June 30th: Hotel Chocolat 40% Milk Chocolate

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Again this weeks Hotel Chocolat review comes courtesy of dedicated reader Maxine who included this 40% milk chocolate slab in the box of goodies she so kindly donated to the Chocolate Mission cause.

After last weeks absolute triumph - the 85% dark chocolate bar, to say I was expecting 'good things' from this bar would have been an understatement...it didnt let me down either!

This milk chocolate offering came in much the same form as last weeks dark chocolate variant. The two 60g slabs came beautifully presented in a stylish looking box and inside wrapping...right from the off the beautiful presentation and clean cut shimmering slabs just gave the product the classy look that it deserves - a real cut above the rest in this sense. The on box description described the chocolate as 'made with less sugar and more cocoa for a deep chocolaty taste' - the ingredients list told me the bar contained 40% cocoa solids and 20% milk solids ... though hardly particularly high in either this is higher than you will find in most mass producded milk chocolate.

Again I ate the two slabs at different times - I found one slab to be a nice amount but it wasnt as fufilling as the dark chocolate variant. The slabs had a crisp snap to them when breaking them apart...again I had slight reservations over the slab design...yes it looked nice but it truly was a pain breaking it up into sizeable pieces. The slabs had a nice aroma - alot stronger than most plain milk chocolate bars - it smelt very dairy based with a slight undertone of caramel...very nice indeed.

The on-pack blurb described the bar as having a strong cocoa taste - though the cocoa was more forthcoming than your standard milk chocolate the flavour wasnt quite as deep as I was expecting. The taste was in actual fact very milk based - this combined with the silky smooth texture made for a very flowing moreish flavour that I simply couldnt get enough of. The high levels of cocoa butter ensured the chocolate melted delightfully on the tongue - pure luxury. Every bite of each of the 60g bars seemed like pure indulgence...the flavour wasnt quite as deep and thick textured as the dark variant but it was still very good - superb infact.

Overall this is another great offering from Hotel Chocolat. The chocolate is devilishly creamy and has a texture that is just as silky-smooth as any chocolate out there. It dosent quite have the depth or richness of flavour of the dark 85% bar but this is still chocolate in some of its most divine form. This is definately the best milk chocolate I have tasted and its rating obviously reflects that - simply if you like milk chocolate (and who dosent!?) you need to try this bar.

9.0 out of 10

June 29th: Lily O'Briens Sticky Toffee

Kcal 232 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g (per 47.0g)

Before I go into todays review I just want to quickly acknowledge the mention that this website got in this weekends Guardian newspaper!! Yes indeed ChocolateMission was mentioned in the supplementry 'GUIDE' magazine - now thats recognition for you :D :D anyway enough blowing my own trumpet onto the review :D

The kind people at Lily O'Briens are the latest lovely bunch of people to send some of their range my way and today saw me sampling their 'Sticky Toffee' selection... read on to see how they matched up on the Chocolate Mission rating.

Lily O'Briens describe these as 'sweet smooth caramel encased in milk & dark chocolate'. Looking at the ingredients it looked a pretty clean list..the usual suspects were present..sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass - the milk chocolate contained 30% and dark 55% solids respectively.

The chocolates came in a box of eight which weighed 110g - I ate these in two sittings and found four at a time a perfect amount. My opinion was split on the aesthetic appeal of this product...the packaging I didnt feel looked the greatest - I dont know what it was but to me it just didnt have the classiest of appearances. The box design was ok but the inside plastic bag and gold coloured wrappers just all looked a bit 'Cadbury Roses' to me...by that I mean not really as sophisticated as maybe other crafted chocolates are...they looked more mainstream and less specialised. Out their wrappers the chocolates had a nice dairy creamy aroma with just a little sweet scent that reminded me of honey...the chocolates themselves looked impressive and as you can see in the cross section above had a nice smooth appearance and good use of distinguishable colours for the different elements...the caramel especially had a nice golden appearance.

The chocolate that coated the caramel insides was comprised of both dark and milk chocolate. My method of eating these was biting off the dark chocolate top and eating it, then licking out the caramel centre before munching on the rest of the milk chocolate.

The dark chocolate had a rich taste that I found suprisingly darker and more cocoa rooted than I was expecting. Though strong in flavour it avoided being overly bitter and provided an initial nice deep taste that balanced nicely agaisnt a very sweet centre. The milk chocolate was also equally as good. It reminded me alot of milka chocolate in that it was sweet and milky without the cocoa edge thats more alike Dairy Milk...the taste was smooth and very moreish.

The caramel on pack is described as smooth but to be honest this couldnt have been further from the truth. Its texture was grainy and thick - a bit like a more fluid fudge...this is not a criticism! I believe the texture cotrasted nicely with the smoothness of both the chocolate elements, it gave a nice distinctive feel in the mouth. Flavourwise the caramel centres were very sweet but balanced nicely with a salty aftertaste; the taste was very different to most caramel and was more buttery than sugary...different but equally as tasty as any caramel out there.

Overall these are a pretty decent first offering from Lily O'Briens and I must admit im impressed. In my opinion the packaging dosent quite match the quality of the product and that slightly lets its appearance rating down. Besides that the combination of different chocolate types and unique tasting buttery caramel filling make for a rich but enjoyable experience. Definately a product for fans of caramel to try - a good score and a Chocolate Mission thumbs up.

8.4 out of 10

June 28th: McVities Jaffa Cakes

Kcal 46 Fat 1.0g Fat(sats) 0.5g Carbs 8.6g (per Cake)

I know...I know....this isnt a chocolate bar...but Jaffa Cakes have been one of the most requested product review requests since starting Chocolate Mission...they do fall roughly into the same category as the Kinder Slice and Oreo Cakesters and it would have been rude to turn all the requests down...besides im rather partial to a Jaffa or two :)

For those who are not in the know (im guessing those outside the UK!!) a Jaffa cake consists of a sponge base with a layer of orange jam...the top of these cakes are then covered in plain chocolate..which account for 20% of the total ingredients. I sampled these in a pack of three - I am a bit of a greedy bear but three simply wasnt enough for me...be warned these are incredibly moreish!!

Everyone has their own way of eating Jaffa cakes but my own favourite method was to eat the three different layers in isolation.

Firstly I ate the sponge layer...it had a nice texture that was neither too light or too dense. It had a nice sweet taste with just a slight vanilla note. Left with the jelly like jam covered in chocolate I then went about nibbling away at the chocolate. In truth its flavour was suprisingly good...slightly more cocoa based than expected and despite the thiness of the proportioning actually quite strong in favour. The orange jam was jelly like in texture and had a sweet fruity taste. I wasnt too suprised looking at the ingredients to find that the flavour is actually achieved through the use of orange juice (12%!) it had a nice fresh taste. I guess eating Jaffa cakes is a little like eating Cadbury Creme Eggs...its really a question about how do you eat yours!??? Please Do tell!!!

Overall theres no doubting that Jaffa Cakes really are a great choice if in need of a snack. They combine three great elements that are not only great fun to eat but are also actually quite high quality. Even the plain chocolate used in these although slightly lacking in quantity, is of a fair standard...its taste is really quite rich and distinct. Personally I think there is slight room for improvement with this product...how about fully chocolate coated Jaffa Cakes!? or Jaffa Cakes with far thicker chocolate!? The opportunities are endless. In truth these arent the most filling of snacks you can have and they are quite dangerous in that if bought in a large pack one sneaky Jaffa Cake can quickly turn into ten lol!! Despite this though they taste pretty damn good...as far as im concerned they come with a Chocolate Mission endorsement!

7.3 out of 10

June 28th: Lindt Lindor Orange Truffles

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Strike another off the long list of Lindor flavours - the Orange variant is the focus of todays review.

As with the rest of the Lindor range these came individually foil wrapped...that were get this....orange coloured!!! Big suprise there eh! I was lucky enough today to sample four of these...all of which I ate in one sitting....they didnt seem as substantial as some of the other flavours from the range but four was still a nice amount. Removing the truffles from their wrappers they had a very pungent orange smell...not artifical smelling at all - just very fruity and fresh.

Im not going to claim to be able to tell the difference between 60% or 70% dark chocolate but at a guess i would say the 60% was used for the coating in these truffles. The chocolate had a nice texture and melted smoothly in the mouth with a slight sweet aftertaste, unfortunately though I must say it lacked the real flavour depth and richness that I experienced with the Lindt 70% dark chocolate.

The orange element was implemented in the soft centre of the truffles through the use of orange essence oils. This made for a very strong orange flavour that dominated the flavour of the chocolate...though I enjoyed the taste I must admit the sweetness of the flavour by the fourth truffle was quite overbearing and I would have struggled to eat another. The Lindor centre lived up to its credentials and was just as buttery, smooth and luxurious as normal...for texture there really are no better truffles than the Lindor range...not that I have reviewed yet anyway!

Overall these are a nice alternative in the range and definately boast the strongest flavour of the line I have tasted to date yet. The orange flavour is delievered with a fresh sweet fruity taste though I must say some may find the concentration of it slightly on the strong side...admittedly it does dilute the flavour of the dark chocolate a little. If your a fan of chocolate orange theres probably very little better on the market...maybe not the flavour I would buy in huge quantities but one or two at a time are very pleasant.

8.1 out of 10

June 27th: Cadbury Old Jamaica

Kcal 270 Fat 13.3g Fat(sats) 7.9g Carbs 32.4g

Two alcohol containing bars in a week...arent I just mental ;) Now I must admit when I recieved this bar and saw the words 'Dark Chocolate' and 'Cadbury' sharing the same wrapper I did shudder...the sheer terror of the experience that was the Cadbury Bournville came flooding back...even before opening I was pretty cautious about this bar today.

To my knowledge the 'Old Jamaica' is manufactured and distributed in Australia - it is described as a 'special blend of dark chocolate with rum & raisins'. It is made with 'Old Gold' dark chocolate which contains 45% cocoa solids...slightly more than the 39% of the Bournville but still pretty lacking for a dark chocolate offering. The bar took the look of a standard Cadbury bar...the plentiful 55g was sectioned into eight individual blocks each of which was enscribed with the customary stylish Cadbury logo. The packaging itself looked nice in appearance and its foil sealed freshness made for a very forthcoming rum scent emerging as soon as the bar was opened. The aroma was pleasant and certainly distinctive being very alcohol rooted, the chocolate aspect was not really to forthcoming but the smell was strong enough to entice me.

I remember criticising the raisin ingredient in my previous Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar review but the ingredient was very well implemented here. The bar was crammed full of them and each block contained at least 2-3... they made for a nice chewy fruity flavour and were definately one of the nicest aspects of the bar.

The 'Old Gold' dark chocolate unfortunately shared some of the characteristics of the dreaded Bournville. Though distinctly smoother in texture than the Bournville it had roughly the same shallowness of cocoa flavour and overly sweet aftertaste...it just wasnt inspiring and Ive really come to expect more from dark chocolate. Fortunately the strongest flavour of the bar was infact the rum which was very concentrated in flavour despite only accounting for 1% of the total ingredients. Upon further inspection of the wrapper the flavour seems to be achieved using artificial flavours - despite this the flavour was strong and one that I enjoyed (probably partly due to it masking the horrible taste of the dark chocolate!!)

Overall this bar was a very tricky one to score. Being frank the Chocolate is pretty awful...not quite as bad as Bournville..but pretty close. What ultimatly saves this bar and actually makes it a pretty credible one are the raisin and rum ingredients...not only are they nicely flavoured but they are also a pretty original idea that you dont see implemented all that much in the confectionary market. For this reason I would recommend this bar to anyone who likes the sound of it..its definately worth tracking down if you do want something a little different....just dont expect much from the actual chocolate.

7.7 out of 10

June 26th: M&Ms Wildly Cherry

Kcal 210 Fat 10.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 29.0g

It simply wouldnt be a complete Chocolate Mission week without a Limited Edition popping up somewhere...and this weeks comes courtesy of regular Chocolate Mission contributor Justin who sent me a pack of these 'Wildly Cherry' M&Ms to review.

These came in a 42.5g pack which I ate over the course of a few days (more on why later). Aside from the' Limited Edition' tag, on the front of the pack were the words 'Wildly Cherry' with the words 'artifical flavour' closely following...not really what you want to read in all honesty. The pack itself was pretty nice looking though the M&Ms themselves came in some pretty uninspiring red and brown colours...of course I get the link with them being the colours of cherrys but they just looked dull and lifeless compared to other M&M variants. Unlike other M&M variants I have reviewed recently these actually had a pretty strong aroma...unfortunately it just wasnt a very nice one...just very very sweet and artifically fruity....by no means horrible but just not particularly appertising.

The outside candy coating was by far the thickest of any M&M variant I had tried before. These made for a nice initial texture but of course made for an extremely sweet taste. The centre of the M&Ms were much the same as with original M&Ms...the chocolate was soft and smooth in texture and had a milky but very sweet taste. The cherry flavour was contained in the chocolate and became increasinly evident and forthcoming as the chocolate melted in the mouth; it had an initial pleasant fruity flavour but the artifical nature of the ingredient soon shined through as the concentration of the flavour soon became over-bearing making for an overly sweet taste. The flavour itself was hardly repulsive but it was just way way to strong to handle in any heavy dosage and hence why I could only seem to eat 4-5 of these at a time.

Overall these have to be considered as some of the poorest M&Ms I have tried. I think if these were encorporated in say a mixed bag of different flavours this would be a great flavour to have..unfortunately though when eaten solus the artifical concentration was just too much and I found them overly sweet. I could recommend these on the grounds that if you like things like cherry coke or cherry flavoured gum you could potentially really enjoy this variant...unfortunately I just found these overly sweet and i would generally only eat them in very small portions....not the greatest in the M&Ms line.

6.7 out of 10

Fancy trying these M&Ms Wildly Cherry and other American Candy & Foods? Head over to CandyPirate

June 25th: Baileys Original Irish Cream Truffles

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Some of you may be aware that over the last few days Ive been attending job interviews...suffice to say the pressure and stress that has come with these high pressure situations has led to me hitting the bottle..... :) :) :) well ok not quite...but chocolate liquer truffles seemed a fitting thing to review this evening...with that I bring you todays review - Baileys Original Irish Cream Truffles.

For those of you who are unaware Baileys Irish Cream is an Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur, made in Dublin, Ireland. The trademark is currently owned by Diageo and has a declared alcohol content of 17% alcohol by volume. These truffles were around 14.0g in weight each - I consumed four in one sitting which was more than enough due to their richness. For everyones knowledge I found these in Tesco in small packs of two....£1.50 each so worth noting they are quite pricey!

The truffles came foil wrapped and inside a pretty flimsy but nice looking cardboard box. I was pretty impressed with not only the packaging but also the asthetic look of the product which as you can see above looked pretty tempting....the truffle centre in particular looked particulalry whipped and appertising. Unwrapping each tuffle from their foil packaging each truffle had a slight alochol aroma...the cocoa scent was very subtle and if anything could of done with being more forthcoming.

My main gripe with these truffles came with the chocolate. Now dont get me wrong here the chocolate tasted great...it was a mixture of non-sweetened chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate..dont ask me how this was all mixed but the end result was an incredibly rich but creamy chocolate. What was also pleasant was that some of the whisky was present in the chocolate layer which added a nice edge....so what was wrong you ask?? Well it was the portioning of the chocolate...in some truffles the chocolate coating was very thick...in others it was very thin..the inconsistancy wasnt a major thing but it should really not be something that is overlooked.

The Baileys centre...well what can I say it tasted like Baileys :) creamy with an malty alcoholic whiskey kick....im not a massive fan generally of Baileys but I think it worked here - the creamyness of the centre worked extremely well with the richness of the chocolate in what was a nice development of flavour...the two components just seemed to seamlessly transition from rich cocoa to creamy liqueur..yum. The texture of the centre was also very pleasant..it wasnt quite as light as Lindt Lindor truffles but was equally as smooth...personally I would have preferred it to be a tad lighter...it was quite dense but I can also see how hard it would have been to achieve the same creamy taste.

Overall the sole determinant of whether this product is enoyed by the consumer lies litterally in the quite obvious factor of whether they enjoy Baileys or not...the chocolate though lacking in a consistant proportioning level is of a good quality and has a nice rich cocoa taste. This is no suprise looking at the ingredients which state that it is 35% solids chocolate with cocoa butter used to create a nice smooth texture...its good stuff. The obvious dominant flavour is the Baileys liqueur which I luckily enjoyed...its was as creamy as the drink and added a nice edgy different flavour to the truffle. As I have said above my recommendation on whether you should try this product lies solely in question of whether you enjoy Baileys or not..if you do go right ahead this is a great tasting truffle...for this reason it recieves a pretty high Chocolate Mission rating.

8.2 out of 10

June 24th: Cadbury Snack Shortcake

Kcal 40 Fat 1.9g Carbs 4.5 (Per biscuit - 6 in pack)

Before today I had no clue about even the actual existance of this product..I had never seen it before but came across it passing through Gatwick Airport this morning in a Cadburys branded vending machine...anyway I decided to throw caution to the wind give it a try.

The Cadbrys snack is a 43g bar that comprises of six mini Dairy Milk coated shortcake biscuits. As you can see above they are square in shape and have a slight rippled effect across their surface. In truth I thought they looked particularly boring and I was suprised and their lack of branding.

Opening the pack I could detect the magical Dairy Milk aroma - it wasnt quite as strong as with most Cadburys standard chocolate bars but that was due to the lacking of chocolate quantity which I will go into now.

The picture above shows how thin the chocolate layer is. The chocolate retains its great quality creamy Dairy Milk flavour but unfortunately the proportioning per biscuit is so poor the taste does not last long enough at all and is quickly domintaed by the bicuit.

The biscuit element was fair - it had that mixture of sweet biscuity flavour with the slightest hint of salt that most good shortbread have. Unfortunately the biscuit didn't have quite the crunchyness I was expecting though overall it still provided a satisfying taste.

Overall after tasting these im not particularly suprised that these dont get much media exposure from Cadburys. For my liking the chocolate is way too thin and thats disappointing given the fact that I think this would really benefit from having quite a thick layer of Dairy Milk coating it. The biscuit element being the main focus of the bar was also slightly disappointing - the taste was avergae at best but it suffered mostly from not having the expected crunch in texture. If your a fan of shortcake and Cadburys chocolate I would say give these a go but in honesty these really arent anything special.

6.3 out of 10

June 24th: Cadbury Freddo / Freddo Caramel

Kcal 105 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 3.7g Carbs 11.4g (Freddo Dairy Milk)
Kcal 100 Fat 5.0g Fat(sats) 3.0g Carbs 12.1g (Freddo Dairy Milk Caramel)

Im quite puzzled as to why this has been one of the most frequent requests to be reviewed but the Cadbury Freddo seems to strike quite a chord with a number of Chocolate Mission readers - so heres my review on the original Freddo Dairy Milk and his froggy friend the Freddo Dairy Milk Caramel.Just for a little background geek knowledge the 'Freddo' was first manafactured in the 1930s by MacRobertson's Chocolates (who were later sold to Cadbury in 1967) in Australia and was at first designed into the mould of a mouse. MacRobertson's feared that this wouldnt sell as they believed woman/children were afraid of mice so they quickly changed the shape to a frog....hence the 'Freddo' was born....Wonderful thing Wiki ;) Currently in the UK the Freddo is only readily distributed in the original and caramel varities im reviewing here - though in Australia it is avalible in many more guises including white chocolate , rice crisp, strawberry , peppermint , "Rainbow Crunch" and "Milky Top" (aka. Top Deck ).

The Freddo's both came in 20g serving which is far less than your standard Dairy Milk bar - both came in colourful plastic packets which did appear to be a tad thinner and less protective than the standard Cadbury foil wrapping. The Freddo's had a nice Milky smell though it was no where near as fragrant as the Cadbury bars that come in the foil packages. The scent was slightly musty and I think they wernt the freshest of chocolates. The pattern work on the Freddos themselves I guess was quite swish and detailed for the size of the product...'Freddo' was etched nicely and cleanly onto a smooth surface...the damn frog was pulling a rather stupid face though...which made biting his head off all the more enjoyable haha :)

Lets not beat around the bush - both these products tasted awesome...why wouldnt they!?...they are Dairy Milk and Cadbury caramel. Ive described the taste of the Cadbury Dairy Milk too many times on Chocolate Mission already but heck why not one more time...a luxuriously smooth cocoa flavour with a deliciously creamy taste..just delicious in every which way. The caramel element was also implemented nicely in the Freddo 'Caramel' adding a slightly more intresting chewy texture and devilishly sweet aftertaste - gorgeous.

Unfortunately Ive got a few gripes with our friend Freddo - for one his size isnt substantial enough to cure even the smallest stomach rumble...I wasnt satisfied after eating both of these at the same time...I guess some of this goes down to how good they both tasted but the majority was that I was hungry and these just didnt do a job in this respect. Another slight problem was with the texture of the 'Freddo'...the chocolate was thinner in places than others which made for a bit of an inconsistant bite and texture - if it retained the same thickness throughout the product this wouldnt be a problem.

Overall the Freddo's a nice premise...its a child targeted product, its got a fun look and theres no doubt they both taste great. The Chocolate and caramel both being Dairy Milk standard are obviously great tasting so 'Freddo' cannot be faltered in this respect. Unfortunately due to the margin constraints placed on the bar the packagaing dosent allow for the freshest products and its size is just pittiful... it simply dosent even qualify as worthy of a 'snack' in my eyes...any which way your still gonna hungry. It was a hard product to rate though I think that on the scale of things the scores of 6.7 and 6.9 are justified on the grounds stated...I would recommend these to any Dairy Milk fans...though bear in mind this recommendation also comes with the advice to buy a few...which begs the question why not just buy a standard bar of Dairy Milk / Dairy Milk with Caramel ....shhhh! A product for when you want the lightest of snacks!

6.7 out of 10
6.9 out of 10

June 23rd: Milky Way Midnight Dark

Kcal 230 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 36.0g

I think it must be one of the greatet wonders of the world....one that no philosopher has quite managed to pin down....no not 'what came first the chicken or the egg!!'...but simply why is there a difference in the branding of the Milky Way and the Mars bar in the US and UK!? Why!? Someone answer me that!!

Excuse my mini rant! Todays review is the Milky Way Midnight Magic....to my UK readers thats the 'Dark Mars Bar' to you!

The bar came in a pretty standard 49.9g serving...it wasnt the most filling bar ever due to the lightness of the nougat but I was neither left really wanting more. On the wrapper were the words 'Rich, Dark Chocolate', 'Golden Caramel' and 'Vanilla Nougat' ...the packaging was nice in design though it was the look of bar itself that I particularly liked...the colours of the dark chocolate, white nougat and golden caramel (which you can see in the cross section above!) looked pretty appertising - this coupled with a fairly nice dark cocoa aroma made for a pretty enticing proposition.

The outside coating of dark chocolate was suprisingly thick, much more so than in any Mars/Milky Way bar I had consumed before. Its flavour wasnt too bad - it was certiainly richer and more bitter than the standard milk chocolate but it lacked the depth of flavour compared to the higher end dark chocolate brands. Its texture was also slightly disappointing...it didnt quite melt in the mouth the same way as other Mars chocolate does...it melted extremely slowly and into a grainy feeling constituants.

Much like in similar bars the nougat and caramel layers added a nice contrast in textures. The nougat was quite light and not overly chewy whilst the caramel was smooth and had just about the right dexterity. As you can see in the cross section above the caramel was pretty plentiful in proportion - it had a nice buttery flavour and wasnt overly sweet. Unfortunately I found the nougat to be slightly lacking in flavour...on pack it was described as vanilla flavoured but I could detect nothing more than a slight sweet taste...it hardly ruined the taste of the bar but it did mean that flavourwise it was pretty dull and unexciting.

Overall this isnt a bad variation of a great original but it was one that did seem to pass me by a bit. The main selling point of the bar is the variation of the chocolate - with the use of Dark chocolate instead of milk...personally I just dont think it worked that well here. The dark chocolate lacked the flavour and texture credentials of other higher quality dark chocolate...thats not to say it was bad though...it just wasnt great. The type of nougat also did the bar no favours...sure it made the bar pretty to look at but in truth it was devoid of flavour. I would recommend this to Mars/Milky Way fans if only to try out a different variation...I cant promise you wont be pining for the original bars though.

7.7 out of 10

June 22nd: Hotel Chocolat 85% Dark Chocolate

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Until now Hotel Chocolat had been one of those specialist brands I had simply never tried. Recommended by all…but simply a brand I had never gone out my way to purchase...all I can say now is thank god to Chocolate Mission reader Maxine who most recently went to the trouble of ordering me some herself...this wasn’t just good...this was damn good!!

Today I ventured into my first taste of the Hotel Chocolat world sampling their 85% Dark chocolate which came in the form of two 62.5g slabs. Despite only intending to eat one today (which is plenty!!) as you may later come to understand it was no surprise that by time of writing both are now gone.

Hotel Chocolat seem to be a company that pride themselves on presentation this was ever so evident with the sheer stylishness of both wrapping and bar. Both slabs were not only contained in an elegant looking cardboard covering but also sealed in another softer packaging...im not quite sure what this packaging material was but once opened an absolutely gorgeous cocoa smell was released...you could literally taste the richness of the bar before even placing it in the mouth...it smelt amazing. The bars themselves also had a certain chic-ness...bold in stature in that they were thick slabs but also sleek in presentation with a nice looking Hotel Chocolat logo inscribed. My only slight gripe was that this slab style made it nigh on impossible to split into even chunks...admittedly this wasn't the biggest of deals and its presentation overall was very good.

The pack described the bar as 'healthy cocoa solids with the tiniest amount of sugar whilst retaining a surprising mellowness and superb mouth melt'. Im not going to disagree with that!!…the texture was super smooth...I mean Lindt Lindor truffle centre smooth...YES THAT SMOOTH!! As with every chocolate I taste I let each piece melt slowly on my tongue allowing the flavour to develop. The bar had an initial dark cocoa flavour which as it melted developed to having a slight vanilla note...it had a long sweet aftertaste which was surprising due to its high solids content. I would say its flavour was smoother than the Lindt 70% I tried a few weeks back...and despite its higher cocoa content it actually tasted a tad sweeter. There are no other words to describe it other than smooth, rich, luxurious and just delicious.

Overall this is bar is just simply oozing quality in every which way. It’s presented amazingly, smells massively enticing and tastes just simply gorgeous. I simply couldn’t get enough of the super smooth texture and sensual taste...I just cant recommend this enough. Ladies and gentlemen it looks like we have a new leader of Chocolate Mission.

9.5 out of 10

June 21st: Hannah's Jazzles White

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

I must have of the grandest and expensive collection of chocolate bars at the momment...all sitting in a delightful box all waiting their turn to be reviewed...so why on earth did I pick up a packet of these today you ask....one word - nostalgia!! These were my second to none favourite pick-a-mix item when I was young - I used to eat them by the truck load but before tonight I hadn't had them for years..how did they stand against the ultimate test of time??...read on and found out.

These 'Jazzles' (they are 'Jazzies' to me dammit!!) came in a brightly coloured 45g serving - there no was on pack nutritional information though which was slightly annoying - the packaging was however kind enough to list the ingredients. Upon closer inspection these of course turned out not to be chocolate at all but infact 'white chocolate flavour candy with non pareil topping' .... right whatever that means. Closer inspection of the ingredients list confirmed that this product neither contained cocoa or milk solids...so what did it include!? well it had sugar (of course), vegetable fat and a list of E-numbers as long as your arm...not a pretty state of affairs.

Out of pack these looked slightly duller in appearance as I remembered them though they still looked interesting and colourful. Opening the packet a nice aroma eminated...a very vanilla rooted smell quickly filled the air and was actually quite appertising.

The added inclusion of the topping on the 'Jazzles' made for a nice crunchy texture when bitten into. The topping was very sweet in flavour as you can imagine with it being 99% sugar.

The texture of the 'white chocolate flavour candy' was pretty grainy and once melted in the mouth held together in a lumpy clump. - not nice at all. Its flavour was milky with a slight vanilla note but it was devilishly sweet...it was just too much for me...after a few mouthfuls I could only describe the flavour as sugary...I didnt finish the pack :(

Overall it was a pretty desperate far fetched hope that these would be a good as I remembered - in truth they were pretty horrible. Sure the appearance and presentation of these could be worse but the taste was purely sugar based and monotomous - just overly sweet for even my immature taste buds. Sure the 'Jazzles' have that magic nostalgia factor but somethings are best kept in the past; if you fancy a trip down memory lane then please by all means go ahead....just dont be suprised if you turn back halway down that lane though.

5.7 out of 10

June 20th: Cadbury Tempo (SA)

Kcal 276 Fat 16.3g Fat(sats) 13.3g Carbs 32.2g

The guys (& girls) at Sweetstall yet again came up trumps for me and provided me with a sample of the South African Cadbury 'Tempo' bar.

The bar came in a very substantial and large 53g serving and the on pack information told me it inhibited 'a double chocolate hit with biscuit and caramel'. It came in a very nice foil package which not only looked impressive but ensured for a fresh looking and smelling bar. As you can see in the cross section above it came in a whole bar form with no sectioning or easily seperable blocks...this was its only real design flaw.

The bar was constituated by a large array of different layers. Surrounding the bar was a thick layer of milk chocolate...it wasnt quite Dairy Milk and was more cocoa based than the milkyness of Dairy Milk....personally as a slight tweak I would have preferred the use of Dairy Milk, but this was still good and had a nice smooth texture.

At the centre of the bar was another layer of chocolate which though wasnt quite light enough to be described as a 'truffle centre' was slightly more moist in texture than solid milk chocolate...it also had the added element of the shortcake pieces. The chocolate flavour was again slightly more concentrated in cocoa than normal Dairy Milk though the sugary sweetness of the shortcake pieces meant its flavour was just as sweet. The combination of the smoothness of the chocolate and crunchy biscuit made for a nice mixture of textures. The biscuit pieces avoided being a bland soggy ingredient as seen with other biscuit including bars (ahem Terrys 3D!) and had a nice crispy malty taste.

Ontop of this lay a thick layer of caramel. It wasnt like most caramel layers though and had a solid texture...much like the caramel surrounding Cadbury Eclairs!! This meant for a distinctly chewy yet enjoyable taste and made a nice difference from the usual soft liquid caramel. Its flavour was just as good as the standard Cadbury Caramel and was sweet, rich and just ever so tasty. Its solid texture meant that it was fun nibbling around it and then slowly sucking on it savouring the flavour.

Overall this is by far and away the best bar I have had from South Africa. Every element adds something to the overall texture and flavour and each plays a vital role at the heart of what is a great bar. The chocolate coating and inner layer both vary in texture and though debatable whether they would benefit from being Cadbury Dairy Milk they are both still great tasting. The biscuit element is also nicely done, crunchy and and full of flavour...yum. The real winner of this bar has to be the caramel layer...not only is it divine in taste but its more solid than usual viscosity made it the real stand out aspect of this bar. Unfortunately us Brits have recently had the Cadbury Dairy Milk with Biscuit brought out of dstribution...if you were a fan of that and missing it your simply going to love this bar....this product comes with a whole hearted Chocolate Mission seal of approval..outstanding and worthy of its high Chocolate Mission rating.

8.7 out of 10

Fancy trying the Cadbury Tempo or other South African bars? Head over to Sweetstall.com

June 19th: M&Ms Mint Crisp

Kcal 380 Fat 17.0g Fat(sats) 10.0g Carbs 52.0g

Dedicated reader Justin was kind enough to include a pack of these limted edition M&Ms in his package to me last month and after a few days of nibbling away at them i feel in a position to write a review. You may recall that I reviewed the Snickers Adventure bar last month...well these 'Mint Crisp' M&Ms were also part of the recent Indiana Jones movie tie in.

These limited edition M&Ms incorporated the same premise as the 'M&Ms Crispy' with a few minor differences...these retained the crispy puffed rice centres but were covered with a layer of semisweet chocolate with a mint flavour.

These came in a 76.5g bag which I ate over two periods as a snack...they did a good job in that respect. The packaging was similar in format to the standard M&M flavours...an unsuprising predominantly green coloured plastic wrapper...it looked nice but as ever with the cheap quality plastic wrapper they failed to capture anything in the way of an overly appertising aroma- a slight hint of mint but as ever with M&Ms nothing to convincing or appealing. The M&Ms themselves took a different guise to the original variants and as you can see above were presented in three chalky green colours - personally this didnt fuss me to much but I do prefer the variety of different colours with the standard varities.

I ate these two or three at a time sometimes letting them slowly melt on my tongue though other times crunching them straight away - I found both methods equally as pleasurable. Letting them slowly melt accentuated the smooth texture of the outside shells and chocolate elements whilst biting into them directly obviously gave a nice crunchy feeling of the crisp rice. The contrasting methods of eating allowed for an interesting and diverse array of textures which I definately enjoyed.

As with all M&Ms the outer candy shells provided a sweet sugary initial taste. The ever so slightly more rich deeper cocoa flavour of the semi sweet chocolate worked favourably agaisnt quite a strong peppermint taste...I think the original milk chocolate implemented in most M&Ms would not have gone down as well here, the slightly more concentrated cocoa of the semisweet chocolate paid dividends. The combination of the chocolate and mint was balanced nicely and gave a creamy yet refreshing minty taste. The crispy rice added a minor malty flavour though it was obvious that its inclusion was purely to give the product a superior texture.

Overall I enjoyed these M&Ms and would definately recommend these to any mint chocolate fans. The flavours of the mint and chocolate are balanced nicely with neither being too strong or weak compared to the other...its just about right. The puffed rice and smooth chocolate layers make for a nice blend of different textures and make for an incredibly moreish perfect snacking option. Unfortunately as with all the M&Ms scores this products Chocolate Mission rating is slightly hindered due to the poorness of the aroma...a shame really but its something Mars need to adress with their packaging. Sometimes limited edition flavours can seem to be a little random and lacking thought but these Mint Crisp M&Ms are definately worth a try if you like the sound of them...the Indiana Jones wave has been and gone so grab a bag of these while you still can.

7.8 out 10

June 18th: Cocoa Deli Rocky Road Clusters

Kcal 236 Fat 11.1g Fat(sats) 6.5g Carbs 31.0g

I couldnt say that before today I had even heard of 'Cocoa Deli' let alone tried any of their products - well I can tell you that they manafacture their goods in the UK and as far as I can tell sell their products as far away as Australia. Today I sampled a pack of 'Rocky Road Clusters'...which on pack are described as '3 clusters of soft marshamallows, moist raisins & caramelised hazelnut pieces smothered in smooth Belgian milk chocolate'.

The pack was split nicely into 3 'clusters' which combined weighed in at a plentiful 45g - the combination of heavy fruit and nuts made for a pretty substantial product. The product came in a nicely presented plastic wrapped package with an inside cardboard sleeve for extra protection. The packaging certainly did its job in that respect but the lack of foil packaging made the clusters have an unspectacular musky cocoa scent. The clusters in appearance looked a tad disinteresting in their whole state, though once split open the different marshmallow and nut colours gave them an interesting look.

As ever I slightly chilled this product before eating it..this made for the milk chocolate having a nice fresh crispness to it...it was thick in its proportion and had a nice milky smooth taste; it also had an initial smoothness once melting in the mouth..overall I would say the milk chocolate was a pretty good standard.

The combination of the different elements gave this product a nice mix of textures...the raisins were plentiful (over 20% of the overall bar content) and were second only behind the milk chocolate in flavour strength. They had a strong sweet fruit taste and gave a nice chewiness to the bite. The hazelnuts were pretty much the opposite...only consistng of 2% of the bar, adding very little in flavour or texture...very poor in comparison. The marshmallow element was also slightly lacking in content at only 7%...were it was evident though the marshmallow added a nice sugary taste and soft texture.

Overall this is a pretty unique product and though not the easiest to find in the shops, its a nice option to have if your looking for something slightly different. Its nice to find a bar that contains raisins in that actually have a nice fruity fresh taste and which provide more than just a bland chewiness. The Belgian milk chocolate was also of a pretty good standard - it had a nice smooth texture and creamy taste...the bar slightly faltered in that the hazelnut and marshmallow elements wernt the strongest and were little more than just filler...in truth if both were implemented properly this could be an outstanding product. I would recommend this product to anyone who fancies something slightly different from the norm...theres not many products like this one out there so why not give it a go.

7.5 out of 10