Thursday, 1 July 2010
This summer Hotel Chocolat have continued to add several new products to their range with additions being made right across their different product formats. As well as the Summer themed selection boxes such as their Summer Cocktails Collection (See HERE), and their signature chocolate slabs, they have also innovated some of their 'smaller things' offerings - with these Caramel Drops being recently introduced. Around May 2009 you might recall me reviewing their Salted Caramel Puddles (See HERE). Seemingly this year Hotel Chocolat have taken a 'smaller is better stance' as these came billed as 'caramel milk chocolate drops'.
Despite being small in terms of individual size, these chocolate drops still came in a 140.0g size, which is the same as last years Caramel Puddles. As both products were price aligned from this year to last, its good to know Hotel Chocolat decided not to cheat consumers in terms of quantity (the likes of Cadbury/Nestle please take note!). Whilst it was nice seeing that the sizes were still the same, I was less enthralled to see that the Drops came packaged in much the same way as the previous year Puddles. I don't want to get at Hotel Chocolat too much about their packaging as I still think it's passable for what it is, though I would have thought that they might have looked to have progressed from this very basic plastic packet style.
Taking my first handful the first thing I observed was how the Drops lacked the dusty, scuffed surfaces that the Puddles had. In terms of smells the Drops radiated a decent set of chocolatey aromas, and promisingly there were hints of burnt toffee also detectable. Due to the Drops being so small I ate several pieces per mouthful - about five was a comfortable amount to put in the mouth at one time. Being quite familiar with Hotel Chocolat caramel chocolate, the flavours were instantly recognisable with the taste predominantly lead by the creamy cocoa progressing in to a sweeter, buttery burnt sugar taste. This flavour progression developed as the Drops slowly transcended from their solid to liquid state, with the finish noted by a delightful salty influence which left a pleasant taste in the mouth. The taste was delicious, but never came through as strongly as the bigger sized Salted Caramel Puddles. As I so often find with smaller products like this I didn't find these particularly satisfying, they reminded me of Maltesers a bit in the way they generated great flavours yet were pretty unfulfilling.
Overall these were a nice enough product from Hotel Chocolat, but I would suggest there were a bit of a step back from their Salted Caramel Puddles from last year. Given how the company has risen in stature with heightened consumer awareness I would of thought that an upgrade of their packaging might not have been out of the realms of possibility. Whilst that is me nit picking at areas where they might have improved, one thing is for certain is that these Caramel Drops weren't quite as effective at generating the same flavour impact that the larger sized Puddles did last year. Of course it would be silly (and wrong) for me to suggest that the delicious cream based caramel chocolate flavours weren't there, but it was more that they weren't as loud or sustained for as long in comparison to the Puddles. I know some people may prefer the smaller sized format, but personally my preference would be for the larger sized pieces. To cut the long story short, these are better than your average chocolate offering, but in terms of Hotel Chocolat's range there are certainly better options available.
7.5 out of 10
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Kcal 200 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 25.0g (per 5 pieces)
I hope you have noticed that fulfilling requests is something I take very seriously on this site. After all, if I'm not giving you guys the stuff you want to read then it is pretty pointless me writing my reviews, thus I always try and keep on top of the products you ask after. Saying that, I have to hold up my hands and admit that for some reason or other I had never made it round to reviewing one of the most commonly mentioned products amongst all the e-mails and comments. The product I am talking about is Storck Toffifee, which can be found quite easily in most of the major UK supermarket - especially around the holiday seasons.
Despite being widely distributed in the likes of Tesco and Sainbury's etc, Toffifee is actually an imported brand made by the German based company Storck - the same guys who make Riesen chocolates. On the box Toffifee are described as 'a hazelnut in caramel with creamy nougat and chocolate', and for the purpose of this review I bought a 15 piece pack. Speaking of the box itself, I thought it was all well presented with the branding, on-pack blurb and illustrations very effective at communicating the inner contents. As displayed by the pictures, the actual Toffifee pieces were very unique looking, and when cut in to, it could be seen that they were very intricately layered. Whilst it can be said that they created impact aesthetically, I can't say they had the same allure in regards to aromas, as aside from some faint sugary scents not much managed to register.
Not being perturbed by the lacking smells, I shared these with some work colleagues who I was surprised to hear had eaten Toffifee quite a few times before between them. From the ouset I felt each piece was just a little oversized for a comfortable mouthful, though I was more pleasantly surprised at how fast the outer chewy caramel layer softened. During the time of the caramel softening, an ever increasing amount of buttery, sugar flavours became present and they provided a nice smooth, flowing taste that led nicely into the inner chocolate layer. Sat in the middle of each Toffifee, the chocolate constituents was supposedly dual layered, though both really merged in to one single chocolate flavour delivery by the time the caramel had melted away. The chocolate wasn't particularly cocoa heavy in taste, but it was relatively unsweetened which made a nice change from the normative sweet milk chocolates. Amongst the milky, cocoa flavours a pleasant undercurrent of woody hazelnut was ever present, and this nutty influence was the lasting impression left in the mouth due to the single whole hazelnut that was left to crunch on once the chocolate had melted away entirely. The hazelnut was a fitting end to a chocolate that was wonderfully progressive and variable in both taste and texture, however it was commented on by some of my fellow taste testers that some of the nuts seemed a little soft and not all that fresh tasting.
Overall when it comes to caramel and chocolate products I like to feel I am pretty clued up given that it is one of my all time favourite combinations, so I think my judgment on these Toffifee is made in good knowledge. Whilst I have had many high end offerings such as Paul A Young's Salted Caramels, you may also have noticed that I do have time for the more standard caramel chocolate products (See Cadbury Caramel etc!). Judging these Storck Toffifee within that latter category of lower end products I would say they were a solid and unique offering, though at the same time I would also make the point that they don't do anything at a level I would deem outstanding. By that I mean the caramel, chocolate and nut constituents are all of a fair to good quality, though it isn't as if any of them stand out as being superb in isolation. What does work nicely for Toffifee is the way that each of the different elements to combine and contribute towards a multi-dimensional taste. If you are a fan of Storck's Riesen chocolates and you like your nuts, then I would suggest you give these a try. If the shops are anything like mine round near you then it is likely you can find these at some bargain prices - you have little excuse not to give them a go then.
7.6 out of 10
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Kcal 572 Fat 39.0g Fat(sats) 25.8g Carbs 50.4g (per 100.0g)
Thanks to the interest and requests expressed by ChocolateMission readers on my last review, the kind people at Galler (wesbite See HERE) have sent me along another batch of samples for me to work my way through. In that last Ballotin of Pralines post (See HERE), I was very complimentary of some of the white chocolate pieces within the selection, and many of you urged me to try review some of their filled white chocolate bars. In line with demand, Galler included this Noix de Coco offering and it came billed as 'white chocolate with a coconut filling'. On more than a few occasions I have mentioned that coconut is a massively under utilised ingredients nowadays. Manufacturers like Lindt have proven in the past that when it comes to pairing white chocolate and coconut together, the synergy created can be quite spectacular.
This bar came in a 70.0g form that was split in to four very hefty sized chunks. As I mentioned on my previous Piemontais review from this part of the Galler range, I loved the packaging. One of my family did comment that the yellow colour coded tab at the top made it look like a paint sample from a DIY store, but personally I think it is a nice way to differentiate the different varieties and I liked how the Galler branding was kept minimal in a very suave fashion. In terms of the chocolate, again the blocks were a little on the large side and I would have preferred the bar to be broken into smaller pieces. That minor gripe aside the blocks looked stunningly crafted and the little bits of coconut really stood out amongst the darker coloured filling.
Looking at the ingredients list the outer white chocolate was formed of just six ingredients, with the full cream milk powder and cocoa butter sitting just behind the lead constituent sugar. This clean looking ingredients list was translated nicely in the taste, with the white chocolate providing a crisp, creamy set of flavours as soon as it entered the mouth. The white chocolate melted at a just about the right melt in the mouth, and became increasingly louder in it's smooth, milky flavours as it did so. During the latter stages of the melt of the outer chocolate, a vanilla hint was detectable for a fleeting second, though it was quickly dominated by the utterly delicious flavours of the coconut centre. As the filling slowly warmed in the mouth, sweet hazelnut and cocoa flavours came to the party and quickly melted away leaving the rough pieces of dessicated coconut. When bit in to, the small specks of coconut delivered the most immense amount of creamy nut flavours, which lasted a great deal of time in the mouth for a long duration after consuming. What with the white chocolate and praline centre, the taste was pretty sweet so this wasn't a chocolate best consumed in large quantities. As an accompaniment for an after dinner coffee it has to be said this was nothing short of superb, I savoured all four blocks.
Overall this was another very fine chocolate from Galler who have no proven that they have expertise in all three milk, dark and white chocolate sectors. As good as the white chocolate exterior was, the really shining star for me with this product was the combination of the coconut and praline centre, which has to be said was totally amazing. The synergy created by the sweet hazelnut flavours and the crunchy dessicated coconut was very reminiscent of one of my favourite German chocolates the Romy Classic Cocos. The difference between these two bars was that this Galler Noix de Coco was coated in a delicious layer of white chocolate, which was a very fitting choice for the richer tasting nut filling. If you are a fan of white chocolate and coconuts then I can't see any reason why you wouldn't get a great deal of satisfaction from this offering. Given the standard of this bar I can't wait to try my next Galler chocolate!
8.4 out of 10
Monday, 28 June 2010
If you failed to check the site at the weekend (shame on you!) you will have missed the fact that I have just launched the first ever Heavenly Cakes Competition - See HERE. If you are yet to enter I suggest you get in your entry now. Don't forget you can enter the bonus part of the competition as many time as you want - just come up with a funny new anecdote for Betty talking about her dark chocolate brownies. Speaking of brownies, this brings me on to todays product quite nicely Heavenly Cakes Milk Chocolate Brownie. On the Heavenly website, these brownies come described as 'smooth, truffle-like Belgain milk chocolate brownies with extra chunks of chocolate' and having had a little taster of their brownie capabilities from their Billionaire Brownie cakes I was very much looking forward to giving them a try.
Upon my request, my pals at Hevaenly Cakes sent me a few single serve brownie packs. As ever these 'single servings' were Heavenly Cakes 'single servings' i.e. enough to feed a small family, so I split one with a friend over a coffee. Presentation wise the brownie wasn't the most exciting look cake that Heavenly make, but it still looked pretty glamorous when it was cut in to, and there was a noticeable difference in the denser looking centre and the crisper, lighter looking outer portions. Whilst it was aesthetically nice to look at, what took me back the most was the gorgeously fresh scents that emerged from the plastic packet when it was opened. Aromas of chocolate and cake immediately washed over my senses and they smelt fantastic. My friend was similarly impressed at how nice the smells were - you know they have to be good when they are remarked on by someone who isn't actively searching for them.
Just as I did with all the cakes that Heavenly sent me last week I put this brownie in the fridge to chill for a while before eating it. Those of you who like their brownies heated may be thinking I was nuts doing this, but believe me it really did work out for the best. This time stored in the fridge further accentuated the contrasting textures - that may sound a little guffy but in simpler terms refridgerating the brownie made the outer portion of the brownie crispier, the middle bit denser and the inner chocolate chunks slower melting. All these different kinds of textures gave the brownies a real presence in the mouth and delivered the divine flavours quite superbly. In terms of taste, the brownie had a firm grounding of butter cake and brown sugar, though the chocolate flavour hit was established very quickly with the milky cocoa flavours coming through stronger and stronger every second the brownie was chewed. One of the most enjoyable aspects noted by friend were the inner chocolate chunks, which when encountered gave an extra creamy chocolate flavour burst - put more of these in next time please Heavenly! Like the majority of Heavenly cakes I found this brownie to be sinfully rich - I don't think I could have handled a whole one to myself.
Overall this was the best plain brownie I think I have ever had the delight of eating. That statement isn't one I can say lightly either, as quite a few of my work colleagues often bring in homemade ones - sorry if you are reading this guys but these Heavenly Cakes Milk Chocolate Brownies have blown you all out the water. My photograph above may not look like the most exciting foodporn image that I have posted in my Heavenly reviews so far, but these brownies looked fantastic in real life and were only exceeded aesthetically by their lush aromas and subsequent delicious taste. I have probably gone in to excessive detail about this above already, but one thing I think needs reaffirming is the quality of how the different layers felt in the mouth. The progression from the crispy exterior to the gooey innards was nothing like I have experienced before from any brownie, it was just wonderful. If you are a fan of chocolate brownies I can't really say anything other than I thoroughly recommend these.
8.8 out of 10
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Listen up ChocolateMission readers!!! Our friends over at Heavenly Cakes have been so overwhelmed with the great feedback you have all been giving them on my reviews (See HERE) that they have decided to run a free entry competition.
Whats up for grabs?
Three lucky winners will win a Giftpack sized cake selection of their choosing!
So how do you enter?
If you look at the Heavenly Cakes website you will see that 'Betty' (the Heavenly Cakes mascot pictured at the bottom of this post!) has something to say about Heavenly Cakes' Dark Chocolate Brownies.
Quite simply all you have to do is send me an e-mail to Jim[@]chocolatemission.net with what Betty is saying.
***BONUS ROUND*** To make the competition at least partly effort/skill based Heavenly have also suggested a special bonus prize ....
If you can think of a wittier statement for Betty to exclaim please include this on your entry - the funniest phrase will be added to the Heavenly Cakes website, and the winner will also recieve a giftpack of their choice.
Winners will be picked at random and notified on July 10th
Good luck to everyone!
Usual rules apply 1) One entry per person 2) Only open to UK based readers 3) Please include all postal address on your entries 4) I have the right to change the rules at any given time / my decision is final.
Friday, 25 June 2010
Recently I have been sampling many of the flavours from Zotter's Hand-Scooped bars range, but some of you may recall me dipping in to another part of their range called Labooko a few months ago. Indeed, the Nicaragua 60% and Peru 40% bars I tried in my last Labooko review reaffirmed the point that Zotter should be recognised as a high quality chocolate producer, and not just a brand renowned for it's wild flavour combinations.
Saying that, just when I thought that the Labooko range was the less adventurous side of Zotter's portfolio, things really couldn't have got anymore 'wild' with this Ein BlumenstrauB offering that I am reviewing today. For those not fluent in German, I believe Ein BlumenstrauB means 'a bouquet', and the 70.0g package consisted of two separate 35.0g bars.
The beautiful looking packaging was adorned with another fine looking Gratze illustration, and it of course opened up the in unique Labooko style (a bit like a book). Once I had finished carefully opening the wrapper up (it was so nice looking it would have been awful to carelessly rip it open!), I prised apart the inner golden foil wrappers to reveal two very unique looking chocolates. If you look at the photos above you will see that both had small flecks of dried flowers sat on the bottom side of each bar. I had never seen anything like it to be honest - it looked brilliant, but of course it was going to be a matter of how they affected the taste.
Zotter Labooko Ecuador 60% Milk with Roses (Bottom Darker Bar) - This was very similar in taste to the Nicaragua 60% bar I reviewed in my last Labooko review, though there was a certain little something offered by the roses that added to experience ever so slightly. Just as I experienced before, this 60% recipe offered a smooth flowing cocoa taste that had a pleasant undercurrent of milk present throughout. It was certainly a richer, full bodied chocolate than your average milk chocolate, though it wasn't ever anything overly imposing or bordering on being bitter as it maintained a consistent sweetness. During the later stages of the chocolate melting, the dry bits of flowers first became noticeable in texture, but then increasingly so in the sweet, floral finish. The effect on the aftertaste was certainly pleasant, but the slight roughness it brought to the melt was less so.
8.3 out of 10
Zotter Labooko Cashew Nougat with Meadow Flowers (Top Lighter Bar) - This chocolate came billed as an entirely different proposition to the Ecuador 60% and constituted of 26% cocoa solids and 23% cashews. To be honest this was more of a gianduja chocolate rather than a solid chocolate bar so it won't surprise you to hear the pace of melt and flavour delivery were very different. The bar itself was very soft when cut into and it melted at nearly twice the pace of your average chocolate with a very pleasant smouldering softness. Although the melt was fast, the taste was flavoursome and delivered a fine plethora of honey, nut, vanilla and cream flavours. In terms of richness and depth, this chocolate wasn't comparable to that above, but the flavours were just so moreish and beautifully contrasting with the nutty salt licks and floral sweetness. Similarly to the Ecuador bar, the assortment of meadow flowers did feel somewhat awkward in terms of feel in the mouth, but that could be excused given their flavour contribution.
8.4 out of 10
Overall this was another fine collection that included two very different chocolates. When I opened the intricate packaging and saw the flowers lining the bottom of both bars I did somewhat fear that Zotter had finally given in to a gimmick and included them just to create a theme rather than them actually adding some to the taste department. Thankfully when it came to the actual taste test, it soon became evident that the flower bits included in both chocolates were there for more than just decoration. I have to say I wasn't all that partial to their bitty, rough contributions to the texture of both bar's melts, but both the rose flowers in the Ecudaor 60% and the meadow flowers (daisies, corn-flowers and marigolds) in the cashew bar brought vital flavour contributions that added nicely to the experience. I don't think I would like to see dried flower pieces added to all my chocolates going forward, but Zotter proved once again you can't rule out using any sort of ingredient to enhance the naturals flavours of chocolate. If you are intrigued this Labooko duo is certainly worth a look at.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
In what seems like a bid to give UK consumers what they want, Thorntons have decided to continue to add limited edition flavours to their square bars range - Woohoo! Indeed, it was with great delight that last week I saw this Dark Chocolate with Colombian Coffee bar poking out from the usual selection on the shelf (it must be pretty new given that the cashier who served me didn't recognise it herself!). Long time ChocolateMission readers will know that I have a huge soft spot for good quality coffee flavoured chocolates, the Lindt Excellence Coffee Intense stands out in my mind as one of the best around - See HERE. This Thorntons offering sounded equally as good, and promised an experience combining 'dark chocolate with full roasted ground coffee from the finest beans in Colombia'.
This limited edition flavour came in a 80.0g size that I greedily kept all for myself. I find commenting on the packaging and presentation really hard to do given that I have written so many reviews on this range already. The design work varies very little from flavour-to-flavour, though I guess it could be said that the choice of colour used was at least appropriate for the coffee theme. The chocolate itself was maintained within a foil wrapper, which of course did it's usual fantastic job of keeping the chocolate in fresh, well kept condition. Not to my surprise the aromas that descended from the foil packet when unsealed smelt absolutely delicious, with the roasted coffee bean scents taking no time at all to wash over my senses.
There was only one way to eat this coffee flavoured chocolate, and that was of course with a freshly made, filtered black americano. Armed with my mid-afternoon/after dinner cups of energy, I didn't waste any time getting stuck in to this bar, and I consumed it over the course of these two different sittings. From the very first piece, until the very last I can reveal this was a very enjoyable and pleasant chocolate to eat. Despite the chocolate actually being billed as a little stronger (53.0% cocoa) compared to the Lindt Excellence Coffee Intense, I wouldn't quite say it was as full of flavour even though it was still delightfully crisp and clean in taste. Indeed the base dark chocolate had a nicely balanced cocoa taste that had notes of fruit and brown sugar amongst it's chocolate flavour hit delivery. The melt of the chocolate was wonderfully smooth, however there were some blocks where the roasted coffee bean particles seemed to have amassed which made the texture in some pieces feel a little rough. Speaking of the coffee element itself, unlike the poor distribution of the grounded bean bits suggested the coffee flavours were consistent and came through well in the taste during the latter development of the melt. I often complain that coffee chocolates can be a little underpowered, however the balance of cocoa and coffee impacting on the taste was well managed and was just about right for me here.
Overall this was a very decent chocolate bar, and was probably one of the nicest I have tried from this Thorntons square bar range. If I was to directly compare it to the Lindt Excellence Coffee Intense, I would say the Lindt product is marginally the better out of the two, though to be honest there really wasn't too much to pick between them. I think the Lindt bar just surpasses this Thorntons' offering by having a slightly fuller bodied chocolate, and by integrating the roasted coffee a little more consistently, which helps the smoothness of the melt. These very, very minor blips aside, this was a very well manufactured chocolate from my friends at Thorntons and is one that I will definitely be repurchasing before they cruelly take it away from us. I can only hope that Thorntons make the decision to keep this as part of the permanent range, if they do so coffee flavoured chocolate fans rejoice as this is one very fine tasting bar.
8.5 out of 10
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Over the past few months the brand Zotter has featured pretty frequently on this site, with me reviewing numerous offerings from their Hand-Scooped bars range. With varieties ranging from the likes of the 'Honey Trio', to the more bizarre 'Organic Beer', the flavour combinations have proven to be consistently high quality, so when asked if I fancied trying some of the newer bars, I certainly wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by. One of the newest flavours to make its way over from Austria, was this Zotter Olives with Lemon bar, which came described as 'dark chocolate filled with olives and lemons'. Admittedly this did sound like another odd pairing, but given some of my previous experiences I wasn't ruling out Zotter pulling something out the bag.
As per usual this Hand-Scooped bar came in the standard 70.0g format that I shared amongst a few fellow taste testers. You may have noticed in my previous reviews that I haven't always understood the artistic design work that Zotter use on their wrappers. Having done a little research I have discovered that the wrappers are actually designed by a boyhood friend of Mr Zotter, Andreas Gratze (a trained gastronome and later art school graduate). According to Mr Gratze the designs are supposed to be "witty and artistic" - though I can't say I always 'get' the humour, I have to admit they do make each of the bars very classy and unique.
Back to more important matters, the actual chocolate bar looked pretty similar to several others within the Zotter range, though there was a thin but visible layer of cream filling sitting just below the outer shell on the topside of the bar. When it came to the aromas, the scents on offer were noticeably weaker than previous Zotter chocolates I have tried, and I was very surprised that there was no citrus influences detectable. Before tasting the chocolate I took a quick glance at the ingredients list to get a gauge as to what was going to be in store in the taste. Fourth on the list were the words 'olive oil & olives', followed then by 'lemon & lime concentrate', whilst additional things like chilli, honey and hazelnuts were all listed some way down. At the point I was expecting a very unique and variable flavour experience, however what I tasted was really rather placid. The initial part of the taste showed real promise, with the outer 60% dark chocolate establishing a firm flavours base of rich tasting cocoa. As the soft melting chocolate developed into the smoother centre, the taste unfortunately took a turn for the worse, with an odd bitter tasting fruit influence coming to the fore. The mixture of the savoury tasting olives and the sharp, unsweetned citrus juices just didn't taste that pleasant, and given all the added flavour enhancers stated in the ingredients it was surprisingly one dimensional and left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.
Overall I guess it is inevitable that with Zotter's willingness to try out of the ordinary flavour combinations there are always going to be a few that aren't the usual high quality. Amongst all of three of us that tried this chocolate, it was unanimously agreed that it simply wasn't very good. I don't know what they were expecting, but I personally was hoping for a sweet lemon curd like filling that was going to nicely play off the richer tasting flavours of the plain dark chocolate. Unfortunately what I experienced with this chocolate was just a bitter tasting fruit hinted centre, that left a pretty unpleasant taste in the mouth. Had it not been for the high quality chocolate that was on offer from the outer proportion of the bar, I think I would have had to have rated this chocolate very low indeed. Normally when I taste chocolates that I don't like as much as I did this one, I usually get rather annoyed at wasting my time reviewing them. This isn't so much the case here though, as I think we can forgive Zotter for getting it wrong on the odd occasion given their willingness to experiment.
6.0 out of 10
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
It feels like it has been way too long since my last Hotel Chocolat review, but fear not ChocolateMission readers I had a fresh batch of samples land on my doorstep this week. Amongst my latest batch of goodies I have been sent an assortment of new and old, including some more of their latest summer releases, as well as some of their more classical offerings. Starting off the latest round of Hotel Chocolat reviews, today I will be reviewing a slab that falls somewhere in the middle of this 'new' and 'old' categorisation. This Vanilla slab has been around for a while, but in the context of the market it is in line with the summer flavour trends with the likes of Ritter Sport and Lindt recently releasing Stracciatella chocolates.
This Vanilla slab was included in a Peepster Selection Box and came in a 100.0g package that was split into two separate bars. On the cellophane wrapper the product came described as simply 'solid white chocolate with vanilla' and listed only seven ingredients. Aesthetically I don't think you could put this slab up there with the more interesting of Hotel Chocolat offerings, but the presentation was of a good standard nonetheless and the chocolate cut an imposing figure with the black dots of vanilla seeds dispersed consistently throughout each slab. Upon breaking the plastic packet open I was greeted with some strong dairy based vanilla scents which resultingly set the tone nicely for the taste.
Some of you may remember (if you do you are very sad haha!) that I have tried this Vanilla offering before from Hotel Chocolat, in a mini sized slab form from their White & Light Selection (See HERE). Given my aforementioned love for all things vanilla I'm not quite why I allowed this this large slab version to allude me for so long - having tasted it now I can only say that this was an even grander error on my part than I first thought. From the very first moments this chocolate entered my mouth the experience was sublime. Breaking the thin slabs into pieces the chocolate broke with a crisp snapping sound - always a great sign! Placing the first piece of my mouth the chocolate created a delightful cooling sensation and began it's slow, soft transitional melt. One fear I did have for this chocolate was that the vanilla seeds would roughen the soft melt of the chocolate like I have experienced with other vanilla chocolates in the past. Fortunately this was no cause for concern here - it melted like a dream and increased in flavour volume as it did so. The taste itself started off very cream based and became increasingly strong in it's glorious vanilla flavours as the melt progressed. This synergy of creamy milk and natural vanilla was nothing other than totally delicious, I just couldn't stop myself breaking bits of and devouring them. It's not often that I feel like consuming a portion size as plentiful as 50.0g of white chocolate in a single sitting, but I just couldn't help myself with this vanilla slab.
Overall this may not strike anyone as the most visually inspiring Hotel Chocolat slab, but in terms of white chocolate quality this is about as good as they come. I'm a self confessed vanilla flavour lover - everything vanilla flavoured, be it ice cream, milkshakes etc - quite simply if it is vanilla flavoured I generally like it. With that fact in mind, I hope that gives you some sort of perspective as to what sort of quality this chocolate would have to be to really impress me - and that it very much did. In terms of looks, ingredients and descriptor this isn't one of Hotel Chocolat's 'bells and whistles' offerings - apart from the pure chocolate slabs this is probably one of their plainest offerings. Pardon me for beating the same drum again, but this needs saying one last time - 'less is sometimes more'. This slab was the perfect example of that very theory, as it was perfect in it's simplicity. The combination and flow from the luxury cream flavours to the delightful tasting vanilla was sensational - it was one of the chocolates that begged you just to eat a little bit more. White chocolate fans do yourself a favour and make sure you treat yourselves to one of these slabs, it comes highly recommended.
9.0 out of 10
Monday, 21 June 2010
Heavenly Cakes (Website HERE) came bursting on to the ChocolateMission scene last month with a number of their products breaking the elusive 9.0 out of 10 barrier on the scoring chart. With offerings such as their Billionaires Brownies and Millionaires Shortbread proving to be some of the best cakes I have ever tasted, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to try a few more cakes from their wide selection. In the spotlight today we have the Heavenly Cakes Toffee Crisp, which is described on the website as 'a grown-up version of a kid's rice crispie cake'. If the prospect of this cake has you licking your lips with anticipation as it did me, then you might want to check out the site this weekend when I launch a Heavenly Cakes competition!!!!
If you remember back to my first few Heavenly Cakes reviews you may recall that I received all of their products in giftpack form, which included six giant sized servings. In order to get to gauge as to how their cakes would fare in their single portion packs I requested the guys send my latest sampling batch in this form - hence the packaging you see above. As stand alone portions the cakes still looked equally as tempting, and the clear plastic packs did a fine job of keeping the contents fresh whilst also totally visible. Given how terrifically Heavenly Cakes present their products, it was a wise choice picking a packaging material that allowed the cakes to be on full show. Once again with these Toffee Crisp, I couldn't help but find myself marvelling at yet another beautifully crafted cake.
When the time finally came to ripping open the plastic packet I was met by a pleasant burst of sweet smelling chocolate cereal scents. As I have mentioned before, Heavenly Cakes are ridiculously generous when it comes to their serving sizes, so I called in some assistance to help me consume massive cake slice. Keeping with true British tradition, me a fellow colleague consumed with this with a spot of tea :) - and what a delightful tea and cake break it was. Before we sat down for this break I had the genius idea of sticking the cake in the fridge an hour or so before which I think made it all that much better. Despite being chilled, both the upper layer of Belgian chocolate and caramel still yielded with a delicate softness and melted at supreme rate delivering all of their delicious flavours. The milk chocolate topping was wonderfully creamy, yet maintained a firm underlying cocoa delivery that grew in stature with the increased chocolateyness of the crispy cereal base. The caramel sat below it was as sinfully rich and sweet tasting as ever, and brought lashings of butter, toffee and salt to the fore. Compared to the two layers that sat on top, the chocolate rice cereal base contributed the least to the taste, but as mentioned it did reaffirm the chocolate flavour of the aforementioned topping. The crunchiness of the rice cereal was also a very welcome contrastive texture against the softer chocolate and caramel.
Overall this wasn't my favourite Heavenly Cakes product I have ever reviewed, but it was still one of the best rice crispie cakes I have ever had. Heavenly Cakes have hit upon a pretty successful formula with their Belgian milk chocolate and caramel toppings, it seems to be that anything they coat this stuff in is going to go down well whatever the quality of what it sits on top on. I hate using this word because it implies that something about these cakes were average (believe me they weren't!), but there was something about the rice cereal base that was a little generic. Don't get me wrong it was still very tasty, but if it hadn't been for the caramel and milk chocolate layer sat on top, I doubt I would be raving about these Toffee Crisp cakes as much as I did above - lets be frank there is only so much you can make of a rice cereal base after all! I personally think there are a few better things on offer in the Heavenly Cakes range, but if rice crispie cakes are your thing then I pretty certain you won't find better than these. Hands up whose entering the competition this Saturday :D
8.3 out of 10
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Today I bring you my third and final review of the three newest Lindt Lindor truffle flavours, which were kindly provided to me by ChocolateMission reader Lauren. Looking back at the previous two reviews, I rated the Stracciatella white chocolate truffles above the Giandjuas variety, which is something I definitely would not have predicted prior to trying them (See reviews HERE). The remaining flavour out of the three left to pass through the rating system were these Roulette Lait truffles, which if my research is correct, are most widely available in France. These Roulette truffles were comprised of 'milk chocolate truffle fillings with crispy rice cereal, and were coated in milk chocolate shells'.
As with the other new flavours I have reviewed recently, Lauren was kind enough to send along half a dozen truffles that she picked out of a Lindt 'pick-a-mix' selection in her local Whittards tea shop. Looking at the wrappers, at first I thought these were the Raspberry Lindors, however closer inspection revealed the words Roulette Lait written in gold, wispy font. Cutting in to the truffles, the rice cereal didn't immediately jump out at me, though upon closer inspection there were a few particles present between the outer shell and truffle filling. In terms of aromas, I couldn't detect anything that was out of the ordinary from original Lindors with the smells predominantly dairy led with strong chocolaty undertones.
It is probably best starting off by saying that I can be pretty sceptical when it comes to including rice cereal in chocolate, and I thought it was going to be interesting to see if the inclusion of the cereal here was going to compromise the usual soft filling texture. Biting in to the outer shell, the chocolate broke with the usual fresh snap, though there was a noticeable additional crunchy element from the small cereal bits. To my surprise the inner truffle filling wasn't effected by the cereal whatsoever, and delivered it's usual luxurious feel as it melted in the mouth. What was also proved to be a pleasant surprise was that the cereal contributed rather nicely in terms of flavours, and brought an initial raft of malty biscuit notes to the party, amidst the usual cream rooted chocolate flavours. As always with Lindt Lindors I felt the longevity of each truffle was a little rushed with the rapidness of the melt, however the taste was suitably rich, which made them somewhat satisfying eaten in small quantities.
Overall the least exciting out of all three of the new flavours proved to be the best one, and this is of course reflected in the higher score achieved. If I had to liken this particular flavour to another mass confection product, I would probably choose Maltesers as the malt hints of the cereal in these Roulette Lait, wasn't unlike the experience that you get from the centres of the Mars product. This may be some what of an unbalanced comparison, given that these have tastier chocolate and a glorious textured truffle filling, though the price differential cannot be ignored. In terms of a more reasonable comparison, I'm not sure I would say that these were any better than normal Lindt Lindor truffles, however they proved themselves to be a decent enough alternative, and are certainly worth a try if you are a fan of the Lindor brand. The addition of rice cereal to the mix may not sound to exciting, but this was a rare instance where its presence was definitely favourable.
8.5 out of 10
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Replacing the usual '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' I today bring you a special review of a product 'recommended' (word used in the loosest fashion!) to me by my friend Cinabar from Foodstufffinds. Le Whif 'breathable chocolate' inhalers are a product originating from France, and can be purchased from Amazon (See HERE). The basic premise behind these inhalers are that they are supposed to deliver the same taste sensation as a normal chocolate bar, but in a calorie light form - with less than one calorie per inhalation. The pack that I bought off Amazon contained three separate 3 Whifs, or three separate flavours if you will: chocolate raspberry, chocolate and chocolate mint. This was certainly going to be an experience.
Reading the on-pack blurb the net weight was stated as 0.9g, hence me saying there was less than one calorie per puff. Looking the ingredients list it was not surprising to see that it was relatively short - cane sugar, cocoa solids and natural flavourings. The packaging itself was pretty smart looking and contained a decent amount of information about the actual product. It was also nice to see some instructions of how to inhale the product inside amongst the three different containers. In regards to aromas there was nothing aside from the most minor of sweet scents offered by any of the inhalers ... on to the taste test:
Chocolate (brown coloured inhaler) - This pure chocolate variety registered a brief sugary flirtation of chocolate when the powder mixed with the saliva in my mouth. The sensation lasted only a second and left a pretty horrible bitter aftertaste in my mouth.
Mint (light green coloured inhaler) - I tried this one next as I thought my breath needed freshening up from my experience with the chocolate flavour. All in all it delivered the same dirty tasting cocoa soundbite as above, but with just a minor hint of menthol added to the mix. Again the flavours lasted no longer than a second (thank god!).
Raspberry (light red coloured inhaler) - This flavour was definitely the strongest tasting out of the three ... shame it tasted just as awful mind you :D The flavours lasted a little longer in the mouth compared to the other two variants (part of me just wish they hadn't) and they created a fake red fruit, bitter chocolate taste sensation. The raspberry element was terribly artificial.
Overall I hated how these tasted, I hated how they made me choke and cough when I inhaled them, and I hated how they made me more hungry than before I ate them. There is no two ways of putting this - these sucked BIG TIME. In fact Le Whif have created ChocolateMission history as the worst product ever to feature on the site, they were so bad I have even rated them lower than the truly terrible Hannah's White Mice (leaderboard HERE). What can say about these that I haven't already? They failed in getting anywhere near delivering a chocolate flavour hit, they created a poor/disgusting/bitter taste in the mouth, and they left me yearning for some real chocolate more than I was before I inhaled them. Are they a novelty? ... Yes ... Are they a novelty worth paying £7.00 for? ... No, No, No!! You have been warned ChocolateMission readers - Le Whif seriously aren't worth your money. Be sure to let me know your thoughts everyone.
2.0 out of 10
Friday, 18 June 2010
As with the other Aussie Bubbly variants this bar came in a 175.0g size, and came described as 'Dairy Milk milk chocolate with an mint flavoured aerated centre'. In terms of packaging the outer box was nicely aligned to the rest of the Bubbly range, with the predominant Cadbury Purple colour scheme nicely decorated with an appropriate splash of peppermint green. Despite the green secondary colours on the exterior box, nothing quite prepared me for the krpytonite green colouring of the inner filling within the chocolate. Personally it didn't bother me all that much, but admittedly it was a little fake and artificial looking, and some of my family did find it a little off putting.
After there had been much discussion around the startling green coloured centres, the next thing I took notice of were the fresh smelling minty scents that were being offered, and they were a nice distraction from the garish aesthetics. The most obvious thing of course that I am going to have to compare this Mint Bubbly to, is of course the Nestle Aero Mint (See HERE), which is a long standing family favourite in our household. Cutting the long story short, it was unanimously thought that this Mint Bubbly was on par with the Aero equivalent in the mint flavour delivery, but superior in terms of the quality of the chocolate. This Mint Bubbly was somewhat backwards in terms of taste, with the mint element coming through first before the chocolate which constituted the outer coating. The peppermint centres had a nice balance, and brought refreshing, sweet minty flavours to the party as soon as each block was placed in the mouth. As the chocolate melted and fizzed away with it's pleasant aerated texture, the chocolate hit came through later in the taste and nicely finished each mouthful with a end note of creamy sweet, cocoa flavours. The progression from the initial raft of mint flavours, to the rich chocolatey finish made for a satisfying chocolate that was very much enjoyed by all that tried it.
Overall this was one of the nicest Cadbury chocolates that I have ever tried from outside the UK, and the rest of my family seemingly agreed, as every last piece had been eaten within 24 hours of it being opened. Although I have mentioned that the Aussie Dairy Milk recipe is marginally less to my preference compared to the UK version, this mattered very little here as it was really more about the quality of the mint filling which took up the majority of the taste. Thankfully the mint flavoured centres were pretty superb, and delivered a friendly peppermint edge to each and every block. The high quality mint element coupled with the creamy Dairy Milk chocolate finish was a real match made in heaven, and the culmination was a product that was as delicious as it was moreish. If you are a fan of the Nestle Aero Mint I would very much suggest that you give this bar a try sometime in the near future. If mint chocolate is your thing you are seriously missing out if you deny yourself the opportunity. As for Cadbury UK ... do the right thing guys ... bring back the Cadbury Wispa Mint!!!
8.7 out of 10
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Cast you minds back a week or so ago, and you may recall me informing you all that ChocolateMission reader Lauren had contacted me, asking if I could review the three new Lindt Lindor truffle flavours. Not only was Lauren kind enough to break the news of these new varieties to me, but she was also generous enough to send some my way in the post. Last week I kicked off these reviews by firstly casting my words of wisdom over the Stracciatella flavour, which managed to obtain the a decent 8.1 out of 10 score. Today I will be checking out the second of the new flavours, these Lindt Lindor Giandujas.
Given the quality of some of the previous gianduja products that have made it on to the site (need I say more than Hotel Chocolat Gianduja Cubes), it was going to be interesting to see what sort of quality Lindt were going to provide. Looking at the packaging and presentation I was filled with confidence that this was going to be yet another wonderful Lindt offering. The green colour may not have necessarily been my own personal choice to communicate the gianduja flavour (I was thinking more bronze!), but they still looked smart nonetheless and it was at least nice to see Lindt state the variety on the wrapper. The truffles themselves looked no different to the Lindt Lindor Dark which was no bad thing, but what was surprising was that they didn't offer anything that suggested they were nut flavoured when it came to aromas.
Although I was a little bemused by the lack of nutty scents, I didn't let this concern me that much as I have come to learn that Lindor truffles are never the most forthcoming when it comes to revealing their taste through their fragrances. Having not been put off in the slightest I bit into the first truffle and experienced the usual wonderful contrast in textures from the crisp, fresh outer chocolate shell to the smooth, velvety inner filling. The feel of the truffle filling on the tongue was as gloriously soft as ever, however some part of me was a little surprised that it did not feel a little rougher given the gianduja proposition. In regards to taste, if I was to have to bet my house on the chocolate being a certain strength, I would feel pretty confident in saying that it was Lindt's 50% recipe. It was very forthcoming in it's clean, unsweetened cocoa flavours, but it never verged on any type of bitterness due to a consistent note of brown sugar present throughout. Of course the key determinant of this product was going to be the delivery of the gianduja filling, and to be honest I was underwhelmed by what I experienced. Firstly I was a little surprised that the nut influence didn't come to the party until the latter stages of the truffle filling melt. More importantly, not only did the nut element seem late, but it also tasted a little odd. It is hard to describe but it tasted a little artificial, and the woody, buttery flavours of the hazelnuts didn't really come through, with only an awkward savoury note offered.
Overall these were not awful truffles by any means, but they certainly didn't deliver on either my expectations or what I have come to expect from Lindt quality wise. One thing that saved these truffles from being really under par was the the dark chocolate, which actually made up quite a bit for the poorness of the hazelnut gianduja filling with it's full bodied taste. Having tried previous Lindt Gianduja bars to great success (See HERE), I was a little annoyed at how poorly Lindt implemented the gianduja element here. I can excuse the lack of gianduja texture given the melty smooth Lindor proposition, however what I cannot look past is the lack of quality in the taste in regards to the hazelnuts. There is no doubt that fans of Lindt Lindor truffles will want to try these, but I would certainly wouldn't want you guys to build up your expectations. When it comes to Lindors, there are far more flavours in the range that warrant your purchase before these gianduja flavoured ones do.
6.8 out of 10
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
My next foray in to Cadbury's range from the land down under sees me cast my eye over this Cadbury Old Gold Liqueur Flavoured Selection. This was yet another bar crafted by the folk at Cadbury Australia, and was sent to me in the latest box of goodies from my pals over at ShopenZed. Comprising of 'Old Gold dark chocolate with a selection of liqueur centres: coffee, Irish creme, hazelnut and orange', it sounded like a nicely varied collection of different flavoured fondants. Despite my scepticism at this chocolate actually containing any alcoholic content, a quick glance at the ingredients list revealed the word 'ethanol'. Before you all get too excited it came pretty far down the list - I don't think anyone will be getting merry from this chocolate :D
The bar came in a 220.0g size that was split into nicely formatted blocks. How can a chocolate bar be nicely formatted!? Well, the bar ran four blocks across, and eight down - in a 4x8 grid with the flavours segregated length ways. This may not sound anything special, but it made very easy to tell which of the four centres was which. If you look at the photographs closely above you may also notice that each flavour also had a small indicative image etched in to the surface of each block - doubly handy! Just like I said about the Old Gold bar the other week, the outer box looked pretty sophisticated for a Cadbury product, though I perhaps might not have chosen the purple colour as the secondary colour as I don't think it quite matched the gold.
Looking at the nutritional guff on the packaging and taking in the scents emanating from the chocolate, I was fully prepared for a very sweet tasting fondant experience. At this point I think it is worth congratulating Cadbury for their choice of dark chocolate over their Dairy Milk recipe, as I think the latter would have been way too sweet if paired with these centres. The Old Gold here was well matched to the fondants, and it's unsweetened cocoa flavours brought a bit of balance on the sweetness front. In terms of the different flavoured centres here are my thoughts, in brackets are where they are placed in the photograph above:
Coffee (top left) - As I ate my way through the bar I got used to the sweetness of the coffee flavours. It was very reminiscent of the Coffee Creme chocolates that you used to get in Cadbury Roses. The coffee delivery wasn't the finest ever, but it was decent enough. This was my second favourite.
Irish Creme (top right) - Again the more I ate of this flavour, the more I grew to like it. The Bailey's like influence came through very late amongst the sugary fondant flavours and was only really detectable when fully concentrating on the taste. This was my third favourite.
Hazelnut (bottom left) - This was really disappointing. I don't think I have ever come across a hazelnut fondant before, and having tasted this one I hope it is a while before I do so again. The fondant was completely sugar dominated with no nut influence. This was the worst out of the four.
Orange (bottom right) - Definitely the best in the selection. The unsweetened flavours of the plain chocolate complimented the fruity flavours of the sweet centre very nicely indeed, and there was a longing refreshing note of orange left in the mouth. It reminded my of the Fry's Orange Cream, but in a manageable mouth-sized portions. This was my favourite.
Overall these centres were really mixed in terms of quality, with one very good flavour, two average and one very poor flavour. To be honest if it is the liqueur billing of this chocolate that is putting you off potentially trying it, then I wouldn't worry as it was only the Irish Creme centre where I could detect the remotest amount of alcohol present in the taste. In that sense you might say the bar didn't deliver, but to be honest I think you would have to be pretty naive to think that a Cadbury product was going to deliver an alcohol kick with any great ferocity. If you do end up buying this chocolate to share with others, I would strongly suggest you make a beeline for the orange flavoured centres, as it will soon become apparent to all that those are by the tastiest blocks out of the lot. What with the variety of quality amongst the different flavoured centres this was a hard bar to rate, though I think an average mark of 7.0 out of 10 for taste is a good compromise. It wasn't the finest bar of chocolate I have ever tasted and I'm not sure I would buy it again, but it was certainly interesting trying out all the different flavoured centres.
7.5 out of 10
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Now I am not going to start out this review by boldly claiming that I have a great understanding of the Canadian confectionery market because I simply just don't. Being all the way over the pond, it is a market I feel quite removed from, however one thing I have noticed is that dark chocolate is becoming increasingly more popular in Canada if their NPD (new product development) is anything to go by. If you look at the latest products to be released by Nestle you will see that all of them follow quite a consistent theme, and this dark chocolate Aero is a perfect example of what is now on offer. After pulling a few strings I was able to track down a sample to try for myself and I was intrigued as to what sort of quality this dark chocolate was going to be.
On the face of things this Aero 70% cocoa looked no different to either the original or mint variants that are readily available here in the UK and it weighed exactly the same at 42.0g. Indeed even the packaging was remarkably similar with only the bold looking 70% gold logo providing an aspect of differentiation from the other two flavours in this medium bar range. Conversely the actual chocolate itself was slightly different and the patterns etched into the surface of the bar indicated that the chocolate should be consumed in smaller blocks. Given this was a dark chocolate bar this did make sense, however the bar wasn't easy to split up into the sizes indicated which was more than a little annoying.
Once I had mastered the task of breaking the chocolate up I took a smell of the chocolate and it was at this point I started taking its potential seriously. In terms of aromas the chocolate smelt far stronger than I expected and it really gave an insight in to the taste that I was about to experience. Getting straight to crux of things this chocolate really surprised me in the quality of the flavours I experienced. The taste was far deeper than I was expecting and whilst it didn't provide the progressiveness of flavours of some of the more premium chocolates it was still relatively tasty nonetheless. Far removed from the mass consumer friendly experience I was expecting the taste had a fair volume of unsweetened cocoa flavours with notes of coffee, smoke and a dash of sugar to round of the taste nicely. In terms of the aerated texture it really delivered in line with expectations and it provided the desired bubbly experience to further spicen things up a bit. All in all, despite the quick melting nature of the chocolate it still served to be a satisfying snack - one might want to check out the nutritional values though as they don't happen to make happy reading for dieters.
Overall I have to admit before I ate this chocolate that I was very sceptical indeed as to what sort of quality Nestle were going to produce here. If you look at some of the products currently on the global market there isn't much to inspire confidence in a mass produced dark chocolate. More often than not these products end up simply being unsweetened versions of milk chocolate predecessors but thankfully Nestle didn't hold back in terms of flavour strength half as much as what I expected and to my surprise they have produced a good dark chocolate. As I described above the taste was far more complex and rich than I thought it would be and it was so much the better for it. There isn't much in the way of true innovation or 'new news' here, but if this 70% bar is price aligned with the rest of the Aero range (which I think it is!) I would strongly suggest you give it a try.
8.3 out of 10
Monday, 14 June 2010
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
The brand Zotter has really been making waves with ChocolateMission readers lately, as no sooner does one review get published, I received vasts amounts of requests asking me to check out some of the other crazy flavours from their range. Following my review of the Muscat Wine & Grape Hand-Scooped bar (See HERE), one of the most commonly mentioned bars was this Zotter's Organic Beer offering. Sad though it may seem, a large proportion of my alcohol consumption nowadays seems to come from Zotter chocolates. Indeed, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but when you consider the last three products I have reviewed from Zotter have included wine, whisky and now beer, you do start to wonder whether Mr Zotter is a tad partial to the odd drink.
This Hand-Scooped (still don't get what that means!) bar came in a 2.47 Oz size (I thought I would try something different than my usual 70.0g sentence haha!), which I ate across the course of two sittings. The on-pack artistry was as always lovely looking on the eye, though again I wasn't too sure about the relevance of a stripey shirted fellow on a bike - regardless it looked classy as ever anyway! Something some readers have started mentioning on previous reviews is how many of Zotter's chocolates look the same, and I have to agree that I am starting to see what they mean. Aesthetically I don't think I would have been able to tell this bar apart from the likes of the Scotch Whisky etc, it looked finely crafted in form but there was nothing that differentiated it from many others in the range.
Although the bar wasn't particularly striking visually, the smells that emanated from the chocolate suggested the taste was going to nothing short of compelling. The actual aromas weren't the most enticing ever, but there were interesting hints of booze and toasted bread, which nicely set expectations of the remarkable experience that was to follow. Speaking firstly of the chocolate, the base constituent of the bar was Zotter's 70% dark chocolate recipe, and it as ever provided a perfectly balanced taste that was full or rich, tasting cocoa flavours, yet still allowed expression of the enhancing beer element. The Organic Beer influence itself came to the party as the chocolate progressed from it's solid to liquid state during the melt, and it brought a wonderfully unique set of flavours. Indeed, notes of malt, wheat, and caramel, all became detectable and made for a taste that was terrifically variable and very progressive. One minor area of disappointment was the slightly bitter alcohol aftertaste left in the mouth, though even that to a degree added to the 'beer' flavour experience.
Overall chocolate and beer are not two things I would immediately think of pairing together, but Zotter somehow crafted yet another fine tasting dark chocolate combination. Now I think about it, I would never even contemplate of eating chocolate with beer, as previous experiences have told me that they two just don't mix. Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how!? Mr Zotter and co have managed to craft a bar that combines both these fantastic ingredients superbly. The progression of the taste from the rich dark chocolate, to the beer flavours generated by the soft centre was nothing short of delicious and totally unique. Looking at the ingredients list, the organic beer used is one called 'Lava Rossa'. I think it would be great experiment to try the actual beer to see how well the taste has been translated through to the chocolate - any excuse eh? :D. I don't think this is a chocolate that would be enjoyed by everyone, but for beer lovers this is one you should try first-hand to appreciate the beer and chocolate synergy Zotter have created.
8.1 out of 10
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Overall I am going to give up trying to predict what chocolates I am going to prefer over others, because once again I was proven totally wrong when it came to these two. Speaking of the original Chocolate variant first, in comparison to the UK Dairy Milk Bubbly chocolate it was slightly less to my preference due to there being a touch less creaminess in the taste and it having a thinner melting texture. In regards to the White variant, it seems a little funny to say how having less of something can actually be beneficial, but this was very much the case with the Dream white chocoalte in this Bubbly format. It is going to be interesting to see what I make of the third flavour from the Aussie Bubbly range - expect that review in the coming weeks.