Wednesday, 3 September 2008
The search for the best Cadbury Caramel bar has truly stretched worldwide - previous reviews have seen me try:
Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel (UK) 9.4
Cadbury Caramellow (Aus) 8.5
Cadbury Caramellow (US) 8.1
All of which as you can see by their scores have gone down very well. Today I stepped up the search another gear sampling the 'Cadbury Caramilk' from Canada.
This 'Caramilk' bar followed the same premise as the other variations - milk chocolate blocks with gooey caramel centres. The bar came in a plentiful 52g serving that certainly provided a substantial snack. The bar came presented very similarly to the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar from Ireland - an retro looking paper sleeve with gold foil wrapping. Personally I thought it looked stunning, the bar itself also was nicely presented, with each block having a nice Cadbury logo detail inscribed... it looked a classic bar and very stylish. The foil packaging did not provide the tightest of wrappings, though the bar still retained a strong aroma. It had a very appetising dairy smell that maybe just wasn't quite as defined as our UK bar.
The bar itself was split into twelve blocks with dome shaped moulded tops. The dome shape created a larger surface area that meant the outside coating melted all that bit faster in comparison to both the US and UK bars. The melt was still super smooth, though the extra pace at which it melted did not play in its favour, as the flavour of the milk chocolate didn't last as long in the mouth. The flavour of the chocolate was almost identical to the Australian 'Caramellow' - sweeter and less cocoa rooted than the UK version, with a thinner texture. It still had a delicious milky flavour, though it simply wasn't as rich as the UK bar.
The twelve block approach of the bar meant that the blocks were the smallest out of all the different caramel variants tried so far. This meant each block contained less caramel, which resulted in its flavour being not as impactful as other variants. The caramel was very similarly flavoured to the UK bar, very sweet but balanced nicely with a light touch of salt ... extremely moreish. It was just disappointing it was lacking in its portioning in each block.
Overall this bar is yet another instance where the slightest of alterations to the format and design of the bar has been detrimental. Splitting the bar into twelve smaller pieces simply made each mouthful that less forceful in its flavours. No doubt this bar still tasted great, the chocolate wasn't quite as rich as the UK Dairy Milk but it was delicious nevertheless. The caramel, as I have said just wasn't as impactful in its flavour as other variants due to its smaller portioning with the smaller blocks...still though I must reiterate the point, the flavour it did provide was of a high quality.
So the search still continues...with the UK bar still holding onto the coveted 'best in the range' claim. Im not actually aware of any other regions that have a Cadbury Caramel offering!? Drop me a line if you know of one yourselves. A very good attempt here by the Canadians...just not the best though.
8.4 out of 10
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Even after last weeks Kit Kat extravaganza UniqJapan still managed to find yet another flavour of Kit Kat I hadn't sampled from their store. I must admit being rather oblivious to what an 'Azuki Bean' was prior to eating this bar. Some research via wiki has revealed it to be a red coloured bean that is grown in East Asia. It actually turns out that it's the second most popular legume in Japan behind the Soybean, and is very commonly used to add flavour to foods such as ice cream, pastries and biscuits...fascinating stuff huh!?
This 'Azuki Bean' flavoured Kit Kat came as a four-fingered white chocolate Kit Kat with added 'Azuki Bean' paste in both the wafer and coating. The product came in a nice glossy looking box, it certainly made the bar feel that little bit more special than a standard Kit Kat. Contained within the box were two packs of foil wrapped double finger servings; handy if unlike me you can resist tucking into both at the same sitting. The Kit Kat's themselves looked just as awesome as the exterior packaging ... the speckled look of the bars gave them an interesting look - not like any other Kit Kat I have seen before. I enjoyed the smell that came from the product; they had a extra sweet dairy scent - quite alike vanilla ice cream.
The fingers had a smooth textured coating; the added minuscule bean pieces did not disrupt the silky nature of the melt. The bean paste was quite apparent in its presence; tucked in the wafer, it added a smooth moistness, unfortunately though this partially negated the usual crispiness of the wafer. The initial flavour of the fingers had a dreamy creamy taste; the white chocolate quality was actually quite good for a mass confection bar, not overly sweet but a nice full rounded milky flavour with a lick of vanilla. The flavour of the wafer was largely dominated by the 'Azuki Bean' paste, which added a unique set of sweet nutty flavour depths. I ate all four fingers (41.0g) in one sitting which made for a great afternoon snack. The flavours were strong enough to make sure the bar felt substantial and satisfying. I must also note that I really enjoyed the aftertaste, it left a long pleasant creamy taste in the mouth.
Overall contrary to a lot of the other Japanese Kit Kats I tried last week, this flavour actually really worked and felt right at home in the Kit Kat format. The white chocolate provided a solid flavour base from which the 'Azuki Bean' paste added a particularly pleasant additional sweet, nutty flavour. The wafer didn't quite retain its usual crispness, though the paste did give it a heavier more substantial feel. This was a nicely presented, great tasting, fulfiling offering that im sure Kit Kat and white chocolate fans alike would very much enjoy - recommended.
8.3 out of 10
Monday, 1 September 2008
The 'Dark Peepster Box' has served up a few treats so far - most notably of course the 85% house bar, Be sure to keep on the look out for a competition coming very soon to Chocolate Mission! You could be in with a chance of winning a Hotel Chocolat 85% to sample for yourself...as I said coming soon!!
This week I sampled another offering from the 'Dark Peepster Box' - the 'Ginger & Lemon'. The slab billed itself as an 'intriguing combination of ginger pieces set in lemon accented dark chocolate'. I must confess to being a huge fan of ginger and dark chocolate combinations; previous favourites including Duncan's 'Ginger', Thorntons 'Ginger Bar' and Montezuma's 'Culture Shock'. Despite being slightly cautious of the added Lemon element, I was pretty optimistic about this Hotel Chocolat offering.
The slabs came in two 50g servings - the 'flavoured' mini slabs seem to come in smaller servings (100g) compared to the 125g you get with the plainer variants ... im not quite sure why!? It all seems a bit odd to me as I guess it means you get significantly less chocolate from the slab, as a lot of the room is already being taken up by the extra flavour elements ... down-weighting it further doesn't really make much sense does it!? Anyway the slab looked nice in appearance, the 72% dark chocolate had a nice yellow rippled effect running through it - this was obviously supposed to signify the lemon flavour. The crystallised ginger pieces were very generously portioned accounting for 20% of the make up of the slab, they looked impressive, though it would have been nicer if they were dispersed throughout the slab a little more rather than the majority merely placed in the middle.
From the first mouthful it was apparent something about this bar wasn't quite right. The crystallised ginger pieces simply just didn't release their flavour unless chewed. Unfortunately chewing the ginger, meant chewing the chocolate, which you can probably guess wasn't to my liking as it just meant the full breadth flavour could not be savoured. Enjoying the chocolate in its usual manner - simply letting it melt on the tongue, let it release its flavours naturally. It had an initial intense cocoa flavour that mellowed as it melted, becoming ever increasingly smoother. When letting the chocolate just melt on the tongue the crystallised ginger pieces just simply remained intact - releasing no flavours whatsoever. When chewed they did release an explosion of sugary, spicy, fresh tasting ginger...something that wasn't the most pleasant in isolation ... it was just both too sugary and too intense. The lemon element wasn't very detectable until the aftertaste of the bar, at which point it really kicked in providing a nice longing freshness - unlike the ginger It was perfectly implemented. After eating these slabs I was left with a resounding feeling of disappointment - not a conclusion I was expecting.
Overall this bar is an instance where the combination of ingredients is simply dysfunctional. The dark chocolate and ginger pieces could only be enjoyed in tandem when mouthfuls were chewed - this just simply isn't how the chocolate should be enjoyed. When the chocolate was enjoyed in its correct fashion, letting it melt on the tongue, the ginger pieces just remained intact and were relatively flavourless until chewed, upon which their flavour was just too intense. The lemon element was implemented well, but the mismatch of the ginger and dark chocolate meant this bar simply lacked the quality of taste and textures it should of had. If this bar is to be improved Hotel Chocolat will have to find a way of either implementing the ginger flavour differently... maybe ginger oil!? Or making the crystallised ginger flavour enhancing without it having to be chewed. With so many other great variants in their portfolio I would recommend you go for one of them before trying this one. This slab was a disappointment, but I guess no ones perfect ... not even Hotel Chocolat!
7.2 out of 10
Sunday, 31 August 2008
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
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
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
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
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.
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
6.4 out of 10
Monday, 25 August 2008
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 texture 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.
Sunday, 24 August 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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