The thoughtful people at Degustabox decided that as we had all very likely over-indulged at Christmas, and had very likely started the New Year with resolutions to eat healthier, they would help us out by making December’s box a healthy one. The other very thoughtful thing they did was to send December’s box in January to make sure there were no delayed deliveries due to Christmas post demands. It’s little things like that that make them extra special in my opinion. It also means there are 2 boxes in January…. extra fabness!
December’s box had some very yummy surprises and lots of brands I had never heard of, a couple of which I will definitely be looking out for! It also introduced me to be a very scrumptious drink that will be enjoyed on many more occasions. So here’s what was in the box:
- NOTHING BUT… This was my partner Del’s favourite product in this box, and very high up on my list of favourites too! There are a lot of brands who produce freeze-dried fruit now, but this was different to any of the others I’ve tried. I received 2 packs… Pineapple and Grape, and Strawberry and Banana. The flavours were very strong which I loved! I’ve noticed with some freeze-dried fruit that the flavours aren’t always as pronounced as you would expect. Once I couldn’t even tell what fruit it was! But this brand is different. The taste is amazing, just like eating the fruit fresh from the fruit bowl. The texture is appealing, and did I mention the taste? Sadly for me, Del polished both packs of these off in one sitting, he loved them so much. I was just glad I had tried a piece of each fruit while I was taking the photo! They are perfect for lunchboxes or snacks, with less than 80 calories per pack, and absolutely nothing added to them. Pure fruit, just freeze-dried. As an added bonus one pack equals one of your 5 a day. They are great for vegans, vegetarians, and are gluten-free. They are available in 3 fruit packs and 3 vegetable ones. Choose from Pineapple and Grape, Strawberry and Banana, Apple and Fig, Mange Tout and Red Pepper, Sliced Beetroot and Parsnip, and Pea and Sweetcorn. The RRP is £1.69 per pack.
- BARILLA… I have received Barilla products in a previous Degustabox and loved them so was happy to see these. I received Wholewheat Fusilli and their Mediterranean Vegetables sauce. Fusilli is my son Luke’s favourite form of pasta. He swears it tastes better than any other, so I knew he would enjoy this! I was right. I served it with a homemade bolognese sauce and it made a delicious family meal. I had never tried the Mediterranean Vegetable sauce before but really enjoyed it! I used half of the jar as a pasta sauce and half for another recipe which stupidly I didn’t take a photo of! It was a sort of puff pastry pizza. Take a sheet of puff pastry, score around the edges about an inch inside, then smear the sauce all over the rectangle inside the score lines. Add your choice of vegetables chopped up and evenly distributed on top of the sauce, sprinkle some cheese on top, brush beaten egg over the exposed edges of pastry and bake until lovely and golden and the edges have risen well. Delicious! I just added peppers and red onion and the cheese and it was so good. Perfect for a quick lunch with some salad. The sauce contains tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and peppers and is very tasty. I will definitely buy this in the future! The RRP for the sauce is £2 and for the fusilli it is £1.50. Excellent value!
- HIP POPS… I received 2 packets of this healthy snack, Salt and Vinegar, and Salt and Black Pepper. I loved these!!! They are a soya and potato snack with around half the fat of normal potato crisps. They are high in fibre, low in saturates, and a good source of protein. You can also get them in Barbecue, Cheese and Onion, Sweet Chilli, and Prawn Cocktail flavours. They are very crunchy and very moreish! The RRP is £1 per pack. I will definitely be looking out for these again!
- BETAVIVO… I received 2 packets of these oaty heart cereals, but have to admit I had never heard of them before this. They are made from oat bran, cornmeal and fructose and are clinically proven to reduce cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. One daily serving of this product gives you the necessary 3g of beta-glucan from oats needed to reduce cholesterol and to reduce the amount of blood glucose your body produces. I wasn’t really sure how to eat these so tried one pack with milk for breakfast. I found them very bland like this if I’m honest. The next day I ate them with yoghurt, blueberries and raspberries and really enjoyed them. They are very crunchy which I liked. The RRP is £1 per pack and is available from Holland and Barrett.
- THE FABULOUS BAKERS… I received a box of 4 individually wrapped Mango and Pineapple Bars. These are delicious tropical bars made with all natural ingredients. They contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and are high in fibre. They contain real fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya) mixed with oats and coconut. What’s not to like?? There is wheat flour in them too so no good for people on gluten-free diets, but they are good for vegetarians. I ate these for mid-morning snacks and found them to be very filling and energy-providing. Perfect if you are on the go and need something quick to grab. The RRP is £1.80 per pack of 4.
- KOKO… This is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk made from freshly pressed coconut milk. It is 100% allergen-free and has 0% cholesterol, making it perfect for vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs, and anyone with lactose, soya or gluten intolerance. Strangely I couldn’t really taste much difference at all between this milk and cow’s milk, so used it in the same way as I use all milk… on cereal, in cups of tea and coffee and in baking. I really enjoyed it and will buy it in the future. The RRP is £1.79, although I have seen it recently a lot cheaper in Tesco.
- NUVA… Many people, me included, drink much less water than we should, so I was happy to see 2 bottles of water in the box. The main reason I don’t drink as much as I should is that I find water just so… boring. I love flavoured water but was recently surprised to discover that many of them contain quite a bit of sugar/sweetener and aren’t quite as healthy as you would expect. Nuva is the first natural spring water which uses natural flavours and extracts with no sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. I received Ginger and Lemon, and Cucumber and Mint varieties, but you can also get Melon and Jasmine. I really enjoyed the ones I tried, especially the ginger one, and I know I would love the melon one! It was good to know it had no sugar, no calories, and nothing at all artificial. Nuva won the Global Bottled Water Award for Best Flavoured Water in 2015, and was a winner in my eyes too. I will be buying these in the future. The RRP is £1.49 per bottle.
- COMPETE… I received a pack of 2 lemon flavour energy bites. I was sent some of these in a previous box but that time they had been the mocha variety, which I had enjoyed. These energy bites are low-calorie but high-caffeine chocolates which give you an instant boost of energy. One gives you a moderate boost, or you can have 2 for a real energy surge. They help to improve your alertness, endurance and energy, and are recommended to take 5 minutes before exercise, studying, driving or partying. One chocolate bite has the same amount of caffeine as 1 large premium coffee. I don’t like having to be negative but I believe in being honest in reviews, so sorry Compete but I didn’t find this flavour at all pleasant. The mocha had been great and tasted good. This lemon one left a nasty aftertaste which I was keen to get rid of. I’m sure some people would have enjoyed them. I’ll stick to the mocha ones when I need a boost though. The RRP is £1.99 for a pack of 2 bites.
- CRABBIE’S… I received their Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer. I love Crabbie’s Ginger Beers so already knew I would love this. It isn’t as strong tasting and fiery as their normal ginger beer, which makes it a perfect mixer drink and I found it lovely and refreshing. However Degustabox also sent a miniature bottle of RED SQUARE TOFFEE VODKA, with a recipe for Crabbie’s Toffee Mule cocktail. I love toffee vodka but had never tried it in a cocktail, and it would have been rude not to use their suggestion, wouldn’t it? So I dutifully filled a tall glass with ice, poured a measure of Red Square Toffee over the ice then topped up with the Crabbie’s Light Ginger Beer. Just for research purposes of course. All I can say is WOW! That was a very refreshing tasty drink and I will enjoy this cocktail again! The RRP for the Crabbie’s Light is £1.49, and the Red Square Toffee RRP is £1.99 for a miniature bottle.
- DRINK ME CHAI… Degustabox very kindly included a free gift in this box, a chai latte skinny blend sample sachet. It is gently spiced with clove for a delicious drink, and the fact it is a skinny blend means you can enjoy it guilt-free. All you do is add water so it is quick and easy to make but so yummy. It has 62 calories per cup and 30% less fat and sugar than the normal blend. It does say on the back though that if you want it extra creamy you can make it with half water and half hot frothy milk, which would obviously push the fat content up a bit. There are a range of Drink Me Chai drinks and this is the newest one. The others are Spiced Chai Latte, Chocolate Chai Latte, Green Tea Chai Latte, Mango Chai Latte, Peppermint Chai Latte, and Vanilla Chai Latte. The RRP is £2.50 for a tub.
Degustabox is a monthly subscription box of food and drink products as you know by now. It costs just £12.99 a month including delivery with DPD couriers. The value of the products in the box is always almost double the cost of the subscription, sometimes even more!
If you would like to try a box for yourself, I am pleased to tell you that if you click HERE and enter the code BLDEG15 at checkout you will get a whopping £6 off your first box! That would mean you can try a box worth around £23 for the bargain price of £6.99!!! Well worth trying. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
DISCLAIMER: Degustabox sent me the box to review honestly, and all views and opinions stated are my own. I believe in honesty in all reviews and will never give an opinion if I don’t fully believe it.