Monday, 21 September 2009
When the request came in from one of my most loyal readers Susanne to review these Throntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes I was really very pleased. Millionaire Shortcake is one of my favourite bakery items and it is often my choice of treat when I find myself in M&S on a Saturday morning. As Susanne had obviously noticed I hadn't yet got around to reviewing Thorntons' widely available version of this delightful treat, so when I saw them on special offer at £1 a pack in Tesco I could no longer resist. On pack they were described as 'crunchy biscuit bases with a thick layer of caramel and Thorntons milk chocolate' which sounded delicious to me - suffice to say I was really looking forward to trying them.
As the photo above shows you these came in a pack 12 mini pieces which at first I thought was a little annoying as they were so small. That aside the presentation was really rather good and I liked the way that the it Incorporated the usual Thorntons designs despite the mass produced nature of the product. The on pack photos of the shortcake pieces gave an accurate and enticing insight to what lay inside, though my anticipation was at its highest when the first chocolate biscuit scents aroused my senses when I opened the packet.
As I have said above at first I was disappointed by the mini size of the shortcake pieces but after tasting my first one my view changed dramatically. The taste was insanely rich but thankfully utterly delicious at the same time. My preferred method of eating these was to eat the caramel and chocolate layer first and then finish off the biscuit base. The combination of the milk chocolate and caramel was in every sense utterly wonderful. The chocolate substantiated a fine cocoa base tone which led nicely into the sweet, butter like flavours of the caramel. The sweetness of the caramel was certainly sharp tasting, though the small serving sizes meant they never verged on what I would say was sickly. The biscuit base was incredibly crumbly in texture which was a mild annoyance, though I couldn't fault it for its divine malty, brown sugar taste that had a glorious lick of salt making it so incredibly moreish. My initial disappointment at the size was quickly allayed when I realised that two pieces at a time were more than enough for a decent snack.
Overall I was glad when this product was requested for a review and having fulfilled that request I am now even more happy. These were utterly fantastic in almost every sense and I savoured each and every one of these across the week that I ate them. The concept of caramel shortcake might not be the most innovative but these were executed almost flawlessly - my only recommendation I would make to the recipe would that I would make the biscuit bases a little firmer to make eating them just a little less crumbly. This Throntons offering offered a great tasting milk chocolate, a wonderful caramel and a fantastic biscuit base ... what more can you ask for!? I think these are a great product to buy and share with the family, at £1 a pack you simply can't complain and these are well worthy of a coveted 9.0 rating.
9.0 out of 10
Sunday, 20 September 2009
I think I say this most Sundays but a record number of visitors visited the site this week thanks mainly to some handy 'Re-Tweets' on Twitter courtesy of Stephen Fry and Lilly Allen. More on that will follow with 'Star & Their Bars - Part 2' which will be up within the coming weeks.
Believe it or not we are drawing close to the end of the year, which brings me on to 'Question of the Week' which makes a triumphant return after a two week absence. The question I want to pose to you is ....
'Do you want a ChocolateMission awards ceremony? i.e. Best Milk Chocolate bar of 2009 etc'
If the demand is there then I will most certainly put one together.
That is all from me this week - keep the feedback coming in it is always great to hear from you all.
The ChocolateMission Omnibus:
This week I took a look at some products that were out of my usual remit firstly looking at the chocolate Mini Rolls market both reviewing the McVitie's Mars and Cadbury offerings (HERE).
In between those reviews I also took time to dish out a score for Cadbury Fingers (HERE) which failed to impress the likes of Jack now that they aren't made with Dairy Milk. Poor planning on my part meant that I managed to publish three Cadbury reviews in a row (DOH!) with the third being the Cadbury Dairy Milk Coconut Rough (HERE). This reviewed sparked questions from Gemma and Maggs as to why we don't have more coconut products here in the UK!? Conclusions were that it was mostly down to the Bounty Monopoly!
The scores for the week then took a turn for the worse with my review of the Feodora Gourmet Chocolade Granatapfel (HERE), though the week ended well with Whittaker's Original Peanut Block (HERE) obtaining a massive 9.2 score.
News from the Chocolate Market:
* Cadbury have added a dash of caramel to their Buttons range. See HERE
* Cadbury are also bringing out some Halloween goodies - 'Trick or Treat Mini Rolls'. See HERE
* Mars Dark is being reintroduced for a limited time. Thanks to several readers for sending this story to me. See HERE
* Nutella is about to celebrate it's 45th birthday. Old huh!? See HERE
* Surely Hershey's arent going to takeover Cadbury? See HERE
Post from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:
* ZOMG Candy - Has been taking a look at various Ritter Sport bars in the last week. Well worth a look at. See HERE
* GiGi Reviews - Has been lucky enough to be getting stuck into some Iced Coffee drinks this week. We have a shocking lack of these in the UK. See HERE
* The Impulsive Buy - Marvo looks as if he has been importing energy drinks from the Netherlands. Sounds expensive business to me! See HERE
* ChocaBlog - This actually got posted last week but I forgot to mention it ... Fancy writing chocolate reviews yourself? These guys here need a new writer!! See HERE
* Candy Blog - Cybele has been reviewing some more Trader Joe's products! I am not jealous ... honest ;) This PB&J bar looks delicious. See HERE
Saturday, 19 September 2009
I once again today dipped into my latest sampling package from Shopenzed and had a try of another of Whittaker's famous bars. This time around I tried Whittaker's Original Peanut Block which was formed of the simple combination of milk chocolate with roasted peanuts. Having already tried some of Whittaker's fabulous range I was really excited at the prospect of trying this bar. If it was anywhere near the standards of their Ghanaian Dark Chocolate or indeed their White Chocolate bar I knew I was going to be in for a treat. It was also immediately apparent that this bar was going to be packed to the brim full of nuts, as according to the ingredients they made up a whole 25% of the total bar.
Quelle Surprise this bar came in a 250.0g size that was split into several small bite size blocks pieces. Due to the huge size I shared this once again amongst my fellow office workers, who I guess must start to be getting a little confused due to variety of exotic chocolates I keep bringing in for them to chow down. It probably won't surprise you to hear that I was once again well and truly taken in by the presentation of this Whittaker's product. I think the golden colours and stylish black fonts are so wonderfully apt for the great standard chocolate that normally lies below and I especially liked the communication of the peanut content with some subtle yet still quite effective on pack pictures. Upon opening the golden foil wrapper my senses were quickly introduced to a simply divine peanut smell that quickly set my expectations for this product high - it smelt highly reminiscent of one of my all time favourites the Snickers bar.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, due to its large size I brought this bar into the office to share with some colleagues. Now, I do work in a relatively large team but even I was still a little surprised to see the whole 250.0g eaten in less than an hour. I guess what we can read in to this is that the chocolate was enjoyed by one and all and I would have to include myself in that camp as well - it was simply delicious. With the bar being formed of 25% peanuts it wasn't as if the taste was ever likely going to lack in its nut flavours and I can confirm the nuts were utterly divine. The milk chocolate was fair in flavour and melted smoothly into a nice set of flavours that had nice whole milk and mild cocoa influences. The base chocolate though really played second fiddle to the peanuts as these guys were really the star of the show. The nuts tasted so utterly wonderful and had fresh crunchy textures that literally exploded with roasted, buttery, salt flavour elements with every single block. Every mouthful delivered a wonderful amount of flavour which meant that just a few blocks felt like a rich and fulfilling amount to eat in one sitting.
Overall I think I have said this a few times over the last few months but this bar has to be up there was one of my favourites for the year. To be honest I feel a little disappointed that I shared this with some other people as it really was a chocolate that I would have savoured had I known how utterly delicious it was. This was an offering that not only delivered in terms of cocoa flavours, but also with the prestige of its nuts. Given that the peanuts made up such a large proportion of the bar it was always going to be important that they were both full of flavour and crunchy in texture - from me they get a huge tick in both boxes here. What with Cadbury fannying around with covering individual peanuts it is not as if we get an actual bar like this in the UK and I am struggling to think of another like it apart from the poor Ritter Sport Voll Erdnuss. For that reason I would seriously recommend this to any of my readers that like fine peanuts - this is a wonderful chocolate.
9.2 out of 10
Friday, 18 September 2009
Ever heard of the brand Feodora? Nope me neither! It is a pretty safe assumption to make that when a product comes from Dean-German-Grocery it is likely that the product itself hails from Germany and this Feodora Gourmet Chocolade Granatapfel certainly did. Produced in Bremen this bar came with the unique proposition of 'dark chocolate filled with pomegranate and dark mousse'. Last I heard pomegranate had been labelled as one of those so called 'Superfoods', which is normally evident through the high price tags here in the UK. Regardless the only real question that mattered to me was whether a 'Superfood' could make a 'Super Chocolate'.
The bar came in a 125.0g size that was split into about 15 fair sized chunks. I had never come across a Feodora product before and I have to admit the packaging didn't resonate with me. By the looks of it the brand is supposed to be positioned as a premium 'Gourmet' chocolate but I thought the bright yellow colour did little to help plead its case. I thought the yellow was a little to garish and cheap looking and I think it would have been better off being a little more subtle. When I opened the silver foil I was disappointed to see that the chocolate that lay below had bloomed in places despite the careful attention I had given storing it. I not only thought the white specks were a little disappointing but also the lack of aroma that failed to register as anything more than just a mild cocoa influence on the senses.
Whenever I eat a disappointing chocolate I hate to labour the point so I will just get on to where I thought this bar fell down. For a 75% cocoa recipe it has to be said that the outer dark chocolate was extremely disappointing in its volume of flavours as just as the smell suggested it lacked the impetuous in terms of its cocoa flavours. It lacked any sort of creamy undertone and was wafer thin in its melt ... on the whole I guess I would just describe it as unexciting. Sat inside the dark chocolate was a dual filling of a mousse like substance and a pomegranate flavoured jelly. Admittedly the jelly like substance did taste a little like pomegranate with some juicy, fruity bursts of flavours though when the flavours convened with the mousse the two just didn't mix and the resulting taste was a rather odd acidic one. Where the taste was poor the only thing worse was the texture of the jelly. Just like the pomegranate fruit itself the jelly was lined with little inner seeds which roughened up the texture and left odd bits and pieces in the mouth. I hate to admit but the majority of this bar ended up in the bin ... not even the rest of my family wanted to mop up the rest.
Overall I guess this was just an all round disappointing show from a bar that I thought had real potential. I have never come across a bar before that included pomegranate, though I guess on reflection this chocolate proved why. Just as I guess you would come to expect the texture was on the rough side and couldn't escape the usual bittiness that you get with the pomegranate fruit itself. The rough texture could have potentially been forgiven if the taste itself was sparkling though unfortunately the fruit element was overly acidic and the dark chocolate was mild and meagre in taste. Although I would never try this bar again I would like to see if this was just a one off lacklustre product from Feodora and would probably try another offering from their range. By my reckoning this is one I would stay clear of.
4.7 out of 10
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Kcal 492 Fat 29.2g Fat(sats) 16.0g Carbs 49.6g (per 100.0g)
Todays review again comes courtesy of my friends over at Shopenzed who included this Cadbury Coconut Rough bar in the latest package they sent me a few weeks ago. I happen to think that coconut is one of those ingredients that is criminally under utilised and as far as I am aware this is not a bar that has ever been in distribution here in the UK. Having done a little research I believe this bar might actually be available in Ireland, though the one I reviewed today was actually produced in Australia and constituted of 'milk chocolate with toasted coconut'.
I am sure they do smaller sized bars in Australia but generally all the ones I get sent from Shopenzed are large, which is great as it means I get to share it with some willing taste testers. This Coconut Rough bar came in a 200.0g size and was split into about 60 really quite small blocks. I thought the outer cardboard packaging was smart with its appetising coconut and chocolate images, whilst I also particularly liked the envelope type mechanism at the back of the box ... I don't particularly know why, I just thought it looked pretty swish. The chocolate was contained within a bright, Cadbury branded foil layer which released a simply stunning coconut biscuit like smell when unwrapped.
At this point I had seriously high hopes for this product but this was before I had actually physically laid hands on it. Breaking my first piece of the first thing I noticed was how oily and soft the chocolate was. Despite having a long bout in the fridge the chocolate yielded easily in my hands and left a slightly greasy feel on my fingers. Obviously I didn't find this all that pleasant, though I must admit as soon as the chocolate entered my mouth some of this had been long forgiven. Tastewise this chocolate reminded me of one of my other favourite bars the Romy Classic (from Germany See HERE!) and blended a terrific amount of different flavours influences into each and every small block. Of course the taste at all times was underpinned by the wonderfully, creamy sweet Dairy Milk which of course didn't fail in bringing a nice touch of cocoa to the party. Forming 15% of the total bar though the toasted coconut really brought this bar to life, adding a plethora of nutty, milky, salty elements to taste with its crunchy diverse texture. The back of the packaging stated that a serving of this bar should constitute of 5 blocks. This wasn't enough to satisfy my hunger entirely but the amount of flavour generated by each of the small blocks made it a fair proposition nonetheless.
Overall I have a few mixed feelings about this bar. On one hand it tasted great, but on the other it had a pretty horrible element to its texture. Personally the slight greasiness of each block wasn't all too my liking and it must be said that the similarly tasting Romy bar avoided having this problem to the degree that this bar suffered. Although I wasn't impressed with this element of the bar, I was more happy with the taste as it brought a simply delicious coconut based taste and delivered it with a wonderful Cadbury Dairy Milk base chocolate. I guess your enjoyment of this bar will simply be down to whether you can get over the slightly odd elements that are brought to the texture. I think I probably would have this bar again, though I am not sure I would pick it over the Romy bar.
7.9 out of 10
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
One of the requests that has sat on my 'Requests Page' (HERE) for a while now was for me to take at some of the market offerings in the mini rolls and cake bar sector. A few days ago I kicked off my research with a look at Mars & McVities collaborative attempt at creating a Mars bar Mini Roll and have to say I was very impressed. One thing I couldn't ignore though was the fact that both of these manufactures weren't actually the originators of the Mini Roll product ... I believe this title belongs to Cadbury! Hey maybe I am wrong!? Anyway I thought it only right that I get a wriggle on and take a look at their Cadbury Mini Roll offering which came described as 'chocolate flavoured sponge with vanilla filling, covered in milk chocolate'. If it was to be anything like I remembered I was certainly in for a treat.
I seem to recall once buying Cadbury Mini Rolls in a single unit (geek speak for 'one product item') though the only form I could find these in my local Tesco was a multi bar 6 pack. Again these were another treat I bought in for my work office though I managed to nab a couple for myself which I indulged in with my afternoon cuppa. Packaging-wise I thought the presentation was of a fair standard. The purple Cadbury colour theme was implemented well across the entire product from outer to inner wrapper and the roll looked appetising when split in half with a nice white filling swirled into the sponge. One thing that was apparent as soon as I opened the mini roll wrappers though was that these cakes were incredibly soft and despite being stored at a sensible temperature the outer chocolate managed to melt within seconds on being in contact with my fingers ... messy!!
In regards to smell the cakes had a very Dairy Milk like aroma about them and the sweet, dairy chocolaty scents suggested I was going to be in for a real treat. Unfortunately I have to say that the taste didn't quite back up the resulting taste and in my opinion the blame lays firmly at the door of the vanilla filling. I don't think the outer chocolate was quite up to Dairy Milk standards as it didn't quite have the creaminess and had probably just a touch more sugar ala Freddo etc. That is not to say it wasn't very tasty - it really was and I savoured the lovely chocolaty flavours that were established by the coating and inner crumbly sponge. Whereas the chocolate flavoured sponge brought a nice cake element to the taste the filling sort of counter balanced this and its pure sugar flavours really came at detriment to the product as a whole. I think to describe it as vanilla flavoured would be wrong ... I couldn't detect any sort of vanilla note whatsoever. I wouldn't go as far as saying it spoilt the product in any manner, but I don't think the sweet, fondant like filling did these mini rolls any favours at all. Another thing that did slightly annoy me with these was that one wasn't quite enough to satisfy my hunger, whilst two seemed too much.
Overall I am surprised to report that I didn't quite enjoy these as much as I used to, and hate to think what I would now think of the jam flavoured variant which I thought were even too sweet when I was a young lad. When throwing the packaging away I noticed a detail on the back which said 'Contains No Dairy Cream' ... my question is why the hell not? I guess the best before dates would be reigned in a hell of alot but I seriously can't fathom how awesome a proper cream filled Cadbury Mini Roll might be. The vanilla filling implemented in these bars was on the whole pretty poor and I thought it to some degree spoilt the excellent flavours substantiated by the great tasting outer chocolate and chocolate sponge. The Cadbury Mini Rolls cult following is probably going to lynch me for saying that their mini roll of choice is a little average but I am only telling you guys how I see it. More mini roll and cake bar products to follow soon!
7.1 out of 10
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
This weeks round up post is going to be in a slight different format this week . I am going to attempt to congest the usual four sections into just a few small paragraphs as I have been working hard at my latest feature **** STARS & THEIR BARS **** which is linked at the end of this post.
This week the site featured some really high scoring products with the first being my reivew of the Cadbury Wispa Gold which appeared on Monday. Since publication the review has attracted countless positive remarks about the bar ... way too many to mention! If you haven't left your views yet be sure to check out the review HERE. Not to be upstaged the next product reviewed also managed to obtain a staggering 9.3 score on the ChocolateMission rating scale - Hotel Chocolat's Sleekster Serious Dark Fix Selection (see HERE). This was a fantastic selection of chocolates which I would undoubtedly be recomming in my upcoming gifting feature.
News on the market -I am sure none of us missed the Kraft £10.2bn hostile takeover bid for Cadbury (see HERE) .... good or bad guys!??? I am a bit split myself. There are both positives and negatives in that but I can't help but worry that Kraft could change the Cadbury production methods and switch to the shortcut ways that many American producers opt for. Let me know what you think! In other news Nestle are launching some Toffee Crisp & Munchies mini bites tubs (see HERE), more news on those Cadbury cakes I talked about last week (see HERE), Thorntons profits are plunging (see HERE), cocoa prices are rising (see HERE) and lastly a number of chocolate manufacturs have signed up for an ethical cocoa scheme (see HERE)
Other posts I enjoyed this week included this review of Dreyer's/Edys Apple Pie Ice Cream at GiGi Reviews (see HERE), Marvo's review of Jif's new Omega-3 laden Peanut Butter (see HERE), Japanese Snack Reviews look at the latest Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat (see HERE) and lastly Foodstufffinds reivew of the polite sounding 'Good Afternoon' bar from the Chocolate Society (see HERE).
Now here is what you have all not been waiting for:
In case you didn't see last weeks post for the last 7 days I have been hounding celebs via Twitter to find out their favourite chocolate bars. I have had some lovely resposnses from some ultimate Z-List celebs! Take a click on the above and let me know if you know of any other celebs I can add to our list.
N.B This is all work in progress at time of pulbication.
I hope you all have fab weeks - let me know what you think about **STARS AND THEIR BARS***
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Those kind folks at Shopenzed have been at it again and have sent me another package full of the latest goods to grace the Southern Hemisphere's confectionery market. Lesley my contact from Shopenzed, was pleased that I loved the last lot of Whittaker's bar she sent so being the kind person she is she happily sent me across another few offerings from their range. The first of which I tried today in the form of their White Chocolate offering. This bar was described on pack as a 'quality white chocolate crafted to a traditional recipe using creamy whole milk'.
Like all the other Whittaker's bars this came in a gigantic 250.0g bar (nope no sneaky Cadbury 230.0g here!) that I brought into my office to share around as I never would have finished it by myself. I have said it before and I will happily say it again - the presentation of this product was simply fantastic. The outer gold foil wrapper looked class and the clever integration of pictures and stylish font yet again gave this bar a very premium feel. Below the outer paper wrapper the chocolate was contained within a thick gold foil wrapper than maintained the chocolate in a really first class condition. The chocolate not only looked appetising but it also smelt utterly divine with a strong dairy sweet floral smell evident upon opening it up.
As aforementioned due to the size of the bar there was no way I was going to eat the whole bar to myself so I shared this amongst some people in my office and having tasted it there was only one word on everyones lips - 'Milkybar'. Yes indeed this chocolate tasted no different to the UK's own Milkybar but just with a touch less sweetness. That is not to say the taste wasn't sweet - it still was and it had a strong brown sugar type influence to the cream based flavours that were substantiated with the melt. In regards to the melt itself, it was well paced and softened at a reasonable rate in the mouth with a kind smoothness. Just like Milkybar the predominantly creamy, sugary taste had a nice vanilla hint to it which sort of softened the impact of the sugar hit to the tastebuds. On the whole I thought that the taste was well rounded and the creamy, milky flavours made for a moreish white chocolate. Although moreish, due to the sweetness this wasn't a chocolate that I wanted to consume in huge quantities so in that light I guess it wasn't the most fulfilling of snacks.
Overall this was yet another quality bar from Whittaker's and they have once again proved that their high standards are maintained across their range. This white chocolate was still on the sweet side in comparison to most other chocolates, though on the balance of things it avoided the pitfall of being overly sweet like so many white chocolates that have gone before on this site. The peak of the melt was really where this chocolate was at its best, when the double cream flavours developed a fantastic vanilla hint that left a longing set of flavours in the mouth as the chocolate liquor slipped down the throat. Would I recommend this bar then!? Yes ... but only to my readers who don't have Nestle Milkybar at hand as that bar delivers roughly the same experience only with a touch more sugar. If you like white chocolate this is one of the better options out there in what is really a rather poorly executed part of the chocolate market.
8.5 out of 10
Friday, 11 September 2009
Kcal 553 Fat 35.0g Carbs 53.0g (per 100.0g)
You must all be getting a little bored of these Schogetten review by now - I think this must be the seventh bar of theirs that I have reviewed in little under a month. So far I think their range has been a bit of a mixed bunch - the Tiramisu really stood out as a bar that I enjoyed, whilst the Cappuccino and Milk Cream Caramel were hardly chocolates that offended me in any manner. Unfortunately a few of their bars really have resonated with me - the White Chocolate and the 'For Kids' offerings stand out as prominent examples. Not to be deterred by any of this, Dean-German-Grocery gave me the opportunity to try yet another from their range, in the form of this Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts bar.
In true Schogetten style the chocolate came billed as a straight up no bends proposition - simply 'milk chocolate with hazelnuts (10%)' and came in 100.0g size that was split into 18 individual block pieces. I have commented before how Trumpf haven't exactly pulled out all the stops with the Schogetten packaging and this product did little to change my mind. Aside from the small on pack picture and branding their was little to communicate the flavour theme. Although I still think Trumpf have work to be done there, As I have repeatedly said I like the way the Schogetten bars are already broken into the separate blocks. Once again the surfaces had clean cut appearances though I was a little wary of the smallness of the hazelnut fragments when I split once of the pieces in half. In regards to aroma the bar didn't do much more for me than most of the other Schogetten bars - a strong sweet, chocolaty smell emanated from the foil packaging but didn't overly excite me in any manner.
I hate to make this review a little boring but there is very little I can do to glam up on the chocolate on show here - it was almost mediocre if every sense in terms of taste. One thing that Trumpf can be attributed with is consistency and their milk chocolate delivered exactly the same experience that it has done throughout the entire Schogetten range. In terms of flavours the chocolate had an underpinning milky taste that developed a strong sugary influence as the melt progressed. Again like most other Schogetten offerings the chocolate did have a small hint of hazelnut paste throughout the taste though surprisingly the small hazelnut particles did very little to enhance the flavour. In some pieces the woody, nut flavours were a little stronger, though on the balance of things I would say they had little influence whatsoever. One thing that the hazelnut pieces did add was a small roughness to the texture which wasn't particularly too my preference, especially when the melt is normally so soft. With a little help from some work colleagues the bar was finished within a few days in the office ... put in to context goods like Hotel Chocolat normally last a matter of minutes.
Overall I think I have already summed up this bar quite well when I said it was 'mediocre in every sense'. I would like to stress that like many of the Schogetten bars that have gone before it didn't offend me, taste awful or anything like that but at the same time it just paled into the background of the other hundreds of bars I have tried over the last few years. Personally I am often never a big fan of chocolate nut bars that implement the nuts in small pieces - I am really more of a wholenut man. Unfortunately the smallness of the pieces I think led to the lack of nut flavours and rough texture that I experienced with this bar which altogether made the experience less pleasant than I was hoping for. In a market that isn't exactly lacking in alternatives I would suggest you try a bar like the Ritter Sport Milk Whole Hazelnuts to get your fill.
6.9 out of 10
Head to Dean-German-Grocery for all your German Chocolate & Candy needs
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.