Monday, 26 January 2015

January 26th: Belfine Swirl Pops

Belfine are back on @ChocMission and after winning one of our 2014 Awards (See HERE) they are back with a bang ... or should we say ... a pop!? Yes folks we are delighted to bring you the latest of our Belfine Fine Chocolates reviews, for those who have only just started reading the site lately you might want to check the @ChocMission archives to be brought up to speed as to who these guys are! Belfine are one of the most exciting chocolate producers we have the pleasure of knowing at the moment so it is with great delight we today bring you our review of their Belfine Swirl Pops.

You will soon be able to buy these Belfine Swirl Pops on the Belfine website (See HERE) and you will find them available in the two flavours we tried out for the review today:

Belfine Swirl Pop 'Chocolate Rock 'n roll' is a milk chocolate lolly decorated with mini chocolate buttons and sugar sprinkles. On the eye it was the more colourful of the two lollies and was the one that immediately drew the eye and as expected taste wise it was a real pleasure. Our expectations of a high quality milk chocolate base weren't let down. A plethora of cocoa heavy creamy flavours were offered, chocolatey to the extreme and ever so moreish. The chocolate buttons and sugar sprinkles added bursts of additional sugary chocolates flavours but were most notable for their differentiated crunchy texture.

Belfine Swirl Pop 'Strawberry Fields' was a white chocolate lolly covered with strawberry crisps and white and pink sugar sprinkles. Out of it's cellophane packet this one smelt like a dream with scents of strawberries and cream immediately on offer. This was the first time we had tried Belfine's white chocolate recipe as a solus product and we absolutely loved it. It was a high quality white chocolate offering the most creamiest of sweet tastes. The strawberry flavours involved here were just perfect for us, real tasting but subtle and not overbearing of the chocolate. As the aromas suggested this was like strawberries and cream on a lolly!

Overall Belfine have hit another out the park with these tremendous Belfine Swirl Pops. They may seem simplistic in construct but what they offer is a fantastic quality chocolate in a manner that lends itself well to both adult and children markets. If we had one tiny criticism it was that it was a shame Belfine didn't go their usual character themed route. Their products are usually totally adorable in their presentation, these lollies didn't look bad by any stretch of the imagination but when we laid them side-by-side the Easter products they also sent us there was only one winner aesthetically. That aside these tasted amazing. Without going all upmarket to the fancier chocolate brands you wont get better quality chocolate - these Belfine Swirl Pops are tremendous. We highly recommend you get involved.

9.0 out of 10

Friday, 23 January 2015

January 23rd: Chips Ahoy! Crispy Choco Caramel

Kcal 70 Fat 3.4g Fat(sats) 1.7g Carbs 8.8g (per cookie)

You will have seen a few weeks ago how excited we were by the appearance of Mondelez's Chips Ahoy! cookies finally making their long awaited UK debut when we reviewed their Chips Ahoy! Popcorn Candy Crisp flavour. Well obviously in keeping with true @ChocMission tradition we were going to leave the best until last when it came to rating the two new flavours :) Today choco-addicts we bring you our thoughts on the all new Chips Ahoy! Crispy Choco Caramel cookies.

As with the Popcorn Candy Crisp variant these came in a 168.0g resealable plastic pack. On the wrapper these came described as 'cookies with chocolate chips, milk chocolate coated caramel croquant and wheat and corn flakes'. If it not for the impressive chocolate biscuit aromas and appealing, colourful cookies we might have reached for the Oxford dictionary to look up exactly what 'croquant' meant :)

In keeping tradition with all our biscuit, cookies and cakes reviews we taste tested these during one of our (many!!) @ChocMission office afternoon tea breaks. All of us in the team are big Chips Ahoy! fans so you can just imagine the fights we have over who 'scoffs the most'. Well this was exactly the argument that flared up over these Chips Ahoy! Crispy Choco Caramel cookies - we absolutely loved them!

The base cookies were even more delicious than standard Chips Ahoy cookies with the added cocoa adding more of a chocolatey taste to each and every bite. We soon learnt that croquant meant crunchy pieces of caramel - when these were bitten into they generated some very welcome burnt sugar like flavours. The cereal pieces didn't so much have an impact taste wise, however like the Popcorn element in the last flavour we tested they contributed texturally making them still a worthwhile addition. The ruling from the team was thumbs up all round! These are definitely cookies we are going to be buying again very soon! Let us know what you think @ChocMission.

8.2 out of 10

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

January 21st: Milky Way French Vanilla & Caramel

Kcal 220 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 35.0g

We always like to keep on top with all the latest chocolates and limited edition goodies that come out over the pond. Having friends like @AmericanSoda helps a lot but sometimes we rely on our readers to help us out with some of the more obscure items we can't get hold of. Step up to the plate @ChocMission reader Bev - he contacted us recently on Twitter and offered us a few of these new Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla & Caramel bars. We did these feature on one of Cybele's Candy Teases a few months ago but not heard anything about them actually being out!

This Limited Edition bar clocks in at 48.8g - a pretty reasonable size for a Limited Edition chocolate (they can sometimes be smaller than this!). The wrapper aesthetically looked pretty cool - the light golden beige colour was a good choice for the flavour theme though the actual branding of the French Vanilla could have been given more prominence below the standard Milky Way logo.

For those unaware Milky Way is essentially the US brand name for our UK Mars bar. The construct of this Milky Way bar was nigh on identical to the standard Mars - the outer exterior milk chocolate hiding a base layer of nougat with the golden caramel on top. When cross-sectioned it looked terrific with the lower layer of pale nougat really highlighting the golden caramel above and dark coloured outer chocolate. Taste wise the milk chocolate and caramel were bang on expectations. The chocolate was fair standard with it's creamy sweet chocolatey cocoa taste really middle of the road in terms of it's quality. The caramel was equally good with it's sugary buttery flavours a familiar delicious chewy treat. The French vanilla flavouring came in the form of the nougat which split opinion among the team. Some liked the way the vanilla flavours were more forthcoming and sustained, though others felt they verged a little on being artificial and fake tasting.

Overall this wasn't an earth shattering limited edition offering from Mars US but it was at least different enough to justify it being classified as offering a different Milky Way experience. The French vanilla flavouring did bring the nougat more to life, though as ascertained above this did split the team in terms of adding favourably to the overall experience. We always liked trying new things and twists on our favourite bars so this Milky Way French Vanilla & Caramel was still a worthwhile experience. We wouldn't necessarily replace it with our usual Mars bar but to try it once at least was definitely worth it.

8.2 out of 10

Monday, 19 January 2015

January 19th: Glico Pocky Green Tea Cookie Crunch

Kcal 71 Fat 3.3g Carbs 9.2g (per 14.1g pack - 4 Sticks)

Here at ChocolateMission we often astounded by some of the site traffic statistics when we look at our reviews on Glico Pocky sticks (See archive HERE). They are by far some of our more popular reviews and attract lots of visits from people outside of their place of origin (Japan!!). Luckily for us we have great links with JList - the worlds biggest exporter of all things from the Far East (snacks, food, manga comics ... you name it, they have it! See HERE). Today we thought we would give you our run down of these Glico Pocky Crush Matcha Cookie Crunch - try saying that without pausing :-)

As I'm sure you are all aware Glico Pocky come in many different formats with multiple different sub brands. These Matcha Cookie Crunch are the latest addition to the Pocky Crush range - these are a line of snacks that the standard Pocky sticks and fill them with an inner filling of light mousse creme. The Matcha Cookie Crunch flavour we tried today came described as 'crunchy chocolate sticks filled with a Matcha green tea flavoured mousse'. The variant was obvious by the colouring of the packaging - bright green, vibrant and altogether very smartly put together. As usual with Japanese products, Glico certainly didn't fail giving the product a real premium  special feel and the sticks looked very cool themselves with the knobbly, green speckled cookie pieces catching the eye.

Aroma wise there really wasn't that much to suggest the green tea element to these and this carried through to the taste, which on reflection really wasn' t that strongly flavoured with a green tea influence. To some of you that may sound a rather advantageous thing - after all the more focus on the chocolate the better right!? Well the chocolatey flavours of these Pocky wasn't something we could question. The sticks provided a nice golden biscuit taste but it was the creamy milky chocolate that came through strongly as soon as the soft melt developed to leave the crunchy cocoa flavour packed knobbly pieces. Inside the mousse was subtle in terms of flavour enhancement though there was a minor, mild green tea, leafy bitterness detectable when full attention was given. A pack of four was adequate to cure a small hunger pang though those looking for something more substantial might be left underwhelmed.

Overall these weren't quite the green tea flavour experience we were demanding but the quality of the product in isolation from that criticism was still high. In terms of aesthetic presentation and delivery of a delicious chocolate biscuit snack these ticked all the boxes as most Pocky always do. If it is the Matcha green tea element about these that is really attracting you to them though you are probably better off looking elsewhere to really get your moneys worth for a more full on green tea experience. A situation where we could see these being a good option is if you are after a green tea themed snack as more of a novelty item rather than one that truly focuses on delivery a green tea flavour insight. Remember you can get these Glico Pocky and many more Japanese themed snacks at Jlist.

7.8 out of 10

Friday, 16 January 2015

January 16th: Nesquik Snack Cereal + Milk

Kcal 118 Fat 6.3g Fat(sats) 3.9g Carbs 13.6g (Per bar)

It's not often we ever come across a bar that we've neither seen or heard of but that exact circumstance happened today when one of the team came into the office with these Nesquik Snack Cereal + Milk bars. Looking at the wrapper we've determined they are originally from Germany but for some reason were being sold on a random one-off sale in one of our local supermarkets.

£2.00 of heard earned @Chocmission cash bought a pack containing 9x23.0g bars. On the wrapper they were described as 'wafer with filling with milk power, coated with chocolate glaze, milk chocolate and crunchy cereal'. That was quite the odd billing and our hopes for these failed to rise any higher when we opened them. The wrapper we have to say looked ok, but the bars inside looked very unappealing with evident blooming on the surface.

Some of the team were a little hesitant at eating these due to their appearance however beaing as professional as ever we stuck to our task. Lets start with the good - it wont take long :) Texturally they were ok. The wafer was crispy and cereal pieces added extra crunch. I'm afraid thats all the kind words we have for these. The chocolate was slow paced in melt, waxy and devoid of any real flavour. That combined with the flavourless wafer and crumbly, pointless milk filling elements made for a very uninspiring taste. One was enough for all of us here - we weren't even contemplating going back for more.

Overall more often than not we get to try some very tasty chocolate bars reviewing for this site but I'm afraid this Nesquik Snack Cereal + Milk wasn't one of them. The proposition at hand isn't necessarily a bad one, it's been pulled out successfully by many other brands such as Kit Kat and Cadbury before with ultimate ease. I'm afraid this bar has to go into the category of 'dodgy import'. It's certainly not one we want to see become a mainstay of our UK supermarket shelves and it wont be one we will miss once it's gone.

3.8 out of 10

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

January 14th: Magnum Caramel Chocolates

Kcal 519 Fat 30.8g Fat(sats) 16.9g Carbs 53.3g (per 100.0g)

Way way back in April 2013 we brought you our first reviews of Unilever's new ice cream themed chocolates. Included in the initial line up were solid chocolate version of their popular 'Mini Milk', 'Cornetto' and 'Magnum' ice creams - See HERE. Though we weren't enamoured by all of them, to their credit they've stood the test of time and all remain on the UK market at time of print here. Even more impressively Unilever have even seen fit to release some cool new variants for them, today we got stuck into the NEW Magnum Caramel Chocolates.

These new Caramel chocolates come packaged much the same as the plain chocolate originals - in a 39.0g pack containing 3 separate chocolates.  Up close the wrapper is differentiated through it's golden secondary colours, however the team did conclude it would be hard for the average consumer to notice much a difference between these and the originals.

The bite sized pieces came described simply as 'caramel with vanilla flavoured white chocolate truffle in a milk chocolate coating'. They were suitable for each consuming in one mouthful, though it was nice to see the layer of sticky caramel ooze out when bitten into. We had three separate tastes testers try these and we are pleased to report they got a thumbs up all round. The outer coating of chocolate broke with a nice crack due to it's thickness and whilst it wasn't anything too special in taste it's milky sweet cocoa flavours were a nice lay up to the eventual vanilla, cream and butterscotch flavours. The taste was progressive, multi-dimensional and well balanced - all in all pretty darn good.

Overall the team enjoyed these Magnum Caramel Chocolates and concluded they were a very good shout for anyone looking for a very affordable mini-treat pack of caramel truffles. As we said above the quality of the chocolate isn't that much better than average but it combined with the inner vanilla truffle and caramel it's certainly good enough. Whilst we do love adding caramel to most chocolates one of the team did remark it would be interesting to see Unilever try a Magnum White Chocolate variant. After tasting this successful flavour variation we would certainly welcome it!

8.0 out of 10

Monday, 12 January 2015

January 12th: Mars Xtra Choc

Kcal 228 Fat 8.8g Fat(sats) 4.5g Carbs 34.5g (per bar)

Welcome all to a new year here on @ChocMission. 2015 is going to kick off the only way we know how and that is by bringing you guys the latest new product to hit the UK confectionery market - we really do like to think we provide you with the 'breaking news' for your chocolate reviews :) You will be delighted to learn that the guys at Mars have been to first to the limited edition market here this year and have introduced this all new Mars Xtra Choc bar.

Of course we say 'all new' with our tongues firmly in our cheeks. Fellow chocolate addicts will be well aware that Mars have released an extremely similar bar previously in the form of the Mars Triple Choc (See HERE). That bar was one we first saw back in 2011, it got a good score of 8.7 out of 10 so we ultimately pleased to hear of it's reintroduction in the form of this Mars Xtra Choc bar.

Weighing in at 51.0g it was a gram smaller than it's previous carnation but this was not at all noticeable by it's look, feel or smell. It smelt terrific our the wrapper the darker coloured chocolate nougat looked amazing topped by the chocolatey caramel and thick outer chocolate. Biting into the bar the usual contrast of crisp chocolate, soft nougat and chewy caramel retained it's standard enjoyable contrast in mouth feels. The variety of textures on offer was only surpassed by the most wonderful of tastes, chocolatey to the extreme but laden with notes of malt and buttery toffee - as good as mass produced chocolates bars get to our tastes.

Overall a big thumbs up to Mars to starting the year off with a fantastic new limited edition chocolate. Cynics may point to the fact it is lacking in innovation but to be frank that matters little when the taste is so damn wonderful. As we said above the quality on offer here is superb given that the price point of this chocolate bar will likely never exceed the £0.55 mark. If you are a Mars bar fan you need to ensure you get involved right away. Let us know your thoughts @ChocMission.

9.0 out of 10


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