The food cupboards are already fit to bursting but I need to make a little more space because the final Degustabox of 2016 has just been delivered. The Madhouse kids took one look at the sweet and savouring nibbles nestling inside and helpfully offered to eat them all straight away, if there wasn't enough room !
I can't say I blame them - there are some lovely products in this month's box, so without further ado, here's the rundown of the contents.
Hoots Multigrain Snacks (2 x 69p) - Basically a healthier alternative to crisps, these wholegrain and seed snacks reminded us of crispy croutons and are baked not fried, a great source of fibre and contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. We got Salt & Pepper and Salt & Vinegar flavours but they are also available in Cheese & Onion, Smoked Bacon and Pickled Onion. Very tasty !
Eisberg Sauvignon Blanc (£1.39) - Eisberg is the UK's favourite alcohol free wine brand. They make their wine in exactly the same way as regular wine then remove the alcohol at the end. It's also low in calories (28 calories for a 125ml serving). It's a great choice for anyone who wants an alcohol-free option at the Christmas dinner table.
Newton's Apple Fizzics (£1.29) - I always think pure apple juice is too sweet so I found the blend of apple juice and sparkling water very refreshing. It's contains no added sugar or sweeteners and comes in at about 40% less sugar than regular apple juice. This would appeal to both kids and adults in place of fizzy drinks or cocktails.
Bite+ Multi Grain Flakes (2 x £1.69) - Back to the savoury snacks ! A new concept in snacking, these high fibre, low fat multigrain cereal flakes offer a range of savoury flavours. We got Sour Cream & Onion which had a lovely flavour but somehow, I couldn't quite get my head around eating cereal with a savoury flavour !
Maggi 3 Minute Noodles (75p) - We got chicken flavour but they are also available in beef and curry varieties. I'm not overly keen (I probably overdosed on Pot Noodles when I was a student !) but the girls love them when they need a quick lunch or an instant snack when they come home from school ravenous.
Bristows Apple & Cinnamon Fudge - These are so gorgeously rich, creamy and chewy that's it's just as well they are individually wrapped or I would have scoffed the whole box !
What A Melon (£2) - This was a product I'd never heard of. After coconut water taking the world by storm, it appears that watermelon water may be the next on-trend healthy drink. It is packed with anti-oxidants and the muscle-loving amino acid citrulline. I loved it - it's the taste of summer in a carton and it brought back happy memories of the watermelon festival that we visited in Turkey.
Gluten-Free Coconut & Crispy Rice Nutri-Brex (£3.79) - These are made with the ancient grain Sorghum, which is naturally gluten-free, and they are also high in fibre and fortified with vitamins. They remind me very much of Weetabix, but they have a lovely cinnamon and coconut flavour coming through. They need to be soaked in milk and mashed up a bit before eating them or they're too dry. I love the flavour and they're really filling.
A2 Milk (£1.39) - I've already written a complete review of A2 milk. It is naturally free of the A1 protein which can trigger symptoms in people who are lactose intolerant. It tastes just like regular milk and can be used in cooking or drunk in hot or cold drinks. I used mine with the Nutri-Brex and, as it's long life, it's a good standby for just in case you run out of milk (or fridge space) over the Christmas period.
Bahlsen Lebkuchen Mischung and Akora (£1.99) - Typical German Lebkuchen have become a popular festive delicacy in Britain too in recent years. On the left, Lebkuchen Mischung, a colourful assortment of gingerbread pieces, decorated with glazing or delicious chocolate. On the right, Akora, heart-shaped lebkuchen, filled with jam and covered in chocolate - a combination that works surprisingly well.
Riso Gallo Expresso Italian Four Cheese Risotto (£2.29) & Vegetables & Cheese Risotto Box - I love risotto made from scratch but it's very labour-intensive, with all that pot watching, constant stirring and frequent ladling of extra hot stock. A creamy, al dente, authentic-tasting risotto in just 3 minutes in the microwave or 2 minutes in the pan for the pouch and 90 seconds for the box sounded like a pretty tall order, but that's what Riso Gallo promise. Well, it's not as good as from scratch but it's passable, although the box could have done with more vegetables, and I love the fact that it is so quick and simple to prepare.
This month's recipe card suggested an Eisberg Gingerly Sip Cocktail, using the alcohol-free wine.
As a Degustabox blogger, I got to sample all of the products that went into this month's boxes but subscribers received a slightly different combination of products depending on their preferences when they signed up.
A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which now gives you a whopping £7 off the price of your first box, so you'll get it for just £5.99 - just enter code 0BS6T at the checkout.
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Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.