July 31st: Ritter Sport White Whole Hazelnuts

Kcal 210 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 18.0g (per 38.0g)

I really am motoring my way through the Ritter Sport variants at the momment - and im going to tell you this now...this 'White Whole Hazelnut' bar is gonna take some beating for the title of best in the range.

This bar contained 'White Chocolate with whole hazelnuts and crispy rice' and came in a standard Ritter 100g bar. The packaging had a nice distinct look to it with the focal point of the design being a picture of the lumpy hazelnut pieces poking out of the white chocolate...this was at least at little more imaginative and distinctive than the standard colour coding of the rest of the range. The bar itself also looked even more impressive than previous Ritter bars...each block still had the same fine logo design work, though the golden hazelnut pieces further added colour to the bar. Splitting the bar into its sections it had a nice dairy milky smell...yum this bar was certainly shaping up nicely.

Generally I find white chocolate takes longer to melt in the mouth, as the texure tends to normally have a waxier feel...this was not the case here as the chocolate melted delightfully in to a smooth like paste. Each block once melted left a delightful array of nuts and rice crispy pieces, all of which added a nice crunch to the experience. The variation of textures was delightful and made each bite that more interesting.

The different ingredients not only added a lovely contrast of textures but also flavours. The white chocolate was among the best standard I have tasted...yep as good as the Thorntons white chocolate! It was delicately balanced with a milky sweet base flavour that had just the right amount of vanilla to make for a long but deep taste...great stuff. Anyone who follows Chocolate Mission will know that I appreciate a good wholenut, and the hazelnuts implemented in this bar were of a great standard. Their crunchy bitey texture was backed up by a delightful fresh toasted flavour that complimented the soft flavour of the chocolate just superbly. Truth be told the rice element added very little to the flavour - I could at times detect a small hint of malt though largely it was dominated by the milky nut flavours...not at all suprising considering the small portioning of the ingredient...3% compared to 23% hazelnuts!

Overall this bar is my favourite of the Ritter Sport range so far and as I have said, its seriosuly going to take some beating. The flavours and texture are balanced near perfectly - the white chocolate is sweet, smooth milky and the hazelnuts and rice add an extra depth of crunchyness and flavour. This is just an incredibly moreish bar which I must admit I ate all in one sitting...its possibly not the most fulfling bar ever but its still a very satisfying one. For fans of white chocolate this is a must try...its simply delicious and comes with a Chocolate Mission recommendation. Clear some more space in the 'top rated bars' table - this is slotting straight in there!

8.9 out of 10

July 30th: Kshocolat 72% Dark Chocolate

Kcal 508 Fat 38.7g Fat(sats) 24.2g Carb 31.6g

Kshocolate are a relatively new company to the chocolate market having launched in only 2003. Despite their relative infancy their products are avalible in retail stores across the UK, US, Asia, Australasia and throughout Europe - the chocolate itself is actually produced in Glasgow, Scotland. Up until last week I must admit to being rather oblivious to their existance...that was until Kshocolat sent me five bars from their range for me to sample! Today I tried their 72% Dark chocolate bar.

The bar came in a 80g serving which I easily consumed over two sittings. I must admit it wasn't the richest of bars and the 40g servings were not the usual intense fufilling dark chocolate experiences that some other bars have provided. The outer packaging wasn't the most striking - if anything I thought the choice of colours was rather dull...they just didnt really articulate that this was a 'premiuim' bar of chocolate. The dullness of the outer packaging was all but blown away by the beauty of the bar itself. As you will see by the product shot above the bar had superbly engraved cocoa pod pictures carved into the surface...it looked an very impressive bar of chocolate. The bar also had a very appealing smell...it was wrapped tightly in silver foil which made for a very fresh smelling alluring cocoa to exude when unwrapped.

As you can probably guess by the fat content, this bar was crammed full of cocoa butter...37% of the totoal bar to be exact. It made for a wonderfully smooth taste and a chocolate that melted ever so effortlessly on the tongue....this was not a chocolate that required to be chewed - it just simply liquified into a silky smooth pleasant texture.

With this silky smooth texture came a suprisingly soft tasting chocolate. I was expecting an extremely rich cocoa flavour with the 72% solids level, but I found the taste rather reserved and its intensity was not quite the level I was expecting. The flavour of the bar was a pleasant cocoa one...not too bitter but at the same time not too sweet...just a very smooth long tasting cocoa flavour. Due to its slightly reserved nature the bar was not quite the rich dark experience of the Lindt Excellence 70% Dark or the Hotel Chocolat 85%, despite the flavour being a pleasant one I did find it slightly one dimensional...it didn't develop over the course of its time in my mouth and had no other elements to its taste. As I said though the cocoa flavour was pleasant enough and this was a good standard dark chocolate.

Overall this was a nice enough dark chocolate offering, though it didn't quite reach the levels of the finer dark chocolate equivalents from Lindt or Hotel Chocolat. It had a great smooth texture, with a real melt in the mouth luxurious nature to it, and the taste despite not being the most multifaceted was still on the whole enjoyable. This bar could simply just do with having another slight flavour lick to it...if only a very subtle note of vanilla or some sort of nut, it would just make the overall taste that little bit more interesting. If your after a non-offensive, subtle strengthed dark chocolate this would be a good bar for you to check out. If your more looking for a full on dark chocolate with a seriously rich intensive flavour though its probably best you overlook this bar and go for either of the suggested Lindt or Hotel Chocolat alternatives.

7.9 out of 10

July 29th: Skittles Chocolate Mix

Kcal 230 Fat 2.5g Fat(sats) 2.5g Carbs 51.0g

Now I know these aren't strictly chocolate, but what with the inclusion of a whole 2% cocoa solids and reader demand I simply had to get on the case of CandyPirate to send me some of these...as ever the nice guys at CandyPirate duly obliged and sent me a 53g bag for me to sample.

The Skittles Chocolate Mix is formed of an assortment of five different flavours: S'mores, brownie batter, chocolate pudding, chocolate caramel and lastly a rather oddly placed vanilla flavour...I wont even start on why its included in a supposed chocolate mix!!??

The 53g serving provided a nicely sized serving - I definately felt like I had my fill and I was somewhat satisfied with the portion. The packaging of the bag was nice though productwise the flavours could have been slightly more distinguishable in colour...the s'mores and vanilla were at times hard to tell apart, though this was more of a problem with the chocolate caramel and chocolate pudding flavours. Unfortunately these shared the common problem that M&Ms have in the aroma department...they smelt very non descript - not like any chocolate I have had anyway, to be honest they just frankly had an odd sweet smell.

This chocolate mixture had the same sort of texture you get with all Skittles - a pleasant sugary crispy outer shell with a soft chewy centre that released the flavours when chewed. Nothing overly new or out of place here...just simply what you would expect from Skittles.

Just to try out a different way to write up my reviews on taste, below I have simply written my tasting notes that I wrote whilst sampling each of the flavours. I tried eating all the flavours in many different ways: individually, two or more at a time and even mixing the flavours....here is what I noted down for each:

Chocolate Caramel - Nice immersive initial caramel flavour which progressivelly got less palpable the more I chewed on each piece. When eaten more than one at a time the caramel flavour was suprisingly less distinctive.

Vanilla - Very sweet artificial vanilla essence concentrate like taste...extremely sweet and taste quickly became sickly...unfortunately most generously portioned in the packet.

Brownie Batter - Nice doughy cake type flavour hit, Most distinctive in flavour and my favourite of the lot. Strongest aftertaste out of the selection.

Chocolate Pudding - Hardly any hint of cocoa flavour with a taste that can only really be described as sweet tasting. Very non distinctive , bland and entirely forgettable if not for the sickly taste.

S'mores - Very sweet marshmallow like flavour - one of the most distinct of the selection. Slight honey flavoured tinge to the aftertaste...my second favourite.

Overall as you can see from my notes above the flavour range was not all that great. The only memorable aspects of the vanilla and chocolate pudding pieces were really their complete lack of flavour and their fast developing sickly sweet tastes. The chocolate caramels despite having a nice initial caramel flavour soon developed to only further add to the overall monotomous sweet nature of the aforementioned flavours. The only real winners in this mixture were for me the s'mores and more to the point brownie batter flavour....they at least tasted as described with the brownie batter variant especially providing a distinct long lasting taste that actually delivered on what its description detailed. I wouldn't massivelly recommend these to anyone based on their chocolate credentials, but for fans of Skittles these could at least be worth checking out. I can safely say these do not represent chocolate in its greatest glory - probably best avoided if you have little interest in them.

6.8 out of 10

CandyPirate has all types of American Candy & Food - check out the website for products like thse Skittles Chocolate Mix and many more

July 28th: Hotel Chocolat Milk Rocky Road

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

Ever since I have started reviewing Hotel Chocolat products, time and time again readers were suggesting that I try this 'Milk Rocky Road' slab. Luckily for me one was included with the all new 'Peepster Box' selection that Hotel Chocolat sent me through last week.

The 'Milk Rocky Road' is formed of a base slab of standard 40% house milk chocolate with the inclusion of chocolate chip cookie pieces, puffed rice and white chocolate chunks. This slab was nigh on impossible to split up without bits of chocolate, rice and cookie flying all over the place...but even I will admit it looked awesome! Just look at the picture above! It looked stunningly crafted and the extra ingredients looked extremely generously portioned and interesting! The slab had a less distinct smell than other Hotel Chocolat offerings I have reviewed in the past. The normal chocolatey milky smell took a back seat to a more reserved malty biscuity one...still pleasant, but not quite as enticing or forthcoming as others have been.

What with all the different elements in the bar each mouthful made for an exciting eating experience, as there was some pleasure in the sheer anticipation of awaiting the flavours that would emerge with each bite. As with the plain 40% house slab the milk chocolate was divine...a very long creamy cocoa taste just lit up my tastebuds...it was as luxurious as before and when melted had a silky soft but thick feel in the mouth.

The first added ingredient I came across were the rice crispies, and to be frank they were nothing special. They were rather large in their build and took up alot of space in the chocolate...their texture added a nice crunch though flavourwise they added very little as the milk chocolate soon overpowered their weak malty flavour. The white chocolate pieces were fairly generously portioned in my slab and I enjoyed them immensely. The white chocolate chunks were of the house white, formed of 29% cocoa and 20% milk solids...it tasted very sweet and alot milkier than the milk chocolate which provided a nice distinctive contrast of flavours. In the middle of the bar was a very sizeable 'chocolate chip cookie' piece. When I ate this slab I ate all around this piece...saving it for a 'grand finale' so to speak....unfortunately this finale was somewhat lacking flavour. Suprisingly when I ate the cookie piece the actual taste was very lacking...it was very bland and only offered a minor cookie dough like tinge when it was completely eaten out of isolation from the milk chocolate base...which was fiddly to do nonetheless. Its texture had a nice cookie crumblyness though this hardly made up for its lack of flavour.

Overall this bar all but proves that sometimes its just better to stick to what you do best....and for Hotel Chocolat its seems to be plain chocolate! The milk and white chocolate components were both divine and tasted great. This slab is really let down by the rice and cookie pieces. The rice just seemed like filler and really added nothing to the overall flavour....to me it just felt like they took up space in the slab and I would have preffered them left out altogether. The biggest letdown of the bar has to be the cookie piece which really lacked the biscuity taste I was hoping it would add...it was very disappointing. To be honest I think if your looking to hang a bit of chocolate up on the wall - there aren't many prettier offerings on the market - this slab looks a work of art. Unfortunately though despite still having a very pleasant base milk chocolate, the added ingredients are a bit of a let down and for this reason I would suggest probably looking elsewhere in the Hotel Chocolat range. An interesting variant... just not necessarilly the best one though.

7.8 out of 10

July 27th: Hershey's Milk Duds

Kcal 170 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 28.0g (per 13 pieces 39.0g)

What with the cinema season being in full swing at the minute (Dark Knight & Wall-E are both must sees!!) when CandyPirate told me they were sending these across I couldn't help but appreciate their appropriateness, as from what I hear these milk chocolate coated caramels are quite the popular US cinema snack. Speaking of US candy and the cinema, Jeanna over at Wisconsin Candy has been doing some great combined reviews of films and candy...most notbably this review on the Reese's Whoppers - check it out if you have a minute.

I recieved these Milk Duds in a 114g pack which I ate over two sittings - neither of which left me feeling that satisfied. The chocolates came in a yellow cardboard box as you can see above - that packaging aside the Duds litterally sat in the box rattling around loosely. Personally I think an extra inner layer of packaging would have helped keep freshness and maybe have helped the issue of some of them sticking together. The Duds themselves were about the size of a £1 coin though many were odd shaped and misfigured - they also had a not so great looking dusty surface coating. After opening the box I couldn't detect a very evident smell...a very minor sweet smell lingered but was hardly forthcoming.

At first I ate these singly though it wasn't long before I was shovelling several in my mouth at a time. Im not going to beat around the bush...the milk chocolate coating was awfully poor. Texturewise it was much like its appearance suggested lumpy and grainy - it just felt gritty on my tongue. It wasn't very impactful flavourwise either - it tasted very mundane offering little more than a gritty milk flavour...it really lacked a chocolatey edge. The caramel centres fortunately offered a little more than the poor chocolate coating. The texture of the caramels started as being quite firm and resistant to the bite - though once in the mouth and left on the tongue, softened to have more of a chewy feel. Caramels are very easily made overly sweet though thankfully these didn't have this particular problem. Again like the product in general they were not the most compelling tastewise; they did have a nice buttery flavour that was alogether great tasting, however it just wasn't potent or strong enough to really provide any satisfaction. What this culminated in was a situation that often occurs when I eat Malteasers and that was finding myself eating several at a time in order to achieve a flavour hit of some worth.

Overall its easy to see why these are such a popular cinema snack..they fit the bill 100%. To me the epitome of cinema food is that its bassically grazing food - snacks with very little taste that you can simply sit down and munch through for a good hour and a half. Though they fit the situation in this sense they do not fit the bill as a great tasting option. The milk chocolate had a poor grainy texture and offered a very minor milky taste. The caramel centres had a nice buttery sweet taste though just wern't impactful on the tastebuds. I wouldn't go as far as recommending these but if your visiting the cinema soon and are bored of your Maltesers and Revels these could be worth you seeking out to at least sample.

5.9 out of 10

Visit CandyPirate for all your American Candy & Foods - including Hersheys Milk Duds

July 27th: Mars Bounty

Kcal 268 Fat 13.6g Carbs 36.4g

Well heres a bit of information for you...'when Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces he was found with a pack of hot dogs, a 7-Up and a refridgerator full of Bounty bars'...don't say you don't learn anything new from Chocolate Mission each day now folks ;)

The Bounty bar encorporates 'moist tender coconut covered in thick milk chocolate' and came in a 57g serving of which was split up into two 28.5g bars. I liked the look of the Bounty wrapper - very colourful and fresh looking - it really stands out on the pretty dull looking confectionary fixture in most shops. The bars themselves were very similarly shaped to Mars and Snickers - just long fingered bars with a rippled pattern on top. When broken into the white fluffed centre of the Bounty looked very eccentric and appetising. The bar had a nice aroma - very milky smelling with just an inkling of coconut...it was a good indication of things to come.

The chocolate coating was pretty standard Mars milk chocolate. It tasted very sweet and milky - no not the greatest tasting but pleasant nonetheless. Texturewise it was pretty smooth and melted nicely on the tongue - As you can see in the picture the top of the bar had a thicker layer of milk chocolate which provided a nice initial cracking sensation when bitten into.

Im going to admit this now but im not the biggest fan of coconut....BUT and this is a big BUT....I genuinely really enjoyed the centre of the bar. It had a very unique texture and felt cool on the tongue. Despite looking fluffy in appearance, the centre provided a nice crunch which worked well agaisnt the smooth chocolate. The coconut had a very fresh taste...very milky with a nice nuttyness which made for a lovely long buttery combination of flavours...very nice indeed.

Overall its not suprising that the Bounty bar really has the coconut end of the market sewn up - it uses the ingredient to its full potential in what really is a great tasting bar. As I said im not the biggest fan of coconut, but the nutty milky taste and the cool, crunchy texture made for a delicious enjoyable filling. This in tandem with a decent enough milk chocolate and nice looking appearance made for a truly satisfying substantial product. If your a fan of coconut I strongly suggest you try this bar out! Fans of the Cadbury Cherry Ripe will feel right at home here.

8.3 out of 10

July 26th: Ritter Sport Cappuccino

Kcal 571 Fat 39.0g Carbs 49.0 (per 100g)

Today I took my second dip into the Ritter Sport range sampling the Cappuccino variant. The onpack description informed me the bar was comprised of 'milk chocolate with a cappuccino cream' which accounted for a formidable 45% of the total bar. The ingredients in the bar read pretty cleanly with a 30% cocoa and 19% milk solids mixture - the bar also contained 2% coffee and a rather ambiguous 9% cream powder...now thats one I havent heard of before.

As with the whole of the Ritter range this came in a 100g squared bar, which provided two pretty satisfying servings. The bar came in its impressive customary plastic packaging and sectioned, enscribed blocked appearance. Splitting the bar into its sections a truffle like centre made its presence known, oozing slightly from each block - it wasn't quite as distinclty coloured as the packaging suggested but it was distinguishable nonetheless. The bar smelt absolutely glorious - it evoked memories of freshly brewed chocolate topped lattes from back in the day when I was a younger Starbucks addict (nowadays its just a tall black for me!!)

As is the norm with most the bars I review I chilled this one which slightly hardened the soft centre. The milk chocolate that coated the centre tasted lovely, it had a smooth rich creamy taste...one that I would very much aliken to Milka Alpine Milk with its milkyness...the only difference I would really say there is between the two is that the Ritter milk chocolate didn't have the nutty aftertaste element to it's taste. The milk chocolate melted at a pleasant rate slowly revealing the flavour of the softer cappuccino cream centre - which in texture became softer and softer as it warmed on the tongue...it was very truffle like. The centre was very creamy and smooth tasting, it's flavour wasn't too intense in its coffee flavouring. Though fully detectable it was more of a chocolatey flavoured centre with a hint of coffee flavouring. I can see why the coffee intensity may have been held back just a tad to make it a frendlier taste, though personally I would have loved for it to be a bit stronger. Despite not being quite as strong as I would have quite wished its flavour was still extremely pleasant and very moreish...it tasted just so extremely smooth and velvety which made it very pleasurable to eat.

Overall another resounding success from the Ritter range and very worthy of its high score. This is an all round great bar...its presented brilliantly, smells appealing, has great milk chocolate and a delicious filling ; all this makes for a truly satisfying bar of chocolate. The only slight area I think it could be improved for me personally would be the coffee flavour to be slightly stronger...though its fully understandable this wouldn't be to the majority of peoples tastes so its not really a fault that can be to heavily placed on the part of Ritter. If you love Coffee and chocolate combinations this is up there with the Lindt Lindor Coffee Truffles and Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered espresso beans which I both also rate very highly - thumbs up from Chocolate Mission and highly recommended!

8.4 out of 10

July 26th: Galaxy

Kcal 250 Fat 14.9 Carbs 25.5g

Its puzzling why it takes me so long to get round to reviewing bars like this one - the most simplistic of chocolate bars on the market...the milk chocolate Galaxy bar.

I bought this in a 49g serving bar which split up into 6 sizeable chunks as shown above. As the packaging informed me these chunks were formed in a 'new shape for a smoother taste'.....hmmm right im not too sure how a different shape would alter the taste. That aside the bar looked impressive and the blocks were aesthetically pleasing on the eye.

Taking this from the fridge I unwrapped the foil wrapper and broke the chunks of the bar into a bowl. At this point I gave the bar a good smell assessment and was somewhat disappointed. The bar emanated a very slight cocoa smell - which had the slightest hint of vanilla. It was not as strong as I was expecting and to me this was slightly disappointing as I was expecting a far more imposing aroma.

As I have said the wrapper promised a smoother taste with the new shape of the bar. Unfortunately im not experienced enough with Galaxy chocolate to make a direct comparison between the old and new shapes' texture...what I can confirm though is the sheer luxurious nature of the current. Each block melted on the tongue at optimal speed..not to fast..not to slow and delivered a delightfully smooth silky feel. Bliss.

Tastewise this bar can be described as pure indulgence....it tastes wonderfully rich with a flavour that is heavily cream based. The cocoa level in this bar is slightly higher than the Cadbury Dairy Milk at 25% though it is really the milkier creamy taste of the bar that really makes it so divine and makes for an incredibly moreish chocolate bar...its a shame it was only 49g as I could have eaten far more.

Overall this isn't the most exciting bar in the world...it just a plain milk chocolate bar with no 'raz-ma-taz' attached...but this doesn't mean it isn't fantastic for what it is. It's texture is luxuriously smooth and it tastes so amazingly creamy...I just cant fault it. The only real areas this bar is held back is in its aroma and its hunger fulfilment potential...from a bar with such other high qualities I expected a better smelling - more fulfilling bar. I urge you to treat yourself to a Galaxy you wont be disappointed - just make sure its a bar larger than 49g!

8.7 out of 10

July 25th: Hotel Chocolat 50% Milk Chocolate

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

All good things come to an end and unfortunately this was the last slab that came in the 'Peepster Box' that reader Maxine so kindly sent my way. This 50% milk chocolate slab promised 'ultra creamy milk chocolate with loads of cocoa for an extra chocolatey boost' containing 50% cocoa and 20% milk solids....its always refreshing to see cocoa solids topping the ingredients list and not the usual sugar. Like the other plain flavoured slabs this variant came in two 62.5g slabs which as ever provided me with two plentiful and fulfiling single servings.

Despite spending a longer time sitting around in the Peepster Box the product still felt just as fresh as the other slabs I had started reviewing weeks ago. Im not gonna back down on my initial feelings towards the slab presentation style....it looks great oh yes....buts its practability I still believe to be poor. As I said the slab still had the same freshness as the ones I reviewed weeks before...the same shimmering flawless surface, the same crisp cracking sound as I split it up and the same distinctness of aroma when released from its plastic wrapper. This bar in particular had a strong chocolatey scent that was ever so faintly sweet and floral...very forthcoming and very tempting.

The taste of this chocolate was unsuprising in that it was exactly how it was described on pack. It had stronger taste than the 40% house that I rated so highly...its flavour was less creamy and edgier with its cocoa sharpness...I was expecting this to make the bar richer but the lack of creamyness meant that the texture was less viscous and despite the flavour being stronger than the 40% the taste didn't last as long in the mouth. The stronger tasting chocolate still melted in the mouth at a delightful butter like rate....just so silky and divine. The bar didnt quite have the longevity of aftertaste of the 85% or the 40% though its flavour on the tongue more than held its own.

Overall another great tasting option from Hotel Chocolat - not the best offering no but I believe it definately serves a purpose in the range in that it could be a great bar for someone looking to bridge the step change between milk and dark chocolate. Its cocoa flavour is noticeably more intense than in the 40% bar but isn't quite the harshness of the 85% bar that some may find just all to much if unfamiliar with stronger chocolate. Personally I like my chocolate either milky or dark...so In honesty I wouldn't go rushing back to this bar all that soon...thats not to say this isn't another luxurious variant...it is! I fully recommend this bar for those looking for an adventure outside their comfy milk chocolate zone but are scared to go for a fully fledged dark chocolate option...in my book theres no better bar to introduce your tastebuds to stronger tasting chocolate...not that I know of yet anyway ;) So I have come to the end of my 'Peepster Box'....lucky the postman delivered another different selection this morning :D with even more exciting flavours from the Hotel Chocolat range - coming soon to a Chocolate Mission near you :D

8.4 out of 10

July 24th: Lindt Swiss Classic Milk Hazelnut Chocolate

Kcal 558 Fat 37.0g Fat(sats) 17.2g Carbs 48.0g

The Swiss Classic range was part of the Lindt portfolio I had not touched upon until today. This particular line of 'Classic' bars fall under the Lindt & Sprungli branding - the difference this has from the original Lindt brand I do not know. The blurb on the back told me that this combination had been 'master chocolatiers since 1845!!' that sure is a long time.

Today I decided to sample the milk chocolate with roasted hazelnuts 125g bar. The ingredients list on the back looked pretty clean - 31% cocoa and 14% milk solids...a slightly odd combination but the cocoa content for a milk chocolate bar is nothing to turn the nose up at. The bar constituted of 17% hazelnuts though one look at the bar and you would have thought the level would be far higher - they were very visible throughout.

The wrapper of the bar looked stylish - it had a premiuim look that set itself apart from your standard packaging....nice solid gold writing with a pleasant looking picture. The bar came foil wrapped which released a wonderfully fragrant milky aroma when split...the smell also had a slight nutty undertone which wasn't suprising due to generosity at which the hazelnuts were portioned....17%!?...I dont think so! As I have described the bar smelt great but looked even better! Despite each block having an abundance of chopped nuts crammed in, the bar retained a stylish unblemished look with the Lindt logo faultlessly encribed on each. Aswell as its classy look it also split up effortlessly and conveniently despite the heavy presence of the nuts.

Taking the first block and letting it melt on my tongue I was initially met with a very familiar smooth milky cocoa intensive flavour - one very similar to the one I experienced with the Lindt Excellence Milk Extra Creamy. Texturewise it was also very similar...it melted on the tongue within a few seconds leaving the hazelnut remnants. Despite the soft enjoyable texture of the chocolate I unfortunately did not enjoy the texture of the nuts. Though shown as wholenuts on the packaging they were infact chopped in the actual bar which meant they gave a gritty and bitty texture that lacked the nice crunch of wholenuts. Thankfully the nut pieces were still relatively fresh tasting and had an enjoyable roasted woody flavour - very distinct and forthcoming in flavour. The combination of the cocoa intensive chocolate and distinct flavours of the nuts made for quite a rich bar that I consumed over three sittings...after each serving I felt very content.

Overall this is another classy bar from Lindt - its not quite perfect but altogether its still very enjoyable. The milk chocolate had a lovely rich cocoa rooted milky taste with a near perfect melt in the mouth texture. The hazelnuts had a fresh distinct flavour though were at slight detriment to the bar due to their chopped nature...they roughened the smooth texture without adding a nicy crunch element, it was also very annoying find bits of hazelnut in my teeth for hours after...this was the bars only true fault. If your into your milk chocolate and nut combinations this is a great option...very worthwhile checking out and is one I would recommend.

8.4 out of 10

July 23rd: Lily O'Briens Sticky Toffee / Honeycomb Crisp

Sticky Toffee Kcal 500 Fat 25.0g Fat(sats) 12.5g Carbs 65.7g (per 100g)
Honey Crisp Kcal 508 Fat 27.5g Fat(sats) 17.5g Carbs 62.5g (per 100g)

You may recall that I recieved a nice sample pack from Lily O'Briens a few weeks ago. Included in this pack were two flavoured bars from their range....the Sticky Toffee and the Honeycomb Crisp. Both bars were formulated using Lily O'Briens milk chocolate (30% cocoa and 20% milk solids) and their respective flavours. The Sticky Toffee bar centre was exactly the same as the Sticky Toffee chocolates I reviewed a few weeks ago with a soft centred caramel like filling. The Honeycomb Crisp had honeycomb pieces and crispy cereal dispersed throughout the milk chocolate.

Much like the original milk chocolate bars I was really rather unimpressed with the aesthetic look of the bars...they just looked so basic..merely blocked and sectioned bars...they looked like cheap supermarket chocolate when taken out of the fairly blandly designed looking packaging. When the blocks were split the Sticky Toffee did look a bit more appetizing with the toffee oozing out slightly...the Honeycomb Crisp was also slightly more interesting looking when sectioned with the crispies providing some textured detail...still though both were pretty uninspiring and plain looking. Both bars smelt remarkably similar - the aroma of the chocolate was the dominating scent I got from both...a soft milky smell with a strong undertone of honey...at least they smelt better than they looked!

The milk chocolate in both bars was idential in taste and texture. It had a nice milky flavour that had a smooth texture that melted at a nice rate of the tongue. As I previously stated in the original milk chocolate bar reviews the taste was still pretty one dimensional and didnt develop alot.. if at all during its duration in my mouth - luckily this wasnt so much of an issue with the additional flavourings in the bars which added secondary layers to the taste experiences.

Simply put the Sticky Toffee flavour was not quite aswell delivered in bar format than it was in the single chocolate format. The ratio of chocolate to toffee filling was far more weighted on the chocolate ingredient which meant that the flavour of the filling wasnt as impactful. It still had a pleasant sweet taste but the slightly grainy texture and salty aftertaste elements I got from the individual chocolates were absent here. Solely due to the dominance of the milk chocolate these aspects just didnt come through in the taste or texture.

The Honeycomb Crisp bar was quite simiar to the Sticky Toffee in that its added flavour was diluted somewhat by the milk chocolate. The honeycomb pieces and crispy rice added a nice differentiated aspect to the texture - obviously adding an extra crispy and crunchy element. Unfortunately the flavors of both were just simply not strong enough to make a real impact on the taste and apart from a slight added sweet honey note to the aftertaste both their presences were hard to seperate from the milk chocolate.

Overall these are two relatively fair flavour variants from Lily O'Briens though neither are really that spectacularly strong tasting. If I was to pick a 'Sticky Toffee' flavoured product from the Lily O'Briens range I would definately choose the individual chocolates...the filling is simply portioned more thus making for a greater toffee flavour hit. The Honeycomb Crisp added a nice texture to the milk chocolate but flavourwise could be far more impactful - its simply overpowered by the milk chocolate. If your interested in the Lily O'Briens range these are the more exciting option to the standard milk chocolate bars so I would recommend them in that sense. Both are pleasant twists on the original milk chocolate offering...but just beware the flavours here are subtle.

Lily O'Briens Sticky Toffee 7.6 out of 10
Lily O'Briens Honeycomb Crisp 7.9 out of 10

July 22nd: Charleston Chew 'Chocolatey' (US)

Kcal 230 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 4.5g Carbs 43.0g

Last week CandyPirate were yet again kind enough to send me another bar to sample - this time another of one of the US's best selling candy bars the 'Charleston Chew Chocolatey'....'Chocolatey' why not chocolate? Well folks further research has revealed that Tootsie Roll Ind have had to name this variant 'Chocolatey' and not chocolate due to the coating being formulated using vegetable fats and not cocoa butter!....oh....oh indeed! Though I sampled the original sized variant, the Charleston Chew has recently become avalible in a 'mini' format which Cybele at Candy Blog has cast her eye across...well worth checking out her review as she battles her 'mockolate' fears.

The wrapper described this as 'chewy flavoured nougat with a deliciously chocolatey flavoured coating'. the wrapper itself was very similarly styled to that of the Tootsie Roll I reviewed last week. Classic and retro in look but still with the TLC touch of an inside cardboard sleeve to protect the bar. The bar itself look pretty plain in appearance...it simply looked like a longer, thinner less detailed Milky Way...not particularly imposing or unique to be honest. This bar came in a huge sinlge serving finger shape that weighed in at a mighty 53.2g - it was not only the size of the bar that made it so fufiling but its nature, the extra chewy texture made it a pretty satisfying and substantial eating experience.

Taking the bar from the sleeve and cutting it into sizeable chunks the bar emanated a subtle vanilla essence like aroma. The chocolatey coating did not seem to have a distinct smell, though the vanilla scent was pleasant enough.

On the wrapper the bar suggested to 'Try me frozen'....so I did. As I said above I sectioned the bar into several bitesized pieces and then let it sit in my freezer for a good few hours. Obviously placing the first piece in my mouth the chocolatey coating took a while to meet its melting point. It must be said the coating really lacked a definitive flavour and was little more than I can describe as sweet tasting with the slightest...and I mean slightest cocoa undercurrant. Its texture was pleasant enough despite the lack of cocoa butter - once at melting point in my mouth it smoothly melted away to reveal the nougat centre.

The nougat/taffy like centre was where this product really came into its own...it tasted delicious and whats more was great fun to eat. As you can imagine when in its frozen state the centre had a hard texture though once warmed in the mouth was enjoyably sticky and chewy. It was tougher than standard nougat but not jaw destroying at the same time. By far and away the best way to eat it was to warm the nougat on the tongue, then slightly chew it to release the flavour and then suck on the remnants till all but melted away. In flavour it was very similar to that of the nougat in a UK Milky Way...deliciously creamy and milky with the slightest essence of vanilla - awesome stuff and incredibly enjoyable.

Overall this is another prouct from the US that like the Tootsie Roll has both brilliant and poor attributes. Lets not beat around the bush...the chocolatey coating is poor! It offered very little in taste and though despite not having an unenjoyable texture, there's just no doubt that it could just be delivered so much better with the implementation of actual higher quality real chocolate! The nougat centre is delightfully tasty, its flavoured sweetly but not overly so and its texture has just the right about of resistance to provide a long but enjoyable creamy vanilla tasting experience. Im going to recommend this product as its something thats slightly different from your average candy bar (especially for us in the UK!)...theres no doubting that with a slight tweaking of the ingredients and delivery of the chocolate this could really be a bar to behold - certainly a bar worth checking out if you like your nougat.

7.4 out of 10

Want to try out the Charleston Chew Chocolatey for yourself? Head to CandyPirate to find American Candy & Foods all directly in the UK!

July 22nd: After Eight Bitesize

Kcal 259 Fat 16.4g Fat(sats) 10.7g Carbs 40.5g (per tube)

What ever happened to the Mint Munchies?? Well I can tell you …they got rebranded as the After Eight Bitesize in 2006 that’s what. To be honest I think it made perfect sense considering the only way that they resembled Munchies in any way were through their appearance! Apart from that they are completely different – a mint soft centre fondant that is coated in plain semi sweet chocolate…vastly different to the caramel and biscuit original milk chocolate Munchies i reviewed about a week ago.

These came in a pack of 61g which contained twelve bite sized cubes. I personally don’t think there is a person alive that could possibly eat these all in one sitting…personally I preferred to just have the occasional one every so often and it took me over two weeks to eat a whole pack.

The packaging was nice in appearance and the gold foil wrapper made for a nice looking protective covering. The chocolates had a slight cocoa scent with a hint of fresh mint…not the strongest or most appetising but ok nonetheless.

As I have said I personally think it would be nearly impossible to eat all 12 in one sitting....they were so devilishly sweet. The fondant centres tasted almost completely of sugar...not suprising due to the pack being over 66% pure sugar!! Cazy huh! The plain chocolate lacked flavour and had an unfortunate grainy clumpy texture as it melted in the mouth. The fondant centres were more liquid in constituents than I was expecting and had a cool feel on the tongue...if it wasnt also for their gritty nature I would have enjoyed this texture far more. Its extremely rare that I get pain in my teeth when I eat sweet foods - but like the original Munchies these pained me to eat...I could literally feel my throat burning after eating just one...again simply too much for me.

Overall these are definately not a product I will be revisiting in the near future...if only for the sake of my teeth. The spearmint flavour was no doubt refreshing of sorts, and I can see the credibility in this product for its initial purpose...just the one off mint after dinner or with a coffee...just, in this guise I simply believe the flavours just dont work - its just overly sugar based and way to sweet. These arent a product im going to recommend to anyone - if you want chocolate mint I suggest you save yourself the dentist bill and seek elsewhere.

5.3 out of 10

July 21st: Hotel Chocolat Crostini Fruit & Nut

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

I have good and bad news...after this review I only have one Hotel Chocolat slab left in my current selection to reiview ... :( as JLC would say BAD TIMES!! The good news? Hotel Chocolat themselves have recently been in contact and will soon be providing me with samples of some of their new products..... :D GOOD TIMES!! Digging into my 'Peepster Box' for the third time, today I tryed out the Crostini Fruit and Nut slab.

This particular variant came in a 100g slab and described itself as 'Tangy cranberries and succulent sultanas meet silky smooth milk chocolate, studded with pieces of roasted almond and crunchy crostini'....no mention of the hazelnuts hmmmm weired!! As you can see above the slab was highly authentic looking...bits of whole nut and different fruit dispersed throughout...I will admit it looked great but the dispertion of the ingredients was beyond clumsy! The middle part of the bar was nearly all fruit and nuts whilst the outer edges of the slab nearly all chocolate! It would of been nice for a bit more consistancy though I guess some artistic appeal may be lost. The bar smelt gorgeously creamy with just a hint of nut - it looked great, it smelt great...all that was left was to dig right in.

The milk chocolate used in this bar was of the same formula as the current 'Chocolate Mission number 3 top rated' 40% house bar....40% cocoa and 20% milk solids. It had the same gorgeous taste - a nice rich but deliciously creamy rooted cocoa flavour that delicately melted in the mouth...milk chocolate dosen't get much better. Though still masivelly enjoyable the flavour of the milk chocolate did feel slightly disrupted at times due to the volume at which the other elements were packed into the slab in some areas. The fruit elements in the slab were a joy...richly fruity and with a slight sharpness to their taste which played nicely agaisnt the sweetness of the chocolate. The sultanas were unlike any I had seen before...abolutely huge with a nice soft texture, the cranberries were far smaller in size but still added an equally as strong tartness to the overall flavour. The other components in the slab were the crostini and nut elements. Due to the strength of all the other flavours, the crostini biscuit and almonds were hardly detectable and struggled to make an impact on the overall taste. Unlike the almonds the hazelnuts implemented were whole in their implementation, and they subsequently provided a buttery crunchyness...they had a very distinctive and fresh taste.

Overall this is yet another great standard bar from Hotel Chocolat and one that I again whole heartidly recommend. The milk chocolate is gorgeously creamy and full of flavour and the fruit and hazelnut elements further provide some divine flavour and textures contrasts. My one small gripe with this bar would be the dispersion of the ingredients....in places the slab was overly busy in its flavours and the weaker ingredients simply faded into the background agaisnt the stronger tasting ones. Hotel Chocolat should maybe strip down the bar a little and rid of the crostini and almond components...this would allow the milk chocolate to have more presence but still retain the fruit and nut diversification of flavours through the cranberries, sultanas and hazelnuts. Despite this small modification you can't doubt the excellent standard yet again...another tremendously satisfying offering from Hotel Chocolat.

8.8 out of 10

July 20th: Kinder Happy Hippo Biscuit / Cocoa Cream

Kcal 120 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 3.0g Carbs 9.0g (both variants)

I quite frankly lost count of the amount of times that these have been requested for me to review...I think they must be one of the most requested of all time and not being one to let my readers down I have duly obliged and today sees me reviewing the Kinder Happy Hippo range.

Im pretty sure these are a product that are distributed all round Europe but for those who have no clue what these are let me explain. In proposition these are both remarkably similar to the Kinder Bueno. Both variants are formed of a outer layer of wafer and sugary 'meringue' crunchy pieces covering their respective flavoured fillings. The original 'Biscuit' variant contained a hazelnut like creme whilst the 'Cocoa Cream' contained a chocolate and vanilla flavoured centre. Each Hippo weighed in at 20.7g and came wrapped in a cellophane wrapper. The Hippos themselves looked nicely presented, the outer sugary crunchy pieces did fall off all over the place when handled but they looked nice and decorative...my only question is where are the Hippo's smiles?? They didnt look too happy to me...quite sad if anything lol!

I tryed the 'Biscuit' variant first and was impressed by the sweet nutty smell that emerged once removed from the wrapper. The 'Chocolate Cream' variant had less of a distinctive smell and was just more sweet than anything else. In both variants the sugary pieces smelt very much like milky white chocolate and the wafer had a nice malty smell to it.

I decided to eat the three sections in a variety of ways...first nibbling, then munching in one and then letting it melt on my tongue. By far and away the most fun and flavoursome was the nibbling away at each component option. This maximised the relatively flavourless taste of the wafer - in both variants it had little more than a slightly sweet malt flavour like the smell suggested. The 'meringue' outerpieces in both variants had a very similar taste...almost entirely of sugar! Yes they added a nice decorative touch and textured crunchyness, but flavourswise they added nothing but a sharp injection of sugaryness...if it was up to me I would still include them, just with less of a presence than both the current variants have them.

Lets get down to business end of things...the creamy fillings YUM OH YUM!! As stated above the 'Biscuit' original variant had a hazelnut filling which was almost idential to the one found in the Kinder Bueno...just a little more vanilla noted though. The filling was in a word DREAMY!! Seriously smooth with a texture that just melted on the tongue into a long smooth buttery nutty taste....this filling is seriosuly the stuff of dreams. The 'Chocolate Cream' version was not quite of the same standard but still highly enjoyable. The flavours of the vanilla and chocolate seemed to be less impactful, though still as wonderfully smooth. Looking at the ingredients cocoa only accounted for 4% of the total ingredients...maybe the cocoa could be more generously portioned to give it a more intense chocolaty taste....it just simply didnt have the same flavour depth of the hazelnut 'Biscuit' alternative.

Overall these seriously should come with some sort of health warning...they are simply addictive! I started this morning with a pack of 5 of each and now as of 4pm I am left with only two of each pack left - these are a tad moreish to say the least. The wafer and 'meringue' coatings in both lacked flavour though the simply divine creamy centres in both variants more than made up for their shortcomings...especially the hazelnut creme in the 'Biscuit' version. I very much recommend both of these...they are not the most well rounded or fulfiling products ever rated on Chocolate Mission but still theres no doubting these are fun, tasty products.

Kinder Happy Hippo 'Biscuit' 7.5 out of 10
Kinder Happy Hippo 'Chocolate Cream' 7.2 out of 10