May 2014 – Degustabox Product Review

May Degustabox

Continuing from the success of Motherhood Diaries’ debut review of February’s Degustabox, I will now be reviewing the fantastic Degustabox service every month. Can’t wait!

 Here is the link to the full background of the Degustabox and the service they offer: http://motherhooddiaries.com/degustabox-review-plus-competitiongiveaway-win-aprils-degustabox/

But, for a quick recap, Degustabox is an online retail service that offers a monthly package full of nutritional goods for a monthly fee of £12.99. But lucky customers like yourself will receive a £3.00 discount when signing up for your first Degustabox by inserting discount code 9JS4F at the checkout.


Products range from condiments to organic food and drink, packed with lots of information on the product and its manufacturer. You can sign up to receive a monthly Degustabox here: http://bit.ly/DBhomepage.

You can stay updated via Degustabox’s social networks too:

Facebook – http://bit.ly/DBUKFacebook

Twitter – http://bit.ly/DBUKTwitter

And, that’s not all! Customers have the opportunity to receive a hefty 40% discount when signing up with their email address.

So, let’s get started!

Reviewers:

Tommy (Daddy)

Leyla (Mummy)

Aron (3 years old)

Aidan (2 years old)

Review:



This month’s Degustabox recipe

Firin Makarnasi (Turkish Cypriot dish for “Pasta Bake”) using Garofalo pasta, Cirio Passata and Cirio Puree.

http://motherhooddiaries.com/firin-makarnasi-baked-macaroni-turkish-cypriot-twist-pasta-bake-recipe/

Products

GAROFALO pasta – £1.89/each

In the early 1900s, shortly after the construction of the second manufacturing plant, the Garofalo brothers decided to divide the firm and founded Lucio Garofalo Inc. and Alfonso Garofalo Inc. In the 1920s, Garofalo Pasta had become pasta quality par excellence, born from an intuition and a necessity to secure food supplies that would last. Dry pasta seems to be an offspring of Arabic culture, although legends, interpretations and readings move the origin to Italy and the African coast.

“Garofalo has been making Pasta since 1789 in Gragnano near Naples. Made from only the finest robust durum wheat and shaped using a bronze die for an amazing texture and taste. Garofalo produces 76 different shapes of pasta and whichever shape you cook you will taste the quality and dedication that goes into producing it.”


Our Opinion – I haven’t come across this make of pasta before, probably because I tend to go for the cheaper version and buy in bulk. But, at £1.89 per 500g packet, it still is a nice treat to have every once in a while. The pasta, when cooked, were soft and full of flavour. The grooves around the pasta shells actually hold the sauce in well. You can find a link to my ‘Firin Makarnasi (Pasta Bake) here: http://motherhooddiaries.com/firin-makarnasi-baked-macaroni-turkish-cypriot-twist-pasta-bake-recipe/, which makes full use of the Garofalo pasta.

Where can you buy? Ocado – £1.89 for 500g

CAWSTON – £1.00

Cawston pride themselves on being master blenders. At harvest time they pick the finest fruit brimming with flavour and then press it immediately, artfully combining different varieties to create beautifully balanced blends of apple juice bursting with healthy goodness.

“At Cawston we think there might be room in your fridge for a better soft drink. One with better ingredients, without preservatives, additives or artificial sweeteners. It’s time to love sparkles again. www.cawstonpress.com| Facebook.com/cawstonpress | @cawstonpress #lovesparkles.”


Our Opinion – I thoroughly enjoyed the rhubarb and apple flavoured drink from Cawston Press in last month’s Degustabox, and the cloudy apple version is even better! Very refreshing and not too sweet, which is the perfect combination on a hot summer’s day (thankfully, we’ve experienced a few of these days already!) The apple flavour really shines through on this drink.

Where can you buy? Waitrose and Ocado – £4.99 for 6 Pack


TAYLORS OF HARROGATE – £2.99

Taylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire family business devoted to the craft of outstanding coffee and tea. Since 1886, Taylors of Harrogate have taken special consideration to do things properly, without shortcuts, which they claim show in the fine tea and coffee they make.

“At Taylors of Harrogate, we know flavour – and nobody understands plants like the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Our experts have worked in partnership to create a range of six remarkable tea infusions using fine fruits and herbs: Blackberry & Elderflower, Sweet Rhubarb, Chamomile & Vanilla, Lemongrass & Ginger, Peppermint Leaf and Spiced Apple.”


Our Opinion – I’m not a big herbal tea drinker, I’m more a fan of the strong stuff, like espressos and Earl Grey tea (ok, not that strong, but darn tasty!). I can only really drink Peppermint tea when I’m feeling a little run down because it’s the only herbal tea I know (apart from Green tea, which is too bitter for me) that tastes kind of nice and refreshing on the throat. Other famous fruit teas smell gorgeous, but when I taste them, they just taste like flavoured water (and not very nice flavoured water at that!) Taylors of Harrogate’s Blackberry & Elderflower tea is GORGEOUS! It smells very fruity and there is a strong fruity taste where the blackberry really shines through. Add just a dollop of honey and you get the perfect soothing tea for a sore throat (I’ve caught my boys’ cold and I’ve been going through these bags like there’s no tomorrow). At £2.99 a pack, which is the same price as my Peppermint tea anyway, I shall be switching to these and offering the tea to my boys as the perfect healthy drink. My boys love their herbal teas more than I do, so I know they’ll love the Blackberry & Elderflower flavour with some honey thrown in for good measure. Just popping the kettle on now…

Where can you buy? Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado – £2.25 for a box of 20 bags.


1st picture – First ever cup of this delicious tea. You can see how well the tea bag infuses the fruit in the water.

2nd picture – Using the same tea bag for my second cup and it’s still quite flavoursome.

RAW – £0.99/each

Raw chewing gum energises your senses and refreshes your mind, keeping you at the sharp end of life.

“Raw is a sugar free chewing gum, which gives you a boost when you need it most. Raw is rich in vitamin B and each pack contains 18 pieces of flavour-packed gum. By using a unique flavour Raw is perfect for on the go activities.”


Our Opinion – When I first tried the Raw chewing gum, my initial reaction was that it tasted exactly like Red Bull (drunk in abundance during my law school days). They look exactly like normal chewing gum, but the vegetarian version does has taurine in it, the same chemical used in energy drinks, and it does give you a hit of energy too! I found them very tasty and hard to stop at just one chewing gum. At 99p each, it might become my regular brand of chewing gum.

Where can you buy? http://www.rawgum.com/ – 99p for 18 pieces

CIRIO – Passata £1.35 and Puree £1.10

Francesco Cirio was born in Nizza Monferrato (Asti) on December 25th 1836. His father was a humble trader in grain and his exposure to this world had a profound effect on young Francesco. With is entrepreneurial capabilities, Francesco was already working at the fruit and vegetable market of Porta Palazzo in Torino by the age of fourteen. At the time the increasing demand for fresh Italian products from markets in London and Paris was not being met. Observing this trend and the opportunity it presents, the young Cirio set up a company trading in fruit and vegetables with the transalpine and British cities and within just a few months he became Italy’s most important agricultural exporter in Piermonte. Fast forward to the present day, Cirio passed into the hands of Gruppo Cooperativo Conserve Italia, a European leader in the food preservation industry.

“La Classica is a ready to use passata. Ripe luscious tomatoes are crushed and bottled to season all dishes, giving them a unique Taste-of-Italy experience. Supercirio Tomato Puree delivers an unmistakably authentic, genuine and delicate taste. Rich, thick and packed with Cirio’s vivid red tomatoes, its texture is inviting and brings the homemade taste of Italy to your home.”


Our Opinion – As a Mediterranean, I am a huge fan of tomato-based products and Cirio does not disappoint. You can definitely taste the richness of the tomatoes in the Passata and the Puree brought life to the Firin Makarnasi (Pasta Bake) dish I made using both Cirio products (link here for the recipe: http://motherhooddiaries.com/firin-makarnasi-baked-macaroni-turkish-cypriot-twist-pasta-bake-recipe/). The result brings about a wonderfully sweet and versatile flavour that enhances any dish. Well worth a try!

Where can you buy? Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Tesco – £1.35 for the Passata and £1.10 for the Puree

HORNSBY’S – £5.00 4 x 330ml pack

The top hat clad British gent George Hornsby immigrated to California many moons ago – in search of a new life and an inspiring adventure. After setting up shop in the United States, George loved everything American but missed the crisp taste of his favourite – British brewed ciders. George decided to bring the best of Britain to America, whipping up batch after batch of crisp apple cider – much to the delight of his new American friends. Soon enough, everyone state side grew to love the quality and flavour of this quintessentially British cider. Today, Hornsby’s is one of the leading ciders in the USA and is now available in the UK.

“We’ve taken inspiration from the land of the Big Apple to make this Hornsby’s Crisp Apple Cider, bursting with juice flavour. The Hornsby’s Strawberry & Lime Cider is a dream team combining pear cider with lip-smacking lime and sassy strawberry flavours. Best enjoyed straight from the chilled bottle, the American Way. Follow us on facebook.com/hornsbys.”


Our Opinion – I am not a cider drinker, the aftertaste is pretty unappealing to me. My husband prefers beer to cider, but offered to try out these two bottles for the purpose of our review.

Hubby – I started with the Strawberry & Lime Flavour and found this to be way too sweet. It was like drinking a candy shop and you couldn’t taste any alcohol. In fact, it was almost like drinking syrup. The American Classic cider was quite nice, but it was nothing special. If you like your cider, you will like the American Classic. If you have a sweet tooth then the Strawberry & Lime flavour is your tipple.

Where to buy? Asda – £5.00 for pack of 4 bottles.


KETTLE – £2.49

Kettle always insist on using the best potatoes they can find, hand cook them with care in small batches, then season with simple great tasting combinations of ingredients. The result is crunchy and tasty chips, each one a little different from the last. Kettle never add anything artificial to any of their seasonings – no added MSG, artificial flavours or colours. And, that’s the way it has been for over 25 years.

“New Kettle Sweet Potato Chips, a deliciously crisp alternative to regular chips, baked for 50% less fat* then seasoned with great tasting ingredients. Available in Waitrose in Lightly Salted and Sweet Chilli flavours. No added MSG, artificial flavours or colours. *This product contains 50% less fat than fried vegetable crisps.”


Our Opinion – Already a huge fan of anything sweet chilli flavoured, these sweet potato crisps were absolutely gorgeous and very moreish! I loved the sweet chilli hit combined with the taste of the sweet potato and the boys devoured these crisps too. Definitely another staple to go into our shopping trolley.

Where to buy? Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado – £2.19 for 150g pack

FINN CRISP – £1.29/each

The FINN CRISP brand was established in 1952, when FINN CRISP thin crisps were launched at Helsinki Summer Olympic games. Simple, pure and powerful, the FINN CRISP captures the essence of Finland for millions of people worldwide who care about eating healthily. Finland has long traditions in crispbread consumption and the crispbreads have been known in every household since the 1800’s.

Crunchy FINN CRISP Original crispbread reflects all that is good about Nordic cuisine, using only natural ingredients. It contains two distinct sources of goodness: made from wholegrain, it is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and as it is baked with sourdough, it’s low in fat with a distinctive tangy flavour.”


Our Opinion – These crackers are very crispy and slightly on the sour side. We tried the crackers with natural yoghurt, salad, fruits and cheese and they came out trumps using natural yoghurt topped with tomatoes. They’re very healthy, so they make the perfect snack for my boys when they’re peckish.

Where can you buy? Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado – £1.19 for 200g

ELIZABETH SHAW – £2.59/each

As one of Britain’s best-loved luxury chocolate makers Elizabeth Shaw are proud of their rich heritage and experience. Creating luxurious chocolates means never compromising on the quality of their ingredients. That’s why they source a very specific blend of cocoa from the Côte d’Ivoire. It’s then refined for 24 hours, creating a smooth chocolate with an unforgettable texture and taste.”

“Elizabeth Shaw’s new Flutes range are delectable batons of chocolate, with a tempting selection of fillings and flavours. The Cocoa Crunch Flutes consists of their luxurious rich dark chocolate and combines with crunchy cocoa nibs – giving you a great depth of flavour, as well as a lovely crunch to go with the smoothness of the chocolate – wonderful!”


Our OpinionThese deliciously yummy dark chocolate flutes were devoured in 5 minutes flat by yours truly! I felt bad because I didn’t offer any of the family a chance to try them, but I will be buying some more to garnish some desserts as I reckon they would make the perfect finishing touch.

Where can I buy? Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado – £2.50 for 105g

DR. OETKER – £2.28/each 

Established over 100 years ago in Germany, Dr. Oetker and the family business have developed into an internationally trusted food brand, with lots of high quality innovative products to meet the ever changing consumer needs.

Dr. Oetker Cake Release Spray is an oil spray used by home bakers which eliminates the need for greasing or lining tins and trays before pouring in your cake mixture. it is great for using on large or irregular shaped tins, helping you to achieve perfect baking results.”


Our Opinion – I made some peanut butter cookies the other day (recipe to be added to the site very soon!) and used the Dr. Oetker Cake Release Spray to prep the baking tray initially, instead of my trusty parchment paper. For more elaborate cakes that use cake tins, this vegetable-oil based spray works a treat at getting out those fiddly cakes.

Where can I buy? Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado – £2.28

What did I like most about May’s Degustabox?

The best box of the three boxes I’ve tried out so far, with lots of yummy varieties of food and drink to choose from. I was torn between which product I liked the best; from Taylors of Harrogate’s beautifully tasty Blackcurrant & Elderflower fruit tea to Raw’s Taurine (Red Bull’s duplicate) chewing gum. Cirio’s gorgeous Tomato products were a wonderful edition to the pasta too, which was also lovely. So many great products to choose from!

What to watch out for:

The strawberry flavoured cider is super sweet and if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you might find it quite sickly.

Other points to note:

Don’t eat all the gorgeous Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Flutes like I did, save some for garnishing and decorating fancy desserts or topping up ice cream.

Rating:


5 out of 5 – Fantastic box as always, and the best so far. Really had fun with the products in this month’s Degustabox. J


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Leyla Preston (597 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/