I couldn't help but smile when I saw the Christmas card enclosed in this month's Degustabox, featuring all the team grinning away in their Santa hats. It really is starting to look a LOT like Christmas ! Excuse me while I repress a squeal of excitement !
So this month's box is, unsurprisingly, labelled as the festive box. What Christmassy delights and indulgent treats would be nestling inside?
I always love the first peek when we open the box - there's always something that gets a gasp of appreciation from the kids (the popcorn in this month's box) and it's like Christmas every month, trying to work out what's hiding beneath the protective bubble wrap !
After going through and unpacking everything, here's what we had :
Butterkist Discoveries Salted Caramel Popcorn & Butterkist Sweet & Salted Popcorn (£1.49 & £0.55) - We started off with the Sweet and Salted Popcorn and loved it despite being slightly unsure to begin with. The Salted Caramel Popcorn is even more delicious and moreish though - like a cross between toffee popcorn and the sweet & salted. Perfect for nibbling on in front of a festive movie.
Ryvita Thins Cheddar & Cracked Black Pepper (£1.89) - The box says that they're perfect for sharing but they're also perfect for dipping and they go with everything, from tomato salsa and guacamole to baked camembert and chutney. Perfect for sharing in front of the telly in place of a bag of crisps or biscuits.
Ryvita Green & Black Olive Crackers (£1.29) - I've tried lots of Ryvita products in the past but I'd yet to try their crackers. They're lovey and crispy and crunchy and the olive flavour perfectly complements Mediterranean-style toppings such as sun dried tomatoes, grilled red peppers and feta. Maybe Santa would like some of these to be left out in place of the traditional mince pie this year?!
Belvita Red Berries Soft Bakes (£2.79) - We got the red berries ones but they are also available in Golden Grain or Chocolate Chips varieties. As their name sugggests, they are softer than regular breakfast biscuits with a moister, chewier, more cake like texture that got a unanimous thumbs-up at The Madhouse. Great for breakfast on-the-go or snacktime at any time of day. They are made with five wholegrains, are rich in cereals and fibre and contain vitamin B6, iron and magnesium.
Nim's Mango & Pineapple Fruit Crisps (£0.99) - High in fibre and vitamin C, fab fruity taste, count towards your 5-a-day, lower in fat and calories than sweets or crisps ... What's not to like? The kids wolfed these down and declared them delicious.
Bourne & Wallis Baby Beetroot (£1.40) - I love pickled beetroot but I rarely buy the whole baby beetroot - they're great in salads though so would be perfect alongside the turkey leftovers on Boxing day !
Teisseire Vanilla & Caramel Gourmet Drops (2 x £2.79) - Teisseire is a well-known French brand that we are very familiar with - we love the wide range of cordials that are available in France, with anything from grapefruit and mint to peach and kiwi flavours. I'd never heard of or seen their Gourmet Drops though, nor the unusual flavours of caramel and vanilla. They can be used in hot or cold drinks or even alcohol to create interesting cocktails, hot chocolates or milkshakes. The kids love the tiny concentrated squeezy bottles that are easier to handle than big bottles. They're also lighter when you're lugging around the shopping and take up less space in the kitchen cupboards. Win-win !
Divine Dark Chocolate With Raspberries (£1) - I'm not usually a huge fan of dark chocolate because I find it too bitter and harsh, but the addition of raspberries takes the edge off, giving it a sweeter, mellower flavour. The Fairtrade credentials of Divine make it taste even sweeter as you know it's doing good in the world, helping out the smallhold farmers who provide the cocoa.
Hartleys Black Cherry Jelly & Strawberry Glitter Jelly (£1.29) - The Madhouse Kids love jelly so we always have a few packs in the cupboard, but we'd never tried the glitter ones - needless to say, the kids were over the moon ! I've used moulds to make the jelly into interesting shapes before but I found some really exciting recipes to try out on the Hartleys website, including layered jelly, orange jelly slices and pinwheels. Lots of fun to be had trying those out !
Rekorderlig Dry Apple Cider (£1.49) - If you like wines and ciders that aren't overly sweet, you'll love it. It has a crisp, slightly sharp flavour that I found really refreshing. Make sure you drink it nicely chilled
This month's DB Discoveries products : Food Thoughts Organic Fairtrade 100% Cocoa Powder (£2.35) - it's unsweetened, contains no added sugar, is gluten-free and promises beter baking. I think I may have to use this for rolling chocolate truffles in in the run up to Christmas - I've already used it in these tahini truffles, which were rather nice.
Jim Jams No Added Sugar Hazelnut Chocolate Spread - The Madhouse kids (like most kids !) are huge Nutella fans, so I wasn't sure what they'd think of a no added-sugar variety. They loved it and said it had a chocolatier, nuttier flavour - bonus !
Holy Lama Mulled wine spice drops - These were a gift in this month's box and if you fancy trying them yourselves, use the code "Degustabox" at www.holylamaspicedrops.com for 15% off. Great in drinks but I'm also wondering what else I can use them in - cupcake icing? fruit pies? jelly?
And an extra gift in this month's box - Baileys - Enough said, yum ! This is my favourite Christmas tipple - it's creamy and indulgent with a little warming kick as it trickles down your throat. Perfect for supping by the fireside waiting for Santa to come !
This month's recipe suggestion was for Black Forest Trifle, using the black cherry jelly - nice idea !
There is also another recipe for Butterkist Salted Caramel Pizza which sounds very strange but could be worth a try !
And another one for Orchard Fruit Chutney & Walnut Scones, which definitely needs testing.
I was over the moon with this month's box, both for the products (there's nothing we don't like or won't use) and also the recipe cards. It's always great to have ideas to use up the odds and ends of jars that clutter up the cupboards and the fridge.
A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that (£23.60 this month, not counting the gifts), but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which gives you a whopping £6 off the price of your box - just enter code BLDEG15 at the checkout.
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Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.