November 13th: Bendicks Bittermints

Kcal 80 Fat 2.9g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 12.9g (per chocolate)

This is a review that has materialised as a result of a request from ChocolateMission reader Phil who asked me to review these back in September. I am not someone who is overly keen on mint and chocolate combinations but when push comes to shove I am more than willing to give them a try. This is a first time outing for the Bendicks brand on ChocolateMission so it is probably worth telling you a little about them. Bendicks produce their goods in Winchester, Hampshire and all of their goods sport one of those fancy Royal stamps of approval (like Colman's mustard and Duchy Original products). Described as 'bitter chocolates with a firm peppermint fondant centre' these just had to be good ... especially if the queen likes them ;)

I am aware that these Bittermints chocolates come in a variety of formats but I just so happened to pick up a 100.0g tube shaped box. The presentation gets a thumbs up from me and I liked the way the product managed to pull off a sleek but non-pretentious look. The outer packaging was designed well with the black background nicely decorated with some stylish looking silver and gold fonts, whilst inside the chocolates were nicely protected with thick, branded green foil wrappers. When cross-sectioned the inner fondant felt very firm and emanated a very powerful peppermint aroma that smelt wonderfully fresh.

I have to say when I first saw how thin the dark chocolate outer layer was and how strong the inner peppermint layer smelt I was expecting the chocolate to be all but lost in the taste. What I did fail to take notice of however was that on the packaging the chocolate was actually stated as 95% cocoa minimum so it should of been of little surprise that this wasn't actually the case. These chocolates were best eaten in two bites and were just perfect for letting them sit on the tongue and melt away as they gained heat. With its 95% cocoa content the chocolate was noticeably strong from the outset and generated a really wonderful strong, unsweetened roasted coffee like flavour note in the mouth. Although the taste came across as somewhat bitter at first the flavours were soon wonderfully balanced by the sugar based peppermint fondant centre. The taste was fantastically balanced with both it's bitter and sweet influences and they provided a full spectrum of flavours in the mouth. Due to the very strong taste just two of these bittermints left me feeling satisfied and refreshed.

Overall I wouldn't ever recommend these as snacking chocolate that has a role for everyday consumption but on the contrary I would recommend them as a very suitable range of choice of chocolates for say after a dinner party or to compliment an afternoon coffee. Despite the layer being extremely thin the actual chocolate content of this product I thought was very good. These might not appeal to the mass market but for those of you who do enjoy rich tasting dark chocolate the quality on offer here was high. As I have stated above the combination of the sweet tasting peppermint centre and the bitter outer chocolate was really well executed and this is what really appealed to me about these chocolates and left me coming back for more. In my opinion I think these are a nice step up from the Nestle After Eights which offer a similar sort of proposition and eating occasion but just aren't as good in quality. I can certainly see myself buying these again at some point again in the future.

8.5 out of 10