sweetswithout.co.uk for the sweets. They sell a huge amount of chocolate, sweets and other tasty treats so make sure you check them out, Peters knowledge of all the goodies sold is second to none too.

Mars Bites

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I didn’t expect to be reviewing these to be truthful, there are a whole bunch of new sharing sized bags of chocolates out and naturally, I bought all of them. Cadbury need to watch out, they’ve always seemed to have that corner of the market with their bags of miniature bite sized versions of chocolate bars (the recently reviewed disappointing Dinky Deckers spring to mind) but now everyone else are getting in on the action.

Anyway, as I said I hadn’t planned on reviewing them as they are only bite sized Mars Bars after all, but I thought I may change my mind if they were completely different from the original and people needed warning!

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They truly are “bites”, with the Cadbury bites I can eat each piece in two small bites quite easily but there’s no chance with the Mars – 1 chomp and they’re gone I’m afraid. Thankfully, although the bag only weighs 136g there’s loads in there, probably about 30, so more than enough to munch away on.

They smell extraordinarily sweet, much more so than usual, but happily they don’t taste anywhere near as such.

I said I’d review if you needed warning but this isn’t a warning to us, it’s a warning to Cadbury. You really need to up your game Cadbury, this is how you do bite sized!  Let me start by saying the ingredients are identical so no worries there. However the size has an impact on the flavour.

In my opinion, it’s a total improvement. For some reason the caramel is really accentuated, both the flavour and the sticker feel, but thanks to the fact it’s still completely in proportion with the rest of the Mars Bar, neither it or the chewy nougat become too sickly sweet. Well until you get 3/4 of the way through a bag in ten minutes but that happens with anything….

Lets be honest, Mars Bar chocolate isn’t great but it works with the rest of the bar and there’s no change to that when it’s bite sized but it’s a revelation to me how tasty the caramel they use is and I definitely prefer these small bites to the normal bars – and I love a Mars Bar!

Rating 8/10 

Ben & Jerry’s Sofa So Good (Exclusive Flavour)

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The second of the Ben & Jerry’s “Exclusive Flavours is the one that while I was looking forward to trying, didn’t excite me as much as yesterdays Wholly Couch as it’s quite similar to flavours already sold.

Sofa So Good

Delve into the silky salted caramel swirl, chocolate cookies & chewy gooey brownies – the perfect partner for your night in? Sofa So Good we think! 

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B&J have swapped yesterdays vanilla ice cream for caramel and as ever it’s delicious. Their caramel isn’t in my top 5 but there’s no denying it’s good stuff. As creamy and rich as always with just that step up in quality to justify the extortionate prices supermarkets charge!

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It was jam packed with cookies and brownies, in fact it was pretty hard to get a spoonful of just ice cream as there were so many.

Unlike Cookie Dough ‘Swich Up or even Cookie Dough, they weren’t full sized biscuits but rather small crunchy pieces of a generic chocolate biscuit – no cookie dough or Oreo knock offs – and they had a surprisingly strong chocolatey flavour.

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Not that they were all that noticeable against the enormous brownies taking up most of my pint! The brownie above was half the size of the rest easily, but it’s difficult to take a photo when you’re holding the entire tub of ice cream on a small spoon!

In yesterdays review I mentioned it’s annoying when the bulk is filled with so many large brownies it’s easier to eat it with a fork and unfortunately, that was the case for a lot of Sofa So Good.I thought maybe it was just my tub as as we all know, every pint of B&J comes out differently so I checked the ingredients and brownies are supposed to be only second to the caramel swirl but still take up a good portion of the pint.

Anyway, they’re as good as always: Chewy, (huge), moist and with a lovely strong chocolate flavour. I have nothing but compliments for the taste and quality of the brownies.

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Finally the sauce, as I said it’s supposed to be the star of the show but either there just wasn’t that much in my tub or, as I fear, it just doesn’t pop out as much here. It is the same  identical salted caramel sauce used in Wholly Couch, and it is just as delicious as before when tasted separately but all together the rest of the ingredients seem to dilute it.

Perhaps it’s that it works better with a vanilla ice cream than a caramel or perhaps it’s that the chocolate flavours in the brownies and cookies are too chocolatey but it just doesn’t seem as intense as it was in Wholly Couch. Or maybe Wholly Couch just blew my mind so much that everything else is ruined. Who knows, all I do know is that I wasn’t quite as impressed with the salted caramel sauce as I was yesterday. I’d still like to eat it by the jugful though!

Rating: 8/10 

Hey, I never said it was bad! Maybe it too would’ve got a 9 had I tried this flavour first but Wholly Couch is the superior of the two in my opinion and Sofa So Good isn’t quite as original.