March 2nd: 'Bits n Bobs' Thorntons Selection

I was recently the lucky recipient of a big box of Thorntons goodies sent my way by one of their PR agencies. Below are three of the products they included - one from their mass market range, one of their new 'Melts' offerings and lastly one of their more classical products.

Thorntons Chunky Chocolatey Jumbles
Kcal 378 Fat 18.1g Carbs 49.9g (per bag)
'Vanilla fudge, raisins and pieces of toffee, generously coated in Thorntons milk chocolate'

These eccentrically named Chunky Chocolatey Jumbles came in a 180.0g pouch. As you can see from the photo, the pouch design work was Thorntons's more mass marketed packaging style (an avenue I don't think Thorntons should be pursuing!!). I took comfort from the look of the inner chocolates, which looked very appetising and made the contents easily identifiable by their size - small raisins, medium sized fudge bits, and large toffee pieces.

The milk chocolate that coated each of the three different constituents was of a 30% recipe and did a better than fair job of establishing a creamy, chocolatey taste to each piece. In terms of texture the chocolate was also just a little bit better quality than your average offering, and had a smoother melt than most mass produced chocolates. Out of the three different inner 'Bits and Bobs, the fudge pieces were definitely my favourite, followed by the toffee and then the raisins. Typically the order in which they were portioned most, was flipped reversed to my order of preference. Indeed, there was an abundance of the rather bland tasting raisins, quite a few toffee bits, but then annoyingly very few pieces of fudge.

Overall this wasn't the best bag of treats I have ever had from Thorntons, but this was mostly down to the portioning of the mix rather than the quality of the actual chocolates. Suffice to say, if the contents had been more weighted towards the fudge rather than the raisins, then I probably would have enjoyed this product more than I did. If you are after a Thorntons offering with a little bit of selection then I think you would ultimately be happy with these.

7.8 out of 10

Thorntons Melts Caramel
Kcal 51 Fat 2.6g Fat(sats) 1.6g Carbs 6.4g (per chocolate)
'Milk and white chocolates with caramel fillings'

My first look at the the Thorntons Melts range was in February 2010 in the form of their 'Praline Melts' - See HERE. Nearly exactly a year on, Thorntons have released these new Caramel Melts, a product I was very keen indeed on trying. Now whereas I was criticising the look of the packaging style above, the aesthetic appearance of this Melts product was a lot more to my liking. The outer packaging and foil wrappers created a premium, yet inviting feel, and the chocolates looked very decorative with their swirled milk and white chocolate shells.

Despite appearing the more visually sophisticated product, the chocolate used for these Melts Caramel was actually the same as the Jumbles above. This was no bad thing of course, the 30% cocoa recipe contributed more than it's fair share to the taste, and the creamy sweet cocoa flavours were once again fully adequate. I wish I could have as much praise for the caramel fillings, however they just weren't quite as flavoursome as I had hoped. Their liquidy viscosity had a soft, pleasant mouth feel, but flavour wise they didn't match up to several similar products I have tried. Lacking any sort of salt or strong butter tones, the taste created was more notable for it's accentuated sweetness. The lack of definitive flavours from the caramel meant these weren't the most satisfying chocolates ever.

Overall these Melts Caramel weren't bad in any sense, but in a market where competition is fierce they did little to suggest that they should be considered up there with the best of them. In a nutshell what I'm trying to say is these are fair standard chocolate caramels, but there are better alternatives out there which are just as readily available. For that reason I can't be giving a ChocolateMission recommendation.

7.4 out of 10

Thorntons Chocolate Smothered Fudge
Kcal 129 Fat 6.6g Fat(sats) 3.8g Carbs 16.4g (per 25.0g)
'Soft fudge smothered in milk chocolate'

Last but by no means least, this 380.0g pack of Thorntons Chocolate Smothered Fudge was definitely my favourite of all the three I have shown you today. As you can see from the photograph, the box packaging had more of a classical, traditional feel about it compared to the two offerings above. Whilst I was more approving of this, I was less impressed by the fudge pieces which had dusty, scuffed surfaces that gave the impression that the chocolate wasn't particularly fresh. This was something also picked up on by relatives who also got a chance to try these.

Scuffed surfaces weren't enough to put either myself or anyone else off sampling these, so the taste test commenced without a moments hesitation. I needn't repeat what I have to say about the taste of the 30% milk chocolate, but the melt was noticeably a touch grainier compared to the two products above. This was all about the fudge though, and boy was it good. Each piece was bursting with brown sugar, butter and vanilla flavours which were bedded in a consistent undercurrent taste of creamy sweet condensed milk. The 380.0g bag was considered excessive to begin with, but by the time all four of us had tasted our first few pieces we were delighted there was plenty to go around.

Overall you obviously have to enjoy the sweeter things in life to enjoy these Thorntons Chocolate Smothered Fudge, but if you fall within that category I'm sure you would love these. Previous experiences with Thorntons's fudge products made me aware that they were very capable in this area, and this offering only went further to cement this in my mind. ChocolateMission recommends!

8.2 out of 10