June 30th: Hotel Chocolat Hot Shots

Fathers day last week didn't pass without the old man being the lucky recipient of another selection box courtesy of my pals at Hotel Chocolat. Given his partialness for the odd whisky truffle I thought that he would appreciate these Hotel Chocolat Hot Shots - a selection comprised of milk and dark chocolate truffles with 'hints of whisky, rum and cognac'. Remembering back to my review of Hotel Chocolat's Summer Cocktails I recall not being overly fond at the vicious nature of the liqueurs involved there, which I guess is why the folks at Hotel Chocolat were a little surprised when I requested these. Unlike last time though I felt that the boozy nature of the truffles were communicated better and thus felt more prepared.

I really liked the presentation of this product as the packaging immediately caught my eye with its sophisticated look. The chocolates were sealed first by a thick cardboard sleeve and then a cardboard box in which they were protected by several layers of paper and film - a handy booklet was also included to tell the truffles apart. All this packaging meant that the truffles themselves were kept in A-grade condition and I was further enticed when I was met with a wonderful array of chocolaty smells.

Below are my thoughts on each of the three different truffles:

Oak-aged Cognac:

This chocolate was formed of a 40% milk chocolate outer shell with a cognac hinted milk chocolate centre. The outer milk chocolate established some familiar cream based cocoa flavours with a thick smooth melt. The inner filling felt delightfully soft on the tongue with just a little bit more moistness and further enhanced the breadth of the chocolate hit before delivering the cognac chiefly in the later stages of the taste. Personally I found the cognac a little too strong and startling to the taste and possibly just a little too bitter. The cognac flavours were the least lasting out of the three and probably the one I would substitute out given the chance. Standard.

St Lucian Rum:

This was definitely my favourite out of the selection and combined a 74% outer dark chocolate with a St Lucian Rum infused centre. Unlike the cognac truffle I thought both the liqueur and the chocolate worked in tandem well and enjoyed how one complimented the other. The flavours of the outer dark chocolate were focused primarily on delivering the chocolate hit to the product and did so with a fine depth of strength with its cocoa flavours. The inner filling was nicely hinted the rum which I felt had a far smoother implementation that the other two in the selection. The flavours were boozy and had a nice fruity edge that gave the truffle a bit of sweetness. Excellent.

Highland Single Malt Whisky:

I felt lucky to even get to try one of these as they were definitely my old mans favourite and were gone within a flash. Like the cognac truffle this one had an outer layer of 40% milk chocolate but contained a malt whisky hinted centre. The same fantastic creamy chocolate influences were established by the milk chocolate and transcended almost identically into the softer truffle filling. I must say I much preferred this whisky truffle over the cognac as I found the taste far more smoother and didn't quite have the shocking nature that the previously mentioned delivered. The booze flavour hit was very much there but far kinder in its implementation and the malt flavours lingered longer in the mouth leaving a greater lasting impression. Very Good.

Overall these were a fine set of liqueur truffles and were far more to my taste than the Summer Cocktails. The liqueur hits were still as strong in these but I was expecting them far more given the nature of the branding and information on the box. The St Lucian Rum truffle was my personal favourite though I must admit I was equally as happy tucking into one of the Malt Whisky ones. I liked the Cognac truffles for their chocolate but was less impressed with the throat burning liqueur hit that was delivered at the end of the taste. It is unfortunate I didn't get to review these before Fathers Day as I would have said they would have made a great gift. At the same time though I think these would be a suitable present all year round so I would recommend them to anyone who likes their boozie chocolates.

8.6 out of 10

Buy these Hotel Chocolat Hot Shots by Clicking HERE

June 29th: Zentis Belmanda

Kcal 307 Fat 18.7g Fat(sats) 5.2g Carbs 30.0g

I feel sorry for all marzipan bars that get rated on this site as they are all naturally compared to the quite simply awesome Niederegger range. Saying that it isn't often that Dean-German-Grocery send me a duff product so I was hoping for good things from this Zentis Belmanda bar. I hadn't heard of the Zentis brand before but a little research on the net revealed that they actually had a website that was in English. A quick skim read of their company history told me that they are traditionally a jam making company and are still relatively small in terms of size in Germany. If your interested you can read more about them HERE -but for now lets get down to the important stuff ... whether they can make a good chocolate bar!!

This product came in a pretty huge 60.0g size that certainly left me feel very fulfilled having tucked it all away in one sitting. On the whole I thought the presentation was pretty good. The wrapper was made of a two tone gold foil and included a cardboard piece inside that made sure the bar was kept in fine condition. The chocolate itself was a little less spectacular in that it had no markings or patterns on its surface- that said the marzipan had a nice golden tinted colour that looked rather appetising. Of course with the foil wrapping the product not only looked smart but also maintained a nice freshness that was evident through the nut and cocoa smells that were revealed when opened.

As I mentioned in the opening the paragraph this product was always facing an uphill task given the incredible standards set by Niederegger. I will reveal now that although this Zentis offering wasn't quite as good but by its own merit was still a tasty chocolate bar. One area where this bar was superior to the Niederegger equivalent was in the quality of the chocolate. The dark chocolate that coated the bar here had greater strength in its cocoa flavours and just created more of an impression on the resulting taste. Despite the cocoa flavours being rather strong they were never bitter, though I guess this was largely down to the sweetness from the marzipan. The marzipan at the centre of this bar provided some adequate almond and sugar flavour bursts but just didn't quite deliver the same pastry like dough flavours of the Niederegger. What was notable was that the texture was equally as good - the marzipan had a nice moistness and avoided being dry and crumbly; I think this is essential for good quality marzipan.

Overall if it wasn't for Niederegger I would probably be singing the praises of this bar to the hills. This was fundamentally a great tasting chocolate and marzipan combination but unfortunately for Zentis the Niederegger factor stops this bar from being as celebrated as much as it should. The chocolate was of a great quality and the marzipan was also very good - it is just a bit of unlucky that Niederegger make marzipan that is simply out of this world. Despite this I still think that if you like your marzipan you should really give this bar a go - I am sure you wouldn't regret it.

8.4 out of 10

June 28th: 7Days of Chocolate Reviews - Edition 3

Welcome to Edition 3 of '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' .... lets have a look at what we got up to this week:

The Chocolate Mission Omnibus:

Wimbledon got started this Monday so I thought the only way to mark the occasion was start things off with a Strawberry based chocolate review - Thornton's Milk Chocolate with Strawberry. This bar was well received by not only myself but also many of ChocolateMission's most dedicated readers expressing their urge to get involved with it aswell.

The most momentous review of the week for me was my review of the Kit Kat Caramel Chunky which I would literally do cartwheels for just to get hold of another. This bar was absolutely delicious and is probably my BOTY (Bar of the Year) to date. In a none to rare moment of stupidity I also managed to get my wires crossed with ChocolateMission reader Tara who I offer my apologies to once again :) Tara kindly tried to inform me that this bar was also in distribution in Canada aswell as the New Zealand & Australia. No matter where you get it from I am sure this bar would be well received by a large amount of you - recommended!

Lastly on Saturday I got to grips with Reber's MozartKugeln truffles which brought both colour and flavour to the table. These weren't the greatest truffles ever but they certainly brought something new to the table and they seemed to appeal to some readers such as Lottie and Alan ... Jeanna and Lu remain unconvinced but I would still urge you guys to give them a try.

News from the Chocolate Market:

With it being the summer season chocolate NPD is pretty low at the minute so I will keep this relatively short.

* Alan has reported some sightings of the smaller snack sized packs of Cadbury Raisins & Cadbury Peanuts in the shops. Personally I have only seen the larger bags so far and think they are way too big ... who on earth wants to eat 100.0g of chocolate covered peanuts!?

* Hotel Chocolat have got some new sales up - with a few multi-buy deals on some of their boxed chocolate ranges, aswell as their 'Summer Puddles' range. Well worth checking out - Click HERE to do so.

* Walkers Nonsuch Toffees have announced they are broadening their 'Pick-n-Mix' range - Click HERE

* Looks like Ferrero have nailed their latest marketing campaign with the Kinder brand seeing some good results from their latest below-the-line advertising - Click HERE

Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:

It has been a busy week but I have still been keeping an eye on some of my favourite sites:

* Wisconsin Candy Dish - Jeanna visited the place that ChocolateFest originates from and got to see some very bizzare things. The Alice in Wonderland themed chocolate fountain chaught my eye, as did the chocolate coated bacon! See HERE

* Foodstufffinds - The latest addition to the blogroll got hold of some new consumer goods gracing the UK shelves this week - check out the Oreo's Chocolate Creme & Strawberry Jaffa Cakes. See HERE

* Chocablog - Dom reviewed a bar called 'William Curley Sea Salted Caramel', he said it wasn't as good as Paul.A Young Sea Salted Caramels but still highly recommended it! I will be having my own say on those two products soon so keep an eye out for them. See HERE

* ZOMG, Candy! - Got to grips with a product called Kinder Joy that really took my fancy! Dean-German-Grocery are on the case! See HERE

Question of the Week:

'What was the worst chocolate/candy bar you have ever eaten?'

June 27th: Reber Mozartkugeln

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

I have had my eye on these truffles for a while now so I was pretty ecstatic when Dean-German-Grocery sent me a packet to sample. According to Wiki these Reber Mozart Kugeln are an imitation product of the 'Original Mozartkugeln Salzburg' which are handcrafted chocolates produced by a company called Frust. To be honest I sort of lost interest after the opening paragraph of that page where it started talking about the Mozartkugeln trademark (YAWN!) - so if you want to read more about this then I suggest you take a look HERE. Getting back to the product at hand these Reber Mozartkugeln came described as 'pistachio marzipan and almond marzipan with hazelnut praline coated in dark and milk chocolate' ... wowzer these certainly packed the ingredients.

These Reber chocolates come in many different formats but for the purpose of this review I sampled a pack of eight individual chocolates. I thought the presentation of the product was first class. The outer film wrapping was innovative in look and shape, whilst the golden foil wrappers had a real touch of class with the detailed picture of one Mr Mozart. As you can see above the chocolates looked a right treat as well - the layers were all very visible through the cross-section and the different constituents made for a colourful looking chocolate. The aroma of the chocolates wasn't half bad either. Once released from their foil packets some pleasant cocoa and nut hints could be detected.

Having admired both their look and smell there was only really one thing left to do and that was to tuck in. Each chocolate could be eaten in two bites which I thought worked well as it allowed the consumer to see the inner contents of the truffle whilst not being all that fiddly. My first reaction to the chocolate coating was that I couldn't detect a dual dark and milk chocolate layering - frankly the taste seemed to morph into quite a mild, unsweetened and unexciting cocoa led taste. Where the chocolate failed the inner contents soon picked up the quality. Although the two disparate marzipans were not hugely different in terms of their flavours, together they brought some delicious nutty, buttery elements to the taste. The hazelnut praline splodge that sat in the middle of the chocolate was really what made these chocolates so tasty. It not only added moisture to the slightly dry marzipans, but also brought an extra wave of cocoa and woody nut flavours to the mix. The density of the marzipan meant that these were best enjoyed as a one off chocolate enjoyed with a nice black coffee. I can imagine the taste becoming quite monotonous had I eaten more than one at a time.

Overall these were a nice pack of chocolates that I would recommend to people depending on a few important factors. Consumers looking for a rich chocolate hit would probably be disappointed with these - in my opinion the chocolate was the weakest part of the product. If it is style and decent marzipan flavours your looking for though, these could really be a range of chocolates for you. They combined a near flawless range with some good standard marzipan centres that were nearing the quality of Niederegger. If you like the sound of these I would give them a go.

8.5 out of 10

June 26th: Lindt Vollmilch Feinschmelzend Vollmilch

Kcal 572 Fat 39.0g Carbs 49.0g (per 100.0g)

What with the all the different flavour variants available in the European market nowadays, it isn't all that often I get the chance to review a simple milk chocolate bar. Courtesy of Dean-German-Grocery today I had a rare oppertunity to do just that and chanced my luck with the final variant in the Lindt Vollmilch Feinschmelzend range (soft melting milk chocolate) with this aptly named Vollmilch bar. Just in case you were wondering the title of this review contained no typo - it is really called Lindt Milk Chocolate Soft Melting Milk Chocolate.

Just like the other variants in the Feinschmelzend product range this bar came in a 100.0g size that was split into 5x2 blocks. The soft melting nature of the product was well communicated through the liquid chocolate illustration, whilst the nice looking branded blocks maintained a pristine condition kept within a silver foil layer. Most notably the chocolate smelt wonderful - it had a predominantly led cocoa set of scents though I could also detects hints of sweet honey and toffee.

Although I admired the smell of the bar for a while it wasn't long before I tucked in. Just as expected the texture of the bar was amazingly soft and melted like an absolute dream in the mouth. It was smooth, silky and had a luxurious feel as it slipped down the throat with ease. My only gripe with this was that the melt was all over too quickly and wasn't really one that I was able to enjoy for the desired length of time. The flavours were unsurprising yet delicious. The 30% recipe had a stronger cocoa flavour hit than expected, though these flavours were only really present towards the end of the taste. The initial flavours were slightly weaker with the dairy milk elements very much coming to the fore of the taste. The aftertaste of the chocolate had a special sweetness to it, with the end taste noted with a pleasant vanilla influence. Despite consuming this bar rather quickly a 50.0g serving left me feeling relatively fulfilled.

Overall I wouldn't rate this bar quite as highly as the Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy but it was still a tasty milk chocolate. The main problem for me with this bar was the short duration of time that each block lasted in the mouth. If anything it sort of felt like the chocolate was rushed in releasing its flavours and would have been better off forgetting the soft melting texture and letting me savour the taste a while longer. I wouldn't say this is a must try milk chocolate but if you come across it you would hardly be doing wrong giving it a whirl.

8.2 out of 10

June 25th: Ritter Sport Ramazzotti

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

My relentless progress through Ritter Sport's seemingly never ending product range continued today with me trying the Ritter Sport Ramazotti. Although Dean-German-Grocery recently sent me Ritter's new summer variants (See HERE), this bar was actually part of their Spring collection as was indicated on the wrapper. Before I had seen this bar I had never actually heard of Ramazzotti - a little bit of research revealed that it was a tonic liqueur that is normally enjoyed as an aperitif or an after dinner drink (more HERE).

As you can see above the product came in the usual 100.0g Ritter form. I thought the packaging was well executed with the red and white colour theme making the wrapper stand out nicely along with the added illustrations. Although the chocolate itself looked very similar to other bars in the Ritter range, the smell of the product really made it stand out as it emanated a strong mix of liqueur and boozy scents once opened.

To be honest I really did not enjoy the first couple of blocks I had of this chocolate. As with 90% of Ritter bars the chocolate took a back seat to the additional filling and this unfortunately wasn't a good thing. The Ramazzotti took a really firm grasp on the taste from the outset and frankly tasted like the cheap bottle of booze kept at the back of most families liqueur cabinets. The mild and creamy cocoa flavours soon paled in comparison to the herby, slightly bitter alcohol flavours of the softer centre. As I ate the bar I must admit that my taste buds adapted to the harshness of the filling and it certainly became more bearable. The later pieces I had did seem to bringe pleasant elements of orange fruit and notes of honey to the party but I still wasn't left feeling like I wanted to eat more.

Overall this bar was far from being one of the best Ritter Sport flavours I have tried. Although I did become more accustom the taste of the Ramazzotti I never got to the point of actually thoroughly enjoying the chocolate. This is another one of those Ritter bars that I think you can either love or hate - if your a regular drinker of Ramazzotti chances are that you will really quite like this bar as the milk chocolate allows the flavours to be expressed well and makes for a lovely smooth melting texture. This is probably a bar I would neither have again or recommend, though if your a fan of the drink it would great to hear your views on it.

6.7 out of 10

June 24th: Kit Kat Caramel Chunky

Kcal 327 Fat 16.7g Fat(sats) 10.8g Carbs 39.8g

Shopenzed have sent me some fantastic things from New Zealand and Australia but this product without question has been the best. For some reason unknown to man Nestle have decided not to include a caramel variant in their Kit Kat Chunky range over here in the UK. Apart from a slightly dodgy Hershey version available in America, the only place that you can currently get a Kit Kat Chunky Caramel is in the Southern Hemisphere - boy are we missing out!

Like the rest of the Kit Kat Chunky range down under this bar came in a pretty huge 65.0g size and came described as 'crunchy wafer with a caramel layer coated in milk chocolate'. I thought the packaging looked rather good with a golden gooey caramel like background covering the usual symbolic red and white Kit Kat colours. The bar itself didn't fail to look magnificent either - the caramel layer was very visual above the thick wafer and just like the packaging had a wonderful golden complexion. As if the caramel lingering out the bar wasn't enough to entice the smell of the product certainly tempted me even more. The cocoa and biscuit scents were further built upon by the terrific sweet scents of the caramel - this was going to be one to savour.

Nestle milk chocolate has come in for quite a bashing on this blog recently but it did a more than adequate job in providing the chocolate hit for this bar. Unlike the plain milk chocolate Nestle bar I had last month the melt of the chocolate was smooth and had less of a sugar intensive taste. The flavours were predominantly milk though the cocoa flavours were enhanced by the thin layers of cocoa creme that sat between the malty tasting wafers. Whilst the wafers provided a delicious crunch to the textures the real star of the show was the caramel. Surprisingly the caramel was simply superb on all levels and had a stunning sweet butterscotch and toffee influence on the taste. It was smooth yet a little chewy and the flavours lingered in the mouth so the taste could be fully savoured. This was one of those bars that I just had to eat all in one sitting, I literally couldn't get enough of it.

Overall this is without a doubt the finest variant in the Kit Kat Chunky range and it pains me that we don't get it here in the UK. The combination of the creamy milk chocolate, biscuit like wafer and sweet flavours of the caramel combined for a taste that was as delicious as it was moreish. The large size of the bar doesn't fail in satisfying even the greatest of hunger pangs and it does so without ever getting close to being sickly or monotonous in its flavours. If I had the choice this would probably be a bar that I would frequent often if it was widely available to me. If your a fan of the Kit Kat Chunky range I seriously suggest you get your hands on one of these.

9.2 out of 10

June 23rd: Milka Alpenzauber

Kcal 555 Fat 33.5g Fat(sats) 18.5g Carbs 55.0g (per 100.0g)

There is no denying that fruit flavoured yogurt bars have dominated the European market of chocolate innovation this summer. Over the past few weeks thanks to Dean-German-Grocery I have had the opportunity to cast my eye over several new products from Lindt, Ritter Sport and of course Milka. The Milka brand again came under the microscope today as I went about trying the Milka Alpenzauber bar. This product came billed as 'Alpine Milk Chocolate with a lime yogurt filling and popping candy' .... yes you read that correctly the dreaded popping candy!

This bar is one of the newest additions to the standard Milka range and came in the usual 100.0g serving size. The outer wrapping incorporated the usual purple Milka colour scheme as well as including some lime fruit pictures to communicate the flavour. The chocolate itself look rather pleasant as well with the pale yogurt filling appearing plentiful wedged between the chocolate. I have to admit I didn't stand around looking at the bar all that long as the wonderful aromas of zesty lime smelt absolutely gorgeous - I simply had to tuck in.

This bar was really a story of two different factors and these were the taste and the texture. Flavourwise the product was simply first class. The outer Alpine Milk did its usual sterling job of providing a cream based tasting sweet chocolate that maintained its delightful hazelnut note. The inner yogurt filling also tasted superb - it had tangy milky yogurt base flavours from which the citrus lime flavours built upon nicely to provide a flavoursome, fresh taste. Despite thoroughly enjoying the taste the experience for me was somewhat ruined by the blasted popping candy. I wish Milka would really stop putting this stuff in there bars as it gave the usual benign crackling feeling at the back of my throat. To be honest I thought it was hugely disappointing as the popping candy not only managed to ruin the textures but also my enjoyment of the product on the whole.

Overall this was a frustrating product for me as I truly enjoyed the taste but felt the whole product was ruined by the inclusion of the popping candy. As a milk chocolate lime yogurt bar this Milka offering ticks all the boxes - why on earth they thought they had to include the popping candy at all is completely beyond me. I guess this is a case of personal taste - maybe some of you guys actually like the stuff!? For me though, despite thoroughly enjoying some aspects of this bar it probably won't be one I will have again. I swear if I ever come across popping candy again it will be to soon!

7.8 out of 10

June 22nd: Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Strawberry

Kcal 536 Fat 32.7g Fat(sats) 19.7g Carbs 53.5g (per 100.0g)

What with Wimbledon kicking off today I thought it rather fitting that we start the week with a strawberry based chocolate. As I mentioned yesterday in the '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' news section, Thorntons have just released a new line of bars to add to their already quite expansive 'blocks range'. Included in this new selection was this Milk Chocolate with Strawberry variant which was formed of '32% milk chocolate with dried strawberry pieces'.

One of the first things I noticed about the new bars I received from Thorntons was that some of them didn't conform to the usual 90.0g size that I have mostly commonly seen across the range. This bar for instance only weighed 80.0g, I guess this was down to the nature of the light yet largish dried strawberries. In regards to presentation I was all round pretty impressed. Again I thought that the outer packaging could have done with a little jazzing up, however I did like the look of the chocolate which had distinct red berry pieces dispersed evenly throughout. The only thing that tempted me more than the look of the chocolate was the smell. A divine plethora of sweet fruit and milk really set the mood for the taste and provided a nice insight to the chocolate at hand.

An all too common downfall when mixing milk chocolate and strawberry is that it is often a little on the sweet side. Indeed having survived a few throat burning over sweetened strawberry chocolates in my time I was hoping that Thorntons would get the balance right here. One thing that you can often be assured of with Thorntons is that generally their base chocolates are pretty good. The milk chocolate here was exactly that and had a very smooth melt with an eccentric set of flavours. A constant cream flavoured undertone lined the soft cocoa taste though there were intermittent acidic tones that were doused well by small notes of honey. The constant development of the taste of the milk chocolate was only to be outdone by the dried strawberries which brought some tangy berry flavours to most bites. Although the strawberry flavours were on the whole very short lived their acidic nature meant they left a lasting impression in the mouth. As noted already the fruit pieces were evenly distributed throughout the entire block with most chunks at least having one strawberry piece - personally I regarded this as quite important as it made the experience consistent. Although I admittedly would have happily eaten more the 40.0g servings I ate this in were both pretty satisfying.

Overall the area of milk chocolate and strawberries is often a haphazard one but Thorntons can be very proud of their efforts here. The milk chocolate was of a great standard with a really clean cut and variable taste. The dried freeze strawberries were a little unsubstantial though their tasty red berry flavour credentials were definitely up there as one of the better fruit implementations in chocolate I have tried over the last few months. As far as summer chocolates go I would recommend this one highly - it provided a fresh, light tasting fruity chocolate in what I found to be a pretty satisfying manner. I have had my ups and downs with Thorntons but I am pleased to say this was an obvious high and certainly worth tucking into the Wimbledon hamper along with the champagne!

8.5 out of 10

June 21st: 7Days of Chocolate Reviews - Edition 2

Welcome to Edition numero 2 of the new 7Days of Chocolate Reviews - again if you have any feedback on the structure or content just drop me a comment:

The Chocolate Mission Omnibus:

The week started off with me taking a look at a few of Lindt's new summer products. First I got stuck into a few variants from the Fioretto range, then on Tuesday a bar from the new 'soft melting' product line the Hazelnut Gianduja. Feedback on both products were resoundingly positive though the folks at Hotel Chocolat may wish to note there were demands made by Gemma & Lottie to bring back their own Gianduja squares.

Another review of great interest this week was the Cadbury Dairy Milk Desserts Triamisu. No one seemed overly impressed with this Cadbury effort however Heidi & Susanne suggested I get myself involved with a brand named Schgotten who they proclaim offer a better chocolate and coffee combination ... I will have to see about that now :)

Lastly I got my behind around to sorting out a Facebook page for ChocolateMission! Be sure to add me :D :D Please do so by clicking HERE ... or if your more a Twitter person .. add me by clicking HERE

News from the Chocolate Market:

* ChocolateMission reader Alan popped up with a few newsworthy items this week...

The first was an article that announced the discontinuation of Toffos (see HERE).

He also spotted some old school TV advertising currently being ran for Milky Way See HERE.

* Thorntons have released some new award winning bars - Venezuelna Milk, Dominican Dark with Salted Caramelised Macadamia & Venezuela Milk with Tonka Beans (See HERE) ... Thorntons were so excited they decided to send me these bars along with a few new limited editions ... reviews will start appearing very soon!

* Cadbury announced some strong financials despite the credit crunch (See HERE)

Have I missed some big news?? Why not tell everyone about it by leaving a comment!

Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:

* GiGi Reviews - I was astounded to see that the US has only just realised the potential of honey coated corn flakes!! See HERE

* Japanese Snack Reviews - Japanese Kit Kats rock my socks! This is one I would love to try - Ramune flavour! See HERE

* Candy Pirate - Not so much a post but a restock! These guys have just sent me a whole new batch of samples - included in which are the new M&M's Transformers and different flavoured Taste of Nature Cookie Dough bites! Be sure to check them out HERE

* Candyblog - Not a week goes by without Cybele writing a post that leaves drool on my keyboard! Take a look at here review of the new Snickers Nougabot (Transformers themed!) See HERE

Question of the Week:

'If you could bring back one discontinued chocolate product what would it be?'

June 20th: Ritter Sport Apricot Brandy

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

I am getting pretty close to hitting the number forty mark with my Ritter Sport reviews - this brand seems to know innovation like no other. As you all probably are aware by now Ritter like to release new flavours all year round in line with the seasons and once again Dean-German-Grocery didn't fail in supplying me with their latest creation. Todays bar was released as part of their Fruhlings-sorte (spring collection) and came described as 'milk chocolate with an apricot liqueur truffle centre'. Maybe its just me but the words apricot brandy remind me of the cheap tasting liqueurs that you get in restaurants in Mediterranean countries after having a meal out.

The bar was an addition to the standard Ritter Sport range so it came in the usual 100.0g block. Presentation was again nicely done with the wrapper having a clean and clear cut set of pictures and fonts that detailed the contents of the bar well. The chocolate itself didn't have any remarkable aesthetic features about it and looked almost identical to others bars from the range. Although its looks didn't suggest this bar was anyting out of the ordinary its smell suggested otherwise. The chocolate had a variety of elements in its aroma and had different degrees of dairy, floral and fruity hints.

As in most milk chocolate Ritter Sport bars the outer coating did its job adequately of supplying a reasonably well flavoured sweet chocolaty base set of flavours to the taste. The melt was smooth and relatively thick and played nicely with the lighter and more liquid feeling truffle centre. Just as expected the truffle filling was indeed where the flavours mostly expressed themselves. Much like in the smell the floral, sweet fruity notes of the apricot where quite dominant and provided a reasonably pleasant experience. Just as the chocolate reached the pinnacle of its melt the liqueur factor came into play with the warming feel and malt flavours of the brandy kicking in strongly during the aftertaste. The integration of all these separate factors - chocolate, fruit and liqueur, made for quite a rich tasting chocolate and one that had to be eaten one block at a time for all the flavours to truly be savoured.

Overall my impressions on this bar were rather mixed. The taste was certainly packing the flavour strength but it wasn't all to my taste. I am not a big liqueur fan and I probably would have preferred this bar without the brandy as it really had a strong say in the aftertaste. Fans of liqueur flavoured chocolates will probably enjoy this bar a lot more than I did so on that basis I would probably recommend it to those people. Personally though having tried so many different variants from the Ritter range I can't say I will probably be having this one again - In my opinion there are far better options to choose from.

7.6 out of 10

June 19th: Cadbury Dairy Milk Desserts Tiramisu

Kcal 566 Fat 36.7g Fat(sats) 21.0g Carbs 52.1g (per 100.0g)

A few months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the Cadbury Dairy Milk Desserts Creme Brulee bar all the way from New Zealand. As I enjoyed that bar so much Shopenzed sent over another flavour from the Desserts range in the form of this Tiramisu variant. As far as I am aware this bar is exclusive to New Zealand and it came described as Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate with a coffee flavoured creme centre.

Just as with the Creme Brulee I was lucky enough to be sent a gigantic 235.0g bar that as you can imagine took me a fair few days to eat. The outer packaging was well designed as it kept consistency with the 'Desserts' branding yet communicated the tiramisu flavour well. The chocolate itself look remarkably similar to the Creme Brulee bar with the blocks being the same mouthful size - the only difference came in the slightly darker colour of the inner creme. I couldn't quite decide whether I liked the smell of the bar - the aroma contained the usual diary scents of the chocolate but also had a rather odd smokey coffee smell.

With Dairy Milk bars unless something is drastically wrong you can always bank on the base milk chocolate always being of a high quality. This was again the case here with the Dairy Milk providing its standard creamy chocolaty flavours with its effortless thick smooth melt. Of course the tale of the taste was largely affected by the inner tiramisu creme and I will tell you now that it wasn't as good as it could have been. Much like the smell suggested the coffee flavours weren't quite right - rather than the desired fresh coffee bean flavour hit they cut more of a musky and artificial type coffee influence. The resulting taste was like a dull flavoured mocha and just didn't grab me as anything more than a mild coffee flavoured sugary fondant centre. It was by no means repulsive, though at the same time it didn't quite bring the tiramisu experience I was hoping for.

Overall I guess I was a little disappointed with this bar, however I think this was mostly down to the impeccably high standards I judge Cadbury bars on. The tiramisu filling at the end of the day was just a little average - it was passable with its meagre sweet coffee flavours but at the same time didn't deliver the variation or impetuous in its flavours that I wanted. The milk chocolate was of course of a good standard and to be fair packing all the flavours of tiramisu into a small filling was always going to be a huge challenge. I wouldn't whole heartily recommend this bar as I think there are better Cadbury products out there - possibly worth a try if you fancy it though.

7.6 out of 10

June 18th: Milka Amavel Mousse a la Birne-Mandel / l'Orange

The Milka Amavel range has consistently proven itself to be fantastic with scores often in the upper 8's and low 9's. In fact one of my favourite bars I tried this year was the Milka Amavel Mousse au Cappuccino, so when I was give the opportunity to try another two variants from the range I certainly wasn't going to turn Dean-German-Grocery down.

Both these Orange and Pear & Almond variants came in the standard 160.0g Amavel size and were both split into the rather awkward triangle shaped blocks. As well as the different flavoured fillings there was differentiation in the type of chocolate used. The Mousse a l'Orange was formed with Milka dark chocolate, whilst the Mousse a la Birne-Mandel used the more traditional Alpine Milk chocolate.

Once again both proved to be very worthwhile bars - here are my thoughts on each below:

Milka Amavel Mousse a la Birne-Mandel:
Kcal 555 Fat 35.0g Fat(sats) 19.5g Carbs 53.0g (per 100.0g)

I couldn't recall having tried a peach and almond combination before so I was looking forward to seeing what this one could offer. When I broke the block in half the inner filling could be seen to have a very pale and fluffy complexion. The aroma that revealed itself when the chocolate was split into was fruity though had a strong chocolaty base tone.

The overall taste wasn't quite what was promised though it was still was very tasty indeed. The outer Alpine Milk chocolate provided the standard sweet tasting creamy chocolate that it is known for. The transition of the smooth thick melting outer chocolate to the lighter fluffier inner mousse was as wonderful as ever and the development it brought on the flavours of the outer chocolate was also something to be hold. The pear flavours took a firm grasp of the taste when the mousse was encountered and provided a sweet, fruity context. I couldn't detect the almond anywhere in the taste, however there was a small hazelnut element brought to the experience by the outer Alpine Milk chocolate.

Overall like all good fruit flavoured chocolates this bar communicated the fruit influence well and had a fresh tasting influence. Despite the almond being somewhat absent from proceedings I wasn't left disappointed as the strength of the flavours was already pretty strong. If you like your pear fruit then this would be a chocolate you should seriously think of trying.

8.7 out of 10

Milka Amavel Mousse a l'Orange:
Kcal 565 Fat 39.5g Fat(sats) 22.5g Carbs 45.0g (per 100.0g)

As I have mentioned previously this bar was a little different to the rest of the Amavel range as it used dark chocolate rather than the standard Alpine Milk chocolate. The difference was exhibited clearly by the chocolate itself as the outer chocolate was a far darker colour to the milk chocolate filling. Despite the stronger chocolate the orange ingredient was by far the dominant aspect in the smell of the bar which gave it a very fresh feel.

I am a big fan of Milka Apline Milk chocolate but I thought that the outer dark chocolate worked just as well. The melt of the chocolate was equally as luxurious and maintained the same nicely paced smoothness when changing form. Much like the Birne-Mandel bar it was pleasant that the flavours of the filling did not come to the party until the mousse filling was encountered - this allowed for a nicely progressive taste. The cocoa flavours of the outer chocolate were notably amplified and didn't have quite the sweetness of the normal milk chocolate. This worked really well with the mousse as whilst the orange flavours were zesty and juicy, they were still rather sweet which meant that the balance of the taste was maintained by the dark chocolate.

Overall having tried both bars I couldn't pick a favourite out of the Birne-Mandel or this l'Orange as both provided wonderful fruity chocolate experiences. The decision to use dark chocolate rather than the sweet milk chocolate in this bar was a good one as I think using milk chocolate would have made the resulting taste a little on the sweet side. There are plenty of orange and chocolate combinations around but I would rate this one as good as any of them - another success from the Amavel range.

8.7 out of 10

June 17th: Nestle Nuts

Kcal 243 Fat 12.3g Fat(sats) 3.1g Carbs 31.1g

This was yet another product supplied to me by Dean-German-Grocery and I believe that it is a bar that is available all over Europe apart from the UK ... which begs the question why the English name? When I read what this Nestle Nuts bar was formed of it immediately reminded me of the Topic bar that we have here in the UK. Comprised of milk chocolate, nougat, caramel and hazelnuts it sounded like it had a lot of potential.

Although this bar weighed only 1.0g more than the Topic bar at 50.0g it looked a lot larger. The wrapper was relatively plain, though I thought the simplicity with the yellow and red colours was actually rather nice looking. As you can see above the bar itself also looked very tempting when cross-sectioned with the hazelnut pieces appearing very well portioned along with the caramel. One thing that did slightly annoy me was the lack of nutritional information on the wrapper, which I have had to look up myself for you guys! Disregarding this slight annoyance the aroma of the product was suitably hazelnut led and certainly proved to be very enticing.

The milk chocolate that coated this bar was really your bog standard no frills Nestle stuff. I guess that sounds rather negative though to be honest it delivered the desired chocolate hit with its predominantly sweet, milky flavours and thickish melt. Sat below the milk chocolate the nougat and caramel combined to provide a very pleasurable combination of chewy, dense textures which made the taste last for a sustained time in the mouth. The flavours I got from both these elements were not particularly spectacular - the nougat especially struggled to create an impression with its flavours but thankfully the caramel made up for this with some butterscotch notes. The hazelnuts sat within the nougat were absolutely fantastic. They provided a fresh woody, nut element to the taste whilst also contributing a wonderful crunch element to the mainly soft, chewy texture.

Overall I would say that this bar provided a far more fulfilling experience than the Topic but didn't quite deliver the same amount of flavour. As a snack this bar was by far the more satisfying as the viscous textures made for a taste that was far longer sustained. Although the flavours were still majoritly nice I would say in comparison to the Topic the nougat and caramel were not quite as good, which ultimately meant I ranked it lower in terms of actual taste. For fans of the Topic bar I would recommend this as a product you should at least try to see which you prefer. This was yet another worthwhile treat served up by Dean-German-Grocery.

8.2 out of 10