Saturday, 28 February 2009

February 28th: Nestle Die Weisse

Kcal 555 Fat 33.0g Fat(sats) 14.5g Carbs 56.6g (per 100.0g)

I am a big fan of our the Nestle Milkybar here in the UK so when Dean-German-Grocery kindly included this Nestle Die Weisse bar in my latest sampling package I was looking forward to seeing how it matched up. Described as 'Fine Swiss White Chocolate' I was a little bemused to see that the product was actually produced in Frankfurt, Germany ... there was of course some blurb on the back, but not being able to speak/read German I couldn't ascertain anything from it.

The bar came in a 100.0g form that I ate in three portions. The packaging was highly reminiscent to the Milkybar packaging with the same cream and red colours predominant. The chocolate was pretty plain in its presentation, though the foil layer and imprinted Nestle logos did give it a slight touch of class. I was extremely impressed with the smell of the chocolate and found the sweet, vanilla essence like aromas particularly tempting.

I guess unsurprisingly this bar tasted extremely like the UK Nestle Milkybar, but it did have a few slight touches that ultimately made it preferable. As with our UK bar, the chocolate was really quite sweet and made for a product that was best consumed in small doses. It seemed with this bar that the vanilla element played a greater role in the taste, which meant that with the longer melt duration it made for a longer lasting flavour impact in the mouth. The texture was wonderfully silky, and had an extra thick creaminess to its melt that complimented the delightful progression of the milky flavours. Each piece provided a smooth taste that I would describe as a little more mellow than our sharper, sweeter Milkybar.

Overall as aforementioned this is not a chocolate you would want to eat in large quantities, however in small amounts it really is a delightful white chocolate option. In a blind taste test I would be very confident distinguishing this from the Milkybar, as the vanilla flavours were just that little bit more pronounced and lasting in what was a thicker melting texture. Personally I would have to say I prefer this to our UK product, if your a white chocolate fan this is one really worth checking out.

8.7 out of 10

Friday, 27 February 2009

February 27th: Cadbury Fudge Cake Bars

Kcal 210 Fat 8.8g Fat(sats) 5.4g Carbs 30.4g 

This review was requested by ChocolateMission reader Alan, though given my liking for Cadbury Fudge bars I needed little persuasion trying these if I am honest. I picked up this pack of two Cadbury Fudge Cake Bars in my local Tesco just this morning for the sum of 54p. Described as 'two individual chocolate flavoured sponge cakes topped with fudge, covered in milk chocolate', I certainly liked the idea behind the product. Looking at the back of pack I noticed that the 'fudge topping' constituted 39% of the product, which made me like the sound of it even more. 

The product didn't actually state how big it was, but in comparison to a standard Cadbury Fudge, both cakes together were about double the length and four times the thickness. Of course in comparison this made for a far more substantial snack to accompany my mid afternoon coffee. In regards to presentation the packaging differed very little to the standard Cadbury Fudge bar. The cakes themselves looked pretty enticing, and just as expected the fudge layer appeared plentiful sitting on top of the cake. The smell of the product was predominantly led by the cake element. It certainly had a sweet appeal, though to be honest it almost had a generic sort of aroma ... it wasn't as if it really gave the product any distinction. 

As mentioned I ate this with my afternoon coffee, and it certainly provided a pleasant accompaniment in this regard. The outer Cadbury milk chocolate was delicious as always with its thick melting, creamy, dairy led taste. I was disappointed to find it somewhat lacking at the base of the cakes, where I thought it would be thickest ... though this was only a small gripe. The chocolate cake bases were ... well ... chocolate cake bases. They had sweet taste that was noted strongly with vanilla. In addition to this there was a consistent indication of cocoa mostly noticeable in its aftertaste. I was expecting the fudge placed on top of the cake to be softer in texture - almost creme like; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was implemented exactly as in the Cadbury Fudge bars with it retaining its thick, dense texture and sweet toffee like flavours. 

Overall these are a nice product extension by Cadbury and one that I would recommend if your a fan of the original Cadbury Fudge. The milk chocolate coating could have done with being a bit thicker, though in the grand scheme of things this was only a minor criticism. The fudge filling did exactly what you would expect ... its flavours were far from complex, or anything to intricate, however provided a sweet, tasty and very moreish focus for the product. These are far from being spectacular, but I would probably buy them again.

7.4 out of 10


February 27th: Milka Triolade

Kcal 540 Fat 31.5g Fat(sats) 19.0g Carbs 57.0g (per 100.0g)

Phew! After today I never have to answer another e-mail requesting me to review this Milka Triolade bar. Dean-German-Grocery kindly obliged in including one of these huge Triolade bars in my latest sampling package - for those that aren't aware it is formed of 'Milka Alpine Milk Chocolate, Milka White Chocolate and Milka Soft Bitter Chocolate' and is currently available in Germany, Spain and Portugal.

This bar came in a huge 300.0g size, that I shared with a few friends during one hardcore revision session for my finals. I thought the product was presented quite superbly - the distinction between all three layers was highly visible and gave the bar a decorative look. The logo and pictures inscribed on the surface of the pieces were clear cut, and gave the bar a really classy finish. It was commented on by the friends I shared this bar with that it smelt absolutely fantastic. As soon I opened the resealable fold (which didn't need resealing of course!), we were all met with a fantastic waft of dairy smells that had a sweet honey like hint.

Boy did we make a mess eating this bar - the challenge of splitting the blocks up into the three layers was a challenge attempted by many, though it did allow me to taste each of the different chocolate types in isolation aswell as in tandem. The base was formed of the Alpine Milk chocolate which as ever delivered a fantastic array of creamy, milk led cocoa flavours that were wonderfully noted with a touch of hazelnut. I am afraid I found the Milka White Chocolate again far too sweet for my liking - I have substantiated before that Milka White Chocolate in my opinion is far too sugar based, and this was again the case here. My distaste wasn't shared by some of my friends, which involved some quite hilarious 'swapsies' with our segregated layers. I haven't managed to get hold of a Milka Bitter Sweet chocolate bar yet, but from the small sample I tasted from the upper layer of this bar I was reasonably impressed. I liked the fact they weren't trying to pass the chocolate as 'dark' as this really wasn't what it was. It wasn't necessarily more prominent in its cocoa flavours, though the sweetness of the Alpine Milk wasn't present, and it seemed to have a bit more longevity with its nuttier taste. To be honest it was a great addition and complimented the very sweet Alpine Milk and White chocolate layers well.

Overall I wouldn't say this was the greatest tasting Milka bar I have ever had, but it definitely brought a fair share of interest with its unique design and presentation. Milka White Chocolate is simply never going to do it for me ... it just lacks the prestige in its formulation than better white chocolates I have tasted. However, my partiality for Milka Alpine Milk and the great tasting Milka Bitter Sweet chocolate layer made for what was a varied and on the whole enjoyable experience. This is a bar I would recommend you try if you get the chance, if only to see if your skilled enough to split the layers ;)

8.0 out of 10

Thursday, 26 February 2009

February 26th: Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares Totally Chocolatey

Kcal 158 Fat 5.0g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 26.0g

I have come to realise that one of the great perks about running this website is the ever growing number of people that want to send me items to review. Having said that even I was surprised when I was contacted by Kellogg's who asked me if I would review their new Rice Krispies Squares variant 'Totally Chocolatey'. I was surprised due to the fact that their 'Chocolate Caramel' offering took a hell of a beating on the ChocolateMission rating scale (5.1 out of 10! See HERE). Well anyway, Kellogg's continued to surprise me by delivering a huge great box to my doorstep yesterday, which contained a Rice Krispie branded chocolate fondue set and a multi-pack of their new bars. As appreciative as I am, I can still only cast my true thoughts on the bar ... which you can read below.

Kellogg's inform me that a single bar 36.0g will have an RRP of 45p, whilst the multi-pack £1.69. For the purpose of this review I chose to base my perceptions on a single bar. Described as 'toasted Rice Krispies mixed together with chewy chocolate and real milk chocolate chunks' it sounded very similar to the product that GiGi previously commented they had in the US. The bar came presented in a pleasant looking purple foil wrapper, and thankfully seemed to stick to the insides far less than the previously reviewed 'Caramel Chocolate' variant. I liked the look of the bar itself, it simply looked like a long chocolate Rice Krispies cake, with chocolate chunks embedded on top. Once released from the wrapper I was met with some fresh, sweet smelling chocolaty scents that really gave me hope that this bar might well deliver the desired chocolate hit. 

You may recall me being none to impressed with the caramel used to fuse the 'Caramel Chocolate', thankfully this bar seemingly replaced this overly sugar based tasting element with a more cocoa based mix. This meant that the rice pieces actually had more of an impact, and allowed them to substantiate a sweet, yet slightly salted base element to the taste. Within the syrupy glaze that held the bar together the chocolate flavouring could perhaps of been a little stronger, though this was helped to some degree by the chocolate chunks placed on top. Again I would like to have seen these implemented a little more generously, though having now eaten a few of these bars I can confirm the amount does vary a little from product-to-product ... you just need a little luck I guess. A 36.0g bar provided an adequate snack, and complimented both a light sandwich lunch and mid-afternoon tea well. 

Overall I must say that Kellogg's have produced a product here that is superior to the 'Caramel Chocolate', though to be honest it wasn't likely they were going to do worse. The increased impetuous of the cereal meant that the resulting taste seemed far less sugar rooted, which meant that the chocolate flavours could be far more enjoyed, thus delivering my desired chocolate hit. I wouldn't say Kellogg's have created a master piece here but if you enjoyed making chocolate Rice Krispies cakes as a kid, or have kids that like them, these would really are worth you checking out.

7.6 out of 10 


Competition:

RESULTS!!!

THE WINNERS ARE:

  • Richard Sutton, Bracknell
  • P Cai, Edinburgh
  • Jasmine Pang, Coventry
YOUR PRIZES ARE ON THE WAY!!


If you want to be put in a draw for a chance of winning one of these new Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares Totally Chocolatey send the answer to this question to JIM[@]Chocolatemission.net

Q. Which of these is not a variant of Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares:

A) Original Marshmallow
B) Caramel Chocolate
C) Toffee Crunch
D) Crazy Choc 

The closing date is 16.03.09 - Winners announced on the site - please include your address in your entry **DEADLINE EXTENDED!!!**

------------------------------------
Competition Rules

1. Only open to UK & Ireland 
2. Rules can be changed by Jim at anytime

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

February 25th: McVitie's Jaffa Cake Muffin

Kcal 357 Fat 16.1g Fat(sats) 3.1g Carbs 49.2g

One of the most viewed pages on this site is my review of McVitie's Jaffa Cakes (see HERE), it seems that everyone, not just in the UK, has a special place in their hearts for these tremendous little treats. Given this fact I could hardly turn down the opportunity to review this McVitie's Jaffa Cakes Muffin, a product I oddly found in my local petrol station. Described as 'dark chocolate on a light sponge with an orange centre', it pretty much just sounded like one big Jaffa ... mind you that didn't sound like a bad thing to me.

Much like both the other McVitie's muffins I reviewed last month this came in a pretty hefty 88.0g serving - this did me very nicely for an early morning breakfast. I liked the look of the product, it incorporated the usual Jaffa Cakes theme with the standard mixture of the dark blue and orange colours to good effect. The muffin itself looked pretty enticing as well - when cross-sectioned the dark chocolate appeared relatively thick where present, though it must be said the orange filling looked suspectly absent from a large portion of the muffin. I was surprised how absolutely terrific this muffin smelt. As soon as I opened the outer film packaging I was met with a strong array of orangey scents that grew increasingly stronger as I unveiled the muffin from its paper sheath - yummy!!

This was a product that varied in its quality from bite-to-bite. Some mouthfuls literally exploded with flavours, whilst other were just well .. a bit 'meh' really. As you will sort of be able to see from my pictures above, near the top of the muffin there were places where the orange filling was very generously portioned. When eaten in tandem with the places where the dark chocolate was thickly portioned I must say I was in Jaffa Cake heaven. The mixture of the sweet, zesty orangey filling with the unsweetened cocoa was divine - really very very good. As I have said these bites were fantastic, though a lot of others were far less spectacular as they involved mostly just the sponge cake. That being said the sponge cake was still tasty, with a sweet, vanilla led set of flavours, there was nothing wrong with it whatsoever ... just it seemed boring in the context of the other constituents. 

Overall this was another very enjoyable muffin from the McVitie's range, though like the others could have been even better had the orange filling been far more generously portioned. Much like I thought this was going to be, this was in essence a large Jaffa Cake - I don't think there can be many arguments about whether this particular product is a cake or a biscuit. This is a product that I know Jaffa Cakes fans will particularly enjoy - and I would definitely recommend they try get their mitts on one of these rather elusive muffins.   

8.0 out of 10

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

February 24th: Thorntons Mint Bar

Kcal 244 Fat 14.6g Fat(sats) 11.4g Carbs 24.9g

If someone were to ask me what I thought of Thorntons as a brand I wouldn't be entirely sure what to say. Some of their products are pretty awesome (see yesterdays Whipped Fudge!), yet some can be absolutely dire (see Vienesse Truffle Bar). The bar I reviewed today would probably slot right bang in the middle of these two extremes. Consisting of 'milk chocolate, finished with dark chocolate with a peppermint flavoured truffle centre', it all sounded rather good - and I must say after yesterdays success I was quite looking forward to trying this one.

Forming another part of Thorntons' impulse bar range this came in a 45.0g serving. I had no complaints about the presentation, though I think the green effect of the fresh mint leaves may have been a tad overstated. The chocolate bar seemed a bit thicker than the rest of the other Thorntons bars I have reviewed recently. This was all good though the centre did annoyingly crumble everywhere once bitten into. I was relatively taken in by the smell of the product - it gave off a pleasant minty fresh aroma as soon as I opened the wrapper. 

As with yesterdays Whipped Fudge bar the dark chocolate drizzled on the coating was purely for aesthetic reasons and did not factor in the taste whatsoever. The outer milk chocolate had a nice melt and substantiated an enjoyable milk driven cocoa set of flavours. It would have been nice for the mint flavours not to have been present in the outer chocolate, though I guess this would have been a particularly hard thing to ensure. The biggest disappointment with this bar came in its filling. I saw GiGi review the 'Mint Club' over at GiGi Reviews a month or so ago, and this delivered entirely the same proposition. Although presented as a truffle filling it was not smooth to say the least, of course the crystallised peppermint pieces did deliver a welcome bit of texture, but even between these pieces the fillings had a lumpy, dry, sawdusty feel in the mouth. The mint flavours weren't at their best either - the sugary mint pieces were overly portioned and became somewhat overbearing in their sweet taste. For a 45.0g bar this really wasn't that fulfilling, and one look at the saturated fat content will ring alarm bells for some.

Overall I am quickly coming to the conclusion that Thorntons are one of the most frustrating brands ever ... the quality of their products seem to go up and down like a yo-yo. This bar by all accounts wasn't good - not the worst - but still pretty poor. It delivered nothing more than the 'Mint Club', which I guess you would be highly disappointed with if you forked out that little bit extra for something you would expect to be of a more premium quality. I personally wouldn't recommend this bar, and even after yesterdays success it will be awhile before I head back to Thorntons anytime soon.

6.9 out of 10  


Monday, 23 February 2009

February 23rd: Thorntons Whipped Fudge Bar

Kcal 190 Fat 9.9g Fat(sats) 6.7g Carbs 23.9g 

My review of the M&S fudge bar last month gave one of my readers (Stu) the urge to leave a comment regarding his love for Thorntons' attempt at this part of the market. In his comment Stu remarked that he believed the bar was now out of production, however walking into my local Thorntons last week I found this 'Whipped Fudge Bar', which I guess may even be the one he was talking about. Consisting of a 'fudge centre, with a ribbon of caramel covered in milk and dark chocolate', it struck me as an interesting prospect - would the extra sweetness of the caramel be a worthy addition? ... there was only one way to find out!  

Although not stated on the actual product, by my calculation the bar weighed in at approximately 40.0g. The packaging was in the standard Thorntons style, with a matted type wrapper that combined both qualities of freshness and an aesthetically pleasing look. I liked the appearance of the bar, although not the greatest in terms of size, the shot of caramel that was consistent throughout struck me as particularly tempting with its magnificent golden colour and oozing effect once the bar was bitten into. The combination of the sweet scents from the fudge and dairy led cocoa aromas made for what was an enticing smell - I was really looking forward to getting stuck in to this one. 

A real strength of the M&S fudge bar I reviewed last month was the way in which the chocolate melted into the softer fudge layer. This was consistent with this bar, but it also had the addition of the gooey caramel at the centre of each bite, which saved the fudge from becoming overly dry in the mouth. The presence of the dark chocolate was really non apparent in the taste, to be honest decoration aside it was really a non-factor. The actual milk chocolate coating however was particularly pleasant, and substantiated a host of milky, cocoa flavours that were not only instantly imposing but also lasting. Below the chocolate the fudge centre was equally as tasty with a fantastically sweet, buttery clotted cream like taste. Further adding interest to the texture of the fudge, the caramel brought a terrific syrupy, saltiness to the equation .... yum yum yum. The mixture of all these different elements certainly made for a compelling, moreish taste; it must be said though, the resulting sweetness did mean that the entire bar was flirting with being a tad over bearing and sickly. 

Overall this in my opinion, from what I have reviewed so far, is the king of the fudge bars on the market. It combined all of what was great about the M&S fudge bar, and added a fantastic caramel element to further add diversity in both taste and textures. If I was to have to recommend a chocolate, fudge product based on the present market this would have to be the one. This bar has got me thinking though ... Cadbury ... yes you CADBURY!! Take note please ... take the Cadbury Fudge Bar ... double it in size ... add some Cadbury Caramel .... Wooolah - now that would be something special! Need I say more!?    

8.8 out of 10


Sunday, 22 February 2009

February 22nd: Marks & Spencer Caramel & Peanut Bar

Kcal 280 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 6.6g Carbs 28.1g

For a bit of fun I nearly challenged myself to write this review without mentioning the word 'Snickers'. After five minutes I must admit I gave up as it appeared to be pretty much impossible. This bar if you haven't put two and two together yet was M&S's take on our dearly beloved Snickers bar, and was formed of a very familiar sounding 'milk chocolate coated caramel, peanuts and nougat'. Having had both my ups and down with the M&S range so far I did carry a degree of scepticism ... though as I always say 'there was only one way to find out'

The product came in a 55.0g serving that was a whole 7.5g smaller than a standard Snickers. I wasn't all that enamoured with the presentation. There was nothing wrong with the actual bar, just it didn't look quite the monstrous prospect of its comparator. The wrapper was also not the most aesthetically striking, as it used a rather dull brown colour that just really didn't stand out, it cut a rather placid look. The appearance of the product really wasn't allaying any of my preconceived scepticism, and the aroma did little to help it either. The smell was not unpleasant by any means, though the sweet, chocolaty led scents were quite meagre in comparison to the ferocious nutty smells of the Snickers.

My love for the Snickers is not grounded in the individual brilliance of the ingredients, but more in the amalgamation in which they deliver the fantastic overall taste. This bar didn't quite deliver this same mixture, though it still had some individually great aspects. It will come as no surprise that the milk chocolate wasn't all that wonderful. It delivered a fine set of milky flavours, though the cocoa really wasn't a strong enough influence for my liking. The nougat was also relatively unspectacular, it gave a nice chewiness to the texture, though failed to create any sort of impact on the taste. In comparison to the Snickers the real downfall of this bar came in the influence of the peanuts. The peanuts in this M&S version failed in delivering the same salty, nutty flavours that would have really given the taste some interest. I don't think this was down to the proportion of the peanuts, as they were still quite generously present - I am guessing it was purely just the quality of the nuts themselves. I have done an awful lot of bemoaning about this bar already, but I can at last dish out some praise in the way of the caramel. The caramel was quite superb and had a fudgier, syrupy taste than in comparison to the Snickers. I am not necessarily sure it was better ... but it was certainly a little different.

Overall this was in every department inferior to the original Snickers, though as chocolate bars go it was hardly a complete disaster. The synergies between the ingredients that are present in the Snickers just simply weren't present with this bar, and despite a small amount of interest generated by the caramel layer, it really just failed to deliver an experience that was by any means worthy of comparison. This isn't a product I would suggest you go out and buy, but at the same time I wouldn't discourage you if you wish to give it a try. A fair enough attempt at replication by M&S, but this was by all means a 'knock-off-Nigel' version your Snickers.

7.5 out of 10
 

Saturday, 21 February 2009

February 21st: Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond

Kcal 296 Fat 18.2g Fat(sats) 9.2 Carbs 27.5g

Todays bar came all the way from down under, from our good friends at Cadbury Australia. Long term readers will already have seen my review for the Cadbury Whole Nut bar we have here in the UK (if not see HERE!), a bar that used hazelnuts for its nut ingredient. Well by the looks of it, our Aussie pals are not the greatest fans of hazelnuts, as they use almonds to form their Cadbury Dairy Milk nut bar. I was trying to think of a good pun to put here, but could only come up with 'how nuts of them!?' .... for shame!!

As with a few other Cadbury bars I have tried from the Southern Hemisphere this was another that came in a 55.0g serving size. The seven blocks certainly made for a fulfilling snack, though I guess you would hope so too considering the rather large amounts of calories and fat involved. The presentation was usual Cadbury standard, with the foil wrapper ensuring both freshness and relatively good aesthetics. Taking the bar out the wrapper the almonds immediately made their presence felt. Not only were they visually striking, but the smell was instantly noticeable, and to be frank was utterly enticing.

Although I still enjoyed the Cadbury Whole Nut, my main problem with the bar was that despite the Dairy Milk chocolate being delicious, the hazelnuts were a little lifeless and limp in both taste and texture. Well it turns out that things are indeed always done backwards down under as in comparison the chocolate wasn't quite as good, but the nuts were superb ... typical eh? I have said before that in my opinion the Dairy Milk from the Southern Hemisphere isn't quite as good as the stuff here in the UK. Indeed I perceived this again, the taste just didn't seem to have the same degree of creaminess, nor did it have the same thickness in its melt. Saying that ... it was still pretty good :) Where the chocolate was good though, the almonds were simply fantastic. It sounds silly to say this about a mass produced bar but I have never had almonds that were so full of flavour. They delivered a fantastic buttery, roasted influence on the taste, all of which was delivered with a lovely crunchiness due to their whole nut style implementation. 

Overall even though the chocolate wasn't quite up to the standard of our UK Cadbury Whole Nut bar, I have seen fit to give this bar a higher score due to it delivering more with its roasted almonds. The chocolate carried the nuts nicely, though I would love to see these almonds implemented in our UK Dairy Milk as they were just so wonderfully flavoursome. It looks like I have been able to acquire a reliable source for some more goods from the Southern Hemisphere, so this bar has given me great hope of finding something really special. If you come across this bar and are a fan of Cadbury products, I strongly suggest you give it a try.

8.5 out of 10 

Friday, 20 February 2009

February 20th: Hershey's Mr. Goodbar

Kcal 260 Fat 17.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 26.0g

My friends at ISHOP4YOUII have again provided me with another fantastic box of goodies all the way from the US. To be honest with such a fantastic array of products to get stuck into, I didn't quite know where to start - though after a bit of deliberation I decided to sample a Hershey's Mr. Goodbar. I remember reading a while back on Cybele's CandyBlog that the Mr.Goodbar was one of the products in the last few years that has seen its 'real' chocolate removed i.e. the cocoa butter has been taken out. The wrapper displayed the slogan 'made with chocolate and peanuts' ... to be honest I wasn't all that happy seeing sugar and vegetable oil as two of the top three ingredients of the bar.

Despite my hesitancy at the constituents I thought the wrapper was aesthetically pleasing. It was really no frills stuff, but still had quite a classical looking Hershey's appeal. The bar itself was nicely segregated into blocks, with each branded with the Hershey's logo. Turning the bar over revealed that the bar was absolutely stacked full of peanut pieces. In addition to the pleasant look of the peanuts, I was also met by a fantastic smell upon opening the bar. The nutty smell was very forthcoming in and around a sweet chocolaty smell, it was all very appetising indeed.

Much like I found with the Hershey's Fifth Avenue bar I reviewed a few weeks ago, the 'mockolate' didn't prove to actually be all that bad. In truth I thought the milk chocolate was actually rather pleasant, and was just about right in its flavours to compliment the peanuts. The 'chocolate' was quite sweet and creamy, with some strong milky tones coming through in the taste. It was also noticeable that there was no odd Hershey's tangy aftertaste. The sweetness that the chocolate generated was fantastically complimented by the peanuts, which added a delightful saltiness. As well as the salty, nutty flavours, the peanuts delivered a lovely crunchy texture, which actually gave the impression the nuts were quite fresh (although blatantly not!!). The bar came in a 49.0g serving that provided a very satisfying snack, albeit with a plentiful 17.0g of fat, and 7.0g saturated fat ... maybe not one for the dieters.

Overall I came to much the same conclusion with this bar as I did with the Hershey's Fifth Avenue. Despite the chocolate not actually containing cocoa butter, it had a surprisingly pleasant taste and melt - which brought me to a familiar thought of ... How much better did this bar taste when it contained real chocolate? Regardless, I can only judge a bar on its merits now - and in my opinion this was a pretty good tasting bar. If I had to liken this product to anything it would be like a Snickers, just minus the caramel and nougat i.e. a fair standard, sweet 'milk chocolate' which was perfectly complimented by the salty peanuts. If offered one again I definitely wouldn't turn it down.

8.3 out of 10 

Thursday, 19 February 2009

February 19th: Turin Jack Daniel's Whiskey Truffles

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

My local newsagent really does stock some weird (but wonderful) products sometimes, and these Turin Jack Daniel's truffles fall directly into that category. Despite being 'Hecho en Mexico' (product of Mexico), these somehow managed to wind up in a little village shop in West Sussex, England ... all a little puzzling if you ask me. For the relatively small sum of £2 I purchased a pack of these truffles, which came billed as 'chocolates with genuine Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey'. Although not the biggest whiskey connoisseur myself, I enlisted the help of a certain family member who also passed their judgment.

My £2 bought a 60.0g pack that was formed of five individual truffles. The outer-packaging carried the Jack Daniel's theme well, which I guess was pretty lucky considering my brand recognition of 'Turin' was actually zero. The chocolates themselves were also presented nicely with each individually wrapped in a two layered Jack Daniel's themed wrapper. When out their wrappers the chocolates gave off quite a fragrant, alcoholic smell which was highly distinguishable in and amongst the cocoa scents. One minor criticism was that the outer picture did prove to be somewhat misleading, as the fillings were more a transparent syrup rather than the lighter coloured creme like centres pictured on the front of pack.

I have tasted a few liqueur products recently that really have delivered alcoholic flavour bursts that I have deemed OTT, luckily this wasn't the case here, and the fillings delivered a pleasant contribution. The chocolate was nothing really to shout about. Described as 'dark chocolate' on the back of pack, it seemed more of a chocolate stuck inbetween wanting to be milk chocolate and dark chocolate. It didn't really have the milky, creaminess of milk chocolate, though was far too sugar based and sweet to be deemed a dark chocolate. The cocoa flavours were well substantiated, though the product would definitely have benefited from being more decisive in its focus. As aforementioned both myself and my fellow taste tester were impressed by the whiskey centres. They were thick in their texture, which seemed to make the taste of the truffles linger that bit longer in the mouth - always a good thing. In regards to flavours, the malty flavours of the whiskey were forthcoming, yet not overpowering, and did not fail to deliver a substantial contribution to the overall taste. Furthermore the syrupy style implementation took the edge off the whiskey, which made them alot friendlier in their taste than I was expecting. Although these were gone in one sitting they were a satisfying collection of truffles.

Overall I was surprised by the quality of these truffles and must admit I really rather enjoyed them. As I previously mentioned I am not the biggest whiskey fan, though even I could appreciate the eccentric flavours that were brought to these truffles by the Jack Daniel's. The sweetened effect of the syrup style implementation definitely made these a more agreeable, friendly product, though this did not put off my experienced whisky taste testing accomplice, who also commented that the full flavours of the whiskey could still be detected. The product could possibly benefit from leveraging the quality of its chocolate, however I would still recommend these to any Jack Daniel's fans. These are some truffles to watch out for ... I am just wondering what ever next my local shop will crop up with.

8.2 out of 10 

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

February 18th: Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolates

Kcal 160 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 25.0g (per 40.0g - 5 pieces)

Just last week those wonderful folks at *ISHOP4YOUII* kindly sent me across a whole heap of the latest American goodies to try, included in which were these Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolates. Now having reviewed Hershey's milk chocolate in several guises before (Kisses & standard bar) and not been overly bowled by it, I must admit I was pretty sceptical at the promise of a sugar free version. Thankfully I wasn't perturbed by my own preconceptions and gave these a try.

Quite why the nutritional information was displayed in 40.0g servings for a 85.0g pack I don't quite know!? Anyway I ate this bag across two sittings with both occasions providing decent fulfilment. I thought the presentation was all pretty good, with the sugar free nature of the product not overly elaborated on. Each of the branded pieces were contained in foil packets and were of a nice size and thickness. The foil wrappers meant that the blocks were kept fresh, and some nice dairy cocoa scents were soon made apparent upon their opening.

Having seen that Hershey's are now seemingly committed to taking cocoa butter out of their products, I was surprised to see that cocoa butter was second on the ingredients list. Of course topping the bill was our sugar replacement - Malitol. From the very first piece I tried I was really quite shocked ... this actually tasted rather good. This was nothing like the original sugary chocolate with the quite peculiar tangy aftertaste, but was a completely different proposition altogether. The flavours seemed far more creamy, and the lack of ferocity from the absent sugar meant that the overall taste was more mellow and just a little more relaxed. Of course it lacked real flavour progression, and the cocoa flavour development wasn't at its most profound .... but there was just something about the smooth melting, milkiness that gave the taste a real appeal.

Overall this was nowhere near milk chocolate at its finest, but I still must admit I prefer this stuff to the original Hershey's milk chocolate. It is a real middle of the road milk chocolate, with a lot more emphasis on its milk flavours than focus on real cocoa depth - even so I still found it to have a good deal of appeal. As far as diet milk chocolate goes, this has to be one of the finer options available on the market at present. However odd this sounds I think this review is nicely summed up by saying that if I was offered a bar of original Hershey's milk chocolate, or this Sugar Free stuff ... I would choose the Sugar Free bar all day long ... go figure!

8.0 out of 10

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

February 17th: Whizzers Chocolate Beans

Kcal 505 Fat 21.8g Carbs 70.3g (per 100.0g)

To the naked eye these Whizzers Chocolate Beans could be perceived as a 'knock off Nigel' Nestle Smarties product. However, closer inspection reveals that these 'Whizzers Chocolate Beans contain no added dairy ingredients: with every batch laboratory tested!' ... how very reassuring :) These Chocolate Beans were another product sent to me by those fine folk at 'Sweet N Lite', and offer a 'no dairy, no wheat, no gluten' chocolate option for those that need take care with these issues.

I received these in a pack of 50.0g that I rummaged into at random over the course of a few days. The presentation wasn't all that glamorous - the packaging was a simple cellophane packet and the 'Beans' themselves lacked the variation in their colours in comparison to the more vibrant Smarties. The pastel colours were by no means offensive, though they did seem a little subdued, which is a word that could certainly be used to describe the aroma of the 'Beans'. Similarly to Smarties these lacked a smell worth really noting, which if anything was just a little unexciting.

Due to the nature of the product I was quite intrigued to the constituents and studied the ingredients quite closely. I was surprised to see the chocolate actually contained 56% cocoa solids minimum, though was a little less taken a back by this when I tasted them. The sugary shells were well ... sugary shells - they did their job adequately and developed an initial sweetness in the mouth with a satisfying crunch factor. The inner chocolate was forthcoming in its flavours and substantiated an unsweetened cocoa influence on the taste. Admittedly I didn't think the combination of the sweet shells and plain chocolate was the greatest mix, I think the milk chocolate in Nestle Smarties provides a greater synergy. As previously noted I did eat this pack over a few days, and I must say they certainly were a nice little treat to snack on whilst sat at my desk working away.

Overall my conclusion to these Whizzers Chocolate Beans is very similar to that of the Cadbury Highlights ... would I choose them over their comparator products? (in this case Nestle Smarties) ... frankly no! Do I think they are a credible option for people who have restricted diets? ... Yes! Simply put the combination of the unsweetened chocolate and sugary shells can't touch the milk chocolate in Smarties - it just simply doesn't work as well. As I have said though, it is still a highly credible option for those restricted in this part of the market.

7.1 out of 10

Monday, 16 February 2009

February 16th: Eat Natural Cranberries, Hazelnuts, Orange & Milk Chocolate

Kcal 198 Fat 9.8g Fat(sats) 3.2g Carbs 24.3g

I guess this has to be classified as my most relevant review of an Eat Natural product thus far given the fact this one actually contained chocolate of some description. Despite boasting the longest product name in ChocolateMission history (I think!), this bar still didn't manage to quite describe itself fully through its name. It contained all of the mentioned cranberries, hazelnuts, orange and milk chocolate, however also brought peanuts, puffed rice cereal, sultanas and dried apricot into the mix. 

This bar came in a 45.0g size that impressivelly clocked in at under 200 calories. I was sort of bewildered by the presentation of the product - on one hand the wrapper looked rather nifty with its good use of colours and display of information, though I couldn't help but feel that the bar itself cut a rather disfigured, ugly appearance. It must be said the smell was a little more  promising, with some delightful peanutty smells proving rather forthcoming in and amongst the sweet, poignant fruity scents.

As you can imagine the taste was a real lottery, with each bite providing a significantly different experience. On the whole the milk chocolate was quite well implemented, with it providing a highly detectable milky, chocolaty background set of flavours to each bite. Personally I would have loved to have seen it more generously portioned, though I guess that would have affected the 'sub 200 calories' malarkey a bit. All in all the fruit aspects of this bar were pleasant. The combination of the cranberries, apricots and orange did make for quite an acidic, sharp taste, however this was nicely counter balanced by the sugary sweetness of the sultanas. It has to be said the zesty orange peel was the most prominent out of all the fruits, though the cranberries were also highly significant with their tart, berry like flavours. Although the hazelnuts were the choice of nuts mentioned in the name of the product, much like the smell suggested by far the strongest tasting were in fact the peanuts. The peanuts made for a long lasting, sustained taste in the mouth, as well as adding a nice crunchy texture that played nicely against the softer rice cereal.

Overall this was another pretty satisfying product from the Eat Nautral range, and one that I would recommend if you are looking for a 'lighter option' in regards to snacks. The milk chocolate although somewhat lacking in presence, did not lack relevance to the taste, and proved to be ever present in and amongst all the fruit and nut elements. Despite a large portion of the bar being formed by puffed rice cereal the product was actually rather fulfilling, and did me well as a pleasant afternoon snack. Although not my favourite, this is another product I would definitely say is worth looking at from the ever growing Eat Natural range.

7.5 out of 10   


Sunday, 15 February 2009

February 15th: Toffee Crisp Clusters

Kcal 510 Fat 26.9g Fat(sats) 15.5g Carbs 58.5g (per 100.0g)

Having seen the press release for the launch of these only come out little over a month ago (See HERE), I was a little surprised when I saw these on promotion in my local Tesco just last week. I have seen mutterings on the Internet that these are in fact not a new product, but more of a re-release ... I can't say I remember having them before myself so these were new to me anyway. Billed as 'bite sized pieces of milk chocolate, with crisped rice and caramel pieces', I was hoping they would deliver a product of similar quality to the original Toffee Crisp.

As already mentioned I picked up this 150.0g pouch in my local Tesco for a mere £1. The pack didn't last all that long ... only the two sittings in fact, which I guess slightly indicates a small lacking in fulfilment qualities. The pouch looked vibrant, and used the original orange colouring of the Toffee Crisp brand well. Personally I thought the pictures of the pieces displayed on the front of the product were quite misleading, as they looked distinctly bigger than the rather small looking clusters actually in the pack. I must also note that the surfaces of the chocolates cut a 'dusty' complexion, and just didn't look particularly fresh. Despite my slight reservations at the presentation of the pieces I must say the aroma told a rather different story, and delivered some very indicative chocolaty, treacle smells.

Although disappointed by the size of the chocolates aesthetically they did prove to be a nice size to eat. Almost every piece could be enjoyed in one mouthful and more impressively all contained an equal proportion of chocolate, cereal and toffee. I remember one of my main criticisms of the Toffee Crisp was the lack of relevance the milk chocolate had in the taste, with these 'clusters' the milk chocolate definitely seemed more balanced with the caramel and was able to exert a stronger milky, chocolaty influence. I am not normally the greatest proponent of rice cereal, though the crisped rice did a more than adequate job to fuse the pieces together, adding a nice crunchy texture to the chewiness of the caramel and chocolate elements. As previously mentioned these were not the most satisfying of products - 75.0g at a time sounds a lot, though believe me it was easy to get through.

Overall these were an incredibly moreish product that on the whole I found to be very tasty. The toffee element took more of a backseat in comparison to the standard Toffee Crisp bar, though the chocolate did a fine job substantiating a greater presence in the taste. Given the choice out of the original bar and a pouch of these, I would still probably pick the bar due to its ease of eating, though in sharing situations these are definitely an option worthy of consideration. If you see these around in the next few weeks I would encourage you to give them a try.

7.9 out of 10


February 15th: Marks & Spencer Almond, Apricot & Mango Bar

Kcal 265 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 9.7g Carbs 30.1g

M&S aren't a brand to shy away from shamelessly producing copy cat products. One look at their confectionery range reveals that several of their own brand bars are direct rip offs from many already established market offerings. Todays Almond, Apricot & Mango bar exhibited this no better than any other - taken out of its wrapper it would have been almost impossible to distinguish this product from the Eat Natural Almond, Apricot and Yogurt bar I reviewed last month. It was worth noting however that this bar did in fact differ, in that it offered the added element of dried mango into the mixture of the almond, apricot, coconut and puffed rice.

Despite weighing in at the same size (50.0g), I did notice a difference in the nutritional values to the Eat Natural bar. This M&S variation contained another 50 or so calories, as well as another couple of grams of fat ... dieters take note!! As I have mentioned above the bar in its appearance looked identical to the Eat Natural one - the ingredients looked well dispersed and the yogurt coating seemingly fused the bar together well, avoiding the annoyance of small parts breaking off all over the place. In regards to the smell of the product I detected a far greater nuttier presence with this bar. The aroma of the almonds was all too apparent as soon as I opened the wrapper - something that would also latter transpire to the taste.

Of course to be thorough I simply had to do a side by side taste test between this and the Eat Natural variant. To be honest there was very little differentiation between the two, though the odd bite of the M&S bar did deliver a somewhat unwelcome side to its taste. The outer yogurt coating was nicely implemented, with its dried milk like sweet flavours nicely noted with a tangy, soured aftertaste. I am actually quite a frequent purchaser of mango, and it is one of my favourite fruits. Despite it being hard to differentiate between the mango and apricot elements, the ever so slightly more acidic mango was a very welcome addition to the taste. That said it could possibly have been greater in its portioning, as it only constituted 8% of the bar. Surprisingly it was the nut element that delivered the unfortunate side to this bar. The almond and coconut pieces were largely of the same standard as the Eat Natural variant, delivering some wonderful earthy,milky, buttery flavours. However, half way through consuming the bar I came across a poor quality almond, which really upset the balance of the taste. This truly was a bad tasting nut - and gave a rather harsh metallic taste in the mouth that proved unfortunately hard to rid off. To be honest it did somewhat spoil my overall enjoyment of the product, however I think it would be duly unfair to mark M&S down to badly for this as it may have just been an unlucky occurrence. 

Overall I did have a bit of an unsatisfactory experience with this bar, though I am going to give M&S the benefit of the doubt and put this down to my own bad luck at picking up a bar with a bad nut in it. My enjoyment of this bar up until that point was on a par, if not greater than its Eat Natural rival, something largely due to the addition of mango to the overall taste. Frankly if offered either/or between one of these and the Eat Natural Apricot, Almond & Yogurt I would go for the latter, a decision based purely on my own personal experience - in truth though I think there is very little to distinguish them.

7.4 out of 10 

 

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