Tuesday, 23 December 2008

December 23rd: Quality Street

Kcal 456 Fat 19.6g Fat(sats) 11.9g Carbs 66.2g (per 100.0g)
Kcal 157 Fat 6.9g Fat(sats) 3.7g Carbs 22.2g (per 4 sweets)

Quality Street are a huge Christmas time favourite here in the UK, and I expect that a lot of you have been tucking into some form of box/tin from their range this month already. My Christmas reviews simply wouldn't be complete without a review of the Quality Street selection, so being the dedicated and kind guy I am, I picked up a 480.g carton and shared it with a few friends.

I thought the decoration of the outer packaging was good. I thought it avoided being overly complicated with simply just the branding displayed on the traditional purple coloured background. The communication of the colour coding of the wrappers was well displayed on-pack; the wrappers themselves also did a good job keeping the products fresh, with all the chocolates contained within a foil layer.

The range boasted a huge twelve different variants:  

Vanilla Fudge - Pink Wrapper - This variant had a really sweet vanilla essence smell. The chocolate melted at a nice rate to reveal quite a soft fudge centre. The taste was buttery and sweet, and left a lasting vanilla flavour in the mouth. One of my favourites. Very Good

Orange Chocolate Crunch - Orange Octagonal Wrapper - I liked the shape of this piece, it fitted nicely in the mouth. The melt of the chocolate was very fast, though I really enjoyed the crispy crystallised pieces at the centre. The orange was a bit artificial tasting, but it still had a relative zesty appeal. Standard.   

Coconut Eclair - Dark Blue Wrapper - Sweet dairy based smell. Very subdued in its coconut flavours, the chocolate seemed lost in the grand scheme of what was a very bland taste. The texture lacked the crunchy appeal of Bounty, and was actually just rather grainy. This one definitely wasn't a favourite. Poor

The Green Triangle - Green Triangle Wrapper - This delivered much the same experience as the bigger Green Triangle piece I reviewed a month or so ago. The hazelnut flavours were reasonably well delivered in the slightly softer centre. The nut flavours could have done with being a bit stronger, as the sweetness of the chocolate dominated the taste. Standard.  

Caramel Swirl - Gold Dome - This was a really nice fit in the mouth. The chocolate quickly melted to a point where the piece imploded releasing the inner caramel. The caramel was very well portioned and made for an exceedingly sweet taste. This piece didn't last all that long in the mouth, but it delivered a short, sharp burst of buttery, sweet flavours. Good.

Milk Chocolate Block - Green Rectangle Wrapper - This had a very dairy based aroma. The block was a good size but melted alarmingly fast. The taste was predominantly milky, though I could also detect a small note of hazelnut. This was a very sweet, sugar based milk chocolate that really didn't taste of a high quality. Poor

Orange Creme - Orange Block Wrapper - This was a plain chocolate variant that contained an orange fondant centre. The chocolate failed to substantiate any flavour base before the incredibly sweet fondant centre took centre stage. The orange flavouring again tasted very artificial but it at least had a refreshing edge. Standard.   

Toffee Deluxe - Brown Block Wrapper - The chocolate was extremely fast melting and revealed the hard toffee centre very quickly. In comparison to other variants from the mix it was a bit more methodical in its flavours. The buttery sweet taste grew in intensity as the toffee softened, this was one of very few to leave a lasting impression in the mouth. Very Good.

Toffee Penny - Yellow Circular Wrapper - This was the only piece not to contain any form of chocolate. The buttery, sweet flavours of the toffee were even more pronounced than in the variants that also contained chocolate. This is one of the most iconic pieces from the selection, and definitely one of my favourites. Very Good.

Strawberry Delight - Red Circular Wrapper - Although I am actually allergic to Strawberries (the seeds anyway), I risked one of these on the basis I thought they wouldn't contain any real strawberry. Like the Orange Creme, this variant had an outer plain chocolate that failed to generate any sort of flavour base against the terribly sweet, artificial tasting fondant centre. This one was so sweet it gave me that terrible burning sensation at the back of my throat. Awful.

The Purple One - Purple Wrapper - Despite the chocolate being implemented slightly thicker here, it still melted very fast exposing the soft, chewy caramel. The caramel established a pleasant sweet, buttery taste though the flavours soon fizzled out as soon as the caramel left the mouth. At the heart of the piece there was a whole hazelnut. Unfortunately it lacked both the desired crunch and strong nutty taste. Standard.   

Toffee Finger - Gold Finger - This piece followed much the same premise as the Toffee Deluxe, though was a bit more awkward in its shape and had a thinner chocolate layer. The toffee flavours were still delicious, but to be honest it seemed a little silly having this and the Toffee Deluxe - just one of them would have sufficed. Standard.   

Overall, although this was a selection that offered a huge variety of choice, it failed to deliver what its name suggested it had in abundance - quality. The milk chocolate was simply of a poor standard - more often than not it was overly sweet, and failed to establish an enjoyable flavour base for the inner fillings. The fillings really varied in quality - by and large the toffee variants were pleasant, though I thought the strawberry and coconut fillings were pretty terrible to put it mildly. There is no doubting the sheer variety you get with Quality Street, though I personally think the brand is starting to show its age. There is no doubting their nostalgia quality, but I think there are better selection boxes out there now - you need only look as far as the Cadbury Roses, Cadbury Heroes or Celebrations

7.3 out of 10

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