Thursday, 31 December 2009

December 31st: 2009 Closing Comments

Hi All,

To bring an end to 2009 I thought I would inform you all of the plans for 2010 on ChocolateMission.

* You may have noticed that over the past 24 hours I have made some minor fascia changes and have added a Menubar for the site. In 2010 I am aiming to make significant improvements to the navigation and design. Any suggestions you have are very welcome.

* Earlier in the year I informed you that in 2010 review posts would switch to Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a 'News' post on a Saturday. At present I currently have a two month back log of reviews ... so for the time being this reduced format will not come into effect until July.

* The 2009 ChocolateMission Awards went down well and I will definitely be running this same feature in 2010.

* In 2010 I am going to be looking to complete more reader requests - If you have a request please drop me a note on the Request page.

* ..... Most exciting!???? One of the biggest frustrations I have with this site is that a great deal of the products I review from America are not readily available to us all here in Europe. I am currently looking into starting a Jim's ChocolateMission shop that stock goods from the US whilst offering competitive shipping prices for lands farther afield! This development is only in it's very stages but I hope to have something set up by mid 2010. The idea isn't for this to be a money making scheme but more of an opportunity to broaden the options open to my readers.

* Stars & Their Bars #3 is incoming .... Yep I have been pestering yet more celebs :D

* A new 'upcoming reviews' widget will be added to one of the sidebars. This way you will all be more aware what is due up on the site.

I hope this all has you excited for the new year. Any suggestions for the site are of course very welcome!

Have a great New Years Eve - Cheers to a great 2009

JIM

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

December 30th: Cadbury Milk Tray - Part 2


Roll on Part 2!! If you missed the first hald of my Cadbury Milk Tray review yesterday take a look below and familiarise yourself with my families conclusions on the first six pieces from this selection box. Today I bring you the thoughts on the final four plus the all important rating chart and 'Overall' conclusion.


Honey Love - Honey-flavour caramel. This had one a cheesy name but boy was it good! This chocolate was shaped like honey hive and it held one of the sweetest caramels I have ever tasted. I am not sure I would want to eat a whole bar of the stuff but I enjoyed the floral noted sugary centre and would say it was one of my favourites from the selection. Very Good.

Orange Truffle - Chocolate truffle flavoured with tangy orange. Oh dear this one didn't go down well! The older generation in my family were both expecting an orange fondant filled chocolate and felt robbed by the very weak tasting fruit centre. Both commented that the orange was disappointingly lacklustre in the taste. Poor.


Caramel Charm - Luxurious chewy caramel. You know the square caramel piece in Cadbury Roses!? Well add three lines of white stuff and this is what we had here! This is no criticism of course ... the soft, chewy centre lasted a long time when sucked on in the mouth and butterscotch and toffee flavours were delicious if perhaps a little weak tasting. The variation of the hard centre to all the other soft ones was very welcome. Good.

Caramel Heart - soft caramel encased in milk chocolate. This was the fourth of the caramel pieces in the selection and it was exactly what you would expect from a Cadbury caramel chocolate. The caramel was wonderfully smooth and runny with its a sweet sugary, salt hinted taste and it complimented the milky chocolate nicely. Very Good.


Overall this was a selection box full of nice tasting chocolates but there is no escaping the fact that too many of them were too similar. It is pretty safe to say that if you are not a fan of caramel or hazelnut chocolates there is not much here to get excited about. Thankfully the majority of my family are fans of both these types of chocolates so pieces like the Hazelnut Caress, Honey Love, Caramel Heart and Caramel Charm went down really quite well along with the Fudge and Turkish Delight chocolates. Unfortunately there were also a number of disappointing chocolates in the lot with the fruit flavoured and truffles pieces especially standing out as being not up to standard. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this review yesterday one particular annoyance was that Cadbury don't use Dairy Milk for the Milk Tray which strikes me as an odd decision given the name. Looking at the RRP of £5.99 I think there are better options out there for the price I can only recommend these on the basis if you are a fan of Cadbury chocolate to the core.

7.0 out of 10

Coming Tomorrow: Closing comments for the year

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

December 29th: Cadbury Milk Tray - Part 1


I thought my review writing for 2009 was over but I have decided to treat you all to one last two part review on the box of chocolates that my family and I have been eating our way through over Christmas.

The Milk Tray is one of the Cadbury's oldest products (produced first in 1915!) and has gone through many changes in both packaging and selection in its lifetime. Nowadays the selection isn't fronted by some cheesy Milk Tray Man advertorials but rather comes in a nice looking 400.0g purple coloured box.

Inside two trays of twenty pieces consisted of ten different chocolate varieties (each of which was portioned four times of course!). Starting today I will give you our brief musings over the first six pieces, tomorrow I will bring the final four and the all important ChocolateMission scoring chart.

One thing that is worth noting is that the milk chocolate used for every piece was Cadbury's secondary recipe with 14% cocoa and milk solids. It is worth saying that I would have preffered the use of Dairy Milk but the slightly sweeter milky taste was still very familiar with its friendly and inviting nature.

Eastern Delight - Turkish delight covered in milk chocolate. The resident Turkish Delight connoisseur (my old man!) said this was very similar to the Fry's Turkish Delight which makes me think that it is probably the same thing! It was nice to have a thicker coating than you usually get with Turkish Delight chocolates. Good.

Hazelnut Heaven - Whole roasted hazelnut in milk chocolate. This was a good looking chocolate but it was disappointing to see that only one hazelnut piece was included in the centre. This meant that the nut flavours were very much dominated by the sweeter milk chocolate. It was nice enough but could have done with a few nuts instead of just the one. Standard.

Hazelnut Caress - Roasted hazelnut with caramel. This brought back some wonderful memories of Cadbury Caramel with Nuts and has 100% convinced me that the bar needs to be brought back into the range if only for a limited period. This piece was perfect for eating one and melted wonderfully on the tongue revealing first the soft, sweet caramel and then the crunchy nuty piece. This could only have been bettered with the use of Dairy Milk. Very Good.

Nut Secret - Hazelnut in milk truffle. The description of this piece somewhat bemused me but I was expecting a sort of praline type experience. Unfortunately neither myself or any of the rest of my family could detect much of a difference between the taste of the outer chocolate to the inner filling, which itself was not the most distinctive in texture with only a slightly smooth texture. Standard.

Fudge Dream - Vanilla flavour fudge in milk chocolate. Cadbury do fudge well ... end of! These four pieces were the first to miraculously disappear from the box and were easily the family favourite. The outer chocolate could perhaps of been a little thicker but the inner fudge was glorious with its slightly dry, crumbly texture that tasted delicious with its strong buttery taste. Very Good.

Strawberry Kiss - Strawberry filling with vanilla flavour fondant cream. According to my mother Milk Tray used to be all about the fruit fondant fillings so this chocolate had a nice nostaglic appeal. Unfortunately it was commented however that the taste wasn't particularly fruity and that the fondant lacked any sort of vanilla influence. The chocolate itself looked good but it obviously could have been done better. Standard.

Coming Tommorow: Cadbury Milk Tray - Part 2

Monday, 28 December 2009

December 28th: Milka Tender Lime / Black Forest Cake

To tide us over review wise until the new year I today once again got stuck in to the batch of goodies sent to me by ChocolateMission reader Susie. Included in the box of treats were a selection of Milka Tender cakes and I reviewed the Original and Tiramisu variants just a few weeks back.

Over the past few days I have further investigated the Tender range by trying out these Lime & Black Forest Cake variants, both of which came in 5 bar multi-packs. Looking at the outer packaging both flavours looked like your standard supermarket multi-pack cake treats, though I was pleased to see inside that both flavours were coated with the same thick foil wrappers which kept the inner mini rolls in really top condition and both smelling wonderfully fresh.

Below are my thoughts on each variant:

Milka Tender Lime:

Kcal 156 Fat 7.8g Fat(sats) 4.6g Carbs 19.5g (per roll)

These came described as 'sponge cake with a lime creme filling, covered in Alpine Milk Chocolate' and I was surprised to see they were the more calorific of the two flavours, containing no less than 23% of the GDA of saturated fat - gulp!

These were always going to have a tough time living up to the wonderful Tiramisu flavour I reviewed last month but I have to admit I was a little disappointed at what I got here. Just like the Milk & Tiramisu variants the milk chocolate was again spread rather thinly and only compromised 28% of the actual product. Just as I found before the chocolate was tasty in its milky sweet flavours, however it was soon dominated the stodgier cake which also held the disappointing creme. With lime normally being quite a strong flavour I was surprised to see it had little say on the overall experience as it failed to cut through the cake element and establish a say on the taste. Judging by the three bars I ate myself I would say this was predominantly because the creme wasn't portioned as much as it should of been and it was also noticeable in the texture as the creme didn't provide the moistness to the extent that it did in the other variants.

6.4 out of 10



Milka Tender Black Forest Cake:


Kcal 147 Fat 6.4g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 20.5g (per bar)

Before I had to translate the word 'Schwarzwalder' I had no idea that Black Forest Cake was such a popular product in Germany. Described as a 'sponge roll with a milk creme and cherry jam filling, covered in dark chocolate' it sounded the more unique out of the two variants of show today.

Despite the chocolate being billed as 'dark' the chocolate was more unsweetened when it came to the taste and was still as disappointingly portioned again compromising 28% of the final product. Despite its thinness the chocolate still had a relatively strong say in the taste as its flavours were only further enhanced by the chocolate cake that lay below, which was noticeably more flavoursome than the lighter coloured sponge used in the Lime variant above. Inside the mixture of the two types of fillings was glorious with the cherry coming through the stronger of the two delivering some tart, red fruit influences on the overall taste. Unlike the lime creme in the creme and jam elements were portioned pretty generously giving a much needed moist density to the drier cake.

8.0 out of 10


Overall the Black Forest Cake variant was easily my favourite out of the two though I wouldn't say it quite got to the same level of the Tiramisu flavour I reviewed before. Just like found in my first review of this range a few weeks ago, one of the failings of both these products were that the outer chocolate was not portioned generously enough, and should have been at least 1.5 times the thickness that it was. As a total range I would say that Milka Tender does in fact triumph over the Cadbury Mini Rolls, however not all of the variants were as good with the Lime flavour noticeably lacklustre when placed in the context of the others. The Milka Tender range is certainly worth a try if you get the chance.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

December 26th: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - PART 7

BEST OVERALL PRODUCT OF 2009

So here we are ... the BIG one!! What chocolate has won the award of ChocolateMission best overall product of 2009 as chosen by none only than ME :)

Having trawled through all the reviews from this year and considered things such as value for money, quality of innovation, availability, public perception etc etc ... I have finally come down to my top three *ahem* four for this year.


*drumroll* and in 3rd place we have ...


Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean:




This bar has featured heavily all week and I think it deserves its place in the top three. As you will have bar witnessed to throughout the year Thorntons have served up both the sublime and the terrible but this Tonka Bean bar is a real shining star in their very unreliable square bar range. Combining the usual cream based flavours of their milk chocolate with added influences of honey, milk and vanilla I would recommend this as a chocolate that undoubtedly has wide appeal. Congratulation to Thorntons on their 3rd place ... See the Review ... HERE.


*drumroll* and in 2nd place ... we have ...


...


a tie ..


Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster White & Light / Seriosuly Dark Selection:


How can their be a tie? How can you rate one higher than the other and then say they are equally as good!? ... Because I can :) Indeed, I personally liked the dark chocolate Sleekster more but from the Readers Choice Award yesterday it was obvious that the White & Light had broader appeal with the public - which is something I just cannot ignore! In the most simplest terms both these selection boxes are superb! From choice and selection, presentation to overall quality of the chocolates these were both top class. Hotel Chocolat produced some amazing products this year that I loved reviewing but nothing gave me more pleasure than sharing these with my family. The only thing that excites me more than having one of these again is seeing what Hotel Chocolat come up with in 2010. See the Review(s) ... HERE & HERE.


*drumroll* and the winner ... in 1st place ...


... taking home the title of BEST OVERALL PRODUCT 2009 ...


... we have ...


..


.


Cadbury Wispa Gold:



As good as many of the chocolates I had this year were I just couldn't over look this as my favourite overall product. After the press release earlier in the year saying it was coming back to the UK market I feel everything about the relaunch was done superbly. There was a sense of anticipation, it had a new shiny wrapper, it wasn't ridiculously priced and mostly importantly it tasted exactly liked we remembered it ... evoking warm, fuzzy nostalgic feelings all round. Looking back over the comments on the review and seeing it got third place on the Readers Choice Award all but confirms that its reappearance has gone down very well with the general public. If you are one of my readers from outside of the UK I would strongly suggest you try get hold of one of these - as far as our mass produced confectionery goes it is one of the best we have to offer. Congratulations Cadbury Wispa Gold ... See the Review ... HERE.

COMING DECEMBER 30th: Closing Comments on the Year!

Friday, 25 December 2009

December 25th: Merry Xmas

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL MY READERS

Have a great day whatever holiday you are celebrating

JIM

Thursday, 24 December 2009

December 24th: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - PART 6

BEST MISC PRODUCT OF 2009

What is a misc product? Well in ChocolateMission terms it means a product containing some sort of chocolate or cocoa flavouring which isn't a by the book chocolate bar /selection box product! Confused!? Well think of it this way ... cakes, cookies, biscuits, brownies etc they all fall into this category. My favourite three products of the year are as follows ...


*drumroll* ... and in 3rd position we have ...

Marks & Spencer Belgian Chocolate Chunk Brownie:

I reviewed this way in January 2009 and I have had many more since writing that review. I would say when heated that this is almost the perfect brownie and would satisfy even the most ravenous of people. It delivers a sinfully rich chocolaty taste with an almost perfect moist, dense texture. If you are a fan of brownies I really suggest you give one of these a try - 55.0g of brownie deliciousness. See the Review ... HERE.


*drumroll* ... and in 2nd place we have ....

Oreo Double Stuff Cool Mint Creme:

Although these Oreos Cool Mint Creme didn't quite get Misc product of the year they are without doubt my favourite cookies of the year. Indeed they did get stiff competition from the white chocolate covered limited edition Oreos we got in the UK this Christmas but for me I have to pick these mint flavoured. When I reviewed these way back in May I found them to be as addictive as anything I have eaten this year and they had the 'just one more' appeal in abundance. If you like Oreos and then I would strongly suggest you hunt down a pack of these - See the Review ... HERE.


*drumroll* and in 1st place ... we have ...

...

..

.

Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes:

Thorntons bag their first award of the year and this one is throughly deserved. This review firstly came about as a request from one my readers but since writing the review in September I must have bought them at least another four times. Combining an indulgent shortcake biscuit base with a thick wedge of stodgy caramel and crispy milk chocolate I found these to be like heaven in a mouthful. Being my greedy self I would possibly make them a touch bigger but given their richness the mini format works remarkably well. I can't recommend these enough if you like your caramel shortcakes. Well done Thorntons! See the Review .. HERE

Coming tomorrow ... CHRISTMAS :D :D ... and then on boxing day ... CHOCOLATEMISSION PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2009!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

December 23rd: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - PART 5

READERS CHOICE AWARD 2009

First things first lets get the all important prize out the way. Votes have been cast, counted and verified and I can announce the winner of the Hotel Chocolat Cookies & Caramel Christmas Wreath is ... Rebecca Mortimer. Congratulations Rebecca I will get the Wreath sent on to you on the 27th - I hope you enjoy it!

Hard luck to those of you who didn't win but hey at least your votes mean something! Here are the top three reviews you all voted for this year.

*drumroll* and in 3rd position we have ...

Cadbury Wispa Gold:


The Cadbury Wispa Gold came back to UK shelves in September and was warmly greeted upon its return. This was one of the most talked about reviews of the year and there hasn't been a single comment upon the lines of 'I was disappointed' with what I tasted. Seemingly this provided many people with some fantastic nostalgic feelings. Garnering over 15 votes this just pipped the Cadbury Caramel Nibbles to third place. See the Review ... HERE

*drumroll* and in 2nd position we have ...

..

Paul.A.Young's Salted Caramel Chocolates:


This came as a bit as surprise to me as I thought these would be a little too niche for the average voter - obviously not as this review picked up the second highest amount of votes (maybe the Paul Young PR office had something to say in this haha!). This was a product I reviewed back in July and awarded an 8.5 out of 10 rating. Personally I would make the chocolate shells a little thicker but I can't deny that the inner caramel fillings aren't sublime. If you know of a friend or loved one that likes caramels I would suggest giving these as a gift in 2010 ... See the Review ... HERE.

*drumroll* and in 1st place ... picking up READERS CHOICE OF THE YEAR 2009 ...

we have ...

as voted by you :) ..

.

Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster White & Light Selection

As much as a surprise as Paul.A.Young's was I was really overwhelmed by the amount of votes that this Hotel Chocolat White & Light piled up over the week that the competition was open. It wasn't always peoples first choice but it featured heavily in the make up of many peoples top three reviews and amassed a winning 22 votes. Personally I preferred the dark chocolate sleekster box but if white chocolate is more your thing then pieces like the Eton Mess, Gianduja, Nut Crest and Fudge Praline are sure to satisfy. A well worthy winner in my opinion! Thanks for all the votes. See the Review ... HERE.

Coming Tomorrow: Best Misc Product of 2009 (NEW!!)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

December 22nd: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - PART 4

BEST NEW PRODUCT OF 2009

These awards are for the top 3 bits of NPD (new product development) we have seen in 2009. As with the rest of these awards I am not handing these placings out based on their final overall score but more the total consensus that I think the public has come to about them. This includes how widely available they are, price and discounts limited editions.

*drumroll* ... and in 3rd place ... we have

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean:


Making it's 2nd appearance in the awards this year we have the Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean bar. This was one of the tastiest milk chocolates that I had all year is one that I have bought for many a friend as a gift. Introduced midway through the year as part of Thorntons square bar range this stood out as a really flavoursome offering with its extra creamy tastes noted with hints of vanilla and honey. Well worth a try ... See the Review .. HERE.

*drumroll* ... and in 2nd place ... we have

..

Ritter Sport Karamell Nuss:


Ritter Sport are known for their copious amount of flavours but this was one I really loved. Formed of milk chocolate with a caramel creme centre with hazelnut and rice crispie pieces this was outstanding in every sense. As with every Ritter bar the centre took centre stage and it utterly delicious with its buttery, nutty taste. This maybe not be readily available for all us Brits but those of you living in main land Europe should really have tried this by now... See the Review ... HERE.

*drumroll* and in 1st place ... for BEST NEW PRODUCT OF 2009 ...

We have ...

..

.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Nibbles:


Taking the title of best new product of 2009 we have the insanely moreish Cadbury Dairy Milk Cadbury Nibbles. In terms of concept these were not ground breaking but were in fact ridiculously simple. These Caramel Nibbles if you haven't come across them simply include the minor addition of a dose of Cadbury Caramel to the usual Dairy Milk Buttons. This may simple but the result is marvellous and they have to be one of the most moreish products I have ever eaten. At the time I rated them slightly lower than the comparable Galaxy Caramel Pieces, though the latter seem to only be a seasonal addition to the Galaxy range. In comparison everyone I know seems to have tried these Caramel Nibbles at some point, with pretty much everyone having nothing but great things to say about them. For that reason this product wins the award for BEST NEW PRODUCT OF 2009 ... See the Review ... HERE.

Coming Tomorrow: Readers Choice Award 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

December 21st: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - PART 3

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT / WORST PRODUCTS OF 2009

What do you all this is worse? A product that you think is going to be great but turns out to be rubbish or a product that is simply just pants? To be honest I think they are as bad as each other, hence my reasoning for combining both awards. Personally I don't think the following are worthy of much more of attention so lets make this a quick one ...

*drumroll* ... and in 3rd place we have ...

Kit Kat Chunky Caramel (UK)


After reviewing the Australian version of this bar to great success (9.2 out of 10 - See HERE) you can imagine I was damn excited to see when it was announced here in the UK trade that this bar would be coming to our market. Without doubt this was disappointment of the year - was it inedible? Don't be silly ... nowhere near! Was it Caramel? ... NO - it has a dodgy layer of sugary paste! Was it half as good as the Aussie version? ... Not even close :( Boo!! This isn't even mentioning the fact that it pushed the Peanut Butter variant out of the range! Dismal scenes! See the review ... HERE

*drumroll* and in 2nd place we have .....

Hannah's White Mice:
'Awesome I remember having these in my pick-a-mix as a little nipper' ... was my first line of thought when I saw these. I wish I had just left it like that as these did not bring the nostalgic memories like I hoped. Some may love them for their comforting taste of their childhood but if you look beyond that you will see them for what they are ... sugary lumps of disgusting vegetable fat! Never again! See the review ... HERE

and the winner ...

Taking 1st place ....

...

..

.


Otsuka Calorie Mate Chocolate Block:


Of course it has to be Otsuka's Calorie Mate Chocolate Block - which beyond a shadow of a doubt was THE WORST product I reviewed in 2009. Sitting in the most uninspiring packaging ever, this dried lumps of disgusting tasting biscuits were frankly horrible in every sense. Devoid of flavour, charm and a point of actually existing, I for one will never be eating one of these again. According to the packaging the concept of the product is for people 'who need an easy source of energy and nutrition' ... seriously if you have no time to even eat I think you need to have a check on your work-life balance. Avoid like the plague!!! See the review ... HERE

COMING TOMORROW: Best New Product of 2009

*Remember to send me your votes in for Readers Choice Award!!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

December 20th: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - Part 2

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF 2009

This weeks second round of awards are for the products that I thought were the best at surpassing all expectations.

*Drumroll* ...... and in 3rd place we have ....

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean:


Thorntons managed to serve up a varying range of products in terms of quality this year but one of the surprisingly good ones was this Tonka Bean flavoured milk chocolates. I found that this chocolate was well worthy of it's silver award from the Academy of Chocolate and I loved the creamy smooth taste that was noted with hints of honey and vanilla. See the review ... HERE


*Drumroll* ...... and in 2nd place we have ....

Milka Loffel Ei Egg


This was a product I reviewed as part of the 2009 Easter offering from Dean-German-Grocery and it really surpassed all expectations. This product offered something completely different to the usual Cadbury Creme Egg, etc and combined an outer shell of Milka milk chocolate with a thick milk creme centre. At first I thought it looked a little gimmicky but that before I had both the fun and delicious experience of eating one. I really hope they are around next Easter! See the review ... HERE.

*Drumroll* ...... and in 1st place we have ....

....

..

.


Cinnabon Cinnamon Cream Pecan Cluster:


This without doubt was the surprise of the year for me and it was sent to me by my friends at Candy Pirate last May. As far as I was aware Cinnabon were most known for their Cinnamon roll pastries in America, and it was unbeknown to me that they made such a delicious confectionery product. Coated in white chocolate this product had everything from a warming cinnamon spice caramel, pecan nuts and small toffee piece ... it was quite frankly delicious! Unfortunately CandyPirate haven't had stock in for quite sometime but I hope in the not too distant future I can get hold of one these again! Congratulations Cinnabon! See the review ... HERE

Coming Tomorrow: Worst Product of the Year 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

December 19th: CHOCOLATEMISSION AWARDS 2009 - Part 1

SELECTION BOX OF THE YEAR 2009

The awards ceremony starts today and kicking off the first annual CHOCOLATEMISSION Awards 2009 I today bring you the winners for Selection Box of the Year 2009.

*Drumroll* ...... and in 3rd place we have ....

Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Season of Love Selection:


This was a Valentines Day selection box sent to me last February and included 15 wonderfully crafted pieces. With caramels, truffles, pralines and boozie fillings aplenty this was really a memorable selection that remains long in the memory! With the wonderful of presentation this scored a stonking 9.3 out of 10 ... See the review HERE!


*Drumroll* ...... and in 2nd place we have ....

Chocolateque Assorted Selection


I was approached by a couple of young budding Belgian entrepreneurs in September who were looking to make their mark of the Chocolate market with their freshly made, hand crafted Belgian chocolates. Indeed, Thomas from Chocolateque was kind to send me a long a selection of head chocolatier Federic Bloondeel's finest ganaches and truffles ... and boy were they good. Be sure to check out the review ... See HERE.


*Drumroll* ...... and in 1st place we have ....

....

..

.

Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Serious Dark Fix Selection

Winning the first ChocolateMission award of 2009 is this Hotel Chocolat Serious Dark Fix Selection. This selection box contained 16 different pieces varying from mini slabs, truffles, soft nut fillings, whole fillings ... everything .. it had the lot and with rich coating of dark chocolate. Scoring 9.3 out of 10 on the rating system like the Season of Love selection this holds pride of place of the overall leader board! Congrats Hotel Chocolat ... See HERE


COMING TOMORROW ... Biggest Surprise of 2009!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

December 18th: Marks & Spencer Cookies & Cream

Kcal 205 Fat 15.0g Fat(sats) 8.4g Carbs 16.3g

Having recently moved to an area that doesn't have a Marks & Spencer (shock horror!) it has been a while since I last reviewed a product from their range. In terms of quality M&S can vary from the superb to the pretty abysmal - rather like the people who I think make their chocolates Thorntons. On a shopping trip in London last week I had a chance to pop in to the M&S in Convent Garden and this bar immediately caught my eye was queuing up to pay for some other items. This Cookies & Cream bar is one of the latest additions to the M&S portfolio and constitutes of 'dark & white chocolate with a vanilla mousse and cookie pieces centre'. The description sounded tempting enough but could the product match up?

Just like a few of the other bars from this range the bar came in a 33.0g serving that didn't look all that big aesthetically. Looking at the packaging and the actual bar itself, what it didn't have in size it certainly made up for in looks itself and I was impressed by the overall presentation of both. Covered in a matted foil wrapper the product had a contemporary look and it kept the inner bar looking fresh and certainly looking the part when cross-sectioned. In almost complete contrast the bar didn't offer much in the way of an aroma and failed to register anything of note on my smelling senses aside from a sweet dairy smell.

Putting the lacking aromas aside I was still expecting great things from what looked like a bar that offered a unique proposition but I was to be greatly disappointed by what was on offer. Out of all the different layers the most flavoursome was the outer white chocolate which offered up a sweet dried milk like taste that had just a hint of vanilla. One of the most disappointing things of this bar was the outer coating of dark chocolate which brought absolutely nothing of note to the taste at all. Having tasted many mass consumer friendly 'dark' chocolates before I was well prepared for an unsweetened milk chocolate type taste however what I was confronted with was an even milder flavoured chocolate that brought nothing to party whatsoever. With the outer dark chocolate light in terms of flavour what I was not expecting was the filling to offer even less. The vanilla mousse was practically flavourless and the small crunchy pieces of 'cookie' were similarly lacklustre adding nothing aside from the odd gritty bump in the weightless centre. Looking at the nutritional information I can't believe that nearly half this bar was actually fat - the levels of saturated fat (8.4g - nearly 50% of your GDA) for a bar so small is unbelievable.

Overall this has to be one of the greatest ever letdowns in ChocolateMission history. For a bar that sounded so awesome in proposition, what was actually reality couldn't have been more disappointing. To get the record straight there was nothing about this bar that actually tasted bad - hence the 5 score for taste! What was the main problem was that so many of the different layers offered little or nothing to the overall taste - the main perpetrator being the outer coating of dark chocolate which I would have thought would of had a great say in things. It is a telling statement to make when I say that the strongest tasting layer out of the lot was the white chocolate which wasn't even portioned that greatly in comparison to some of the others. In all the dark chocolate, inner mousse and cookie pieces just didn't contribute and made for a bar that lacked in it's satisfaction credentials. This wasn't just any letdown ... this was an M&S letdown!

5.4 out of 10


 

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