July 23rd: 'Bits n Bobs' - Cereal, Chocolate, Cake & Biscuit Assortment

At the start of the year I was looking to reduce the number of posts I was making a week down to just five. You may have noticed that this hasn't become reality - I simply have too many products knocking around commanding reviews. To help me get on top of things a little I have taken the opportunity to do another 'Bits n Bobs' post - you will see some quick fire reviews below of some of the products that I have had on my radar for a while. Your comments are always welcome on any of them ...

Nestle Animal Bar

Kcal 98 Fat 5.0g Carbs 12.3g

For some reason or other my workplace has just started stocking these in our staff shop - aren't these meant to be for kids and not middle aged working professionals!?? Hmmm anyway ... I do have vague memories of being given Animal Bars as treats when I was younger which isn't all that surprising given they have been around since 1963. I can still see why the packaging and size of the bar are still relevant for kids, but personally I didn't particularly enjoy the actual milk chocolate all that much. Not surprisingly it was weak tasting and mostly sugar led with its non-threatening cocoa flavours. Best left for the smaller people of this world.

5.6 out of 10

Fox's Echo Milk & White Chocolate

Kcal 126 Fat 6.6g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 14.9g

Again I remember eating these when I was younger - I used to have them now and again during my school lunchbox days. In the supermarket Echos sit alongside the likes of the Kit Kats, Twixs, CLUB biscuits etc, and they come described as 'milk & white chocolate with a crunchy biscuit base'. In comparison to some of the aforementioned products I have always thought that Echos look nice on the eye. Both the packaging and bars look attractive in comparison to other chocolate biscuit alternatives and to be fair to them they also hold up their end of the bargain in the taste. For my liking both the milk and white chocolates are a little passive in their flavours, though the combination of them both deliver a decent sweet chocolate flavour hit. I have always thought the texture of the chocolate is a little waxy, though I can't complain with the crunchy contribution from the slightly salty flavoured biscuit base at the bottom of each bar. If you are looking for a Kit Kat alternative you cant go far wrong treating yourself to an Echo.

7.1 out of 10

McVitie's Medley Digestives Hazelnuts & Milk Chocolate

Kcal 140 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 1.9g Carbs 19.2g

A few weeks ago I posted my first review from McVitie's new Medley range in the form of their Hobnob Medley bar (See HERE). After a bit of searching around the supermarket shelves I managed to locate the other variety in the range - these Digestive Hazelnut & Milk Chocolate. In essence these were very much the same as the Hobnob Medley, apart from the substitution of the Hobnobs biscuit pieces for the Digestive biscuit pieces, and the swapping of the raisins for the hazelnuts. To be frank only one of these two change ups work for me. The Digestive biscuits weren't half as forthcoming in the taste in comparison to the Hobnobs, but on the flipside the hazelnuts were more welcome than the raisins as they were more detectable with their wooden nut flavour enhancements. I would find it hard recommending one of these Medley bars over the other as to be honest neither are perfect. I still believe McVitie's could have done a better job with these bars.

7.2 out of 10

Bahlsen Messino Edlehreb

Kcal 140 Fat 4.9g Fat(sats) 2.8g Carbs 23.0g (per 3 cakes)

Not long ago I read an article on TalkingRetail.com that stated that a brand called Bahlsen were going to be turning up the heat on McVitie's in the Jaffa Cake tablestakes. Whilst I have been critical in the past of companies like Cadbury entering in to this part of the market with weak price cut led offerings (See HERE), I have always been open to seeing how other manufacturers could play the Jaffa Cakes game. Cutting the long story short, these looked the part in terms of their presentation with both the outer packaging and inner cakes looking like a nice premium proposition. Unfortunately when it came to the taste the size of the cakes were a real issue for me as they were so small and thin they didn't create the same sort of flavour impact that McVitie's Jaffa Cakes do. The dark chocolate was noticeably more flavoursome and not as laboured in melt, however the other cake and orange jelly filling layers were so insignificant and minimal they failed to create lasting flavour impacts. Quite simply I wouldn't buy purchase these over the McVitie's originals at the moment, but if they made them a little bigger they would be serious competition.

6.9 out of 10

If you have any feedback on these products please feel free to discuss them by dropping a comment.