* Prices may differ from that shown
I spend quite a lot of time travelling between Essex and The Outer Hebrides, and due to this being a journey we can only just achieve by car with 16 solid hours of driving, we tend to break it up with an overnight stay.
Our preference for this is to use the Express by Holiday Inn group of hotels as they are always clean, comfortable, are dog friendly, and they provide an adequate breakfast in the price.
Sometimes however if I can get a cheap deal with Travelodge then I will book these, but as they do not provide a free breakfast we take our own. The problem with travelling for hours on end is that you can very quickly become what I describe as "stodged" or "breaded out" which means you rely on sandwiches and the like to keep going. This can actually be a bad thing when driving, as it can lead to lethargy on the road which is dangerous so we usually have something like porridge.
I saw these Grasshopper porridge pots in Waitrose and decided to try them as I thought they would be a quick way to make this in the room. Having tried other makes of these such as Flahavan's I had mixed feelings really, so was a little sceptical about my purchase. They are the brainchild of two sisters so are a family business for sure.
They are available in Waitrose and at www.goodnessdirect.co.uk and are £1.99 each which makes them a luxury product, but cheaper than the lodge breakfast.
They come in 3 versions, Cinnamon and Raisin, the subject of this review, Coconut and Date, and Chocolate.
They are an instant porridge made by adding boiling water to the mix and they are made with 100% organic ingredients. The Cinnamon and Raisin version contains oats which are the biggest ingredient, followed by skimmed milk powder, raisins, cane sugar and cinnamon.
To prepare you simply remove the lid add water to ¾ full, stir well, replace the lid, and wait for 5 minutes
Whilst this cooks it is good to mull over the fact that the pot is recyclable and the sleeve is made from corn starch. The ingredients are all natural too.
To the taste- well I have to say that first of all I was not impressed by the overwhelming taste of the skimmed milk powder which seemed to be the dominate flavour, and the sweetness struck me because I found it too much. There were plenty of raisins and a delicate hint of cinnamon, but other than that my other feeling was that after 5 minutes the porridge was not as hot as I would have liked it to be.
The breakfast sets you back just over 200 calories and is low gi so will keep you going for a few hours, and of course it is brilliant for keeping cholesterol levels in check.
I thought the portion size was generous enough and certainly I thought this was an ok porridge, but when you have driven all day and slept in a strange bed this would not be something I would take again as it just wasn't that nice. It was not worth the high cost, and I can obtain better results by simply pouring water onto oats in a bowl and leaving them to steam by covering them with an inverted plate. This way you can add the toppings you want and although the product isn't as hot as you would like neither is the Grasshopper version.
I can't see myself buying this again, except I have some of the other flavours which I intend to try first before I dismiss it altogether.
As regards value for money I think this product does not represent that at all. Yes it's a quick and easy pot of porridge, but it isn't that nice, and I actually preferred to decant it into a bowl, as it seemed to pick up the flavour of the pot which also didn't do it any favours.
It's a great idea, but I am going to make my own, as I always have done, as it seems to me this is convenience gone too far.