Saturday, 7 November 2009
Kcal 541 Fat 33.0g Carbs 54.0g (per 100.0g)
Last week I told you all how I ventured into my first ever Lidl last week and bought the remaining variants of Trumpf Schogetten range that I hadn't managed to try yet. Well today I tried my ninth flavour from the portfolio in the form of this Strawberry Yoghurt bar, which was described as simply 'milk chocolate with a yogurt-strawberry-filling' (36.0%). Over the last few months I have tried endless yoghurt filled chocolates from Germany so this one had quite high standards to live up to thanks to the preceding Ritter Sport, Ferrero and Milka bars.
Seemingly Trumpf only produce their Schogetten range in one format so it won't surprise you to hear that this bar came in a 100.0g size that was split into 18 individual blocks. I will save boring you to tears by ranting about the quality of the outer packaging again, but for those who don't yet know my opinion I suggest you see HERE. Although I was still far from impressed I thought that the light pink theme suited the wrapper more so than other colours on different variants and the actual chocolate itself looked pretty enticing. As you can see in the photo above when cross-sectioned each block had a plentiful helping of yogurt filling which had red speckles throughout. In addition to looking rather tasty the chocolate smelt very appetising and avoided having the overly artificial fruity smell that many other fruit based bars often have.
Before tasting this chocolate I had a pretty strong expectation that this chocolate would be way too sweet but I am glad to report this wasn't quite the case. In previous reviews I have commented that Schogetten milk chocolate is normally a little on the sugary side, and I was expecting with the added sweetness of the strawberry this was going to be a little too much. Thankfully this bar proved me wrong and the flavours of the centre filling gave the chocolate far more balance than I was expecting. As expected the outer milk chocolate provided some light, sweet cocoa flavours that had a minor hazelnut note but it was the yogurt filling that really took hold of the taste. Like the chocolate, the centre melted with a pleasant smoothness though it was just a tad more viscous making the flavours stick in the mouth that little bit longer. Tastewise the filling had strong cream based milky undertones that had really pleasant firm bursts of strawberry fruit coming through which made for an overall fine tasting chocolate. I ate this chocolate 6 blocks at a time which made for a nicely fulfilling chocolate that delivered on its promised flavour credentials.
Overall this bar was a nice little surprise and although I wouldn't say it was quite as good as the Ritter Sport or Milka alternatives it was still a chocolate that I on the whole enjoyed. It won't surprise you to hear that the thing I think let this bar down slightly was the milk chocolate but it largely took a back seat to the really fine tasting strawberry filling anyway. If I was to compare the strawberry yogurt fillings of the Ritter Sport and Milka bars to this one I would be very hard pushed to pick a favourite - this Schogetten one was every bit as good (if not better) than both of them with its creamy, fresh fruit flavours that had no inclination of any artificalness whatsoever. When put in the context of price this has to be a bar that has a strong claim to be the best of the lot when it comes to value for money. It wasn't the best fruit flavoured yogurt bar I have ever tried, but it was a pretty damn good one at the same time.
7.9 out of 10
Friday, 6 November 2009
A few readers have been commenting recently that I haven't been paying enough attention to the chocolates that we have available to us here in the UK so over the next few weeks and into the coming year 2010 (scary huh!?) I will endeavour to maintain a bit of focus on what is on offer in the UK marketplace. For me personally chocolate doesn't get anymore local than Montezuma's who produce their chocolate in West Sussex, England. It has been almost a year since I have reviewed a Montezuma's product but the guys there were recently kind enough to send me along a few samples of the latest few additions to their portfolio. Included in this sampling package was this 'Snackle' bar from their Specialty range. The Snackle bar came billed as a pretty simple offering of 'milk chocolate with cocoa crispies' so think Nestle Crunch but with a little more potential.
Like many of the other Speciality bars I have tried beforehand this bar came in a 45.0g serving that I ate over the course of one evening. Just as with my previous ten reviews from this range I liked the outer cardboard box and I think Montezuma's have done well in their decision to keep a bit of consistency with their designs but differentiate the bars through the use of colour. Unfortunately it seems that Montezuma's are still persisting with their decision to keep their chocolate plastic wrappers inside the casing. One year on I still don't think this looks good and whilst I like the fact that the chocolate is air sealed I think the wrapping is at least worthy of some branding to make it look a little decorative. The chocolate itself also looked a little on the plain side though it was nice to see the cereal pieces dispersed nicely throughout the bar and it at least smelt quite nice with it's fresh smelling chocolaty scents.
In the above paragraphs I have already mentioned the fact that the direct comparison to this bar would be the Nestle Crunch bars that are widely distributed throughout the US and Europe. What I am pleased to confirm is that this bar did indeed taste better than the Nestle Crunch but at the same time it wasn't exactly light years ahead. The milk chocolate in this bar was formed using a 34% min cocoa and 22.5% milk solids recipe so it was unsurprising that this chocolate was a little less sweet tasting and more cocoa rooted in it's flavours compared to the more mass produced chocolates. Personally though I would say that whilst this chocolate was no doubt of a fair quality it was far less distinctive in terms of it's taste compared to say Dairy Milk or Galaxy. Another thing that I have also commonly failed to understand is the addition of rice cereal to chocolate. I find more often than not that whilst it adds a relatively nice additional crunch element to the texture it simply adds very little in terms of flavour and this was very much the case here. A cereal like influence was detectable amongst the taste of the milk chocolate but it's impact was minimal.
Overall this bar just turned out to be yet another rice filled milk chocolate that never went further than just being a slightly better than average offering. As aforementioned the standard of the chocolate was higher than what you would find in the equivalent Nestle Crunch bar but truth be told it wasn't really to my preference to some of the more mass produced chocolates that we can find here on the UK market at least half the price. If you are a fan of the Nestle Crunch bars this could be worth a look at if you wish to treat yourself but I think price is a really important issue here as Montezuma's actually charge £5 for four of these Speciality bars - that's £1.20 each. When you factor this into the equation I just can't really justify recommending this bar to anyone as it does very little to differentiate itself from what is already out there to warrant the high price.
7.5 out of 10
Thursday, 5 November 2009
I have had a bit of a turbulent time with these Cadbury Desserts bars that Shopenzed have been sending me from New Zealand. Whereas the first one I tried, the Creme Brulee flavour (See HERE) was pretty excellent the next one I sampled, the Tiramisu variant (See HERE) was not quite so great. Although it is obviously not the most consistent of ranges it seems to have caught the imagination of many readers as the review requests came flooding in when this new Berry Pannacotta flavour was announced. One e-mail to Shopenzed later and it wasn't long before I had this Cadbury Dairy Milk Desserts Berry Pannacotta bar in my hands.
The bar came in a 210.0g size ... no that it not a typo!! Within one year these Cadbury Desserts bars have gone from 250.0g, to 235.0g, and now down to 210.0g. I would be very interested to hear from one of my readers from the Southern Hemisphere as to whether the prices have fluctuated at all? Anyway as with the rest of the range I thought the presentation looked swish with the Berry Pannacotta flavour communicated through an on-pack picture and pinky purple secondary colour scheme incorporated into the traditional purple Cadbury background. The chocolate itself was nicely held within a branded silver foil though neither the smell of the look the chocolate appealed to me all that much. The pink inner filling to me looked odd and it had that familiar terrible artificial sweet, berry smell that just didn't entice me in any manner.
Despite the chocolate failing to impress me up to this point I was hoping that it was going to prove me wrong like many have done in the past. Like all Cadbury Dairy Milk products I ate the chocolate one block at a time letting the blocks melt away on my tongue. Just as I expected the outer milk chocolate was of good quality and the Dairy Milk didn't fail in delivering its highly milk driven sweet chocolaty taste. Personally I think Dairy Milk from Australia and New Zealand isn't quite as thick in melt or rich in taste as our UK Dairy Milk though the differences are minimal and it delivers a similarly pleasurable experience. Unfortunately where the chocolate was the good the filling was poor - how many times have I written that over the last two years? Much like the smell suggested the filling seemed very artificially derived and the berry flavouring was very sugary in its fruity taste. The pannacotta element was delivered reasonably well bringing a slightly creamy cheesiness to the aftertaste but my feelings towards the filling on the whole were that it was reasonably poor.
Overall I have to give this bar a thumbs down despite the milk chocolate being of a good standard. The one fundamental problem with this chocolate was the way the berry element was executed which was undeniably poor. Rather than mix the berry and pannacotta constituents together I think Cadbury would have been better off splitting the two. I would have kept the underlying pannacotta filling bit but I would put a layer of either raspberry or strawberry jam placed on top to bring the berry element in to the mix. I think Cadbury should have taken more care when putting this bar together. It is great that they are willing to attempt to make new and exciting flavours like this one, but having tried a ridiculous amount of fruit flavoured yogurt bars from Germany this summer I think I am in a good position to say whether this was executed effectively. Unfortunately this isn't one I would recommend from this range - stick to the Creme Brulee!
6.6 out of 10
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I hope you all aren't getting bored of these mini cake themed reviews because I have another lined up for you today. As reported in my '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' roundup post a few weeks ago Cadbury have recently released some products that sit within the cake aisles of our supermarket and I brought you my review of the Cadbury Mini Bakes Chocolate Flapjacks just last week. Well the other variant in this new Mini Bakes range are these Cadbury Chocolate Brownies, which came described as 'chocolate brownies sprinkled with milk chocolate chunks'. Brownies are not my normal choice of bakery item, though I do remember being rather partial to M&S's one which I reviewed HERE.
The box did not display an offical weight though inside it contained 8 separate brownie pieces. Much like with the Cadbury Mini Bakes Chocolate Flapjacks I liked the presentation of the product on the whole and thought the integration of the usual Cadbury Purple themed was well entwined with the Mini Bakes branding and brownie on-pack photos. The brownies themselves looked worryingly the same small size of the flapjack pieces which I ultimately thought were too small. More positively these brownies were also included in separate plastic packets and both looked smelt very tempting indeed with some visible chocolate chunks and fresh smelling chocolate aromas that hit my senses as soon as the wrappers were broken.
I am not going to launch into another rant about how the chocolate used in these brownies wasn't Dairy Milk as I have to admit these certainly weren't lacking in the chocolate flavour department. The base of the brownies were excellent with some fresh, buttery sweet dough flavours wonderfully built upon by a delicate touch of salt in the aftertaste. Throughout the taste had strong undertones of milk and cocoa and the chocolate flavours were only further enhanced by a generous helping of chocolate chunks which delivered fine chocolate flavours bursts leaving a lasting Cadbury chocolate impression in the mouth with every bite. Despite these brownies being on the small side the dense, viscous nature of them made them seem a far more fulfilling option in comparison to the same sized Cadbury Mini Bakes Chocolate Flapjacks and they provided a satisfying snack for my mid afternoon coffee.
Overall I think Cadbury have done a good job with these Chocolate Brownies and although I think they could be slightly improved in some areas I was pretty happy with what I got here. One immediate improvement they could have made was that they could of used Dairy Milk chocolate instead of their secondary recipe, though as I have alluded to already this wasn't so much of an issue as it has been with other Cadbury products I have been trying recently. The chocolate flavour hit was still very here with both the brownie base and chocolate chunks combining to provide a surprisingly strong chocolate hit in such a small dose. With fewer calories and fat I was also surprised in that I felt just one brownie felt like a reasonably sized snack and unlike with the chocolate flapjacks I didn't feel the need to reach for another straightaway after finishing my first. If your a fan of both Cadbury chocolate and brownies then these are a bit of a no brainer - get involved sooner rather than later.
8.3 out of 10
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
The cake bar reviews have been coming in quick and fast but the search for the best one is quickly drawing to a close. At present the Thornton's Chocolate Cake Bars hold the crown as the ChocolateMission highest rated but McVitie's gave them a good run for their money with their Galaxy branded cakes. Although I wouldn't say the UK Mars Milky Way is up there as one of my favourite chocolate bars ever I certainly thought these Milky Way Cake Bars were worth a try given that seemed to offer something a little different in proposition to most the other cake bars I have tried so far this year. These came described as 'light sponge cakes with a creamy filling, covered in milk chocolate' and just like the Galaxy Cake Bars were baked by McVitie's.
I bought these in a local supermarket at the price of £1 for a pack of 5 cake bars. Looks wise I have never been the great fan of the Milky Way packaging as I think it looks a bit dated and in need of refreshing. I will admit that it does have a relatively fun and colourful look that may appeal to kids but this with this particular product only the outer packaging looked vibrant as it was made out of a foil materical. On the contrary I was a little disappointed to see that the inner bars were wrapped in that cheap plastic packaging which I feel doesn't always keep products at their freshest and certainly makes the on pack design look that bit duller. Luckily the cake bars themselves did offer a little more promise and they certainly looked very appetising when cross sectioned where the inner cream layer sat glistening in between the chocolate and sponge. In regards to smell these bars did emanate any strong scents that were immediately obvious but on closer inspection a sweet smelling chocolaty aroma could be detected.
Like with all the other cake bars I have tried recently I sampled these over a course of a week eating one every afternoon with a nice cup of tea. In line with expectations the milk chocolate was good yet certainly not spectacular in any manner with the main flavours influences being milk rooted and quite sweet and sugary in its chocolatyness. Whilst it wasn't the best quality chocolate ever it was thick enough to substantiate a nice chocolate flavour hit with every bite and it melted with relative ease to reveal the sponge and cream elements below. Both the sponge and cream layers were a bit like the chocolate really, in that they tasted nice but were by no means spectacular. The sponge was light in texture and was neither spongy or overly dense. In terms of flavour it offered quite little aside from a floury taste with a touch of brown sugar. The cake did also have a noticeable note of vanilla essence to it which was further accentuated by the cream layer on top. The cream was really quite sugary yet offered up a nice bit of moistness to the drier cake layer. Altogether these Milky Way Cake Bars were not as rich or fulfilling as the Thornton's or Galaxy Cake Bars but they did a reasonably nice job of tieing over my hunger until later in the day.
Overall I guess it is a good sign that over the course of a week I did eat all five bars from the multi pack which suggests that they would of have to have been a fairly pleasant snack. Writing this review a few days later I would have to agree with that, though I wouldn't say that these Milky Way Cake Bars did anything more for me than any other has done over the past few weeks. If you asked me to name one amazing feature about these cake bars I simply couldn't name one, they were more just an all round good product. Each layer from the milk chocolate, sponge and cream filling were all of a fair standard without any of them being either exceedingly tasty or exceedingly not. I am not sure I would buy these again in the near future given the fact I know there are better out there, but if you like your Milky Way chocolate bars these could be well worth checking out.
7.4 out of 10
Monday, 2 November 2009
The on pack propositions were very similar but I will go into more detail of them later. I bought both these chocolates in Waitrose (oooh fancy) with the Swiss Classic costing £1.19 and the Creme Brulee £1.99. Looking at the packaging I think you will agree there is one clear winner between the two. Having said that I thought both looked far better than the average market offering.
Lindt Swiss Classic Double Milk Caramel Chocolate:
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
This bar was described as 'Swiss milk chocolate with a milky filling and crunchy caramel pieces' and came in a 125.0g size. Unwrapping the foil layer the blocks looked very sleek and I was pleased to see some golden pieces lining the inner beige coloured creme filling.
Formed of 30% cocoa solids the milk chocolate was forthcoming from the outset and established some fine cream rooted chocolate flavours in the mouth. As the chocolate melted the inner creme filling was revealed little by little and it had a noticeably drier texture than the outer chocolate. The inner filling was sweet tasting and further went to reaffirm the milky flavours of the chocolate with a wonderful note of vanilla ever present. The caramel pieces were a not quite as impactful on the taste as I was hoping as they added only minor hints of toffee when bitten into. Although a slight let down in this instance the caramel brought a lovely crunchy element to the texture that was best enjoyed once the chocolate and inner creme filling had melted away.
8.2 out of 10
Kcal 570 Fat 38.0g Fat(sats) 23.0g Carbs 52.0g (per 100.0g)
Described as 'milk chocolate with a delicate creme brulee filling' I have no idea why I have resisted trying this bar for so long - it sounds wonderful don't you think? A product of the Lindt Factory in France this bar came in a 150.0g tablet which was split into ten big sized blocks. To be honest I preferred the size of the blocks from the Swiss Classic, though the chocolate was undeniably sharper looking with the both the outer surface and inner filling glistening giving a real sense of freshness.
Looking at the pictures above you will be able to see that chocolate on this bar was slighlty thicker though this had no effect on the taste of the chocolate whatsoever which was unsurprising given exactly the same recipe was used. The difference and reason for my overall preference of this bar over the Swiss Classic came as result of the sheer quality of the creme brulee filling - it was simply magical. The inner creme was every bit as smooth as the Swiss Classic but had extra dimensions in its flavours with notes of custard, vanilla and butterscotch adding wonderfully to the overarching creaminess. Dispersed throughout the filling there were small pieces of wafer and caramelised sugar which added delightful crunchy elements to the texture. The latter especially brought a hint of burnt sugar to the taste which really brought to life the creme brulee flavour theme fantastically.
9.0 out of 10
Overall I could clearly pick my favourite between these two bars but at the same time I think it is worth recognising how brilliant both were. For me I felt the Petits Desserts went just that bit further with its flavours and I was surprised to the degree at which the Creme Brulee flavour was delivered on. There is no doubt that this was largely down to the presence of the caramelised sugar pieces as they brought the crunchy creme brulee topping to the party with great effect. The Swiss Classic wasn't perhaps as complex in terms of taste in comparison to the Creme Brulee but it certainly had wonderful appeal with it's cream based taste. If I was to recommend one of these bars to you it would have to be the Petits Desserts, however I would have no qualms recommending the Swiss Classic Caramel Chocolate as a very close second if you are watching the pennies.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
I hope you have all had good Halloween weeks and have bags full of chocolate and candy to much your way through.
This week I received my Christmas samples from Hotel Chocolat so prepare yourselves to start seeing some reviews coming your way soon.
In addition to that I also received a big parcel of different chocolates from Germany courtesy of ChocolateMission reader Susie. The package contains so many different chocolates I have no idea what to try first ... this got my thinking about question of the week ...
'Which country produces the best chocolates?' UK? US? Germany? Japan? Other??
Let me know what you think - I will tell you my view later this evening.
Have a good week and thanks for all the ongoing contributions.
The ChocolateMission Omnibus:
Right at the start of last week I posted Hotel Chocolat's answers to the questions that all you guys sent them a month or so ago. Thanks again to Matt at HC for co-ordinating this with me, be sure to take a look at the interview HERE.
This week has been full of reviews of Nestle's and Cadbury new mini bakes / mini bites products HERE. Readers like Lottie and Steven has expressed their annoyance and this ongoing trend of 'Mini' products and I have to say I agree with them. Like reader Mark so aptly put it wouldn't hardly hurt these manufactures to start thinking about outside the box.
The review I most enjoyed writing this week was the Snickers Fudge which was sent to me by my chums at CandyPirate HERE. Whilst most were excited by the product it was duly noted by Rachel that it wasn't the cleverest move taking the caramel out the bar ... a view I very much agreed with.
Despite my best efforts to ignore Halloween this year I did yield yesterday and posted a review of the Cadbury Cinder Toffee Cake Bars HERE.
News from the Chocolate Market:
* Hancocks are introducing a new brand called Bella Vista to the UK market ... SEE HERE
* Kraft have got a new Terry's Chocolate Orange TVC coming on air for Christmas ... SEE HERE
* Cadbury's strong business will only push up the price for Kraft according to the Grocer ... SEE HERE
* Fox's have revealed their Christmas NPD which contains some tasty sounding chocolate biscuits ... SEE HERE
* Nestle are already planning their 2010 Easter range ... crazy world eh!? ... SEE HERE
Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:
* ImpulsiveBuy - Marvo posted his 7th podcast ... includes Marvo man boobs ... SEE HERE
* CandyBlog - Cybele had me drooling at the sight of the worlds biggest Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! This had me drooling like Homer Simpson ... SEE HERE
* GiGi Reviews - Is running a soup competition ... yep you read that right ... a soup competition :D Get your entries in now ... SEE HERE
* JapaneseSnackReviews - These guys are awesome at getting the latest Kit Kat products from the Far East. Check out their review of the Salty Caramel KitKat mini bite things ... SEE HERE
* Foodette Reviews - I wish Starbucks in the UK did cookies like this - these sound divine. SEE HERE
Saturday, 31 October 2009
I know said I wasn't going to do anymore Halloween themed reviews this year but I couldn't resist adding to my exploration of the cake bar market. Nestled in between all the usual Halloween junk you get in the supermarkets this time of year I managed to stumble across these Cadbury Cinder Toffee flavoured cake bars at the knock down price of £1 a pack. As much as I loathe Halloween I just couldn't resist the sound of 'golden sponge with cinder toffee flavour topping with milk chocolate' - those of you who aren't aware the difference between normal toffee and cinder toffee take a look HERE at our trusted friend Wiki.
At 20p a cake bar I thought the price was very good and happily parted with my hard earned £1 for a multi pack of 5. Looking at the packaging I have to say it was fair enough standard and I liked the fact that Cadbury at least when to some effort to incorporate a Halloween theme despite it looking a little on the messy side. More positively the cake bars themselves looked pretty good when cross-sectioned and I liked the fact the cinder toffee filling stood out nicely wedged between the chocolate and cake elements. Straight out the wrapper these cake bars didn't smell all that strong, however when I bit into one I immediately detected a strong brown sugar type aroma.
From my very bite I had an overwhelming wave of nostalgia come over me, but annoyingly I still can't quite pinpoint the taste down to a specific product. The taste was exactly like a cake bar product that I had as a kid but frustratingly I just can't remember what it was? Part of me thinks it may have been a 'Crunchie' version of Cadbury cake bars but to be honest that is a real stab in the dark! Anyway ... back to matters at hand I had mixed feelings about these Cinder Toffee cakes. On the plus side the outer milk chocolate was as enjoyable as always and the sweet, milky taste nicely set up the vanilla noted golden sponge that lay below. With the cake layer providing a bit of substance to the bite the cinder toffee layer was surprisingly light and whipped in texture and melted almost instantly in the mouth. The toffee flavours were pleasant with sharp, sweet, burnt sugar led flavours that unfortunately just didn't last for the desired duration in the mouth. With the flavours lacking longevity I have to say these weren't the most well rounded cake bars I have ever had but they did the job for a mid-afternoon snack.
Overall having now tried my fair share of cake bar products I can conclude that these are no better or worse than your average offering from this part of the market. The cinder toffee flavour was a good idea however it just wasn't executed as well as it might have been given its limitations due to the ease at which it melted and disappeared in the mouth. Aside from the chocolate not being Dairy Milk I had no gripes with the milk chocolate or sponge element to this bar and actually thought that the golden sponge was just a bit more flavoursome than the usual chocolate sponge used in the rest of the Cadbury Cake Bars range. By now you will know I am no fan of Halloween but would it not have been awesome to see Cadbury go for a toffee apple flavoured cake bar!? That to me sounds like a winner and I think these would have benefitted from a different type of flavour influence as they were just a little one dimensional. These are worth a try for just £1 a punt ... if only to tell me what old product these taste exactly like.
7.3 out of 10
Friday, 30 October 2009
I have to hold my hands up from the start here and admit that I was pretty reticent about reviewing these as Nestle's Munchies brand has previously come in for a fair bit of flack from me on this website. Way back in July 2008 I reviewed the original Nestle Munchies and concluded that they were 'an unspectacular offering'. My view of the Munchies Munchies which I reviewed in January 2009 was little different and I rated them a poor 6.1 out of 10 so suffice to say all the indicators were that I was hardly going to get on to well with these Nestle Munchies Mini Bites. Described as 'chocolate and biscuit bases with a layer of caramel, covered in milk chocolate' it sounded a very familiar proposition so I was expecting much the same experience as per my last two reviews from this brand.
Like the Nestle Toffee Crisp Mini Bites these Munchie Mini Bites did not have a catch weight on box, however it did tell me that 15 Mini Bite pieces were contained within. Apologies if it sounds like I am repeating myself from the Toffee Crisp review but my thoughts regarding the packaging and presentation were very similar - aesthetically all was well but the product let itself down with its lack of inner wrapper. The Munchie branding gave the box and fun and inviting look, though the problem of the inner pieces having dusty, scuffed surfaces reared its ugly head again and the Mini Bites just didn't look fresh. Aroma wise the Mini Bites failed to register anything more than a slightly chocolaty smell when I opened the box which neither managed to excite me or put me off.
I was frankly expecting to launch into a full on rant about how poor these tasted but I was relatively surprised (and pleased) with what I came across. I needn't bother going into detail about the quality of the chocolate as I am sure you are all already well aware of the sweet, milk based taste of Nestle milk chocolate. The surprise factor of these Munchies Mini Bites came in the proportion of caramel to biscuit and thankfully unlike the packaging indicated the proportion of biscuit to caramel was far greater than I thought it was going to be. Unlike in the original Munchies where the biscuit elements plays a minor role in these Mini Bites the biscuit base had a real say in the majority of the taste and the brown sugar noted, malt flavours were exceedingly welcome given the average standard chocolate and relatively poor caramel. The biscuit base not only provided a well needed burst of flavour to the bland caramel but it also provided a nice crunchy variation to the texture as well as making each bite feel quite substantial. A few of these Munchie Mini Bites complimented an afternoon coffee relatively nicely and subsequently did tie over my hunger until the evening.
Overall these are probably the best of the Munchies products I have ever reviewed but if you look at the score you will be able to see that this wasn't exactly a hard feat. Having tried both the new Mini Bites products I am still wondering why Nestle felt the need to leave out a layer of inner wrapping. Given that the box itself isn't air tight it makes very little sense to me and it subsequently affected not only the look of products but most likely probably the taste as well. One thing that I did like about these Munchie Mini Bites was the biscuit base which I felt made up somewhat for the poor standard caramel (less said about that cheap tasting stuff the better) and the bog standard Nestle milk chocolate. So down to the all important question .... would I have these again? Most likely not given the price point would be my answer. If your a Munchies fan I would give these a try but if your unfussed by the brand already there is no real reason for you to venture into these parts.
6.9 out of 10
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Kcal 546 Fat 33.1g Fat(sats) 19.8g Carbs 56.0g (per 100.0g)
Before I launch right into the review today I must once again thank Susanne for so kindly sending me the Moser Roth chocolates you have been seeing reviewed on this site in the last couple of weeks. If you don't remember from my last review Moser Roth is a German produced chocolate that is distributed in Aldi stores. The Dark Chocolate and Orange variant I tried previously was very good but this milk chocolate and caramel proposition offered up something completely different and came described as a combination of 'milk chocolate and crunchy caramel pieces' - it certainly sounded like something I would like!
Just as the Dark Chocolate and Orange this came equally as well presented in a 125.0g package that contained five separate 25.0g bars. Aesthetically I thought all was rather good and liked the way the two gold and orange colours combined to give the packaging really good stand out without making it look overly busy. I have to say I am a real fan of the five separate servings and think it is a idea that some more well known manufactures should take note of. The separate foil wrappers just made the chocolate seem fresher and each bar was decorated nicely with the Moser Roth branding. The smell of the chocolate didn't quite impress me as much as its looked but it smelt nice nonetheless with a notable toffee hint amongst some sweet smelling cocoa scents.
I knew this bar reminded me of something when I read the description and it wasn't long before I clocked that it was the Lindt Excellence Crunchy Caramel that I reviewed back in February. In a comparison of milk chocolate the Lindt bar was an obvious winner but that is not to say the milk chocolate on offer here was bad in any manner. The chocolate was formed of 36% cocoa solids which came through nicely in the taste as soon as the melt started. The predominant flavour influences throughout were milk based though things took a turn when the caramel pieces were encountered once the chocolate had smoothly melted away. Just as described the caramel pieces were crunchy and crystallised in texture and once bitten into released a fine set of sweet butterscotch and golden syrup flavours. With the volume of flavours being so high just one bar made for satisfying and fulfilling serving - it is not often you can say that about a 25.0g bar.
Overall the quality of both the chocolate and caramel pieces were ever so slightly lower than the Lindt equivalent both this was still a very enjoyable chocolate. Despite the milk chocolate not having quite the creaminess of the Lindt milk chocolate both the flow of flavours and texture were wonderfully and made for what I would describe as a good quality chocolate. Similarly the caramel pieces were not quite as good as in the Excellence Crunchy Caramel but they still delivered on what they promised and brought a nice caramel element to the taste. I wouldn't say this was a bar of the highest quality but it was a very good one that was presented well and tasted just as pleasant. I am not quite sure of the price point of this chocolate but one would suspect it is going to be lower than Lindt. If this is the case I would certainly give this bar a try as it certainly gives it a run for its money.
8.3 out of 10
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Last week I brought you all my review of the Lindt Nocciolatte which was the first sort of 'on the go' chocolate bar I had seen from Lindt. On that very same trip to WH Smith I also came across another similar product in the form of this Lindt Wafer bar. Whereas the Nocciolatte was produced in Italy this bar originated from Austria and came billed as 'milk chocolate with wafer and hazelnut creme filling'. If you read my Nocciolatte review you will be aware that it didn't quite reach the high exceptionally high standards set by the rest of the Lindt range. Despite this my expectations were pretty high and I was hoping that this bar could better represent the brand.
This bar came in a 35.0g size that I ate in one single sitting. The product looked very similar to the Nocciolatte incorporating the same royal blue colour scheme though this particular variant had a larger proportion of the wrapper covered with gold foil. The chocolate itself looked as superb as the outer packaging and was split into nicely sized chunks with each sporting a Lindt logo. When cut into I was surprised to see that the centre was a little randomly put together with no distinct layering between the wafer and hazelnut paste. Despite appearing a little jumbled a fine array of nutty, biscuity smells emanated from the chocolate which certainly set up a nice enticing prospect.
I wont take long describing the outer milk chocolate that coated this bar as I guess you can probably tell that it was utterly superb. Lindt have a cracking milk chocolate recipe and it is nice to see that they haven't used a cheaper alternative across either this Wafer or Nocciolatte bar. The chocolate was delightfully smooth and thick in melt and delivered a consistent double cream like taste that had just the right volume of cocoa to deliver a friendly chocolaty taste. Inside the filling tasted just as it appeared with the wafer and hazelnut creme filling a little all over place. Tastewise I had no problem with either and enjoyed their presence but personally I would have preferred a better distinction between the two with some sort of layering. In relation to other wafer products the one on offer here was well recieved as it delivered a fine set of flavours with some pleasant wheat and malt influences brought to the party. The hazelnut creme was pleasant though could have certainly have been stronger and failed to really make the desired impact I was hoping it would do. The real issue with the mixed up nature of the wafer and hazelnut creme was that neither really came through that strongle in the taste and the wafer didn't have the same crispness as it would would have done if it had just been one defined layer. On the plus side with the chocolate being so strongly flavoured this relatively small 35.0g bar actually made for a pretty fulfilling chocolate and complimented an afternoon coffee quite nicely.
Overall this may sound absurd but I think Lindt could learn something from the Nestle Kit Kat bar when it comes to the actual construction of this bar. The Kit Kat is a really well put together product with clear layering of outer chocolate, inner creme and crisp wafer. As I have alluded to many times above the wafer and inner creme were mixed together which I think failed to bring out the best of either. The wafer seemed to absorb the creme which left it with less of a crispness and meant that both had less of a distinguishable impact on the taste. Where the centre components were ever so slightly disappointing what could not be faulted was the outer milk chocolate and it delivered the high quality Lindt experience that I had come to expect. At the end of the day this wasn't the best Lindt offering I have ever had but it was a pretty tasty one nonetheless. I am a little unsure as to whether I will pick another up again anytime soon, however I think if you like your Lindt milk chocolate this could certainly be a product that you might want to try at some point.
8.1 out of 10
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
One thing you can seemingly bank on is that every six months or so Mars US will come up with another limited edition Snickers bar. Although Mars UK feel comfortable just making our own standard Snickers UK bar smaller every now and then, Mars US actually seem to want to inject a little bit of excitement in to one of the world best known chocolate candy bars and have brought out another variation of the normal Snickers. Despite living here in the UK, thanks to CandyPirate I got a chance to try the latest addition to the range the Snickers Fudge which came billed as 'Fudge with peanut butter nougat and peanuts, covered in milk chocolate'. If you look to the left you will see that the original Snickers still holds pride of place in second position on the ChocolateMission leaderboard - I think it goes without saying that I love trying the new Snickers variants when they come out.
Like all Snickers limited editions this bar came in a single 50.5g serving (smaller bars are available check out GiGi's Review HERE!). The outer packaging looked relatively cool and differentiated itself nicely from the standard Snickers variant with a paler shade of brown communicating the fudge theme. Opening up the wrapper I was met by some familiar peanut led scents though I must say they were a little more subtle than other Snickers bars I have had in the past. Cutting in to the bar it was nice to see that the layers of nougat, fudge and peanuts were well defined, however I must note there were some sizable pockets of air visible throughout the fudge.
I wont spend to long describing the taste of the milk chocolate as it delivered in line with expectations tasting no different to any other milk chocolate Snickers I have had previously. The coating provided the desired chocolate flavour hit with it's sweet milk led taste. Just as with most Snickers bars the outer chocolate had just a hint of peanut which was probably thanks to the oil seeping out from the inner constituents. The inner peanut butter nougat was utterly delicious and I really enjoyed the taste swinging from sweet to salty as it warmed in the mouth. The real success of this bar was of course always going to hinge on the quality of the inner fudge and I am glad to say it was of a reasonably good standard. Fudge in the US is not like the fudge we get here in the UK and the filling here was far moister than the crumbly, dry, pure sugar stuff that I am used to. The fudge on offer in this bar was still sweet but had a hint of maple and reaffirmed the chocolaty flavours of the outer coating. With the fudge layer taking up more space than the normal caramel layer there was less room for the peanuts and just as I had observed in my observations above there were less peanuts in this bar than a traditional Snickers. The tagline for Snickers in the US is that 'Snickers Satisfies' and I for one won't be arguing with that statement too much as I felt that this was a fulfilling snack.
Overall before I ate this bar I doubted very much that it would overtake the original Snickers in my order of preference but at the same time I really enjoyed it for what it was. Personally I think that the caramel layer is one of the key constituents of the Snickers bar so it will hardly come as a surprise when I say I was disappointed that this was missing from the product. If I had it my way I would have halved the amount of nougat and would have stuck in a thin layer of fudge between the nougat, peanuts and caramel. Despite my minor criticisms this was a bar that I really enjoyed trying and would happily eat again if given the chance. What bemuses me so much about this all is that Mars UK are so defiant in not releasing any new innovation on the Snickers brand here. Surely if they keep doing it in the US there has to be some success behind doing so!? Oh well for the moment I suggest if your a Snickers nut you head to CandyPirate while they still have some stock. Certainly not the best Snickers ever but worth a try if it sounds like your sort of thing.
8.3 out of 10
Monday, 26 October 2009
Firstly Nestle Mini Bites ...now Cadbury Mini Bakes!! I don't know what is quite driving the plethora of new products like these at the moment but everywhere you look there seems to be a new cake themed product like this coming out every week. It is not that I am complaining or anything, hopefully it keeps sites like this one interesting and it has been nice for me recently to venture out from my traiditional straight up chocolate bar reviews. On to the focus of todays review over the last few days I have been casting my eye over these Cadbury Mini Bakes Chocolate Flapjacks. Those with memories as long as an elephants (is this generalisation even true!?) may recall that it was around this time last year I reviewed Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate Flapjack (See HERE). Personally I haven't seen one of those large flapjacks for a longtime but in their place now Cadbury have brought these mini ones to market - were they as good?
The flapjacks came in a box of 8 which weighed in at 195.0g. Aesthetically the box graphics looked pretty good and incorporated the usual Cadbury purple brand colour with a new style 'Mini Bakes' slogan which I thought gave it nice stand out on-shelf ... it caught my eye anyway! Inside the box I was pleased to see that each of the mini flapjacks were contained within their own separate plastic packets; thinking back to the Nestle Toffee Crisp Mini Bites a few days ago this something that product could of really done with! Within these packets the flapjacks were all maintained in a nice condition with hardly any bits broken off whatsoever, though I must add that at this point I did notice how small they looked. Despite not appearing the most imperious looking products ever they did emanate a relatively pleasant smell which had mild hints of honey and butterscotch.
Needing no second invitation to get stuck in I shared my box of these with some colleagues at work. I hope the photo above is able to give you some sort of perspective on how big each flapjack was but just to clarify they were really rather diddy. In regards to taste I had no problem with these whatsoever. Unlike the previously reviewed Cadbury Dairy Milk Flapjack the actual chocolate on top wasn't Dairy Milk though it provided relatively the same experience with possibly just a little less creaminess to it's sweet milk based taste. The flapjack base below was of a very good standard and substantiated a delicious butter, oat and syrup noted biscuity taste that was both moreish and tasty. The ratio of chocolate to flapjack was well proportioned with the chocolate providing the lead influence on the initial taste before the denser flapjack ingredients led the way latter on. My only real gripe with these was the obvious one and that was their size -if they had been about twice the size these probably would have been the perfect amount. Perhaps I am greedy but just one of these barely scratched the surface of mid afternoon munchies.
Overall these were pretty good tasting but sadly a little flawed in design. Despite the Cadbury Dairy Milk being substituted out for Cadbury's slightly different secondary recipe I could see past this as the chocolate still managed to substantiate a good influence on the taste despite the flapjack constituents being far denser and greater portioned. The flapjack bases themselves were surprisingly of a very high quality and tasted almost bakery fresh with their strongly butter led flavours. As I have alluded to above the only real problem I had with these was the size as they just weren't big enough to eat just one at a time. The simple solution would of course be to just eat two at a time, though I feel this rather defeats the whole 'Mini Bakes' concept given that they are meant for 'on the go' consumption, thus carrying two separate packets seems a bit against the point of the product in the first place. If you are fond of mini snacks like these I would recommend you give these a try as they get a thumbs up from me in the taste department. If it is a fulfilling snack your after though your better off looking somewhere else as these just didn't tick that box for me.
7.3 out of 10
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Remember a while back when I asked you all to send me some questions to forward on to Hotel Chocolat? Well the Swines have only gone and answered every single one of them :) ....
Your questions in BOLD
Hotel Chocolat answers in ITALICS
My comments in RED
The answers have been provided by Matt (Online Commercial Development Executive 2.5 years) & Gabriela (Hotel Chocolat Buyer - 4.5 years).
1. Why do they think their chocolate demands such a high premium price?
Gabriela: The high quality of chocolate and packaging innovation justifies the higher price, but we think we still are an affordable luxury. Part of that money is also used to support our ethical programs in Ghana and St Lucia – more information ... check it out if you have an interest it is good read .... pictures too :)
2. What new products (if any) can we expect soon?
Gabriela: Expect new products for every season and occasion; Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day, summer, Halloween and Christmas. It’s one of our real strengths, developing products specifically for key events and seasons. We’re also always looking to improve our core range, so there are likely to be a few new twists and improvements made to our existing range. As for what products are currently in development, we like to ‘keep our cards close to our chest’! ... The NPD from HC has been fantastic this year ... I expect that same next!
3. Why do they put 'may contain nuts' on every single one of their products?
Gabriela: Unfortunately, because we handle chocolates containing nut in our packing facility, we cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that those products are nut-free.
4. Will they ever bring back their gianduja cubes?
Gabriela: We have brought them back, just in a brand new format. ... They look great to me ... expect a review soon.
5. Are they planning on opening any more stores soon?
Matt: Just a few! We’ve got stores opening in Chester, Chichester, Guildford and Meadowhall, Sheffield all before Christmas. Two new stores have opened in London in the past month in Victoria and The Strand, along with our very first store in the US on Newbury Street in Boston. With the launch of Hotel Chocolat in select John Lewis stores towards the end of September we are increasing our high street presence significantly and this will continue throughout 2010. Don’t be surprised if you see a new Hotel Chocolat store popping up in a town near you next year! ... The day these guys open a near a store near me I expect my life expectancy to drop a few years :)
6. Do they ever plan on doing anything with peanut butter?
Gabriela: There is a chocolate selector called “Peanut Passion” which is available in our stores, but in 2010 we will bring a new product that is all about peanut butter and chocolate (that is all I can say for now). .... I hope I will be first in like to try it :)
7. Will they ever produce any normal sized chocolate bars?
Matt: We do sell a chocolate bar in store which might be considered a ‘normal sized’ bar. Our take on the chocolate bar is reflected in our slabs range. Originally developed as Giant Slabs, we now have smaller 100g mini-slabs which are still slightly larger than your normal bar.
8. Can we ever expect to get their products through means other than their shops or online ordering?
Matt: You can find a selection of our range in some John Lewis stores, and at World Duty Free; however, for the time being our core focus will be selling our products through our own stores and website. ... Good decision I think! Look what happened to Thorntons!
9. What have they got planned for Christmas this year?
Matt: A BIGGER and BETTER Christmas than the last! We’ve expanded the Christmas range significantly this year and have introduced some new lines including Signature Collections which come in luxurious keepsake boxes, a huge Truffle Tree weighing 650g, Sparkling Stars selections and more. We’ve got a new Cookies & Caramel Wreath which I think will prove a hit, and a new, larger Christmas Sleekster. I could go on, you can check out all of our Christmas gifts here. Of course, in stores we’ll continue to have regular free tastings as well. ... My wishlist has been sent to HC ... expect reviews of the range in late November and early December.
10. What are your own personal favourites from the range?
Matt: This is a really difficult question. From a boxed chocolates perspective my previous favourite, the Hand-Piped Sleekster has recently been ‘replaced’ by the Dinner Party Platter. I also love our Christmas Wreaths and the Triple Wham Bam Giant Slab which is perhaps the most iconic of our Giant Slab range. When it comes to my favourite chocolate it’s a close call but our 62% Milk Purist Bar from our Rabot Estate in St Lucia shades it. ... what about the 85% Matt!???
11. Why do they produce such big choice of white chocolate products, considering people in general usually find white chocolate too sweet?
Gabriela: .... I’m not sure this is really the case! I make sure we have a range suitable for all tastes! Some of the flavours, for example strawberry, works better with white chocolates, as the flavours come through better. Also we made sure that our bespoke white chocolate recipe is not too sweet. ... I'm not sure where the consumer evidence came for this but I think HC's white chocolate is one of the best around.
12. Do you have any plans to do a chocolate cookie and biscuit range?
Gabriela: Not at this moment in time, but you never now…
13. Will you ever be bringing back your chocolate covered coffee beans?
Gabriela: Yes, in the near future. .... when they do expect a review from me!
14. Is there a Hotel Chocolat recipe book? If not will you ever consider doing one?
Matt: Yes, we have book called “101 Best Loved Chocolate Recipes”.
15. Do you plan to do more mainstream advertising next year?
Matt: At the present time, ‘mainstream’ advertising isn’t something we get heavily involved in. Some of the recent Cadbury’s advertising has been fantastic and has made great use of multiple channels. I find their use of digital marketing channels particularly inspiring. I think our strong brand identity and fantastic product range would provide a great platform for developing exciting and engaging advertising campaigns, particularly in digital channels. We will of course continue to advertise in search engines, via our affiliate program and within the occasional glossy magazine. ... Again sitting here with my marketing cap on a good decision. Keeping the brand away from the mainstream will the keep the core brand values and principles strong ... oh and save on the A&P of course :)
16. If you had to describe your brand in three words what would it be?
Matt: Original, Authentic, Ethical. Our mission statement is: “To open up to a wider audience, the escapist sanctuary of Hotel Chocolat. To do this whilst sticking to our core values of originality, authenticity and ethics.”
17. Have there ever been any products that haven't passed the taste testing?
Gabriela: Hundreds of recipes are rejected every month, so all the recipes that we include in our selections/range have passed a tasting panel. The recipes which pass the tasting panel are then included in the Chocolate Tasting Club Monthly Boxes. Members then have the opportunity to taste and score them and send us their feedback. ... This attention to quality is probably why their scores are so consistently high.
18. Would you ever consider producing a ChocolateMission branded bar?
Matt: I don’t think so, although I must say Jim’s ChocolateMission is a particularly popular blog amongst the office! ... I don't think the ChocolateMission 'brand' would particularly work for Hotel Chocolat :) but nice try guys.
19. What is the best selling Hotel Chocolat product?
Matt: This does depend on the season; however, the regular ‘chart-topper’ is our Hand-piped Sleekster.
20. What is it like working for Hotel Chocolat? Are there loads of chocolates hanging round the office? Do you ever get bored of talking about chocolates?
Gabriela: Fantastic! Depends in which area of the business you work. We are never bored of talking about chocolate! There are always so many new flavours and product concepts that it is impossible to get bored
Matt: Who wouldn’t want to work for such a fantastic brand, with such great products!? It’s an intense, fast-moving, innovative and ultimately very rewarding environment in which to work. Plus I’m surrounded by a great group of people who make it a fun place to work. As for chocolate hanging around the office, I’m sure there’s some round here somewhere… I’ll post some photographs from around the office on our Facebook fan page now! ... Oi I thought I was the only one around here allowed to pimp my Facebook page!?? Haha only joking! If Hotel Chocolat ever create a consumer/market insight department I'm there! It sounds a great place to work!
21. Do your friends still gift you chocolates? ... mine do - I find it very hard to look excited!!
Gabriela: No, they tell me I’m a chocolate snob! So they rather gift me with something else… I’m glad! ... I bet! ... Even if I get gifted chocolate there is always an urge to give it a score out of 10 and take a few photos :)
Thanks for Matt & Gabriela for taking the time to answer these questions - the answers were really insightful and I look forward to the reaction from you all.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Last month in Edition 14 of '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' I brought you all the news that Nestle were releasing two new 'Mini Bites' tub products (See HERE). One of these new products is from the Munchies brand, whilst the other, which just so happens to be the focus of todays review uses Nestle's Toffee Crisp branding. I found both of these new products in Tesco on an introductory offer price of £2.00 a pack which is a 33.0% discount offer on the standard £2.99 rrp. On pack these Nestle Toffee Crisp Bites came described as 'crisped rice and caramel bites in milk chocolate' which sounded a great proposition to me - the idea just had to be executed correctly.
There was no catch weight on the box though it did say that 15 mini bite pieces were included inside. Personally I thought the outer packaging was pretty good. It wasn't too large in terms of size meaning it could be stored in the fridge with ease, whilst the graphic work was also fairly decent incorporating the bright orange Toffee Crisp colour theme with a realistic looking picture of the actual product. Admittedly I was more disappointed with the lack inner packaging as the mini bites simply rolled around loosely inside the box with no plastic packet or film covering. The lacking of an airtight seal meant that the pieces had a scuffed, dusty looking surface which meant they didn't look all that fresh or appetising on the eye. Despite the lack of inner wrapping the chocolates still had a detectable sweet, chocolaty smell but I couldn't help but feel that it would have been stronger had the pieces not been so exposed.
I think we are all aware by now that Nestle milk chocolate is not the best tasting in the world, yet at the same time it always manages to do it job with very little fuss. I could probably cut and paste my thoughts on the Nestle's milk chocolate from another review if I wanted as it delivered the same experience as it always does. It was relatively well paced in melt with a taste that was quite sweet with a dried milk like focus which managed to deliver a fair standard chocolate base taste with each bite. Sat under the average standard milk chocolate coating was the Toffee Crisp filling which I sadly have to report was a bit lacklustre. Unlike the standard Toffee Crisp bar these Mini Bites did not include a distinctive caramel layer in addition to the chocolate flavoured rice cereal. Conversely these bites tried to combine the two which resulted in a golden coloured rice centre which offered minimal amounts of flavour aside from a golden syrup type influence. The combination of the sweet cereal centre and outer chocolate wasn't necessarily bad in anyway but at the same time it didn't offer much in the way of satisfaction and left me feeling a little sold short in terms of my expectations.
Overall had this been my first experience of the Toffee Crisp brand I wouldn't be feeling all that positive towards it. I guess with this product I was expecting a pretty high standard given how much I liked the standard Toffee Crisp bar and also the Toffee Crisp Clusters that I both reviewed HERE with great success's. I think where both those succeeded where these failed was where they tried to combine the usually separate caramel and cereal elements in to one caramel flavoured cereal centre. This neither allowed for either to express the different flavours and texture they could bring to the product and ultimately just resulted in there being one mish-mash of a centre that wasn't necessarily bad in anyway but at the same time was far from exciting or worthy of being associated as being in the same league as the standard Toffee Crisp. In my opinion these weren't worth the hefty price tag - one can only imagine the profit margin they are making with a less complicated product at four times the price!
6.6 out of 10
Friday, 23 October 2009
Lindt Chilli bars have a habit of scoring quite highly on the ChocolateMission rating system so as you can imagine I was pretty excited when Cin from Foodstufffinds kindly sent me along this Lindt Hot Mango to review. Cin described this to me as her favourite Lindt Chilli chocolate so given this big build up I was expecting quite a lot. Produced in Germany (quelle surprise!!) this bar came described as 'dark chocolate with a dark chocolate mousse and mango and cayenne filling'. If you fancy swotting up on your Cayenne chilli pepper knowledge (Geek!!) I suggest you head HERE, I swear I didn't find that page interesting .... honest ;)
The bar came in a 150.0g format that was split into 12 separate blocks. In truth I thought the blocks were a little too big for my liking, though given how beautifully the product was presented I didn't mind all that much. Unfortunately I haven't really done the outer packaging that much justice with my photo (camera was acting up! Doh!!) but it looked fantastic with its sophisticated black background and sparkling gold colours fonts. The mango and Cayenne chilli illustrations added further intrigue, whilst the picture of the chocolate provided a relatively accurate account of the actual product displaying its light coloured filling. Inside the chocolate was held within a silver branded wrapper than helped maintain a very rich smelling cocoa scent that erupted as soon as the foil was split.
As soon as I saw the 70% branding I knew this was going to be a good standard Lindt chocolate and it certainly didn't let me down. The chocolate was very forthcoming in terms of its flavours and substantiated a very strong cocoa influence as soon as the chocolate hit the tongue. As the chocolate melted and transformed into its softer liquid state the cocoa flavours became amplified yet never ventured into what I would describe as bitter. Sat at the heart of this chocolate the packaging stated that there was a dark mousse filling though frankly this I forgot all about this until I read the outer packaging again for the opening paragraph of this review. I think this was probably a consequence of both the soft melt of the actual chocolate and the very unique tasting mango and chilli filling which dominated the taste as soon as it came into contact with my mouth. The mango and chilli filling was one of the most unique things I have ever tasted in a chocolate bar and combined a wonderfully juicy, fruity taste with a hot chilli bite in its aftertaste. The fruit element was well balanced with it's sweet, yet quite tart, almost sour flavours; whilst the chilli really came to life in the latter stages of the taste providing a peppery flavour influence and delightful warming feeling to the mouth. With the taste being so lively just a few of these large blocks provided a barrage of flavours and made for both a satisfying and fulfilling chocolate.
Overall this was yet another very tasty chilli chocolate from Lindt, so much so that I am starting to believe that they are real experts when it comes to handling this very volatile ingredient. With this bar Lindt have managed to bring the best out of two very variable tasting influences. The mango could have easily have been too sour, whilst the chilli could easily have been over powering or too weak. At the end of the day I think that Lindt combined both almost perfectly with each contributing equally and incrementally to the superb tasting dark chocolate that provided a wonderful flavour base from the outset. If you like your chilli flavoured chocolates this is a bar you should really be thinking of tracking down. By the looks of it this isn't a bar that is available in the UK but I am sure if you do a little searching it is one that you can find quite easily from the likes of Dean-German-Grocery etc. This is yet another Lindt bar that comes with a ChocolateMission recommendation.
8.7 out of 10
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Before I get into how they tasted it wouldn't be a ChocolateMission review without my passing comment on the presentation of both and my thoughts were very similar with each variants. Both variants came in purple coloured packets though contained different secondary branding in which to communicate the flavours. The wrappers looked ok to me but what excited me about these products were the fudge and mint creme fillings which both looked very well portioned - I think you will agree when you see the photos below.
Below are my thoughts on each variant:
Cadbury Cake Bars Fudge:
Kcal 135 Fat 5.5g Fat(sats) 3.3g Carbs 20.6g (per bar)
These came described as 'chocolate flavoured sponge with a fudge topping, covered in milk chocolate' and utilised the much under implemented Cadbury Fudge. I have long been calling for a larger, more satisfying Cadbury Fudge product so I was hoping that these cake bars might be right on the money.
In my previous Cadbury Cake Bar reviews I commented how disappointing it was that Cadbury decided not to use Dairy Milk and I still stand by this point. Although the chocolate on offer here was still very tasty with its sweet, milk based flavours it was noticeably lacking the creamy edge of Dairy Milk. If you peeked at the score already you will have noticed there was one thing fundamentally wrong these - the textures! I generally find cake a little too dry for me and this was only further accentuated by the dry, crumbly nature of the fudge. The combination of these left my mouth feeling like desert and it was lucky I had a cup of tea to wash it down with.
Overall there was nothing wrong with the taste on offer here whatsoever, however these Fudge Cake Bars were fundamentally flawed due to their dryness. The flavours of the sweet chocolate and fudge complimented each other well but the cake and fudge layers cloyed in the mouth resulting in a stodgy chew that was calling out for a bit of moistness. Nice tasting but sadly not what I would describe as an all round pleasant experience.
7.0 out of 10
Cadbury Cake Bars Mint:
Out of the two I have to say these were the ones I was looking forward to least with their billing of 'chocolate flavoured sponge topped with a mint flavoured creme, covered in milk chocolate'. My view did start to change however as soon as I prised open the first plastic wrapper upon where I was met with a fresh smelling peppermint smell.
My thoughts regarding the chocolate are the same the above - it was a fair standard but crying out to be Dairy Milk. I tried these after the Fudge Cake Bars and I was expecting quite a similar experience in regards to dry textures as most mint cremes and fondants I have had before are normally quite solid as they are normally sugar based. I am glad to report though I was pleasantly surprised - the inner creme was far moister than I was expecting and really complimented the cake element well. The mint flavours were actually subtle in the creme with the majority of the taste being cream based. Despite being quite mild I thought the mint was strong enough and it provided a real fresh influence on the taste.
Overall these were easily the best out of the two and I would rate them just as highly as the Cadbury Caramel Cake Bars. One thing I did notice about these Mint Cake Bars were that they contained noticeably more fat and calories, though lets be honest it was well worth it given how much these were as an all round product. I wouldn't say these are a must try if your a fan of mint flavoured chocolates as the mint element doesn't actually come through that strongly. Personally though I think these make for a nice snack to have in the cupboard from time to time. The Thornton's Chocolate Cake Bars still hold the title as the best chocolate cake bars reviewed so far!