Saturday, 30 July 2011

July 30th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 82 - Rolo Biscuits

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

Another week passes and there has been a mixed bunch of reviews on the site this week.

If you are going to take the time to read just one then I strongly suggest you head over to the review I posted this past Monday when I took my first look at a brand called Valrhona. Their Jivara milk chocolate offering was up there with some of the best chocolate I've ever tasted. Speaking as an idiot who has eaten some form of chocolate product everyday for the past three years you should understand that as a pretty glowing recommendation - See HERE.

There will be some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks as a few independent UK chocolatiers have been getting in touch requesting some reviews. In addition to them I will have some more new products from the likes of Hotel Chocolat & Thorntons appearing - these guys should be starting their summer sales on their websites soon so I would take a look HERE to see what they are up to.

Now we have hit edition 82 of '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' I want to freshen things up a bit. Are there any topics/interviews/features you guys want to see posted about at weekends? There is potential for me to do anything you want so that is very much an open ended question! Drop me a comment or an e-mail if you have a view on that.

.... if you don't then just have yourself a great weekend :D I will of course be back Monday ... but will I be back with Hotel Chocolat Monday??? Log on and find out :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 weekRolo Biscuits
Kcal 95 Fat 4.7g Carbs 12.1g (per biscuit)


Lets keep this short and sweet - What do you get if you take the biscuit out of a Rolo Biscuit??? ... a Rolo ... Fortunately that isn't intended to be a joke. It's in actual fact just the reality of what is on offer here with Snack of the Week - Rolo Biscuits.

I want to bypass the cheekiness of the on-pack 'New' claims (these were first launched in 2000 - See HERE) and more just focus on the product as it is now. Allow me the please to bring out the cliche 'back in my day ...' (god I feel old!!) ... these were an awful lot bigger than they are now. Indeed, now these Rolo Biscuits clock in at a measly 18.5g and contain only 85 calories. Some might say this was a good thing - greedy guts like me would disagree! The part of the product taking the biggest sacrifice appears to be the biscuit portion, which though evident aesthetically, was totally AWOL in the taste and texture department. Essentially what you get here is a jumbo sized Rolo - average milk chocolate with a sugary sweet toffee/caramel soft centre. Of course this was no disaster, but Nestle if you are promising me biscuit .... I want biscuit dammit!! Have you guys noticed these reappearing in your local stores?

7.3 out of 10


CHOCOLATE NEWS

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Friday, 29 July 2011

July 29th: 'Bits n Bobs' Chocolate Cakes

Since starting to work in a large office environment its quickly become apparent that almost every week there is someones birthday to celebrate. What do birthdays mean!? Well of course they mean cake ... more often than not chocolate cake :D Today 'Bits n Bobs' explores some of the current cake options out there on the UK marketplace today. Competition is fierce with the likes of Thorntons and Mr Kipling doing the rounds - take a look at my mini reviews below to see who won out.
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Thorntons Chocolate Mini Cakes
Kcal 188 Fat 10.5g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 21.4g (per cake)
'Chocolate sponge cakes topped and filled with chocolate buttercream ganache, finished with dark chocolate curls and cocoa powder'

When it comes to cakes and the like, Thorntons tend to do pretty well here on ChocolateMission. To prove that point I only need send you in the direction of some of their previous reviews. Although I wrote the reviews years ago, their Chocolate Brownies (See HERE) and Millionaire Shortbreads (See HERE) are still commonly found in my shopping basket. Whilst both of those products previously mentioned are often found on the cake aisles famous £1.00 deals, one product Thorntons never seem to discount are these Chocolate Mini Cakes. Priced at £1.80 (thereabouts) for six cakes, I last week bought a few packs to take in to the office to test them out on some unsuspecting guinea pigs.

My photograph above wont be doing these cakes justice, but these looked superb out the pack, and did truly resemble miniature versions of a much grander sized chocolate cake. Cutting straight to the chase, these cakes were absolutely superb, and met with all seals of approval from all six of us that had the pleasure of eating them. The main reason cited for this unanimous 'thumbs-up' was the layering involved in the cake construct. Starting from the bottom upwards the cakes had a layer of sweet chocolate sponge, then a moist layer of divine buttercream, then another layer of sponge, and then lastly another layer of buttercream that included chocolate sprinkles and curls which gave each bite a terrific crunchy sensation. The cakes were texturally delightful, and delivered a plethora of rich, non-overpowering cocoa and cream flavours.

Overall I can only use one word to describe these chocolate cakes and it would be the word 'Superb'. I (we), loved everything about them - the mouth feel created by the different layers, the chocolatey taste, and even the minor details like them being the perfect size to satisfy a serious bout of the munchies. In my opinion, Thorntons are a company desperately in need of a new sense of direction. If I were devising their strategy going forward, I would stick to the premium line chocolates and target consumers at lower price points with delightful cake offerings like these. Highly recommended.

8.9 out of 10


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Mr Kipling Chocolate Slices
Kcal 132 Fat 6.4g Fat(sats) 2.6g Carbs 16.7g (per slice)
'Chocolate sponge baked with milk chocolate chips and topped with plain chocolate chips'

Chocolate cake offering number two comes from that famous old man Mr Kipling, who recently attempted to delight me with his 'Exceedingly Good' Chocolate Slices. I would love to claim that my bargain hunting skills were called in to action again, but in actual fact I ended up buying this off promotion at their usual price of £1.45 in Waitrose (oooooh get me, aren't I a posh shopper haha!). The 200.0g box contained six individually wrapped slices - more than enough to get plenty of POVs from my colleagues.

The individual packets that sealed the cakes sported the Mr Kipling branding were nice looking, though aesthetically the slices themselves weren't the most exciting. It was nice to see a good distribution of chocolate chips dispersed across the top of each cake, though in truth the plain looking fingers weren't the most stylish looking, and this proved consistent when it came to the taste. Flavour wise these simply didn't offer that much in terms depth of flavour and chocolate richness. The cake constituents had a nice thick viscosity to it, however taste wise it was all a little dull with the direction of the taste predominantly taking a generic sweet vanilla cake type path. This could have all been helped by the chocolate chip pieces, however they were relatively flavourless in their contribution to the taste and were most notable for the differentiation they brought texturally.

Overall, unfortunately for Mr Kipling, these cakes were consumed a day after the Thorntons' ones above, so it was almost like he was behind the eight ball before he even started. Quite simply these Chocolate Slices didn't match up to the Thorntons cakes, they were more expensive, smaller, not as visually striking and of course most importantly didn't taste as nice. Mr Kipling is a great British brand but I'm afraid the old man has been outwitted here - stick to the Fondant Fancies chap!

6.2 out of 10


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Fabulous Bakin' Boys Double Chocolate Muffins
Kcal 258 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 2.1g Carbs 29.7g (per muffin)
'Chocolate muffin with real chocolate chips'

I wont even try and attempt to boast about having any elite bargain hunting skills with these muffins - I swear its harder to find Fabulous Bakin' Boys products off promotion rather than finding one of their deals :D Indeed I bought these muffins priced at £0.74 in my local Sainsbury's supermarket (half price down from £1.49). This small expense bought me four muffins which collectively netted to 255.0g - a rather generous (and ultimately satisfying!) 64.0g each.

Presentation wise not one of my colleagues had anything to say about the product. The box and cellophane packs fundamentally just did the job they were functionally intended to do, though there were small mentions made about the nice smells that emanated from the wrappers. Focusing on the positives first it was felt all round that these were very satisfying in regards to curing hunger, and two of my co-workers said they were the 'perfect size for a mid-afternoon snack'. Taste wise these muffins were richer and more chocolatey than Mr Kiplings Chocolate Slices, however they lacked the differentiation of the Thorntons Mini Cakes and could have done with some sort of filling or chocolate syrup/buttercream to create more interest.

Overall these Fabulous Bakin' Boys Double Chocolate Muffins were met with the sort of luke warm reception that leaves me thinking I wouldn't buy them again. I don't wish to put anyone off them, however Like the Mr Kipling Chocolate Slices they are ultimately totally outshone by the Thorntons Mini Cakes. Price wise they may be able to claim that they are one of the cheapest offering in the chocolate cake sector, however we are talking pence rather than pounds here so I would strongly suggest it is worth just paying a tiny bit more for a much higher quality product.

7.2 out of 10


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Have I missed out a chocolate cake offering that I should have reviewed? What do you make of the three products above? Let me know by dropping a comment.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

July 27th: Galaxy Jewels Assorted Chocolates (UAE Arabic Mix)

My adventures with UAE sourced chocolates commenced forth furthermore this week with me finally completing a long term reader request in the form of these Galaxy Jewels Assortment. This review was made possible by ChocolateMission friend Fiona, who is currently an expat residing in the UAE.

The Galaxy Jewels typically constitutes a chocolate selection containing ten different chocolate varieties. This special Arabic Mix being reviewed today was a current limited edition offering that contained some never seen before flavours. Presentation wise I thought the package was very good looking, and I was impressed with both the packaging and chocolates themselves, which were held within individual foil wrappers. Contained within the plastic box a handy menu was included that allowed easy identification of the five different variants. As ever I have given ratings and my thoughts to each of them below using my usual scale of Awful-to-Superb.

Milk Chocolate - My thoughts on the quality of the UAE Galaxy milk chocolate were given in full in my last UAE chocolate superpost (See HERE). Not to my surprise, the quality from that selection, and this Jewels Assortment held consistent, with the milk chocolate here suffering once again from the enhanced levels of hydrogenated palm oil. This once again hampered the creamy flavours and typical Galaxy soft mouth feel across the different flavours. Poor.

Mixed Nuts - This blue wrapped offering far exceeded expectations with the three nut laced blocks made all the better in both taste and texture. Flavour wise the saltiness of the pistachios and woody hazelnuts gave the taste an extra dimension. Alongside this taste progression, the small sized nut particles also disrupted the waxy feel of the melting chocolate which was also a big positive. Good.

Coffee Caramel - This was another piece that was very positively influenced by a supplementary filling and I was again left relatively impressed. It was obviously quite a positive thing that the caramel took up a large proportion of the chocolate, thus detracting attention from it's poorness. The caramel inside was neither amazingly buttery or salt enhanced like the best caramels of this world, however the coffee note was surprisingly strong and had good cut through in the taste. Good.

Semsemah - This was always going to be one of the more interesting flavours and comprised of a milk chocolate heart shell containing a sesame flavoured praline centre. As you expect the outer portion melted with the same slimy mouth fell, though the praline at least had a little more grip to it texture wise. In terms of flavours the sesame element created a lovely buttery, cream nut taste that to me came across as mixture of almonds and chestnuts. This chocolate was good enough to make me want to try out some more sesame enhanced offerings. Good.

Qamardeen - What on earth is Qamardeen!? My brief amount of research shows that it is a hotel in the UAE - apart from that I'm totally oblivious!? What I can tell you about is what this chocolate constituted of, which was milk chocolate with a slightly fruity tasting caramel centre. If I had to guess the fruit I would hazard a guess at it being something along the lines of dates, as the fruitiness had a poignant sugaryness to it. This caramel wasn't as good as the coffee, but the chocolate was still all the better for it. Standard.

Overall this selection has showcased that even poor quality chocolate can be masked by some fair standard additional flavoured centres. I will save you me babbling on about the standard of the milk chocolate again, but it really is worth making the point that it is highly effected by the supplementary fats content. Hopefully that will give you some perspective in to how good some of these fillings were - the sesame praline, coffee caramel and mixed nuts especially standing out as unique and great tasting variations. Having tasted this limited edition Arabic Mix I'm now even more curious to see what the original selection has to offer with it's ten different flavours. If you come across this Arabic Mix I would suggest it as a highly superior option to many of the original Galaxy UAE offerings. This isn't chocolate in any sort of grand form, but if your a UAE citizen I would say they are at least worthy of your consideration - they are better than anything else I have experienced from this area.

7.3 out of 10

Monday, 25 July 2011

July 25th: Valrhona Jivara

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

Three and a half years of constant chocolate reviewing has meant I have reviewed an awful lot of chocolate but the wonderful thing is that there are still some glorious brands out there of which I haven't even scratched the surface. One of these very brands appears to be Valrhona - if we all indulge ourselves in a little wikipedia for a minute ...

"Valrhona is a French chocolate manufacturer based in the small town of Tain-l'Hermitage in Hermitage, a wine-growing district near Lyon. The company was founded in 1922 by a French pastry chef, Albéric Guironnet, from the Rhône valley and has five subsidiaries and 60 local distributors across the globe. The company also maintains the École du Grand Chocolat, a school for professional chefs with a focus on chocolate-based dishes and pastries. Valrhona focuses mainly on high-grade luxury chocolate marketed for professional as well as for private consumption"

My only past experience with Valrhona chocolate came when I tried out Lucky's Cakes (See HERE) and it was that very flirtation that led me to buying this 70.0g Jivara bar. This Jivara offering came described as a creamy 40% cacao milk chocolate which has been made using beans hailing from the Foratero plantations. Expectations were high so I called in my expert chocolate tasting panel (the people I sit next to at work haha :D ) to help me out with some well valued second opinions.

The chocolate came packaged as a flat panel slab and looked the business from the start with it's sleek black box and inner foil wrapping. The chocolate whilst thin was easily divisible thanks to some prepared block grooves and it broke with a lovely sounding snap which reaffirmed the fresh smelling cocoa scents being offered. Placing the first piece on my tongue both the flavour and melt initiated upon contact, and it was literally only a matter of seconds before I was treated to a lovely soft melt and burst of wonderful flavours. As promised by the on-pack blurb this was indeed a very creamy tasting milk chocolate and the taste from start to finish had strong undertones of rich double cream that seemed entirely fitting with the way in which the bar melted to a similar sort of thick liqueur state. The luxurious mouth feel of this melt was complimented with supplementary hints and notes of different flavour influences, with elements of caramel and butter frequently emerging from the sweet cocoa chocolateyness. The long lasting end note of vanilla made for a rich and satisfying chocolate that was met with seals of approval from all that tried it. In the words of a fellow colleague this was a 'posh chocolate that was worth paying more money for'.

Overall this Valrhona Jivara bar certainly didn't fail to live up to expectations and it has managed to earn itself one of the highest scores so far this year (2011) on the ChocolateMission rating system. Whilst I was mid-reviewing this bar (had taken the photos and researching it!) I learnt that this bar had won a silver award in the latest Academy of Chocolate awards for the 'Best milk bean to bar' category. Having tried it now myself I can only add my own appreciation to that of those more experienced chocolate experts - it was genuinely a joy to eat from the very first block to the last. Before anyone ask what is my favourite between this and the Galler Lait Pleine Saveur I'm going to declare myself 100% sitting on the fence :D All you guys need know is that they play in the same ballpark, and that the Valrhona Jivara is a milk chocolate that you simply need to try now if you are any sort of chocolate lover.

9.3 out of 10

Saturday, 23 July 2011

July 23rd: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 81 - Jell-O Chocolate Pudding

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

Another week has come and past and three ChocolateMission reviews making your screens this week were:

Hotel Chocolat The Essential Holiday Kit - See HERE
Jaxx - See HERE
'Bits n Bobs' European Selection - See HERE

The summer season (if we can classify our current weather as that!!) is notoriously quiet for the chocolate market. So much so I'm finally getting around to getting some of the backlog up on the site. Apologies in advance if any of my reviews are a little outdated in their knowledge.

Now ... I have some bad news! For one week and one week only you guys are being denied the traditional Hotel Chocolat Monday review. Please don't blame me ... blame the 'Old Man' who had the cheek to take a holiday .... yes a holiday!!! This means I haven't had the opportunity to take any photos ofr the site. You needn't worry though ChocolateMission fans, the Hotel Chocolat Monday's will be returning a week Monday. In the mean time I have something cool lined up for this Monday anyway :D

Enjoy your weekends and remember to visit the NEWS PAGE where I've just added a story about Kraft making Cadbury cream cheese.

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 weekJell-O Chocolate Pudding
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

For the third week running Snack of the Week has been provided to me by my pals at AmericanSoda. These guys recently included a pack of Jell-O Chocolate Pudding in my latest sampling package and I've been whipping up some treats in the kitchen ... watch out Jamie Oliver :D

From my introduction above you I may have led some of you to believe that Gordan Ramsay should be watching his back what with me bragging about my new found culinary expertise. Unfortunately I have to put my hands up at this point - the chocolate tart you see above was easy as pie to create ;) At this point I even feel guilty using the word 'create' :D Truth be told I bought some ready made tart cases from M&S and then simply whisked the Jell-O powder with milk until firm like custard. I may being saying this myself but these tasted pretty good you know :D. Despite being sugar and fat free, the Jell-O Chocolate mixture blended very nicely into the milk and formed a soft viscous pudding that provided a fudgey sort of chocolate taste. Compared to the likes of Angel Delight (which I admittedly haven't eaten for a good decade!!) I felt this was more of a substantial offering and felt like I had my chocolate craving satisfied to a reasonable level. I haven't showcased it here, but I experimented adding different toppings to the tarts - a bit of squirty cream and Reese's Pieces were the best I have come up with yet! What would you guys decorate them with?

7.6 out of 10


You can buy Jell-O Chocolate Pudding HERE HERE at AmericanSoda

CHOCOLATE NEWS

Visit the ChocolateMission news page for all the latest developments in the Chocolate market ... Click the banner below ....

Friday, 22 July 2011

July 22nd: 'Bits n Bobs' European Selection

I have to start off this review with a big thank you to ChocolateMission reader Hayley who so kindly sent me across these selected treats that she picked up on her holidays in Italy this summer. My background knowledge about any of these being showcased today are rather limited, so please let me do the service of keeping the words light on each of them. It would be great to hear from any ChocolateMission readers who have come across these before - what did you think of them people!?

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Kinder Pingui Choco - Kcal 134 Fat 9.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 12.0g (per 30.0g bar)

Originating from Poland, this Kinder Pingui seems to be a product that has distribution throughout most of Central Europe (Check out the cool website HERE). My Polish translation isn't up to much but if I was to hazard a guess at the product description it would be along the lines of an 'extra milky cream filling with a covering fine dark chocolate'. Essentially it seemed rather like the previously reviewed Kinder Delice (See HERE), but just with a larger volume of inner cream. The outer chocolate was less sweet than in other Kinder products, however this was only marginally noticeable due to be fast becoming overwhelmed by the sugary inner filling. Although light and mousse-like in texture, the cream itself still managed to establish a pleasant fresh dairy cream taste that left me wanting more. It wasn't the most fulfilling of snacks but I would happily have another.

7.4 out of 10


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Storck Milk Knoppers - Kcal 528 Fat 32.0g Carbs 52.0g (per 100.0g)

Breaking up the Ferrero Kinder dominance today we have this Storck Milk Knoppers offering hailing from Germany. Again excuse my dodgy translation but I'm lead to believe these come described as 'cocoa, milk and creme filled wafers with a hazelnut cocoa layer', and it came in a 25.0g size. This for all the money looked like a 'run-of-the-mill' European wafer product, and guess what!? Well it was :D haha!! I've tried a fair few products like this in my time and this Milk Knoppers did nothing that much better or worse than the majority of them. For my liking the wafers were a bit of a let down with their somewhat stale texture and lack of flavour, but the hazelnut cocoa creme and milk layers did at least bring a credible amount of interest for each bite. As a snack I can't say there are too much wrong with these, I wouldn't however go out your way to hunt them down.

6.3 out of 10


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Kinder Maxi King - Kcal 528 Fat 32.0g Carbs 52.0g (per 100.0g)

Wikipedia had a nice bit of blurb on these (See HERE). According to them this one is described by Ferrero as 'two layers of milk cream with whole milk, liquid milk caramel , milk chocolate and soft waffle chips and hazelnuts'. This came in a 35.0g serving that I thankfully chilled before consuming alongside an afternoon coffee. Out of all the things I'm showing today this was definitely the best tasting. The outer shell of the bar was a delightful mixture of milk chocolate, soft wafer and chopped hazelnuts which brought about a nice biscuity taste to the party. The inner milk creme was not the conventional Kinder milk filling and had more of a liquidy cream-like form than normal that in turn brought a delightful cooling sensation as it escaped from the crisp textured confines. The caramel wasn't sensational by anymeans, however it was a nice addition to the taste and gave the cream a extra buttery sweet tone. If you ever come across these Kinder Maxi Kings please do two things - 1) Stick them in the fridge before you eat them & 2) Send me some :D

8.1 out of 10

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

July 20th: Jaxx


I don't know about you guys but there is something about the word 'NEW' that always seems to be able to grab my attention when looking at packaging on supermarket shelves etc. It was a simple bit of signage shouting this very word at me that caught my attention in my local Londis convenience store when I walked in there recently and came across these new chocolate products called Jaxx. NEW NEW NEW ... Hook, line and sinker I was sold! I obliged and bought a few packs of the two flavours on offer.

The 50.0g packs informed that they had been manufactured by a producer called Bonds Confectionery. I hadn't heard of them before so I did a little bit of research, and stumbled across the Jaxx facebook site. The limited amount of information on display currently suggests that they are only available in the likes of Martin's, McColls, Londis and Spar - these are all smaller UK convenience stores. From what I could gather, the range consists of three different flavours of chocolate coated biscuit bites - my thoughts on the two I could get hold of are below:

Jaxx Milk Chocolate Coated CrunchesKcal 222 Fat 14.3g Fat(sats) 10.3g Carbs 22.3g (per bag)
'Milk chocolate coated crunches'


I believe these are supposed to be the original variant in the range and consisted of shortbread biscuit centres covered in milk chocolate. In terms of size they were about twice as large as Malteasers, it's a pity they didn't taste twice as good :D From my first mouthful it was obvious the chocolate was of a very low quality. It was very sugar based in it's flavours and it melted with lazy waxy melt generating very few cocoa impressions whatsoever. The biscuit centres were more generous to the taste in terms of their buttery malt flavours, but these were similarly short lived and failed to create a substantial or lasting flavour impression.

5.6 out of 10



Jaxx Milk Chocolate Coated Coco CrunchesKcal 222 Fat 14.3g Fat(sats) 10.3g Carbs 22.3g (per bag)
'Milk chocolate coated coco crunches'


As you can most likely tell by the photographs this differed very little from the above blue coloured variant apart from the simple substitution of the shortbread biscuit for a chocolate based. As expected the exterior chocolate was no different whatsoever from the aforementioned and was unfortunately every bit as poor. Similarly though, the chocolate biscuit centres were at least at little more contributive, supplying just an additional hint of chocolateyness as if someone had sprinkled just a fine dusting of hot cocoa powder into the biscuit.

5.8 out of 10



Overall by and large these were totally unimpressive. Aesthetically and propositionally the concept of Jaxx isn't actually bad when you think about it. Chocolate covered biscuit bites aren't exactly a leading edge innovative concept for anyone, but lets be fair there aren't too many other players apart from Payne's Poppets who play in this chocolate mini-snack on the go offerings. Unfortunately, these Jaxx chocolates are pretty much every bit as poor as anything Payne's have to offer. I thought the quality of the chocolate was frankly abysmal, with the only saving grace really being the biscuit centres which were on the whole pretty tolerable. As nice as it would have been to have unearthed a cool new brand to recommend to you guys, I simply cant do that here. I would just avoid them altogether if I were you.

Monday, 18 July 2011

July 18th: Hotel Chocolat The Essential Holiday Kit


You may have noticed that the Hotel Chocolat summer range grew considerably this year with them adding several new products to their 2011 portfolio. With the newer offerings like the Knickerbocker Glory chocolates taking centre stage, it would have been all to easy to just forget some of the better products of yesteryear. Someone at Hotel Chocolat HQ obviously had the thinking the cap on though - I present to you todays selection box offering, the Hotel Chocolat The Essential Holiday Kit.

This wonderfully presented collection of treats included products I had reviewed in both 2009 and 2010. The selection was made up of Sticky Toffee Minidome Chocolates, Gemstones and a Tiddly Pot full of Raspberry Ripple Puddles - a collective 170.0g of chocolate. As aforementioned I thought the bundle was put together quite phenomenally in terms of it's appearance. All three of the products were contained within a cardboard box that was decorated with a very cool, retro British Summer holiday suitcase theme. Inside all three of the different chocolate offerings had their own packaging style which gave a nice sense of individuality.


Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Gemstones - 'Pieces of fused white & dark chocolate'.
I first reviewed these back in May 2010 (See HERE). To be frank they weren't a product I particularly liked then, and I didn't feel any different about them now a year on. Still a year on I felt bad chewing on the chocolate that I normally liked to just let melt on my tongue. This of course still wasn't a possibility as the waxy glazing agent layer around the pieces meant they wouldn't melt otherwise. On the contrary my Sister and Mother absolutely loved them, and described them as a 'posh persons M&MS'.

Hotel Chocolat Tiddly Pots Raspberry Ripple Puddles - 'White chocolate blended with raspberry crispies'.
I first reviewed these back in 2009 (See HERE). Back then I gave them a big ChocolateMission thumbs up and I'm glad to report I would still do the same thing today. Just as I found last time, the creamy, vanilla noted white chocolate hosted a superb, real tasting set of dried raspberry crisp pieces. These puddles were once again a brilliant exhibition of how to match ingredients to create delicious combinations. The only drawback was that the Tiddly Pots container was by no means big enough - it did look cute mind you!! :D

Hotel Chocolat Sticky Toffee Minidomes - 'Milk chocolate shell with sticky toffee sauce, decorated with whit chocolate'
These hadn't officially had their own review before, however if you check several of the older selection box reviews (HERE) you will notice that I had previously sampled many different variants in different shapes and sizes. What can I say about these that hasn't been said before!? ... well not much apart from the fact they were as outstanding as I expected. The 40% milk chocolate shells provided all the typical fresh creamy cocoa flavours, whilst the sticky toffee fillings offered equal measures of sweet butter and tempered brown sugar. They could have done with a hint of salt, however this didn't stop all eight of these disappearing within minutes of them being opened.


Overall this was lovely little package that included some of Hotel Chocolat's best summer offerings. As I said at the start of the post, with so many new products out this year its easy to forget some of the better ones that had been released previously. This Hotel Chocolat 'The Essential Holiday Kit' is a great way of making sure that some of the past year products aren't forgotten, whats better is that when bought collectively the package works out much cheaper than buying them individually as well :D For my own personal taste it doesn't contain the optimum mix of products with the Gemstones in there. I would take that all with a pinch of salt mind you considering it was the Gemstones that were my Mother and Sister's favourites. This collection showcases some of Hotel Chocolat's greatest strengths with their caramel and fruit chocolates, it would make a terrific gift for someone this summer.

8.4 out of 10


Delivered chocolate gifts from Hotel Chocolat

Saturday, 16 July 2011

July 16th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 80 - Lucky Charms Chocolate

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

Another week has flown by here on ChocolateMission, I hope you everyone has enjoyed the reviews that have been and gone. If you missed out on any of them this week be sure to check them out here:

Hotel Chocolat The H-Box Summer Desserts - See HERE
Ritter Sport Thank You - See HERE
'Bits n Bobs' British Chocolate Biscuit Classics - See HERE

I've been so hectic with my day job this week I haven't been able to give much as much love to the site as I would have wished. In the coming weeks I'm aiming to make some aesthetic changes to the site to freshen things up a little. If anyone has any suggestions or think they might be able to help me out with this then please get in contact.

Upcoming this week we have more from Hotel Chocolat, Bits n Bobs and again whatever I feel like posting on Friday. Despite my busyness I've managed to accumilate a whole host of new products that will need reviewing at some point this weekend. I'm just off to update the news page so be sure to give that a look over this afternoon.

Have great weekends and remember to visit the NEWS PAGE.

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 122 Fat 1.1g Fat(sats) 0.2g Carbs 24.9g (per 30.0g)
'Chocolate flavour cereal with marshmallow pieces'


Last week I mentioned that my pals at AmericanSoda had recently sent me through some fantastic American goodies for me to try out. Last week I started off by swapping my usual breakfast for these Kellogg's Chocolate Cookie Dough flavoured Pop Tarts (See HERE). This week my usual bran flakes cereal was put aside again - as I got stuck into these General Mills Lucky Charms Chocolate.

For all my readers who live outside the US I can let Wiki inform you that 'Lucky Charms is a brand of cereal produced by the General Mills food company. It first appeared in stores in 1964, and consists of two main components: toasted oat-based pieces and multi-colored marshmallow bits (marbits) in various shapes' ... suffice to say this is THE kids cereal of all kids cereal in the US. So what did I make of them!??? Well like a lot of cereals I've tried like this one, I found Lucky Charms chocolate tasted just fine but ultimately failed in satisfying my hunger. Frankly this came as little surprise, though I must admit I found the chocolatey cereal taste and sweet marshmallows more of a guilty pleasure than I first thought I would. In the future I don't think I would buy or eat these on their own, but mixing some in with another more substantial cereal will definitely be something I do from time-to-time to give my breakfast a little perk up.

6.6 out of 10

You can buy these HERE at AmericanSoda

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