Thursday 24 December 2020

The December 2020 Degustabox review : Sainsbury's

Just in time for Christmas, the December Degustabox arrived last week. The November box had had a festive and gourmet theme, so I knew that this month's box wouldn't have Christmassy products, but I didn't know what to expect, especially as we had been told that it would be something a little bit different this month : a Sainsbury's box, featuring new and interesting brands that Sainsbury's have discovered and launched in their stores. Sounds exciting !

Unpacking the box, I saw lots of things that I knew would get a warm reception. It actually reminded me of a selection of products that would be great for a picnic in the summer, but the kids would definitely have no problem trying them out in winter either ! There are lots of things that are great as part of a snacky party tea or to help use up the oodles of Christmas turkey. Time for a closer look.

Brave Roasted Chickpeas (RRP £1) are a new snack option that are high in protein and fibre, contain less calories than popcorn and are vegan-friendly. We got the Sweet Chilli flavour, which are a great savoury snack, but they are also available in Sea Salt or Dark Choc varieties. We loved the crunchy texture and the spicy flavour and would definitely buy these again. They also get bonus points for their green ethics as chickpeas are one of the most sustainable protein sources on the planet and the packaging is recyclable.

The Curators Cocoa Caramel Peanuts (RRP  £1.20) are a premium, plant-based, British-made snack, made with just four ingredients. Food-loving friends Max and Ed seek inspiration from around the globe for their snacks and I have to say, we were impressed. The peanuts are lightly caramelised then dusted with cocoa and a pinch of salt - very tasty. They are gluten-free, high in fibre and protein and contain 191 calories per pack. 

Capsicana Mexican Tomato & Chipotle Tinga Cooking Paste (RRP £1.30) is perfect with chicken, beef, pork, vegetables ... and I'd add leftover turkey to that list, as it sounds great for using up the post-Christmas leftovers. It is based on the Chicken Tinga dish from the state of Puebla. It has a mild spice rating and a smoky flavour that makes it a great option for a family-friendly dish. Dinner can be on the table in fifteen minutes - absolutely perfect !

Tiny Rebel CLWB Tropica (RRP £2) is a tropical IPA, made with pineapples, mangos, passion fruit and peaches. It reminded me slightly of pina colada so if you don't like beer, this would be a good choice for you ! I was intrigued about the name - it turns out that clwb is Welsh for club .... ahhh Club Tropicana, it makes sense now ! It has 5.5% ABV. Could be good for seeing in the New Year !

Good Earth Ginger, Turmeric & Lemon Tea (RRP £2.75 for 15 sachets) offers a zingy, zesty, fragrant cuppa, ready in just three minutes. If you want something to cheer you up when the coronavirus news is getting too much for you or to add a dash of colour to a bleak lockdown day, this could hit the spot ! 

DASH Water (RRP £1.25) is a fabulous idea. It's a British sparkling water infused with wonky peaches. That is, bent, crushed, curved, knobbly, misshapen fruit that isn't pretty enough to be served for eating. I think it's a great step for reducing food waste and, obviously, it makes no difference to the taste. Do you want some more good news? Zero calories, zero sweeteners, zero sugars ! Yes please !

Nexba Pineapple Soft Drink (RRP £1.25 for 1 litre) looks and tastes like a regular fizzy drink, except it has a sneaky trick up its sleeve - it's sugar free. It's also free from artificial sweeteners, fructose, caffeine, GMO and hidden nasties. It's vegan friendly and 100% natural. Even better, the kids loved it !

Leon Aioli (RRP £2.50) is a lovely garlic mayonnaise that has a rich flavour and can be used to liven up leftovers, sandwiches and salads. You could even try dipping carrot sticks or chips in it - they're both delicious options ! This has been available in Leon restaurants since 2004 and uses aquafaba, a chickpea stock, instead of eggs so it just happens to be vegan. Your Christmas turkey leftovers will love this in sandwiches and salads !

Peter's Yard West Country Sour Cream & Chive Sourdough Bites (RRP £2) are made using their signature sourdough starter, slowly fermented for 16 hours. Crafted from Shipton Mill flour, they are hand baked and richly flavoured with sour cream from West Country farms and British grown chives. They are made with natural ingredients, are suitable for vegetarians and are low in saturated fat, as well as being a source of fibre. They have a lovely crunchy texture and are very tasty.

Odysea Aubergine Meze (RRP £2.15) is a smooth blend of roasted aubergines that can be used as a dip or a spread - perfect for nibbling over Christmas and New Year. Besides aubergines, it contains extra virgin olive oil, garlic and parsley - no hidden nasties and it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It's beautifully thick with a smooth texture and smoky flavour, great on crackers or with breadsticks, carrot sticks or anything else you can think of to dunk in it ! This can be kept in the cupboard and only needs refrigerating once it's open, which may be handy when fridge space is tight over Christmas !

Pipers Crisps (RRP £1.20 for a 40g bag, £2.50 for a 150g bag) are a brand that we have previously sampled and we love the crunchy texture and the strong flavours. We really loved the Lye Cross Cheddar and Onion variety, but we appreciated the Atlas Mountains Wild Thyme & Rosemary crisps too, as they offer something a bit different. They're made with British potatoes, which is a definite plus point. Perfect for sampling in front of the telly over Christmas !

Finally, Tony's Choco Lonely Milk Caramel Sea Salt Bar (RRP £1.35) has the perfect name for this year's Coronavirus Christmas celebrations ! As chocolate makers on a mission to make all chocolate 100% slave free, they lead by example and show the world that chocolate can be made differently: in taste, packaging and the way they do business with cocoa farmers. They promise that the more people who join their mission and share their story, the sooner 100% slave free becomes the norm in chocolate. Sounds good to me ! The chocolate is very tasty too.

This box, packed full of things to put a smile on people's faces over Christmas and New Year, arrived at just the right time, as the new Tier 4 lockdown came into effect. 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 means you'll get the first box for just £9.99 - enter code PKUFE 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.

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