The Easter Bunny hasn't put in an appearance yet but, thanks to this month's Easter-themed Degustabox, we have already had a chance to sample lots of sweet treats, as well as some savoury ones. This is just the kind of box we love, with a few products that we already know and love, some new products from tried-and-tested brands and some total wild cards, introducing us to some completely unknown brands that we probably would never have tried otherwise.
The Madhouse kids spotted lots of things that they wanted to sample straight away and I had to keep batting their hands away so that I could take the photo ! "But we just want to look Mum." Yes, I'm sure you do !
Unsurprisingly, the first thing that caught their eye was the big bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Oreo (2 x £1.49), in both Peanut Butter and Mint varieties, both new additions to the range. We all love chocolate and Oreos so they obviously were a big hit, although the Madhouse kids did point out that, although they were nice, the mint and peanut butter additions did hide the flavour of Oreos, which they also like, so they thought that was a bit of a shame. They (oh ok, we !) polished off the bars in double-quick time though.
I could have guessed what their next pick would be too ! The Jelly Bean Factory 36 Gourmet Flavours Box (£1.49) - I frequently get these for birthdays and Christmas because I'm a big fan, so we all knew that these are lovely. They are gelatin, gluten and nut free, vegetarian friendly and made with natural flavours and no artificial colours.
More sweets - and certainly no complaints from the Madhouse kids ! One Pounder Chocolate Eclairs (£1) are just like the cheap and cheerful sweets you find in poundstores. You get a big bagful of perfectly reasonable sweeties for a quid - what's not to like ?! They are available in over 65 varieties, including chocolates, toffees, boiled sweets, chews, fudge, mints, gums and jellies.
Another sweet treat that the Madhouse kids already know and love, Naturelly Jelly Juice - a juicy jelly pouch that is a combination of snack, drink or dessert. I find the texture quite strange but the kids love it. It is made with real fruit juice and a natural dietary fibre called Gellan Gum that comes from lily plants so it is a great hunger buster as it helps to fill up tiny tums. Available in 3 flavours (Summer Fruits, Tropical and Apple & Blackcurrant) and approved by both the vegetarian and coeliac societies, as well as being compliant with the latest school food standards, the kids enjoy it as a tasty treat and I love the fact that it covers 100% of the RDA of Vitamin C, has no added sugar or sweeteners & only contains 36 kcal per pouch.
On to the savoury products, Maldon Smoked Sea Salt Flakes (£1.50) intrigued me. The official write-up says : "Our flakes are gently smoked over oak to add a subtle smokiness to the sea salt, guaranteeing an extra frisson of flavour with fish, meat and vegetables." I tried them sprinkled over some simple baked potatoes with butter and they were lovely. I can see these being used frequently in barbecue season, for sprinkling over grilled meat to really bring out the flavours.
Pipers Crisps Burrow Hill Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt (£2) are basically salt and vinegar crisps but they are definitely of a higher class than the usual suspects. Very tasty and beautifully crunchy.
Heinz [Seriously] Good Gourmet Sauces (£1.99) - We've already tried Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise but I hadn't seen these sauces before. We got the Creamy Tomato & Garlic Sauce, perfect with chicken, but they are also available in three other varieties : Creamy Pepper Sauce, perfect with Steak, Creamy Bearnaise Sauce, perfect with beef, and Creamy Chive Sauce, perfect with Potatoes. This is great for using up the leftovers after a Sunday roast, with some pasta or rice, so it's convenient when you need a quick meal on the table. The whole family liked the taste and the texture.
If you opted for an alcohol-free Degustabox, you would have received Rebel Kitchen Dairy Free Organic Chocolate Mylk made with a base of just four simple ingredients; organic coconut milk, Somerset spring water, organic date nectar and cacao. It is perfect if you're looking for a healthier way to enjoy a sweet treat, especially as it is 100% organic certified, but the Madhouse kids weren't overly keen.
If you opted for the box that includes alcohol, you'd have got two cans of Westons Cider (2 x £1.99) - Pure Hopped Cider and Caple RD Dry, which is matured for up to 18 months. I tend to prefer lighter, fruitier ciders but they would make a nice change once in a while.
Gusto Organix Lemon Energy is "bursting with botanicals" and promises to provide energy and stamina. It is made with whole crushed Sicilian lemons, Amazon guarana, Siberian ginseng and wonder herb astralagus and is sweetened with agave nectar, apple and grape juice. I can't say I felt it gave me any extra energy but it is a pleasant, refreshing drink.
Whitworths Full Of Super Cacao Raw Bars (£1.50) are crammed with nutritious superfood ingredients so they are a healthier option to chocolate bars. They contain almonds, flakes of coconut, chai seeds, golden flax seeds, quinoa and acai and represent a natural source of Thiamine (which helps to maintain energy), as well as being gluten free, no soy and suitable for vegetarians. They're OK but it's something I'd eat to be healthy rather than because I love the taste.
This month's recipe suggestion card was for Spanish Chicken and Manchego, using the Heinz sauce.
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.