Monday, 30 May 2011

May 30th: Hotel Chocolat Knickerbocker Glory Neapolitan

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

One would naturally assume that the summer season would the quietest for the chocolate market given there are no holidays where chocolate is naturally gifted (Christmas/Easter etc!). Summer 2011 however is proving as hectic for me as ever, with the like of Thorntons, Ritter Sport and of course Hotel Chocolat all releasing some of their biggest summer ranges ever. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be taking you through a pretty extensive run through of Hotel Chocolat's summer line up - starting today with these Hotel Chocolat Knickerbocker Glory Neapolitan truffles. FYI, you can see all that they have to offer HERE - if you have any review requests please don't hesitate to get in contact.

These Knickerbocker Glory chocolates are just one of the new truffle ranges for 2011 and today I (along with a few helpers!!) had the delight of trying the Neapolitan flavour. The 110.0g package contained ten individual truffles, which came described as 'strawberry ganache in milk and white chocolate, decorated with white chocolate'. In a few reviews recently I have remarked that the standard of some Hotel Chocolat ranges might be slipping. This was not such the case here, and I would say this Knickerbocker range demonstrates a fine return to form. Hopefully from my photos above you can see just how much effort they have put into the outer cardboard sleeve. In my opinion the design work is fantastic and I think it finely communicates the summer feel good spirit as well as the correct Neapolitan flavour theme.


Taking the truffles out of the inner transparent packet, I was met with a chocolatey set of scents that offered just a minor hint of sweet strawberry. Up until this point the truffles looked like a lot of other Hotel Chocolat individual truffles I had tasted before, however biting in to one soon revealed that they were truly beautifully crafted. Again I hope you can see by my photo above that each chocolate had three very distinct layers - a milk chocolate outer shell, a white chocolate ganache inner ring and then a strawberry flavoured ganache centre. This three layer craftsmanship made for a fantastic flavour and textural journey with the starter milk chocolate outer portion creating a familiar creamy cocoa taste with it's fresh snapping yield. Next to the party the white chocolate creme provided a softer feeling, milkier taste that led beautifully into the strawberry centres. Despite the ganache fillings disappearing rapidly with their butter like mouth feel melt, they left a glorious impression of real tasting red fruit flavours in the mouth for a long time after. Suffice to say these were loved by all that tried them.

Overall these Hotel Chocolat Knickerbocker Glory Neapolitan truffles have got the summer 2011Hotel Chocolat reviews off to a cracking start and they deserve some serious praise. You can never go far wrong with Hotel Chocolat truffles of any sort whether they be praline, caramels or liqueur, but fruit flavoured ganache ones seem to really be where their talents lie. Personally I don't think there are many brands out there that can be said to be so consistent with the quality of their fruit truffles. I don't know how they do it, but they manage to always create the fruit flavourings without making them too sweet or artificial - these strawberry truffles were as good as any in terms of how real tasting the fruit came through in the taste. If you then factor in the quality of the other milk and white chocolate layers I'm sure you can all start to imagine just how good these really were. ChocolateMission recommended!? You bet ya!!

8.7 out of 10

Saturday, 28 May 2011

May 28th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 74 - Suntory Sparkling Chocolate Soda

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

So another week passes on ChocolateMission and I hope you lot were pleased with the reviews you got this week.

Following on from the packages I got from Hotel Chocolat etc the week previous, I this week managed to lay my hands on some goodies from Ritter Sport, American Soda and Thorntons. I don't want to spoil the review, but the Thorntons Liqueur chocolate provided a rather humorous evening ... that stuff is way, way to easy to drink :D :D

Apart from celebrating Manchester United's 19th Premier League title (sorry I had to drop that in there!!) it has been a relatively quiet week for me. Good luck to the United lads versus Barcelona tomorrow - lets hope we are toasting victory with pints of Thorntons Liqueur chocolate (the thought of that makes me feel queasy haha).

Want to know what to expect for this Bank Holiday week? Well Monday will see the return of Hotel Chocolat, Wednesday will see the ChocolateMission debut of a well known UK chocolatier, and lastly Friday you should be getting my low down on the latest Ritter Sport offering.

Have a top Bank Holiday weekend - Please take a look over to the newspage for the latest Chocolate covered news :D

JIM

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 weekKcal 49 Fat 0.0g (per 100ml)

Well isn't this all a bit clever eh!? I've flipped the tables on yesterdays drink flavoured chocolates, with the 'Snack of the Week - a chocolate flavoured drink :D A stroke of genius come on :D Taking the limelight in '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' Edition 74 I present to you the Suntory Sparkling Chocolate Soda.

A few days ago I gratefully received 6 bottles from my pal Peter at J-list who insisted I try out these 'cool new sodas' that he was selling on the site. Now we all know I normally don't review drinks, however I sort of broke those rules with my Hot Chocolate reviews earlier in the year. After a short duration in the fridge I cracked open one of these and poured the contents into a glass as pictured above. I don't like my fizzy drinks too highly carbonated - this Suntory offering was just about right and I was pleased with the level of fizz. Taste wise the drink had a strong vanilla led flavour set (very much like cream soda), however there was definitely a suggestion of chocolateyness left in the mouth once it had slipped down.

Overall it was a unique tasting soda that was on the whole enjoyable and thirst quenching. Would it replace my normal choice of fizzy drink? ... the almighty Pepsi Max? Probably not, but I would see it as a more than viable option if I did fancy something a little different.

7.2 out of 10


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Friday, 27 May 2011

May 27th: Kit Kat Lemonade & Cola

Kcal 100 Fat 5.8g Carbs 11.3g (per 18.0g Kit Kat)

The hot summer time in Japan is coming about again soon so if you are thinking of putting in a J-list order soon I would get on it rather sharpish. In an attempt to remind you all of the crazy confections they have going on over there, my pal Peter @J-List has sent along another batch of goodies for me to review on the site. I almost take it as a given these days, that when I receive any package from these guys, there will no doubt be the latest flavour Kit Kat somewhere amongst it - I wasn't wrong! The flavour (or flavours I should say!)on offer this time was this double pack of Lemonade & Cola. This was a limited edition released a few months ago, and was the first dual flavoured Japanese Kit Kat package I had come across.

The total pack was divided into two separate two-finger bars that each weighed 18.0g each (your standard two-finger supermarket Kit Kat size!!). Both variants came presented in a rather groovy looking box that did a highly efficient job of indicating the Lemonade & Cola flavour with it's bright branding and use of on-pack pictures. Inside the bars were easily identifiable by the colour of their foil wrappers - Lemon of course the yellow one, and the cola unsurprisingly the red. Opening both up it soon became apparent that these were not going to be the Kit Kats notable for their 'real' or true tasting credentials - they smelt particularly sweet with strong suggestions of both lemon and cola.
Taking my least favoured flavour first I initially started with the Lemonade flavour, though it was long before I was experimenting trying little bits of each at the same time :D The reason I have chosen not to rate these flavours individually is because they would have been given the same scores each, as they delivered exactly the same sort of flavour experience. Both bars had a grounding of milky sweetness from the outer white chocolate, which I thought worked well for each variant. In both bars, the wafer in the middle of each bar acted as a nice savoury counter-balance to the very overt kiddie sweet like flavourings of both the cola and lemonade. Indeed, both the lemonade and cola influences were very reminiscent of other sweets - the cola bottles from Haribo Starmix and Bassetts Lemon Sherbets should give you some sort of idea what the flavour delivery was like. As you can imagine the delivery of the flavours in this manner was highly sugar based, so I can see how a four finger version of one of these flavours might have proven to be very monotonous and sickly. The idea of having two different flavoured smaller bars proved to be a good one - there was just about enough differentiation between the two to keep my tastebuds from being affected from the cola/sugar and lemonade/sugar overload, and I ultimately enjoyed the whole experience.

Overall I think this is going to be one of those flavours of Kit Kat that really splits opinion. Being someone that loved sweets like Haribo when I was younger I found these to be a nice little nostalgia kick and I enjoyed the cola bottle and lemon sherbet like experiences dished out by both the different bars. I wouldn't say these were flavours you would like to eat everyday, far from it, but as a one-off occurrence I was more than happy with what these bars delivered. Some will think that both the cola and lemonade influences are very artificial tasting, and I wouldn't dare argue with them as they are certainly right in that respect. If expectations are suitably set at enjoying the kids sweets like experience though, I see little reason why these wouldn't be Kit Kats you would really enjoy. Like so many of the Japanese products these were a real pleasure to try if only for the experience rather than any grandioso taste pleasure.

8.2 out of 10

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

May 25th: 'Bits n Bobs' Cadbury Biscuits, Cakes, Cookies & Chocos 2011

Cadbury have been pumping out so many new products this year it's almost been hard for me to keep up to date with them all. In an attempt to get somewhat close to covering them all off on the site I have today lumped some of the latest ones in to a single 'Bits n Bobs' post. If you guys have any opinions on any of the products being featured today I would encourage you to add your thoughts via the comments functionality.

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Cadbury BiscBits Orange Crunch
Kcal 120 Fat 5.4g Fat(sats) 2.9g Carbs 16.5g (per 7 biscuits)

After a none to impressive first look at the Cadbury BiscBits range I don't know what quite compelled me to give this Orange Crunch variety a try (See Caramel Crisp review HERE). It must have been the faint hope of these being far superior to them, and the ever apparent 'New' labelling placed on the packaging that convinced me, as I indeed part with my single pound coin for a 110.0g bag. Described as 'orange flavoured chocolate biscuits covered in milk chocolate', these looked more appealing than the previous Caramel Crisp biscuits did as they lacked the scuffed, worn natured look of that product previous. Unfortunately taste wise they proved to be just as poor and it wasn't long before I realised these were just another cheap, cheerful Cadbury product that had recieved little or no thought put in to it. In line with expectations the chocolate was sweet and sugary in taste, though the overriding flavour influence came from the orange flavouring which had the most generic of tastes imagineable. It was neither zesty, refreshing or real tasting - just a real run of the mill sweet tasting dull orange flavouring. I'm sure the sheer blandness wont go as far as offending anyone, but I personally wouldn't recommend these.

6.2 out of 10


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Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocos
Kcal 250 Fat 14.1g Carbs 27.0g (per roll)

Unlike some of the products being featured today these were given some exposure time in the press before they released in order to create some hype (See HERE). As referred to in the article these aren't exactly a 'New' idea from Cadbury as similar products have been on sale in the likes of Finland and Australia for a fair while now. To my knowledge though, this is the first time they have appeared in the UK and I'm glad to say they are a welcome addition to the Cadbury portfolio. As unexciting as this sounds the roll pack simply contained 11 Dairy Milk chocolate pieces that were no bigger or smaller than Rolos. Being this size meant they were the perfect for just popping out the packet and placing on the tongue for a quick, sharp burst of creamy Dairy Milk lovelyness. The roll pack format is an incredibly convenient way of getting your chocolate fix whilst 'on-the-move' (wanky term I know :D ) and I'm happy to say that the Dairy Milk chocolate experience isn't altered in any manner from the switch from bar to 'choco'. These aren't the most exciting of new products but you will be more than happy with what you get here.

8.2 out of 10


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Cadbury Chunky Cookies Milk, Dark & White
Kcal 115 Fat 6.3g Fat(sats) 3.4g Carbs 12.7g (per cookie)


Can Cadbury make cookies? Well of course they can ... well they could try anyway :D If you have peeked at the taste score you will probably have been surprised by another average rating sitting in the region of 7.0 out of 10. How could it be that these Cadbury cookies scored lower than average!? For me there were two fundamental problems I had with these. Firstly, like the aromas suggested, the actual taste wasn't Cadbury like at all. The butter, wheat and brown sugar noted biscuit bases were delightfully tasty with the added raft of sweet chocolate flavours, but to my experienced Cadbury taste buds the chocolate taste wasn't half as creamy as is typical with the brand. My second real issue was the billing of white, milk and dark chocolate all in one. This simply wasn't delivered on, and there was no evidence of any differentiation in impact the taste from the white chocolate or dark chocolate chunks. Overlook all this negativity and I will concede that a single cookie made a nice afternoon snack paired with a coffee but unfortunately the negative aspects did outweight the good ones.

7.3 out of 10


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Cadbury Chocolate Mallows
Kcal 55 Fat 2.2g Fat(sats) 1.2g Carbs 8.1g (per mallow)

'20 mallow teacakes covered with milk chocolate' - is there anything these guys wont try now? Burton's Foods have certainly expanded the breadth of Cadbury's portfolio over the last few years and this has included putting the Cadbury name to these mallow teacake biscuits. When I was lad, Tunnocks Teacakes (See HERE) were the only ones that I ever ate - I never thought any of the supermarket or even Marks & Spencer offerings could compare. The weakness of the Tunnocks ones however I always believed to be the chocolate, so there was at least a part of me open to seeing how good these Cadbury ones were. What I realised upon eating these were that whilst the chocolate standard was a step up from Tunnocks, the inner marshmallow and biscuit bases were far, far poorer. The mallow had a dense, foamy feel in the mouth and lacked any sort of definitive flavours as did the chalky biscuit base below. Whilst the chocolate was superior it could not make up for the poorness of the other two constituents, as it was so thinly portioned it mostly got lost within the bland mallow anyway. Unless you are looking for cheap fodder for sharing occasions like kids parties I suggest you keep clear of these. Cadbury might want to start consider some of the products they are putting their name to.

5.8 out of 10

Monday, 23 May 2011

May 23rd: Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Rose

Kcal 556 Fat 38.1g Fat(sats) 23.1g Carbs 40.9g (per 100.0g)

'New Product Mondays' have been a common occurrence for us here in May 2011 and the trend doesn't stop today. Kicking us off this week we have a limited edition bar from Thorntons - the Dark Chocolate with Rose. This is the first of three chocolates being released this year to commemorate the '100 years' of Thorntons, with the other two following later on in 2011 (I've tried the other two aswell and boy are they great!!). All three of these chocolates will be being released in the Thorntons Chocolate Blocks Collection and are based on classic British flavours. Whilst I could understand the symbolism of the 'British Rose' I wasn't quite so sure most of us Brits would have Rose as classic flavouring in our food!? I'll let you debate that one.

Like all the limited edition Thorntons Chocolate Blocks this one came in the slightly smaller 80.0g bar form. Although I have questioned the colouring of some of the previous chocolate block flavours in the past, I thought the use of a light pink option was suitable for this particular rose variety. I feel I must also give acknowledgement to the fact that Thorntons have resisted going overboard in the celebrations of their 100 years of trading - the sticker you see on the top right of the box was the only reference aside from the on pack blurb. Inside the box the chocolate was kept in a layer of bright silver foil and was sectioned into the usual block sizes and with the same moulded markings providing decoration. Unsealed, the bar emanated some pleasant cocoa scents with detectable sweeter, fruity hints detectable every so often.

This bar came described as '64% Peruvian dark chocolate with crystallised rose petals' - an interesting and unique concept at least. I don't know if any of you girls or girls remember the last time I tried some flower flavoured chocolates, but it was the Zotter Labooko Ein BlumenstrauB (See HERE) and they turned out to be rather fine. Hoping that this rose chocolate could create a similar impression I went in to the taste test with an open frame of mind and I'm pleased to report that this was an enjoyable chocolate. The 64% dark was of a better than average quality and liked the way the initial cocoa flavours were built upon by tones of red wine and citrus fruits to create a nice edgy flavoured chocolate. The crystallised rose pieces were at times a little infrequent in number, but where present they tempered the sharpness of the chocolate with a fruitiness that had influences of sweet raspberry and cherries. The culmination of these bitter and sweet taste tangents created an interestingly flavoured chocolate, though one can't deny that the chewing of the crystallised rose pieces was an unwelcome textural drawback.

Overall one may question the choice of 'rose' to represent a traditional British food flavouring but we can at least feel solitude in the fact that the actual chocolate delivered was pretty decent. The blend of the dark chocolate and sweet rose influence is a combination that works, and I'm glad that Thorntons were able to create a decent enough synergy with the two. As I said above the only drawback for me was the nature in which the rose was implemented in it's crystalised form. Given that dark chocolate is most pleasantly consumed when left to simply melt on the tongue it might have made better sense to integrate the flavour using some sort of rose flavoured oil. That criticism aside there really isn't anything to dislike here if you are a fan of flavoured dark chocolates. Out of the three bars being released to celebrate the 100 years of Thorntons this might possibly be the weakest, but that is more a reflection of just how grand the other two are - reviews coming soon.

7.7 out of 10

Saturday, 21 May 2011

May 21st: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 73 - Nabisco Nutter Butter

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

I'm glad that you guys finally got a full quota of chocolate reviews this week after the Easter holidays and technical issues previous. To be honest with you guys there isn't much to report at the moment - things my side of the fence are ticking along nicely. You may have noticed that I have got reviews of some of the latest new products to hit the chocolate market up pretty sharpish in the last few weeks - you can expect a whole lot more coming soon as I will be sharing my thoughts on certain Thorntons and Cadbury NPDs in the next week or so.

Whilst on the topic of Thorntons you might want to take a look back at my review of the Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes (See HERE) - I recently just updated the photographs on that review. Another one I have recently updated is my review of Montezuma's Culture Shock bar (See HERE).
I'm sure you will all be pleased to hear that Hotel Chocolat delivered a box full of their summer chocolate range this week - like the new products above those reviews will be along very shortly.

Be sure to check out the news page for all the latest goings on in the chocolate market. As ever I can only encourage you guys to leave any stories you find yourselves or any requests you have for product reviews.

Enjoy your weekends.

JIM

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 130 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 1.5g Carbs 19.0g (per 2 cookies)

I know It's been a week of cookie and biscuit based products here on ChocolateMission and you are probably tiring of them all, but I just couldn't help but feature these Nabisco Nutter Butter cookies as 'Snack of The Week'. These were another American delight sent to me my pals at AmericanSoda (See HERE) - if you are lucky they might still have some of them in stock!

Nutter Butters are a Nabisco brand and come described as 'peanut-shaped sandwich cookies with peanut butter fillings'. I'm sure all you peanut butter lovers are salivating at the prospect of this and to be honest you have good reason to be doing so. AmericanSoda sent me the largest pack size of Nutter Butters that they sell (453.0g) but even that only lasted a few hours when left in my open office environment. Luckily for me I managed to grab a fair few myself - boy are they great. The saltyness of the peanut butter filling and the sweetness of the outer malty wheat biscuits is a combination made in cookie heaven. All I can say is that if you love peanut butter, you will love these cookies.

8.0 out of 10



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Friday, 20 May 2011

May 20th: Thorntons Cookies

Back in December, Thorntons released this press release HERE, announcing the launch of a store exclusive Cookies range. Common readers of the site will be aware that Thorntons have tended to score consistently well with their more random chocolate offerings here on ChocolateMission - I'm talking about the likes of their Millionaire Shortbreads, Brownies etc. With these past experiences in mind I was delighted when I was approached by one of Thorntons's PR agencies who offered me the chance of trying these new cookies. I quickly snapped their hands off, and before I knew it I had all four of the varieties in-hand, photographed and prime for sampling.

Before I give you the run down of how each tasted and bombard you with photos and graphs, I must first give you the finer details about the four different flavours. Distinguished by their coloured packs, the four variants were Sicillian Lemon Meringue, Triple Chocolate, Praline & Milk Chocolate and Ginger & Dark Chocolate. Three out of the four (all but the Praline 175.0g) weighed 200.0g with eight cookies in each pack. Aesthetically I thought the presentation quality was fair to standard. I wouldn't say they looked as premium as one might have thought Thorntons would have chosen to make them look, but they looked appetising enough, and it must at least be said the on-pack pictures gave a very good steer as to how they looked in real life.

With thirty-two cookies in my possession, there were more than enough to pass round the family to get some second opinions - brace yourselves for a feast of photos, graphs and ratings:

Sicilian Lemon Meringue
'Lemon flavour cookies baked with white chocolate covered meringue pieces'
Kcal 120 Fat 5.1g Fat(sats) 2.5g Carbs 17.3g (per cookie)


Lets start off the worst ones and get them out the way. When I first showed all these cookies to my family, both my mother and sister latched on to these stating they were the most desirable. Unfortunately they were none to impressed with them, and described them as overly sweet, and fake tasting in regards to their lemon fruit flavours. When I got around to trying them myself I have to say I 100.0% agreed with them. The covered meringue pieces acted almost like lumps of sugar, and the lemon element was tart enough to take the edge off the sweetness (if anything it just enhanced it). Want to know the worst thing of all about these cookies? They made the rest of them smell and taste like them when stored in the biscuit barrel!

4.6 out of 10


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Triple Chocolate Chunk
'Baked with white, dark and milk chocolate chunks, half coated in milk chocolate'
Kcal 124 Fat 6.1g Fat(sats) 3.8g Carbs 15.7g (per cookie)

On to the next disappointing ones :D Now before you all get the wrong idea please take notice I say 'disappointing' and not 'bad'! Essentially these were tasty cookies - the dough bases were pleasant, and the half coated milk chocolate undersides were a nice touch if a little messy. My disappointment, actually, OUR collective disappointment came in the fact that they didn't deliver a 'Triple' chocolate experience. Had you asked me what flavour they were in a blind taste test, I would have told you that they were just milk chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately the dark and white chips didn't cut through in the taste, with neither the unsweetened flavours of the dark or the creamier influence of the latter mentioned managing to shine through. Good cookies, but didn't live up the Triple Chocolate billing.

7.0 out of 10


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Praline & Milk Chocolate
'Hazelnut & almond praline, roasted hazelnuts, half coated in milk chocolate'
Kcal 117 Fat 6.9g Fat(sats) 3.1g Carbs 12.1g (per cookie)


These cookies were slightly smaller than their other counterparts, but what they lacked in size they made up for taste. These were the favourite of both my mother and sister, and I have to say they did give the Ginger cookies a run for their money. These cookies were billed as being filled with nutty influences and I'm glad to say the nut element was more than delivered on. The combination of the base biscuit and milk chocolate set the taste up with an initial sweet chocolatyness. As the melt developed, and the crunchy hazelnut pieces came into play, a pleasant woodsy nuttyness came to the fore and brought a delicious salty savoury note along with it. These weren't as satisfying as some of the others, but they were well liked all round.

7.2 out of 10


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Ginger & Dark Chocolate
'Ginger flavour cookies backed with candied ginger pieces, coated in dark chocolate'
Kcal 120 Fat 6.1g Fat(sats) 3.8g Carbs 14.9g (per cookie)


Hands down these were the nicest of the lot. As much as the praline variety was liked, these were loved! Being the dark chocolate ginger lover of the family, my father didn't wait to long before tasting one of these, promptly telling us how 'awful' they were, and attempting to run away with the rest of the packet haha :D Luckily the rest of got to him before he could get to far - and we are very glad we did. The combination of the dark chocolate and ginger was executed flawlessly. The outer lick of dark chocolate was thick enough to create a kind, unsweetened dark chocolate taste, which contrasted nicely with rest of the sweeter components. At the heart of each biscuit, the ginger didn't hold back when it came to the taste, offering a beautifully contrastive set of sweet, spicy flavours. Quite simply, these were damn tasty cookies.

8.5 out of 10


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Overall its pretty obvious which of these cookies I would be happy to recommend to you all. Fans of praline or ginger chocolates will be sure to enjoy those variants, whilst I'm pretty certain the Triple Chocolate would go down well with anyone none to demanding of the triple chocolate experience. As ever with Thorntons we got a real mixed here - my advice is just pick and choose wisely.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

May 18th: 'Bits n Bobs' Chocolate Chocolate Biscuit, Cookies & Cereal Bars

There have been so many new products in the biscuit, cookies and cereal bars category recently its been hard to keep up with the pace and give them their ChocolateMission reviews. Here are a few products that I have trying out recently, that haven't quite made it on to my 'SNACK OF THE WEEK' weekend shout outs. The reviews are short and sharp so be sure to leave your own thoughts on them.

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Kcal 71 Fat 3.3g Fat(sats) 1.8g Carbs 9.5g (per cookie)

To my knowledge, Oreo Double Stuff are currently available in Tesco & Asda where you can buy 185.0g packs for £1.30. As you can probably tell from the name, these are simply your standard Oreo cookies with twice the amount of 'stuff' (vanilla flavour creme!) sandwiched in the middle. These have been a long time coming to the UK, but Kraft have finally obliged, and by my ruling they are very welcome. The additional creme may not do much for the taste, but the beefed out creme does provide a little more moistness to the very dry biscuits, and it does make them seem like a more satisfying product compared to the originals. The only problem you guys might have with these, is that like myself you may find yourself never being able to look at the original Oreos in quite the same way - they just look a little meagre now I'm used to these.

8.3 out of 10



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Kcal 126 Fat 4.3g Fat(sats) 1.3g Carbs 19.4g (per bar)

The Mcvitie's Hobnobs Medley range was first featured on the site back in July 2010 - See HERE when I reviewed the chocolate & raisin variant in the range. Although this peanut variant was released at that very same time, the distribution of it was rather low, and it was only recently that Tesco stores actually started carrying this part of the line. Described as 'biscuit & cereal bar with peanuts & milk chocolate chips', I was excited that this variant might be more to my liking than my previous raisin experience. The packaging certainly looked a bit more suitable for Hobnobs with the use of the orange colouring to indicate the peanut flavour, though I was a little disappointed to find it was hard to pick out the peanuts aesthetically when looking at the real thing. Essentially these turned out to be nice enough cereal bars, however they struggled with the same issues that the raisin variant did with the influence of both the biscuit and peanut contents lacking cut through against the syrupy oat base. As I said, nice enough, but couldn't of been better with a greater presence of chocolate and peanuts.

7.3 out of 10



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Kcal 65 Fat 3.1g Fat(sats) 1.6g Carbs 8.6g (per biscuit)

Perhaps I was being a little presumptuous, but when I saw the press release from Fox's about the launch of his Amber range, but I was expecting them to be positioned as a premium tier offering to their usual 'Chunky' cookies. You can imagine I was relatively surprised then when I saw the entire line on a £1.00 deal in Tesco - a much cheaper option than the 2 for £2.50 deal running across the 'Chunky' cookies. Looking at both packaging and presentation of all three Ambers variants there was very little disparity, though it was the Praline flavour that caught my eye. Billed as 'golden honeycomb biscuit, baked with praline and dipped in chocolate' I thought these sounded like they had great promise stepping in to a 'praline' territory not ventured in to often by the likes of McVitie's etc. Unfortunately when it came to the tale of the taste, the praline element didn't come through strongly - a blind taste test on some colleagues totally proved this when they failed to register nut content of any sort. The taste was dominated by a strong golden syrup influence, with the oat and milk chocolate very much secondary players in the background. The taste was resultingly very, very sweet - too much so in my honest opinion. These weren't bad biscuits, but they didn't deliver the praline experience either promised or desired.

6.8 out of 10


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Kcal 495 Fat 24.7g Fat(sats) 14.5g Carbs 59.7g (per 100.0g)

After a few demoralising product reviews from M&S recently I have been a little less willing to check out their confectionery range, though these chocolate coated pretzels did catch my eye when I saw them instore. At first it was the rather ghastly green colour of the packaging that got my attention, however the premise of chocolate pretzels encouraged me enough to part with £1.49 for a bag. The whole area of chocolate covered salted snacks is a massively untapped area of the market here UK what with Nestle Flipz being a sore loss from our shelves a very long time ago. I thought this presented M&S with a real opportunity to offer something different here, but unfortunately they didn't quite manage to deliver the product I had in mind. Cutting the long story short, these pretzels were coated in a thin layer of no better than average, sweet tasting milk rooted sugary chocolate. The potential of the savoury pretzels was unfortunately not taken full advantage of - they were neither flavoursome or salty enough to really deliver the contrast of flavours that these needed to give - if anything they just tasted like rather bland biscuits. These could have been so much better and I wish they were - a real opportunity missed out on by M&S here.

5.8 out of 10


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Kcal 131 Fat 6.8g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 15.9g (per bar)

Unlike most of the others featured today, these Fox's Classic Originals weren't so much a new product, but more the case of an existing product being added to the shelves of one of my local stores. Indeed, coinciding with the rest of the latest shelf update, these 'milk chocolate covered cream filled honeycomb biscuit bars' popped up in my local Tesco. A £1.00 expenditure bought me a multipack of seven bars - just about enough for me to dish out to the people sitting round me at work. As you can hopefully see from the photos, the standard of packaging and overall presentation was really rather standard - the cream poking out between the biscuit pieces was at least somewhat appealing. General consensus when it came to taste test was one of disappointment, with no fewer than 5 out of 7 saying they wouldn't buy again (myself included!). The main point of issue with these chocolate biscuit bars were that the terrible milk chocolate meant they were ridiculously sugary tasting, and both the biscuit and cream elements added little or nothing to experience. These were fundamentally bland tasting sugary biscuits - I wouldn't recommend.

5.4 out of 10

 

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