Sunday, 31 May 2009

May 31st: Fazer Liqueur Fills Vodka

Kcal 390 Fat 8.6g Fat(sats) 5.1g Carbs 68.0g (per 100.0g)

Dean-German-Grocery have sent me some pretty interesting products to review, but these Fazer Liqueur Fills Vodka have to be up there as one of the most unique. Fazer are a brand who originate from Finland and I have previously reviewed their quite delicious 'Peppermint Cremes'. Todays product however took less of a conventional form, and constituted of 'chocolates filled with vodka (4.7%).

I got sent a 150.0g box of these chocolates, which I shared with a few friends to get some further opinions. The presentation of the product was fairly standard, the outer cardboard packaging was reasonably well designed and each of the chocolates were nicely wrapped in branded foil wrappers. I was slightly disappointed at the look of the chocolates themselves as they lacked branding and had to be eaten in one mouthful as biting into them caused the fillings to spill everywhere. The smell of the pieces wasn't all the enticing either - they were largely scentless though the minor cocoa scents that were present were not particularly that fresh smelling.

As I have mentioned I did try these along with three other 'co-reviewers', as I must admit I am not a particularly big fan of vodka. The outer chocolate seemed reasonable enough - much like the smell suggested they were not the most forthcoming in their flavours, however once the melt was quite far progressed an unsweetened, milky type taste had been established. At the centre of the pieces lay the vodka fillings which were contained within a thin layer of crystallised sugar. This sugar layer did partially contain the sharpness of the alcohol, but the vodka really did have quite a strong initial kick. Personally I just didn't think there was much of a relationship between the chocolate and the vodka - this was a few shared with the majority of the people who tried them. We all had about four chocolates each but had no real desire to eat anymore.

Overall these are a product which had a lot of novelty value, but just didn't back it up in the taste. The mixture of the plain chocolate and fluid vodka centres just didn't really really work in my opinion, there was nothing particularly wrong with either element ... it was just their combination wasn't all that great. As I have said they did have a sense of novelty, and certainly provided a bit of a talking point and excitement prior to trying them. In that sense I would recommend them, but not as good quality chocolates.

6.9 out of 10

Saturday, 30 May 2009

May 30th: Zotter Bacon Bits

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

Having really enjoyed my first bar from Zotter I decided to be a little more adventurous with my next pick from their range. 2008 seemed to be the year of the chocolate and chilli combinations - 2009 looks set to be the year of the chocolate and bacon concoction with more and more products appearing on the market. Today I got to grips with Zotter's Bacon Bits bar which came described as 'dark chocolate filled with nougat and pork crackling'. I can't say I am the biggest fan of pork crackling as a pub snack let alone as an ingredient to a chocolate bar - this one was going to be interesting.

In keeping with the rest of the Zotter range this bar came in a 70.0g serving size - thank god the nutritional values were not given - I have a feeling they may have been as high as anything we have seen yet. Once again I was very impressed with presentation of the product. The outer paper wrapper gave the bar a sophisticated look, whilst the inner foil wrapper maintained the chocolate nicely. The smell was like nothing I have smelt before - it had a nice backbone of sweet cocoa scents though in their midst I could detect undertones of nut and other more savoury influences.

I really was a bit cautious about this product as I didn't know what the hell to expect. Thankfully on the whole everything was really rather good. The outer chocolate was formed of a 70% recipe though was more subdued in its flavours than I was expecting. It managed to substantiate a nice degree of cocoa flavours in the mouth, though I perhaps would have expected just a touch more strength. Frankly this mattered very little as once the outer chocolate had smoothly melted the lighter nougat filling was revealed and it was bursting with flavours. The nougat filling started off with a very hazelnut centric taste with the woody elements of the nuts coming through strongly. Amongst the nougat though were small granule sized pieces of pork crackling and they brought some wonderful and interesting developments to the taste. The predominantly sweet flavours of the chocolate and nougat were built upon nicely by the crackling pieces that released bursts of salty, smokey flavours that certainly didn't fail to make a positive impression. The overall taste was very rich indeed as the flavours seemed to continually develop in the mouth before leaving a pleasant aftertaste of cocoa and what seemed like a note of cinnamon spice. 

Overall this was another fantastic bar from the Zotter range and the contrast of the flavours brought a taste experience that was as unique as it was diverse. Much like we thought last year with chilli and chocolate, the combination of bacon and chocolate is one that doesn't make all that much sense in your head. As this bar proves though the mixture of the two can certainly work when put in the hands of a high class manufacturer - this product was simply delicious and one that I would definitely have again. If you are curious about trying a bacon chocolate bar I honestly suggest you try this one - its exceptional.

8.6 out of 10 


Friday, 29 May 2009

May 29th: Milka Gipfeltraum

Kcal 575 Fat 38.0g Fat(sats) 21.5g Carbs 52.5g (per 100.0g)

Included in my latest package from Dean-German-Grocery I was lucky to be the recipient of the new summer flavours from the Milka range. A direct translation of the name of this bar 'Milka Gipfeltraum' is 'Milka Dream Summit' which obviously revealed absolutely nothing about the flavour whatsoever. A closer inspection of the packaging revealed that the bar was formed of 'Apline milk chocolate with a blueberry creme filling and crunchy caramel pieces' ... it was a unique combination I will give it that.

The bar came in the very familiar 100.0g size which took me about three sitings to eat in its entirety. As I have mentioned I thought the branding was a little weak, though the pictures on the packaging gave the bar a relative appeal displaying the blueberry fruits and a realistic looking cross section. Speaking of cross sections you can see above that the filling had a rather off purple colouring to it!? I did find myself asking when blueberries had in actual fact been purple in colour? What was worrying me more however was the sweet artificial fruity smell that was emanating from the bar - frankly it smelt cheap and not all that enticing.

Remembering back to my review of the Milka Strawberry Yogurt a few months ago that bar was showing all these worrying signs yet managed to actually pull it out the bag in regards to the taste. Unfortunately I didn't perceive this to be the case here and thought this was a product that was disappointing. The outer Alpine Milk chocolate as ever delivered a creamy, hazelnut noted chocolate though things went noticeable downhill from here. Just as the smell suggested the blueberry element was extremely artificial in its overly sweet taste and just lacked the real fruity flavours that I was hoping it would deliver. To compound the already sweet taste the 'caramel pieces' seemed to do little more than just add bursts of sugary flavours and seemed to just disrupt both the taste and the textures of the bar. Frankly the combination just didn't work for me and the two caramel and fruit elements just didn't compliment each other in any form.

Overall it is not often I am disappointed with Milka products but I have to say this was one of their poorest efforts to date. As mentioned above the blueberry element was so chemically derived it just lost all semblance and grounding of its fruit flavours and really just brought an overly sweet element to the taste. This combined with the fact the caramel pieces seemed very out of place meant that this just on the whole wasn't that enjoyable which is something I not often say about Milka products. My opinion is that this bar is well worth leaving alone - there are far better options in the range.

6.6 out of 10

Thursday, 28 May 2009

May 28th: Marks & Spencer Milk Chocolate Coated Butter Toffee Popcorn

Kcal 520 Fat 28.0g Fat(sats) 17.6g Carbs 60.4g (per 100.0g)

Given the sheer amount of times I have bought this product over the last year I am little curious to why it has taken me so long to get round to writing a review? I guess its not the most conventional chocolate product ever but hey we are talking about a site that has reviewed all sorts of random products (See HERE!!). I do have a soft spot for Marks & Spencer, though it is not like they have always blown me away with their confectionery offerings. Today's product on pack came billed as 'Belgian milk chocolate with a butter toffee popcorn centre' ... what possibly could there not be to like here.

For the purpose of this review I bought a 100.0g bag, suffice to say I wish I had bought a few bags at the time as it was empty in no time at all. The presentation was all rather standard with the pieces contained within a relatively simple looking matted bag. Things got a bit more exciting when the bag was opened, upon where I was met with a very butter led, sweet smell. The actual pieces themselves looked generally quite big, though there were a few smaller pieces in and amongst the selection.

The milk chocolate that coated each of the popcorn pieces was of a surprisingly good quality. It had a distinct creaminess to its taste and avoided being overly sweet. The cocoa flavours were not exactly that imposing but they substantiated themselves enough to bring a pleasant chocolate hit with each mouthful. Once the milk chocolate had melted into its thick liquid state, the popcorn centres were revealed and were of a similar highly quality. Each piece had fresh, fluffy yet crunchy texture, whilst both sweet toffee and salt notes were brought with their buttery corn taste. My only criticism of the product was that it was really not that fulfilling, which was obviously a bad thing given that every mouthful had a supreme moreishness. 

Overall there is no wonder I keep finding myself picking up a bag of these nearly every time I head in to M&S. These chocolate coated popcorn pieces are undeniably delicious, but are also dangerously moreish and unfulfilling. The bag I ate for this review was eaten in under 15 minutes ... which when you consider that it contained 520 calories and left me still hungry, tells you that this is not a product to be eaten for hunger fulfilment. If you feel like a chocolate inhibiting popcorn treat though you can do very little wrong here

7.2 out of 10 


May 28th: Ritter Sport Karamell Nuss

Kcal 577 Fat 39.4g Fat(sats) 21.9g Carbs 48.5g (per 100.0g)

Not a month seems to go by without Ritter Sport introducing another new flavour to their already pretty large range. Todays flavours of the month came in the form of this Ritter Sport Caramel Nut bar which was provided to me by the wonderful people at Dean-German-Grocery. This bar promised the combination of 'milk chocolate with a caramel creme centre containing hazelnut pieces and rice flakes'. Previous Ritter Sport offerings have shown that they do some fabulous fillings and this one certainly sounded like it could be a winner.

The bar came in the traditional 100.0g square bar format which I ate in two 50.0g sittings. The colour of the packaging was a nice gold colour and displayed the caramel and hazelnut contents pictorially which gave it a nice appeal. The chocolate itself looked absolutely fantastic as well - as you can see above the filling looked very generously portioned sandwiched in between the chocolate with the hazelnut and cereal pieces nicely on display. The smell of the product certainly matched the aesthetics and a very tempting sweet buttery smell soon emanated upon removal from the plastic packet.

The bar was formed with the standard Ritter Sport milk chocolate which provided its ever commendable creamy cocoa base flavours to each piece. Like most good Ritter Sport bars the flavours and texture of the chocolate really took a back seat and allowed the simply stunning filling to really take a hold of the taste. The key component to the filling was the caramel creme centre which provided an amazingly tasty cream and toffee taste to each bite. It tasted a whole lot like fudge, yet had a more moist feel to it giving it a wonderfully smooth silky texture. Despite the hazelnut pieces being chopped rather fine they delivered the desired woody nut flavours that the bar promised. The crunchy nuts pieces and rice crispies certainly proved to be very complimentary to the caramel and contributed well to what was a stunningly delicious taste. To be honest I am glad Dean-German-Grocery sent me across a few bars of this to sample as despite a 50.0g serving proving really quite fulfilling at a time this was a bar I simply couldn't get enough of.

Overall Ritter Sport have proved that once again when it comes to making unique and tasty filled chocolate they can really deliver on a grand scale. The milk chocolate was its ever unspectacular self though there is no denying it did well in allowing the centre filling to take centre stage. The caramel creme, hazelnuts and rice pieces made for a combination that was simply brilliant in every regard. It was full of flavour and combined a wonderful array of textures that kept my interest from the very first to the very last piece I ate. If your a Ritter Sport, caramel or hazelnut fan then I strongly suggest that this a bar you try get hold of. This was definitely one of my favourites of the year so far and very worthy of its 9.0 rating.

9.0 out of 10

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

May 27th: Zotter Macadamia Nougat with Coconut

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

Todays review comes as a result of a joint request from readers Susanne and Alan for me to review some bars from Zotter. Having received the request Zotter kindly obliged in supplying me with some samples from their range - included in which was this Macadamia Nougat with Coconut. Zotter produce their bars in Austria and comply by Fairtrade standards - all in all they seem to be a very friendly company and as you will soon learn they make some pretty damn tasty chocolate as well (Click HERE for website!!). 

The samples I received came in 70.0g bars - I ate this one over the course of two separate sittings. As you will see above in the pictures the presentation was really quite special - the outer paper wrapper had a nice artistic design on it, whilst the chocolate was sealed nicely in some thick golden coloured branded wrapping. The bar itself came as just one long slab - normally I guess this would have annoyed me but in this instance I thought it worked well and maintained the stylish look. Opening the foil wrapper revealed a strong coconut aroma which gave the bar a tempting fresh smell.

As the bar was just one piece I decided to eat it by taking small slices at a time. One thing I really liked was that no matter the size of the slice the strength of the taste was consistent throughout, which obviously suggests that the filling was well proportioned. As you will see in the cross-section there were two main layers - the outer milk chocolate and the inner filling. At first I was a little disappointed with the initial flavours of the outer coating as it wasn't a chocolate that grabbed the tastebuds straightaway. It established mild milk and vanilla flavours initially though as it warmed in the mouth and melted the cocoa did eventually come through. Where the milk chocolate took a little 'warming up' to reveal its true taste the inner filling didn't need a second invitation. The nut flavours were very forthcoming and the butter flavours of the macadamia and the more milk rooted flavours of the coconut were instantly detectable. The taste was wonderfully complex and developed as the chocolate melted, the nutty flavours had notes of fruits, honey and syrup which further added interest and depth. The textures of the bar were also notable and the smooth melting nature of chocolate was complimented nicely by the slight grainy roughness of the coconut in the filling. 

Overall you can probably tell this was a chocolate that I really enjoyed and I must say I am very impressed with Zotter's first offering. It is nice to see a manufacture moving away from the standard hazelnut and almond combinations and try something braver with the less popular macadamia. Personally I thought the filling in this bar was simply outstanding and the macadamia and coconut brought both a flavoursome and rich taste. Additionally to this review it is worth noting that Terry over at Chocolate Review has also been trying some Zotter bars lately (see HERE) and also been very impressed! If you like nutty chocolate this is a real must try, I really can't wait to get stuck into more of their range.

8.7 out of 10  


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

May 26th: Kit Kat Cookies+

Kcal 200 Fat 12.6g Carbs 19.4g

Put in the context of the Sweet Potato and Azuki Bean flavours I guess this Kit Kat Cookies+ was one of the more reserved variants I have tried from Japan. This was a product yet again supplied to me by J-List and came with the promise of an extra multi grain cookie influence to the traditional Kit Kat. Although I couldn't read the description on the packaging it was obvious that this Kit Kat constituted of a standard milk chocolate coating, with the wafer layers lined with the extra cookie pieces.

As with most Kit Kats from Japan the presentation was spot on and it actually varied slightly from other Kit Kat products I have had from the region. This Cookies+ product came in a cardboard sleeve and was divided into larger than normal sized fingers weighing 17.5g each. When cross-sectioned the wafer layers looked more defined than normal with some of the layers having a lighter appearance than the ones sandwiching them. In regards to smell the product varied ever so slightly from a standard milk chocolate Kit Kat in that it had a stronger biscuit like smell emanating from the wafer.

Despite giving Nestle milk chocolate a bit of a bashing a few weeks ago I thought the outer coating did its usual fine job of supplying a milky flavoured chocolate base taste to each bite. Although the differentiation from a standard Kit Kat could probably be described as minimal there were subtle differences. Most notably the malty flavours of the wafer seemed more progressive and the usual malt flavours were built upon by extra wheat and brown sugar notes. The middle wafer layers also seemed to have an extra degree of crunchiness which gave each bite a nice sound when broken apart. The combined 35.0g made for a decent snack and complimented a mid afternoon coffee nicely.

Overall this was yet another solid showing from the Kit Kat brand though I think that someone importing this bar especially from Japan could possibly feel a little disappointed. I say this as apart from some minor taste and texture differences this bar really failed to set itself apart from a normal milk chocolate Kit Kat. This of course doesn't make it a bad bar at all - as I have said it was pretty damn tasty. If your importing from Japan though you might want to go for something a little more adventurous to make it worth your while - believe me there are plenty more products at J-List that meet that criteria.

8.0 out of 10

May 26th: Thorntons Toffee Milk Chocolate

Kcal 512 Fat 34.2g Fat(sats) 21.6g Carbs 43.7g (per 100.0g)

I couldn't possibly turn down a 3 for £5 on this Thorntons range so your going to have to put up with yet another review from this square bars line. Todays variant came in the form of the 'Toffee Milk Chocolate', which on the back of the pack was described as 'Mexican milk chocolate with chewy pieces of special toffee'. You may remember back to my review of the 'Fudge' variant of this range where I complained that the 14% fudge wasn't sufficient - looking at the 7% toffee pieces stated in the ingredients my hopes weren't all that high. 

The presentation was all same old, same old. The product came in a 90.0g serving that I managed to devour in a standard two helpings. It wasn't until I looked back over my previous reviews from this range that I noticed that the colouring of the packaging of this variant was extremely similar to that of the 'Dark Chocolate and Ginger'. Branding aside they looked almost identical however it must be said I was still impressed by the patterns crafted into the chocolate despite it also being the same across the range. All fears that the toffee element might be lacking in this chocolate were laid to rest when I smelt the bar. A fantastic variety of sweet caramel scents really gave the bar a very tempting aroma that certainly didn't fail to entice.

Had this Mexican milk chocolate been solus and without the additional toffee ingredient I frankly probably wouldn't have thought that much of it. It had a relatively pleasant creamy milk taste, yet at the same time was just a little bit unexciting and lacking a real zip in its flavours. With this bar however the mellow nature of the chocolate played nicely into the hands of the toffee element that despite its minimal sounding implementation (8%) really delivered the desired flavour hit. Behind the smooth melting chocolate were some small crunchy toffee pieces that released some truly wonderful sweet butterscotch flavours when encountered. The portioning of these pieces to me seemed bang on and was correctly balanced to deliver a flavoursome and relatively satisfying chocolate. 

Overall Thorntons' up and down scores continue, but thankfully this bar was one of their better attempts at the combining of one of their chocolates and an additional flavour element. As I said the milk chocolate on its own wasn't anything that special yet as mentioned its mild flavours actually complimented the toffee ingredient very well and allowed it greater expression. This is probably a chocolate that you know whether you would enjoy by name and don't need me recommending it for you ... well I am going to anyway :) If you are looking for a slightly cheaper (but not as good) alternative to your Hotel Chocolat Caramellow you could do little wrong giving this product a try.

8.3 out of 10 


Monday, 25 May 2009

May 25th: Hotel Chocolat Tutti Frutti

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

I am not sure if a lot of youngster nowadays will know what 'Tutti Frutti' is but I remember it being one of my favourite desserts as a kid. Hotel Chocolat say that this slab was 'inspired by memories of ice-creams and summer holidays' and is formed of 'fruit flavoured white chocolate and 40% milk chocolate studded with raisins, cherries and pistachios'. I had never seen a concoction like this one before and having read Dom's very complimentary review over a Chocablog (See HERE) I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one.

The Tutti Frutti is part of the Hotel Chocolat Giant Slab range and came in a 500.0g size. This of course took a good number of days to eat though I often found myself breaking off large chunks to nibble on when I was hungry. As you can see above the presentation was simply first class and the slab looked an absolute treat with the 'graffiti' artwork on the surface. I thought it made the product look more like a painting rather than a bar for eating. When I finally stopped admiring the aesthetics I opened the paper wrapper and was met with a waft of fruity cocoa scents - I knew I was in for a treat once again.

I could bore you and tell you how delicious the 40% milk chocolate was again though I think you have probably gathered from previous reviews that it is really milk chocolate at its finest. Instead I will concentrate of the fruit flavoured white chocolate and the additional fruit and nut pieces - all of which combined for a wonderfully diverse flavour set. The white chocolate had the usual Hotel Chocolat white chocolate cream based flavours though the normal vanilla note was less prominent due to the added fruit flavouring. The fruit flavouring was sweet and gave the chocolate red berry note that I would say was akin to raspberry and strawberry. As with all good chocolate the taste developed and progressed in the mouth with every bite. The initial flavours of the cocoa from the milk chocolate and the creamier milky flavours from the white chocolate were always built upon by either bursts of juicy tarty flavours from the cherry pieces, sugary flavours of the raisins or the bolder woody flavours of the pistachios - some fantastic bites had all these influences in one. All this culminated in a taste experience that was wonderfully progressive and variable - it was almost like you never knew what to expect from each bite.

Overall Hotel Chocolat managed to craft yet another bar that tasted brilliant, had wonderful variable textures and was presented superbly. This Tutti Frutti slab didn't just bring a huge nostalgia hit, but also a huge variety of flavours to the party. Where there is 40% milk chocolate involved you know Hotel Chocolat are going to deliver - it was again simply stunning. The real deal with this slab though came in the way the white chocolate, fruit and nuts combined to give an exciting, diverse and luxurious taste with every bite. What with products like the Arctic Roll coming back to our shelves it may not be long before a Tutti Frutti product makes an appearance. For the minute though if you need your Tutti Frutti craving fulfilled then I would really recommend you get familiar with this offering from Hotel Chocolat.

9.0 out of 10

Sunday, 24 May 2009

May 24th: Milka Pasteten-EI

Kcal 535 Fat 35.0g Carbs 47.0g (per 100.0g)

I don't know about you but whenever I get one of those large hollow chocolate eggs at Easter the thought of 'I wish this was solid chocolate' often comes across my mind. Well until now this has always just stayed somewhat of a dream, though thanks to a combination of Milka and Dean-German-Grocery this recently became a reality in the form of this Milka Pasteten-EI egg. This egg came described as a mixture of 'dark and alpine milk chocolate filled with hazelnut marzipan and an almond creme filling'.

The egg came in a 175.0g size which felt very solid and heavy in hand. In regards to presentation the egg came only protected by a thin foil wrapper which I thought wasn't all that impressive. Where the aesthetics of the outer packaging failed the egg certainly looked very tempting indeed. The cross-section revealed the chocolate to be thick, the marzipan plentiful and the almond creme a lovely looking peanut butter like substance. Despite the egg only being sealed by a thin foil layer the product didn't fail in enticing with its plethora of cocoa and nut rooted scents.

The easiest way to eat this egg was to eat slices at a time which was very easy to do once the egg was halved. The product was really a story of two different things - a nice outer chocolate but with some poor fillings. The chocolate that coated the egg was extremely nice and just had a touch more emphasis on its cocoa flavours than the traditional Alpine Milk Milka chocolate. The melt of the chocolate was also very smooth and despite the amplification of the cocoa the hazelnut note in the aftertaste was still present. The marzipan and almond creme fillings though I felt were a let down. The marzipan tasted extremely sugary and had a dry chalky texture - this certainly was no Niederegger. Although the almond filling looked like peanut butter it had no where near the level of taste. It had a pleasant smoothness but seemed completely devoid of any flavour whatsoever which I was extremely disappointed with.

Overall I am sad to say this was one of the poorer Milka products I have reviewed over the past year or so. As you will have gathered from above there was nothing wrong with the chocolate at all, it was just the poor quality fillings that really let this egg down. Both the marzipan and nut fillings were simply just not up to standard which obviously culminated in a pretty underwhelming experience. Obviously it may be a little late getting hold of one of these eggs this year as Easter is well gone - if you come across one next year though I wouldn't really recommend it.

6.8 out of 10

May 24th: Niederegger Weissbrot

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

Since the end of last year whenever I have been offered the opportunity to try a Niederegger product I have never turned Dean-German-Grocery down. This is simply because I think they make the nicest marzipan in the world ... and yes folks this is coming from a guy who doesn't like marzipan!! I think Niedereggers produce is so good that I have today decided to review a product from their range that contains no chocolate whatsoever ... the Weissbrot. The Weissbrot is simply a thick bar of marzipan and is pretty much the same product as the Neidregger Dark Chocolate Loaf sans the dark chocolate.

Dean-German-Grocery sent me a 75.0g bar that I consumed across a week long period. As you can see above the packaging was very nice looking, and I liked it for its simplicity and eagerness to show off the lovely product that sat inside. Out its packet the loaf retained its shape nicely, and as you can see from the cross-section could be cut easily with very little crumbling or fragmenting. The only small criticism I could have about the product as a whole was the way that it lost its gorgeous almond smell as the week progressed. I guess the time it took me to ate it did it no favours, though I could hardly write a review without being able to criticise one aspect :)

As mentioned this took me the best part of a week to consume. I mainly ate slices at a time with a hot drink and I must say it certainly complimented both a coffee and hot cocoa very well indeed. My love for marzipan has only developed since trying Niederegger so I am a bit of newbie in regards to the market. When I was younger I developed a dislike for it as I thought it was just an overly sweet, monotonous tasting icing sugar type confection. Personally I like food to have a bit more complexity in its flavours ... and this is exactly what Niederegger marzipan delivers. It is obviously sweet, yet not overly so; and has some pastry like attributes that bring dough and flour flavours to the fore giving it a less intense and imposing nature. This tastes a whole lot better than it sounds, and the strong almond flavours round off the taste nicely leaving flavours of butter and nuts lingering in the mouth for a long time after. These are all delivered in what is a lovely dense texture that just has the slightest moistness to its crumble and provides a moreish yet very fulfilling and rich snack.

Overall I hope I have managed to describe this product well enough and do it the justice it deserves. I guess the message I am trying to convey is that even if you don't like marzipan I honestly think you would be a fool to pass up a least trying something from this fantastic range. Being brutally honest the chocolate that Niederegger use is normally not the best, so frankly I would experiment using this 'Weissbrot' plain loaf. This is a wonderful product that can be enjoyed in so many ways - with a hot drink, ice cream, cakes ... you name it I am sure it would be great. This is a product really worth trying and is worthy of its 9.0 ChocolateMission rating.

9.0 out of 10

Saturday, 23 May 2009

May 23rd: Nestle Milk Chocolate

Kcal 207 Fat 10.6g Carbs 25.6g 

Before I kick on with this review I must thank ChocolateMission reader Alan who was kind enough to send this along for me to try. You may all recall from reviews such as the Kit Kat, Lion, Munchies etc that I generally find Nestle milk chocolate does a job in supplying the desired chocolate flavour hit to the additional flavour elements involved. Never before though had I come across a plain Nestle milk chocolate bar ... well not until Alan sent this one to me.

The bar came in a 40.0g size and was split into four square shaped blocks. On the whole I thought that the presentation was a little lacklustre. Nothing about the packaging really stood out to me and I just thought it cut an over simplistic look. The actual chocolate itself didn't look much better - the four square blocks were neither branded with the Nestle logo or patterned at all and just looked very plain. Despite being failed to be impressed aesthetically I thought the product smelt reasonably nice and had dairy based sweet smell. 

The wrapper stated that the bar contained 25% cocoa which is actually more than Cadbury Dairy Milk (22%). Although the Nestle bar could boast this, that was really the only thing where the Nestle chocolate was superior. Both the taste and texture of the chocolate were affected by the obviously high sugar content of the bar. The taste started off with some pleasant full milk flavours though as the melt of the chocolate progressed the sweetness literally dominated the taste and made for an experience that was verging on throat burning. As aforementioned it wasn't just the taste where the sugar was evident - the texture of the chocolate had a grainy feel to its melt; it was almost as if I could feel the sugar in the chocolate.

Overall as you can guess I really didn't think much of this bar. I have been enjoying some very high quality milk chocolate products from Hotel Chocolat and Lindt recently so comparisons were always going to be a little harsh. Still though when put in the context of similar priced alternatives like Cadbury Dairy Milk and Galaxy Milk Chocolate this Nestle offering just wasn't up to scratch. I still think it is an adequate milk chocolate to grace products that are more focused on their additional elements, but as a solus milk chocolate bar this is one that I wouldn't recommend.

5.2 out of 10


May 23rd: Milka Choco & Rice


Kcal 510 Fat 26.5g Fat(sats) 26.5g Carbs 61.0g (per 100.0g)

I don't think you guys are going to be needing any second guesses in regards to where this bar came from! Of course the lovely people at Dean-German-Grocery once again provided me with yet another bar from the extensive Milka range in the form of this 'Choco & Rice' variant. Formed of 'milk chocolate with crisped puffed rice' it wasn't exactly the most complex of Milka flavour variants available but it still had relative appeal to me anyway.

This bar varied slightly from the standard Milka line and came in a rather large 200.0g size. The product was about four times the thickness of the normal Milka bars and twice the length. Despite being rather on the largish size for my liking the presentation was all pretty top notch. The usual plastic wrapper still had the same resealable fold, which proved particularly handy given the size and how long it took me to eat. The chocolate itself also looked very appetising with the rice pieces looking a lot larger than I thought they would. Along with creating an impact visually the rice cereal also had an influence on the aroma where it complimented the usual Alpine Milk dairy scents nicely with a biscuit like hint.

I have had so many Milka bars now I knew exactly what to expect from the milk chocolate. The taste was as usual dominated by the cream flavours and retained a pleasant sweetness that never seemed to get overbearing. These flavours were delivered with the usual thick, smooth melt which combined with the slight note of hazelnut made the flavours last for a relatively long time in the mouth. I am always a little unsure when it comes to puffed rice in chocolate as it can often be flavourless, however the cereal in this bar managed to disprove this. The rice pieces substantiated a nice savoury element to the sweet tasting chocolate and added a nice variation to the texture with their crisp shells and soft centres. My only criticism of this bar was that due to the rice being so well portioned it meant the bar didn't seem all that satisfying - after eating a 50.0g portion I didn't feel particularly fulfilled.

Overall this was a product that I actually enjoyed more than expected and has proven that when done correctly puffed rice and chocolate can make for a good combination. I guess it is products like the Nestle Crunch that had previously shaped my thinking like this, though having got a lot of pleasure from this Milka bar I will think twice before making any preconceptions again. Milk chocolate and puffed rice may not sound like the most interesting of combinations but this bar managed to create a good level of intricacy with its range of cream, nut and cereal flavours. On this basis I would recommend it to any Milka fan or to anyone who has a soft spot for chocolate and cereal products.

8.0 out of 10 

Friday, 22 May 2009

May 22nd: Ferrero Hanuta

Kcal 115 Fat 6.8g Carbs 11.6g (per 22.0g piece)

Fans of the Kinder Bueno attention as this is a product I am sure you will be very much interested in! Contained within my latest sampling package from Dean-German-Grocery were a fair few packets of these Ferrero Hanuta. These came described as 'Waffle biscuits' and were formed of two key constituents. As you will see in the picture above a middle chocolate hazelnut creme layer is sandwiched in between two enticing looking wafers; suffice to say all appeared a recipe for success though of course I had the pleasure of finding out for myself.

As mentioned Dean-German-Grocery sent over several packs of these which themselves contained two 22.0g pieces. The packaging was all very Ferrero with the white background and red and gold writing instantly making it recognisable to the brand. The presentation of the pieces themselves also looked particularly appetising with each of them contained within gold wrappers; this kept them looking both fresh and well presented. Upon opening the packet the hazelnut element made itself instantly recognisable with a whole host of savoury nutty smells very forthcoming in between the sweet biscuit smells emanating from the product.

Due to me liking the product so much I want to get the bad stuff out the way first. Despite looking fresh and being well within its sell by date the texture of the wafer wasn't as crisp as I wanted it to be. To test this out I obviously had to consume many of these (any excuse haha!!) but with every one of them I found the wafers to be just a bit too soft and lacking the desired crunch. Despite the lack of bite the wafers provided a decent amount of flavour and brought some very enjoyable wheaty, biscuit flavour influences to each bite. Of course the majority of the taste however was about the chocolate and hazelnut centre and boy was it divine. It was denser in its texture than I thought it would be, yet it retained a good degree of moistness. The chocolate hit was well delivered with some immediate cocoa flavours evident, though the most influential element was the hazelnut. The filling contained small pieces of crunchy hazelnut that when bitten into released a wonderful surge of woody, nutty flavours. The central filling was quite rich in its flavours, though at the same time had an incredible moreishness - I struggled limiting myself to one pack at a time.

Overall put another tick in the box for Ferrero as this was yet another highly enjoyable product from their vast portfolio. The chocolate hazelnuts filling was simply superb in almost every regard. It was rich in taste and had a wonderful contrast of smooth and crunchy texture elements that gave it both interest and uniqueness. Ferrero certainly do have a lot of products that incorporate both chocolate and hazelnuts as they key components, though I am struggling to think of one that isn't unique enough to warrant existence. The Ferrero Hanuta came now be added to the ever growing list of reputable Ferrero products, I very much recommend it.

8.4 out of 10

Thursday, 21 May 2009

May 21st: Galaxy Amicelli

Kcal 65 Fat 3.3g Fat(sats) 2.1g Carbs 7.7g (per 12.5g piece)

For some reason I have long ignored this product and for some reason always overlooked it when I had seen it in the shops. Ignore it I could no longer though as Dean-German-Grocery sent me a pack in the latest sampling package that they sent across. Although the Amicelli branding is rather Italian sounding I was surprised to read that these were manufactured in Austria. The on-pack description read 'light wafers filled with hazelnut praline wrapped in Galaxy milk chocolate' which I must admit sounded all pretty good to me.

The product came in 200.0g box that contained 16 separate finger pieces. I instantly loved the presentation with the usual light brown Galaxy colours implemented on a uniquely shaped box that opened with a very intricate flap system. Inside the box the finger pieces were all contained within plastic wrappers. Despite their delicate form they were all kept in very good condition with none appearing damaged. In keeping with the pretty flawless presentation the smell of each individual finger was also really rather pleasant with each combining a dairy led sweet scent with a nice hint of nut.

I thought the pieces were very suitably sized and each made for a wonderful biscuit substitute to compliment an afternoon/after dinner coffee. The milk chocolate that surrounded each finger was what you come to expect from Galaxy. It was thick in its melt and had a wonderful creamy nature about its smooth ebbing taste. The wafer element was also really rather good and brought some honeycomb crisp like flavours with its crunchy light texture. Running through the middle of each piece sat a pretty standard, yet still pretty pleasant praline filling that certainly didn't fail in delivering a nice hazelnut edge to each bite. It wasn't the greatest tasting praline filling going but it complimented the creamy milk chocolate and biscuity flavours of the chocolate well.

Overall it is a shame I ignored these for so long as they have actually now become a staple product to be present in my cupboard. I would necessarily rate these as a product to eat one after another, though I would say they are the perfect little treat to have with a hot drink or after a quite filling meal. The chocolate hit is delivered with the outer coating, whilst the inner wafer and praline elements add a degree of interest and prestige to the overall taste. If you are yet to try these I would strongly suggest you make a point of doing so. They may not strike you as a product that is particularly special but believe you me they really are worth trying.

8.7 out of 10
 

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