Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The January 2018 "New Year, New You" Degustabox review

There's always something exciting about receiving a new Degustabox in the post. What will be in there this month? Will it be full of new brands or old favourites? New products from tried and tested brands that are just about to hit the shelves or things that you've often spotted in the supermarket but never got round to trying? Lots of things for the kids or more sophisticated, grown-up foodie items? Usually it's a mixture of all of the above, along with some total wild cards that can be a bit hit-and-miss, but that's all part of the fun of getting a mystery box subscription. Here's what was in this month's box.

I'm sure you can imagine what the kids immediately spotted.

Yes, you guessed it - chocolate ! Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Five Bar Snack Pack (RRP £1) no less. Now, I have to be honest - I don't think American chocolate is a patch on my fave UK brand, the deliciously creamy Galaxy, but the kids were all over this, as a trendy US import that they've seen on TV and YouTube. They gushed that it was sooooo good and could we buy it again? Probably just to show off in front of their mates ! I did eat some and it's perfectly acceptable, but I still prefer Galaxy ! With its combination of crunchy chocolate cookie and smooth white creme, it reminded us of inside-out Oreos !

The Madhouse kids also honed in on the bottle of Robinsons Fruit Cordial (£2.49), which is being dubbed a sophisticated twist on squash, with exciting combinations of real fruit and botanical flavours in a glass bottle. We got Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom, which is definitely more grown-up and suave than the usual orange or summer fruits squash varieties. It's also available in Pressed Pear & Elderflower or Crushed Lime & Mint, both of which also appeal to me. I can see me buying lots of these over the summer, to serve in big jugs filled with ice cubes for the whole family to enjoy throughout the day.

As I am a keen globe-cooker, I was excited to see lots of exotic goodies in this month's box. I've already tried some of the products in the Santa Maria Latin American Kitchen range, but both of these were new ones to me. 

The Chipotle Mayo Topping (£1.80) has a distinct kick and is great added to guacamole or used in sandwiches and burgers, on top of nachos and tacos or even as a dip with tortilla chips.

The Colombian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating (90p) is a great way of making a grown-up version of chicken nuggets (or chicken goujons, if you prefer !) in a trice. It gives a great texture and flavour without being overly spicy. The kids loved it and I used up the leftovers in a crunchy chicken and salad wrap the next day for lunch.

There seems to have been a lot of tuna in recent Degustaboxes and this month brought another tin of Wild Planet Albacore Tuna Steak (£3.49) - 100% pole and line caught, ranked number one for sustainability in the US by Greenpeace, it's great quality but is very pricey compared to other brands.

There was also a Miso Tasty Spicy Ramen Noodle Kit - we really enjoyed the last one that was in a previous Degustabox, which I used in a Beef & Veg Ramen Stir Fry that the whole family tucked into. Very convenient and very tasty.

Some subscribers got an alternative box, with a Mallow & Marsh Coconut Marshmallow Bar (2 x £1.35) instead of the Noodle kit, but as Degustabloggers, we were lucky enough to get both. The kids loved the taste and above all the gooey, chewy texture. I was impressed to learn that they are handmade using natural ingredients and each bar comes in at under 100 calories. 

Jordans Frusli Juicy Red Berries (2 x 45p) are another snack bar option, made with zingy cranberries and raisins and British wholegrain oats. Tasty, surprisingly moist and a healthier option than many cakes, biscuits or chocolate bars. According to the enclosed leaflet, there should have been two Frusli bars but we got four. We did only get one marshmallow bar instead of two though, so it all evens out !

This being a January box, it had the traditional New Year, New You theme, so after all the exotic products, we moved into the healthier options, starting with a pack of Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettucine (£3). High in plant-based protein and fibre and naturally gluten-free, it is low in carbohydrates, so it's great if you're on a diet. With 22g of protein per 50g serving, it is almost three times higher in protein than regular pasta.

This month's drinks are not things I would have gone out of my way to buy, but I'll be happy to try them.

I've heard a lot about Lighter Life and there are two 5:2 Shakes in the box, in both Vanilla Velvet and Strawberry Passion flavours. The convenient, ready-to-drink shakes can be used as part of the Fast Plan (when you replace all meals by four Lighter Life Fast products for two days a week), as a protein hit or as a meal replacement. These will be great as a quick lunch when I'm at work and haven't got time to stop.

There are also two other protein-rich products from Pulsin - a sachet of Pulsin Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (£1.99) made with hormone-free milk and no added sugar. It's rich in essential amino acids and calcium, vital for muscles and bones. It contains 22g of protein per 25g serving, is low fat and suitable for vegetarians.

Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster (£1.59) is a tasty bar that tastes of cookie dough but gives you a protein boost so it's perfect as a guilt-free snack because it will fill you up for longer than a regular chocolate/biscuit type bar.

Mahtay Yerba Mate Sparkling Tea (£1.49) is the wild card in this box - a sparkling drink targetting the health-conscious consumer that harnesses the natural energy of South American yerba mate, as well as the goodness of coconut water and açai berries. Not really my cup of (sparkling) tea but I have a friend who will love it.

The final product is another tea one - a sample pack of 10 teabags of Clipper Everyday Organic Tea. I'll drop these off at the kitchen in the staff room next week and they'll disappear in no time !

This month's recipe idea was Banana & Peanut Butter Smoothie, carrying on the protein hit theme.

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 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.

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

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.


  1. Looks good interesting combination of things

  2. Yum the coconut bar sounds good

  3. They do such a good variety of products, I'd love to try the lighter life shakes xx


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