Below are my handpicked selections from the most memorable of the products I reviewed in 2010, and also the all important READERS CHOICE AWARD 2010 that you guys all picked yourselves. Without further hesitancy lets dish some snazzy looking award banners out to the winners ...
I don't think anyone will be surprised by the winner of this award - I don't think any bookies would have even given you odds :D Lets not let some of the other stinkers get away quite so easily though - lets not forget the dismal showings from a very suspect Ador Mocha Oat Bar, Nestle;s Black Magic Classic Favourites and even the Thorntons' Raspberry Burst.
As bad as those all were there could only be one winner though ...
Le Whif (Breatheable Chocolate)
These chocolate inhalers were really something to behold - not only did they induce near death coughing fits, they also managed to taste disgusting and cost an absolute bomb. I'll save you the full marketing mix analysis, but these were incredibly bad!
Looking back across my selection box reviews there were some very memorable chocolate collections, and honourable mentions must go to the Lindt Swiss Luxury Collection, Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Everything Selection and Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Egg Box Selection.
There can only be one winner though, and that winner is ...
Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Classic Christmas Selection
This was a masterful selection of chocolates that combined variety and great, seasonal tasting options. It attracted a lot of votes in the Readers Awards, and is well worthy of being crowned Selection Box of 2010.
This is one of my favourite awards as I think it gives the truest reflection of what product is really deserving of some mass acclaim i.e. not just based on what I think :D . In fact I can reveal I received nearly 1000 votes picking the winner for this award (Twitter and the offer of FREE chocolate helped alot with that one would assume haha!) and there were several different 2010 reviews suggested. There was one distinct winner, but I must pass mention to the likes of Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Classic Christmas Selection, Lindt Petits Desserts Tiramisu, Chocri 'Jim's Fruit & Nut / American Creations' and several different Pocky reviews, as these products all recieved a vast amount of votes.
One brand really caught the imagination of ChocolateMission readers this year though, and it came as no surprise to me that it was a Heavenly Cakes product that won. Counting up the votes it was a very tight run thing between several of the Heavenly Cakes range but the eventual winner was ...
Heavenly Cakes Marathon Flapjack
Yes the Marathon Flapjack beat off tough competition to win the title of Readers Choice 2010. If you are one of the readers that voted for this review, but still haven't indulged yourself in a slice yet, I strongly suggest you do. It really is as good as you think it will be!
Out of all the categories this is probably the most ambiguous, questionable, debatable ... say what you will. In 2010 I was near writing a review a day, sampling just as many chocolates to keep up with the hectic pace. As you can imagine, things get a little same old, same old, so every now and then I always appreciate a product that really shakes things up, even if they don't end up setting the ChocolateMission leaderboard ablaze.
With that in my mind you will understand why I haven't handed this award to the likes of Galler or Hotel Chocolat - I expect good quality from these guys given their premium proposition. From all my reviews in 2010, the one product that genuinely surprised me was ...
Zotter Coffee Plum with Caramelised Bacon
If you were a dedicated reader throughout 2010, you will have seen that my experiments with bacon and chocolate weren't always successful (Chocri Jim's American Creation) but Zotter really pulled it out the bag here. This Zotter Coffee Plum with Caramelised Bacon was nothing other than delicious. The saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the caramel and the delightful outer chocolate made this a chocolate to behold and exceeded my expectations by a factor of ten. I don't for one minute think it is a chocolate that everyone will enjoy, but I would strongly recommend you at least give it a chance.
In 2010 we had several new products come to market - way too many for me try and mention in this small round-up paragraph. The ones that stick out in my mind personally were the launches of the Cadbury Dairy Bar of Plenty, Galaxy Orange & Shortcake, Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss, Twix Fino ... the list could go on forever.
One brand however, innovated constantly throughout the year, and most importantly did so with a high degree of quality throughout. Indeed Ritter Sport struck gold with several of their 'new' bars this year. The Ritter Sport Winter-Kreations and Ritter Sport Summer 2010 offerings were fine examples of them at the best. There can only be one winner though ....
Ritter Sport Espresso
My favourite new product of 2010 has to the Ritter Sport Espresso. This bar was everything I wanted it to be, and I'm constantly nagging the Ritter team over in Germany to start selling it here in the UK
I'm sure it will come as little surprise to you that the category of Misc Product of year is dominated by one company in particular. Indeed, the emergence of Heavenly Cakes this year might mean that some of the following may be a distant memory to you all - Marks & Spencer Milk Chocolate & Caramel Layered Cookies, Thorntons Mini Caramel Flapjacks and the Flipz Double-Dipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate
The winner however could only have come from Heavenly Cakes, and with great difficulty I have managed to narrow the winner down to ...
Heavenly Cakes Billionaires Cakes
'Belgian milk chocolate brownies, covered with rich caramel & Belgian milk chocolate with white chocolate drops' ... just look at the photo, need I say anymore?
Time for the big one!!! Like many of you, I had great difficulty picking my 'Best Overall Product 2010'. Looking back across the year I was tempted to go for so many. Heavenly Cakes were by all means a complete revelation for the site this year, as were several of the Galler offerings that I tried. Other products of note were of course the Ritter Sport Espresso, Hotel Chocolat's The Sleekster Classic Christmas Selection, L'Artisan du Chocolat No.1 Sea Salted Caramels .... trust me the list could go on forever and I will no doubt have missed something out.
The winner of the award this year has to go to a product that I think represents the tablestakes of ChocolateMission - pure chocolate that can be appreciated by the masses. My 'Best Overall Product 2010' award goes to ... *drumroll* ...
Galler Heritage Lait Pleine Saveur
This may surprise a few, but I genuinely thought this was an outstanding product. In my review I said: "milk chocolate simply doesn't get much better than this Galler Heritage Lait Pleine Saveur .... one of the tastiest milk chocolates I have ever reviewed". Having bought it again several times since I still firmly stand by those judgements and I cant recommend it enough to anyone who has an appreciation for finer chocolates. Congratulations to Galler - Bring on 2011!!
So there you have it guys and girls, the awards are dished out for another year. Please feel free to share any thoughts or opinions on the winners, the ones I missed out etc etc. Your feedback is always very welcome.