Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cornetto Vanilla Chocolate Cone, Chocolate

The weather is so flip floppy. I don't mean it is weather suitable for flip flops, it's just unpredictable.

I suppose I should be glad that there are days now that are really warm, but I prefer to complain.

On days where you're not sure whether it is going to be hot or cold, what do you do about ice cream?

What do you do?

You eat chocolate that is presented in the form of an ice cream.
These are so nicely presented, it really does look like a dinky little Cornetto.

At least I think so, I'm pretty sure I've only ever eaten a classic Cornetto once. I'm actually not crazy for waffle cones, generally. If given the choice between a waffle cone and cake cone, I'm always going cake cone.

 Only me and 5 year olds make this choice frequently enough to even have a preference.
If I had started this review up saying it was about ice cream, you'd probably be totally fooled right now. Maybe I should've!

So, this is the end of the photos because I snarfed this so quickly. Really, it was a perfect lazy afternoon treat. Small enough to not feel over indulgent, but interesting enough to perk up my day.

The look is so fun, it is rare that chocolate from...non-Japan...has such an cute presentation.

Starting from the top, there are decent sized chopped hazelnuts, chocolate coating, and vanilla cream. The hazelnuts are quite nice, crunchy and toasty-tasting. It's funny, peanuts are the classic topping on a Drumstick in the USA, and aren't peanuts much cheaper? Nobody likes peanuts except North Americans, I guess. I mean, they get disrespected with a name like monkey nuts on top of their constant disuse.

The chocolate coating was surprisingly tasty, it tasted a lot like your classic ice cream coating. Not entirely chocolate, but weirdly good in it's own right. Like the inside of a Feast bar.

The vanilla cream is where it's at, though. It goes right through the entire cone and it is like a firmer version of the cream that was in the Egg 'n' Spoon, but with a fresher, less sweet, vanilla taste.

I was surprised by how much I liked the cone, too. The cone was softer than it usually is, and it tasted like...waffle.

I hope these stick around, but I bet they're just a summer time novelty. I'm looking forward to trying the Mini  Milk and Magnum variety, as well!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cornetto Enigma Popcorn

I'm taking a break from posting up the ol' American treats to bring on a review buttressed by yesterday's decent weather...an ice cream treat! As you know, I've previously bemoaned the lack of interesting ice cream in the UK, but I always give the freezer aisle a look-see, just in case. Considering the latest Ben & Jerry's blondie and peanut butter based tubs, the Magnum Yoghurt Fresh, and this cone, things might just be looking up for the UK's non-standard ice cream selection.
What cone do I mean, you ask? Don't be silly, it's right there in the title--the Cornetto Enigma Popcorn. Cornetto describes it as, 'An ice cream for the 7th art. With the suspense of a popcorn flavored ice cream and a smooth salted caramel center. And just like in the best Western films, it is covered in black & white chocolate and ice cream with a final intense action of small crunchy rice balls.'

That is the dumbest description of an ice cream flavor I have ever read. I can deduce that the "7th art" is probably referring to film, and I guess they use three adjectives that could potentially be describing a movie: "suspense", Western", and "action"...and people traditionally eat popcorn at a movie theatre so... Cornetto has finally cut out the middle man of brand tie-ins, no longer chained to a specific film, they're cross-promoting movies in general! Good for them. Or really stupid. I'm torn.

Anyway, I wouldn't really care if the description was just a looping WAV file of dogs barking and babies crying...nothing can stop me from eating popcorn flavored ice cream, especially if that ice cream has a salted caramel center. It's like the good people at the Cornetto flavor division knew how upset I was by the cookie Enigma (a hardly mysterious or intriguing choice that just tasted like vanilla, anyway) and tried to make it up to me with my preferred ratio of salt, fat, and sugar.

However, to make sure that other people would try it, they threw some decorative crunchy rice bits on top--a known attractant of children and people who hate their teeth and love flavorless grinding. They didn't skimp on the rice bits, probably because they are just puffed rice, so if that is nice for you than you'll be happy to find them all the way down the cone. The puffed rice was quite buttery tasting, it reminded me exactly of those popcorn flavored Jelly Bellies. Let's face facts folks, popcorn flavor pretty much means butter and salt flavor, and these rice puffs tasted just like fake butter and salt.

The ice cream was impressively flavored. My husband had his first, and warned me that it just tasted like vanilla, but he's totally wrong, it tastes like salty vanilla. What it reminded me of most was kettle corn, which is popcorn that has been coated in sugar more than it has been doused in butter or salt--you can still taste those two things when you eat kettle corn, but it is mostly sweet and a bit more delicate. It was great, and I'd happily buy a carton of it, provided it had a few mix-ins. I'd suggest Sour Patch Kids, Junior Mints, or Snowcaps...the top three mix-ins for actual popcorn, of course.

The salted caramel sauce was also pretty thoroughly distributed, and tasted like a pretty basic salted caramel--less sweet than regular caramel, but not terribly salty. Although, this was already a pretty decent popcorn flavored ice cream being made by a household name brand, I refuse to look this gift horse in the mouth by complaining too much about the sauce. It was all awesome, it made a great treat for the slightly warm day we had yesterday, and I will happily be eating more for as long as they're available. Massive kudos to Cornetto, and if you ever release another risky Enigma, I'll be more than happy to provide adequate description. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Chips

Sorry about the delay in uh, all blogs--I just started a new job and that always takes some adjusting! Hopefully going forward I'll be able to blog at least twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I feel awful taking such a long absence, especially since my trip to America was ages ago...but, I still have a backlog of things to review from the USA, and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the latest in UK snack innovation. Apparently the 'Marvelous Creations' bars from Cadbury Australia are coming out here soon, and Kev already got the jump on them! A bit disappointed that Cookie Nut Crunch is so...pedestrian, but it does sound pretty tasty. I just feel like if it is going to be a zip-zam-zoomical Willy Wonka style bar, it shouldn't just be caramelized nutbits and biscuit bites.

Speaking of zip-zam-zoomical baffoonery, here we have Lay's Chicken & Waffles chips, one of three flavors submitted by whimsical Lay's fans. The other two varieties are Srichia and Garlic Cheesy Bread, however this was the one that intrigued me most.
I've never had actual chicken & waffles...but I have had chicken, and I have had waffles, so I'm kind of an expert, right? No photo of the actual chips, my trip to the US was such a whirlwind and it went so quick, this photo was literally snapped within my last few hours of being in America. The chips themselves just looked like Walker's or any other thinnish, crispy chip. The texture is just like Walker's as well, which is just perfect for me as I despise kettle-cooked. Kettle chips feel like they're going to just break my teeth apart, far too crunchy.

You're not here because you care about the strength and vitality of my teeth, you want to know if these chips really do taste like chicken and/or waffles!

They tasted like maple syrup, and a bit of herbs often used in American Southern cooking, kind of what KFC is spiced with, or American breakfast sausage. A bit of thyme and sage, mostly. If you would've told me that these were American breakfast flavored chips, I'd have believed you--tastes just like when you sop up the remaining maple syrup with some sausage links...just me doing that? You've been missing out. That is the top meat product I miss from America actually, way more than steak; breakfast sausage. If you eat sausage here, it just doesn't have the same spice mix--if any spice at all. I still like English sausage, it just isn't the same. Throw some sage on that bad boy!

As far as chicken flavoring goes, nah. The UK has America beat when it comes to fake meat flavored crisps,  like it or not.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Wedges

So, I'm back from America, and I brought about 1.5 extra stone with me. To be fair, not all of that was the USA...but a lot of it was, haha. Just one week meant it felt like feast or famine, so I ate tons and tons. When I lived in America I was able to portion these sorts of things out, but I knew I wasn't going to have them as an option once I got back here, so I went nuts.
These are the Hot Mess wedges from Jack in the Box, which opened up their first location in my hometown after I had already moved overseas...much to my chagrin. Jack in the Box is one of the more beloved fast food restaurants, alongside In-N-Out Burger, Steak 'n' Shake, Sonic, et cetera. By the way, did you know that In-N-Out Burger opened up a pop-up in London last year? Seems that they're testing the waters to make an Atlantic move. I'd love to try one, as In-N-Out is the mana of fast food in certain regions...certain regions I've never lived in, haha. Should Jack in the Box be the next burger chain to try their hand over here, or should they just stay back in the dirty, burger-loving land that is North America?
If you ask me, Jack in the Box would do swimmingly here. At least the Hot Mess family of burgers and wedges. If not just by me buying them a lot, I think that something this cheesy and spicy is kinda missing in the UK. Well, not missing, but just not nearly enough of this combo to go around! The Hot Mess wedges are thick, soft potato wedges topped with pepperjack cheese sauce and jalapenos. Lots and lots of jalapenos, actually. Some of them are kind of hidden underneath wedges, and underneath dollops of cheese sauce. Interestingly, the sauce is quite thick--almost a paste. It is right in between the textures of melted cheese and cheese sauce. The wedges were fine for fast food, most of them being fat soft mounds of potato, with a few being my preferred crispy li'l bits. The jalapenos were plentiful, and likely canned-but this cost somewhere around $2.00, so beggars can't be choosers and they taste fine.

There was some heat to the mess, the sour kind of heat from jalapenos but tempered with the creamy, mild cheese. Apparently the cheese is pepperjack, but it isn't very spicy by itself.

I also had the Hot Mess burger, and I'll be going into more detail with that one tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm eating soup and Ryvita for every meal to make up for this and...everything else I'm going to review. Blergh!