Thursday, 10 September 2009
I have no idea where he is getting these products from but ChocolateMission reader Alan has managed to pluck another bar seemingly out of nowhere and was kind enough to send along this limited edition Twix. Old skool (yes I am cool enough to spell that with a k!) may remember my review of the limited edition Twix Java that was released in America which I tried way back in the day when this very site was first being set up. The Twix Java incorporated the heavenly formula of coffee flavoured caramel and a cookie base, coated with milk chocolate - it was superb and I wish they would bring it back. Well today thanks to that kind chap Alan I got to try this bar produced by Mars Polska (Poland) - the Twix Cappuccino.
This bar came in a standard Twix size with two 22.5 finger pieces that I ate over the course of one sitting. Personally I thought the packaging looked superb, and was pleased to see that this limited edition used the same foil material that can be seen across the rest of the range. The mixture of gold and silver colours made a vibrant appearance, whilst the on pack design was well structured and clear. As you can see in the photo above the fingers looked very appetising with the caramel a darker orangey colour than normal - it looked both distinctive and enticing. As well as looking the part the foil wrapper also managed to maintain a great degree of freshness to the product - it not only looked unblemished looks wise, but it also had a pleasant chocolaty, coffee aroma that didn't fail to whet my appetite further.
Although I couldn't read the packaging (Polish!) I was expecting the biscuit section of this bar to be made up by a shortbread biscuit just like our standard UK Twix, but upon closer it looked slightly darker. When it came to the taste it was obvious this was the case because the biscuit had a slightly touch of cocoa which I think gave it a slightly more interesting flavour than it would have done had it just been the plain shortbread. In regards to the outer chocolate I didn't any differences whatsoever between the UK chocolate and the Polish stuff. Both I would describe as nicely paced in melt and with a smooth, milky taste that substantiates a fair tasting chocolaty context with each bite. As with all Twix bars the main focus of the taste obviously came through the caramel and once again it was well executed in this bar. In comparison to the Java this Cappuccino bar was a little more relaxed in its coffee flavours and had a creamier chocolaty taste. What made this bar so delicious was the way the sweet flavours of the chocolate combined with the richer, bolder influences of the coffee which all culminated in a subtle lick of salt from the caramel ... in a word 'Yum'! Both fingers provided a satisfying and fulfilling experience though I could easily have seen myself reaching for yet another finger if it were possible.
Overall I have to take my hat off to Mars here for producing yet another fine Limited Edition in the form of this Cappuccino bar. Personally given the choice I still think I would choose the Twix Java over this bar as I enjoyed the stronger coffee flavours of the Java. That is just my personal preference though and I can definitely see many people preferring this bar over the Java as I guess the majority of people like their coffee a little more subtle and creamier in taste. What I find so satisfying about bars like this and the Java is that they do exactly what they say on the wrapper i.e. this one actually does taste of Cappuccino! Although I have rated this bar slightly lower than the Java I would strongly suggest you give it a try if you like your standard Twix. This is one I would most certainly have again.
8.5 out of 10
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Overall given such the high standard set by the White and Light Selection last week I thought Hotel Chocolat were going to have their work cut out delivering something equally as good but they not only managed to do that, but also surpass it. This dark chocolate selection was nothing short of sublime and I genuinely enjoyed every single piece. Both myself and the rest of my family agreed that the Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate was just slightly to our preference to the white chocolate, though the selection on offer with both collections was equally as outstanding. I think one thing to note here is the high amount of chocolates that contain either nuts or alcohol. If your not a fan of either of them you may be better off going for plainer alternative. If you like your chocolate selections varied though this is one you should seriously consider - there is no better way to say it than 'Superb'.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
If you took a look at the site last week you would have seen my two part review of Hotel Chocolat's The Sleekster White and Light Selection, which managed to get a score of over 9.0 on the prestigious ChocolateMission rating system. Well as you may have been able to ascertain by now this week I have been casting my eye over this 'Serious Dark Fix Selection', which I will be reviewing in the same way I did the white selection, split over two days. Hotel Chocolat described this as 'a collection full of dark chocolate adventure and exciting flavours' and it sounded right up might street.
Just like last weeks review this collection was formed of 16 different chocolate pieces which were all doubled up. Like last time being the kind guy I am I decided to give half to the rest of my family so they could also provide their input with some welcome second opinions. Straight from the off we all concluded that the presentation of the product was every bit as good as the White Chocolate selection and everything from the outer packaging to the chocolates themselves were equally as glorious in appearance.
What with their being so many different types of chocolates in the box I understand these posts can get rather long ... so lets get on with it. As usual I will be using the rating system ranging from 'Terrible, Very Poor, Poor, Standard, Good, Very Good to Superb'.
Mini Slabs selection - 85% Ghanaian, 75 % Tanzanian, 72% St Lucian, 72% with Ginger - I thought I would have a little fun with these and mix them up to try tell them apart. Obviously the ginger one was very easy to pick out and it was certainly one that went down well with my ginger loving father. Personally I couldn't detect to many differences between the 75% and the 72%. One was a little more acidic and crisper tasting, whilst the other had a slightly smokier, aged taste ... both were exceptional. The one that I could pull out from the rest was of course my all time favourite chocolate - the 85% Ghanaian. I still think it is the tastiest chocolate I have ever had with its full on, yet non-bitter cocoa flavours and thick, smooth melting. Superb. Dark Gianduja - Having tasted this it I think it only further added weight to the arguement that Hotel Chocolat need to bring back their Gianduja Squares product. This was one of the more milder choclates from the selection though the addition of the hazelnuts to the creamy cocoa flavours made for an interesting and variable taste. Due to the silky smoothness of the melt this chocolate didn't last all that long in the mouth, though it didn't manage to leave a lasting impression with a strong hazelnut aftertaste. Very Good.
Plum Pannacotta - I thought this one was one of the more adventurous chocolates from the selection and I thought it was reasonably well executed. The inner filling was described as a 'ganache contrasted with a light and fruity panacotta' and it managed to substantiate both a creamy and fruity tasting centre with combined well with its outer dark chocolate shell. The older generation member of family who tried this one thought it was outstanding and was suprised at how strong the plum can through in the taste. Very Good.
Remember to check out the site tomorrow for Part 2 of The Sleekster Seriosuly Dark Fix Selection review which will of course contain the all important ChocolateMission rating.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Saturday, 5 September 2009
My pursuit of finding the best Trumpf Schogetten bar took another step forward today as thanks to Dean-German-Grocery I got to try yet another from their range. I must say that their range has proven to be a little more expansive than I first thought and Dean-German-Grocery sent another two variants along with this one that I will be reviewing soon. At the ripe old age of 22 years old I guess I wasn't exactly the target market that Trumpf had in mind for this 'For Kids' offering, though this wasn't going to deter me from giving it a go anyway. Described as 'milk chocolate with a milky centre' it didn't actually sound all that different from a few Milka bars I have tried in the past and I was struggling to come to terms with what actually made this a more 'For Kids' product.
In regards to the actual product presentation there was nothing there either that really helped me determine how this had been positioned at kids. The size of the product was the same - 100.0g split into 18 individual pieces and the packaging merely communicated the 'For Kids' theme with just a simple piece of branding and smiley face. Personally I think it would have made far greater sense for the actual bar to have been smaller, as well as the size of the blocks themseleves ... what parent wants their child eating 100.0g of chocolater afterall!? Moaning aside I thought the cross-section of the chocolate looked pretty appealing with a plentiful yellow tinted creme centre nicely sitting below a dense outer chocolate layer. In regards to aroma the smell of the chocolate was quite subtle with just a mild dairy bases smell evident upon opening.
Whereas I struggled to see how the packaging and proposition was positioned at kids when it came to the taste things were a little more transparent. If I was to describe the taste in basic terms I would label it a cheap tasting Kinder chocolate. Like I have said previously with Schogetten milk chocolate the taste was really very sweet and this was only further compounded by the inner milk filling that lacked the desired cream based flavours and more tasted like the dried milk powder I used to have as a nipper. The flavours I got from the filling were slightly milky, though had a quite imposing sweet tasting edge that just meant the overriding influence was unaminiously sugar based. In a way I guess I can see how this could appeal to kids as obviosuly when we are younger our tastebuds can feal with sweeter tasting foods. Personally for me though this chocolate just didn't play the right notes and I found myself not wanting more after just a few blocks.
Overall I am finding it hard to criticise this bar as at the end of the day it was never meant for my consumption. A lot of kids products nowadays are literally just packed to the brim full of sugar as it is obviously a far cheaper ingridient than the finer products we have on the market right now. Although not targeted at me, what I can do is make a judegement agaisnt other similar positioned products like Kinder chocolate and I can conclude that this one certainly pales in comparison. As a marketer what I can also pass comment on is the poorness of the execution of this product - its meant to be for kids but aside from the very basic branding nothing about the packaging or design work communicates this. This was certainly not the best offering from the Schogetten rang and will not be one I will have again.
5.6 out of 10
Head to Dean-German-Grocery for all your German Chocolate and candy needs!
Friday, 4 September 2009
Thursday, 3 September 2009
I think Dean-German-Grocery were probably a little surprised when I reviewed a few German bars that were not supplied to me by themselves, but by ChocolateMission reader Lottie. Indeed, in the past few weeks I have reviewed three Trumpf Schogetten offerings - starting with the Cappuccino, then the Milk Cream Caramel and finally the Tiramisu flavoured bar. Just in order to prove they stock absolutely every German brand ever created, Dean-German-Grocery kindly sent me this 'Praline Noisettes' flavour, which came billed as 'milk chocolate with a praline nougat filling'.
This bar came in the standard Schogetten size in a 100.0g bar that was split into 18 nicely sized pieces. I must say I am really coming to like the style of the blocks already split into individual pieces - it is not only hassle free but it saves the messy business of splitting the bar up which I am coming to believe is rather handy. In my opinion the packaging could still do with a little work, I personally think it looks just a little retro with the photo dominating the front. I think that Trumpf should keep the use of colour to split out the flavours (duh!), but should make the rest a little more subtle - it is a little garish at the moment. One thing I won't complain about was the smell; as just I hoped for a strong whiff of nut was released from the foil wrapping when I split it.
The smell suggested that this was a chocolate that heavily influenced by nuts and the taste confirmed this. Now I have been a little critical of Schogetten milk chocolate in my previous reviews though I thought it suited the filling of this bar more. The milk chocolate provided its usual base flavours that I have now come to realise taste a lot like chocolate milk ... sweet, very milky but don't fail in delivering a firm chocolaty context to the taste. The praline nougat filling was a little drier in texture which differentiated it nicely from the smoother outer chocolate and although it was also pretty sugar based it was thankfully the hazelnuts that dominated in terms of flavour. As soon as the praline was encountered I detected a strong wave of roasted, woody hazelnuts that really hit the mark in delivering a wonderfully rich taste. If I was to say it was a like anything I have tried before I would compare it to Guylian Seashell Truffles which goes some way to telling you the sort of quality that was on offer here. The strength of the nut flavours meant that six blocks of this bar at a time were a more than satisfying snack.
Overall this was my favourite Schogetten milk chocolate bar yet and I have to admit to being surprised at the level of quality that this bar produced. I believe this was the case due to the filling being a lot stronger than the previously reviewed Milk Cream Caramel and Cappucino bars which meant that the milk chocolate was less of a focus itself and more just a vehicle for the inner praline. The praline itself was very enjoyable - it brought a full on, fresh tasting hazelnut element to the party and didn't hold back in terms of the strength of its nut flavours. I have come to realise that Schogetten is really quite a cheap chocolate and one thing I can't deny that it is good value for money. If your a fan of praline chocolates and don't wish to pay through the nose to get your fill this is a good option.
8.4 out of 10
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Lemon Cheesecake - This one was formed of a lemon ganache and whipped mascarpone buttercream with an outer coating of white chocolate. This wasn't one of my favourite pieces but the rest of my family loved the slightly tart, citrus cream flavoured centre for its delicate taste and smooth, soft feel in the mouth. Although not one of my personal favourites it was a nice change up from a nut biased selection. Good.
Apricot Praline - This piece came billed as a white chocolate truffle with an apricot praline filling topped with pine nuts. This was a bit of a disappointment for both myself and another family member as we felt it lacked a real apricot influence. The combination of the chocolate and filling made for a delicious creamy taste and the pine nuts were a nice unique touch. At the end of the day though the chocolate didn't quite deliver on its proposition. Standard.
Coconut Cube - This one sounded a little busy in terms of its ingredients but it certainly didn't disappoint. This white chocolate piece included a macadamia praline with pieces of toasted coconut and layer of white chocolate with essential coconut oil and yes ... it was delicious as it sounds. The wonderful base white chocolate cream flavours were nicely complimented by some fine nuts flavours with both the coconut and macadamia elements ever present adding further to the milky taste. Another standout element about this chocolate were the variable textures from the smooth melting chocolate to the slightly gritty praline and toasted hazelnut. Superb.
Mocha Buttercream - Oh what could have been! I was expecting quite a bit from this piece as the description of 'airy light buttercream with a dash of chocolate and coffee' really had me salivating. Unfortunately despite the wonderfully cream based flavours from the outer white chocolate the centre was more hot chocolate than it was coffee routed ... the coffee was very milk indeed. Still a fine tasting chocolate but a little bit disappointing given the promise of the description. Standard.
Fudged Praline - 'Almond praline studded with pieces of fudge topped with a milk caramel chocolate button' .. surely a match made in heaven? In my opinion is wasn't quite as good as I hoped but conversely the rest of my family thought it was wonderful. Myself I thought that the almond praline was again lacking in flavour and didn't quite think the sugary fudge pieces worked with the already quite sweet white chocolate. My family thought otherwise and commented that the more subtle flavoured filling allowed the toffee flavours of the fudge to come through in the taste more. Good.
Pure Nut Crest - I liked this one so much I nabbed both for myself, it was utterly fantastic. Hotel Chocolat billed this piece as an 'extremely nutty experience with finely ground hazelnuts and cocoa butter' and in my opinion it was one of the best in the box. The textures this chocolate produced were wonderful - the transition from the outer chocolate to the inner praline was seamless with both melting like butter in the mouth with the greatest of softness. The initial cream based, vanilla hinted flavours of the chocolate were fantastic and the inner praline left a longing woody, hazelnut note in the mouth. Superb.
Gianduja Square - There have been a few grumblings from readers that Hotel Chocolat should bring back their Gianduja Square products and having tasted these I have to say I totally back this campaign. The piece was rather large to consume in one mouthful though the milk and white chocolate fusion melted with the softest grace. The taste was noted with just a touch of hazelnut which altogether made for an interesting and variable overall taste. Hotel Chocolat please bring these back! Superb.
Overall there are no two ways of putting this - The Sleekster White and Light Selection is a simply fantastic white chocolate selection that I would 100% recommend for white chocolate lovers. This box of chocolates was beautifully presented and variable in terms of options - I think it is fair to say that there is something to satisfy most tastes. With all selection boxes you expect their to be a few duds but I personally didn't dislike any of the ones in this selection. Indeed I thought some of the chocolates were superior to others, but there weren't any that I probably wouldn't try again given the chance. I am going to be writing a feature post about the best chocolates to gift as presents soon and I think it is a very strong likelyhood that these will be featuring. If your a white chocolate lover this is pretty close to white chocolate heaven.
9.1 out of 10
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Well this looks rather good doesn't it!? That was my immediate thought when I took my first look at this box of chocolates. Indeed my pals at Hotel Chocolat have seen fit to send me two of their latest chocolate collections, and today I bring you Part 1 (of 2!) of my look at the White & Light Selection.
Hotel Chocolat described this product as the 'finest collection of mellow white chocolates' and it was formed of 16 ... yes 16 different pieces. As there were two of each pieces I decided to give half to my family, so over the next few days expect a few alternative views to my own.
Before I crack on to the chocolates themselves I would like to pass comment at the stunning presentation. The packaging oozed quality with a very premium look and was only to be outshone by the chocolates themselves. Both myself and and the rest of family loved the way that each piece had been crafted and decorated with such care - I hope the photos below do them some sort of justice.
In the interest of boring you to death lets crack on with how good each piece was. With their being so many pieces I will tackle the first lot today and then tomorrow finish off with the remaining pieces and the all important ChocolateMission score. As with every selection box the rating for each individual piece ranges from 'Terrible, Very Poor, Poor, Standard, Good, Very Good and Superb'.
Slab Selection - White Praline / White Hazelnuts / Simply Vanilla / Cookie Creme - First of all let me say what a fantastic idea these are. Why don't Hotel Chocolat do these Mini Slabs by themselves ... small Mini Slab selections. As you can imagine these were all pretty fantastic. One of my highest rated chocolates of all time is the White Praline Fusion so this was obviously my favourite of the lot. The rest of my family had very positive things to say about the Cookie Creme which was liked for its delicious shortbread cookie pieces. Superb.
Almond Praline - This piece was formed out an inner almond praline, covered in white chocolate sprinkled with finely chopped almond pieces. Out of the entire selection I thought this one lacked a little flavour and I thought the inner almond praline was nowhere near the standard of the hazelnut praline used in most the other pieces. The chopped almond pieces however were definitely a nice touch and added a nice bit of nuttiness that the inner filling lacked. Standard.
Mellow Caramel - To be honest I could probably eat this one all day. It was formed of a superbly smooth, mellow outer white chocolate that melted nicely to reveal a dual layered filling of hazelnut praline and caramel. The combination of the burnt sugary flavours of the caramel complimented the woody, creamy flavours of the praline fantastically. Possibly a little sweet for some but I would happily eat a whole box of these. Superb.
Eton Mess - This chocolate was included in the Season of Love Selection I reviewed earlier in the year and it was every bit as good as I remember it. This Eton Mess is an wonderfully crafted chocolate formed of strawberry buttercream, a meringue piece, covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with dried strawberry pieces. I already knew how good this chocolate was but this was the first time my family had tried it and they thought it was equally as good. The variation in textures and red fruit and cream flavours make for a chocolate that is packed full of flavours and ultimately a divine taste. Superb.
Check out ChocolateMission tomorrow for Part 2 and the final scoring system for this fantastic selection.