Sunday, 31 August 2008

August 31st: Fry's Turkish Delight

Kcal 185 Fat 3.6g Carbs 37.9g

Last weeks review of the 'Cabury Dairy Milk Turkish' brought on a barrage of e-mails to my inbox insisting I try out the Cadbury subsidiary offering the 'Fry's Turkish Delight' - a bar formed of a simple 'Turkish Delight centre covered in milk chocolate'.

I haven't had too much luck with the Fry's range so far (see 'Fry's Chocolate Cream' & 'Fry's Orange Cream') but this Turkish Delight variant seemed to come with quite the following, so today it went under the Chocolate Mission microscope.

The first thing I noticed about the bar was it's fat content - only 3.6g, that's pretty damn good for a chocolaty treat. The bar came in a 51g serving, I have nothing to grumble about here, it felt an adequate snack, and saw me through the afternoon. The bar had a nice foil wrapping - I was slightly confused by the tag line 'as good as ever' .... hmmm ok is there any reason why it shouldn't be!? Anyway.... the bar itself I thought was designed quite lackadaisical, the one solid piece would have been better being split up into smaller blocks like the 'Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish' - if only for ease of eating. It did have a slight appeal with it's chunky boldness and thick looking centre, it was far from practical for eating though.

The product had a nice aroma once opened; it had a slight chocolaty smell that once bitten into released the flowery sweet scent of the Turkish Delight. Athough the chocolate coating appeared quite thick, it did little to suggest this biting into it. Parts of the coating were already flaking off the bar before consumption, which was an annoyance. The chocolate that did remain intact had a very quick melting rate, it was gone before the taste could really establish itself and lacked a real flavour hit. Despite the relative disappointment of the chocolate coating I very much enjoyed the Turkish Delight Centre - more so than the Turkish Delight in the 'Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish'. It had a sweet rosewater tinted flavour that was delivered through an enjoyable texture that seemed halfway between a gummy sweet and jelly. Its flavour was distinct, yet subtle and avoided the common pitfall of Turkish Delight of being overly intense with its sweetness. The aftertaste left a longing flowery fruity note in my mouth that made it all that little bit more satisfying.

Overall this is definitely a superior offering to the 'Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish', though it still has its faults. The bar is designed quite badly - it should simply be split into smaller pieces to make it look more aesthetically pleasing aswell as more practical. The milk chocolate could also do with some work. It had a pretty nonchalant presence, and could have done with being a lot more forthcoming in its flavour impact. Despite these gripes at the heart of the product was a great Turkish Delight offering. Its texture was great and substantial, and it's taste struck a great balance of sweetness. If the thought of Turkish Delight turns you a shade of green its probably best you give this one a miss ... though if you love your Turkish Delight, then this is a bar you simply cant miss out on.

7.5 out of 10

Saturday, 30 August 2008

August 30th: M&M's Premiums Triple Chocolate

Kcal 230 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 25.0g (per 43g serving)

Ever since rounding off my full sweep of the original M&M's range I have literally been dieing to dip into the new 'M&M's Premiuims' - thanks to my new friends at **I SHOP 4 YOU II** I have to wait no longer! Today as you will have gathered from the title, I sampled the first of five different variants - the 'Triple Chocolate' flavour - a combination of milk, dark and white chocolate all packed into each M&M!

The packaging for the 'Premiuims' range looks simply awesome. The boxes have a modern looking inverted design that is both unique and aesthetically pleasing. Inside the boxes are resealable plastic bags ...ok they maybe could have done with being foil, but then the sheer beauty of the M&M's themselves would not be able to be seen. As you can already ascertain I thought the M&M's looked fantastic, they were an attractive purple colour with a nice marble paintwork effect...they certainly looked the business. I must take a moment to stand up and applaud Mars here ... for once an M&M's product had a great aroma!! As soon as I opened the bag I was met with a terrific cocoa scent that smelt absolutely fantastic. I must say that despite my initial scepticism that the 'Premiuims' branding may have just been a gimmick, I was really impressed with the product presentation.

So onto the taste...did this let them down!? Oh hell no!! Mars have done away with the usual crispy shells and replaced them with a coating comprised of a 'confectionary glaze'. This glaze simply contains the colourings and a lick of oil. Rather than the usual crunchy texture of standard M&M's the texture was super smooth... and I mean super smooth. Ok I admit the coating composition doesn't sound like the greatest formulation ever ... but believe me it works.

Rather than the usual overpowering sweetness of the sugary shells, the initial flavour I got was an intense but smooth chocolaty one. As you can see from my picture above the M&M's were layered structurally. The outside layer contained the dark chocolate, as I have said this provided quite a strong initial chocolaty hit ... it certainly wasn't a bitter dark chocolate taste but it was noticeably more cocoa rooted than milky. The next layer was the white chocolate that provided a nice mellow creaminess to the taste. The middle milk chocolate layer was hard to distinguish because of the other two layers being more pronounced in their flavours ... the milk chocolate was mostly noticeable in its dominance of the aftertaste which was far more milky than the initial dark chocolate outer layer.

When eating these I found both letting them melt away on my tongue and alternatively just chewing them equally as pleasurable. Letting them simply melt allowed each of the different layers to unfold in their flavours slowly, whilst chewing them literally gave off an explosion of chocolaty flavours ... as I said both methods were equally as satisfying.

Overall Im must say I'm very impressed with my first dip into the 'Premiuims' line. The new smoother coating allows the inner flavours to express themselves more as the taste is no longer dominated by the sweetness of the crunchy shells. All three chocolate layers were equally accomplished in their flavours, each had a distinct impact on the overall taste - the 'Triple Chocolate' description really lives up to it's billing. My only slight criticism would be that I found I easily ate the whole pack over two sittings ... thats over 85g worth of product each sitting, they simply just weren't that filling as a snack. Certainly satisfying tastewise, though I wouldn't recommend them on their hunger fulfilment potential. This is only the smallest grumble, there is simply no getting away from the fact these are a great brand extension from Mars - I cant wait to try the rest of the variants. A must for M&M's fans ... these truly are M&M's but with a touch of luxury.

8.5 out of 10

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Friday, 29 August 2008

August 29th: Reese's Brownie

Kcal 390 Fat 18.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 54.0g (per 85g brownie)

Every now and then a product comes along that makes me think 'Wow I seriously have to try that' - today's review was one of those products. Thanks to the guys at CandyPirate I today got the opportunity to sample the 'Reese's Brownie' - a 'Brownie with Reese's Peanut Butter and Hershey's chocolate chips, topped with a drizzle of Reese's peanut butter icing' ... for me reading this description brought on one of those Homer Simpson moments :)

The brownie came in a 85g pack that said it contained two servings... well go figure, the picture above shows the brownie split in two, though that was only down to me cutting it myself - it originally came all in one piece. I guessing the 'two servings' suggestion was down to the nutritional values attached to the product (which they divided by two for 'two servings!) ... hmmm they don't make pretty reading do they! Well anyway I ate this all in one sitting, which was certainly a very filling snack due to its stodginess.

As you can see above it looked very appetising - the dark coloured brownie was nicely decorated with the lighter peanut butter icing, the different coloured chocolate chips further added to a stunning look. The packet was foil sealed which once opened released a wonderful mixture of smells. A nice mixture of nutty, chocolaty scents emanated, which just made my anticipation grow that little but more.

The brownie had a very dense texture that had a very heavy weighty feel in the mouth. As I said above this was a very stodgy product, and its heavy, almost chewy, cake like texture seemed to be at slight detriment to the taste. The flavours were not quite as impactful or forthcoming as I was hoping; it almost sounds silly to say but the brownie's taste was almost entirely cake based ... the point im trying to get across is that there was a distinct lack of chocolate flavour coming from it. Despite this the brownie was still pleasant, its sweet cake like taste had a minor saltiness to it, that made it very moreish - all it lacked was that real chocolate hit. The peanut butter icing and chips were also slightly lacking in their flavour. I was really excited about this product due to its peanut butter content, though the usual strong peanut flavours normally found with Reese's products were nearly all but absent here. The icing added a nice moistness to the brownie, though it simply lacked a definitive nutty taste.

Overall I must admit I was left feeling a little disappointed by this offering. It was by no means a bad tasting product - the brownie had a sweet cakey appeal, and the icing further added an extra moist sugary sweetness. Unfortunately I just can't help but feel a little dissatisfied by the lack of chocolate and peanut butter flavours I got from the product. I was expecting a really intense synergy of both ingredients, but it simply just didn't deliver fully on either. Of course they were both there, but really played nothing more than background roles to the dominant cakey flavour of the brownie. Again let me reiterate this isn't a bad product in any sense - just slightly lacking in the flavours it should deliver in abundance. If you enjoyed products like the Oreo Cakesters, and are after a filling snack, this is certainly a product you can go little wrong with - a product that is both great and disappointing.

7.4 out of 10



Want to try the Reese's Brownie for yourself!? Head over to CandyPirate for all your American Candy & Foods needs - right here in the UK!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

August 28th: Hershey's Creamy Milk Chocolate

Kcal 210 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 26.0g

Hershey's is America's largest and most iconic chocolate manufacture and was founded way back in 1894 by Milton S. Hershey (ahem wiki!!). Despite its rich heritage and mass appeal its not too irregularly I see the brand criticised for its plain milk chocolate. On several instances I have seen it cited as lacking flavour and having an acrid aftertaste. Surely this couldn't be possible for such an iconic chocolate!? I myself have had very mixed experiences with Hershey's chocolate; I very much enjoyed the 'milk chocolate n cookies', though really had problems with the 'Hershey with almonds'. Today I went about reviewing their famous standard milk chocolate bar.

I sampled todays offering in a 40g bar. The packaging had a pleasant glossy look and tore easily revealing the darkly coloured chocolate. I liked the look of the chocolate itself, it was split into twelve bite sized pieces with the very iconic looking Hershey logo etched into the surface - it didn't look anything fancy but had a nice classic appeal. The bar wasn't the strongest smelling but had a minor chocolaty scent that stirred my anticipation slightly.

The texture of the chocolate made for a nice melt on the tongue. The block pieces were quite thin meaning that the melt wasn't overly long and it formed into a nice thick liquid in the mouth. One thing I did note was a slight roughness to the surface area, at times the chocolate felt powdery and clumped and needed a small amount of chewing in order to break it up. The thinness of the blocks meant that the flavour hit of the chocolate wasn't the strongest. Tastewise it had an initial creamy taste that was more milk rooted than cocoa based. As it melted in the mouth the cocoa had more of a impact on the overall taste though it was still rather mellow. The aftertaste is often referred to as a stumbling block for Hershey's chocolate...well it's certainly unique I will give it that. I found it left a musky yoghurt like tartness in my mouth; I can't say it was the most pleasant, but it didn't bother me to the extent it obviously does others. One thing that did bother me was that the tangy aftertaste wasn't very in keeping with the description of the bar being 'creamy'.

Overall I have come to the conclusion that this really isn't a bad milk chocolate offering...far from it infact - but at the same time neither is it anything special. The bar is presented nicely, possibly too thin in it's thickness but the twelve block split, each with a Hershey logo, looked both nice and practical. The texture was nice enough, it had a nice melt rate, though at times it did cloy and feel partially powdery. The taste wasn't the most impactul but had a nice milky mellowness to it. I found the famous aftertaste to be at slight detriment to the overall flavour - it would have been better off leaving a creaminess in the mouth rather than the slightly soured yoghurty taste.

This is a pretty standard milk chocolate, it doesn't have a distinct taste like Dairy Milk, nor does it have the smooth texture of Galaxy... it's more of a run of the mill offering. This is a bar definitely worth trying, but more so because of its rich heritage and pure iconicness rather than it's chocolate quality.

7.2 out of 10

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

August 27th: Cadbury Flake Dipped

Kcal 220 Fat 12.8g Fat(sats) 7.9g Carbs 23.3g

The 'Flake' range has brought pretty mixed results on the Chocolate Mission rating system. After relatively enjoying both the original and dark 'Flake', more recently I was left disappointed by the 'Flake Praline' - a bar that I found took the 'crumbly' texture that little bit too far leaving me both dissatisfied and covered in chocolate crumbs...grrr im still picking them out my keyboard. Today I sampled the 'Flake Dipped' - a bar that contained a standard 'Flake' but coated in a layer of milk chocolate...I can hear you asking the question right now... so how is this different from a 'Cadbury Twirl'!? In truth there's not much of a difference.

Like the other 'Flakes' the bar came in a non weight marked pack - are they trying to hide something!? Regardless it was a pretty satisfying chocolate, definitely the most fulfilling of the 'Flake' range. The packaging was pleasant - foil sealed for freshness and with bright vivid colours. I was relieved to find the bar still all in one piece when I opened the wrapper, and even more impressed to find it didn't break up into several pieces when I sectioned it ... phew I honestly don't think my keyboard could have taken more crumbs - better ... much better! The aroma was pleasant - very distinct with a strong sweet cocoa smell - classic Cadbury.

When I reviewed the 'Cadbury Twirl', although I could not 100% confirm it, I was fairly confident it was comprised of 'Dairy Milk milk chocolate'. Looking at the wrapper of the 'Flake Dipped' it was more heavily weighted on the cocoa solids than the milk in comparison to the 'Dairy Milk' recipe. This was none more evident than through the taste, it had a strong chocolaty flavour that was far more intense in it's concentration. The texture was superb, the outer layer not only kept the bar in one piece but had a superb melt. It was delightfully thick and slowly revealed the crumbly insides - a texture I could finally appreciate for its melt in the mouth qualities rather than its annoying tendency to create a right mess. The aftertaste of the 'Flake Dipped' was long and very cocoa based - it was a truly satisfying, enjoyable bar.

Overall I believe this is a marked improvement on the rest of the 'Flake' range. I cannot stress how much more I could appreciate the melt in the mouth texture of the inner 'Flake' centre with the simple inclusion of a coating to fuse the bar together. Comparing this to the 'Cadbury Twirl', my preference lies with the 'Twirl' for its creamier 'Dairy Milk' taste, though the 'Flake Dipped' still had a very pleasant rich chocolaty appeal. If you enjoy your textured chocolate this is really a bar you will certainly enjoy, deifinately the best of the lot from the 'Flake' range.

8.4 out of 10

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

August 26th: Cadbury Crispy Crunch (Can)


Kcal 240 Fat 10.0g Fat(sats) 4.5g Carbs 33.0g

The Cadbury Crispy Crunch' is yet another example of a bar from across the pond that our fellow Canadian friends have decided not to share with the rest of the world. The 'Crispy Crunch' is billed as Cadbury's answer to the Nestle 'Butterfinger' & Hershey 'Fifth Avenue' - a flaky peanut butter flavoured centre coated in milk chocolate. Never having tried the 'Fifth Avenue' (Note to self...GET ONE!!) I cannot pass judgement on it compared to that, but I can certainly make comparisons to it with the Nestle 'Butterfinger' ...a bar I wasn't massively impressed with a few months ago.

The bar came in a large 48g serving - I certainly wasn't left wanting anymore than that. The packaging was pretty simple, it was foil wrapped and thankfully came with a cardboard sleeve that protected it's fragile build. If I remember correctly this was not the case with the 'Butterfinger', which I remember being broken in several places despite considerable care. The bar itself was very average looking, just one long thin bar that looked a little uninspiring... no pattern work or anything... not even a logo; the bar was also clumsily portioned in one piece which made it messy when sectioning. When in a whole state the bar had a sweet cocoa smell, when the centre was exposed this quickly changed into a moderate nutty one.

Unfortunately the outside coating was not quite of Dairy Milk standard though it was pleasant nonetheless. It was neither as strong in its cocoa or milk flavours though still had a relatively creamy sweet taste that was superior to the blandness of the coating of the 'Butterfinger'. The chocolate had a nice melt aswell, not particularly long but silky and smooth, which played nicely against the crunchy centre. Though this bar had the 'Butterfinger' beat in its chocolate quality, the same cannot be said for its peanut butter flavour. When I reviewed the 'Butterfinger' I felt overwhelmed at the sweetness of the centre, and thought the peanut butter flavour was lost in an overly sugary taste. Well re-read that last sentence and imagine it multiplied by two!!...Yep the 'Crispy Crunch' was even sweeter and though I liked it's crunchiness, the overriding taste of sugar was all a little too much for me. The actual nut flavour if anything felt like an afterthought in this bar, which should go some way to telling you how sweet the taste was. The sweetness ensured that this bar was really quite sickly by the time of the last few bites, the 48g serving was pushing the limits of what I actually wanted to consume.

Overall the concept of a peanut butter flavoured crunchy centre and chocolate coating is a good one...it just hasn't been done justice yet by either the 'Butterfinger' or this Cadbury 'Crispy Crunch' (Bring on the 'Fifth Avenue'!!!). The chocolate of the 'Crispy Crunch' is superior to the 'Butterfinger's', though the peanut centre of the 'Butterfinger' is superior to the 'Crispy Crunch' ... which put in context isn't saying much. The 'Crispy Crunch' was simply just too sweet for my palette - a bar definitely more suited for those with a very sweet tooth.

6.4 out of 10

Monday, 25 August 2008

August 25th: Hotel Chocolat 72% Dark Chocolate

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

It has been way too long since I last had some Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate - it seems like an absolute age since the beggining of July when I reviewed the '72% with orange & chilli' ... a bar I found slightly disappointing for it's lack of delivery from the orange flavour. One thing that didn't let that bar down was the 72% dark chocolate , which I today sampled in isolation from any additional flavours.

I ate these two separate 62.5g slabs over two sittings. I cant say it provided the same amazingly rich satisfying experience of the '85% dark chocolate' but it was certainly fulfilling and enjoyable. The slabs were presented nicely - they didn't have the glitz or glam of the 'Rocky Road' or 'Caramellow', but the clean glossy surface just oozed quality and the bar broke amazingly cleanly with a nice cracking sound. A quality that I have seemed to find common across the whole of the Hotel Chocolat portfolio is that all their slabs smell so wonderfully strong. Opening the packet, I found myself yet again met with a barrage of potent cocoa smells, as always it was massivelly enticing and very indicative of the taste.

There is only one true way to eat dark
chocolate and that is to let simply let it melt on the tongue savouring every last gram of its taste. The strength of the bar was strongly evident from its initial flavour - a deep cocoa flavour literally exploded on my taste buds. As the chocolate rose in temperature and progressed in it's melt, it mellowed into a smoother taste with hints of vanilla and coffee becoming ever increasingly present.

The text
ure of the melt was superbly smooth, though I must say when compared to the '85% dark chocolate' and even to a lesser extent the 'Lindt Excellence 70% dark chocolate', it wasn't quite as thick and viscous ... it was more alike single cream compared to the others double cream like thickness. To call that a criticism would not be appropriate - more an observation, with my own preference with the thicker texture. Im sure there are plenty of people out there who would better appreciate the slightly thinner texture, as they may find the extra thickness overwhelming. Once again I found myself savouring every last bit of both slabs. The aftertaste was long and left a delicous dark cocoa flavour in the mouth for a long time after consumption; acting as a constant reminder of the richly declicious chocolate just experienced.

Overall Im coming to expect nothing else but resounding success each time I sample Hotel Chocolat products, and today was yet another instance where I wasn't let down. This '72% dark chocolate' had a delicious taste that developed during its course in the mouth. It initially sprang an intense cocoa driven experience that developed into a calmer, smoother more friendly vanilla, coffee noted taste. Though I massively enjoyed this bar, when it comes to dark chocolate my allegiances lie elsewhere - purely based on the texture of the chocolate. As I said above I personally preferred the thicker textures of the 'Lindt Excellence 70% dark chocolate' and '85% dark chocolate' - something purely based on personal preference. This wasn't my favourite dark chocolate offering but it was still a massively enjoyable experience of sheer indulgence - highly recommended yet again...did you really expect anything else!?

8.7 out of 10

Sunday, 24 August 2008

August 24th: Kit Kat Watermelon / Mandarin Orange / Brown Sugar / Apple

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

Following on from last weeks Kit Kat Kinako Soy review I decided to save the rest of the Kit Kat flavours for one solitary mega round up. I have been lucky enough to sample these Watermelon, Mandarin Orange, Brown Sugar and Apple flavours all thanks to UniqJapan who so kindly sent me a rather large package of goodies a few weeks ago. Be sure to check there store out if you fancy trying any of these for yourself..... Sponsor pimping over lets head to the reviews:

It is worth noting that all of these flavour variants were of the same ridiculous size as the previously reviewed Kinako Soy. Indeed they were pleasant to eat across many tea breaks throughout the week, but even then each needed supplementing with something more to see me through the afternoons.

Each of these bars were mainly constituted of milk chocolate - like a standard Kit Kat with obviously each variant containing the flavour within the chocolate.

Below are my tasting notes for each of the different variants:

Watermelon:I liked the packaging of the bar, the colours were vivid and relevant to the flavour. The watermelon flavour was very evident from the smell of the bar - very fruity and sweet.

The milk chocolate retained a nice creaminess though the strong fruity flavour of the watermelon dominated the chocolate. The wheatiness of the wafer came through when chewed though the usual sweetness was offset by the slightest of salty licks. The bar had a long fruity aftertaste. A strong but uniquely flavoured offering.

6.7 out of 10

Mandarin Orange:
The wrapper again had a relevant and bright colour scheme. The product had a sweet orangey scent with a chocolaty undertone. This bar seemed to have the most genuine of flavour smells in that it smelt like fresh orange rather than an artificial flavour enhancer.

This was the chocolatiest of all the flavour variants and had a pleasant milky sweet taste. The wafer again had a strong presence once chewed. The orange flavour was more in the background until the aftertaste where it was very prevalent. This tasted remarkably similar to the 'Orange' Kit Kat that we have available in our UK supermarkets. This was my favourite of the lot.

6.8 out of 10
Brown Sugar:
The packaging was slightly confusing - I had to look on the UniqJapan website to determine what the flavour was before I opened it. Had I just opened it I would have immediately been able to tell it was 'Brown Sugar' ... it was very much like smelling a bag of brown sugar - very strong in it's aroma

The taste strongly evoked memories of home baking...in particular of times when making cookies with far too much brown sugar included. The taste was unique; not unpleasant but not overly pleasant either. The brown sugar dominated the flavour of the chocolate and there was a distinct lack of the usual creaminess. The Wafer did seem prominent and defined in its sweet taste. The overall taste was very much like a biscuit...the chocolate element seemed completely lost which in my opinion was at detriment; the brown sugar flavour was too strong if anything.

6.0 out of 10
Apple:
This one also had me scanning the UniqJapan website for an indication of its flavour. The colour of the packaging was rather puzzling!? Pink & Apple anyone!? The bar smelt very artificial and instantly reminded me of Apple Schnapps...personally that's never a good thing :)

The bar tasted much like it smelt - the overriding flavour was a rather fake tasting apple one which very much dominated both the flavour of the chocolate and the wafer. It was certainly a tolerable artificial apple flavour, but just not a particularly great tasting one. It did leave a slight sour aftertaste in my mouth for a while after eating it which was not the most pleasant.

5.9 out of 10

Overall these were certainly an interesting range of flavours that I enjoyed trying purely for the sheer reason that most of them offered something different from the Kit Kat range we have here in the UK. What was surprising though was the fact that the one I enjoyed most was the flavour we have a close replica for here in the UK - the 'Mandarin Orange.' The 'Watermelon' and 'Apple' variants were strong in their flavours, though for my money were not particularly suited to the Kit Kat format. The 'Apple' flavour especially seemed out of keeping with the Kit Kat, and it's flavour was more artificial than any of the other variants. The 'Brown Sugar' variant was certainly unique but not to my taste - it had more of biscuit focused taste that lacked a chocolate flavour of any note. None of these flavours are particularly groundbreaking, and all are frustratingly small in their size. Still though these are all interesting offerings and worthy of sampling for yourself if your a Kit Kat fan.


Visit UniqJapan for all these Kit Kats and more Japanese foods - all delivered right here to the UK!!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

August 23rd: Cadbury Flake Praline

Kcal 205 Fat 12.8g Fat(sats) 6.7g Carbs 19.3g

A few months ago I reviewed both the original and dark version of the 'Cadbury Flake' and was both left impressed and disgruntled at the 'crumbly' design. One half of me loved the enjoyable melty texture, the other half simply no less than hated it for its annoying tendency to literally fall to pieces when trying to eat it. Today I tried another variant from the 'Flake' range, the 'Flake Praline', a bar that included 'milk chocolate praline and hazelnut'.

The bar didn't have a weight displayed on it's wrapper; it wasn't exactly on the same substantiality level as say a 'Cadbury Boost' but it was a satisfying snack nonetheless. This brings me to the appearance...well what can I say apart from it was completely and utterly flawed in it's design...yes it looked nice, but even worse than the original 'Flake' it literally disintegrated in my hands. Not only this but although I had kept the bar relatively well in-between my purchase and consumption, half the bar was already broken into crumbs at the bottom of the wrapper. Now there's using the crumbly nature of the bar for a USP (unique selling point)...and then there's over using the crumbly nature...this was more the latter. The foil packaging when opened released a sweet chocolaty scent. The smell had a slight nuttiness to it though at this point I was too distracted trying to get the bar out the wrapper with least mess possible to really savour it...grrr.

The crumbliness was indeed frustrating, but the pieces of the bar I actually managed to get in my mouth did indeed have a glorious texture. The base of the bar had a thin chocolate coating that provided a small cracking sensation when bitten into. Tastewise I couldn't really distinguish it from the middle 'Flake' centre. This was supposed to be the part of the bar which added the 'Praline' flavour, though the hazelnut pieces were mostly lying inside the crumbs in the packet. The nut flavour of the coating just didn't come through in the overall taste and was largely dominated by the original 'Flake' centre - pretty disappointing. The 'Flake' chocolate didn't quite have the creaminess of Dairy Milk, but it still had a nice rich cocoa taste. The melt was fast , but the long sweet aftertaste made sure this was not at the bars detriment.

Overall this is a bar that suffers all the problems of the original 'Flake' and unfortunately a few more. I wont go over it all again but as I have described above the design of the bar is largely flawed. Being crumbly is one thing, but being overly so is just a plain annoyance. The bar had an lavish texture, though the taste was largely disappointing. The chocolaty flavour was certainly not unpleasant though was largely dominating; the 'Praline' flavour was disappointingly anonymous and if I had not been aware this was supposed to be a nut enhanced bar beforehand, I would have very much struggled to tell you that it contained any nut content after consuming it. A largely disappointing offering from Cadbury.... my advice if you want this type of chocolate!?...grab a Cadbury Twirl... less mess... all the taste!

6.7 out of 10

August 23rd: Marks & Spencer Swiss White Chocolate Mountain Bar

Kcal 580 Fat 37.7g Fat(sats) 22.6g Carbs 54.3g

My second dip into the Marks & Spencer range has come at the request of Chocolate Mission reader Martin, who very much recommended this 'M&S Swiss White Chocolate Mountain Bar'. My initial reaction at seeing this bar today was that it was a 'Knock-Off Nigel' version of the 'Toblerone White' - after eating it though I believe that description to be a injustice.

The bar did indeed come in a 100g serving, with a familiar sounding description 'Extra fine Swiss white chocolate with honey and almond nougat'. The bar was packaged superbly with a smart looking cardboard sleeve in addition to a foil wrapping covering the bar. The bar itself was sectioned quite awkwardly; the pieces were a nice bitesize mouthful though were a real pain to break away from each other. The product had a nice smell once released from the foil packaging; it wasn't the sweet creamy smell I was expecting but more of a slightly edgier yoghurty one.

I think its quickly worth mentioning the nutritional information and ingredients. The ingredients list was surprisingly small with only eight listed, one slightly wired one was 'butter oil'...I haven't come across the term before but im sure it had something to do with the 580 kcal and near 40.0g of fat in the bar. One thing I did appreciate was the lack of artificial colours or flavourings - its not often nowadays you find chocolate that isn't packed full of chemicals and all sorts to make it's shelf life longer - good stuff.

I ate the bar over two separate 50g servings, both of which provided very satisfying helpings. Despite the blocks being awkward to seperate they were nicely shaped for the mouth and had a nice smooth melt on the tongue. The nougat pieces added a pleasant chewy aspect to the texture that made for a far more interesting chew. The chocolate had a fine flavoured milky flavour that thankfully avoided the common white chocolate pitfall of being overly sweet. The taste didn't develop during its course in the mouth, but it's flavour was delightfully creamy which made this largely acceptable. Despite the almond nougat pieces being quite prevalent in the texture they added very little to the taste - I found them largely flavourless though could still appreciate them for what they added to the texture. The honey enhancement wasn't overly detectable - this wasn't the greatestof surprises as it was hardly portioned generously at only 3.5%.

Overall this is a good standard white chocolate offering that although largely resembles the 'Toblerone White' is actually quite different in its taste. The 'Toblerone White' has a far sweeter, vanilla heavy taste, whilst this M&S offering focuses far more on a silky creamy milky flavour. Personally I preferred the milky flavour of the M&S though still believe it could further develop its flavour with the development of another layer to its overall taste...it could do with a minor vanilla or stronger honey note to its aftertaste if only to mix it up a little. Another way this could be resolved is by making the almond nougat more impactful in it's flavour. As I said above it's hard to label this a 'Toblerone White' copycat; its true it looks similar and contains very comparable ingredients, but the taste is very much different. If your're a 'Toblerone White' fan or just a generally enjoy white chocolate fan this is a bar very much worth checking out.

8.3 out of 10

Friday, 22 August 2008

August 22nd: Twix Dark (Polish & UK)

Polish Version

***UPDATE 30/04/10***

Thanks to ChocolateMission reader Alan I got the chance to try the Polish version of this bar. Compared to the UK version the biscuit was a little blander and didn't quite have the same depth of buttery, shortbread flavours as did the UK version. I couldn't detect any differences between the chocolate or the caramel though.

UK Version
Kcal 123 Fat 6.3g Fat(sats) 3.6g Carbs 16.6g (per finger)

Well well well what do we have here then!?...was my train of thought when I passed these in Tesco the other day - didn't Mars sneakily get this limited edition to market without preparing us...not even as much as a press release! If this review is the first time you have seen these new 'Twix Dark' I can tell you they are currently being sold in Tesco, Sainsburys & Netto in packs of fourteen for around about £1.50-£2......£1.89 for 2 packs in Tesco ;)

So what's the deal with the 'Twix Dark' then!? Well its 'a biscuit finger, covered in a layer of caramel and coated in chocolate'....with the milk chocolate of the original 'Twix' replaced with dark chocolate. The packaging had a nice contemporary look, the individual fingers had decent enough looking plastic wrappers though did not benefit from having foil ones like their impulse bar variants (the ones you find in the shops!!), this would probably account for the lack of genuinely strong aroma. I detected a minor cocoa scent, though it really wasn't that strong. The darkness of the chocolate looked nice against the paleness of the biscuit, the caramel layer appeared very generously portioned and was an appealing golden colour.

The dark chocolate coating had a similar texture to its milk chocolate original and melted at a nice rate to reveal the caramel and biscuit base. It wasn't the most forthcoming in it's flavour though was noticeably less sweet than the original 'Twix'. It did provide a subtle cocoa hit, and had an aftertaste noted with vanilla, though it really wasn't that impactful on the overall taste...it was more a pleasant background to the simply delightful biscuit and caramel elements.

Due to the chocolate being less sweet it meant the caramel seemed even more prominent in its flavour. It brought a deliciously sweet chewy texture to the bar that complimented the biscuit base superbly. The biscuit was everything you would want from a biscuit base - crunchy and substantial with a delightfully balanced wheaty taste. Although the caramel and biscuit were both mainly sweet, they each had a slight salty lick to their taste - which made each mouthful all that bit moreish. I ate two of these fingers this afternoon and that proved a very satisfying and fulfilling snack.

Overall you may see that this variant has received a marginally lower score than the original 'Twix'. This is solely down to the product not having a foil wrapper; which lowered the score of its appearance and in turn probably was a main factor in the lack of aroma. Tastewise it was really on a par with the original Twix'...it's neither better or worse...it's just simply a different proposition. As with most mass confection bars (see 'Flake Dark' & 'Reese's Dark Bat) the 'Dark' chocolate was pretty consumer friendly in that rather than really turn up the cocoa levels, some of the sweetness had just been removed from the chocolate. In a way this was disappointing as the dark chocolate taste wasn't really that bold, though it did bring out the best in the caramel and biscuit elements, which became further imposing on the overall taste...and both of which were superb. If your're a fan of the original 'Twix' this is a limited edition really worth tracking down - well worth sticking in the trolley next time your're in your local supermarket.

8.3 out of 10

August 22nd: Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons

Kcal 15 Fat 0.9g Fat(sats) 0.5g Carbs 1.7g (per giant button)

Awhile back I reviewed the Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons; my only real problem with them was that because of their small size, it meant they didn't deliver the same flavour hit or substantiality as a standard Dairy Milk bar. Upon suggestion of Chocolate Mission reader Simon, I thought it only right to give Cadbury a chance of redeeming themselves through their 'Giant Buttons' alternative. I know these are a favourite of Jeanna's over at the Wisconsin Candy Dish - so I was mildly optimistic.

Though more commonly found in larger bags, I settled for a single serving size which contained sixteen of these largely size buttons. They were at least double the diameter of the standard 'Buttons', and about twice as thick. They looked far more imposing in their appearance though only provided a slightly more substantial snack than the standard Dairy Milk 'Buttons'. The only criteria that the previously reviewed smaller 'Buttons' could match up to the standard Dairy Milk bar was in their aroma credentials...and this was no different for the 'Giant Buttons'. The simply exquisite smell of Dairy Milk was evident upon opening the packet...the sweet creamy chocolaty smell was unmistakeable - simply divine.

There was simply no better way of eating these than placing one on the tongue and letting it melt. The larger surface area of the 'Giant Buttons' still ensured these melted faster than a standard Dairy Milk block, though the issue of the lack of flavour hit with the standard sized 'Buttons' was definitely not as problematic. The 'Giant Buttons' delivered the amazingly delicious Dairy Milk creamy chocolaty blend almost aswell as the block shape; the taste wasn't quite as long but the flavour hit was very close to being on the same level. Due to the flavours not lasting as long in the mouth and the larger surface area making the melt faster, the 'Giant Buttons' simply didn't feel like the most substantial of products. My hand just simply kept heading for the packet - unfortunately it wasn't long before the packet was empty...a little frustrating.

Overall, though I enjoyed these 'Giant Buttons' far more than the standard 'Buttons', I still wouldn't choose them over a standard Dairy Milk bar. The bigger size of the 'Giant Buttons' definitely delivered more of an initial flavour hit compared to the smaller 'Buttons', though in comparison to a standard bar, the flat shape still meant the melt was a lot faster in the mouth, thus meaning they still didn't feel like a substantial product. Despite this, I still believe Dairy Milk 'Giant Buttons' can suite some occasions perfectly; whether it be the cinema, sharing with friends (fools!!) or to eat one or two with a coffee...there are definitely occasions where these Giant Buttons could be more suitable. I would recommend these as a tasty product, but not as a substantial snack. My own personal preference would be with the standard Dairy Milk bar, but believe me, if someone is offering me a pack of 'Giant Buttons' in the near future, I certainly wont be turning them down.

8.4 out of 10

Thursday, 21 August 2008

August 21st: Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish

Kcal 230 Fat 10.3g Fat(sats) 6.3g Carbs 31.3g

You may have noticed the lack of Turkish Delight reviews on Chocolate Mission - well im going to hold up my hands and freely admit that it's not my favourite confectionary. Chocolate Mission calls for dedication to the cause though, so today I put my preconceptions aside and reviewed the Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish.

I sampled a 49g single serving bar that on pack was described as 'milk chocolate with Turkish Delight filling (30%)'. The wrapper for me was slightly misleading - as you can see above the Turkish Delight filling is depicted as being a free flowing centre when in reality its far more viscous. The bar had the standard Cadbury logo inscribed on each block, I was rather unimpressed by the look of the filling...it didn't seem to be portioned that generously. Despite the foil packaging the bar seemed lacking in its freshness and lacked a real cutting edge aroma. It neither gave the indication of the Turkish flavour or had the usual strength of smell of Dairy Milk - somewhat uninspiring.

Its going to be unsurprising for you to hear that the Dairy Milk chocolate was delicious. This was yet another example of its deliciously balanced creamy, chocolaty flavour...I have said it before and I will say it again - for the price there simply isn't better. Though enjoyable the Dairy Milk really dominated the Turkish Delight element, negating its flavour almost completely - only when the chocolate was completely absent from the mouth could I really detect any flavour from the jelly like filling. Even when eaten in isolation its sweet fruity rosewater flavour was extremely subtle - just simply not strong enough to establish a really presence. The jelly like texture was unique yet lacked presence when in the context of the thick melt of the Dairy Milk chocolate.

Overall its not often I say this but this was an under whelming offering from Cadbury. The Dairy Milk chocolate was of course delicious but this doesn’t excuse the lack of flavour from the Turkish Delight filling. As I said above, I am not a connoisseur of Turkish Delight - but this filling seemed devoid of a true flavour base - even its distinct gummy like texture just blended into the thickness of the chocolate. Though the Dairy Milk chocolate still had a richness to its taste, the bar simply didn't feel satisfying due to the lacklustre filling. I wouldn't recommend this bar based on its Turkish Delight attributes, there just has to be better options out there if its a Turkish Delight flavour hit your after.

6.2 out of 10

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

August 20th: Topic

Kcal 234 Fat 12.3g Fat(sats) ??? Carbs 28.0g

Whose favourite bar is the Topic!???... Anyone???... I thought not!! Not a single person has requested this bar to be reviewed - which is surprising considering the vast amount of wide ranging bars that have been suggested to me. The Topic bar occupies most UK retailer's shelves! So why the lack of love? Today I tried answering this question the only way I could...yep the Chocolate Mission way!

The Topic comes billed as 'milk chocolate with hazelnuts, soft nougat and smooth caramel' - nothing wrong with that eh!? The bar came in a 49g serving that although sounds large looked disappointingly small in its appearance; in comparison to say a Mars bar it looked less than two thirds the size and unfortunately this corresponded with its hunger fulfilling credentials...it just simply didn't satisfy my hunger to the degree I wanted. Although somewhat lacking in size the bar looked nice in it's appearance, the layering was distinct, and each component looked appetising. The bar lacked a notable aroma and apart from the slightest sweet scent I couldn't really detect much; I was expecting more of a chocolaty, nutty smell but this was sadly lacking.

Despite its small size each bite was full of flavour and had a nice variety of textures. The outer milk chocolate didn't provide the strongest of chocolaty hits, though it's flavour was nice and creamy and it melted at a pleasant rate. The next apparent layer was the caramel that tasted absolutely divine. Its taste reminded me of the Galaxy Caramel bar - a luxuriously smooth, deep sweet taste with the nicest of salty notes; it provided the most perfect of chewy layers to compliment the nougat. The nougat had a crumbly texture that varied nicely from the moistness of the other components. It had a milky creamyness with a lovely nutty edge to it. The whole hazelnut pieces dispersed throughout provided a strong woody nutty flavour that contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the other ingredients. The whole nature of the hazelnuts added yet another layer to the contrastive textures, adding an extra bitty crunch to most bites.

Overall if this bar was judged on its taste credentials alone it would be up there with the best of them. Unfortunately this isn't the case for the Topic and its lacking in the aroma and hunger fulfillment categories somewhat pull it's overall score down. Though the bar has shortcomings in these areas it actually tastes really quite good. The focal point of the bar, the hazelnuts, are strongly flavoured and make for a delicious creamy nutty nougat. The caramel is particularly fine and well flavoured, bringing an added sweetness and chewyness.


I think the reasons for why this bar receives such little acclaim are two fold. Firstly the lack of mainstream publicity - ask yourself this...when was the last time you have read, seen or heard about the Topic brand?? ...Thought not! Secondly I believe people are simply put off it by its size; it looks feeble and in truth it's simply not big enough. A tasty treat, but not one you want to eat when ravenously hungry...Mars I demand you make this bar larger...it deserves better!

7.7 out of 10

 

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