I've just had an email to tell me that the March Degustabox will be delivered tomorrow and it suddenly reminded me that I haven't told you about the February one yet ! What with Pierre being really poorly for a week and my computer having a meltdown for the past fortnight, this month seems to have flown by. The advantage is that spring is almost upon us so we'll be able to start getting out in the fresh air a bit more. But I digress, back to the Degustabox !
As soon as we started unpacking things, I knew it would be a good one for us because it's full of lesser known products from well known brands and total unknowns in the product categories that we usually like. Time to get discovering !
James White British Carrot Juice (£2.69) - I tried to convince the kids to like this by saying that it was Bugs Bunny's favourite drink but they were underwhelmed. They love fruit juice but obviously aren't so keen on vegetable juice.
The Madhouse kids got stupidly excited over the Hartley's Jelly Pots, especially as there were two different types to sample : Fruits in Jelly (2 x 50p) - diced peach in strawberry jelly - was hugely popular and reminded me that I always used to put a tin of mandarin oranges in my strawberry jelly and I haven't done it for ages. This would be a great way of getting fussy kids to up their fruit intake. The kids also loved the 10 Calorie Cranberry & Raspberry Jelly Pots (2 x 70p), which was a bit of a pain because I had my eye on those ! They have a lovely sweet (made with sweeteners) but tart taste and at ten calories, they're a guilt-free cheeky dessert.
Gold & Grains Nutri Bix (£3.79) - "Using coconut, honey and the ancient grain Sorghum this makes the perfect choice for anyone who really wants to get going in the morning." This is a bit like Weetabix with extras. It tastes great, absorbs loads of milk (great for getting more calcium into reluctant milk-drinkers) and doesn't go soggy and mushy. It's quite pricey so I'm not sure we'd buy it regularly but it is very nice.
Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes, according to the adverts, so we had high hopes for the New Exceedingly Good Slices (£1.49). They promise "a moist golden oaty cake with tasty wholesome ingredients like fruit, coconut and oats for a delicious permissible treat! Chocolate & Coconut: Dark chocolate chips, a sprinkle of coconut and topped with British jumbo oats. Fruity Cranberry & Orange: Sprinkled with honey toasted British Oats." We got the cranberry and orange ones which are very fruity but slightly tart, so the kids weren't too sure. I had a taste and thought they were quite nice but slightly dry so they're probably better served with a drink. The nutritional content is pretty good - 132 calories and 4.5g of fat, of which 0.4g saturates, per bar.
The London Crisp Co Sweet Chilli Handcooked Crisps (£2.29) - I love the marketing concept. Each of the five flavours takes inspiration from a different area of the city of London - we got sweet chilli inspired by Camden, but there is also Shoreditch inspired Cheese & Onion, Greenwich inspired Prawn Cocktail, Soho inspired Sea Salt and South Bank inspired Salt & Vinegar. They have a nice flavour (not too spicy) and good crunch, which is all you need from a bag of crisps really !
Divine Caramel Bar/Dark Chocolate Caramel Bar (2 x £1) - All Divine products are Fairtrade, natural, suitable for vegetarians and free from palm oil, which justifies the slightly higher price, compared to many chocolate brands. We loved the combination of creamy chocolate and smooth caramel of the milk chocolate bar, but I was surprised to also really like the dark choc bar - the caramel seemed to counterbalance the bitterness that often puts me off dark chocolate. Divine by name, divine by nature !
Beloved Date & Seed Bar/Date & Berry Bar (2 x 59p) - "High in fibre, low GI and containing a unique complex of minerals, fibres and phytochemicals, the humble date proves to be a great all natural sweetener. All of Beloved's products are vegan and have no added sugar - because they are only sweetened by wholesome Date Nectar, which is a great alternative to honey." Well, they may be healthy but they're also gooey and chewy, sweet and satisfying - great as a swap for the usual sugar-packed biscuits or chocolates that you might reach for mid-afternoon.
Spritz Apple & Watermelon and Pear & Raspberry (2 x £2.49) (also available in Peach & Apricot) - Developed by J2O’s blend masters, the J2O Spritz range has been carefully crafted to combine delicate bubbles with crisp blended fruits. Created specifically for adults, Spritz offers a deliciously light taste experience which at no more than 63 calories per 275ml bottle is the perfect accompaniment to great food. Each flavour combination has in fact been designed to go with a different type of food. I loved drinking them on their own though, as a great tasting, low calorie, refreshing drink. Lovely !
Ritz Crisp & Thin Sea Salt & Vinegar (£2.19) - As their name suggests, the snacks are beautifully crisp and crunchy and they really pack in the flavour. As they are baked, they are also lower in calories than traditional fried crisps and snacks, containing 134 calories per serving.We loved them so we'll definitely be looking out for them, especially when they're on special offer.
Vit Hit (£1.80) - "The Juice based soft drink with 100% Recommended Daily Allowance of 8 different vitamins, no added sugar and with fewer than 35 calories per bottle. With health giving teas and minerals for overall wellbeing, Vit Hit contains real juice and no preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings." We got the green one - Apple & Elderflower - which was surprisingly tasty. I love the health-conscious but low calorie/sugar combination so I'd definitely look out for the other flavours if they were on offer, but they're a bit pricey at full price.
As I sprinkled the Sarson's Malt Vinegar (70p) over my chips and smelt the quintessentially British seaside town aroma of fish & chip shops that always reminds me of my home town of Hastings wherever I am in the world, I wondered what they'd done to change it. Well, the answer is, nothing - it's just the bottle that has been given a revamp, featuring its well loved ‘Fish and Chip’ characters created by artist Paul Thurlby on a limited edition label. I'm actually totally relieved that the contents haven't changed - it's a classic that shouldn't be tampered with, in my opinion !
This month's recipe card was a bit different - they put a call-out for subscribers to send in their ideas rather than providing us with inspiration !
A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that (£25.51 this month), 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, making it great value and a great way to discover new products.
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Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review.