Wednesday, 30 March 2011

March 30th: Lucky's Honey Time Collection

As much as I enjoy reviewing all the newest and latest products from the likes of Cadbury and Nestle etc, nothing give me more pleasure than featuring a niche UK British brand. These reviews can be especially exciting for me when I believe the brand to have as much potential as the one I am featuring today - enter centre stage LUCKY'S!!

Lucky's are a newly established British based firm who have a brand proposition inspired by the book Alice in Wonderland. Their product range consists of 'unique luxury cakes covered in pure chocolate', in which they combine their own handmade cake recipes with the finest chocolate from fancy pants Valrhona (winner of many a prestigious choco snob award).

I've not done Lucky's justice with my introduction to their brand, so I suggest you check out their website to read further into them (See HERE). All you guys need to know for the minute however is that today, alongside my trusted family tasting panel, I got the chance to try out their 'Honey Time Collection' set of cakes. These came described as 'premium chocolate enrobed spiced honey cakes with cream fillings', and contained three different variants of cake - 'Fancy Fudge', 'Sour Kick' and 'Nutty Delight'. These were each portioned twice (thank god! Haha!)

As you can see from my photos, presentation was absolutely first class. The entire box was wonderfully designed and gave the product a real sense of premiumality with everything from the on-pack design, inner menu cards and fancy bow ribbon making it one of the best presented products I think I have ever received to review on the site. Hopefully my photos of the cakes also do justice to just how impeccable and appetising they looked. We were all tremendously excited about tasting these - see our thoughts below.

Sour Kick - 'Valrhona 40% milk chocolate covered and apricot in bourbon'. My mother latched on to one these as soon as the box was opened and she wasn't left disappointed. She said the milk chocolate was wonderfully smooth flowing in it's sweet, cocoa rich flavours, and that the sweetness that came from the honey cake and chocolate contrasted quite superbly with the fruity tartness of the apricot jam. Texturally she said it was a dream, with the soft melting chocolate and jam giving a lovely moistness. She obviously must of thought a lot of it as she was quick to strike up a deal with to secure a large portion of the second piece :D. I wouldn't argue against her awarding it the elusive rating of Superb.

Fancy Fudge - 'Valrhona 60% dark chocolate covered milk caramel'. My father and I were the ones who nabbed these two, with him claiming this was about perfect when it came to proposition given that he loved dark chocolate, honey cake and of course fudge. As we expected these were delicious cakes, with the three different chief constituents proving highly complimentary to each other. The 60% dark chocolate could of perhaps been a little stronger, however it was still glorious tasting with it's unsweetened cocoa flavours setting a rich taste from the outset. The inner honey cake and milk caramel were highly sweet in comparison, but left delicious toffee and butter influences in the mouth. My Father has insisted on I give it a rating of Superb.

Nutty Delay - 'Valrhona 35% white chocolate covered chocolate praline'. Doesn't this cake look absolutely fantastic!? I thought so! I think we are all aware that white chocolate isn't my favourite chocolate type, but it has to be said this was extremely high quality. As with all good white chocolate, the taste was more rooted in it's cream based flavours rather sugar, and it had a cool, flowing milkyness to it. At the heart of these cakes the honey cake was every bit as good as the other variants, though I personally wanted just a little more woody nuttyness from the praline chocolate cream. I was told that this was me being ultra fussy, however with just a little bit rawness in the nutty flavours I think these could have been just as special as the other two above. Very Good.


Overall I can't quite praise these Lucky luxury chocolate cakes enough - they are the best product I have reviewed on ChocolateMission so far this year. I simply loved everything about the entire package I received. The idea behind the brand, product concept, product delivery, product quality - all I can say is that it was just all exceptional. It's not often that I come across a totally unique proposition that is as well executed as these cakes were from Lucky's. The guys over at Lucky's are still very much in their infancy as a company, but if they can keep up this level of quality as they develop then they are surely in for great things in the very near future. If you want to treat yourself to some chocolatey treats that are nothing like you have ever tried before, then I will just point you in the direction of Lucky's. I can't wait for my next experience with this fantastic new brand - neither can the rest of family.

9.2 out of 10

Monday, 28 March 2011

March 28th: Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster All About Mum Selection

Delivered Chocolate Gifts from Hotel Chocolat
Attention boys and girls! Next Sunday (April 3rd) is Mothers Day so we today have a special edition Hotel Chocolat Monday looking at the a very nice little option you may wish to gift.

Indeed, the kind folk at Hotel Chocolat sent me this 'The Sleekster All About Mum Selection' a few weeks ago, so this year I have been well prepared much earlier than normal :D This All About Mum collection contained 28 separate chocolates and came described as being 'created especially for mum to enjoy with their feet up - with uplifting fruit recipes, silky smooth cream truffles and melt-away pralines'. Before anyone ask, yes of course I did share these with my own mother - you may have noticed how her views make it in to pretty much all my Hotel Chocolat reviews anyway.

As you can see from my photo above, this was packaged in the traditional Hotel Chocolat Sleekster style. The gold coloured box and inner chocolates were aesthetically nice on the eye, whilst the inner menu displaying the thirteen different chocolates was accurate which is more than can be said for some of the previous Sleekster boxes I had reviewed before.

Many of the pieces were ones that I had reviewed in previous boxes, with many of them being sourced from the Valentines Day collection boxes. Below are my thoughts on each of the pieces.

The four hearts above were all featured in my review of the Hotel Chocolat Melting Hearts H-Box Selection (See HERE). Going from left-to-right, back-to-front, you may wish to be reminded that these pieces achieved the following ratings. Liquid Caramel - Very Good, Peanut Passion - Superb, Strawberry Love - Superb and lastly Pistachio Praline - Superb. We also managed to eat both Banana Split pieces before I could get a snap of one of them :D Before you panic I reviewed the exact same chocolate HERE - Very Good.

Isabelle - Previously reviewed in Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Everything Selection (See HERE) - Superb

Blueberry Truffle - My mother absolutely loves blueberries and you may remember she was a real fan of the same sort of truffle featured in the 'Quail Egg' format in my Hotel Chocolat last week (See HERE). Once again she she absolutely loved it in this truffle form, and described the taste as a beautiful concoction of cream and wildberry fruits. Superb.
Caramel Sweetheart - Previously reviewed back in January 2009 (See HERE). I still didn't think much of these pieces. The promised touch of cherry didn't come through in the taste of the chocolate, whilst the cocoa crispies and chopped hazelnuts upset the texture of the melt. By Hotel Chocolat standards I still thought these were pretty sub-standard. Poor.

A Kiss For Mothers Day - Well, what can I say about this piece? The dark chocolate and exterior and dark chocolate ganache filling made for a delicious cocoa rich taste, however there were a few notable mentions about the design of the chocolate. A pair of lips for mothers day? Hmmm ... we thought it was a little odd. Good.
Mother of Pearl - We all thought this was a beautiful looking chocolate. It's marble finish and smooth hazelnut praline filling reminded us all of Guylian Seashell chocolates, just with far better milk chocolate, with the house 40% recipe establishing a creamy sweet cocoa taste. Superb.

Love-Me-Do - This was one of the liqueur chocolate truffles in the selection and combined an exterior dark chocolate shell with a Armagnac brandy ganache. Not being a spirits fan I wasn't the best person to try this one so I left it to my parents who described it as a well balanced, rich tasting chocolate. They also loved the mouth warming sensation it created. Very Good.
Bakewell Tart - This was a new piece that sounded very exciting to me,. so I latched in to it right away despite its cherry brand and Amaretto liqueur content. This chocolate was visually nice on the eye with it's cream coloured centre, and it also tasted delicious with it's creamy, sweet alcohol noted flavours. Most positively both the cherry and the nut element of the Bakewell dessert came though in what was a very authentic taste. Very Good.

Champagne Truffle - This was a piece that silly had to be in this selection, and Hotel Chocolat didn't let us down. My mother is a real fan of champagne and she just loved the Marc de Champagne noted cream ganache centre and said it was a near perfect match for the delicious 40% milk chocolate outer shell. She ate both of them before I could get one :D Superb.


Overall this was a very accomplished selection of chocolates and should be one that you should seriosuly be considering in your mind for gifting if chocolates are your choice of present this year. Apart from the questionable lips design, we all thought the collection was well designed and the pieces offered great variety in the type of fillings included. As you can determine by the ratings, the only disappointment for me was the inclusion of the Caramel Sweethearts. Those aside there are some really cracking chocolates on offer here - the Blueberry Truffle, Liquid Caramel and Isabelle pieces being the ones that spring to mind first. As I said above, I would highly recommend this Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster All About Mum Selection as a fine option for Mothers day this year.

8.7 out of 10

Delivered Chocolate Gifts from Hotel Chocolat

Saturday, 26 March 2011

March 26/27th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 68

### SITE UPDATE ###

Hi All,

I hope you enjoyed the reviews this week - if you missed them be sure to check them out:

Hotel Chocolat 'A Dozen Quail Eggs' - See HERE
'Bits n Bobs' Japanese Superpost 2011 # 3 - See HERE
Booja-Booja Organic Truffles - See HERE

The number of parcels arriving bearing Easter chocolates has been really quite impressive over the last few weeks :D A part of me wishes they would stop, but hey ... a guy can never have to much chocolate to give away! Expect to be seeing all the best from Hotel Chocolat, Thorntons, Cadbury, Artisan du Chocolat and Cadbury this year!

It's going to be a busy few weeks, so I will keep this simple today and just point you in the direction of the News Page for your ongoing chocolate news. Also I've included a timely reminder of the Kit Kat competition that is currently being run! Remember to check it out and enter HERE.

Have a great weekend.

JIM


NEWS FROM THE CHOCOLATE MARKET ..... click the banner below for the news page



SNACK OF THE WEEK ..... a new part of '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' which will feature any manner of snacking product I have been products munching on in the week ...
Kcal 87 Fat 4.2g Fat(sats) 2.4g Carbs 11.2g (per biscuit)

These NEW Burton's Choccie Dodgers Double Chocolate have been doing the rounds in the office this week and have been my tea time biscuit of choice. Described as 'chocolate flavour cream sandwiched at the heart of two chocolate flavour shortcake biscuits', they reminded me of Bourbon Creams with their slightly synthetic chocolatey taste. That may sound like a damning statement, but they weren't offensive in any manner and I still on the whole found them a decent enough biscuit to go alongside a mid-afternoon brew. As far as biscuits go they are a nice variation on an all time favourite, but I wouldn't go out your way to hunt them down.

7.0 out of 10


*** COMPETITION REMINDER ***




Make sure you dont miss out on the Japanese Kit Kat competition I started last weekend. Full details can be seen HERE.

Friday, 25 March 2011

March 25th: Booja-Booja Organic Truffles

After getting such positive feedback on my review of their Raspbery Organic Truffles, Booja-Booja were so kind as to send me along a few more varieties of their product line to sample. If you had better things to do with your Valentines Day this year than read that review (See HERE if applicable :D ) then you may wish to be filled in with some of the background to who exactly these guys are.

In a nutshell, Booja-Booja are a small British company based in Norfolk, and they are renowned for their dairy free, cholesterol free, gluten free, organic and GMO free handmade chocolates. Despite still being one of the smaller entities on the chocolate market, they have already won several industry awards across many of their truffles.

Today, alongside some very willing taste testers I tried out both their Cognac Banana and Champagne truffle offerings. Here's what we made of them ...

Booja-Booja Organic Cognac Banana Truffles
Kcal 57 Fat 4.0g Carbs 4.0g (per 11.5g truffle)

These Cognac Banana truffles came packaged in the same manner as the Midnight Espresso variety that I reviewed back in the latter days of 2010, in a very groovy looking 'sustainable, poplar wood box'. Upon opening the lid a variety of different aromas were noticeable, with elements of cocoa, booze and touch of sweet fruitiness all forthcoming.

Stored within mini paper sleeves, the truffles were lined with cocoa powder, which gave each and every one of them a delightful cooling sensation when placed on the tongue. The melt of each chocolate was a divine experience, with the initial dryness of the powder making way for a fast paced, but ultimately silky feeling smooth melt of the inner truffle. As could be determined by the smell, the Cognac element was initially quite strong, however as the melt developed the sweetness of the very real tasting banana fruit came through, nicely taking the sharp edge off the harsher alcohol element. The resulting taste was both progressive and rich, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all that tried them. My mother (who is a big fan of bananas) was insistent of high score and I would agree that it is well deserved.

8.4 out of 10

Booja-Booja Organic Champagne Truffles
Kcal 71 Fat 5.2g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 4.5gg (per 12.5g truffle)

As you can see in the photo above these Champagne truffles came in a slightly different manner to previously reviewed Booja-Booja products, though I think the presentation style was every bit as classy. Despite lacking paper sleeve casings, the truffles were obviously still wonderfully fresh, as the raft of boozie champagne scents that emerged from the box were both pungent and capitulating.

I wouldn't by any stretch of the imagination suggest myself or my family tasting panel as champagne connoisseurs, however I would like to think we would know a good champagne truffle when we taste one. To cut the chase quickly - we thought these were great, and the delightful melting nature of the truffles was every bit as luxurious as the experience described with the Cognac variety above. Taste wise the champagne element was also equally as well implemented, and was balanced perfectly with the rich tasting dark chocolate cocoa with it's slightly acidic boozie tones. As total packages I would be hard pressed to pick one or the other if tasked, but if it was solely on taste I would just about side with the Cognac Banana variety due to it having just one more layer of flavour development. Ultimately I would be entirely comfortable recommending both of these though.

8.4 out of 10

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

March 23rd: 'Bits n Bobs' Japanese Superpost 2011 # 3

Despite the recent tragic events in Japan, the guys at J-List are running business as usual and I was the lucky recipient of yet another parcel full of goodies before the awful events occurred a few weeks ago. I'm sure you guys will be glad to know that Peter read the feedback from my last lot of Japanese products, and has sent over several of the latest Kit Kat, Pocky, Meiji etc flavours that you guys requested recently. Enough of the chit-chat - Lets get things going shall we :D ....
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Meiji Tasty Cinnamon Chocolate
Kcal 211 Fat 13.9g Carbs 19.5g (per 36.0g pack)

Its not unlike the Japanese do buck a trend, but even I was surprised to see Meiji come out with this latest cinnamon flavoured chocolate. Cinnamon chocolate isn't a common flavour combination I have seen across Japanese confectionery (actually not at all before), nor is it one that I ever really see paired outside of Christmas festivity periods. To be honest I could have cared less - I'm good to try anything :D Unfortunately I can't fill you guys in with the official on-pack blurb due to the language restrictions, however by the best of my knowledge this was a 36.0g pack of six chocolate sticks with base dark chocolate layers with cinnamon flavoured white chocolate on top.

Packaging and presentation were really what really rather standard for typical Japanese products - stylish and possibly excessive haha! The unsealing of the individual foil stick packets straight away set the expectations of the experience to come, with strong spicy scents emanating with very little subtlety. Meiji can never be a brand who can be accused of not delivering the promised flavour variation - the cinnamon was by far the dominant influence on the taste with both chocolate types taking a very 'backseat' presence. Had it not been differentiated in colour, I probably wouldn't have even noted the presence of the dark chocolate base, the white chocolate and strong tones of cinnamon dominated from the start of the melt to the end with their contrasting creamy, spiced flavours.

Overall despite having it's limitations with it's one dimensional cinnamon flavouring, I actually quite liked this chocolate and thought it was a decent offering. If this particular spice isn't anything that gets you too excited then there isn't much here for you, though if you fancy getting your fill of this combination without having to wait until Christmas this is a pretty sound option. Another solid, if unspectacular flavoured chocolate from Meiji.

7.5 out of 10


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Lotte Tiramisu Chocolate
Kcal 424 Fat 32.0g Carbs 30.3g (per 69.0g pack)

The next product up today comes from Lotte who are probably most renowned on this site for their superb Pocky 'me2 range' Toppo, and of course the Crunky Cereal Chocolate bars. Whilst the Toppo and Crunky offerings are the most commonly featured on both here and J-List, Lotte also have a few other chocolate bar lines that they constantly update with new flavours etc. The most recent one sent to me was this Tiramisu chocolate - a limited edition offering that is described by J-list as 'Super rich fresh cream and cheese stuffed between classic Lotte milk chocolate' .... sounds unappealing huh!? Well it turned out to be really rather good.

Before I start describing how wonderful this tasted I unfortunately can't gloss over the horrible packaging this bar came in. The Japanese are usually so terrific in making their products look appetising, but in my opinion their attempt at creating a retro look here was off the mark and more looked like design work suitable only for a pair of 1970s curtains :D Thankfully thoughts of the wrapper were all soon forgotten when I got around to tasting the chocolate. As you can see the bar was thin in nature, however still managed to create a dual textured mouth feel with it's softer truffle filling sandwiched between the smooth, glossy outer chocolate. Taste wise the milk chocolate wasn't particularly special with it's sweet creamy flavours, though the inner tiramisu centre really came through, adding strong twists of coffee and mild boozieness to create a very enjoyable, progressive flavour journey - big thumbs up.

Overall I was very impressed with this Lotte Tiramisu Chocolate and would happily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the dessert itself. Although the bar hasn't managed to break the 8.0 out of 10 mark, it is worth noting that this was solely down to the standard of the packaging, which for a Japanese product was surprisingly below par. If you are ordering from Japan in the near future I would suggest you consider this as something you add to your basket if you like the sound of it.

7.6 out of 10


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Tirol Chocolate Kinako Mochi
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

I'm going to finish off todays set of reviews with the ChocolateMission debut of a brand of chocolates called Tirol. Tirol chocolates are famed throughout Japan and the Far East for their small sized nature, indeed these individual square shaped chocolates are about the size of a standard truffle, weighing only 9.0g each. My first experience with the brand was with this Kinako Mochi flavoured chocolate, which for the uninformed Japanese foodies amongst you means 'sticky rice cake with soy powder' flavour.

I really went to town here with the photos for this chocolate, as I really wanted to get across just how unique and wonderfully crafted these chocolates looked. Each individual pieces came wrapped in a dual layered wrapping, the first being a colourful, well designed plastic warpper, and then below that a silver foil wrapper for freshness. As much as the exterior wrappers were interesting, these really did pale in comparison to the delightful taste and texture experience that awaited me. The outer portion of the piece was a dark coloured white chocolate and established a sweet taste that had notes of roasted peanuts, cream and custard present throughout. Sat in the middle of the chocolate, a firm jelly like layer added a wonderful gummy sweet like texture experience that was terrifically unique and beautifully constrastive to the smooth melting chocolate.

Overall I give my first experience with the Tirol brand a big thumbs up and I think I have found yet another Japanese brand that has found itself a terrific little niche in this congested confectionery market. What these Tirol chocolates lacked in size, was more than made up for by the delicious tasting chocolate and exciting, unique texture experience delivered by the mochi filling at the heart of each piece. If you are looking for some Japanese chocolates that are a little differentiated from the rest then I suggest taking a look at Tirol's range now.

8.0 out of 10

Monday, 21 March 2011

March 21st: Hotel Chocolat 'A Dozen Quail Eggs'


I was going to leave the Easter and Mothers Day chocolate reviews for a while longer, but the rest of my family insisted I get this review up as soon as possible so none of you miss out on an opportunity to try them. Apologies for spoiling the review in the first paragraph, but lets face it, it was blindingly obvious that these Hotel Chocolat 'A Dozen Quail Eggs' were going to be received rather warmly anyway!

Described as a 'selection of filled chocolate eggs', these were a none to dissimilar product to the Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Egg Box Selection reviewed in 2010 - See HERE. This 2011 selection however came with a quirky and fascinating new look (very cool looking in my opinion!), aswell as some intriguing new flavours. What with the selection comprising of eleven different flavours, all of which were correctly identifiable from the inclusive menu, we better get going ...
Classic Praline - Milk Chocolate/Blue Stripes - A deliciously creamy 40.0% milk chocolate shell with a woody, hazelnut noted textured centre. I think we all know by now that Hotel Chocolat make fantastic praline. Superb.

Caramel Praline - Milk Chocolate/Black Stripes - I was surprised to see that this was one of the few 'survivors' in terms of flavours from the 2010 selection previously reviewed last year See HERE. It was still just as I remembered it. Very Good.

Chocolate Truffle - Dark Chocolate/Red Stripes - This was more of a plain dark chocolate piece with little flavour development from the centre truffle constituents. Still very tasty but understandably it was perceived as one of the less exciting pieces and was left until last. Good.
Strawberry Truffle - White Chocolate/Pink Stripes - This was the first plucked out by sister who described it as a creamy, vanilla heavy white chocolate, with a delightfully 'real' tasting strawberry fruit centre. Very Good.

Amaretto Truffle - White Chocolate/Brown Stripes - I perhaps wasn't the best person on my mini taste panel to test this one, but for what it's worth I still thought it was fantastic. Unlike other booze filled Hotel Chocolat truffles I have tried previously, I loved the balance the creamy white chocolate gave the alcohol fueled filling. Not my favourite but still very nice. Very Good.

Blueberry Truffle - White Chocolate/Purple Stripes - My mother hasn't stopped going on about how much she loved this truffle since she ate it. She is a big of blueberries, and was amazed at how real the flavours of the fruit came through the sweet, creamy white chocolate shell. She said it was one of the best chocolates she's ever tasted from Hotel Chocolat - big claim there! Superb.

Delivered Chocolate Gifts from Hotel Chocolat


Whisky Truffle - Milk Chocolate/Black Stripes - Despite his initial grumbles that this one should have had an exterior dark chocolate shell, my old man later conceded that the extra sweetness from the milk chocolate was the perfect contrast to the fierce, fiery whisky flavoured soft centre. He said it was delicious, but only for real whisky lovers given it's strength. Superb.

Chocolate Brownie - Milk Chocolate/Brown Stripes - Like the chocolate truffle was the plain dark chocolate piece in the selection, this was really just the plainer milk chocolate offering. Again there was nothing wrong taste wise whatsoever, however with so many interesting flavours available it was one of the last to be eaten. Good.

Vanilla Truffle - Milk Chocolate/White Stripes - This was the first time I had seen a Hotel Chocoalt vanilla flavoured truffle so I insisted that I get the chance to try this one, and I'm glad I did. The vanilla filling provided a tasty extension of the cream flavours of the chocolate, and rounded off the soft melting mouth feel with a cooling note of sweet bourbon. Superb.
Liquid Caramel - Dark Chocolate/Yellow - This was the egg that was portioned twice in the box - was I ever going to have a problem with that!? Haha of course not! As you can see from my review last year (See HERE) this was a truffle I rated very highly indeed. Superb.

Rum Truffle - Dark Chocolate/Orange Stripes - This was described by my sister as just a little too strong for her taste. She is a big fan of rum based drinks, but even for her said that she would have preferred the rum to have played second fiddle to chocolate rather than it being vice-verca. Standard.


Overall if you have taken the time to read through my families above thoughts on these truffle eggs, you find it easy to see why they insisted this selection be fast tracked on to the website. This Hotel Chocolat 'A Dozen Quail Eggs' was absolutely loved by all four us. Collectively we thought it looked very impressive, offered an amazing amount of variety, and of course we all loved the selected chocolates that we tried. When you think about it, those attributes are really all the table stakes you want from a box of chocolates, and Hotel Chocolat delivered on these here with a real touch of real class. As far as recommendations go, I probably needn't say that I think these come with a big ChocolateMission thumbs up. I can see them being a bit of a hot seller for Hotel Chocolat this Easter, so if I were you I would get your Hotel Chocolat orders in quick.

8.9 out of 10

Saturday, 19 March 2011

March 19th: Kit Kat Sweet Baked Potato Minis + Competition

Kcal 69 Fat 4.1g Carbs 7.6g (per 12.3g)

Its been said recently that I haven't run enough chocolate competitions for you all, so today I'm giving you all the opportunity to lay your hands of some ultra rare Kit Kats from our pals in Japan. Before we kick off the competition I would like to first bring your attention to these Kit Kat Sweet Potato Minis, which have recently been released again for a limited time period in Japan and are available from J-List ... See HERE!

Why haven't they got a fully fleshed out ChocolateMission review?? Well its because I have already reviewed them of course :D ... obviously you knew that!!! If you are a ChocolateMission new recruit or just so happened to miss out of on what went before, you might want to take a look at my reviews of the Kit Kat Sweet Potato firstly in four finger form - See HERE and then secondly in Mini form - See HERE.
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COMPETITION TIME:

Remember these???


Indeed, I have a pack of the infmaous Kit Kat European Cheese Mini (Review See HERE) to give away to a lucky ChocolateMission reader. To enter in with a chance of winning these you can one of two things ....

METHOD 1) Send an e-mail to Jim[@]Chocolatemission.net (take out the brackets!!) stating what three products you want me to review next from J-List. Please give your e-mail the subject title 'Kit Kat Competition'

METHOD 2) 'Retweet' a ChocolateMission review during the competition time on Twitter.

The winner will be announced on the site and my Twitter feed on April 2nd 2011. Please can I ask that comments on this post be kept to any questions regarding the competition. Good luck.

JIM

Competition Rules:
1. Only one e-mail entry please, however multiple entries via Twitter are allowed.
2. Open to my worldwide readership (not just UK this time!!)
3. ChocolateMission jurisdiction is final - Rules of the competition can be changed at anytime.

Friday, 18 March 2011

March 18th: Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Banana

Kcal 549 Fat 32.9g Fat(sats) 19.7g Carbs 55.3g (per 100.0g)

Before I launch onwards with the review today, I must first thank ChocolateMission reader Rosa who sent me this bar just before Christmas 2010. What with the wealth of samples I get, I always feel awfully guilty taking chocolate from readers but it has to be said this was a very pleasant surprise considering I hadn't clocked it's release. Indeed, this Milk Chocolate with Banana bar wasn't one that I hadn't seen in my local Thorntons shop. As a lover of all banana flavoured things, whether it be sweets, tea, milkshakes or chocolate, I was looking forward to trying this 'organic milk chocolate with dried banana'. Those of you who have concerns for this sort of thing may also wish to know that the bananas used are Fairtrade - a point Thorntons felt they needed to mention on more than ten occasions on the packaging :D

This banana flavoured bar came in a 80.0g form that I ate over the course of two sittings. Aside from the over the top communication of the Fairtrade and organic contents, the packaging was suitably coloured, whilst the chocolate was kept in a silver foil packet which assured a nice freshness. On the eye the chocolate looked attractive, with the darkened spots of dried fruit seemingly well dispersed. When attempting to break the chocolate in to smaller chunks, it broke with a fresh sounding snap and radiated some fragrant fruity scents.

If you have read any of my several Thorntons reviews of this square bar range you will have seen that the majority of the milk chocolate bars have used a 35-40% cocoa recipe (See HERE). Just as I found with those offerings, the milk chocolate here was again of a decent quality and generated a friendly creamy cocoa taste that grew in character as it's melt developed. Just as it appeared looking at the bar, the additional banana pieces were well portioned and dispersed throughout the chunks. These fruit pieces had a nice caramel like fruitiness to them, and created a very true, real banana taste with their chewy texture. The end note of the chocolate melt was a delicious hint of vanilla, which further added a positive complexity of flavour development. As a whole the taste was very sweet, but the half bar serving size felt like a sensible size and settled my chocolate needs.

Overall this was a delightful chocolate that I took great pleasure eating from the very first piece to the last. The pairing of milk chocolate and a sweet fruit like banana I guess didn't come without risk, but the greater emphasis on the cream flavours in chocolate as opposed to the the sugar content meant this wasn't a problem in the slightest. With that said I would love to know what a darker chocolate could do with the quality of the banana constituents displayed in this bar. I think the combination of the sweet fruit and a really earthy cocoa chocolate could be really quite special - lets just hope it is something they will put together in the future. For the minute, if bananas are your thing then you will be wanting to check out this bar for sure. It certainly gets a ChocolateMission recommendation and thumbs up for sure.

8.0 out of 10

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

March 16th: Oreo Chocolate Bars - Caramel Coffee & Dark Bitter

My friends at J-ListJapanese Snack Reviews? Of course it has to be from J-List!! Indeed both of these bars today were recently sent to me by my favourite Japanese pal Peter @Jlist (Twitter feed HERE). You may recall me having reviewed a few of these Japanese Oreo Chocolate Bars before (See Green Tea, Milk Chocolate & Strawberry flavours) to varied success. Well apparently in the Far East they must have been recieved pretty well, as there have been two new flavours added to the range in the past few months. Today I take a look at the Caramel Coffee & Dark Bitter offerings ...

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Oreo Chocolate Bar Caramel Coffee

Kcal 173 Fat 9.5g Carbs 19.5g

Despite not being the the most aesthetically pleasing bar on the eye, when cross-sectioned it was nice seeing the fragments of Oreo biscuits generously dispersed throughout it's entirety. Taking a whiff from inside the foil wrapper the bar was pretty forthcoming in it's aromas, with the strong biscuity smells enhanced pleasantly by some nice cappuccino like scents.

If you have taken the time to study my photograph you will probably know the criticism I'm going to throw in the direction of the chocolate - yes indeed it was a little lacklustre in presence. The sweet mild cocoa flavours it did develop were enough to register a chocolate hit for each mouthful, but I would have liked the chocolate to have had a little more say in the taste. Speaking more positively, the centre mish-mash of Oreo biscuit and caramel, coffee flavoured icing was terrific, with the sweetness of the toffee element nicely playing off the saltiness of the cookie bits. The suggestion of coffee to the taste was ... well ... exactly that! It was more just a mild suggestion, but it was there nonetheless, and gave the bar a nicely progressive taste and sweet coffee end note.

Overall this wasn't exactly a groundbreaking chocolate bar by any means but it was nice, and one that I would have again if it was readily accessible. I'm a little bemused why they couldn't just be done with it and have fully coated the the thing in chocolate, but that aside it was a tasty little coffee number. I still dream of the day that some coffee creme double stuffed Oreos make it to market, come on Nabisco you know you want to :D

8.0 out of 10



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Oreo Chocolate Bar Dark Bitter

Kcal 216 Fat 13.4g Carbs 20.9g

Save the best until last??? ... Well no ... I haven't today :D haha I must have chaught someone out with that. This Dark Bitter variant was slightly different in composition to the bar above and other crazier flavours in the range, in that it was a simpler proposition ('dark chocolate with Oreo cookie pieces') and ever so slightly larger in term of size (38.0g vs 32.0g').

On the eye the bar wasn't as visually striking as some of the other Orero Chocolate Bar alternatives, though when it came to the taste I felt it more than held it's own. As you probably could have guessed, this wasn't the grandioso dark chocolate experience of a Galler or Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate, but rather more the case of a less sugary focused chocolate creating a mass consumer friendly dark chocolate experience. With the attention drawn away from the underlying sweetness of the chocolate base, the saltyness and vanilla creme influences from the cookie pieces became more accentuated, making for a taste that had increased emphasis on it's Oreo cookie influence.

Overall this wasn't the most exciting flavour variation I have tried in this Oreo Chocolate Bar range, but it was more satisfying than some of the other options given it's larger size. Those looking for a rich dark chocolate will in all likelyhood be disappointed by it, though I doubt very much that your average person would be looking for that sort of experience from a bar such as this to begin with. If you come across it don't be put off by the dark chocolate billing.

7.5 out of 10

 

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