Friday, 24 June 2011
If you have been following the site over the last few months you will no doubt have come across my reviews of some of William Curley's finest chocolates (Website & Shop - See HERE). As I have slowly made my way through his range, an ever increasing amount of ChocolateMission fanatics (there are a few of you haha!) have been requesting that I take a look at the William Curley Nostalgia bars.
The Nostalgia range is William's take on some of the all time classic chocolates that we have here in the UK. After getting in contact with the guys at WC, they felt that the Bounty, Millionaire's and Marathon bars would be their best representation. All three of these bars came delivered to me in clear cellophane packs as you can see above. Upon receiving them in this manner I have to admit I was little surprised, as although the bars themselves looked grand, the cellophane wrappers hardly looked the classiest - especially compared to the amazingly decorative boxes of the other William Curley products I reviewed previously.
Alongside some trusted taste test helpers, I have been sampling these all this week. Below are our collective thoughts:
William Curley Millionaire's
Unlike the other two below this wasn't a bar based on a commercial bar, but more just the concept of Millionaire's Shortcake. This one came described as 'Traditional all-butter shortbread topped with sea salt caramel and coated in Toscano 66% dark chocolate'.
All of us that tasted this one loved two out of three major components of this bar. The 66% Toscano chocolate that coated it was absolutely delicious. The dark chocolate was forthcoming with it's flavours from the outset, and it fast established a fine set of unsweetened cocoa flavours that were layered with hints of earth and red wine. The bitterness of the chocolate was tempered quite superbly by the inner shortbread that brought tones of butter, salt and brown sugar to the party within it's soft, melt in the mouth texture. Unfortunately, like we found with the William Curley Sea Salted Caramel Mou, the caramel was a let down and didn't quite do the job we all hoped it would. It was agreed all round that it lacked the desired butterscotch and salt flavours that we were all hoping. It wasn't a bad offering by any means but it didn't tick all of the boxes.
7.2 out of 10
William Curley Marathon Bar
For those unaware (I willingly to bet none of you!!) the Marathon bar was the original name given to the Snickers. If you wish to read up more on this I suggest you head on over to our pals at WIKI. The long story cut short is that the bar was called the Marathon up until 1981, at which point it got renamed. This bar came described as 'Peanut and chocolate nougat topped with a salted peanut caramel and coated in Toscano 70% dark chocolate'.
Unless I'm missing something here, I guess one could argue right off the bat this wasn't a complete like-for-like bar given that it had a dark chocolate coating as opposed to the traditional milk chocolate used by Mars today. Although the 70% recipe was only 4.0% different in terms of cocoa content, this chocolate couldn't of tasted any more different. The Toscano chocolate was bursting full of character and had a strong smokey, tobacco like definition that was very, very strong! To be honest it was felt by most of us that chocolate was too distracting from the other elements in the bar. Indeed, the chocolate was so concentrated in taste it took attention away from the nougat, caramel and peanuts which all frankly struggled to create much of an impression apart from texturally. Out of three the roasted peanuts were the most definitive but for the main part even they struggled to come to terms with the domination of the strong chocolate. The holistic feedback was that this was a bar that most of us wanted to try with a milk chocolate coating.
7.9 out of 10
William Curley Bounty Bar
Have I been a saddo and saved the best until last again :D Why of course! This Bounty bar was admittedly the one I had least enthusiasm about but I was thankfully surprised by it and then some. It came described as 'White chocolate and toasted coconut ganache coated in Toscano 70% dark chocolate'.
As with the Marathon bar above this one came coated in the same strong tasting Toscano 70% dark chocolate, however things were a little different here and it wasn't quite so dominant. Indeed, although it shared the flavour construction as talked about above, the filling was so contrasting in style it managed to create the desired impact. The dark chocolate was great .... the white chocolate coconut ganache was out of this world :D It was so good infact it created one of those special moments that when you share with someone and you taste it at the same time, all you can do is look at each other with wider eyes and big grins :D The filling to this was bar was one of the creamiest, most delicious things I have tasted in a long time. No words can do it justice really, I think if you are an appreciator of coconut then this will make you feel like you are touching the stars - I will just leave it at that :D The most disappointing thing for me here was I chose to share it.
8.7 out of 10
Overall from what I have tasted, the William Curley Nostalgia range is one worth exploring if you have an interest in seeing how an up market chocolatier translates popular commercial offerings into their own style. Out of the three I tried, I do think that two of them need a little work. The Marathon was a little disappointing for what it intended to be, though Mr Curley more than made up for things with his outstanding take on the Bounty. Would I pay in excess of £3.00 for these again? The Marathon and Millionaire's I wouldn't without a recipe change. The Bounty bar I would honestly be prepared to pay more for.