Kcal 591 Fat 53.2g Carbs 19.0g (per 100.0g)
My experiences so far with the Green & Black's brand have largely been what I would describe as underwhelming. I know it is a hugely popular brand amongst many readers, but the bars I have reviewed so far have really not been anything to shout about. You only have to look as far the current Chocolate Mission top rated Hotel Chocolat bar to see that 85% cocoa formulations normally prove to be pretty popular with myself. Today I thought I would give the Green & Black's 85% offering a chance, hoping that it would finally deliver a more exciting prospect.
I sampled this product in a 100.0g bar that provided me with three very fulfilling servings. I liked the look of the packaging, the usual brown base colour of the outer layer was complimented nicely by an additional dark secondary colour and gold font - this gave the bar a sophisticated look. The chocolate was also presented well; with the surface having a very smooth complexion and logos implemented on each block. Releasing the bar from its branded gold foil wrapper a strong unsweetened chocolaty scent was very imposing.
The initial flavours of this bar had a bitter edge, though as the melt progressed the taste transformed into a more mellow experience. As the smell suggested the cocoa was quite intense and it did take time for my taste buds to adapt to the raw sharpness of the taste. The melt of the chocolate was fantastic, it melted with a real smoothness and into a nice thick double cream like consistency. As aforementioned the initial intensity did subside into a friendlier sweeter taste, though it still was exceedingly rich. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this bar was the aftertaste, which was nicely rounded with a lovely touch of vanilla. The flavour longevity of this product was extremely long, I could taste the cocoa in my mouth for a great deal of time after consuming each piece.
Overall I have finally come across a Green & Black's bar that I genuinely very much liked. Although initially wary due to the initial bitterness, preserving with this bar was extremely worthwhile and it provided a fantastic, full flavoured dark chocolate. The texture was wonderfully smooth, and the taste was strong and rich. Personally my preference is still very much with the equivalent Hotel Chocolat bar, and to a lesser extent Lindt's similar offering. Still though, this was a highly satisfying dark chocolate, and is one that I would highly recommend as a cheaper alternative.
8.5 out of 10
Monday, 15 December 2008
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
This 'Vera' bar is the final offering from the range that Montezuma's sent me a while back. On the packaging it says 'to guess how we named this one you have to be a real smarty-pants' ... well I am obviously not very smart as I don't have the foggiest! Anyone!? Anyway, this bar was comprised of the unique combination of dark chocolate and pistachio nuts ... I was hoping this maybe the bar to really make the Montezuma's brand stand out from the rest.
Like the rest of the range the bar came in a 45.0g serving that provided an altogether suitable snack. Despite my own confusion with the name I liked the presentation of the product. The nicely designed outer cardboard box made up for the clumsy looking plastic wrapper the chocolate came in. Although still in the quite boring six block format, the bar had a relatively interesting look with the green pistachio nuts adding an element of colour to the extremely dark looking chocolate. I was hoping for the aroma to give an insight into the taste of the pistachio nuts, though unfortunately all that was on offer was the smell of the cocoa ... at this point I realised there was only one way to find out.
My experiences with actual Montezuma's chocolate has largely been underwhelming, but I must say their dark chocolate was actually quite enjoyable. Comprised of 73% cocoa solids the taste was initially on the bitter side, though once the chocolate had warmed to a sufficient melting point the flavours became more creamy and the vanilla aftertaste was well pronounced. What with the chocolate being of a good standard all that was needed was for the pistachio nuts to deliver and we would have had a good bar of chocolate - unfortunately this wasn't reality. I find pistachio nuts quite restrictive in their flavours at the best of times, but mixed in with the quite strongly flavoured dark chocolate they only mustered a very minor earthy flavoured impression on the taste. I also wasn't particularly fond of their texture, their soft, almost chewiness just didn't feel right in this context. The dark chocolate made this a reasonably satisfying snack, though it was no more or less enjoyable than your average chocolate bar.
Overall this bar was pretty much the story of the Montezuma's range as a whole - neither spectacular or bad .... just pretty damn average. The dark chocolate was of a fair quality, and provided a nice basis for which a nicely flavoured, added ingredient could work off. The pistachio nuts though just didn't deliver, lacking any sort of real flavour ... thus making this just another run of the mill, uninspiring offering from Montezuma's. I am not going to recommend this bar, purely for the reason that for the price you can get far superior chocolates.
7.3 out of 10
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Kcal 503 Fat 30.7g Carbs 49.0g (per 100.0g)
I have been trying all sorts of Christmas themed products for the last two months - but this one particularly caught my eye when I was shopping the confectionery shelf during my latest visit to Waitrose. Todays review is the first of two Green & Black's festive themed bars, and incorporated 'dark chocolate with spiced gingerbread pieces'. What with this being a Christmas bar the spiced element was delivered through the addition of ground cinnamon and ginger.
This product came in a large sized 150.0g bar that served me well for four portions. I liked the Christmas focus of the packaging - it was not over elaborated, but just had the simple inclusion of the Christmas Tree emblem which was a subtle yet welcome addition. The chocolate itself had a pretty unique look, the gingerbread pieces were ever present throughout the chocolate and added a real distinctness. The spices had a real impact on the aroma - the cinnamon and ginger elements were very prevalent amongst the cocoa smells - it was strong smelling and enticing.
The dark chocolate was formed of a 60% recipe - of course with the array of added ingredients, the chocolate was more of a 'flavour carrier' rather than the main focus. Despite this, the dark chocolate still substantiated a reasonably forthcoming set of unsweetened cocoa flavours. As I commented above the gingerbread pieces were very well portioned, and were present in almost every single piece of the bar. The pieces had a sharp ginger biscuit taste that was rounded nicely with a touch of brown sugar. I thought the crunchy texture of the gingerbread also added further interest, contrasting well with the smooth melting chocolate. Despite the only fleeting mentioning of the ginger and cinnamon spices in the ingredients they were by far and away the dominating aspect of the overall taste. They certainly made for a strongly flavoured and ultimately rich chocolate, though for my liking they were almost verging on being overly dominant. Some blocks of the bar were overly influenced by these spices - which at times meant the strength was a bit too much. Although at times overly present, there was no doubting their favourable impact on the aftertaste, which was very long lasting.
Overall this was a bar that had a lot of unique attributes that made for an enjoyable bar of chocolate. The dark chocolate was of a good quality, though the attention was really forced off this aspect of the bar, as the added elements were far more prevalent in the grand scheme of the taste. On one hand this meant the chocolate was strongly flavoured and quite rich, however at times the intensity of the spices tipped the wrong side of the scales and were overly forceful. This wont be a bar to everyones taste, but if you like the sound of the dark chocolate and ginger biscuit combination then this would definitely be a bar I would recommend to you.
8.2 out of 10
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Kcal 404 Fat 18.4g Carbs 55.5g (per 100.0g)
Long time readers will know my fetish for chocolate and coffee combinations. I have come across many delightful products so far - Twix Java and the Lindt Coffee Lindor Truffles both amongst my favourites. As well as being a fan of chocolate coffee combinations, I am also a huge admirer of a lot of Ferrero products ... marry the two and you get these Ferrero Espresso Pocket Coffee chocolates. These chocolates were formed of an outer coating of dark chocolate, filled with an espresso flavoured liquid centre - not all that dissimilar from Trader Joe's Espresso Chocolates. This again was a product so kindly provided to me by Dean-German-Grocery.
I received these chocolates in a packet of 18 (225.0g). It took me a while to get through the lot, I ate them sporadically over the last few weeks, mostly everytime I had a coffee (most morning/evenings!). The presentation was pretty good - the outer packaging looked very Nescafe Esq! I am not a fan of entirely ripping off other brands designs, but it gave the product a degree relevance. The chocolates themselves were nicely presented, each had a double layered wrapper - one nicely designed plastic layer and another foil layer to ensure freshness. As soon as the chocolates were removed from their foil wrappers a very forthcoming coffee scent further fuelled my anticipation ... they smelt absolutely fantastic.
The pieces were wonderfully sized, and fitted in the mouth beautifully. As I have mentioned I enjoyed eating these alongside a nice freshly brewed black coffee - it was a wonderful mix. The dark chocolate was not the highest quality chocolate ever, but it still provided an enjoyable initial cocoa base flavour. The cocoa flavours were quite strong and smokey tasting, and grew in intensity as the melt progressed. The dark chocolate was filled with an espresso filling that was everything I was expecting it to be. It was very thin and runny, and offered a hugely intense coffee hit. The flavours were sharp, earthy and on the whole extremely rich ... immensely enjoyably. The only aspect of the product I didn't enjoy was the thin layer of crystallised sugar between the chocolate and liquid centre. It didn't spoil the product whatsoever, though it slightly distorted the smoothness of the chocolate and liquid centre.
Overall these were hugely enjoyable chocolates, largely due to the fact that they didn't hold back on the strength of the coffee flavour. The dark chocolate was of a good enough standard, and provided a reasonably tasty base set of flavours. The real shining star of the product though was of course the filling. The product came billed as espresso strength and they simply didn't fail in delivery. This is one I would very much recommend to like minded chocolate coffee addicts - there are very few better ways to get your fix.
8.7 out of 10
Kcal 470 Fat 18.8g Carbs 71.5g (per 100.0g)
I am a big fan of the Cadbury Crunchie so I was happy to pick up a bag of these Cadbury Crunchie Nuggets for only 50p in my local Woolworths - bargain eh!?. Described as 'milk chocolates with honeycomb centres', I have my own theory to how these are made. Personally I don't think these are finely crafted Crunchie pieces, but I reckon they are offcuts from the honeycomb used in the original bar, just dipped in milk chocolate ... I don't think I'm wrong!
The product came in 200g bag that contained a huge amount of nugget pieces. I liked the look of the packaging, the foil material not only gave it a nice contemporary look, but also kept the pieces relatively fresh looking. I can't say I was all too impressed with the look of the nuggets themselves. They varied in size hugely, and the pack contained several minuscule pieces that were just a pain to eat. The presentation wasn't all that bad, what the product lacked in looks it made up for in its aroma. The foil packaging meant the product maintained a pretty alluring chocolaty, sweet smell.
As I mentioned above the pieces were wide ranging in their size, this meant they were not only awkward to eat, but also variable in their taste. Some pieces were so small they contained no honeycomb at all, and were just small pieces of chocolate that weren't big enough to create a meaningful impression in regards to taste. The pieces that did contain honeycomb were pretty fair. Due to size of the nuggets they didn't have the same slightly moistened honeycomb texture like in the original bar, it was just more of a standard crunch. The taste of the honeycomb was also more straightforward than the bar. The burnt sugar type flavours were still present, though the nuggets lacked the full on honey flavours of the original Crunchie. I ate the whole bag over two sittings, despite a sickly sweetness eventually catching up with me the product felt largely unfulfilling.
Overall these weren't necessarily a bad product, though give me a choice between a bag of these nuggets or a normal Crunchie and the decision would be pretty straight forward. Personally I just didn't like the format, the varying sized pieces just seemed downright awkward. I think there is a potential for a smaller version of the Crunchie ... 'Crunchie Cubes' or something; but by and large I found these tiny pieces inferior to the bar itself. A novel way to use offcuts, but personally I would suggest you just stick with you usual Crunchie.
7.3 out of 10
Friday, 12 December 2008
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
After my review of the Conscious Chocolate Choca Mocha Magic last week a lot of readers got in touch asking where they could get hold of some Conscious bars. If you take a look at the Conscious website they have a list of stockists, as well as an online ordering service - all of which are HERE. Today I tried another bar from their 'sugar free, pesticide free, gluten free, raw & handmade' chocolate range - the 'Fruit Fantasy'. This bar contained some wired an wonderful fruits in the form of figs, dates and sultanas.
I don't think I need to reiterate my dislike for the Conscious packaging again. Since my review of the Choca Mocha Magic, Emma from Conscious has been in contact and has informed me they are currently the reviewing the wrapper situation. One thing that was notable about the appearance with this bar were the evident fruit pieces embedded in the chocolate. Although not very detectable in the photo above, they were very noticeable first-hand. One thing that I have noticed with the Conscious range so far is the strength of the cocoa aromas that the bars have. This bar wasn't quite as striking with its smell as the Choca Mocha Magic, though the cocoa scents were still forthcoming and enticing.
It wasn't just the smell of the chocolate that was enjoyable, but no surprises the taste was rather good as well. The cocoa flavours were strong, but were never what I would describe as bitter. The unsweetened taste of the cocoa was nicely complimented by the sweet flavours of the fruit. Out of the three different fruits the figs were the most prominent and added a pleasant acidic edge to the taste. The dates and sultanas weren't immediately as distinguishable, as the pieces were so small and broken up within the chocolate. As with the Choca Mocha, the texture of the chocolate was very soft and melted nicely in the mouth. I wasn't all that keen on the squished nature of the fruit, I would have preferred larger pieces as their smaller implementation made some blocks feel a tad 'bitty' in their melt. Despite this I still found this a very satisfying bar, the 40.0g certainly made for a sufficient snack.
Overall, although this probably wasn't my favourite chocolate and fruit combination ever, it was still a very unique and enjoyable mix. Unique is a word I keep seeming to use when describing Conscious Chocolate, and there is no doubting their eccentricity. As well as being unique they actually seem to deliver some really fine chocolate - and this bar was another example of this. I would have preferred the fruit pieces implemented in a larger fashion, though they didn't fail on delivering some pleasant flavours to the wonderful chocolate. If you like your chocolate with an added twist of fruit, this is a bar I would recommend.
7.6 out of 10
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Kcal 132 Fat 2.9g Carbs 24.9g
When I see the 'Seeds of Change' brand I instantly think organic pasta sauces and soups. So when I saw this 'Chocolate and Raisin Cereal Bar' sitting in my local OneStop shop I was intrigued to say the least. Constituting of 'chocolate chips, raisins, oat flakes, crisped rice and corn flakes', I thought I would give this a run through the ChocolateMission rating system.
The product came in a deceivingly large looking 36.0g bar. I say deceivingly as it actually looked very thick, bigger than your average chocolate bar anyway. Lifting the bar up revealed this was misleading - a lot of the product was formed of very light cereal pieces. The outer packaging looked a bit plain for my liking. The white background struck me as quite unimaginative, there is definitely room for improvement there. Aesthetically the actual product wasn't up to much either. I guess it is to be expected from a cereal bar, but it looked very shoddily put together. For instance one end of the bar was crammed full of raisins, whilst the other contained none whatsoever. As if the look of the product hadn't set my expectations low enough, the smell was hardly inspiring either. The product only had a minor sweet, dried fruit smell which was far from enticing in the slightest.
Despite the poor presentation the taste of the product wasn't altogether that bad. The bar was nicely held together by a sticky honey glaze that gave the bar an ever present sweet flavour. Though the chocolate chips were not as portioned as generously as they could have been, where present they brought a creamy, chocolaty edge to the dominant wheaty flavours of the cereal. By far the most exciting flavours of the bar came from the raisins, which unlike their uninspiring smell, actually added a nice extra sweet, fruitiness to each bite. Despite the bar feeling quite light, each bite actually felt quite dense, what with the ingredients packed tightly in, it was actually a surprisingly fulfilling bar.
Overall this was thankfully a product that tasted a whole let better than it looked. Seeds of Change aren't going to be winning any prizes with this product in a beauty contest, but as cereal bars go this wasn't half bad. The bar had a nice base formed of different cereals that was held together well by the sweet honey. The real flavours came from the added chocolate and raisins, that where present, offered unique creamy, sweet flavours to the taste. For people who like their cereal bars I would actually recommend this bar, for people like me who are none to fussed by this sector of the market, this is probably just another you can let pass you by.
6.8 out of 10
Kcal 570 Fat 39.0g Carbs 49.0g (per 100.0g)
I was pretty excited when I saw this bar in the latest package Dean-German-Grocery sent me. I hadn't seen this line of Lindt before, but I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a few from the Lindt Mousses range. Much as I did with the near identical Milka Amavel range, I thought I would start off with the most obvious milk chocolate mousse flavour. The bar on pack came described as 'milk chocolate, filled with milk chocolate mousse (36%)'.
As I expected the product came beautifully presented. It came in a 140g bar that provided me with three pretty fulfilling servings. As with other similar mousse filled offerings, the bar was a lot thicker in order to accommodate the deep filled blocks. The outer cardboard packaging looked classy, combining a stylish gold font and very enticing picture. The bar also looked fantastic, the blocks still had the same amount of detail as the flat bars, with the Lindt logo still present on each. The smell of the bar was quite intriguing, it had a chocolaty, coffee type scent. Don't get me wrong it smelt very appetising - it was just a little odd it smelt like a mocha when it had no coffee content listed in the ingredients.
In my opinion, for mousse filled bars to 'work', there has to be a flavour distinction between the outer coating chocolate and the mousse filling. Luckily this was something this bar did very well. The packaging didn't care to mention the cocoa content of either the solid chocolate or the filling, though it did mention the hydrogenated vegetable fats. Normally I would turn my nose up at this, though in this instance I can see why they were implemented - in order to achieve the fantastic smooth textures. Both layers of the bar complimented each other superbly. The solid chocolate had a luxuriously creamy milky taste that was heavily noted with a delicious hazelnut intensity. The melt of the outer chocolate was fantastically soft, and slowly revealed the lighter centers. The aerated, smooth mousse fillings perfectly added an extra surge of stronger cocoa flavours that really left a lasting impression in the mouth. Despite the light nature of the fillings, each block delivered a fantastically rich experience.
Overall the flavour progression of this bar was simply fantastic, and really implemented the mousse filling format well. This bar reminded me a lot of the Milka Amavel Mousse au Chocolat - the distinction between the outer chocolates and mouse fillings were largely the same; with the more cocoa intensive mousse nicely complimenting the creamier solid chocolate coating. As ever with Lindt this was a product of all round quality - crafted superbly in both presentation and actual chocolate - highly recommended.
8.8 out of 10
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Kcal 404 Fat 19.0g Carbs 55.2g (per 100.0g)
It seems I have found yet another product with some branding issues, similar to the Mars /Milky Way fiasco we have from the UK to US. Having looked over at Cybele's review of Ferrero Mon Cheri at Candyblog - it appears that the American version of Mon Cheri is actually rather like the Ferrero Kusschen - a truffle like product containing hazelnuts. The European version of the Ferrero Mon Cheri I reviewed today, sent to me by Dean-German-Grocery was formed of a cherry surrounded by a 'special liqueur, coated in plain chocolate'.
The pack I sampled contained ten chocolates (105.0g), five of which I was happy to give away to let my housemates sample. I liked the presentation of the product - the box featured some very nice graphics and fonts, and was printed onto a very high quality glossy material. The chocolates looked almost identical to the Ferrero Kusschen, they had beautifully presented two layered wrappers and were a nice shape to fit in the mouth. The pieces didn't offer much in the way of an aroma, there were slight indications of cocoa in and amongst a predominantly sweet smell, but it was not all that apparent.
I am guessing you have already had a peek at the score for this product, so I will reveal to you now there were two fundamental things wrong with the Mon Cheri. The first was the liqueur - it brought back eerie memories of the Lindt Christmas Punch ... to be honest I don't know what type of liqueur they were aiming for here... brandy? cherry schnapps? By my account it didn't taste like either ... frankly it just tasted cheap and horrible. Obviously the main focus of the product was the inclusion of the cherry piece and to be honest I didn't enjoy that much either. Its taste was dominated by the benign liqueur, and its texture had a horrible mushy feel - none to pleasant. My lack of enjoyment of the main theme of the product was a bit of a shame given the quality of the plain chocolate - it had a relatively appealing unsweetened milky taste with an enjoyable smooth melt. By the time I had got round to my third piece I actually found myself dispensing of both the inner liqueur and cherry and just eating the outer chocolate - a pretty crazy thing to do given the main focus of the product, but hey I am not going to lie.
Overall these have to go down as one of the poorer Ferrero products I have tried. My enjoyment of this product was solely limited to the outer chocolate, the cherry piece and liqueur were as you have probably gathered really not to my taste. I am sure there will be a number of you who are in complete disagreement with me on this one, but I have to tell it how I perceive it. I mentioned above I let my housemates finish off the pack and they actually quite enjoyed them, so there is proof there is definitely some enjoyment to be had from these ... sadly just not for me.
6.2 out of 10
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
It has been a long while since I last reviewed a Montezuma's product. It is not that I have actively been avoiding the brand, but at the same time previous products haven't really inspired me to seek more. Anyway, today I decided to give them another go, and sampled the oddly named 'Connie' bar. This bar was formed of a solid base of milk chocolate that was littered with nibbled hazelnuts.
I still find the presentation of Montezuma's products very puzzling - on one hand the outer packaging is superb. The cardboard boxes are nicely designed and coloured, and even contain a good amount of information about the sourcing of the organic ingredients. When it comes to the aesthetics of the bar itself though, the product was really lacking. The chocolate simply looked plain, with no personality whatsoever. I was also disappointed to see the size of the hazelnut pieces - they looked tiny amongst the chocolate. The bar didn't offer too much in the way of a forthcoming aroma. I could detect a slight milky, chocolaty scent, though it wasn't that strong at all.
I have had a few milk chocolate Montezuma's bars now, and most the time I seem to come to the same conclusion. The taste of the milk chocolate is good, but lacking a real defining edge to make it really stand out from the many outstanding chocolates on the market. Despite the 34% cocoa solids, the taste was predominantly milky based, it is pleasant but at the same time quite forgettable ... there aren't really elements to the taste that really impose themselves on the consumer. The melt of the chocolate was pretty good - nicely paced and relatively thick, BUT ... and this is a big BUT!! The chopped hazelnuts completely ruined its smoothness with their sharp edges - to the point it actually felt like it was scratching the top of my mouth! Not only were the hazelnut pieces detrimental to the texture but they also added pretty much nothing to the taste. At times a slight nuttiness could be detected,though these instances were to few and far between.
Overall I hate really laying into a local brand, but as far as chocolate and nut combinations this was pretty poor. The milk chocolate was ok, but nothing more than average - the real disappointment though was the hazelnuts. Once again this was further evidence that hazelnuts are so much better when implemented whole. Their chopped nature in this bar not only meant they added very little to the taste, but also caused the bar to have a horribly rough, grainy texture. This isn't a bar I would recommend, your far better off with the Ritter Sport Whole Hazelnuts bars.
6.6 out of 10
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Kcal 506 Fat 32.0g Fat(sats) 20.0g Carbs 49.0g (per 100.0g)
I have sampled quite a few chilli containing bars now - Milka, Hotel Chocolat and Montezuma's to name a few. One of the most common requests I have frequently received subsequent to these reviews is for a review of this Lindt Excellence Chilli bar. Given the quality of the rest of the Excellence range it wasn't as if I need much persuasion from Dean-German-Grocery to try this 'fine dark chocolate with chilli extract' offering.
I sampled this chocolate in two 50.0g sittings, this provided me with two more than adequate servings. Lindt refrained from over stating the chilli content on the packaging, the classy style of the Excellence range was maintained with just the simple inclusion of one red chill image ... sometimes I think manufactures go a bit over the top including emblems of fire etc - no such problem here. The chocolate looked no different to any other dark chocolate bar from the Excellence line - it had a nice shiny surface with nicely imprinted logos. As ever the chocolate had a fantastically forthcoming, fresh smell - the aroma was noticeably sweeter than other Lindt dark chocolate offerings.
Much as the smell suggested the cocoa intensiveness was noticeably more subdued. The dark chocolate was of a 49% solids recipe that I thought suited the bar superbly. The texture was sublime, it melted at a nice rate and allowed for good flavour progression. The taste of the dark chocolate was a lot creamier and sweeter than the 70% bar, the aftertaste was significantly shorter, though this was compensated for by the chilli element. The chilli didn't contribute massively to the overall taste until the later stages of its development, upon where spiced, fruity elements left a nice parting set of flavours. The chilli also brought a terrific warming sensation to the feel of the chocolate in the mouth - it was wonderfully balanced and not overdone meaning its presence was roundly welcome. The combination of the chocolate and the chilli made for both a rich and satisfying chocolate.
Overall this was one of the better chilli containing bars I have sampled on Chocolate Mission, and has only bettered by the Hotel Chocolat offering. I did hugely enjoy the 49% cocoa dark chocolate used in this bar, however there was a part of me that was wondering how the highly regarded 85% or 70% Lindt chocolates would have handled the added chilli. Unfortunately it doesn't look like we will be able to gauge that anytime soon, but in the mean time this is still a hugely enjoyable bar of chocolate. For those looking for chocolate with an extra fiery kick, I would recommend this as one of the better, and more affordable options on the market.
Kcal 183 Fat 11.5g Carbs 17.9g
My experiences with the UK Milky Way brand have been a bit up and down. I did really enjoy the standard Milky Way bar, though the Milky Way Crispy Rolls are currently holding down a spot in the lowest rated table. Because of this I didn't know what to expect from these Milky Way Magic Stars - well apart from the fact they were 'star-shaped pieces of aerated milk chocolate' ... they sounded safe enough.
These came in a 33.0g packet which contained about 25 small star pieces. The packaging was relatively attractive, though the material used didn't do the best job at keeping the product fresh. As you will see above the individual star pieces looked quite nicely crafted but didn't look all that appetising due to their dusty and unkempt looking surfaces. I can't say they smelt much better either. There was a faint milky smell, however it smelt quite musty ... almost sour.
Well thankfully the taste wasn't as bad as the smell. The chocolate obviously wasn't of the best quality, however it did have some degree of appeal. The sweet, milky taste was passable, though the flavours soon became a little boring due to their one dimensional form. The aerated texture was delivered relatively well, especially considering each of the pieces were so small. As aerated chocolate goes, these Milky Way Magic Stars aren't up there with the Aero or Cadbury Wispa ... these simply just didn't match them for taste. The 33.0g bag didn't provide a fulfilling snack - I was still relatively hungry after eating these.
Overall these were really weren't the best of products on the market, as I have mentioned above there are far better alternatives in the aerated chocolate market. I guess a great deal of the appeal with these is supposed to be the star shapes aimed at kids - but I even found the presentation of these slightly off the mark, the dusty complexion of the chocolate just really didn't look all that appetising. I personally won't ever be bothering with these again, though I guess aerated chocolate fans may want to try them.
6.8 out of 10
Monday, 8 December 2008
Kcal 160 Fat 7.5g Fat(sats) 2.9g Carbs 21.2g
Cadbury really have got themselves in a bit of a pickle with the branding of their cereal bars. Back in July I reviewed the Cadbury Snack Raisin Cereal Bar ... a product that looks absolutely no different to the Raisin variant of this Cadbury Brunchbar range (see HERE). That Raisin variant seems to be the most readily available - I see multi packs in the supermarkets all the time, though today I found this Hazelnut variant accommodating a vending machine on my university campus.
Comprising of 'oats, bran flakes, hazelnuts, crispies & honey in a bed of Cadbury's milk chocolate' it seemed like the perfect option for breakfast on the run. Although weighing in at 35.0g it was a pretty fulfilling option and certainly did the job of tieing my hunger over till mid-morning. The product was presented well in a fresh keeping and well designed foil wrapper. It was nice to finally come across a cereal bar/flapjack product that wasn't all half stuck to the insides when I opened it. The bar didn't have much of a forthcoming smell, there was a sweet honey and nut type aroma, though this was very subtle.
In comparison to the quite bland Cadbury Snack Raisin Cereal Bar, I enjoyed this product a little more, however it was still lacking real defining flavours. Much like in the Snack Bar, the milk chocolate tasted fantastic - it had a lovely sweet milky flavour that wasn't to dissimilar from Dairy Milk. Unfortunately it just wasn't generously portioned enough, it was just way too thin to leave a lasting impact against the denser cereal mix. The cereal mix itself had a sweet chewy consistency thanks to the added honey. The cereal mix was noticeably more nutty than in the Snack Bar, the presence of the hazelnut was definitely a welcome addition to the mix. This was a relatively fulfilling snack given the size, though the aftertaste was very short lived and the product failed to really leave me with a lasting flavour impression.
Overall this bar did its job in providing me with a quick fix breakfast, but there is still room for improvement. In comparison to the Snack Raisin Cereal Bar the added hazelnut gave the cereal mix a bit more flavour, though the coating of milk chocolate was equally as thin and lacking the desired chocolaty hit. I am not a huge fan or cereal bars and the such, but I did get a reasonable amount of satisfaction from this product, for that reason if your looking for a quick, fulfilling solution I would recommend this bar.
7.4 out of 10
Kcal 184 Fat 11.8g Carbs 16.9g (per 35.0g)
I must admit that I have been largely ignoring the Green & Black's brand, mostly due to the mediocre experiences I had with both the Butterscotch and White Chocolate variants earlier in the year. I have received many an e-mail since then from readers informing me how good the range is. Taking this into consideration I decided to give Green & Black's another go, and today sampled the Maya Gold, which was comprised of 'dark chocolate with orange & spices'.
The first thing I looked at on the back of the bar was what spices were included - a detail I came to find wasn't listed. I do quite like the packaging with Green & Black's, it isn't quite near the standard of Lindt, Hotel Chocolat etc, but the design is generally nice and I like the colour coding used for the flavours. I also thought the design work on the bar was good - the G&B logos displayed on the surface of each block aesthetically offered a bit of interest. A nice fruity orange scent became very evident once the bar was released from the foil layer. The smell also offered evidence of the spices, I could detect an underlying nutmeg type influence.
The orange and spice elements didn't just leave their impact on the product in the smell, they also had a rather big say in the taste. The product had a reasonably nice melt, with the flavours growing in intensity as it progressed. The dark chocolate on its own was not the most flavoursome, offering quite little in the way of strong cocoa flavours. Thankfully the influence of the orange was in particular quite strong and made for a very long fruity taste. Elements of cinnamon and peppery type flavours noted the aftertaste ... in regards to flavour progression this bar was really quite strong. As you can see from the picture above I sampled this bar in a 35.0g format, this proved a very satisfying amount to eat with my afternoon coffee.
Overall my belief in the Green & Black's brand has somewhat been rekindled with this offering. Personally I don't think the quality of dark chocolate was that high, it just seemed to lack a real defining flavour base. Thankfully, as the smell suggested the added orange and spice elements were quite impactful and made for quite a strong overall taste. As far as chocolate orange combinations go this wasn't my favourite, but this is still a reasonably good bar of chocolate. I shall be dipping into the Green & Black's brand again soon.
8.0 out of 10
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Kcal 220 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 37.0g
CandyPirate have recently got hold of a load of New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) goodies, and have been kind enough to send me across a few samples. Included in their latest package was this Clark bar, which consisted of 'honeycomb peanut butter crisp, with a chocolatey covering'. Yes indeed this bar as Cybele at Candyblog would put it, incorporated the famous mockolate (no cocoa butter!!). Anyway I wasn't going to let that put me off - especially where theres peanut butter involved.
The bar came in a 49.6g serving - this proved to be a sufficient snack. I wasn't all that sure about the presentation of the product. The packaging looked a little plain to me, a little stuck in between retro and just old fashioned. Though not setting the world alight with its looks, the plastic wrapper maintained a degree of freshness. The bar like the wrapper was a bit plain looking, but once cross-sectioned I thought the middle looked pretty appetising. I enjoyed the smell of the peanut butter that emanated once the wrapper was opened, however was a bit surprised at the lack of aromas from the chocolate.
Now even though my expectations of the 'mockolate' were really rather low, I couldn't help but be surprised at the pretty poor quality. The outer coating felt extremely greasy to touch, and just didn't feel altogether that nice in the mouth. Even with the extra oils that were obviously present, the melt of the outer chocolate was quite lazy, and had a slightly granular texture. The flavours weren't much better either, it had a very sweet taste with an element of smokiness in its aftertaste. Though smokey flavours can be quite appropriate in some bars, it seemed largely out of context here. At this point this bar seemed destined for sheer disaster, however the rather good peanut butter centre rescued some credibility. The centre was likeable to the Cadbury Crispy Crunch and the Nestle Butterfinger, though was not quite as crispy and had a softer chewier consistency. The nut flavours were forthcoming and luckily dominated the taste of the chocolate. The extra sweetness of the honey brought an extra dimension to the buttery nut flavours, though as you can imagine it did make the overall taste very sweet indeed, and it did get a little sickly towards the end of the bar.
Overall the degree to which you enjoy this bar will purely be dependant on your prior expectations . If your expecting an all round good chocolate bar with a peanut butter flavoured centre your going to be disappointed - simply put, the coating is pretty terrible and among the worst chocolate I have tasted. However, if your looking for a nicely flavoured peanut butter bar, and aren't too fussed about the rest of it , then there's probably some enjoyment you can get out of this product.
6.8 out of 10
Kcal 550 Fat 35.5g Fat(sats) 20.5g Carbs 49.5g (per 100.0g)
This Milka Feuer (Fire) review rounds up my look at the limited edition Milka 'Elements' range. You may recall in the past few weeks me looking at the Milka Wasser (Water), Luft (Air) & Erde (Earth), all of which have offered some interesting flavour variants, though hardly set the Chocolate Mission rating system alight. Excuse the pun, but I was hoping this final variant that Dean-German-Grocery sent me - 'Feuer' would change all that. Comprised of 'Alpine Milk chocolate with a cocoa creme chili flavoured filling', this bar really suggested it could light some fires .... ok ok I will stop now :D
The bar came in the standard 100.0g Milka form and provided me with two reasonably satisfying servings. The packaging looked nice with the usual purple Milka theme, I thought the fire and the chili image displayed on the front communicated the essence of the product well. The chocolate nicely incorporated the usual Milka logo on each block and the cocoa cream looked well portioned when the bar was cross-sectioned. The chili element wasn't apparent in either the presentation or smell of the bar. The aroma on offer was no different to the usual pleasantness of the Alpine Milk Chocolate.
The outer Alpine Milk chocolate carried the inner cocoa creme nicely. The initial milky flavours of the chocolate nicely preceded the more intense flavours of the centre, and revealed the filling at a nice rate. The transition of the creamy outer chocolate to the stronger tasting centre was an enjoyable contrast. I am firmly of the belief that Milka Alpine Milk is one of the better milk chocolate 'flavour carriers'. The cocoa creme was just as smooth as the solid chocolate, though had a lighter, whipped density. The actual cocoa flavours were not that amplified, though the chili element was very evident during the aftertaste. The taste and warmth of the chili was more forthcoming than I was expecting, though it must be said it didn't take long for these effects to leave the mouth due to the exceptionally fast melt of both the outer chocolate and the creme. Though the chili was highly detectable I would have have liked it to have been a bit stronger - I guess this was Milka understandably playing on the safe side.
Overall this was a reasonably good offering from Milka, though it didn't quite live up to the levels of some of the other bars from the range. The milkiness of the chocolate on the whole rather toned down the effect of the chili - it was a nice contrast but just meant the chili needed a little bit more strength to the make the taste last that little bit longer. If you are interested in trying chili flavoured chocolate, but are normally put off by the fact most chili containing bars are dark chocolate, this would be a bar I recommend.
7.8 out of 10
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Kcal 513 Fat 29.1g Fat(sats) 16.6g Carbs 55.9g (per 100.0g)
I really am wondering If I will ever see the end of the Ritter Sport range? Don't get me wrong I hope I don't ... it just seems that whenever I think I must be nearing the end of all their offerings, Dean-German-Grocery manage to magic up another ten or so variants I haven't tried. Today's bar of choice was the Ritter Sport Raisins & Hazelnuts, formed of 'milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts. Fruit and nut mixes are one of faves (when done properly!!), and I was pretty optimistic that Ritter Sport could pull it off given their impressive portfolio.
This bar came in the usual 100.0g, 16 block format. I was pleased to see Hazelnuts on the packaging rather than almonds ... one look at my Ritter Sport Whole Almonds review will tell you why. Speaking of the nuts, I must comment on how well portioned they looked in the bar - every single block seemed to have a healthy dosage of hazelnuts poking out every which way. The wrapper claimed that the raisins were far more heavily portioned (17%), than the hazelnuts (7%), though one look at the bar suggested otherwise ... whatever it looked well presented. The bar had a remarkably strong nutty aroma. It smelt absolutely fantastic and really set my expectations of what was to come.
The milk chocolate once again delivered another instance of fine flavours. Despite the fruit and nut ingredients taking up a lot of space in the bar, the chocolate was still very prevalent in the grand scheme of the taste, and provided a delicious milky, chocolaty base. Although the hazelnuts were not implemented whole as in the Whole Hazelnuts bars, they still provided a strong nutty, earthy taste. They didn't quite provide the same sort of crunch to the texture, though this was partially atoned for by the Raisins that added an extra degree of interest with their soft chewiness. As well as adding to the texture, the raisins contributed some sweet, fruity flavours to the taste that contrasted nicely with the more savoury flavours of the hazelnuts. 50.0g of this provided a very enjoyable and fulfilling snack.
Overall just as I was hoping, Ritter Sport delivered a very high standard fruit and nut bar. I would go as far as saying that this one is up there with the best of them, including the Hotel Chocolat Crostini Fruit & Nut and the Toblerone Fruit & Nut. The mix of the hazelnuts and raisins was near perfection, with just about the right amount of each superbly complimenting the milk chocolate. If the bar included whole hazelnuts and a slightly better standard milk chocolate, it would be really putting pressure on the upper end of the Chocolate Mission spectrum. For the minute though this is yet another from the Ritter Sport range I would recommend.