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Mars skittles are fruit sweets, with a hard sugar shell and chewy centre, marketed by Wrigley, under the parent company Mars (the 6th largest private company in the US). Since their introduction in 1974 they have proved consistently popular and the range now includes 55 gram bags and 195 gram pouches. Expect to pay around 40p for a bag and £1.40 for a pouch.
Skittles come in a distinctive (easy open)bright red bag, with a rainbow across the centre of the packaging. 'Skittles' is written clearly in white and there is a picture of some of the sweets underneath. Skittles tend to cope very well with most temperatures and simply need to be stored somewhere dry. They should have a best before date several months beyond purchase.
Per 100 grams, skittles contain 403 calories, 90.5 grams of carbohydrate and 4.2 grams of fat. The carbohydrate is so high as skittles are almost entirely made from sugar - this does have the advantage of making them low fat, but you should definitely brush your teeth after eating these as they will rot your teeth!
I find skittles very moreish, although in essence they are very simple - the outer sugar shell is hard with different colours according to flavour. Be warned, this shell is very solid, to the point where it can be uncomfortable to bite straight through it. Instead, sucking the sweet for a few seconds will soften the shell and let out the chewy fruit centre. Skittles are made with real fruit juice and this comes through in the flavours, which include orange, strawberry and blackcurrent. Each flavour is surprisingly realistic, although very, very sweet. Overall, these are good for a quick, intense, chewy sugary hit.
Cadbury Curly Wurly is a chocolate confectionary, consisting of hard caramel, formed into a grid shape and covered in milk chocolate. Since their introduction by Cadbury (one of the largest chocolate confectioners in the world) in 1971, curly wurly's have remained popular and are now available as single bars, five bar multi packs and squirlies. Expect to pay around 30p for a single bar and £1 for a multi pack.
Curly Wurleys come in an easy open plastic and foil wrapper, with purple ends, white background and curly wurly written in different colours across the front. They should be kept in a cool dark place (or the fridge in the summer - they melt easily) and should keep for several months.
Per 26 gram bar, curly wurly's contain 115 calories, 12.4 grams of sugar and 4.5 grams of fat (of which 2.6 grams are saturated). These are a snack product, and as such were never going to be healthy. However, as an occasional snack they are absolutely fine.
Curly Wurly's are a favourite of mine, not least before they remind me of my childhood - it's still fun to nibble the individual bits of the bar, gradually working my way down to the bottom. The chocolate is cadbury's and as such is very good quality, with a lovely smooth milky taste. Underneath, the caramel is very sweet, but also very hard, so watch out for fillings! The combination of the two works very well in terms of taste, although the chocolate does tend to fall off the caramel and get everywhere so watch out for your clothes.
Maryland Cookies consist of a brand of biscuit made by Burton's foods and first introduced to the UK in 1956. They have proved extremely popular and remain one of the best selling brands, with a range that includes Chocolate chip, double choc and white chocolate, hazelnut, minis and snackbites. Expect to pay around £1 for 250 grams and £1.40 for 125 grams of snackbites.
Maryland cookies come in a foil wrapper coloured differently depending on the flavour. The chocolate chip packet is dark red, with Maryland written across the front in yellow. The flavour is in the top left corner with a picture of cookies in the opposite corner. The cookies should be stored in a cool dark place, although, once opened, they should be put in an airtight tin and will only keep for a few days.
Per 100, Maryland chocolate chip cookies contain 511 calories, 34.8 grams of sugar and 23.9 grams of fat (of which 13.1 grams are saturated). As biscuits (and particularly biscuits with chocolate) these were never going to be healthy. However, as an occasional treat, they are absolutely fine.
I love Maryland cookies. They are crunchy, but the chocolate chips give them a softness which works perfectly (be warned, they do fall apart easily). There are lots of choc chips in each biscuit (in the double chocolate there isn't actually all that much biscuit around the chocolate!). The chocolate is very milky and velvety, and this complements the biscuit just beautifully.
Kellogg's Frosties are a cereal product consisting of flakes of corn in a sugar coating. They have remained consistently popular ever since their introduction in 1952 and the range now includes 500 gram, 750 gram and 1 kg boxes as well as Frosties cereal bars. Expect to pay around £1.80 for 500 grams and £1.70 for 6 cereal bars.
Kellogg's Frosties come in a distinctive large blue coloured rectangular box. The majority of the front is taken up with a picture of Tony the tiger (who has been used as the Frosties mascot ever since their introduction). The kellogg's logo can also be seen, together with the word 'Frosties' written in white. Frosties should be stored in a cool dry place (once opened the inner plastic lining can be folded over to keep the air out) and should keep for several months.
Per 100 grams (which is rather more than an average bowlful) Frosties contain 371 calories, 37 grams of sugar and 0.6 grams of fat (of which 0.1 is saturated). Frosties aren't the most unhealthy of breakfasts but are very high in sugar so probably shouldn't be eaten every day.
Frosties are delicious with cold milk, but only if eaten quickly. The sugar coating makes them very sweet, while the corn adds a crispness, nuttiness and crunch which is very satisfying. However, once they have been in the bowl for a couple of minutes they go soggy and also lose a lot of their sweetness which seems to drain into the milk. I would therefore strongly recommend eating these as soon as they have been served.
Walkers French fries are a baked potato snack consisting of long thin strips of potato baked into curly fries. Currently, the flavours available include ready salted, salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and Worcester sauce. These all come in standard 19 gram packs, as well as variety six and ten packs. Expect to pay around 40p for a standard bag, and £2.50 for a ten pack multipack.
Walkers French fries all come in sealed foil bags: red for ready salted, green for salt and vinegar, blue for cheese and onion and brown for Worcester sauce. The front of each packet has the walkers logo at the top, together with nutritional information (It makes a lovely change to not have to search for the calorie content). 'French Fries' is written across the middle with the flavour just underneath. Kept sealed they should keep for a couple of months.
Each pack is guaranteed to contain under 100 calories and they also only have around 4 grams of fat. These are really good for diets - you feel naughty as these are a 'snack' item, but with the low fat content you could easily get away with a couple of packets a day.
Walkers French fries are really rather strange. They're not crisps in the conventional sense of the word, and neither are they like quavers or monster munch or any of the other baked potato snacks. They are very thin, stay crunchy even when bitten and have a honeycomb like texture that makes them quite hard and brittle. Although I like the feeling, I can imagine these wouldn't be to everyone's taste. For me, it's the flavour where these win out - they are very strongly flavoured (apart from the ready salted which is quite bland) and keep their taste all the way down the packet. The Worcester sauce in particular is stunning as it really tastes of Worcester sauce with no hint of artificial flavouring,
Walkers Salt and Vinegar Crisps consist of slices of potato which are fried and strongly flavoured. They are one of the top selling flavours of crisps worldwide and the range has been extended to include not only the standard 34.5 gram packs, but also six and 12 bag multipacks (at 25 grams per pack), and larger, 50 gram, grab bags. You will find them everywhere from major supermarkets to petrol stations and a standard pack will cost approximately 45p.
Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps come in a green foil bag, with the walkers logo prominently displayed. Salt and Vinegar is written across the middle of the packet, with a picture of some crisps underneath. The packet should be stored in a cool dark place, and, if bought fresh, will last unopened for a couple of months.
A standard 34.5 gram pack contains 181 calories, 0.8 grams of salt and 11 grams of fat (of which 1 gram is saturated). Although Walkers have taken measures to decrease the amount of saturated fat and salt in their products, the overall fat and salt is still high, so these should only really be eaten as a treat.
Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps have a very strong, unique taste which is not to everyone's liking. Personally I really like them - they are very salty with a hint of sourness from the vinegar flavouring and this is evident from the first moment the bag is opened and the scent escapes. However, if you like powerful flavours and crunchy, tasty potato, then these will definitely be for you.
Nestle After Eights are a chocolate confectionary consisting of a dark chocolate square containing mint fondent. Made originally by Rowntree and introduced in 1962 they are now produced by Nestle (the largest food company in the world) and have proved consistently popular. As well as the standard rectangular 300 gram box, other varieties include milk chocolate mints, after eighth straws, bitesize and 150 gram gift packs. Expect to pay around £2 for a gift pack and £3 for a box.
After Eight's packaging is easily recognisable - it consists of a long, rectangular, film covered box, coloured dark green. 'After Eight' is written across the middle, over a picture of a mint, and the description 'Mint Chocolate Thins' is written underneath. The mints also come in individual envelopes for serving. The mints should be kept sealed, in a cool dark place, and will last for several months.
Each individual chocolate contains 35 calories, 6.2 grams of carbohydrate and 1.1 grams of fat. As with any chocolate product these are high fat for their size. However, as an occasional treat they are fine.
After Eights have a richness and quality that I haven't found with any other chocolate. Although designed (as the name suggests) as an after dinner treat to be passed round, these are actually really good any time of day (and it is perfectly possible to get through a packet on your own as I have found!). The dark chocolate is strong, with a slight crispness that complements the fondent centre. This centre is what makes the chocolate - it is very minty (the scent of the mint is very noticeable as soon as you open the box), but not overpowering and is quite amazingly smooth, literally melting on the tongue. I think it is safe to say these will be a hit both at dinner parties and any time of the day!
Cathedral City Mature Cheddar is the most popular brand of cheese made by Dairy Crest, with mild, mature and extra mature varieties. The mature is available in 200g, 400g, 600g and 2 x 350g twin packs and can also be bought ready sliced. Expect to pay around £2 for 200 grams and £1.70 for 160 grams ready sliced.
Cathedral City mature comes in a plastic, sealed, dark red wrapper. The majority of the front shows a picture of a cathedral door, with 'Cathedral City Mature' written across it. The packet will require scissors to open it, but once opened has a seal which can be used to keep the remaining cheese fresh (a great advantage as otherwise it either has to be rewrapped or goes very dry and cracked). The cheese should be kept in the fridge and, providing it is kept sealed, should last for at least 6 weeks.
Per 100 grams, cathedral city contains 416 calories and 34.9 grams of fat (of which 21.7 grams are saturated). Cheese is notoriously high fat and this is no exception. Nonetheless the saturated fat is very high and so this should probably only be eaten occasionally.
Cathedral city mature is a strange cheese - it's very smooth textured (almost rubbery) and cuts like a dream (also makes it very good for cheese on toast). However, it's the least mature mature cheese I've ever eaten - it's not grainy like a good mature cheese and the taste is more like a 1 or 2 (on the strength scale) than a mature 3 or 4. There is no after taste but given the lack of maturity that isn't really a surprise - overall I would recommend this for those who like a mild cheese and definitely not suitable for people who normally enjoy the bite of a fully mature cheddar.
Mr Kipling's French fancies are a type of cake consisting of an icing covered sponge, with a layer of vanilla cream on top of the sponge. Having been around for over 20 years, they remain extremely popular, and the range has now been increased to include a 'big pink French fancy' which is a birthday cake sized version of the normal pink fancy. Expect to pay around £1.70 for an 8 pack of fancies and £7.00 for the birthday cake.
French fancies come in a long cardboard rectangular box, with an inner plastic seal. The individual fancies also sit in a small cake case each. At the top left hand corner is the Mr Kipling logo, while 'French Fancies' is written in chocolate brown across the centre, surrounded by pictures of the various fancies. They should be kept sealed in a cool dark place and will keep for a couple of months if left unopened.
Each individual cake contains 105 calories, 16.5 grams of sugar and 2.8 grams of fat (including 1.2 grams of saturated). In comparison with other snacks, such as a chocolate bar, the fat content of these is not too bad. However (and speaking from experience) it is almost impossible to stop at just one cake so they should probably only be eaten as a treat.
French fancies come in three flavours - chocolate (brown icing), vanilla (this is the pink one) and lemon (yellow). They are a delicious mixture of quite hard icing on the outside which gives a bit of bite, followed by very soft cream and moist sponge. They are very, very sweet so can only be eaten occasionally, but they have a rich luxurious taste which makes these my first choice when I'm craving an instant sugary hit.
Cadburys milk chocolate buttons consist of small button shaped pieces of cadbury's milk chocolate. Since their introduction in 1960 they have proved extremely popular both in the UK and Ireland, with the range now including not only the standard 33 gram packs but also multipacks, and larger bags of 65 and 145 grams. There are also button ice creams, giant buttons and white chocolate varieties. Expect to pay around 40 pence for a standard bag and £2 for a 6 pack of ice creams.
A standard pack of buttons comes in a purple (easy to open) bag with Cadburys written in yellow at the top and buttons in white. Underneath there used to be illustrations from nursery rhymes. However, different animals, including cats and owls, now decorate the front of the packet. The buttons should be kept in a cool dark place (they are very prone to melt in hot weather so should be kept in the fridge in the summer) and will keep for several months.
A standard bag of buttons contains 170 calories, 18.1 grams of sugar and 9.6 grams of fat (of which 6 grams is saturated). As pure chocolate, these were inevitably going to be high fat. As it is quite a small bag, these make a handy snack for children or treat for adults, but should only really be eaten in moderation.
There's something very compelling about cadbury's buttons - although I don't have children, they remind me of when I was little - I liked them then and still do now - the chocolate is high quality, milky and rich, with a smooth texture that melts on the tongue. Also, although each individual button is small, the fact there are quite a few in the packet makes it seem you're getting quite a lot of chocolate, and they also take quite a long time to eat. All in all a fun way to have a small treat.
Nestle Yorkie bars are a chocolate confectionary consisting of a 68 gram solid bar of milk chocolate partially divided into chunks. First introduced in 1976 to provide a larger alternative to other bars on the market, it continues to prove very popular. As well as the original milk chocolate variety, raisin and biscuit are also available, as well as 82 gram and 300 bars, ice cream and Yorkie biscuits. Expect to pay around 50p for a standard bar and £1.40 for a seven pack of biscuits.
Yorkie milk chocolate is unmistakable. In an easy open foil wrapper, the background colour is light blue, with Yorkie stamped across the front in yellow. The O of Yorkie has also been changed to a stop sign for women, emphasising the controversial advertising campaign run by Nestle claiming that Yorkie bars should be for men only. This is made more explicit by the slogan 'It's not for girls' stamped on the side. Yorkies should be kept in a cool dark place - they will melt in hot weather so need to be kept in the fridge in the summer.
Per standard 68 gram milk chocolate bar, Yorkies contain 367 calories, 38.7 grams of sugar and 21.5 grams of fat (of which 13.8 grams are saturated. Although the bars are larger than standard chocolate bars, the levels of sugar and fat are very high, so these should definitely be for a treat only.
In terms of taste and texture Yorkie is a denser chocolate than either Cadbury or Galaxy. It feels slightly rougher on the tongue and less milky, which can be good if you're looking for an intense chocolate hit. Ironically, given the amount of sugar in a bar, they also taste slightly less sweet. They are very filling, so I tend to go for these only if I'm really hungry and need a substantial snack.
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate chip cookie dough is a high end ice cream, consisting of vanilla ice cream, mixed with pieces of choc chip biscuit dough and small amounts of choc chip and caramel. Ben and Jerry's first started in 1978 and has become one of the leading ice cream manufacturers, with literally hundreds of flavours. Chocolate chip cookie dough is one of the most popular and should be available in most leading supermarkets. Expect to pay around £4.00 for 500 ml.
All Ben and Jerry's ice creams come in cardboard tubs which, although more environmentally friendly, do have a tendency to cave in if put back in the freezer half full. For this reason, try not to put anything on top of the carton. Choc chip cookie dough has a light blue and white background (showing a field), with the Ben and Jerry's label stamped across the side and chocolate chip cookie dough written clearly in white edged with orange. Needless to say, it should be kept in the freezer and will keep for several months.
Per 104 grams this flavour contains 270 calories, 14 grams of fat (of which 9 grams is saturated) and 24 grams of sugar. This is a luxury product and that is reflected in the calorie count. However, as an occasional treat it should be fine.
In terms of taste, choc chip cookie dough is one of those you either love or hate - the vanilla ice cream is wonderful, rich and creamy and very smooth. However, some people don't like the taste or texture of uncooked cookie - the pieces do have a slightly sandy feel to them that can be offputting. Personally, I've found it's fine once you get used to it, and the sweet biscuit taste complements the choc chips and caramel. Overall, this is a taste experience you won't forget in a hurry, and for that reason I wouldn't recommend eating anything else with this ice cream - it will stand up just fine on its own.
Walkers cheese and onion crisps have remained extremely popular since their introduction in the 1940s. Although best known in their standard 34.5 gram bags, they are also available in six and 12 bag multipacks (at 25 grams per pack), and larger, 50 gram, grab bags. They are widely available in the UK, everywhere from supermarkets to corner shops and garages. Expect to pay around 45p for a standard bag and £1.30 for a six pack.
Walkers cheese and onion crisps come in a distinctive blue foil packet, with the red and yellow Walkers symbol prominently displayed. Cheese and onion is written across the middle of the packet, with a picture of some crisps underneath. The packet should be stored in a cool dark place, and, if bought fresh, will last unopened for a couple of months.
A 25 gram multipack contains 131 calories, 8.3 grams of fat (of which 0.7 is saturated) and 0.3 grams of salt. Walkers have changed the recipes of their crisps to bring down the saturated fat and salt levels, and these are certainly much better than they used to be. However, the overall fat content is still quite high, so these should really only be eaten as a treat.
I love the taste of cheese and onion crisps, and the Walkers variety is the best of the bunch - the crisps have a strong taste and smell, but it is very real - the cheese flavour is really cheddary and the onion flavour comes through well. The crisps themselves are light and crunchy, with only a hint of oil. I'd highly recommend these, either on their own, or as part of a ploughmans lunch.
Pringles Sour Cream and Onion is a flavour in the Pringles range of crisps. Pringles are sold by Procter and Gamble (the 4th largest corporation in the US) and have been exceptionally popular worldwide. Sour cream and onion come in a standard 165 gram tube, as well as a smaller snack pack, and a 160 gram 'lights variety'. Expect to pay around £2 for a standard tube.
Pringles Sour Cream and onion come in a long green cardboard tube, clearly labelled sour cream and onion and with the promise of '90 Pringles inside'. The top of the can is covered with a cardboard disc and a clear plastic lid - this can be flipped off, leading to the tag line 'once you pop you can't stop'. If stored unopened they should stay in date for around a year and make a great store cupboard standby. Once opened, use the plastic lid to keep them sealed and they will stay fresh for about a week.
Per 25 gram portion these contain 129 calories, and 8.2 grams of fat (of which 1.8 grams is saturated). In comparison with other crisps this isn't too bad. However, the portion size given is very small, so you may find you're eating more calories than you realise.
Pringles sour cream and onion make for a very satisfying snack - they are all the same shape and thickness which makes them peculiarly appealing - they are also highly flavoured but taste 'real' rather than synthetic, with no greasy overtones, making them a really pleasant alternative to normal crisps.
Nestle Toffee Crisp is a chocolate bar, consisting of a rice, toffee and chocolate mixture (think rice crispy cakes) all held together by milk chocolate. Made by the Nestle company (the largest food company in the world), since its introduction in 1963 toffee crisp have proved extremely popular and are currently the 12th biggest selling Nestle Rowntree brand. As well as the traditional 44 gram bar, variations include multipacks, snacksize, mini bites, biscuits and clusters. Expect to pay around 45p for an individual bar and £1.50 for a pack of toffee crisp biscuits.
Toffee Crisps come in a bright orange, easy open wrapper, with 'toffee crisp' written in yellow with a brown border. The slogan 'crispy crunch, chewy munch' is written across the side. Toffee crisps should be kept in a cool dark place, or the fridge in hot weather. Kept well, they will be in date for several months.
A standard 44 gram bar contains 228 calories, just over 21 grams of sugar and 12.2 grams of fat (of which 7.9 grams is saturated). As a chocolate snack, these are inevitably high fat and sugar. However, the saturated fat is very high so these should probably only be eaten as a treat.
Toffee crisps make for a very satisfying overall experience - the chocolate on the outside is thick and has a strong cocoa taste (more chocolatey than cadbury's or galaxy). This combines with the rice, which is crispy and light and sweet chewy toffee. The combination as a whole works very well, making for a satisfying, but light, chocolate hit.