Wednesday, 7 October 2009
I don't think the Oreo brand is ever going to be as big here in the UK as it is in America but Kraft are slowly bringing different parts of their portfolio to our shores. The latest addition to our supermarket shelves are these Oreo Chocolate Creme which are being backed by TVC media support as well as some magazine prints which you may have seen doing the rounds recently. I am normally a little reticent to do biscuit/cookie reviews but I found these in my local Sainsbury's last week on a special introductory offer of 65p a pack - obviously no fool in their right mind was ever going to turn that down.
65p of my hard earned monies bought me a 176.0g box which contained four packs of four cookies. I have always rather liked the look of Oreo products and was pleased to see that the American style box art had been kept from the US version of the product. Although I think the white coloured filling of the original Oreos looks a little more iconic I still thought the dark coloured branded biscuit pieces looked nice with the light coloured brown filling that was sandwiched inside. Personally I would have preferred the biscuits to have been kept in packets of two as that was more than enough for one sitting, however this is a very minor complaint as I understand there are very firm packaging regulations nowadays.
As soon as I opened the foil packets a very familiar Oreo cookie smell revealed itself which brought back nostalgic memories of visits to America when I was younger. As the photo above shows you these cookies ticked one very important box for me and that was that the cookie pieces could be pulled apart with relative ease (just like the advert shows!!). Of course the only way to enjoy these was with a cool glass of milk which i duly obliged with each time I reached into the pack. The outer cookie pieces were nothing out of the ordinary with any other Oreo biscuit I have ever hard. They had a very distinct sugary, wheat taste that had a nice gritty, crunchy texture in the mouth which created a pleasant snap when bitten into. What was really on show here though was of course the chocolate creme and I am happy to say I thought it was very tasty indeed. Its flavours went that little bit further than the standard white Oreo creme and had more of a buttery element to its taste with a nice added hint of cocoa. One thing that was also noticeable was that it was slightly softer and lighter in texture which I thought was nicer as it added a nice bit of moistness. Personally I found two of these at a time a nice little snack with an afternoon tea though I have witnessed packs of these disappear in seconds when one has been opened in my work office recently.
Overall I have actually rated these higher than the original Oreo cookies however I wouldn't say they are quite up to scratch with my favourite Oreo biscuits of all time the Oreo Double Stuff Mint that I got from America last year. In my opinion the the chocolate creme at the centre of these cookies is just a little bit superior to the white coloured original creme. I thought that the flavours were just that little bit more forthcoming and liked the additional butter and cocoa elements to the taste which I think just made it a little more interesting. As always I like to base my ratings on whether I would buy a product again and if posed that exact question my answer would have to be a resounding yes. I hope Kraft keep on releasing more and more Oreo variants as I for one will keep on welcoming them if they are they continue to be this good.
8.0 out of 10
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
It has been a while since I have reviewed something from Australia so I thought I would put that right and delve back into the box of treats sent my way by Shopenzed. Today I decided to review the Cadbury Duo bar, which was described as 'Old Gold dark chocolate with Dairy Milk milk chocolate'. I am sure we used to have a product just like this one on our UK market shelves not all that long ago, but for now the land down under appears to be the only place it is in manufacture. Now I come to think of it, it is not all that often you actually see milk and dark chocolate used in the same product!? Off the top of my head I can't think of another mass produced offering that uses this combination.
This bar came in a 220.0g bar that was split up into 50 or so small sized chunks. What with there being so much I shared this with some friends who were more than happy to provide some second opinions which I will share later. Firstly though lets talk about the presentation - everyone agreed that both the both the outer packaging and inner chocolate looked aesthetically good and the inner product certainly caught the eye with its two tone chocolate colours. The product itself was protected by an inner foil wrapper which maintained both the look and smell of the chocolate nicely. It was noted by all that a pleasant sweet chocolaty smell made itself known once the foil was split, however it noticeably faded in strength after a few minutes to air.
As you probably predicted this was a tale of two chocolates - one very good one, and one exceedingly average. As the photo above displays the base of this chocolate was made up by the Old Gold dark chocolate which I personally thought was pretty lacklustre in terms of taste and texture. All that tried this chocolate felt that the melt of the Old Gold was slower and a little waxy when compared to the Dairy Milk which melted with great ease and a lovely thickness. In addition to not melting quite so well I also felt the Old Gold lacked telling flavours - it wasn't as if it tasted bad or anything, but its non descript unsweetened flavours were really shown up by the creamy Dairy Milk. Unfortunately out of the two the Old Gold actually made up a greater proportion of each block which meant that it took more chunk to deliver a chocolate flavour hit than just a plain Dairy Milk would have.
Overall on the whole I was left feeling a little disappointed by this chocolate and I was expecting something a little better. It is worth bearing in mind that Cadbury do set themselves very high standards but with a little more rational thinking this bar could have been made that bit better. In my opinion I think they should have made the base of this chocolate their premier chocolate (Dairy Milk), and then supplemented it with the Old Gold placed on top i.e. they should have swapped the chocolates round. This way I think the Dairy Milk would have had a greater say in the taste, whilst the Old Gold could of just provided a little twist of unsweetened cocoa. In conclusion, unless your an avid Cadbury fan I don't think there is any great urgency for you to rush out and buy this one as there are far superior Cadbury products on the market.
6.9 out of 10
Monday, 5 October 2009
In the interest of keeping this review of a reasonably length lets kicks things off ...
Cadbury Caramel Nibbles:
Kcal 215 Fat 11.3g Fat(sats) 6.8g Carbs 26.1g (per 1/4 bag)
Take Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons and add some some Cadbury Caramel and what do you get?? Cadbury Caramel Nibbles of course! These Caramel Nibbles came in a 175g pouch bag that I ate over the course of a few days. I thought the pouch looked great with the old Caramel branding dominating the front of pack and I also liked the material used with the outer side sporting that fantastic matted Cadbury look whilst the inside was a clean, smooth plastic material. When I opened the bag I was met with the usual warm Cadbury greeting in the form of a wonderfully sweet, chocolaty fragrance.
The Nibbles themselves looked slightly bigger than your average Cadbury Button and appeared just a little thicker in terms of depth. This made them an ideal size for just placing on the tongue and letting them just melt away slowly. Although the usual deliciously creamy Dairy Milk flavours were all substantiated, due to the buttons being thinner than the Cadbury Caramel blocks the feel of the melt wasn't quite as luxurious with the buttons melting away in double quick time. More positively the inner caramel was in line with expectations and produced the expected array of magnificent sweet, buttery flavours with that all important lick of salt still present.
Overall these Cadbury Caramel Nibbles were simply delicious but if I forced to choose between these and a single Cadbury Caramel bar I would still go for the later. The Cadbury Nibbles brought all the same taste credentials but lacked the flavour longevity in the mouth compared to the block equivalents due to them being far thinner. Despite the standard bar being of personal preference, if in a situation where sharing is needed then these are a great option.
9.0 out of 10
Galaxy Caramel Pieces:
Unlike Cadbury Nibbles, Mars didn't feel the need to let consumers know that these Galaxy Caramel Pieces were actually coming out. I picked these up in my local supermarket and have to say that it was the packaging that actually caught my eye. I thought that the 159.0g had great stand out on shelf and the curved appearance of the box really looked something special next to some other products sitting on the fixture. The pieces inside didn't look half bad either with each sporting a tight golden foil wrapper and the most subtle Galaxy 'G' on the corner of each piece. The chocolates themselves smelt enticing with some fine chocolaty aromas though I was less impressed with the cheesy message that was writing on the inside of the foil wrappers ... 'A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine' ... oh dear.
These Galaxy Pieces looked exactly like the Dove Desserts chocolates that I reviewed from America back at the start of the year (See HERE), though they were thankfully of a higher quality. In comparison to the Cadbury Nibbles the pieces were not quite as wide but were far thicker. This meant that each piece lasted little bit longer in the mouth and provided exactly the same volume of delicious Galaxy chocolate and caramel flavours as with the standard bar. In terms of taste the chocolate had the same flowing, smoothness of cream flavours whilst the caramel was dazzling with its sweet, butterscotch led flavours. In comparison to the normal bar the progression of the textures from the chocolate to the caramel was not quite as sensual as the nature of the smaller, denser block meant that the introduction to the caramel was more abrupt once the chocolate had melted away. This of course though was really not much of an issue due to them tasting so utterly fantastic and I am sure it was not something on the minds of my fellow co-workers who so kindly assisted me in eating these haha!
Overall I have to say again, just like the Cadbury Nibbles if I was offered either these Galaxy Pieces or a standard Galaxy Caramel bar I would still choose the latter. However, just like I said above if I was in an instance where sharing was the need then these would be an absolutely fantastic product to suit the occasion. These Galaxy Caramel Pieces not only look the part but they taste absolutely phenomenal and I would say are on a par with the standard bar in this sense. Where I think they didn't quite match up was delivering the same smooth luxurious feel in the mouth but trust this didn't stop them from being one of the chocolates which had the 'just one more' appeal factor. Milk chocolate and caramel fans I would strongly recommend these to you.
9.2 out of 10
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Things will be kept short and sweet this week as I am publishing the second edition of STARS & THEIR BARS today.
Rounding up the week on ChocolateMission I reviewed 5 products from Germany and 1 from Belguim. The first review this week was a ChocolateMission first as I for the first time sampled some handmade Belgian chocolates from a company called Chocolateque. These chocolates were not only fantastic but Thomas from Chocolateque also left a code that ChocolateMission readers can submit with their orders to get 10% off (See HERE). With the week starting off so positively inevitably there were going to be some products that weren't so good .. . namely the Lindt Peach-Apricot Yogurt (See HERE), Schogetten White Chocolate (See HERE) and Zotter's Black Cherries with Vanilla bars (See HERE). In between those reviews I also sampled Sarroti's Refreshment Sticks (See HERE) which brought back nice memories for both Susie and Susanne who remembered older generations of their family enjoying this product.
It has been a very slow week for news on the Chocolate market. Nestle have announced they will be backing their Christmas activity with £1.6m on media spend (See HERE). Hannock's are launching a few new lines of chocolate bars (See HERE). Finally it wouldn't be a complete week without mentioning the Cadbury takeover bids ... the latest is that Kraft have been given an early November deadline to stump up the cash for their next offer (See HERE).
What did I enjoy reading this week? GiGi casted her eye over the Trader Joe's PB & J bar (See HERE), Japanese Snack Reviews tried the bizarre sounding Tobacco Super Lemon Soda (See HERE), Cin at Foodstufffinds has started the Xmas reviews already with a review of Walker's Turkey and Stuffing crisps (See HERE) and lastly Marvo tried some Cola Champagne over at Impulsive Buy (See HERE).
Right so on to the star attraction........ if you missed PART 1 (See HERE)
Saturday, 3 October 2009
A week ago to the day you may remember that I wrote "I don't want to curse myself but I haven't had a bad product from the brand (Zotter) yet" .... why oh why did I let myself write that. Today saw me tuck into the last of the samples that Zotter so kindly provided me with, as I got to gripes with their Black Cherries with Vanilla bar. This one didn't quite have the excitement factor of the 'Bacon Bits' or 'Cheese, Walnut & Grapes' but I still liked the sound of 'fine bitter chocolate with a vanilla-cherry filling'.
Just like all the others the bar came in a 70.0g format that I managed to tuck away in a single sitting. Across all my reviews of the Zotter range I have been pretty complimentary when it comes to their packaging and I was impressed once again. The flavour theme was well communicated through some artistic pictures, whilst the bar was wrapped within a thick, branded foil wrapper. One thing I did note however was that whilst this golden foil layer looked great it didn't do the best job of keeping my chocolate fresh - for the first time on a Zotter product there was evident 'blooming' on the surface of the chocolate which is never a nice thing to see. Despite the product not appearing quite so fresh some sweet red fruit smells were evident once the bar had been cut into.
Now from my opening sentence I guess you are already aware of my disappointment in regards to this Zotter offering. Over the past few weeks I haven't been overly positive on the strength of Zotter chocolate and I felt once again here it really lacked emphasis in its flavours. Although described as fine and bitter chocolate I would describe it as neither of those two adjectives and would be more inclined to use the words weak and mild. The chocolate was just pretty effortless and never moved beyond a pale, milk based cocoa taste. As I said this wasn't the first Zotter bar where I have experienced some lazy flavours from the chocolate, though that said in those instances they have always been saved by a really strong flavoured filling. Unfortunately the filling was just as meagre as the chocolate and didn't create much of an impression. The two tone texture between the drier vanilla base and stickier jam like substance in the middle did grab my interest for a while, however this was short lived due to the lack of substantial flavour. Looking at the wrapper there are ingredients such as brandy, almonds and salt listed ... my simple question is where were they in the taste!? The filling never ventured on more than from a simple natural yogurt like base with a layer of sugary (and not particularly fruity) jam running through the middle.
Overall to call this bar horrid would be going well over the top but I think you will be able to tell by the tone of the review that I was deeply disappointed. The outer chocolate lacked flavour and was only compounded by an equally boring filling. Over the recent weeks Zotter have set the standards for themselves pretty high with bars like 'Bacon Bits' and 'Birds Eye Chilli' to just name two. To be honest this offering didn't belong in the same league as those bars and I just think that if this was my first experience of the brand I would have been left distinctly underwhelmed. If your going to buy Zotter (which you can HERE!!), I would go for one of the other bars from their range - I don't think this bar would be a good reflection on the potential of the brand.
6.8 out of 10
Friday, 2 October 2009
Kcal 554 Fat 34.0g Carbs 56.0g (per 100.0g)
I have been stampeding my way through Trumpf's Schogetten range in the past few weeks and I continued my investigation today by sampling their White Chocolate offering. Admittedly white chocolate isn't really a favourite of mine but as previous manufactures like Hotel Chocolat and Thorntons have proven, when done well white chocolate can be exceedingly tasty. Trumpf didn't bother describing this bar as anything more than 'white chocolate' which was refreshing to see given the fact that most manufactures feel the need to put a load of unnecessary blurb when describing what the actual product is.
No prizes for guessing the format this one came in ... yep 100.0g split into 18 individual blocks - any chance of a little mix up Mr Schogetten? I have been a little critical over the last couple of reviews over the standard of the Schogetten packaging but I thought the cream colours implemented here worked quite well and at least looked a little different to many of the more standard colour schemes used across the range. The chocolate itself was a little yellow in terms of colour itself - it always worries me when this is the case as it reminds me of the awful Hannah's White Mice I reviewed a few months back - eugh vegetable fat mockolate! As I always do when I open the packaging I rightfully had a smell of the chocolate to try and get an initial gauge on the taste. To be honest I couldn't really determine much from the smell as I couldn't detect much more than just a mild, sweet fragrance.
Describing this chocolate won't take me long as the flavours were all pretty simple. If you have eaten Schogetten Milk Chocolate before just imagine the taste of that but a little less chocolaty and without the lick of hazelnut in the aftertaste. From that I think you will be able to determine that the taste was very basic indeed. When first placed in the mouth the flavours were predominantly very weak and mustered little more than a slight milkiness. As the chocolate heated in the mouth the melt started to develop, though I must add that it was a touch slower than normal and a little waxy in terms of texture. When the chocolate did warm enough to change state the taste developed from a mild milk context to one that was rooted in sugar which obviously brought a very sharp, sweet taste. The taste never got quite as far as getting to that throat burning stage but it was still excessively sweet for my taste, which meant I never got to the point of eating more than four blocks ... I'm afraid the remainder was laid to rest in the bin.
Overall Trumpf have hit a bit of a slump with their last two products reviewed on this site. A few days ago it was the 'For Kids' variant that wasn't to my liking and today the White Chocolate didn't do much better. I am not a great fan of Schogetten's standard milk chocolate but this White Chocolate offering was just a case of taking out many of the flavours in the latter and leaving just a weak, sugary milk taste. In comparison to some of the other white chocolates on the market this was one was simply put pretty damn poor and would not be one I would recommend. Even if you like your white chocolate I would suggest you go for another option such as the Hotel Chocolat Praline White or Thorntons' White Chocolate.
5.3 out of 10
Thursday, 1 October 2009
It has been a long time since I last reviewed a selection box on ChocolateMission but with the holiday season creeping up alarmingly fast (under three months now!) I thought I better get back on the scene and check out the latest market offerings.
Over the last couple of days, thanks to Dean-German-Grocery, I have been sampling the chocolates on offer in this Storck Merci selection box. The Merci box contained eight different flavoured chocolates including - Milk Chocolate, Coffee & Cream, Hazelnut & Almond, Hazelnut-Creme, Marzipan, Dark Cream, Dark Mousse and Praline-Creme variants.
In regards to presentation I was extremely impressed with the product. The outer box looked very stylish and sophisticated combining some prestigious looking fonts with some nicely balanced, gold trimmed pictures. The chocolates themselves also cut a pretty dashing appearance with each one contained within in a nice plastic golden wrapper.
As there were so many flavours I will keep my thoughts on each rather concise:
Marzipan - The outer dark chocolate initially substantiated a generous amount of cocoa flavours but the real star of the show was the inner marzipan. The marzipan was surprisingly very tasty and provided some pleasant sweet, almond based flavours. Not quite Niederegger standards but close. Good.
Overall like almost all selection boxes this was one with its duds and its diamonds. By far and away the best flavour was the Dark Creme - it was simply superb on all levels and like I said above I would love to try it in a grander form. Other standouts for me were the Marzipan and Hazelnut Creme flavours, though like I have stated above the Milk Chocolate and Coffee & Cream variants were pretty disappointing and certainly didn't leave me wanting more. If you like a wide range of variety in your chocolates then I would suggest that this would be a nice product to try. This Storck Merci collection is far from the best I have ever tried, but at the same time I certainly wouldn't be turning it down if it got gifted to me.
7.8 out of 10
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
Thanks to Dean-German-Grocery I must now be close to reviewing as many German products as I have done English ones. I hope that statement isn't seen as a complaint as I tend to think that the German products I review are generally a lot more interesting than most of the UK based ones. Today I got to try another offering from the Sarotti range in the form of their Erdrischungs-Stabchen ... or in plain old English 'Sarotti Refreshement Sticks'. They came billed as 'chocolate sticks with an orange and lemon flavoured filling, coated with plain chocolate' which didn't sound an all to dissimilar proposition to the Hotel Chocolat chocolate covered fruit chocolates I have been trying recently.
The chocolates came in a 75.0g box that contained two layers of mini stick pieces. In regards to size they were about half the size of a Cadbury Finger and rather light in texture meaning that even half a pack wasn't the most substantial of snacks. The packaging was altogether fun looking, though I didn't think it conveyed the actual properties of the product that well i.e. I couldn't actually tell you exactly what the product was until I tasted it. The sticks themselves cut a pretty unremarkable look and I thought their clear inner contents wasn't exactly inspiring, though at the same time it was hardly a turn off of any manner. I was a little disappointed to see that the inner pieces were unprotected by any sort of film or foil wrapping but this didn't seemingly hamper the smell of the product that much as a sweet orangey, chocolaty smell was evident upon opening.
It took a little bit of experimentation to get the best out of these but once I found the best instance to eat them in they weren't altogether that bad. Initially I just dove right in and ate these at room temperature which really didn't prove to be the best condition to consume them. In this state the chocolate was extremely fast melting and its milk cocoa flavours were soon all but dominated by the inner filling which took a rather odd form. Lining the chocolate inside a layer of sugar gave the texture an odd crunchiness and contained the sweet, fruity syrup inside. In this state the sugary nature of the filling all but overtook the flavours generated by the outer chocolate which made for a pretty fowl tasting monotonous taste. Having tasted them at room temperature I thought that these would benefit from being chilled ... so I stuck them in the freezer for a good few hours. I am glad to report that this did them the world of good. The chocolate was slower to melt and due to this extended duration left a lasting impression in the mouth. The inner liquid was still a little to sweet for my liking, though there was no doubting the refreshing nature of the cool inner liquid centre which seemed to have a stronger lemon and orange fruit influences the greater chilled they were. As previously mentioned I ate these across two different sittings - the second felt a far more substantial experience as in their chilled state the chocolates could be savoured that bit longer.
Overall I have never come across a chocolate that has managed to vary so much in performance with just the small added factor of a quick period being stored in the freezer. In their normal state these were frankly pretty poor and the sugary nature of the inner filling just managed override any other factor that was brought to the taste by the chocolate. Once chilled though these were a different story altogether. The chocolate managed to express itself more, whilst the inner liquid provided a cool, fresh tasting fruity element that these chocolates completely lacked when eaten at room temperature. In conclusion I wouldn't say these are ever a must try product as they simply weren't altogether that amazing. On the other hand though if you were to be given them as a gift or just fancied trying them I would stress the importance of a bit of patience and a quick visit for these to a cooling unit.
7.2 out of 10
Monday, 28 September 2009
I get a fair few e-mails nowadays from companies offering to send me samples to appear on this site but a mail from Thomas at Chocolateque a few months ago really grabbed my attention. Thomas told me that him and his business partners were young Belgian entrepreneurs who were on a mission to 'make handmade & fresh Belgian chocolates widely available online'. I must say I admired their ambition and after a quick read of their website (HERE) I told them to send a sample of their chocolates for me to review. I would strongly suggest you do take a look at their site as it is very informative of their chocolatier Federic Blondeel and his methods of creating his chocolates.
The above chocolates all had fantastic quality outer shells of dark chocolate though varied slightly in terms of their inner fillings. The dark chocolate was wonderfully full rounded in flavour and provided a blanced non-bitter cocoa led taste that melted with the ultimate ease in the mouth.
Menthe - (ontop) - This piece looked fantastic and was labelled with silver squiggly writing that chaught my eye straight away. I was expecting a fresh tasting sweet minty influence though it soon became apparent that the inner ganache was flavoured with fresh mint leaves which made for a slightly odd overall taste. This was the only piece that didn't work for me. Poor.
Charles Hot - (cross-sectioned) - Conversely this chocolate was fantastic. It had a rich tasting inner ganache filling that was superbly hinted with influences of chilli and pepper adding both spicy flavours and warmth to the delicious tasting dark chocolate. Superb.
Laurier - (underneath) - This was another piece I was all too sure about when I read the description but it actually proved to be really rather good. The inner filling had a strong redcurrant influence which brought a fantastic fruity tartness to the non-bitter cocoa. Bay leaves were stated in the description though they were not all that apparent in the overall taste which may have been just as well. Good. These two were really something to behold and were two of my favourites out of the lot.
Carpe-Diem - (front) - Had head chocolatier been in my presence after I had eaten this chocolate I would have shook his hand there and then. This was one of the best tasting chocolates I have had this year - the outer milk chocolate was of a fantastic quality and produced a fine creamy outer shell to the outstanding filling. The filling was formed of a rich dark chocolate ganache that was expertly flavoured with a strong coffee influence that was almost espresso like in strength. At last a coffee chocolate that was as strongly flavoured as I desired. Superb.
Canelle - (back) - Although this chocolate wasn't quite as tasty as the Carpe-Diem this was still really very good and was constructed using the same outer milk chocolate that covered a darker coloured filling. Like the majority of the centres it had a stronger tasting cocoa led taste though this particular one had a cinnamon kick to it which made for an interesting and unique set of spicy flavours. Very Good.Cralin - This one was so good it deserved it's own photo ;) ... hmm ok I lie didn't know it was this good when I took the photo. This chocolate was formed of an outer layer of dark chocolate that held within a delicious vanilla hinted caramel which sat on top of a crispy biscuit like base. The mixture of the unsweetened dark chocolate and sugary, buttery caramel was near perfect and the crunchy base added interest with a delightful crunch in texture. Superb.
Cassonade - Help I am running out of superlatives here! This was one of the few whites chocolates in my selection and boy was it great. The outer shell was dusted with a thin layer of caramelised hazelnut dust which gave the chocolate a unique crispness when bitten into. The combination of the white chocolate and inner hazelnut praline was quite frankly to die. I have tried many good pralines in my time but this was up there with the best of them. Superb.
Couer - (heart piece) - Like the Cassonade above this was a very fine combination of outer white chocolate and inner hazelnut praline. The small addition to the party with this piece was the implementation of the cocoa nibs which conversely added crispness to the inner filling rather than the outer filling as in the previous. It was just as wonderful in my estimation. Superb.
Couer Caraibe - (left) - This was a solid gianduja piece that melted with the ultimate of ease once placed in the warmth of mouth. Like most giandujas the melt was silky smooth though this chocolate was notable for its fine hazelnut flavours which didn't disappoint in terms of fine woody, nutty influences that complimented the underlying creamy chocolate that provided a soothing chocolate flavour base. Very Good.
Escargot - (seashell) - I am not generally a fan of walnuts though this chocolate Incorporated the nut very well. With the addition of some ground almond pieces the walnut element produced a subtle nutty taste that a very obvious butter flavour influence on the creamy chocolate. Personally I think one of the best ingredients to compliment nuts is caramel and this chocolate inhibited exactly that with some sweet, butterscotch flavour providing yet another fabulous element to the taste. Very Good. Many of the above milk chocolate squares were very similar, though each had slightly different flavoured centres. The cross-sectioned piece in the middle was a milk chocolate version of the Coriander chocolate described above.
Tigres - (left) - The outer milk chocolate here was of a great standard with a fine creamy taste that was built upon nicely by the inner filling. At the centre a softer truffle like filling was nicely flavoured with a vanilla noted hazelnut taste that made for friendly flavoured chocolate and made for a nice change from the intensity of the rest of the selection. Very Good.
Gr Marnier - (bottom) - This was one of only a few fruit flavoured chocolates from the selection though it was executed with real prestige. The outer milk chocolate was wonderfully creamy and led nicely into the zesty orangey centre. I understand this is one of Chocolateque's master pieces and I can understand why. Superb.
Green Tea (right) - Green tea is good for us right? Perhaps not in chocolate form :) This chocolate wasn't my favourite from the selection but it was certainly one of the more diverse with the green tea influence coming through quite subtle in the inner creme. Give the really high standard of the rest I wouldn't choose to have this chocolate again but it was certainly interesting to try. Standard.
Overall I was hugely impressed by the standard of these truffles and have to hand it Thomas and his fellow team at Chocolateque for producing a really high quality selection of chocolate. Some of the chocolate I have described above were some of the best I have had in a long while with the likes of the Carpe-Diem, Cassonade, Cralin and Trianon coming to mind straight away. What really impressed was the consistent quality of their chocolate throughout - all three of their dark, white and milk chocolates were of a high quality and full flavoured. Were these perfect? No of course not - a few build for the Chocolateque team would be to include a menu with their chocolates and perhaps more fruit based chocolates to add a little more diversity to the heavily nut and spiced themed selection. These minor builds aside I really think Chocolateque have the beginnings of something special here. With delicious chocolates and an enthusiastic team I can see little holding them back. If you fancy treating yourself or a loved one to some chocolates that are of great quality but are something a little different from your readily available Hotel Chocolat, Thorntons etc I strongly recommend you try these.
9.0 out of 10
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Hi Everyone lets keep this short and sweet this week.
Over the past few days I have been using the ChocolateMission Twitter feed to contact some more of our favourite celebs. I have had some surprising feedback so far some pretty well known faces so be sure to check that out weekend after next.
One of the biggest talking points you may have missed this week came off the back of this article I posted last week about Hershey's eyeing Cadbury (HERE). This article seemed to catch the attention of a few reader most notably Alan and Cybele (Candyblog) and sparked a debate as to which chocolate was superior ... Cadbury or Hershey? Both sides raised compelling arguments and the argument reached a nice point where both sides had stated equally justifiable cases ....so why don't the rest of us decide ...
'Which do you prefer out of Hershey's Milk Chocolate or Cadbury Dairy Milk?'
... leave your vote by popping a comment below! I look forward to hearing your answers
The ChocolateMission Omnibus:
Thornton's got a fair bit of attention this week and somehow managed to pop up 3 out of the 6 days. First of all on Monday I published my review of their Mini Caramel Shortcakes (See HERE). These were lauded by most as being an utterly fantastic snack with the likes of Susanne, Hiedi, Lottie and George all adding their own praise to my own. The second Thornton's product this week was the Milk Chocolate Venezuela 37% (See HERE) which similarly scored very highly on the rating system. Lastly on Saturday I got around to trying Thornton's Chocolate Cake Bars which were recommended to me by Phil (See HERE). They were among the best Cake Bars I have eaten and Ana and Mark concurred with this entirely.
Cadbury's also had another two outings this week with firstly the Cadbury Peanuts (See HERE) and then the Cadbury Dairy Milk Rocky Road (See HERE) from New Zealand. The less said about the Peanuts is probably for the better, though the Rocky Road seemed to catch the eye of the likes of Maggs. In between those reviews I managed to publish my review of McVitie's Galaxy Cake Bars (See HERE).
News from the Chocolate Market:
* Cadbury released their new Fairtrade TVC and are also bringing out a music single - I think I will pass thanks! See HERE
* Nestle are releasing price marked packs for some of their best known brands. See HERE
* If you like Aero Bubbles you will be pleased to hear that for a limited time Nestle are giving away 33% free with each pack. See HERE
* There is even more evidence that cocoa prices will be going up soon. See HERE
* Yet more speculation on the Kraft takeover of Cadbury. See HERE
Post from other blogs I enjoyed this week:
* Foodstufffinds - I do love Pringles and Cin at FFF has recently been finding all these new great sounding flavours. See HERE.
* GiGi Reviews - Speaking of crisps GiGi got hold of a new flavour of Doritos in the US - Cheesy Enchilada and Sour Cream YUM! See HERE.
* ImpulsiveBuy - I liked the look of these Yoplait Lemon Torte desserts that Marvo reviewed at IB. See HERE.
* CandyBlog - Cybele did a fantastic job documenting how US Cadbury Dairy Milk compares to our UK Dairy Milk. See HERE.
* Chocablog - Dom wrote a funny review about some knock off Jaffa Cakes. Funny stuff!! See HERE
Saturday, 26 September 2009
If you have been reading the site lately you will be aware of my recent forays into the world of cake bars. Indeed I have recently reviewed products such as Mars and Cadbury Mini Rolls as well as Galaxy's original and caramel cake bar offerings. Today I decided to step up my investigation and get involved with these Thorntons Chocolate Cakes (to posh to be called Cake Bars I assume!?) which were on the same offer as the Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes, at £1 a pack. These Thorntons Chocolate Cakes came described as 'chocolate sponge filled with a layer of chocolate buttercream and Belgian chocolate sauce, covered in Thorntons milk chocolate' ... sounds great huh!?
The cake bars (Yes I am going to call them that!!) came in a pack of five that I ate across the course of one working week with my mid-afternoon tea. Presentationwise the product looked all round pretty good and I liked the look of the glossy foil outer wrapper which incorporated a fine selection of tempting pictures and enticing product information. Inside the individual cakes were wrapped in separate wrappers which I liked as they had transparent windows so the inner product could be seen. I always think it is a good thing to be able to see the product in its wrapper as it reassures the consumer that what is inside is what is promised on the packaging - I think there is a lesson to be learnt here for a lot of other manufacturers. As evident in the photo above the cakes themselves also looked pretty stunning, though maybe a little squished thanks to being bundled into my work bag.
When I opened the plastic packets I was immediately met with a nice array of chocolaty scents which gave a nice insight to the taste of the product. What was immediate from the outset was that Thorntons had by no means skimped on the portioning of the outer covering chocolate. You can see from the above evidence it was wonderfully thick and it certainly provided a really solid base set of cream and chocolate flavours with its lovely smooth melt. On its own the inner chocolate cake may have been just a touch bland, though the inner chocolate syrup and chocolate buttercream gave it a lovely touch of moistness as well as an additional sweet chocolaty flavour burst. If I had a minor criticism it would be that the distinction between the chocolate buttercream and the chocolate syrup wasn't all that evident but I guess this may have just been a consequence of the cakes getting a little bit flattened in my bag before I ate them. Personally I thought that one cake was near enough a perfect amount to eat in one sitting. The cakes delivered a wonderfully rich chocolaty taste experience that left me feeling both satisfied and fulfilled which is pretty much all you can ask from such a product.
Overall these have definitely been the best cake bar type product I have reviewed so far and I think that another product is going to have to go some way to top them. From the out set I really liked these and the thickness of the outer chocolate meant that from the get-go these were never going to fail to deliver the all important chocolate hit. Below the outer chocolate the cake, syrup and buttercream elements combined to bring a nice variety of different flavours to the party and did so with a mixture of moist, dense textures that made for an altogether filling and tasty snack offering. As I have previously mentioned this pack of five lasted me a whole working week which I think at £1 is really good value for money given the quality of the product. I will definitely buy these again in thefuture and I recommend you do so yourself if your partial to a cake bar every now and then.
8.5 out of 10