February 21st: GU Naughties Rocky Road

Kcal 448 Fat 19.5g Fat(sats) 11.6g Carbs 63.3g (per 100.0g)

No sooner had I published my review of GU's Naughties Millionaires Flapjacks last month I received a review request from ChocolateMission reader Rachel to take a look at the Rocky Road variant. This week it was my turn to bring cakes into the office so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and a bought a tub of these in my local Sainsbury's supermarket. Constituting of all the traditional Rocky Road ingredients of 'milk chocolate, cherries, marshmallow, raisins, biscuit and caramel' it sounded like GU has at least not skimped on the recipe anywhere.

Unfortunately I couldn't find these on offer anywhere so I ended up parting with £2.99 for a pack of 16 pieces. Personally I don't like the idea of the 'tub' packaging format but I thought that the simplicity of the on-pack design work made these look suitable premium next to the other less expensive options they sat next to on the shelf. Once I looked inside the tub I was a little less impressed as the pieces didn't look any different to the Millionaire Flapjacks aside from the obvious ingredients differences (same shape etc!). A thing I did find more promising though were the aromas that emanated which were a mixture of fruity, biscuity, chocolaty scents.

Just as I found with the Millionaire Flapjacks these were pleasant when eaten at room temperature, but about a hundred times nicer when left to chill in the fridge for an hour or two before consumption. When left to chill the middle filling became denser and chewier in the mouth which meant that all the different flavours lasted longer in the mouth. My preferred method for eating these was to first bite of the side chocolate bits, then eat the middle bit before finishing off with the upper layer of chocolate. The chocolate itself wasn't of the highest standard but it did a sound job of establishing a fair strengthened milk controlled cocoa taste. As you can imagine the flavours generated by the centre were variable though more often than not the fruitiness of the raisins, the wheaty biscuit bits and sweet toffee flavours of the caramel were the dominant aspects. Personally I found that two of these Rocky Roads bits were a pretty satisfying portion - especially when they were taken from the fridge.

Overall GU surprised me here with yet another decent showing for their Naughties range. Why was I surprised!? Well truth be told I am normally not that bigger fan of Rocky Road products as I often find that with the plethora of ingredients the taste normally loses itself under the influence of so many different elements. Thankfully I don't have such complaints here - the taste was well managed and I really enjoyed the different flavour experience that I got with each individual bite. Like I stated above the quality of the chocolate wasn't exactly great and on some bites the portioning was a little skimped on, but to be honest these Rocky Road bites were always going to be determined by the quality of the inner filling which I am glad to say was pretty good. I am not sure I can 100% recommend these at their full price but if you fancy them I would suggest you give them a try.

8.0 out of 10

February 20th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 34

### Jim's Corner ###

Hi All,

The reviews have come from all around the world this week starting off with none other than the **NEW** Cadbury Bar of Plenty range than I reviewed back on Monday - See HERE. Looking at some of the feedback there has been about these bars already I am going to hazard a guess at the Shortcake variety sticking around the longest, though the Toffee Apple may evoke some initial intrest from the more curious chocolate consumers.

This week also brought about two reviews of Guylians selection box range. First I took at look at their Trufflina collection (See HERE) and then on Friday I posted my review of their Opus box (See HERE). In between those reviews I also managed to make time for yet another Kit Kat from J-List in the form of the Royal Milk Tea flavour (See HERE).

You will see below that replacing Stars & Their Bars for a limited period you will find some links to some old reviews that I have updated with new pictures. This is an ongoing thing I will be doing in 2010 - I hope you think the reviews now look a bit nicer than they did before.

In other news I am incredibly coming close to writing my 1000th post on this ... once I hit the landmark I think it is about time that we ran competition :D

I hope you have great weeks - please keep leaving your feedback it is great hearing from you.


News from the chocolate market:

* Researchers say eating a small amount of chocolate might actually reduce the risk of having a stroke ... See HERE

* It looks like Kraft are going to be upping their distribution of Milka here in the UK ... See HERE

* Thorntons recorded a rise in profits in 2009 ... See HERE

* Kit Kat are relaunching their perfect break competition ... See HERE

* Cadbury replacing Purity with Plenty? What was the Cadbury Purity range? ... See HERE

Posts from other blogs I enjoyed this week:

* GiGi Reviews - Gi reviewed a dark chocolate bar that had bits of bread in it!! Now that is a filling I have never heard of before ... See HERE

* JapaneseSnackReviews - These guys got in the mood for the Winter Olympics by trying the Kit Kat Maple Syrup flavour ... See HERE

* TheImpulsiveBuy - Marvo tried out the new Special K low fat Granola cereal from Kellogg's... See HERE

* Second Rate Snacks - Had a head-to-head pitting Campbells canned spaghetti against our very own British Heinz stuff - there could only be one winner ... SEE HERE

* ZOMGCandy - Rosa reviewed a Kiwi flavoured bar that from new Zealand that looked like it was filled with Kryptonite ... See HERE

* TheBewilderedBrit - This is a new everyday visit site for me ... follow Richard on his adventures through America ... See HERE


* Galaxy Caramel - See HERE
* Mars Bar - See HERE
* Cadbury Dairy Milk - See HERE
* Nestle Caramac - See HERE

February 19th: Guylian Opus Collection

Following my reviewing of the disappointing Guylian Trufflina selection box the other day I bring you the second of the two chocolate collections I got in that wonderful 2 for £4 deal in my local OneStop.

The Guylian Opus collection came described as an assortment of the finest Belgian chocolates and contained 8 different truffle pieces which were all portioned twice. Looking at the outer box just like the Trufflina selection the presentation was absolutely fantastic with the box cutting clean, sophisticated look making good use of the gold fonts and clear branding. Inside as you will see below most of the chocolates looked utterly fantastic and looked wonderfully crafted.

Below are my brief thoughts on each of the eight pieces (working from left to right in each picture) - ratings are from Very Poor to Superb.

Massenet - Unfortunately this piece was rather like the Trufflina chocolates I reviewed last week and had a really disappointing filling. The outer white chocolate substantiated a fine set of vanilla hint cream flavours however the inner milk chocolate mousse filling was dull and lacklustre in flavour. Poor.

Beethoven - This was a superb looking chocolate and was one that I was really looking forward to trying once I had read the billing of 'creme cappuccino cream'. What I liked about this piece was that the top layer of white chocolate could be bitten off and eaten before tucking into the milk chocolate constituents below. Disappointingly the inner filling was lacking in coffee flavours a little though the it did display a really fine soft texture that contrasted nicely with the crisp outer shell. Good.

Mozart - This was beyond doubt my favourite in the box. This chocolate not only looked great but it tasted like a dream! This chocolate encompassed an outer shell of white and milk chocolate filled with coffee hazelnut praline and a single whole hazelnut piece. The outer chocolate was wonderful and melted perfectly into an inner nutty hazelnut paste that was wonderfully complimented by a note of coffee. The taste was wonderfully capped off by the hazelnut which reaffirmed the woody flavour of the praline and delivered a wonderful crunch. Superb.

Gounod - If you have ever tasted the standard Guylain Seashell chocolates you would be very familiar with the taste here. Under the gold foil wrapper this piece combined a thick outer shell of milk chocolate with a wonderfully tasty hazelnut praline that sat below. It was a little no thrills and not on the adventurous side but you can hardly blame Guylian for sticking their classical recipe in the box at least once. Very Good.

Bach - On the back of the box this piece was described as Gianduja so I was really looking forward to seeing what sort of quality it could deliver. Unfortunately I have to say I was a little underwhelmed as it didn't quite offer the total Gianduja experience. To sum this piece up simply it tasted no different to the Gounod chocolate above but had a slightly smoother less gritty texture. Although this was fair it didn't have the melt in the mouth Gianduja qualities I have experienced before - I was left disappointed. Standard.

Donizetti - Once again this chocolate varied very little from Gounod in that it contained the same hazelnut praline filling, however had a disc of dark chocolate placed on top. To be honest the dark chocolate only tasted a little bit stronger than the milk chocolate that sat below, thus it tasted only a little different to the Gounod. Again this wasn't such a bad thing but it was a little disappointing to see little differentiation. Standard.

Puccini - Look at the marbled effect on the butterflies ... don't they look awesome!? When I had finally stopped admiring the craft work that had gone into these I eventually got around to trying the orange flavoured creme chocolates. Much like I found with the rest of the selection there was nothing wrong with the outer chocolate at all - it was creamy and packing a chocolate flavour hit. Unfortunately like many of the other pieces it was the inner creme that didn't deliver with the orange flavours not featuring enough in the overall taste. The fruit element was weakly implemented and didn't cut through the chocolate flavours making for another underwhelming piece. Poor.

Verdi - This final chocolate came billed as having 'smooth truffle filling' ... right just like the other half of the box then! Apologies for repeating myself but this was again yet another that had fine tasting outer milk chocolate but when it came to the cut and thrust of the inner truffle filling it was undoubtedly disappointing. Indeed the taste was smooth but it lacklustre in terms of flavours. Poor.

Overall whilst these offered a little more than the tedious Trufflina box this Opus collection didn't exactly sparkle. What is really frustrating with this assortment was that all of the outer chocolate constituents were really tasty - it was just some of the fillings were lacklustre in flavour and way too many of them tasted too similar. If you look at what I say about the Verdi, Bach, Donzinetti, Massenet pieces you will see that the story is pretty much the same for all four, and simply this just wasn't good enough for me. This is a bit of a shame as there are some real stars in this collection - the Mozart and Gounod especially stood out as high quality chocolates. Unfortunately for Guylian it is hardly like I can go recommending a chocolate selection box based on the fact I thought 25% were better than average. One thing I can say is that Guylian did well with the presentation and the collection had some real stand out chocolates. As well as they did in those areas, when it came to the taste test Guylian again came up a little short and didn't quite live up to expectations.

7.1 out of 10

February 18th: Kit Kat Royal Milk Tea

Kcal 100 Fat 5.8g Carbs 11.3g (per two fingers)

It is always an exciting moment when I get a new package in the post from Japan as I never quite know what weird and wonderful samples J-List have sent my way. Having tried many Kit Kat flavours recently that have had a Far East twist such as the Kit Kat Kinako Ohagi and Kit Kat Sweet Potatoe etc I was surprised to see this Royal Milk Tea flavour gracing my latest selection and looking at the pictures of the red uniformed guards decorating the outer box it was straight away obvious that this was a British themed novelty flavour for the Far East market. Whereas some might think it suitable to launch into a tirade at us Brits being stereotyped I simply can't do this after hearing this fact last week ... 'if the rest of the world drank as much tea as the British, global consumption of tea would increase ten times' ... Wow!

Getting back to matters at hand I can tell you that this Kit Kat came in a 36.0g pack that included two separately foil wrapped double Kit Kat fingers. Decorated with red tartan cloth patterns and pictures of milky tea in a china cup I felt right at home here with the packaging and similarly thought that the inner blue foil wrappers looked smart. Unwrapping the first double finger packet the first thing I was surprised to see was that the Kit Kats donned white chocolate and not the expected milk chocolate coating that I am so accustomed to. Putting that initial observation aside the next thing that became apparent was lack of forthcoming aromas from the product. At this point I dug my nose right up and immediately wished I hadn't and I was greeted with some pretty unappetising warm milk scents - at this point I was just hoping it was going to taste better than it smelt.

Despite the smells hardly igniting my enthusiasm I immediatedly went about eating this ... after I had poured myself a cup of tea to accompany it of course :D Taking my first bite into the finger I was met with the usual combination of the crisp outer chocolate and crunchy inner wafer but this is where any sort familiarity ended. The taste was nothing like I have ever tasted before and was far far different to what I had expected. Personally I take my tea with a dash of milk and no sugar, conversely if this Kit Kat is anything to go by the Japanese think tea is best served with a gallon of milk and a couple bowls of sugar - it was insanely, and I mean INSANELY sweet. Amongst the taste that was dominated by the raw white sugar edge there were some pleasant undertones of earl grey which established a floral like background tones but frankly the milky sweetness overbeared both the chocolate and the wafer. In a single sitting the most I could eat was a double finger portion and even then I could feel the back of my throat beginning to tingle with that nasty burning sensation.

Overall I think this was a sound idea for a Kit Kat but unfortunately the execution was pretty flawed to say the least. As you will have read above the taste wasn't anything too untoward or disgusting but it was disappointing that the Japanese chose to overload the chocolate with a ridiculous amount of sugar as I felt spoilt the decent tea flavours that were present in and amongst all the sugaryness. I don't like criticising products without suggesting ways that manufacturers could make them better and if I was to offer my two cents to Nestle I think that this would have been a flavour far more suited for a milk chocolate coating as perhaps it was just the white chocolate that tipped this over in to sweetness overload. Looking at some of the Kit Kat flavours in my sample box this time I think a few of them certainly have the potential to outshine this Royal Milk Tea flavour. Being British I should know a good tea product when I taste one - this unfortunately didn't make the grade.

6.0 out of 10

February 17th: Guylian Trufflina

Kcal 610 Fat 47.0g Carbs 42.0g (per 100.0g)

Last month the January chocolate promotions were in full swing trying to tempt the even the keenest of the early year dieters back into a world of chocolate sin :) One of the best deals I found was across Guylian's selection box range, and I found both the Guylian Opus and this Trufflina collections on a 2 for £4 deal in my local OneStop. Considering just before Christmas I saw each retailing for £5 a box in my local Tesco you would have to say that is a pretty good deal. As you will have seen by the title I decided to get stuck into the Trufflina box first which was a collection described as simply 'truffle filled Belgian chocolates'.

These chocolates came in a 180.0g box which contained about 20 or so individual truffles. Just as I found with the Guylian products I reviewed a few years ago the presentation was absolutely fantastic with everything from the packaging to the chocolates themselves looking first class. I particularly liked the outer box as it was so simple and clean cut in design making use of clear branding and visuals. Inside the chocolates were protected in both a plastic tray and paper wrappers which maintained the delicate exterior of each truffle perfectly. Although I have only nice things to say about the aesthetic properties, the chocolates' aroma credentials were noticeably not up to much and they failed to further raise my anticipation with their faint chocolate scents.

Now I know normally use a different review format and scoring chart for selection box products but for this particular collection I thought better of it as I drew such similar conditions about all three different flavours in the selection. If you haven't put managed to work it out by the photos this collection constituted of three different variants with milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate offerings, all of which had a milk chocolate truffle filling. Starting with the quality of each of the outer chocolates I would say that all three were of a standard quality with each bringing exactly what you would expect to the party. The milk chocolate was the least strongest flavoured out of the three with quite a resigned a milky taste but the dark chocolate and white chocolate coatings were more distinct with the dark offering a greater cocoa emphasis and the white bringing an additional creamy vanilla note. A thing I liked about all three variants was the outer coating of crumbly chocolate flakes that lined each piece which helped bring a pleasant melty feel to the initial stages of each chocolate in the mouth. Unfortunately as good as this all was what I found overwhelmingly disappointing was the quality of the inner truffle filling which was abysmal across all three variants. If I was going to rate the filling in isolation I would give it a 'Poor' and to be honest that is being rather kind. The main problem with it was that it lacked any flavour whatsoever - indeed it was silky smooth in melt but that did little to make up for the lacking contribution to the overall taste with only the mildest of chocolaty notes on offer. The lack of flavour from each of the fillings made each chocolate seem completely lacklustre and unsatisfying, so much so that I saw little point reaching back into the box.

Overall Guylian really let themselves down with this box of chocolates and it has made me reassess where I think their total brand sits in terms of quality. Having tried a few of their bar products and Sea Shell Praline chocolates before I had really high hopes for this Trufflina selection but it was nothing short of a real let down. As far as I understand Guylian's core competence is praline!? ... which begs the question why were these chocolates not filled with a hazelnut praline truffle rather than a bland, flavourless 'chocolate one'. If I was to liken the truffle filling to anything on the market I think it would be best compared to a flavourless Lindt Lindor truffle - indeed it was silk smooth in melt but what is the point of this when their is nothing registering in terms of taste. Having eaten these the only thing I am mildly pleased about is the fact that I didn't pay full price for them. I can only hope the other box I got in this 2 for £4 deal (Opus) is a lot better.

5.7 out of 10

February 16th: Thorntons Praline Melts

Thorntons - a gift for every occasion
Kcal 57 Fat 4.2g Fat(sats) 2.2g Carbs 4.3g (per chocolate)

A little over two weeks ago Thorntons came in for some pretty stiff criticism for their attempts at a seasonal Valentines Day range (See HERE). Despite these non to positive reviews they were still kind enough to send me along a sample of one of their latest new lines last week. Indeed, these Praline Melts were released around mid January and can be found in Thorntons stores across the UK for the price of £2.99, or alternatively £3.99 in their online store HERE. On pack they came described as 'melty praline in a milk chocolate shell' which to me sounded like a damn tasty proposition. Was this going to be the good side of Thorntons? Or the other not so good!? Read on to find out:D

Value for money
isn't something I have associated with Thorntons recently but I was impressed with the 200.0g amount that you got for £2.99. Whilst impressed at the quantity of the truffles I also liked the style of the presentation - especially the outer cardboard box which had attractive curves, bright/clear fonts and lastly some realistic looking pictures. If you haven't realised already these Praline Melts are Thorntons' take on Lindt's Lindor truffles and if you look above you will see they looked exactly like them. When I wasn't being mesmerised at how similar they looked to Lindor truffles the other thing to catch my attention was the sweet nutty aromas that emerged when the outer foil wrappers were removed - they smelt like they had real potential.

Some say
that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, whilst others say if you can't beat them join them. If you believe in either of these two statements you won begrudge Thorntons' 'lets make these exactly like Lindt Lindor truffles' approach here - as they frankly did a fantastic job of taking what works from the Lindor truffles and putting it into in to these Praline Melts. In stark comparison to the cheap tasting sugary milk chocolate I experienced from some of their products a few weeks ago, the 35% recipe was a great deal better and established a fine set of milky chocolate flavours as soon as it entered the mouth. Sitting below the crisp outer shell a delightfully smooth truffle filling soon became apparent and it melted with a familiar luxurious silkiness whilst it added notes of hazelnut, almond and cream to the taste. Being my hyper critical self I would have loved to have had the nut influence have greater cut through but I can't deny that the moreish nature of these truffles didn't have me reaching back in to the box on many an occasion.

Overall I do much
prefer writing positive reviews so todays post has been a heck of a lot nicer to write than some of the latest Thorntons offerings. As I said above these Praline Melts are a shameless copycat product of Lindor truffles and frankly I had no problem with that whatsoever. To throw another cliché out there - 'if its not broke - don't fix it' ... Thorntons did exactly that and just incorporated everything that was good about the Lindors and gave them a Thorntons make over. In terms of chocolate quality these Praline Melts were vastly better than the cheap Valentines Day rubbish I reviewed and I was even more impressed at how they replicated the fantastically smooth, soft centres. A stronger hazelnut flavour burst from the filling would have really have kicked these up there with the best truffles on ChocolateMission but these were still nothing less than delicious. For the price you really can't argue with what Thorntons have delivered hear - definitely a ChocolateMission thumbsup!

8.5 out of 10

Thorntons - a gift for every occasion

February 15th: Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar of Plenty

I dedicate this review today to ChocolateMission readers Lottie, Phil and Alan. These three must of had their ears to the walls of Cadbury HQ as they managed to alert me that this range was coming out even before I think Cadbury knew themselves :D Well thanks to those guys I managed to ping a few e-mails out early last week and within a matter of 24 hours I had some samples of this new Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar of Plenty range.

This new line of 140.0g bars includes three brand new Dairy Milk flavours that according to Cadbury themselves are aimed at a 30-40 year old, female demographic (See HERE) ... fantastic ... all I need is another twenty odd years and a gender change :D Luckily with my samples being delivered to me at work I did share these with some colleagues who are a little closer to that demographic target and I have mentioned their views below where I think necessary.

My first impression of the bars in my hand were that they were a very odd size - not in entirely practical for eating out and about yet still significantly smaller than the 230.0g bars that are supposed to be for in-home consumption. Moving on swiftly I thought the packaging looked pretty smart in the what are now standard purple Cadbury matted foil wrappers. Inside I thought some of the flavours looked more appetising than others, but I will get into that more below - lets get into it then ...

Cadbury Bar of Plenty Berry Fruit & Vanilla Shortcake:

Kcal 505 Fat 26.4g Fat(sats) 15.8g Carbs 60.5g (per 100.0g)

'Milk chocoloate with dried cranberries with natural strawberry and elderberry and vanilla shortcake pieces'.

This was the flavour that appealed to the majority of my fellow test panel the most and it did little convince anyone otherwise with the sweet chocolaty red berry aromas that greeted us when we opened the wrapper. Biscuit pieces in Dairy Milk chocolate is nothing new and like the past has proven I did still find it a little bland and dominated by the chocolate. What the biscuit did add though was a delightful crunchiness and the additional fruity element here did more than enough to liven up the taste no end. The different dried fruit red berries were surprisingly fresh tasting and really added some zingy, juicy fruit flavours that contrasted nicely with the sweet chocolate. In comparison to the Cranberry & Granola (See HERE) bar released last year I would say the fruit was on a par but the biscuit wasn't as good as the granola.

8.1 out of 10

Cadbury Bar of Plenty Toffee Apple:

Kcal 495 Fat 24.8g Fat(sats) 15.4g Carbs 61.5g (per 100.0g)

'Milk chocolate with dried spiced apple chunks with toffee pieces'.

Some might say this was the most adventurous of the new bars and the spicy cinnamon aromas did little to dispel this preconception. Cutting to the chase I thought this was the weakest of three flavours and I wasn't alone in thinking this. The combination of the spiced apple and toffee just didn't work with the chocolate as well as the others did and I would say this was mostly the fault of the toffee as it was surprisingly fake tasting and made the chocolate ridiculously sweet. Most people find Cadbury chocolate quite sugary in the first place but the toffee really took it over the edge for me and it was to the point that it started to irritate the back of my throat after only a few blocks. The apple fruit wasn't bad but the over dominating sweetness of the chocolate and the toffee heavily detracted from the spiced fruit side of the taste. This isn't a flavour I would buy again in the future it was just too damn sweet.

6.4 out of 10

Cadbury Bar of Plenty Roast Hazelnut & Honey Roast Cashews:

Kcal 540 Fat 33.5g Fat(sats) 15.9g Carbs 50.6g (per 100.0g)

'Milk chocolate with hazelnuts and honey coated chopped cashews'.

Did I save the best until last? Of course I did - this was the unanimous favourite of all three flavours. To be perfectly honest with you taste wise it differed very little from a Cadbury Dairy Milk Whole Nut (See HERE) but of course this was no bad thing whatsoever. Just as I thought it would the sweet and creamy Dairy Milk chocolate contrasted fantastically with the savoury flavours from the nuts. The whole piece hazelnuts in particular added delicious woody nut influences to the taste and fantastically crunchy and fresh when bitten into. Personally I thought the cashew nuts were a bit hit and miss as they were great at adding sweet buttery nut notes to the taste but were unfortunately not implemented or impactful as they could have been as they were chopped in nature and thus far smaller the hazelnuts. On the whole though this was definitely the most well rounded flavour out of the selection and would be the one I would buy again.

8.7 out of 10

Overall this new range from Cadbury encompassed everything that most other chocolate ranges do ... the good, the average and the ugly. Whereas the description of 'good' for the Hazelnut & Cashew is perhaps a little understated and the 'ugly' a little harsh on the 'Toffee Apple' this was a range that I thought varied in quality quite considerably. What was consistent across all three of course was the Dairy Milk chocolate and it was it's usual delightful creaminess. Of course what sorted the wheat from the chaff here was the quality of the stuff in the chocolate and I thought the savoury nuts, and sharp red fruits worked with the chocolate far better than the poor quality toffee and apple combination. Whilst my preferences are quite clear what I am still quite unsure about is where this range came from!?? Personally I am all for manufacturers releasing seasonal limited edition bars to keep consumers interested but what I don't quite get is why Cadbury has chosen to release three new flavours all at once!? Didn't last year show Cadbury that releasing two new flavours was pretty ambitious!? If the past is anything to go by new variants have a tough time sticking around so surely three new ones at once is just insane!? Thw questions are endless ... where will they sit on the shelf!? What are they going to be pushing out? I look forward to hearing what you all think of these new variants ... drop me a comment with your thoughts.

February 14th: Guylian Heart Belgian Chocolates

Kcal 68 Fat 4.5g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 6.6g (per chocolate)

Happy Valentines Day to all ChocolateMission readers!! What better way to spend your loved up Sunday than by reading about yet another chocolate product especially crafted for this very day!? ... hmmm I think I will let you decide the answer to that one :D The product I am of course talking about are these Guylian Heart Belgium Chocolates which I bought (for myself .. so so sad I know!) in Tesco for the nifty price of £1.10. These 110 British pennies brought me the prospect of 'Belgian chocolate heart shapes filled with praline' which didn't sound all that bad to me given my positive experiences with Guylian pralines before.

These Heart Belgian Chocolates came in a pack that weighed 50.0g which was split into 4 x 12.5g chocolates. Presentation wise the package was altogether well put together with the design work of the outer box maintaining the premium feel of the Guylian brand whilst also communicating the lighter natured Valentines Day messagw well (a certain British manufacturer might want to take a closer look at this!). In line with this the actual chocolates looked really rather good aswell with the golden foil wrappers maintaining both the glossy surfaces and fine chocolate and hazelnut scents that became apparent once unwrapped.

With each of the heart shapes being on the large size these chocolates were eaten in two mouthfuls which meant that they required being bitten into. When doing this the first that became apparent was the crispness of the outer the shell which broke with a pleasant snap to reveal the softer truffle centre that lay below. In terms of taste the early parts were dominated by the outer chocolate which had a relatively strong cocoa backbone amongst all the sweet milky flavours that soothed and ebbed away as it melted. Given the nature of the quick melting chocolate it wasn't long before the inner truffle centres were revealed and as I had come to expect from Guylian the praline centre was divine. It was slightly gritty in texture though this was probably due to the grounded nature of the hazelnuts which came through powerfully with a strong wave of added sweetness. A single heart piece at a time nicely complimented an after dinner coffee though I could easily envisage someone people getting through the box in a single sitting.

Overall it may be a little too late for me to be telling you this but these are a good last minute option to buy if you are cutting it (extremely!!!) fine buying your Valentines Day chocolates this year. In regards to price, packaging and taste these have to get a ChocolateMission thumbs up and if we compare these Belguim made truffles to a relatively similar British made product I reviewed two weeks ago there is only one clear winner. As I expect (and hope!) for most of you this review will probably come a little too late to gift this year but in any case you might want to look out for these being sold off for knock down prices in the supermarkets in the coming weeks. As far as praline truffles go they aren't quite as good as some of the best I have tasted on ChocolateMission but anyone who has tasted Guylian Seashell chocolates before will be well aware that Guylian are no mugs when it comes to pralines. Happy Valentines Day again to you all - I will just assume all your cards to me got lost in the post yeah ;)

8.1 out 0f 10

February 13th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 33

### Jim's Corner ###

Hi All,

Please excuse the abrupt '7DOCR' post today it has been a hectic week. If you look below today you will an updated version of my original Cadbury Boost review back from 2008. You will see some glossy new pics + an additional section looking at the Irish comparative Moro bar - See BELOW.

What else went down this week ... well just the usual swooning at Hotel Chocolat's latest creation (See HERE), BATTLE OF THE BUNNIES - was immense if I say so myself (See HERE), aswell as a first look at Werther's latest line of chocolate caramel products (See HERE).

Coming up this week I have a real treat for you all coming this Monday, some more crazy Japanese products aswell as a special Valentines post for you all tomorrow from the chaps at Guylian.

I hope this all sounds good - Be sure to check out the site Monday where I hopefully have yet another ChocolateMission exclusive in the pipeline!

Have great weeks


News from the Chocolate Market:

* Terry's chocolate Orange have teamed up with a wine partner this Valentines day .. See HERE

* Cadbury are launching a new line of bars this week (thanks to Lottie/Phil/Alan) for the tip off ... See HERE

* According to The Grocer Waitrose make the best chocolate cream eclairs ... See HERE

* Reaction here to Kraft going back on their promise not to close the Cadbury Keynsham factory ... See HERE

Post from other blogs I enjoyed this week:

* GiGi Reviews - reviewed some amazing looking Tim Hornton's Doughnuts ... See HERE

* Impulsive Buy - Marvo took a look at the latest Ben & Jerrie's Boston Cream Pie flavour ... See HERE

* ChocaBlog - Dom found a white chocolate that he 'actually liked' according to his Twitter feed ... See HERE

* Foodstufffinds - was contemplating what part of the large sized Munchies Mini Bites were actually Mini .. See HERE

* YumYucky - Josie got stuck in to the awesome sounding Special K Chocolatey Pretzel bars ... See HERE


Audley Harrison - Olympic Gold Medalist Heavyweight Boxing

Imogen Heap - Recording Artist

March 7th: Cadbury Boost / *UPDATED* Cadbury Moro (Ireland)

Kcal 305 Fat 17.2g Fat(sats) 12.2g Carbs 34.3g

What the 'eck is going on ere Jim!? Well ChocolateMission readers you get a BOGOF today!! If you look below I have gone to the effort of updating my old Cadbury Boost review with some spiffing new pictures, whilst at the same time I have also written my thoughts on the equivalent bar available in Ireland the Cadbury Moro. Having reviewed carnations of this bar from places as widespread as Australia (See Here) it was with great excitement that I read an e-mail from ChocolateMission reader Alan who offered me the chance of trying this Irish version.

Now I would love to make this all a bit more exciting than it really was but unfortunately packaging aside there were no differences whatsoever between the Boost and the Moro when it came to looks, smell and taste. Just as I had experienced with the Cadbury Boost several times down the years this Irish Moro was packed to the brim with sugar and the taste was hellaciously sweet although delightfully creamy and full of interesting textures.

Overall drawing upon my conclusion of the Boost I stand by my original review and can only reiterate the same point I made back in 2008. This is a bar with several fantastic ideas and nice to have every now and then, however the overly sugar laden taste inhibits it from being one that I would choose to have frequently.

8.5 out of 10

Kcal 305 Fat 17.2g Fat(sats) 12.2g Carbs 34.3g

I'm sorry but with the Cadbury Boost there is no other place start other than with the bar's on-pack blurb ... 'charged with glucose' and describes itself as 'milk chocolate with caramel and biscuit filling'. Now I'm a marketing guy and understand the need for a bit of self proclamation on packaging but surely this is ridiculous...'Charged with glucose'...surely that just means 'Contains a load of sugar' - a ridiculous claim if you ask me. ***update 11.02.2010 ... on-pack claim changed to 'GET BOOSTED' ... not as bad in my opinion!

Packing a mighty 310 calories and nearly 18g of fat in its total 60g constituents this is by no means a lightweight bar you grab when you feel a little peckish! The Cadbury Boost is more like a full meal - and after eating it I certainly didn't feel like I could stomach another anytime soon. Enough about the packaging :) when I finally stopped examining the pretty foil covering and opened the bar I was greeted with a sweet smelling chocolatey biscuit aroma - yum yum!

The milk chocolate coating was your standard Cadburys Dairy Milk. I hadn't had a Cadburys bar for a few days so this was most welcome and tasted as good as always. Under the milk chocolate coating was a layer of chewy caramel. Unfortunately this caramel was no where near the standard that you get in a standard Cadburys Dairy Milk with Caramel bar. I thought t was far far more sweet and I can only assume this was due to the 'added glucose'. This part of the bar was disappointing to say the least.

The centre of the bar was truffle like in texture and had a smooth chocolatey taste. Also included in the truffle centre were small biscuit pieces, which whilst being pleasant in terms of taste, also provided a great contrast in texture adding a crunchy bite to the smooth filling.

Overall there is no doubting this is a tasty bar but I cant help but feel that it lets itself down a tad with it's OTT glucose claim and sugary taste. The caramel in the bar is a real let down as it is just to overly sweet - by the end of the bar I did feel that the taste was becoming rather sickly and I can solely pin point this down to the caramel. The idea of the smooth truffle centre with biscuit pieces is a great idea and is certainly more original than just the inclusion of nougat that too many bars include. If Cadburys could sort out the overly sweet caramel and perhaps alter the proportion of sugar in the bar slightly then I'm sure this would be challenging the top of the Chocolate Mission leaderboard...now if you don't mind I'm off for a run to burn off all this Glucose :D :D

8.5 out of 10

February 12th: Montezuma's Bam Bam

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

We are now over two months into a new year but I am still on the same ChocolateMission and making nearly their 20th appearance on the site I tried yet another Montezuma's product today. Montezuma's has been a brand that I have never quite hit it off with with their quality ranging from the superb to the utterly woeful ... take a look HERE to see what I mean. One thing I can't fault the people at Monte's for though is the willingness to send me freebies which of course are always gratefully received. Sitting in the latest batch of bars they sent me was this 'Bam Bam' chocolate which constituted of 'dark chocolate with crunchy peppermint'.

As evident from the photo above this was a product from the Montezuma's Speciality Bars range and came in a 45.0g size that was split into 6 blocks pieces. Looking at the packaging the design work was fair though I must say the colours weren't all that differentiated from some of the other variants which did have me double checking that I hadn't reviewed this one before. As is always a source for complaint with Montezuma's products the inner plastic packet was clumsy looking and the unbranded block pieces looked dull and lacking in character. Opening the plastic packet I immediately noticed that the chocolate was not the most forthcoming in smell and lacked an aroma that grabbed my attention - in truth I was expecting more of a minty fresh smell but this was not what was offered.

To be fair I hate being critical about products and can normally find at least one thing positive to say about each and everyone I try. With that I will tell you about the things I liked about this chocolate before I get to the nitty gritty annoyances that stopped it being the great quality that it should have been. One of things that I did like enjoy about this chocolate was the initial flavours it generated in the mouth with its smooth flowing, unintimidating cocoa flavours that were smooth to the taste, reasonably strong tasting but yet still nonthreatening. Whats more although the melt of the chocolate was a little slow initially for my liking, the texture was at first nicely smooth, though this soon changed with the introduction of the granulated sugar pieces which were embedded running through the middle of the bar. Constituting the 'crunchy' element of the peppermint flavouring the sugar pieces felt rough in the mouth, whilst the peppermint element was dull and lacking in life delivering no sort of freshness or cooling sensation to the mouth. In all the peppermint was just lacklustre and quickly dominated the taste of the dark chocolate making the experience one dimensional and lacking the desired cutting edge.

Overall I was left feeling disappointed by another Montezuma's offering and felt they really missed out on an opportunity to take hold of a niche that is actually sparse in offerings when you think about it. Off the top of my head I cannot think of a mint flavoured dark chocolate bar that dominates that particular sector - of course there are products like the Nestle After Eight, Bendick's Bittermint, Fry's Peppermint Creme etc but those are mint fondant products which are a little different to what was on offer here with this bar. This chocolate today was meant to deliver a high quality dark chocolate with a dose of peppermint, but what was actually here was an Ok-ish dark chocolate with a pretty monotonous tasting mint influence. Please remember that this is just my own opinion and others may vary, but I personally wont be recommending this to anyone apart from chocolate mint lovers.

6.1 out of 10

February 11th: Werther's Original Chocolate Milk

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Right at the back end of last year Storck announced that the Werther's Original brand was going to be extended with the release of three new chocolate products for it's portfolio (See HERE). Roll out of these three new obviously seemingly took very little time at all, as just over a month on from that press release I am in a position to start publishing my reviews having now tasted all three. Starting off my look at the new range I today bring you the Werther's Original Chocolate Milk which on the back of pack were described as 'milk chocolate marbled with caramel flavoured white chocolate'.

As with every Storck product these chocolates were produced in Germany and came individually wrapped in a 125.0g bag. The pouch format packaging looked pleasing on the eye although there were some very obvious similarities with a certain British manufacturer with the purple colouring and matted material striking me as not to unlike Cadbury. Appearances aside one thing that I definitely need to comment on is the wonderful smell that greeted me when I first split the bag open. Without even needing to unwrap the chocolates a glorious set of caramel scents emerged setting expectations sky high - they smelt fantastic.

Once I had stopped marvelling at the glorious smells that I was being treated to I finally went about unwrapping my first piece and I was instantly taken aback by the cool marble like patterns that decorated each chocolate. Each of the pieces were a great size for consuming in one mouthful so I straight away went about placing one on my tongue and waited for the melt to unfold. I did exactly that ... I waited ... I waited ... I waited a little longer ... but the melt never developed and neither did the flavours. These chocolates really had an odd texture in that they felt waxy in the mouth and simply didn't melt. At this point I realised that these chocolates needed chewing and once I did this my mouth was literally bursting full of flavours with both the caramel and chocolate elements contributing. In terms of the chocolate the volume of cocoa was probably not as great as I would have wanted but it still provided a creamy undertone to the caramel flavours which very much took centre stage bringing delightful butterscotch and salt elements to the taste. Unfortunately what with these chocolates needing to be chewed to release flavour they didn't last as long as I hoped they would in the mouth and the flavour longevity was surprisingly poor which left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied even after eating quite a few.

Overall I didn't know quite what to expect from this new range given that Storck aren't universally known for their chocolate and what I got was a real mixed bag. What I experienced was a product that very much worked in one manner but not another - these chocolates tasted great but they were really let down by their awkward texture which as you can see really hampered them when it came to the ChocolateMission scoring chart. As you will have read above the odd waxy textures meant that these wouldn't melt in the mouth without chewing which if you think about it is really a far cry from the original Werther's which are best enjoyed when sucked on. When I shared these amongst some workmates most said they really enjoyed them though some of the feedback was that they did feel like a bit of an odd halfway house between hard boiled sweets and normal chocolate. I am looking forward to trying the other two variants in the range - reviews coming soon.

7.4 out of 10

February 10th: Easter Super Post - Battle of the Bunnies

Ladies and Gentlemen ....... LETS GET READDDDDDDY TO RUMMMMMMMBLE!!!!!!

Today I bring you the first of my Easter Super Posts for 2010 and we are starting off with BATTLE OF THE BUNNIES!

In the Red Corner weighing in at 29.0g we have the 2009 Chocolate Bunny Champion .... Mars Malteser MaltEaster Bunny!!!!!

Maltesers MaltEaster - See HERE

In the Blue Corner - weighing 26.0g we have the Nestle Kit Kat Chunky Bunny

Kcal 138 Fat 7.6g Carbs 15.9g (per bar)

The first challenger to the MaltEaster crown we have Nestle's Bunny. This Kit Kat Chunky Bunny cost me 49p from Tesco and was priced at 6p cheaper than the original Chunky bar.

If you look at the cross-section above the only difference between this bar and the normal Chunky was the Bunny design printed on the top and the significantly thinner base of milk chocolate. Tastewise this was absolutely no different to what you get from a normal Kit Kat - the milk chocolate was sweet, whilst the wafer was slightly malty and wheaty in taste. To be honest the 26.0g didn't fufill me and I felt a little begrudged that I had parted with the amount of money I did for satisfaction I didn't get in return - hey at least it tasted damn nice.

7.6 out of 10

In the .... other colour corner .... weighing in at 40.0g ... we have the Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Bunnies

Kcal 100 Fat 5.3g Fat(sats) 3.2g Carbs 11.7g (per bunny)

Now considering that Cadbury Caramel is one of my favourite chocolates ever these Cadbury Caramel Bunnies were really going to have to do something spectacularly wrong to get a ChocolateMission thumbs down.

These Cadbury Caramel Bunnies cost me 50p (Tesco again) which was cheaper than the MaltEaster but a whole 1p more expensive than the above Kit Kat Bunny product. Speaking of the taste it was exactly as I expected - absolutely delicious! I have written many a review before on different Cadbury Caramel products (HERE) speaking highly of the classical combination of the creamy milk chocolate and sweet nectar caramel so I will point you in the direction of those reviews for a full rundown. All you need to know here was that these Cadbury Caramel Bunnies incorporated all the goodness of the bar in some novelty shaped bunny pieces. The only disapointing attributes for me was that I didn't find the bunny shapes as practical to eat or quite as fulfilling as the normal block bar.

8.7 out of 10

Ladies and Gentlemen after several rounds of non-stop tasting we go to the scorecards ....

... and the winner ...

.... and NEWWWWWWW Chocolate Bunny Champion of the UK .....

........ Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Bunnies!!!!!

Disagree? Why not drop a comment with which you feel is superior! I personally would choose the Cadbury Caramel Bunnies if given the choice between the three, but that said I really do rate the Maltesers MaltEaster as a close second. Please don't accuse me of Nestle bashing but I simply can't find a reason to buy the Kit Kat product given the fact that for another 6p you can get a full-on Chunky! This does beg the question why didn't they just stick the bunny pattern on top of the regular Chunky and save on having to design the new sized wrappers etc :S ho hum!! The Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Bunny wins for me!