February 28th: Werther's Original Chocolate Dark / Caramel

Following on from my review of Storck's Werther's Original Chocolate Milk (See HERE), I have recently been trying the other two variants from the new Werther's Chocolates range and today am I am finally in a position to bring a you a 'two-for-one' special review.

Below you will find my brief thoughts on both the 'Dark' and 'Caramel' variants - both of which I picked up in Tesco recently on an introductory 99p offer.

Werther's Original Chocolate Dark:

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

Described as 'dark chocolate marbled with the comforting taste of Werther's' these were simply just a dark chocolate version of the milk chocolate variant I reviewed previously and my positive thoughts around the packaging, presentation did not differ in the slightest.

As experienced with the milk chocolate variant these dark chocolate similarly smelt glorious when I opened the packet and a rich butterscotch aroma didn't fail in raising my anticipation. In regards to actual cocoa content I was surprised to see that Storck didn't go for a bolder recipe than the 42% implemented, but saying that the taste was noticeably less sugary than the milk chocolate and initially substantiated less of a sweetness in the mouth. Because the dark chocolate was more impactful in it's cocoa flavours the taste did last a little bit longer in the mouth, and I felt it's unsweetened nature went better with the sugary, butter flavours of the caramel white chocolate that was swirled inside. Unfortunately where this dark chocolate surpassed the milk variant in taste it was disappointing that the same disgusting waxy texture was present and it yet again really hampered my overall enjoyment.

7.5 out of 10

Werther's Original Chocolate Caramel:

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

Unlike the other variants this Caramel flavour was billed as a completely different proposition - 'milk chocolate with a soft caramel centre'. Despite being fundamentally another sort of product altogether these Caramel chocolates came in the same style packaging and wrappers and it wasn't until they were bitten into that the different style centres were evident.

In contrast to the other solid piece chocolates these had a noticeably less strong aroma when the pouch was opened and had a lighter toffee smell. The first thing that came to my attention when I placed the first one in my mouth was that thankfully the texture of the outer chocolate wasn't half as waxy and it actually initiated it's own melt without any need chewing. Inside the caramel centre was as billed and had a nice soft, smooth feel in the mouth. However, whilst it felt nice on the tongue it was distinctly lacking in flavour, so much so that the very mild milk chocolate completely dominated the taste with it's very unspectacular sugary condensed milk focus. Sadly taste wise the caramel lacked pretty much everything a good caramel should have, and was absent of the desired strong buttery notes or salt licks, leaving just a bland tasting sugar based substance.

6.7 out of 10

Overall as you will be able to tell from my scores and write ups, I was pretty disappointed with this new range as a whole. What I find most frustrating about this range is that Storck managed to get many parts of these chocolates right - the packaging and presentation is good, the propositions are exciting, and the Werther's element is implemented in a interesting way in the 'Milk' and 'Dark' variants. Unfortunately Storck got it wrong in some very fundamental departments with two of the flavours having truly horrid waxy textures, and the other having a poor tasting soft filling. If I had to recommend one of the three to you I would suggest you try the 'Dark' flavour as it offers a genuinely delicious taste despite the really poor feel it has in the mouth. Frankly speaking I think Storck have really missed an opportunity here and I wouldn't be surprised if these were to all disappear from our shelves quite quickly given the other higher quality alternatives already available and established in the UK market.

February 27: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 35

### Jim's Corner & QOTW ###

Hi All,

You may have noticed this week that a few backlogged reviews from around Chritmas time finally it made it up on the site this week.

A few of the reviews that had been waiting a while in the queue were the Terry's Twilight (See HERE), Nestle Baby Ruth Crisp (See HERE) and the Lindt Strawberry-Rhubarb Yogurt (See HERE). What with Valentines Day and new product launches getting in the way these one had to waite to their turn for months, but I have managed to sneak them in before all hell breaks loose for Easter and Mothers day.

Sandwiched in between those guys I brought you yet another Kit Kat reviews with Monday's Milk Coffee (See HERE), and on Wednesday the Kit Kat Little Chilli Powder Mini Bites (See HERE) - I hope you guys aren't getting bored of the Japanese goodies because I just recieved another box from J-List .... which leads me to question of the week ...

'Which region would you like to see better represented on the site i.e. do you want me to do more reviews for products from the US? UK? Japan? Europe? Are things just about right?'

Let me know what you think. Thanks for all the comments again this week I am still endeavouring to answer each and every one of them.

Have a great week


News from the Chocolate Market:

* Mars have launched their new World Cup campaign with the help of some England 'legends' ...ahem ... See HERE

* Guylian has some nice sounding products coming out this Spring ... See HERE

* Nestle are sticking £2.5m behind a new Aero campaign ... See HERE

* Cadbury has made more of its portfolio Fairtrade aligned ... See HERE

* Mars are bringing back Galaxy Counters!? Can someone tell me what these were please!! ... See HERE

* Given up chocolate for Lent!? Take a look at this ... See HERE

Posts from other blogs I enjoyed this week:

* Foodstufffinds - Cin has giving her two cents on the Cadbury Bar of Plenty range this week ... See HERE

* ImpulsiveBuy - New contributor Kelley posted her review on the new Jack in the Box grilled sandwiches ... See HERE

* GiGiReviews - Similarly to Kelley, Gi reviewed another artery clogging burger - Carl Jr's Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger - See HERE

* ChocaBlog - These guys went all out with the Japanese reviews this week - cracking stuff and well checking out all of Dom's and Simon's reviews for Japanese Week ... See HERE

* YumYucky - Josie got her lips round some awesome sounding Little Debbie Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal Pies ... See HERE


Again this week I spent more time updating some old reviews with new photos ... please check them out.

* Kinder Bueno - See HERE
* Kit Kat Senses - See HERE
* Cadbury Crunchie - See HERE
* Nestle Lion Bar - See HERE

February 26th: Nestle Baby Ruth Crisp

Kcal 260 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 28.0g

It seems like decades ago when I first reviewed the Nestle Baby Ruth on ChocolateMission - Ok it wasn't quite that long ago but it was one the first ever few bars to feature on the site. Since that time back in March 2008 I have actually had the bar quite a few more times and I still stand by the score of 7.6 out of 10 that I awarded it back then. In the US market the Baby Ruth is very established and it surprises me that Nestle haven't made more of the brand given it's popularity. Given how many limited editions and line extensions we see on the likes of M&M's and Snickers I find it somewhat odd that this 'Crisp' option is currently the only extended offering from the Baby Ruth brand.

This Baby Ruth Crisp came described as 'baked wafers, caramel, peanuts and creme' and came in 50.0g size. In terms of presentation the bar looked pretty good and I liked the way that the packaging communicated the new news of the Crisp offering whilst still maintaining some of the core Baby Ruth brand credentials using the same logo and font styles. In terms of what was inside I liked the way the product was split into two bars as this was certainly more convenient than it would have been had it just been one single piece. In regards to aromas I found the milky sweet smells pretty enticing and I liked the small hint of nut that was also on offer.

If you look at the photo above you will be able to see that the outer coating of milk chocolate wasn't exactly dominant in terms of portioning and I am sure it won't surprise you to hear it took quite a back seat in the overall taste. Just as you will find in all Nestle milk chocolate products the chocolate was predominantly milk rooted in flavours and had quite a sugary finish in the latter stages of it's melt. Sitting below the outer coating of milk chocolate the intermittent layers of peanuts, wafers, caramel and peanut butter all combined to bring a fantastic synergy of sweet and salty influences. The peanuts and wafers were crisp, crunchy and fresh and brought wonderful nut and malt flavours to the party. The gooey caramel and peanut butter layers perfectly complimented the aforementioned bring a delightful moistness to the drier elements. Speaking of the bars hunger fulfilment credentials I have to say it wasn't quite as satisfying as the larger original Baby Ruth, however it was still pretty hefty as an afternoon snack.

Overall as controversial as this may be I have come to the conclusion that this Baby Ruth Crisp actually works a hell of a lot better than the original Baby Ruth bar. The ongoing problem I have with the original bar is that I think the layer of fudge flavoured nougat dominates the taste and brings an overwhelming dryness in terms of texture. What this Crisp variant does so well is that the peanut creme and caramel layers bring a much needed moistness to each bite and they more enhance the taste rather than dominate it. If you are a fan of the original Baby Ruth or Reese's products I would strongly suggest you give this bar a try. It isn't the strongest peanut butter bar I have had on ChocolateMission but I was impressed with it nonetheless. If you get the option to try it I would definitely give it a go - I will certainly have it again in the future.

8.2 out 10

February 25th: Terry's Twilight

Kcal 132 Fat 7.7g Fat(sats) 4.6g Carbs 15.0g (per 4 pieces)

I don't know if anyone else picked up on this but Christmas last gone it seemed like all out warfare in the after dinner chocolate mint sector with the likes of After Eight, Green & Black's, Elizabeth Shaw and Bendick's to name a few thrashing it out in our local supermarkets. The selection was massive and almost seemed to double over night with the emergence of the Christmas aisles that started appearing last September. Seemingly this abundance of chocolate mint offerings was just a little too much for the UK market as the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury's are now flogging off their surplus stock at next to nothing. With these tempting deals on offer I couldn't help myself from picking up these Terry's Twilight chocolates which came billed as 'dark chocolate with a crisp mint centre and crisp sugar pieces'. This wasn't the first time that I had seen the Terry's brand used on a mint flavoured chocolate but for me it still didn't seem very fitting.

These chocolates came in a 150.0g box that contained around 30 or so individually wrapped pieces. Looking at the box the colour scheme was hardly original with the green and gold colours but I thought it looked pretty respectable nonetheless and did the job adequately. Inside I was more impressed with what was on offer and I thought that the plastic sleeved chocolates smelt fresh and minty though perhaps a little boring in terms of looks. These Terry's Twilight possibly didn't quite measure up to the classically designed Nestle After Eight but on the other hand they weren't horrible presented either.

With the aesthetic proposition being a little on the average side the ultimate determent was going to be the standard of the actual chocolates. To save beating around the bush these tasted similarly average, neither surpassing or falling below expectations offering a sound experience of flavours. Starting with the dark chocolate it was very much what I was expecting with the 40% cocoa solids min outer layer providing more of an unsweetened milk chocolate taste rather than one that was amplified in terms of it's cocoa flavours. The dark chocolate was pretty smooth in melt and nicely transcended in to the drier middle layer of mint fondant when simply left to melt on the tongue. In terms of taste the mint fondant perhaps was a bit of a halfway house between the extremely strong flavoured Bendick's and the more sugar focused After Eight Mints and but had a fresh, cooling peppermint kick. Like I find with most of these offering these Twilight chocolates were not ones that I wanted to consume on mass but more rather in their intended time of after meals, with coffees etc.

Overall without being anything spectacular these were yet another solid offering from the dark chocolate and mint part of the market and though I wouldn't say they matched up to competitors like Nestle After Eight for looks they certainly competed in the taste department. I wouldn't necessarily say that the chocolate on offer here would be enjoyed by dark chocolate connoisseurs but it was at least average with it's unsweetened tasted negating the usual onslaught of sugar that is synonymous with most Terry's milk chocolate offerings. I have only just realised that the mint centre lacked the 'crisp sugar pieces' promised on the packaging though I personally wouldn't say this was a bad thing as I felt the balance of mint to sugar was just about right. Whereas I would personally choose a classier looking after dinner mint product like the Bendick's chocolates if you see these on an offer you could do worse rolling these out after a dinner party.

7.4 out of 10

February 24th: Kit Kat Chilli Powder Little Mini Bites

Kcal 188 Fat 10.3g Carbs 21.5g

Cast your mind back a month ago to my review of the Kit Kat Salted Caramel Little Mini Bites and you will remember that they were awarded one of the highest ratings given out for a mass produced chocolate product in the last 6 months on ChocolateMission (8.7 out of 10 - See HERE). After enjoying those so much I was literally chomping at the bit to try the other variant from the range and thankfully J-List obliged by sending me along a sample of these Chilli Powder flavoured Little Mini Bites. It will come as no surprise to you that this variant constituted of 'milk chocolate covered wafer bites filled with creme and a touch of chilli powder' which sounded like a promising combination if done correctly.

Just as with the Salted Caramel variant these Mini Bites came in a 35.0g pack that I ate across the course of a single sitting. Now if these a product you are thinking of gifting to someone who isn't literate in Japanese there is potential for a little fun to be had here as the actual chilli element of the product wasn't that clearly communicated visually on the pack. Indeed only the small, faint chili pictures down the bottom of the packet would give the game away and even they aren't exaclty that clear to make out. In addition to the lack of communication of the chilli flavour on the packaging it wasn't as if the aromas offered any clear insight in to the chilli contents as the pack only offered up the typical sweet, wafery Kit Kat smells.

After seeing both the lack of presence of the chilli on both the wrapper and in the smells I was totally unprepared for lay ahead and it certainly turned out to be a surprising experience. Placing the first few pieces in my mouth I let the chocolate melt off the centres before crunching down on the crisp wafer fillings and nothing about this at all seemed untoward. The milk chocolate was the usual Nestle standard with it's sugary chocolate milk like taste, whilst the wafers offered up the typical brown sugar noted wheat flavours. To be honest the I couldn't taste the chilli whatsoever and after a few seconds of swallowing my first mouthful I was disappointed by the lack of presence from the chilli ... and then it hit! A few seconds after swallowing I hate a distinct scratchy, hot feeling at the back of my throat which I have to say wasn't all that pleasant. The delay in the reaction of the swallowing to the burning sensation in my mouth felt a little unnatural and it was odd that I couldn't sense any enhancement to the actual taste. By the end of the pack the back of my throat felt really quite raw which as you can imagine really wasn't that nice.

Overall I think it is a fair conclusion to make that Nestle were of the mindset here to create novelty product rather a great tasting one. At the heart of things these Mini Bites didn't taste bad whatsoever as they were pretty much just small original Kit Kat bites. Unfortunately the chilli element was more about getting a reaction from the consumer and the startling spicy kick at the back of the throat wasn't actually flavour enhancing in any manner. Towards the end of the pack I really started to feel like eating these were a chore as my mouth was bordering on being overrun by the spice and it was making the taste all the less enjoyable for it. Tasting these once was enough for me and I can't imagine me ever buying these in the future for my own personal consumption. As a joke gift they might get a cheap laugh but I would suggest you give the Salted Caramel a try if you are buying for yourself.

6.6 out of 10

February 23rd: Lindt Strawberry-Rhubarb Yogurt

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

Just when I thought I had escaped (term used very loosely) from all the fruit flavoured yogurt chocolates from Germany, Dean-German-Grocery found it within themselves to send me one final bar from Lindt's summer 2009 range. Taking the honour of being last of the season was this Lindt Strawberry-Rhubarb Yogurt bar, which you wont be surprised to hear constituted of a strawberry and rhubarb yogurt filling covered in white chocolate. Considering that homemade rhubarb crumble is one of my all time favourite desserts I was pleased to see the fruit make an appearance for the first time in chocolate bar reviewed here on ChocolateMission.

Just like most of Lindt's summer yogurt bars this one came part of the 'pods' range and came in a 100.0g size. In line with my comments on the other Lindt yogurt bars I can tell you my perceptions of the packaging and overall presentation were equally as positive. The wrapper was cleanly designed with clear branding and communication of the flavour, whilst the chocolate itself looked appetising with a gleaming surface and visible fruit bits in the fluffy looking pink filling. What was also nice to see was that whilst everything was aesthetically good, the chocolate also smelt appetising with a wild fruit influence coming through the dairy scents strongly.

One of my pet hates with products like this is that sometimes the fruit centres can flavour the outer chocolate meaning the taste is often really one dimensional and lacking in progressiveness (have I just made that word up!?). The reason I have mentioned the previous annoyance is because I am glad to report this was not what was evident here and it ultimately made for far better tasting experience because of it. As with most Lindt white chocolate the taste was predominantly cream based with strong milk and vanilla influences established as soon as the melt began. With the chocolate establishing a dairy rooted taste it was further reaffirmed by the yogurt filling which was softer in texture in comparison and built upon the cream based taste with some strong fruit influences. At first the sweetness of the strawberry fruit was the only detectable, however in the latter stages there was a rhubarb tartness which offset the sugary nature of the strawberry wonderfully. With the filling being reasonably sweet this wasn't a chocolate I wanted to eat in great quantities and I found 30.0g more than a fulfilling amount.

Overall this is yet another Lindt yogurt bar that gets a ChocolateMission thumbs up. Just as I expected the white chocolate was of a great quality though I never really thought this was going to be otherwise. The all important factor with this bar was of course always going to be how well the inner strawberry and rhubarb was executed and having tasted it I would say that the choice of fruit was quite well thought out. As described above the slightly sour rhubarb nicely contrasted with the sugary strawberry which made the taste more balanced even though it was perhaps just a touch still on the sweet side for me. If I was offered either this bar or some of the other Ritter Sport citrus yogurt bars I would have to chose the Ritter though that of course doesn't make this a poor option in its own right. This was certainly a nice way to end my reviews of these fruit flavoured yogurt bars ... for a few months anyway :)

8.1 out of 10

February 22nd: Kit Kat Milk Coffee

Kcal 100 Fat 5.8g Carbs 11.3g (per 18.0g double finger)

ng off the back of last weeks review of the disappointing Kit Kat Royal Milk Tea I was hoping that my next dip into my box of goodies from Japan would prove to be more fruitful. My love for chocolate coffee combinations in mind I decided that I might have some luck with this Kit Kat Milk Coffee flavour so I indulged myself in one with my mid-afternoon coffee today. Given the craziness of some of the Kit Kat flavours I have tried recently this Milk Coffee flavour didn't seem all that out the ordinary especially considering we have a very close comparator bar here in the UK the Kit Kat Cappuccino (review coming soon!).

Like most the Kit Kats I have reivewed from Japan in the last year this variant came in a 36.0g size that was split in to two packets of double fingers. My initial reaction to the packaging was one of bemusement - what on earth were all those pink flowers!? A little research on google revealed that this Kit Kat was a special edition created for gifting to children for good luck with their exams (pink flowers being a symbolism of good luck in the Far East!). With this knowledge for context I thought the packaging looked overall pretty good though I unfortunately can't say the same about how the smelt. Unfortunately just like the Royal Milk tea the white chocolate emitted some odd warm milk like aromas that certainly didn't inspire any great deal of confidence in how they would taste.

Putting my reservations about the aromas aside I went straight about eating this and I am glad to say it tasted about a hundred times better than it smelt. Much like the name suggested the milk flavours came through strongly in the taste and they were substantiated early in and amongst the sweet taste of the outer white chocolate coating. Much like you would expect from any Kit Kat product the inner wafers were very crisp and supplied a nic crunchiness when bitten into giving the usual brilliant variance in textures. Conversely what did come as a surprise mind you was strongly the coffee element that came through in the taste. Although the flavours were not perhaps as prestigious as being like full blown roasted fresh coffee beans, the instant coffee like hit came through nicely and it's bit edge contrasted wonderfully with the sweet, creamier outer chocolate. This combination of flavours made for a pretty satisfying and rich taste and I felt content just eating one double finger in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Overall having eaten this I think it is far to say that if their Kit Kats are anything to go by the Japanese are far better at making milky coffees than they are making a British cup of tea. As I have alluded to above whilst the coffee element involved here possibly wasn't the grandest or most authentic it contrasted superbly with the sweeter chocolate coating. Had it not been for the poor aroma credentials this would have been a Kit Kat that would have scored far higher and I would strongly suggest to you all that you look past the unappetising scents if you are lucky enough to try this one yourselves. With this Japanese Kit Kat Coffee Milk setting a pretty high standard it is going to be interesting to see how the British Kit Kat Cappuccino fairs in comparison when I give it a review in a couple of weeks. This was one of the better Kit Kats I have tried in a while so the benchmark is certainly pretty high.

8.0 out of 10

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


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