Thursday, 30 April 2009

April 30th: Mikado Milk Chocolate

Kcal 11 Fat 0.5g Fat(sats) 0.3g Carbs 1.5g (per 2.3g biscuit)

During the past week I have received over twenty requests for me to review this product so I have jumped it right to the front of the review queue. Over the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to try some of Glico's Pocky range from Japan and was surprised to find that Glico had released a product right on my very own doorstep in collaboration with Kraft Foods. These Mikado have actually been in my local Tesco for a good few months, though it was only recently that Kraft rolled out their promotional material in form of a rather hilarious advert (See HERE). Mikado is a pretty simple product and constitutes of 'thin biscuit sticks coated in milk chocolate', today I decided to see what all the fuss was about. 

I am aware that the bigger Mikado packs are actually available for 59p in Tescos at the moment, however when I got there they were all sold out and had to settle for a more expensive 39.0g pack from my local Co-Op. I immediately liked the clear and friendly aesthetics of the packaging and liked the way the central red circle and white background grounded the product in its Japanese heritage. Inside the box the sticks were kept within a foil package that not only seemed to maintain the sticks in fabulous condition, but also made sure that the sweet biscuity scents smelt exceedingly fresh and tempting.

The first thing I noticed about the sticks was that the milk chocolate actually looked a lot thicker that I thought it would be. As well as looking more tempting it also tasted a whole lot better than I expected and really delivered some fine creamy, cocoa flavours with its wonderfully smooth taste. The chocolate was not only stronger in flavour than I expected but also had a very pleasant thick silky feel as it melted from the biscuit. The chocolate was not the only element that I was resoundingly pleased with. The biscuit sticks were also surprisingly flavoursome with some honey and butter notes very evident within the dominant sweet wheaty flavours. My only criticism of this product is the fact that it was so ridiculously moreish that the 39.0g pack felt woefully inadequate. Indeed they are low in calories and a good option for those in need of a chocolate hit on a diet, however it is certainly not a snack that provides a great deal of fulfillment.

Overall I would say that Glico have produced a fabulous product here and it is little surprise that the Mikado brand is causing such a buzz. The product delivers a wonderful chocolate and biscuit combination with its own incredibly moreish nature providing its only real negative. If you have been unsure on whether to invest in some Pocky from Japan then I would recommend these as a good basis to judge whether the brand is for you. As you can probably ascertain from this review this was a product that I very much enjoyed and will definitely be buying again in the near future. If chocolate biscuits are your thing then there are no excuses for you not to try these.

8.3 out of 10
 

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

April 29th: Hershey's Thingamajig

Kcal 220 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 9.0g Carbs 25.0g

Having read Cybele's fantastic review of the Hershey's Thingamajig (See HERE), when offered the chance to sample it for myself by Yankee Soda & Candy I was never going to let this Limited Edition slip me by. The Thingamajig is a spin off from the Hershey's Watchamacallit - a bar I reviewed rather amateurishly way back in January 2008 (See HERE). According to Cybele the caramel layer from the Watchamacallit is now gone - there certainly wasn't one included in the Thingamajig. The difference between the two bars came in the rice crispies cereal with the rice in the Thingamajig being cocoa flavoured. The construction of the rest of the bar remained the same in that it contained a peanut butter layer and was coated in milk chocolate.

Like many Limited Editions in America this bar was slightly smaller than the standard Watchamacallit and weighed 42.0g. Other reviews I have read have remarked that the presentation of the product isn't up to much, though I would disagree and say it was better than your average. I thought the brand name was very suitable, whilst the wrapper displayed the theme and content of the bar well with its striking fonts and appropriate red background. The bar itself didn't look half shabby either; the cross-section revealed the peanut butter to be rather plentiful and the complexion of the chocolate appeared unblemished despite the large number of air miles. I must say I also enjoyed the aroma of the product. The peanut element came very much to the fore here, and the roasted nutty scents made for a very enticing smell.

Although I have only tried the Whatchamacallit a few times I knew its taste well enough to come to the conclusion that things were not all the different here. The milk chocolate coating was unspectacular and despite admittedly providing the desired chocolate flavour hit it just seemed a little simple with its predominantly weak milky flavours. The differentiation with this bar was supposed to come in the form of its cocoa flavour crispies - frankly I didn't perceive there to be too much difference. The additional cocoa flavours were mild to say the least and did little to create a meaningful impact on the overall taste. That said the cereal did seem to have an extra crispness due to the loss of the moist caramel. Personally I thought this wasn't a bad thing as it gave the creamy and salty peanut butter layer more of say in terms of impact on the taste. The 42.0g provided a nice snack though I was kinda wishing it was that little bit larger after eating it.

Overall at the heart of the matter this was still a nice candy bar, though by my reckoning it was a little bit of a disappointment as it didn't offer that much more than the Watchamacallit. I thought the loss of the caramel might be detrimental on the product, however when it came to it I actually liked the drier crunchy texture this allowed for. The cocoa flavour cereal was in reality very little different to the standard rice, though I did get a little extra flavour from the peanut butter element and enjoyed the mix of the sweet and salty flavours. I wouldn't say this is a 'must try' Limited Edition but I would recommend it to fans of chocolate and peanut butter combinations.

7.6 out of 10

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

April 28th: Kit Kat Chunky White / Peanut Butter


Although all my recent Kit Kat experiences have come from Japan, Dean-German-Grocery this week reminded me that they indeed have a few exclusive Kit Kat products of their own over in Germany. One of these comes in the form of the Kit Kat Chunky White - a bar that replaces the traditional milk chocolate coating with a healthy dose of white chocolate. As well as sending me this exclusive White variant Dean-German-Grocery so kindly also sent across some 'Peanut Butter' Kit Kat Chunkys. Although I reviewed this bar way back in February last year (See HERE for amateurish review!), I thought it would be rude not to do a comparative review between our UK manufactured bar and the German one.

Below are my thoughts on each of the two bars:

Kit Kat Chunky White:

Kcal 264 Fat 14.5g Carbs 29.6g (per 48.0g bar)

This bar came in a 48.0g size that certainly didn't hold back in terms of its calorie and fat content - its lucky that this was one very fulfilling snack.

The packaging was all rather neat with the traditional 'Chunky' style foil wrapper replicated with just a white theme incorporated. Although a pain to get a decent picture of (sorry!!), the bar itself looked mightily impressive and I liked the way the milk chocolate interspersed in the wafer contrasted with the pale coloured coating.

The smell had a very enticing sweet dairy focus which followed through into the taste. The white chocolate reminded me very much so of the Nestle Die Weisse bar in that its flavours were very sweet, but had a very moreish milky mellowness about them. The white chocolate melted a lovely rate and with a nice smoothness to reveal the crisp wafer that lay below. The creme sandwiched in between the wafer brought some very pleasant stronger milk chocolate elements to the taste, which delivered a very nice additional chocolate hit to the standard wheat flavours.

Overall I am really quite bemused why this bar is not available in the UK as it certainly maintains the same level of quality exemplified by the rest of the Kit Kat Chunky range. The white chocolate standard is pretty good and if you are familiar with the Nestle Die Weisse or Milkybar brands you will largely know what to expect. This is a bar that I would definitely have again and on this basis I would very much recommend it.

8.5 out of 10


Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter:

Kcal 269 Fat 16.0g Carbs 27.0g (per 50.0g bar)

The Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter that we get here in the UK is a bar that I often frequent if I have an urge for a chocolate and peanut butter combination. Due to this I thought it only fair that I compare the bar we get here, and the bar available in Germany ... any excuse eh!? :)

I will be honest with you now ... I noticed very little differences between the two products ... if any! The bar came in the same 50.0g form and contained exactly the same nutritional information. One difference that I am guessing you guys have all spotted already was with the packaging - as you can see above the German product was colored in a darker shade of yellow which was quite the contrast compared to the more vivid yellow on the UK bar. Personally I didn't have any preference and thought they both looked good in their own unique ways.

As soon as I opened the wrapper things got all rather familiar. Some very familiar and tempting roasted peanut scents emerged from the German bar filling me with a great anticipation. In regards to taste the differences were virtually non existent. The milk chocolate was of the same quality in that it wasn't the greatest ever but still did the job of delivering the all important chocolate hit to proceedings. This bar was of course all about the peanut butter and although I thought the German bar was slightly saltier the overall variance was very little. The same creamy, sweet flavour influences from the chocolate and wafer elements were wonderfully complimented by the salty, buttery flavours of the smooth filling, culminating in a taste that as rich as it was tasty.

Overall I still stand by my review of a year ago in that the peanut butter in this bar is very good, but just isn't as good as the one found in Reese's products. Admittedly this is somewhat made up for by the better quality chocolate - which still makes this a firm favourite of mine. As I have described here I wouldn't get too caught up in trying yourself to see if there is any variation in our UK bar or the German one ... in truth there are minimal differences. If your after a readily available dose of chocolate and peanut butter though you can do very little wrong here.

8.5 out of 10

April 28th: Nestle Treasures Renew Dark Chocolate Truffle

Kcal 220 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 10.0g Carbs 23.0g (per 43.0g)

Before I start my own reviews I always try to take a look at what other people have had to say about the product. For this Nestle Treasures Bar however this wasn't actually possible ... I couldn't find another single review!? It seems *IShop4YouII* have sent me a rather rare product ... or so the lack of Internet reviews suggests. Why the product is named 'Renew' I simply don't know!? On the pack it came described as 'dark chocolate truffle with a creamy filling and crunchy cocoa bits'.

The bar came in a 85.0g size that suggested it be served in two portions. I ate one 'portion' ... but errr never got round to eating the other ... I think you can tell where this is all going :) In regards to the product aesthetics it was all rather sound. I wasn't overly sure on the product claiming it was 'a natural source of antioxidants', though any product coming out of the US at present that has the words 'dark chocolate' on it seems to be clambering on this bandwagon. The blocks were divided up relatively well with each sporting a Nestle logo. Despite nuts not being mentioned anywhere in the ingredients list the bar had a nutty, hazelnut smell ... I was both confused and a little worried at this point.

To be frank I got very little enjoyment from this chocolate. The bar was simply extremely reserved in the release of its flavours. Only at the latter stages of the melt did any flavours worth mentioning really develop. This all wasn't helped by the fact that the texture of the chocolate was waxy, oily, ridiculously slow to melt and with no distinction between the supposed outer and inner truffle layers. To be frank at times it felt like I had a flavourless lump in my mouth ... it really struggled that much. The flavours when they did develop offered very little other than a curious weak, musty, cooking chocolate like taste. The only chocolaty bursts came from the 'roasted cocoa bean' pieces that lingered amongst centre of each block. These delivered some cocoa flavours, though left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. The lack of flavour and poor textures culminated to what was a very unsatisfying chocolate.

Overall I am coming to the conclusion that other people who ate this product may well have just not bothered writing reviews on the basis that the chocolate didn't deserve it. I must say it has been quite the challenge writing a review on a chocolate that offered little in terms of flavours. This is a bar that I would frankly discourage you from buying - its not the worst chocolate I have ever tasted but it was at the same time bad enough for half of it to get binned. I have a few more bars from this Nestle Treasure range to come ... surely things can only get better!?

4.6 out of 10

Monday, 27 April 2009

April 27th: Hersheys Mounds


Kcal 230 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 10.0g Carbs 29.0g

A week or so a go I gave Hersheys' Almond Joy bar a review and came to the conclusion that it was actually superior to the Bounty bar that we get here in the UK. Well along with the Almond Joy Yankee Soda & Candy were kind enough to include this Hersheys Mounds for me to sample. The Mounds bar is pretty much the same as the Almond Joy, though is covered in dark chocolate and doesn't have the almond nuts placed ontop ... basically it is Hershey's take on the Bounty Dark.

One thing I couldn't help but notice with this bar was the huge amount of saturated fat that it included. 10.0g constitutes for 50% of an adults GDA ... would you really expect this much from just a single 49.0g chocolate bar!? Despite the high nutritional values I thought the presentation was pretty good. Compared to the Bounty Dark the coconut did not appear as white or fluffy though I still thought it looked particularly appetising and liked the fact the two pieces were protected by a cardboard sleeve. The aroma of the product was nothing particularly exciting though some relative cocoa scents could be detected once the wrapper was open.

The ingredients list described the chocolate as semi-sweet, however by reckoning I would more describe it as semi-flavoured. It was frankly pretty disappointing and way too reserved in its flavours. The melt was smooth though didn't have the desired thickness which certainly didn't help the quite meagre flavours that it substantiated. The flavours that were present were mostly detectable in the aftertaste where some somewhat mild cocoa flavours at least exerted some sort of chocolate element to the taste. Despite the disappointing chocolate the middle coconut was really quite exquisite. Just like the Almond Joy it had a dense, moist texture that certainly helped the nutty milk flavours have a long sustaining impact on the taste. I ate the whole 49.0g all in one sitting as just half would certainly have not fulfilled my hunger.

Overall this is probably a product you wont want to frequent too often ... well not if you want to eat yourself to an early grave whilst eating a bar where there is a superior alternative. Although the dark chocolate on the Bounty Dark is hardly among the best going it is still superior to the quite flavourless chocolate implemented on this Hersheys Mounds. Although the coconut element was an awful lot better and thoroughly enjoyable, If I was to choose a coconut based Hersheys product I would go for the Almond Joy everytime. A case of nearly but not quite for Hersheys and this bar.

7.5 out of 10

April 27th: Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Soft Oaties Oat & Chocolate Chip

Kcal 181 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 3.0g Carbs 24.0g

This was a product I randomly picked up in my University library vending machine ... Yes I was in the library, a student actually working whatever next!? For one reason or another I was actually feeling rather inclined for a cookie like product - described on pack as a 'oat, wheat and chocolate chip cookie' this seemed an option to satisfy this craving.

The product came in a single piece form and weighed in at 40.0g. The packaging was nothing special, though the combination of the matted outer material and inner foil ensured freshness. Aesthetically the cookie looked pretty large though nothing really made it stand out in any shape or form ... this was really just a chocolate chip cookie with oats. Opening the packet I was met with a very weird sweet smell. It had a cakey manner about it, though it also smelt quite oddly fruity ... people who have had Nutri-Grain bars will know the aroma I am talking about. 

This was a product that whilst I was consuming I really couldn't make up my mind whether I was enjoying it or not ... after the experience I would unfortunately say a little more the latter. The texture was very odd for a product billed as a cookie. It was not hard or crunchy in any manner, but was more a halfway house between a flapjack and cake ... frankly it came across as a mildly soggy biscuit. The oats and wheat elements made for pleasant enough cereal based background flavours, though this was somewhat dominated by a lingering syrupy sweetness that was obviously delivering the moistness in the texture. The sweetness was at times overbearing and not particularly welcome. The chocolate chips actually delivered nice enough chocolate flavour bursts, they could of perhaps of done with a few more but the amount present was sufficient enough. The rather stodgy texture made this quite a filling a product, however the sweet taste made it partially hard to eat in its entirety. 

Overall I think at the heart of this product there were some nice ideas, however Kellogg's spoilt them by including a syrup type substance that came at detriment to both the resulting taste and texture. When I assign scores to products I deeply consider whether I would a) recommend it to others? and b) would I have it again myself? Despite this not being an awful product in any sense the answer to both the previous would be a straight 'no'. Kellogg's have a few refinements to make with this one.

6.4 out of 10 


Sunday, 26 April 2009

April 26th: Lindt Mousse au Chocolat Zimt

Kcal 570.0g Fat 39.0g Carbs 50.0g (per 100.0g)

Last Christmas thanks to Dean-German-Grocery I got the opportunity to review a lot of bars from Germany that incorporated cinnamon as a flavour enhancer. It seems that Christmas isn't the only period where it is used, as in my latest package DGG included this Lindt Mousse au Chocolat Zimt bar - a product combining 'milk chocolate with a chocolate and cinnamon flavoured mousse centre'. Having already enjoyed the 'Milk' and 'Dark' variants in the range I was expecting good things.

Staying consistent with the previously mentioned 'Milk' and 'Dark' bars this 'Zimt' offering came in a 140.0g form and was presented with a real touch of class. The cinnamon flavour of the bar was communicated well with some small cinnamon stick illustrations on the front of the pack. I am not quite sure what the additional golden coloured stars were for? Maybe this was a seasonal bar after all!? As with the other variants the chocolate was beautifully crafted with the Lindt logo cleanly moulded into each nicely sized block. Piercing the foil wrapper I was immediately met with a very striking smell. It had obvious spice elements, though it had a strong sweetness about it ... to be honest it wasn't all that enticing and smelt more like an incense candle than an appetising chocolate aroma.

The smell of the bar was really indicative of the taste, which altogether didn't reflect all that well on the chocolate. Despite the layering of the outer chocolate and mousse centre providing some superb contrastive textures, when it came to flavours there was nothing different whatsoever. The product as a whole had a very one dimensional taste that to be honest proved to be very monotonous. The cinnamon element was very strong indeed, and took precedence over every other flavour influence in the bar. As well dominating the cream, hazelnut and cocoa flavours the cinnamon element also had an artificial like sweetness to it. Personally I just didn't really enjoy the flavour that much - it was just a little too much and didn't allow the other characteristics of the bar to 'come to the party'.

Overall this was on the whole a pretty big disappointment considering the other bars from the range managed to score very high 8.8's on the ChocolateMission scale. The score for this bar would have been a lot lower had it not been for the excellent presentation and texture variances; the taste was just really quite disappointing, which made for a pretty unsatisfying bar. Unless you completely love your cinnamon flavoured chocolate I would suggest your best avoiding this variant and choosing another from this fine range.

7.1 out of 10

Saturday, 25 April 2009

April 25th: Milka Loffel Ei Egg

Kcal 570 Fat 37.0g Carbs 52.0g (per 100.0g)

Easter is long gone now but this didn't stop Dean-German-Grocery sending me some of Milka's finest products for the season. The single serving egg market is one that is full of different offerings ranging from the traditional Cadbury Creme Egg to the more diverse Nestle Smarties Shaker Egg. Suffice to say I have reviewed a great number of them over the course of the last two years, though I have to admit todays Milka offering blew most of them completely out the water. Formed of 'milk chocolate with a milk creme filling' it certainly looked like a product with a lot of potential.

As you can see
above this was one uniquely presented proposition. The product came in a traditional carton box and contained four 34.0g eggs each foil wrapped. Personally I thought this presentation style was utterly fantastic, and combined both nice aesthetic looks with an utterly fun concept. When split open the eggs appeared to have thick milk chocolate shells and a generous white fluffy centre. In addition to the fantastic presentation the aroma that emanated from each egg was suitably dairy led with atempting hint of nut.

In the carton a spoon was included to eat e
ach egg but I much preferred using my hands. The milk chocolate that surrounded the filling was the normal Milka Alpine Milk and delivered its creamy, hazelnut noted flavours with its usual awesome thick melt. The real treat with this product though was the absolutely heavenly milk creme fillings. I was expecting a very light textured mousse but what I actually encountered was a far thicker dense whipped cream. It tasted absolutely delicious with the cream and vanilla flavours providing some divine, long lasting flavours. The filling was sweet yet was more notable for its rich dairy flavours which made a single egg an extremely satisfying experience.

Overall I never thought the day would come
where I would rank an egg higher than the Cadbury Creme but this Milka Loffel Ei definitely deserves it. This egg combined a wonderful exterior chocolate with a really quite luxurious inner milk creme that oozed both flavour and a wonderfully smooth texture. If you like your Milka products then this is simply a must try - it is probably one of my favourite offerings of theirs I have ever reviewed. I have pushed this post right to the front of the review queue as I am not sure how much longer these will be around for. I strongly suggest having a pop over to Dean-German-Grocery if you fancy trying them.

9.0 out of 10

April 25th: Niederegger Marzipan Rum & Walnut / Espresso


I have to thank ChocolateMission reader Phil for making this review possible - he so kindly bought these bars from his local shop in Newcastle. Ever since trying the delicious original Niederegger Marzipan bar I been looking to get hold of some of their flavoured marzipan variants. Well thanks to Phil this became a possibility; and he sent across two different Niederegger variants the 'Espresso' and the 'Rum and Walnut'. 

Both of these bars came in a different format to the tried, tested and liked 'loaf' bar, and came in a long fingers that were split into six blocks. Although the pieces still contained a nice amount of detail with the Niederegger logos, I wasn't all that taken by the long, thin bar format. For starters the blocks weren't that easy to break off, which actually made splitting them up quite messy. 

My thoughts on how they both tasted are below:

Niederegger Marzipan Rum & Walnut: 

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

Unlike any other Niederegger bar I have tried so far this one actually implemented the marzipan within a milk chocolate coating. The product emanated a very obvious alcohol element in its aroma that I thought smelt particularly strong.

The rum smell was very indicative of the taste, and despite it only constituting 1.3% of the total bar it was very dominant. The milk chocolate base was all but brushed aside in the grand scheme of things, though it added a degree of additional sweetness. The marzipan more acted like a sponge for the rum and it had a noticeably more moist texture than any other Niederegger variant I have tried. The very small walnut, almond and hazelnut pieces did bring a slight nuttiness, though they largely figured in the aftertaste. As I have said the rum was indeed quite strong, and unfortunately not all that great tasting. It was sweet, yet sharp and to be honest just tasted like a cheap liqueur.

Overall this was a disappointment, with the rum element having an overstated presence. Not only did it ruin the taste, it also partially negated the texture of the marzipan as it gave it a rather soggy feel in the mouth. This isn't a variant I would really recommend.

6.6 out of 10


Niederegger Marzipan Espresso:
 
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Given my love for both coffee and Niederegger marzipan this surely had to be a match made in heaven!? The additional coffee element was immediately evident from the smell and was very apparent between the sweet, nutty scents.

The dark chocolate was its usual unspectacular self, though it did lay some foundation cocoa flavours from which the coffee and marzipan elements built on nicely. After the initial unsweetened chocolate flavour base was established the coffee was next evident in taste. It was just about the right strength and despite its espresso billing wasn't overly imposing. Unlike the texture of Rum & Walnut the marzipan retained its firm, crumbly texture with the delicious buttery, nut flavours following the coffee hit soon after. 

Overall the combination of the coffee and marzipan was balanced nicely and definitely complimented each other well. I would love to try this implemented in the 'loaf' format as I think it would have been delivered that little bit better had the pieces not been so small. If you like coffee and marzipan this is definitely a product you should be looking out for.

8.3 out of 10


Friday, 24 April 2009

April 24th: Nestle Pixie Caramel

Kcal 235 Fat 9.1g Fat(sats) 7.4g Carbs 35.3g

I am still slowly making my way through the package of goodies sent from New Zealand by Shopenzed. Today I thought I would give this Nestle Pixie Caramel bar a try, a product that came billed as 'dark chocolate covered chewy caramel'. This seemed like a pretty fair proposition to me and was definitely one I was looking forward to trying.

The bar came in a 50.0g form that I ate over the course of a single sitting. I thought the presentation of the entire product was a little mixed. I think you will agree the look of the wrapper wasn't the most attractive, though the bar when cross-sectioned looked relatively enticing with both the chocolate and caramel appearing well proportioned. The smell of the product failed to tempt me quite as much as the appearance - the mild sweet smells didn't really give much of an indication to the taste.

As I mentioned earlier I ate the whole bar over the course of a single sitting ... it ultimately proved to be a very fulfilling snack. What the product gave in substantiality though, it unfortunately lacked in flavour. The outer chocolate in particular failed to register much to shout about in terms of its taste. Although the melt of the chocolate was well paced and smooth it lacked any sort of telling flavours, which immediately meant I found the bar somewhat disappointing. The caramel element didn't particularly fair all that much better. It had a nice, firm, dense texture, yet again it lacked many of the flavour elements you normally associate with good caramels. It had some sweet and mild fudge notes, but just lacked the desired butter and salt notes that would have put it up there with the better caramels.

Overall this was a disappointing product that sadly lacked volume in its flavours. Both the chocolate (which was supposed to be dark!?) and caramel did not the deliver the flavour hits that I would have liked which ultimately made for a really quite underwhelming experience. Although I would recommend this as a good bar to have if you are feeling hungry, it isn't one I will be recommending based on the prestige of its taste. This was far from being a bad product but its potential far great exceeded its performance. Suffice to say it unfortunately failed to live up to high expectations.

7.1 out of 10

April 24th: Lindt Caipirinha

Kcal 489 Fat 27.0g Carbs 54.0g (per 100.0g)

Dean-German-Grocery do send me a wide range of products, and I think this must have been my first encounter with a chocolate and lime combination. The Caipirinha according to Wiki is 'Brazil national cocktail', and is made with cachaca, sugar and lime. Incorporating this theme this Lindt bar was formed of 'dark chocolate with a lime flavoured rum filling' - including 10% lime and 3% rum. Lime isn't generally what I would regard as a favourite flavour of mine, but as ever I was willing to give anything a go.

This was another Lindt bar that came in the beautiful looking 'pod' like design. The 100.0g split into twelve separate pods, which I ate in four different bouts of three. In regards to looks, the product looked awesome. The wrapper was a vibrant green colour, and displayed the nature of the flavour variant well. I was also very impressed by the actual look of the chocolate - as ever the pod design looked interesting, whilst the middle lime filling looked unique with its green colour. The aroma was another impressive part to the presentation - the usual delicious Lindt dark chocolate cocoa smells were forthcoming, and were enhanced by some additional sweet, fruity hints.

Lets not hang around here ... this bar tasted fantastic. It had a wide variety of elements to its taste, which made it one of the most unique tasting chocolates I have had for a long while. The dark chocolate formula wasn't actually stated on the pack, though I am willing to bet it was about a 50% recipe. I say that as it wasn't one of the strongest Lindt dark chocolates I have tasted, though it still carried a great deal of flavour. It was a chocolate that substantiated its cocoa flavours as soon as it was in the mouth, which suited this bar entirely due to the sharp flavours of the centre being quite dominant once revealed. The dark chocolate was smooth in its taste, which complimented the stronger tasting lime filling. The filling was nothing short of superb - it was like a lime curd, with just a touch of alcohol. Its flavours were citrusy, juicy and to the point ... though still had a sweet moreishness, and jam like texture. Three blocks (pods) at a time provided a really substantial serving, and well complimented an after dinner coffee.

Overall the combination of the dark chocolate and lime cocktail fillings made for an utterly fantastic synergy of flavours. I wasn't sure about this combination before I tried it, though on reflection I would have to say this was one of the more enjoyable bars I have had this year. The lime flavours were exerted forcefully, yet kept in check by the sugary sweetness. What was probably more important was that the rum wasn't too overstated in the taste, whilst the dark chocolate still held its own against the strongly flavoured filling. If your intrigued by this bar it would be well worth you checking out - recommended!

8.7 out of 10

Thursday, 23 April 2009

April 23rd: Cadbury Energy Scroggin

Kcal 233 Fat 13.9g Fat(sats) 6.6g Carbs 24.1g

Little over a week ago I had an underwhelming experience with the Cadbury Energy bar. I thought it was a chocolate that frankly didn't know what it wanted to be; it seemed to be stuck at the junction between wanting to be a dark chocolate or a milk chocolate. Despite this I was actually quite looking forward to trying todays bar - the Cadbury Energy Scroggin which was again another bar provided to me by Shopenzed. Scroggin is the Australian/New Zealand word for trail mix, and generally involves a fruit and nut combination (more HERE!). This bar today came described as 'Rich chocolate packed with raisins and almonds'.

Although available in a larger size I was quite happy sampling this 50.0g snack bar. The wrapper looked very similar to the Cadbury Energy bar with its red colouring but of course included the added extra 'Scroggin' branding and fruit and nut pictures. When I opened the bar I was disappointed to find that it was inconveniently split into two really quite large chunks (see above!). I would have much preferred it to have followed suite with most other bars with it being split into smaller pieces, though I must say that both the fruit and nut ingredients looked well portioned. As well as adding aesthetic benefits the added elements also contributed nicely to the smell. The aroma had a very fruity nature about it and it certainly heightened my anticipation.

It would have been ridiculous to expect anything more from the chocolate itself and it of course delivered the same experience I had with the standard Energy bar. The 40% recipe again seemed to lack direction and delivered neither a creamy or cocoa rich taste - again I will reiterate that it was not a bad chocolate, but just one that needed to be more decisive in its flavours. In isolation the chocolate was again unspectacular, however the additional almonds and raisins certainly brought an added interest. Both were plentiful in number and certainly made a great impression on the taste. The almonds brought some delicious savoury roasted notes to the taste, whilst the fruit added a wonderful contrasting sweetness. The addition of these elements added another dimension to the Energy chocolate and made for a more satisfying snack.

Overall having been a little disappointed with the original Cadbury Energy I was quite impressed with the way that the simple additions of both the fruit and nut made for a far more flavoursome experience. I understand that the Energy recipe is quite old and traditional, though my opinion is that it needs a little refinement. Forgetting the average nature of the chocolate the raisins and almonds were as good as any fruit and nut combination we have here in the UK and certainly made this bar a little bit more exciting. If your a fruit and nut fan this is probably a bar worth you at least trying.

7.8 out of 10

April 23rd: Dove Desserts Tiramisu

Kcal 200 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 24.0g (per 40.0g - 5 pieces)

November last year I took my first look at the Dove Desserts range with my review of the Banana Foster variant. Well thanks once again to *IShop4YouII* I today got to try yet another from the selection in the form of the 'Tiramisu' offering. Considering I am quite the fan of a Tiramisu dessert I was rather looking forward to the prospect of 'caramel infused with a luscious taste of Tiramisu, surrounded by Dove dark chocolate'.

As with the Banana Foster variant I received these in a 165.0g pack. I thought the presentation was all rather good, though I was surprised that the outer packaging looked nearly exactly the same as the other variants from the range - there seemed to be no real effort on display to really distinguish it. The pieces themselves looked relatively appetising, with the inner caramel appearing plentiful in its portioning. Once released from their foil wrappers the chocolates had a really quite distinct sweet, coffee aroma. Personally I thought it smelt a little artificial and could relate to Gigi's reckoning that it was very similar to the powder you get in instant mix cafe latte sachets.

Much as I found when I tried the solus Dove Dark Chocolate bar I really quite enjoyed the dark chocolate when it was tasted in isolation from the inner caramel. Its flavours were not overly cocoa rich, though its unsweetened taste was friendly, welcoming and thoroughly deserving of a better caramel filling than the one that was delivered. Frankly I thought the Tiramisu flavoured caramel was really rather poor. Much like its smell suggested it was very artificial tasting. The coffee element was very one dimensional, and just tasted exceedingly sweet and chemically derived. What I found most disappointing about the Tiramisu caramel was the flavour influences that I was expecting, yet were frankly missing! Where were the liqueur, Mascarpone and Sponge Cake elements? Sadly they just weren't there.

Overall despite the attempts of the fair quality dark chocolate I was left resoundingly disappointed with this Dove flavour variant. I guess delivering a Tiramisu flavour variation was always going to be ambitious - to be honest Mars got nowhere near it here. As I have explained above so many of the key Tiramisu flavours were absent here, leaving just a rather fake and sickly tasting coffee tainted caramel sitting in a okish dark chocolate coating. Unless your really intrigued by these and just can't resist trying a 'Tiramisu' flavoured chocolate I really wouldn't recommend this product.

6.8 out of 10
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