Saturday, 22 August 2009
As an avid chewing gum lover there aren't many moments when my gob isn't kept busy. I am normally a Wrigley's Extra man (has to be peppermint!!) as I simply can't stand those awful fruit flavoured gums that taste so terribly cheap. Before today I had never seen a chocolate flavoured gum let alone tried one; of course that was until J-List got on the case and offered me a chance to try this Recaldent Smart Time Chocolate Gum from Japan. I won't even attempt to try and sound like I know what the on pack description said but according to the J-List website these were 'chocolate flavoured gum pieces with real chocolate centres'. Today is yet another ChocolateMission - my first ever gum review.
The gum came in a pack of 12 individual pieces that I managed to savour for well over a week. The packaging of our gum here in the UK is rather simplistic and to be honest I wouldn't really expect anything else ... it is just gum after all. From the limited selection of products I have reviewed the Japanese always seem to pay a lot of attention to how their products look and once again I couldn't help but like the way this gum had been presented. The outer cardboard box was a lovely gold colour and had a very cool sliding draw like mechanism that held the gum pieces inside. The gum pieces themselves were contained within individual foil packages and contained a very surprising bit of branding that I will come onto later. In regards to aroma the gum didn't have a particulalry strong impact aside from a minor sweet smell - I decided to not punish the gum on the score system as this was chewing gum after all.
I mentioned above that there was a surprising piece of branding placed on the inner foil wrappers and I can reveal that it was Cadbury! Despite having no inclination of containing any form of Cadbury on the outer packaging (that I could translate anyway!) it was all too apparent from both the wrappers and resulting taste that this gum had a Cadbury influence. As you can see above the gum had two distinct layers - the standard outer chocolate flavoured gum and an inner bit of liquid chocolate. I wasn't expecting much in the way of a chocolate hit though as soon as I placed the piece in my mouth and started chewing a simply wonderful set of creamy chocolate flavours attacked my taste buds. The chocolate flavours weren't entirely Dairy Milk Esq, though were certainly comparable and had similar milky flavours. As with most chewing gum the flavours did all but disappear in around 30 minutes but I still enjoyed them whilst they were present and they were certainly a nice change up from my usual mint gum.
Overall I wouldn't necessarily replace my usual Wrigley's Extra with this chocolate flavoured alternative but I would certainly purchase it now and again to provide a bit of a mix up. It sounds silly to say but the chocolate influence brought to the party was actually surprisingly chocolaty and were not just the sweet, nondescript flavours that I was expecting. Chewing gum is a pretty staple part of everyday life for me and it is not often that I am without a pack. Like I said i wont be replacing my Wrigley's Peppermint anytime soon, but for interesting alternative I would suggest you give these a try. The only question I have left is why they don't have the Cadbury logo on the packaging? ... the only answer I can think of is that the Cadbury logo just isn't recognised in Japan!
7.4 out of 10
Friday, 21 August 2009
Thursday, 20 August 2009
My second look at the highly recommended Schogetten range came in the form of this Milk Cream Caramel car and I must once again extend my thanks to ChocolateMission reader Lottie for proividing me with it. After the relatively promising review of the Schogetten Cappuccino I was looking forward to seeing if Schogetten to take that extra step and really produce a product of merit. I thought there was no better chance of this happening than to try their Milk Cream Caramel offering, which came billed as 'milk chocolate with a milk cream and caramel cream filling' - it sounded promising nonetheless.
Just as with the Cappuccino bar this one came in a 100.0g form that was already split into 18 individual block pieces. As the photo above so clearly shows the packaging wasn't all together that differentiated from the Cappuccino variant, though there were the obvious branding and colour differences used to communicate the caramel theme. The chocolate itself also at first glance didn't appear to have anything remarkable about it; that was until I bit into one of the blocks and saw the appetising look of the two toned inner filling which made the product seem that little bit more enticing. The bar was held within a silver foil layer that nicely contained a nice chocolaty scent that became apparent when the foil was split. A stronger, sweetened milkier smell was emanated when the blocks were bitten into.
Having already tried one Schogetten bar it seemed like a natural thing to make my observations based on a comparison between the two. As far as I am aware the milk chocolate used in both this bar and the cappuccino was of the same recipe though the taste of the milk chocolate in this bar came through stronger in the taste due to the later entrance of the filling to the taste. The milk chocolate was fair in flavour and provided a pleasant milk dominant, cocoa base taste with just the slightest touch of hazelnut present in each block. As I said in my last Schogetten review the chocolate for my liking was perhaps a little on the sweet side, though just like its most blatant comparable Milka had an appealing smooth, sweet taste. The filling for my liking was probably not all I hoped it to be, but at the same time was tasty none the less. Just like the outer chocolate it was smooth in its melt and the milk cream and had a nice cooling feeling on the tongue. The milk cream tasted like a more yogurty version of the outer chocolate and certainly had a pleasant sour tang in its aftertaste. The caramel that sat on top of the milk cream certainly was no where near the standards of other leading caramel bars but its sweet, toffee flavours managed to prohibit the tangyness of the milk cream from becoming overpowering. The whole bar provided me with three different snacking occasions, all of which I thought were reasonably substantial.
Overall in my opinion just like its Cappuccino sister bar this Milk Cream Caramel failed to really progress past being an average flavoured milk chocolate. The milk chocolate itself had relative appeal but on the balance on things I still would probably choose Milka chocolate over it given the choice. The Milk Cream Caramel filling itself was not bad in anyway and on the whole was relatively enjoyable - it was just that I didn't particularly get any sort of wow factor from it. If I was to offer an alternative instead of this bar I would suggest the Milka Toffee Ganznuss which had all the delight of the milk cream and caramel fillings but also with the addition of hazelnuts in each block. If you were to come across this bar on the cheap I would suggest you give it a try, but in the context of the whole market I think there are better milk chocolate caramel bars out there.
7.4 out of 10
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
All I can say was that it was going to happen eventually! After 42 reviews I have finally come across a Hotel Chocolat product that I really didn't rate. As ever I was very kindly sent these to review by the marketing team at Hotel Chocolat and having really liked both the Ginger Tangs and more recently Mango Strips from the same range my hopes were just as high for these Orange Tangs. Described as 'pieces of orange jelly enrobed in dark chocolate' I was immediately disappointed to find that these were not chocolate covered pieces of orange fruit and instead contained orange juice and peel. Despite this I was still excited at the prospect of trying these, as were my family who have also recently discovered the delights of my free samples from Hotel Chocolat.
The Orange Tangs came from the same 150.0g tubs range than the Ginger Tangs I reviewed in January and contained around 20 or so pieces insider. I thought that the tub itself was nicely presented with the label clearly communicating the inner product with both the description and on pack pictures. At first I was also impressed with what lay inside as the pieces looked to be a nice size and had a pleasant chocolaty fruity smell. On closer inspection though the pieces were bloomed and had dusty, scuffed surfaces that certainly didn't look all that fresh or appealing - this is probably the first Hotel Chocolat product I have ever said this about. To say either my family or myself were put off by the blemished appearance of the chocolates would be far from the truth; it didn't stop us digging straight in with great enthusiasm.
I may as well get straight to the point reveal that these did not live up to expectations in any sense whatsoever. At first I couldn't quite put my finger on what the taste reminded me of, but then with a little assistance from some very fellow samplers we managed to pin the taste down. I guess you will all be none to impressed to learn that these tasted very similar to upper portion of a Jaffa Cake ... yes a Jaffa Cake. Normally I like to take you all through my experience of the taste step by step but for this product that won't be necessary as the taste showed no progression of any note. The taste both started and ended with the orange jelly centre which had a strong orange fruit flavour that at times I would describe as being tart and almost sour. The dark chocolate really didn't factor into the taste all that much and its thin implementation meant that the cocoa flavours were mostly entirely lost in the context of the taste and failed to make an impression of any note. Maybe it was just that they tasted so similar to Jaffa Cakes but out of the four people that tried these (including myself) none of us were that impressed by what we tasted. They neither tasted that appealing or were what I would describe as fulfilling - they wouldn't be my choice of snack.
Overall the only word I can use to describe these is disappointing, but I guess every product range has its duds. I generally think that the better Hotel Chocolat products are the ones that focus on the actual chocolate and not the filling - it is their core competence after all. I think it says it all when I can tell you that the tub of Orange Tangs in my household is still half full after a week. Normally Hotel Chocolat products are gobbled up within a matter of days but these just seemed to completely lack the appeal that so many of their other products have in abundance. I really like Jaffa Cakes ... but even I couldn't quite get my head around the uncanny resemblance that these showed; if anything their sourer nature made them a far less appealing option when you consider they cost £6.75 a tub! I can't go as far as recommending these for anyone due to Hotel Chocolat have far, far better products across their range - one to avoid in my opinion.
4.9 out of 10
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
My review of the Thorntons' silver award winning Venezuelan Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean bar was packed to the brim full of praise and rightly so - it was fantastic. Given this you can probably understand me being as hopeful for this Dark Chocolate with Macadamia bar, which also won a bronze award at the academy of chocolate awards for being the best flavoured dark chocolate. Combining 'dark chocolate with caramelised salted macadamia nuts' this one took my fancy and I was glad to see another chocolate implement the much under utilised macadamia.
Just the like the Tonka Bean bar this product came in a smaller 70.0g size which as you may know is 20.0g lighter than the standard bars from the Square Blocks range. I was a little puzzled with the choice of a light peach coloured theme to communicate the contents as I thought that a bolder, darker colour would have better represented the chocolate. Inside I was pleased to see that like all the other award winning bars the contents was kept within a foil packet that when undone released a reasonably strong set of cocoa scents that just had the slightest savoury nut hint. Due to its lighter form the chocolate looked thinner than the average Square Blocks range bar. I was also surprised to see that the macadamia nuts were not in a whole form and were chopped into finer pieces and dispersed.
As the above photo shows you the dark chocolate was of a 60% recipe with the cocoa descending from the Dominican Republic. As far as dark chocolate goes it was of a reasonable standard. The strength of the cocoa flavours were not the strongest or most forthcoming but at the same time they provided a quite consistent chocolaty context with each bite and never verged upon being what I would describe as bitter or repulsive. The chocolate had a reasonably paced melt that I enjoyed, yet seemed a little on the watery side and could have done with being a touch thicker. As I stated above I was looking forward to trying another macadamia flavoured bar but when it came to it I must admit I was a just a little disappointed. The nuts themselves neither tasted or felt fresh and their savoury taste by and large felt a bit clumsy and out of context. Although they had a nice saltiness to them they lacked the sweetness that would have made the salt lick all that bit more pleasurable. I don't know it if it was the fact that they were broken into smaller pieces but I would have preferred the nuts to have been whole as although they might not have made the bar look as aesthetically pleasing, they would have given a more natural texture. I ate this bar over two sittings and I would say both were adequate snacks.
Overall as the scoring matrix reveals this was quite a rarity for Thorntons as they managed to almost score a perfect 'average'. 7.0 out of 1o seems to be around the par score for a product on ChocolateMission and I would say this bar would nestle nicely right in the middle. It wasn't poor, yet at the same time wasn't great ... it didn't offend me, nor did it overwhelm me with its magnificence. I say averageness is rare for Thorntons because their products normally turn out to be really rather good, or really rather pants. As far as dark chocolate and nut combinations go I wouldn't say this was one of the best I have tried, though given the fact this one has been recognised by far greater chocolate experts than myself would suggest it may be one worth checking out.
7.2 out of 10
Monday, 17 August 2009
8.2 out of 10
Sunday, 16 August 2009
The ChocolateMission Omnibus:
The week started off with my reviewing Willie Harcourt-Cooze's Delectable Cocoa Bars which you may remember from the series in which he starred on Channel 4. Personally I thought his bars were of a fair standard, but were by no means the best chocolate bars in the world such as he claims. Seemingly not many had actually tried Willie's bars with a lot of people mentioning the high price as the reason why. Those that had tried the chocolates, like CM reader Alun, had also come to similar conclusions than my own.
Later on in the week I got stuck into my first Schogetten bar, before trying my luck with Sarotti's Sao Thome dark chocolate. Both these chocolates split opinion so it will be interesting to see what the other bars from both these ranges offer.
On Friday I tried a rather odd product from Niederegger in the form of their 'Marzipan Potatoes'. Readers such as Alan and David thought similarly to myself in that the concept was completely out of left field, but thankfully Susanne was on hand to provide us with a quite reasonable explanation as to why these are quite the novelty in Germany - check out the review HERE to see why.
News from the Chocolate Market:
* This article was actually pointed out last week by Phil but it mysteriously disappeared before he could send the link. Susanne was on hand though to point me in the right direction on Monday to this press announcement .... Cadbury have launched a new product named KOKO - a truffle based Dairy Milk product aimed at the womans market. I have already managed to get hold of them myself so expect a review tomorrow. See HERE
* Nestle have recorded a first half rise of 4.3% USG (underlying sales growth ... in English SALES!) within the confectionery portfolio ... I wonder what will happen in Q3 with the introduction of Kit Kat Caramel Chunky? See HERE
* The FSA (Food Standards Agency) have issued a warning to foods manufactures about the level of saturated fat contained in our foods. See HERE
* I announced last week that Thorntons were moving their business abroad (again!) ... there is more on this move HERE
Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:
* GiGi Reviews - Brought back many memories of Root Beer Floats at Disney theme parks that I used to have as a nipper with her review of Dryers/Edy's new ice cream. See HERE
* Japanese Snack Reviews - These Lotte Chocolate Coated Caramel Macadamias really caught my eye and got me back in the mood for tasting some more far east goods. See HERE
* CandyBlog - Should we really be encouraging children to put Lego blocks in their mouths? I'm not sure but Cybele thought these Chuao Chocolate Blocks from Legoland were damn tasty. See HERE
* Impulsive Buy - These review had me really intrigued!? Why on earth would Burger King be involved in making French Toast flavoured snacks!? By the looks of it they shouldn't have bothered. See HERE
* Unreserved Seating - This is a new site set up that tracks one mans travelling round various football grounds here in the UK ... hey who knows if his team performs a minor miracle and gets into Europe he could check out some stadiums abroad. Genuinely a great idea for a site and well worth checking out to see the wonderful views of our football grounds from a fans perspective. See HERE
### Jim's Corner & question of the week ###
Yes indeed a new small section for me to let some steam off my chest. It has been a great week for the site with a wave of new contributors regularly adding their thoughts to the reviews. This is something I always welcome as it is great to hear from the people that read ... whether you agree or don't feel free to leave me a comment by clicking the small little box under the score graph.
It has been a busy week for myself at work so apologies if I have been late replying to your comments. Unfortunately comment moderation will have to stay on for the minute as there is still a lingering nuisance attempting to contribute where not welcome.
I must give an additional thanks to Susie from Germany this week who was kind enough to send me some pictures of a German confectionery fixture (shelves!) from her local supermarket. It was really interesting to see the amount of variety they have out there, so much so I might do a comparison post with our UK shelves to show the huge difference ... that's if there is demand for that sort of thing!? Which leads me nicely to question of the week ...
'Would you like to see some special feature posts on this website? If so what sort of things would you like to see? I could do interviews with relevant industry people? Manufacture features e.g. small independent companies? Cross cultural confectionery market comparisons? The possibilities are endless ..... or simply I could just stick to reviews?
Right best round off this week - look out for my review of the Cadbury KOKO published Monday as well as some more reviews from the Schogetten range. Good luck to our lads playing the final Ashes test starting on the 20th! Fingers crossed it goes to day 5 as I have tickets!
Best Wishes and have great weeks!
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Once again I have to start off yet another review by issuing my thanks to reader Lottie who made another contribution to the ChocolateMission cause by kindly donating this bar for me to review. Dean-German-Grocery normally supply me my fill of Milka products though this just so happened to be one of the very few that they hadn't sent me yet. This bar was formed of 'semi-sweet Alpine milk chocolate with a both a marzipan and cocoa creme filling'. The only instance where I had tried a marzipan based Milka product before was in one of the Milka Easter egg products; looking back on that review I wasn't particularly complimentary of it - I hoped for better things today.
Like so many Milka products that have gone before this was yet another from the 100.0g range and was split into several bite sized blocks. The outer packaging implemented the standard Milka design theme with the marzipan flavour communicated through the red secondary colour and almond nut pictures. As you may be able to tell from my photo above the bar I ate did suffer from some slight melting issues in the post but I still thought the actual construction of the bar was well executed with just about the right amount of marzipan in each block. In regards to the aroma of the chocolate it was all relatively appealing and was a fusion of nice chocolaty and nut based smells.
When it comes to marzipan I seem to like very few brands outside of the Niederegger and Zentis portfolios. Generally I find other brands to be rather generic with a lot of them providing the same sort sugary, dry experience and thats not even going into the standard of the chocolate that generally accompanies them (even the Niederegger chocolate isn't great!). With this in mind on the whole I guess I was more impressed rather than disappointed with what this Milka bar had to offer. The dark chocolate that coated the marzipan of course wasn't really that dark at all - it was just the standard Alpine Milk chocolate with a much lower level of sweetness. This might sound like a criticism but I thought it was actually pretty damn tasty. Milka Alpine Milk chocolate tends to be a tiny bit of the sweet side for me, so I really enjoyed the creamy taste without harshness of the sugar. The hazelnut noted aftertaste of the chocolate also nicely led into the almond flavours of the inner marzipan which in regards to quality I have to say wasn't anywhere near Niederegger or Zentis standards ... but that is not to say it wasn't passable. Compared to the aforementioned brands it was a little on the dry and crumbly side and lacked a little in terms of focus on its almond flavours. I think it is worth bearing in mind that these are indeed high standards and I enjoyed this bar enough to eat it across three different sittings.
Overall one way to look at this review would be to conclude that this was neither the best Milka or marzipan bar I have ever tried. More positively though it could be viewed in the light that it was still pretty damn tasty and was a bar that provided me a great deal of satisfaction. As I mentioned above the problem with most marzipan products is that a lot of the time the chocolate that accompanies it is more often than not pretty poor. On the contrary the semi-sweet Alpine Milk chocolate that coated this bar was pretty damn enjoyable and I must say that I even might prefer to the standard Alpine Milk chocolate that is implemented on 99% of Milka products. If your looking for great tasting marzipan your probably best looking elsewhere - if its a bit of a change up from your usual Milka bar though you could do a lot worse than this.
7.9 out of 10
Friday, 14 August 2009
Dean-German-Grocery seem pretty content with giving me the opportunity to review a Niederegger product a week at present and I for one am not complaining. I stand firm in the belief that they make some of the best marzipan around and given the fact I am not that greater fan of the stuff it must obviously be of a pretty good quality considering I am never one to turn them down. I noted last week in my review of the Niederegger Marzipan Ginger that Niederegger produce their products in all different formats. Ranging from standard bars, loaves and fingers they seemingly do it all; as I was too find out today they also do 'Potatoes' ... what on earth!?
These were a pretty unusual product and came in a 100.0g pack that included twelve pieces. They were simply balls of marzipan with a light dusting of cocoa which made them look startlingly like smallish, round new potatoes. I guess the idea was that this would have some sort of novelty appeal but to be honest it was just a little lost on me. Why on earth would you want to make a marzipan confection look like a potato - I thought they didn't look appetising at all. Despite being almost afraid to taste these my confidence was somewhat restored when I peeled back the plastic seal and was met with a nice wave of familiar sweet nutty smells.
Feeling a little more at ease due to the enticing scents I of course got well and truly stuck in. It will come as no surprise to you that the marzipan was of the usual awesomely high standard I am used to. I have described the taste enough times but I can seemingly never get enough of the doughy, almond flavours that subside the forthcoming sweetness so well. The culmination of the different influences result in a sweet and nutty bread like taste that is as satisfying as it is moreish. One aspect of these 'Potatoes' that I wasn't so sure of (aside from the looks!) was the cocoa dusting that lined each piece. Apart from making them look awful the powder added nothing to the flavour of any note and just seemed to suck some of the moisture out of each piece. I managed to eat four of these in a single sitting which I thought complimented a mid-morning coffee perfectly.
Overall I just simply don't know what Niederegger were thinking when they came up with the idea of taking some of the best marzipan in the world and making it look totally inedible. The marzipan itself here was of the usual incredible standards but the cocoa dusting was just a total disaster which ever way you look at it. It was not only detrimental to the texture as it dried it out slightly but even more inexcusably it made the product look totally unappetising. As I said above maybe, just maybe someone, somewhere may see the novelty of marzipan that looks like a potato. This concept was totally lost on me though - if your going to go Niederegger your best off sticking to another part of their range.
6.9 out of 10
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Today saw another ChocolateMission first with me trying out my first ever Berggold product which again came to me direct from Germany thanks to Dean-German-Grocery. If their website is to be believed Berggold were first founded in 1876 - that sounded like a bloody long time to be making chocolates to me so I hoping that these would prove to be rather good. I am not entirely sure what the direct translation for Streusel Kugeln is, but Dean-German-Grocery had these billed as 'chocolate flavoured rum balls'. Generally I find liqueur flavoured chocolates to be a bit hit or miss so I had my fingers crossed that I would like these.
I received these chocolates in a 200.0g pack that included about twenty or so individual pieces. The packaging was a little on the basic side with the chocolates left to randomly roll round in the gold coloured plastic tray. Although they were only protected by a single plastic film layer this still managed to maintain a quite strong, curious sweet floral like smell that became quite apparent when the packet was opened. I guess on the whole I wasn't altogether that enthused by either the presentation of the outer packaging or the smell but I thought the look of the actual chocolates themselves was a little more exciting with the outer chocolate sprinkles nicely hiding the inner contents of each piece.
As you can tell up to this point I was intrigued to what lay below the outer shell of these chocolates - having now eaten them I probably would have been better off keeping my curiosity as I wasn't all that impressed. As you will see from the pictures above each chocolate had a coating of chocolate sprinkles. Although I was none to impressed by the quality of the chocolate flavour hit the sprinkles delivered there was just something about the sugary, crunchiness that brought back some nice nostalgic memories of having them on ice cream when I was younger. Where on the one hand the chocolate sprinkles were enjoyable to some extent, what lay below was simply pretty bad. The centre of each piece was formed of a sugar based fondant that contributed only a raw burst of sickly, sugary flavours. When in the mouth the taste was majoritly dominated by the sugar, though the aftertaste was noted with an odd fruity, rum tinge that seemed out of context given their lateness to the party. I have to say I got nowhere near finishing my pack of these - a few was enough before I decided I had better products in need of reviewing and I left them to be devoured by the rest of my family.
Overall most products at least manage to scrap a score of 7.0 on this site so if your hitting the lower 5.0s like this Berggold offering you know it has to be one I didn't like. My enjoyment of this product started and ended with the chocolate sprinkles; indeed they are a bit of a trashy ingredient but for me they had a nostalgic appeal despite their sickly nature. Personally I found the dry nature of the inner texture and shockingly sweet, monotonous taste just a bit on the boring side. It wasn't that these tasted all that terrible, it was just that given the amount of different products I get to try they were probably nearer the lower end of the scale in terms of chocolates that I actually enjoyed. I guess the truly telling thing was that after one I wasn't really wanting to have another and was yearning for something that was going to deliver me a true chocolate fix. Even for those that enjoy their rum flavoured chocolates I wouldn't recommend these as I think there are better options out there for you (Look HERE).
5.2 out of 10
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I have to start off todays review by sending a big muchos gracias in the direction of ChocolateMission reader Lottie who recently very generously sent me a few Schogetten bars to get stuck into. Chocolate that originates from Germany is very well represented on this site thanks by and large to Dean-German-Grocery. For whatever reason though Trumpf's Schogetten range is one that I have never got around to taking a look at ... until now of course. Lottie sent me three bars from their range and I decided to first get stuck into this Cappuccino flavoured bar. Billed as 'milk chocolate filled with a cappuccino flavoured creme' it appealed to me and I was hoping that it would be equally as good as the Ritter Sport Cappuccino bar.
The product originated from Saarlouis, Germany and came in a 100.0g size. I thought the presentation was all rather fair - it wasn't exactly the most eye catching, nor was it bad in anyway shape or form. One thing that I did like about the bar was how each of the individual blocks were already separated inside- even if it did catch me out at first sending bits of chocolate all over the place! Doh! When I was finished flinging the blocks across the room I took a smell of the bar and found that it emanated a rather mild instant coffee like smell.
A fair few readers of commented on how tasty this bar is, so I was genuinely looking forward to trying it for myself. Maybe because of the build up I was really expecting it to have a big X-factor but unfortunately this was the one thing I thought it truly lacked. The chocolate contained 30% cocoa and tasted like a bit of a halfway house between Ritter Sport and Milka. It wasn't as sweet as Milka yet had the same hazelnut hint in its aftertaste. Personally I felt that it was neither scintillating to the taste buds, neither was it anything to be disappointed with. Sitting at the heart of each of the blocks was the cappuccino filling to which I also had rather mixed feelings about. The transition from the slightly rougher texture of the outer chocolate to the smoother inner filling was well managed and melted at a nice pace allowing each different element to establish itself on the taste. In regards to taste my perceptions weren't quite as positive and I was failed to be bowled over by the cappuccino flavours. As I ate more of the bar I did come to enjoy the creamy nature of the mild coffee influence but something in the back of my mind couldn't help but remind me that it tasted rather like the instant cappuccino drink that I get from my work office vending machine. I ate this bar over the course of two separate occasions and felt both times that it provided an adequate snack - nothing more or less.
Overall reading back over the above I can see how this review might be perceived as a bit on the negative side. Truth be told this bar neither struck me as being great or bad ... on the balance of things it was pretty average. For me I think where this bar mostly stumbled was in the strength of its coffee flavours. I am a black coffee man so I am used to far stronger, more full on coffee flavours rather than the creamier mild ones that the filling here delivered. If I was looking for a coffee flavoured chocolate this probably wouldn't be the first bar that would spring to mind in order to get my fix, yet at the same time I wouldn't say that this should be a bar that deserves being dismissed straightaway. If you take your coffee weak and milky this could well be a chocolate that you would enjoy. More Schogetten coming soon!
7.2 out of 10
Monday, 10 August 2009
Due to the success of the TV series these bars have been a little tricky to get hold of. Luckily for me though ChocolateMission reader Emma was ever so kind in picking these up from Selfridges and sending them to me.
In regards to presentation I thought the bars were relatively well designed. Both came in 80.0g forms with both the variants containing two smaller 40.0g thick square pieces. In regards to the outer packaging both boxes were well decorated with some nice looking fonts and interesting information about how the bars were crafted. Whilst I liked the appearance of the chocolate I have to admit it wasn't the practical to eat. The 40.0g blocks were short and stubby which meant breaking them up without them melting on the hands was a little messy.
Having assessed everything but the taste there was only one question left to answer and that was if Willie had created the best chocolate in the world ...
Willie's Delectable Cacoa Venezuelan 72% Rio Caribe Superior:
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
According to the blurb the cocoa beans used for this bar originate from the finest cocoa regions in Venezuela and are roasted in Willie's chocolate factory in England using 100 year old chocolate making machinery .... wooo! This had to be good right?
From the off I could tell this was going to be a full flavoured chocolate as the fresh smell of the cocoa was immediately evident once the golden foil was opened. This was all but confirmed when I placed the first piece in my mouth as the intense flavours took no time at all to establish themselves. The cocoa flavours were raw and earthy and made a distinct impression in the mouth throughout the duration of the melt. Speaking of the melt I liked the pace and slight bit of grit that could be felt as it transformed into a thick cocoa liquor in the mouth. Going back to the taste the flavours were pleasant yet not all that progressive and I felt that there was a touch of sugar or vanilla needed in the aftertaste to make the lasting impression a little more friendly.
Overall as you will have noticed this was my favourite out of the two and would probably be the one I would buy again if it came to it. As far as dark chocolate goes this was of a fair to good standard but nothing truly made it stand out from other more well rounded chocolates I have had before. The cocoa strength was there but it didn't show much progression from its initial dark, roasted flavour set and the aftertaste was begging for just a touch of sweetness to make it a more well rounded taste.
8.3 out of 10
Selected from the province of San Martin in Peru the cocoa beans used in this bar were also roasted and formed in chocolate in Willie's factories here in the UK. Although both bars looked exactly the same had you blindfolded me I could easily have told them apart due to some quite evident differences.
For starters the smell of this bar was a little less intense and had some sweeter fruitier hints amongst the evident cocoa scents. In regards to taste the flavours were slower to develop and the cocoa was a bit more steady with the taste amplifying as the melt progressed. The taste overall was not quite as strong as the Venezuelan bar had more of murkier dark coffee noted taste that was well established once the melt was in full flow. Noticeably the melt itself lacked the slight grit and grip on the tongue compared to the Rio Cabre and had a softer, smoother feel. One commonality that both bars did share was the lack of thought in the aftertaste. Just like the Rio Cabre the San Martin could also have done with a little X-factor to nicely round off the experience.
Overall I guess a preference between the two will largely be down to personal perceptions - in my case it was the Rio Cabre. The main reason for this was because I liked the way it was exerting in terms of its flavours straight away. The San Martin bar took a little too long 'getting to the point' with its flavours and the lack of texture in the melt meant that its flavours didn't last quite as long. As I have said this would all be down to personal preference and I wouldn't be surprised if most people preferred the smooth tasting and melting San Martin.
7.9 out of 10
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Saturday, 8 August 2009
When the question 'what product would you most like to see return to the shelves' is asked one of the most commonly mentioned bars is the Cadbury Nuts about Caramel. Unfortunately we are yet to see this bar make its triumphant return, however today I got to try a Milka bar which followed much the same idea. This Milka Toffee Ganznuss came described as 'Alpine milk chocolate with a caramel creme filling with added whole hazelnuts', which didn't sound all too dissimilar from the Milka Caramel bar I reviewed back in October last year. If you read this review and like the sound of this bar then I suggest you head to Dean-German-Grocery who sent me this bar to review today.
As you will be able to tell from the picture above this bar wasn't part of the standard 100.0g range but was a part of the mammoth 300.0g Milka selection. Of course with the amount of chocolate I have to eat to keep up with my review schedule I decided to share this with a group of friends as I never would have been able to get through the entire bar myself. On the whole I was very impressed with the packaging and especially liked the on pack illustrations which depicted an enticing, yet still relatively realistic picture of the inner product. The chocolate inside was divided into well sized blocks that were perfect for eating one at a time. When cross-sectioned the inner layers were clearly visible with the inner creme, caramel and whole hazelnut pieces distinguished and visible in each and every piece. In line with expectations the smell was sweet with a hint of nut - by this point I was expecting this bar to deliver big time.
Thankfully I can report that the chocolate didn't let itself down when it came to the taste test and it was thoroughly enjoyed by most people that tried it. The chocolate that coated the bar really brought no surprises - it was very milk based with its sweet, creamy flavours and had just the slightest note of hazelnut. The real delight of this bar though lay within the inner caramel flavoured creme and caramel layers - they were simply delicious. The inner creme provided the softest, cool textured centre that was deliciously creamy with just the slightest toffee hint. The toffee flavours were of course further enhanced by the actual caramel which really drove home the sweet, buttery flavours that were initially set up by the creme. Sitting at the heart of the caramel almost like an end treat to the melt of the chocolate were the hazelnut pieces. To be honest they were a bit hit or miss - in some blocks the nuts were fresh, crunchy and full of woody nut flavours ... in others they were soft, lacking in flavour and on the whole a bit lacklustre - it was a little bit of a lottery.
Overall as I have mentioned the bar was enjoyed by most that tried it and I for one certainly absolutely loved it. In the blocks where the nuts were of a good quality the taste was simply divine and had a devilish moreishness that kept me coming back for more. As is the case with most Milka products some may find the taste a little on the sweet side but frankly if you buy a milk chocolate caramel bar you would be a bit stupid thinking that this wouldn't be the case. I guess for the time being we won't be seeing the Cadbury Nuts about Caramel. This is of course is a little disappointing but having tried this wonderful Milka offering for the moment I will be more than happy settling for this great substitute. If you like your milk chocolate and caramel combination I would really recommend you try this one.
8.9 out of 10
Friday, 7 August 2009
Once again I have to start off yet again by thanking ChocolateMission reader Alan who so kindly sent me this for a review. Whilst scouring his local pound shop Alan found this Dove (Galaxy) bar which had made its way all the way from Poland. With a little help from Google Translate I finally determined that this was a 'cinnamon & orange' flavoured milk chocolate product. Remembering back to my reviews during Christmas I remember this combination being particularly popular in the sample boxes that were sent my way from Germany. With the Milka and Lindt bars springing to mind as fine examples, I was hoping this bar could show similar results.
The product came in a 40.0g size much like the standard Galaxy bars we get here in the UK. One area that this product particularly impressed me was the packaging. It was formed of the same material as UK Cadbury bars use nowadays - the matted material with the foil innards. I felt it gave the bar a very suave look and was only further impressed when I saw the actual chocolate. The blocks were split into well sized chunks and had a small truffle like layer running through the middle. Whilst I thought this looked appetising I was not quite as impressed by the aroma which had a quite odd floral sweet smell - it really wasn't what I was expecting.
Lets not mess around here ... by Galaxy (Dove) usual high standards the taste was pretty poor. The outer chocolate was pretty in-line with what you would expect from the brand and supplied the usual smooth tasting creamy chocolate experience that can be found with most Galaxy bars. As soon as my the centre filling came in to play though a rather different story began to be told. At first it wasn't all that bad ... well for the first few seconds anyway. The orange element was the first to come into play and as I said it initially wasn't so bad as it provided a strong juicy orange influence. Once the taste calmed down a little it got a whole lot weirder as the orange creme soon became so sickeningly sweet it was as if I could taste the raw sugar. This sugar based taste was only trumped by the musty cinnamon flavours that lingered in the aftertaste. The cinnamon just didn't seem quite right and neither brought the spiciness or the distinctiveness that I desired. It almost seemed as if the cinnamon was an after thought and not carefully implemented into the product. The taste neither left me feeling satisfied or particularly wanting more - I would much rather have snacked on something else.
Overall this simply wasn't up to the usual high standards from the Galaxy/Dove brand. Personally I don't think half as much care was taken in forming this bar as the combination just didn't seem to work and I think that it is plain to see for anyone trying it. As expected the actual milk chocolate was pretty good and what you would expect from a product from this brand. The true failing though came in the implementation of the orange and cinnamon into the filling. The orange was ridiculously sweet, whilst the cinnamon was pretty much non-descript. Having said that I did like the idea of the softer liquid filling and would like to see this implemented across other bars from this range in the future. In regards to this particular product though I would best advise you to try it with low expectations.
6.7 out of 10