Monday, 28 July 2014

July 28th: Beech's Fine Chocolates Luxury Stem Ginger

Kcal 451 Fat 20.1g Fat(sats) 12.0g Carbs 61.7g (per 100.0g)

It's been a while since we last got our lips around a dark chocolate with ginger combination so it was with great delight we received some boxes of Beech's Fine Chocolates Luxury Stem Ginger from our pals over @BeechsChocolate earlier this week. If you have seen previous reviews we've done on other brand's ginger and dark chocolate offerings you will be well aware that we are big fans of the combination - especially when it is done well - See HERE. The promise of 'rich dark chocolates with stem ginger centres' has us literally chomping at the bit at anticipation of trying these - do you think they lived up to expectations?

Given the team love for dark chocolate and ginger it was lucky for us we were sent a few of these 100.0g boxes; thankfully any potential arguments on who got to review these were avoided. The nicely decorated boxes were beautifully designed with red backgrounds and golden font pattern work making for a cool, sophisticated look and feel. The inner truffles were contained within a dark plastic tray and smelt absolutely stunning. Spicy scents of ginger and strong cocoa were evident from the outset and created a real impression before they were even out removed from their container.

As you can see from our lovely cross-section above the dark chocolate coatings were thick and generously portioned. This meant the melt of the chocolate was lengthy and allowed full development of the unsweetened cocoa flavours before the overriding taste of ginger came into full effect upon revelation of the centres. To all of our delight the softer yielding inner ginger fillings were balanced wonderfully with everyone agreeing they were neither too powerful or too tepid. The ginger flavours were spicy, yet sweet and came across extremely real tasting and non-artificial. Each and everyone in the 4 person strong taste team gave these the thumbs up. Three truffles at a time was a more than satisfying amount for anyone so these lasted longer than a standard box of truffles did in our office.

Overall the @ChocMission team found yet another dark chocolate and ginger combination that they all enjoyed. Combining their very tasty 55% cocoa dark chocolate with some high quality stem ginger was never going to result in any bad press from us. These truffles proved to be both tasty and satisfying and will likely remain at the forefront of the team's mind if they ever feel like indulging in this combination again in the near future. Out of respect for us reviewing their products, Beech's are offering all @ChocMission readers 10% off their online store. Just use the code BFC24061410 to redeem your discount at the checkout page. Be sure to leave us any feedback on Twitter should you have any - @ChocMission.

8.6 out of 10

Friday, 25 July 2014

July 25th: Galler Profond Dark Chocolate 85%

Kcal 559 Fat 50.1g Carbs 16.3g

Pop quiz time - answers on Postcards please!! Which chocolate won the prestigous award for 'Product of the Year 2011' here on ChocolateMission? ..... SPOILER ALERT - it was infact the Galler Heritage Lait Pleine Saveur, a truly outstanding milk chocolate bar that we can't recommend enough. Unfortunately since 2011 we have struggled to get hold of many Galler products due to Galler ending all of their UK operations in this country - booo! You might be surprised to learn however that Galler chocolates have started to be stocked by Sainsbury's supermarket - we felt we needed reaquainting with the brand this week :-)

After a few years of absence from ChocolateMission we were delighted to find this new 80.0g Galler Chocolatier Collection on sale. The range currently consists of three flavours, the first of which we tried today was this Galler Profond Dark Chocolate 85% offering. The chocolate came boxed in a beautifully elegant cardboard sleeve and foil wrap combination. The on-pack blurb was a little cringe-worthy 'Once upon a time there was a delicious tablet with a mind of its own, it broke only where it wanted. Chocolate with an attitude. Only for chocolate lovers.' ... but it didn't deter from the fact it looks a classy chocolate offering.

This thin tablet format wasn't one we had previously experienced with Galler before. Their bars have traditionally been far chunkier, heftier offerings so it was nice to see the new range incorporate a more manageable size and size. Breaking the pieces apart the dark coloured chocolate broke with a real snap which indicated this was a fresh chocolate. The scents and on-pack ingredients list suggested a very rich cocoa experience was at hand and you won't be surprised to hear that this 85% cocoa offering wasn't lacking in the flavour department. The thin nature of the blocks meant that the initiation of the melt was instantaneous and this immediatedly brought upon the first wave of earthy cocoa flavours. An underlying crisp milk base line avoided any sense of bitterness although there was a real noticeable surge of roasted coffee like flavours at the mid-development of the silky liquidation. As the melt proceeded into it's latter stages a minor touch of brown sugar rounded off the finish nicely, leaving a longing, satisfying note of cocoa in the mouth for a good duration after.

Overall this was a welcome reminder of the classy chocolate that Galler can produce. First impressions created by the aesthetic qualities of the product were that this was going to be a higher-end chocolate experience and the subsequent chocolate certainly didn't let it down. We hope people aren't going to be put off by the 85% billing as the chocolate was never one that had any sense of bitterness or over richness about it. It isn't a sweet chocolate at all and likely wont convert any milk chocolate fans to the 'darkside'. For dark chocolate fans however it is by all means a big winner and well worth checking out if you get the opportunity. Welcome back Galler - never leave us again :-)

8.7 out of 10

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

July 23rd: Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcakes

Kcal 62 Fat 3.2g Fat(sats) 1.8g Carbs 7.7g (per 14.0g bite)

We aren't going to lie to you folks - we needed no encouragement from you guys when it came to us reviewing these Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcakes. Indeed we were more than happy picking up a few packs of these new treats from a our local Tesco where they just so happened to be on a rather handy £1.00 introductory deal. If you've read our review of the Thorntons Caramel Shortcake Bites (See HERE) you will understand just why we were so keen. Thorntons are notorious for getting high scores for their cakes here on @ChocMission - how do you think these Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcakes faired?

The bites came in a pack of 10 that weighed 140.0g. Having just reviewed the also new Thorntons Caramel Cake Bites just a few weeks ago (See HERE) the team were a little disappointed at the lack of differentiation in the packaging. Comparing both side by side they looked tremendously similar - one suspects that a shopper in a hurry could easily mistake either for one another. That small issue aside the cake bites themselves looked very appetising and smelt even better - chocolate scents galore!

Combining chocolate shortcake, chocolate caramel and chocolate covered tops these bites were never expected to be anything but magnificent. Luckily for them they managed to meet expectations and got a big thumbs up all round from the @ChocMission team. The textural differences between the crumbly biscuit, chewy soft caramel and crisp chocolate coatings was glorious and felt wonderful to the bite. As suspected each bite provided a tremendously rich chocolate flavour hit with additional notes of salt from the biscuit and toffee from the caramel layers compounding the creamy sweet chocolate base flavours. Each bite was moreish yet satisfying - two paired with a coffee made for a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Overall who would've guessed - these were another big win for the Thorntons team. As you would have probably foretold these were a very similar proposition to the uber good Caramel Shortcake Bites - just with a little more focus on the chocolate flavours and a more subtle caramel taste. If you have managed to try these new Thorntons cakes we would love to hear from you - which one of them was your favourite? Have they displaced some of the older variants as your new favourite? We wholeheartedly recommend these, especially when the outgoing is so inexpensive.

9.0 out of 10

Monday, 21 July 2014

July 21st: Hotel Chocolat Summer Cooler

Kcal 187 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 19.0g (per 3 truffles)

Normally here @ChocMission when we review a product that multiple people in the team get to try we do generally come to some form of consensus. The product you see today however from Hotel Chocolat split the taste team of four totally down the middle - you could say they were the chocolate truffle equivalent of Marmite (Yum says Jim!). The truffles causing all the debate were these Hotel Chocolat Summer Cooler chocolates. Described as 'apple and cucumber ganache encased in a white chocolate shell with mint leaves' we should have foretold these had the potential for splitting opinions.

We were lucky enough to be sent a few packs of these in their Hotel Chocolat Selector Pack form. These were 75.0g trays containing 6 truffles - each sized similar to three £2 coins stacked on another. As we always say about these Selector Packs the presentation wasn't anything outstanding with the simple cellophane packet and sleeve combination. The truffles themselves however at least looked unique with the cream coloured speckled surfaces emanating scents of vanilla and mint.

We learnt after consuming our first pack that these were at the best once refrigerated and consumed alongside a cool drink *ahem Pimms!!!*. Enjoying them at a cooler temperature than normal meant they lasted a very long time in the mouth with their melting duration extended. This was advantageous because of the fact they had so many different flavours to offer. The white chocolate was rich with a lovely sweet, milky vanilla taste that was laden with epic amount of creamnyess. The soft inner ganache was where the part was at though with elements and hints of peppermint, fruity apple and cool cucumber all identifiable and forthcoming. As we said above some of the team this was all a little too much and ill fitting with the chocolate, however just as many of us enjoyed them and lauded them for their unique and diverse taste.

Overall there is only one way to score a product that splits the @ChocMission team and thats by awarding a score that sits us firmly on the fence :) As far as chocolates go as a summer themed chocolate these really work and provide the consumer with a chocolate truffle offering a refreshing and light flavour journey. It can't be lost however that this wasn't to the total liking of the team so recommending these as a 'must try' is something we simply can't do. If you fancy the proposition these are worth giving a try! It's not like you have much to lose with these smaller Selector Packs.

7.7 out of 10

Friday, 18 July 2014

July 18th: Dorset Cereals Chocolate Granola

Kcal 456 Fat 21.9g Fat(sats) 4.1g Carbs 53.9g (per 100.0g)

You know we love these little side quests we go on here @ChocMission - not only are we attempting to find the best chocolate in the world, we are also trying to find the best chocolate cereal ... we do work hard huh ;) Helping us on on our quest to do just this our friends @DorsetCereals offered us the chance to try one of their 'Glorious Granolas' - Dorset Cereals Chocolate Granola 'oats decadently baked with chocolate and macadamia nuts'.

Dorset Cereals were kind enough to send us a few of their 550.0g boxes so we shared them out amongst the team and all changed up our usual morning routines. For some of the team this simply involved eating this granola with milk - others ate it with yogurt whilst some just ate it dry out the packet. However it was consumed the team all remarked on the delicious smells they were greeted with every time they opened the plastic packet seal.

As you can see from our photo above the granola clusters were very large in sized with big chunks of oat flakes, barley flakes and sunflower seeds nicely fused together with a generous chocolate coating. Dispersed generously throughout these cereal pieces there were big whole nuts - buttery macadamias and sweet and savoury almonds made for a deliciously nutty chocolatey taste. Those who ate the granola wet remarked it made for the nicest chocolate milk ever! Forget your Coco Pops chocolate milk - this was a different class altogether.

Overall this Dorset Cereals Chocolate Granola got thumbs up all round from the whole team. What ever it was consumed with it got high praise - whether milk, yogurt or just on it's own it hit the mark with everyone. When we asked the team whether they would be swapping it for their usual breakfast options most remarked they wouldn't as they thought it was so special they would rather save it for special 'treat' occasions. On reflection this probably makes sense - as far as chocolate granolas go it's one of the best we've had! It's definitely worth a try if you a luxury chocolate breakfast cereal option.

8.5 out of 10

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

July 16th: Meridian Peanut & Almond Bars

Peanut Bar - Kcal 185 Fat 8.9g Fat(sats) 1.6g Carbs 15.9g (per 40.0g bar)
Almond Bar - Kcal 202 Fat 12.2g Fat(sats) 1.2g Carbs 14.1g (per 40.0g bar)

Here @ChocMission we are always on the look out for innovative and new snacking products that we think our readers would like to hear about. As big fans of peanut butter we constantly keep an eye on one of our favourite brands Meridian. These guys are a company 'based in the rolling welsh hills in Denbighshire, they've been making nut and seed butters for over 30 years'! We think they make some of the most scrummy nut butters (check out their almond butter if you are a fan!!) - it's an added bonus that all of their products contain no palm oil and are made with 'the finest, simplest ingredients so that you can enjoy nature’s energy' - marvellous :)

To our great delight @MeridianFoods dropped us a friendly line on Twitter and asked us if we wanted to review these new Peanut & Almond bars they've recently released. Needing no second invitation we gladly obliged so this week we've been munch our way through many a 40.0g bar.

Presentation wise the packaging is really impressive with the matted texture foil wrappers ensuring both aesthetic appeal and freshness. The bars themselves didn't look the most exciting things ever but they smelt amazing with fresh almond and peanut scents immediately apparent from their first unsealing.

So which of these two did we like better? Well unfortunately we are going to have to sit on the fence with this one. Out of the four taste testers two preferred the peanut variety and the other two the Almond. To be frank both were totally delicious. The peanut bar offered more of a stronger roasted salty nut flavour set whilst the Almond variant was more buttery with slightly more emphasis on the bran and rice cereal. Both the 40.0g bars felt like really sufficient snacks and did a great curbing the hunger pangs the team had.

Overall whether consuming as a breakfast option or snack these new Meridian Peanut & Almond bars are certainly worth checking out if you are fans of nutty snacks. With both packing over 7.0g of protein each they are suitable for consumers looking for snacks that offer something slightly different to your usual cereal or chocolate bars. These are definitely worth taking a look at and come with a both thumbs up @ChocMission recommendation.

8.2 out of 10 (both bars!)  

Monday, 14 July 2014

July 14th: Hotel Chocolat Summer Selector Chocolates

We've been reviewing summer themed chocolates for a few months already and it was with great delight that we today got to try another two of Hotel Chocolat's newest truffle flavours. Both of these chocolates were included in the amazing Hotel Chocolat Summer Fusions collection that we reviewed on the site just a few weeks ago.

The team enjoyed them so much they requested we get some of separate Selector Packs - these are the 75.0g, six piece truffle trays you can buy in their stores (and online of course!). Here were our thoughts on these exciting flavours:

Hotel Chocolat Peanut & Bananas
Kcal 201 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 16.0g (per 3 truffles)

'Salted peanut praline with a smooth banana ganache topped with a caramel cap' - boy did these go down well! No sooner had the packet been opened and the sweet, chocolatey fruity scents enjoyed the tray was empty of all six pieces. The team absolutely loved these. The combination of the sweet, viscous milk chocolate, salt noted peanuts and toffee banana made for a chocolate packing a real banoffee like taste experience. Highly regarded and very much recommended to chocolate banana fans.

8.5 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Choc Fudge Sundae 
Kcal 216 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 15.0g (per 3 truffles)

'Sticky toffee and fudge sauce, intense praline and a sprinkle of crunchy cereal'. This proposition again sounded fantastic and the reality of the chocolates didn't let us down. The layered effect of the praline, toffee sauce and crisp outer chocolate shell presented a real contrast of textures that was commented on by all. The fudge flavours weren't perhaps as pronounced as the nutty praline of creamy chocolate but nonetheless these still got full round acclaim.

8.2 out of 10

Have you been trying out any of Hotel Chocolat's summer chocolates? Let us know what you made of them @ChocMission.

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