Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August 31st: Thorntons Bakewell Tart

Kcal 551 Fat 35.5g Fat(sats) 20.9g Carbs 47.2g (per 100.0g)

In true blink and you'll miss it style, Thorntons have been celebrating their 'Chocolate Jubilee' 100th birthday this year. Indeed for such an amazing feat they have gone about telling everyone in a very underwhelming fashion - as a marketeer I can't help but see the missed opportunity they had here! Anyway, as part of their understated celebrations they have been releasing a few limited editions to their square bars range - the latest being this Bakewell Tart flavour. I first tasted this chocolate back in February when I was the recipient of some pre-samples courtesty of of one of Thornton's' PR agencies. Ever since this time I'd been really looking forward to writing this review - Thorntons were on to something here!

As with all Thorntons limited editions this one came in a 80.0g size and it took me the best part of three sittings for me to finish it. Colour wise the packaging was all sensible and nice looking; Thorntons really are starting to run out of colours for these square bars though, they are going to have to repackage them soon if they are to avoid it starting to get confusing. The chocolate blocks themselves were styled in the usual block format though when broken apart there were tiny specs of red fruits and biscuits clearly visible.

The most immediately striking thing about this chocolate that I noticed both times I tried it was that the chocolates' aromas were very strong, and really set the Bakewell Tart flavour experience up nicely. The 37.0% cocoa milk chocolate at the heart of the bar was on the whole enjoyable in it's own right with it's honey noted milky flavours, however it really just acted as an unfussy 'carrier' chocolate for the Bakewell Tart elements. From the very first to the very last piece, it was the almond, biscuit and dried raspberry contents which dominated the taste and boy did they achieve the Bakewell Tart taste superbly. Quite frankly this was what a Bakewell Tart flavoured chocolate would taste like in it's ideal form - they couldn't have achieved the flavour creation they set out to make any better. There were elements of red berry fruit, buttery nut and even a pastry like flavour input that created a sensationally engaging and ever developing taste. On a minor note, texturally this bar wasn't ideal as the fruit seed particles from the dried raspberry created a bitty, unecessary roughness to the mouth feel. I'm sure some may think the contrary and that it adds to the authenticity to this fantastic tasting offering.

Overall this was a delicious chocolate that achieved it's proposed flavour expertly. As I stated above, if you ever wanted to create a chocolate that was Bakewell Tart flavoured, this is exactly how you would go about it. The Bakewell Tart experience was executed about as well as possible, with the only real drawback for me being the texture of the melt which at times was far from ideal with the rough feeling seeds. Looking over at Dom's review on Chocablog (See HERE) our thoughts on this chocolate were largely consistent so I'm quietly confident that my own displeasure at the seed issue isn't me being overly fussy. If we are talking purely taste I honestly can't recommend this chocolate enough - even more so if you are a fan of Bakewell Tarts generally. For all their failings communicating their 100 year birthday they haven't half created a delicious chocolate here.

8.4 out of 10

Monday, 29 August 2011

August 29th: Mars Triple Choc (UK)

Kcal 233 Fat 9.0g Fat(sats) 4.6g Carbs 30.3g

Before I kick off the review today I have to give a big shout out to ChocolateMission reader Alan who's beady eyes found this Mars Triple Choc bar selling in his local store before Mars could even get their press release out (See HERE). Indeed Alan contacted me last week informing me of the launch of this new limited edition Mars Triple Choc bar. When I first heard the news I was pretty pleased considering we hadn't had any sort of 'new news' for our UK Mars bar for a very, very long time. The only real marketing adapatations we had seen in the last couple of years were the limited time 'England' wrappers which were made available during last years ill-fated world cup campaign :D I still believe they are trying to flog some of them off now haha!

This new Triple Choc variety comes in a 52.0g form that weighs just a little less than your average original Mars bar (58.0g). I have to admit the size difference was totally unnoticeable for me and I only realised there was a discrepancy when I started doing this write up. Suffice to say it is typical Mars though to pull a bit of a sneaky one making their limited editions smaller than the normal bars - they have been doing this for years on their Snickers brand. Aesthetically everything looked in order, with the sensibly coloured with a tri-brown colour scheme. The bar itself looked appeared very little different from usual, however the caramel was a noticeably darker in shade.

On the wrapper the bar came described as 'Tasty chocolate nougat and delicious chocolate caramel covered in thick milk chocolate'. Do you know what!? That's exactly what we got :D Getting straight to the point this bar differed very little aside from it's contribution of flavour from the chocolate caramel layer. The sweet milky Mars chocolate that coated the bar was it's all too familiar self and melted at a nice pace revealing the dual layer of nougat and caramel below. Just as consistently, the nougat at the base of the bar was dense in texture and established a nice pleasant malty chocolate flavour base for every mouthful. Portioned just the same as the usual caramel (27%), the chocolate caramel nicely moistened the potentially dry nougat and yielded with the same soft chew. In terms of flavours the layer was differentiated from the norm and had brought about more of a sweet syrupy taste rather than a toasted buttery salt licked focus. In terms of hunger fulfilment this Triple Choc offering did the same job as the standard bar, though I did find consuming the whole thing an experience that was verging on being a little sickly.

Overall this was bar that I enjoyed reviewing and I'm glad that Mars UK have made efforts to bring a little interest bar to one of their core bars. As you can see from the final score it didn't turn out to be a bar that I ultimately preferred over the original, however It was still more than pleasant and I would happily have one as a very close alternative if the standard bar were not available for any reason. My own personal preference for the original was driven out of the desire for the buttery saltness of the normal caramel. As a pairing with the sweet chocolate and nougat I think the standard golden caramel really takes some beating, and the sweeter tasting chocolate caramel here was just a little less to my liking. If you are a fan of the original Mars then this one well worth a try. I can't promise you will prefer it but it's always nice to give something new a go once and awhile.

8.7 out of 10

Saturday, 27 August 2011

August 27th: '7 Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 85 - Kellogg's Pop Tarts Vanilla Milkshake

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

From my viewpoint it's been another great week for the site with some interesting feedback once again from you all on the reviews. The Hotel Chocolat Coffee Truffles Monday divided opinion (and brought some criticism on myself!), whilst the Lindt Lindor Milk bar attracted some interesting discussion on the bar vs truffle chocolate debate. The new recipe 3 Musketeers bar was a little less relevant for UK readers, though you guys should be aware these things are never as far out of your reach as you might think (nudge towards AmericanSoda).

This week has been yet another hectic on for me at the day job though that hasn't stopped me being able to write up Snack of the Week which you can see below. The Chocolate News has also been updated so please be sure to get your eyes across the breaking news this week (and last haha I know I was late putting it up Sunday!).

Next week I haven't quite worked out the review laydown, though I'm sure there will be something from Hotel Chocolat, a 'Bits n Bobs' and maybe, just maybe, something special from one of the big cheese chocolate bar makers (watch this space).

Have great long weekends folks. Enjoy the bank holiday Monday.

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

Kellogg's Pop Tarts Ice Cream Shoppe Vanilla Milkshake
Kcal 190 Fat 5.0g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 34.0g

As you will have likely have guessed from my 3 Musketeers redux review yesterday, American Soda have been at it again, and they spoilt me with yet another big box full of American snacks and sweets. The chaps (& chapesses) at www.AmericanSoda.co.uk seem to happy to see me working my way the Kellogg's US Pop Tart range. Considering we only get the two variants here in the UK (Chocolate & Strawberry), it never ceases to amaze me quite how many flavours they have in America. This week has seen me trialing the Vanilla Milkshake variety.

Before anyone posts a comments asking a) What an Ice Cream Shoppe is? or b) Why they spell 'Shoppe' like they do? Please save it as I'm none the wiser myself. Described as 'Creamy vanilla milkshake-flavored filling inside a frosted, rainbow sprinkle-covered crust' the packaging bodly stated these were a 'A good source of calcium'! Hmmm milk anyone!? Out the packet these looked reasonably appetising, though once toasted they didn't radiate the usual amount of appetising scents that are normally a given with Pop Tarts. Unfortunately this was a little indicative of the taste, which in parallel offered very little in terms of the expected vanilla or cream flavours. After a little experimentation I found that these were better consumed chilled from the fridge, as the pastry portion established a stronger biscuity taste amongst the sugar sweet dominant frosting. Personally I wouldn't recommend this flavour - It's lucky there are another twenty or so to choose from :D

6.0 out of 10

You can buy Pop Tarts HERE HERE at AmericanSoda

CHOCOLATE NEWS

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Friday, 26 August 2011

August 26th: 3 Musketeers - (Original Post February 26th 2008)

Kcal 260 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 46.0g

A few weeks ago the kind people from Mars US sent me an e-mail asking if I would like to sample their new formulated 3 Musketeers bar. Sitting in a comfortable joint third position on the ChocolateMission leaderboard there wasn't a chance I was ever going to let this opportunity slip me by so I of course accepted without hesitation.

The marketing blurb that accompanied my samples informed me that the new recipe 'adds more satisfying chocolate taste to the delicious nougat and with 45% less fat than average of the leading chocolate brands'. Looking at the nutritional information and ingrdients list there were surprisingly no changes from the original recipe that had been in market previously. As you will see from my cross-section picture above the first actual noticeable different was the darker coloured nougat.

So did I notice any difference to the taste? Well the outer chocolate was no different whatsoever, it was still milky sweet standard Mars chocolate. The nougat inside was a little differentiated from previous experiences, though not so much so that it made me feel any differently about the 3 Musketeers for better, or worse. As nougat goes it was still exceedingly tasty and it's chocolatey taste was still just as creamy as I'd ever experienced. On the balance of things it was possibly a touch less sweet and smoother in delivery of it's chocolatey flavours, however like I said above it wasn't all that noticeable.

Overall my review from three years ago remains still my relevant in my eyes, and I still hold the 3 Musketeers bar as one of my all time favourite mass produced chocolate bars. As I have referred to above, the change in recipe is obviously quite a minor thing and wasn't significant enough to shift my opinion on the product. There might have been a day when a brand making a fuss like this on such minor changes would irritate me, but when the bar tasted as good as it did orignally anyway I'm happy to stick by the way of thinking of why fix something that doesn't need changing.

9.3 out of 10




Kcal 260 Fat 8.0g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 46.0g

This is a hugely popular bar in the States, and it came with quite a big reputation ... suffice to say I had been really looking forward to reviewing it. The standard 3 Musketeers bar weighs in 60.4g and I must say it really does satisfy a rumbling stomach. The wrapper looks superb with it's bright silver foil, and it claims it contains 45% less fat than other comparative 60g bars. This may be true, but what one can't ignore is the very high level of carbs (46g of which 40g sugars), it sure packs one big sugar hit! In composition the bar is very similar to the Milky Way bar we have in the UK and comes described as 'chocolate flavoured nougat covered in milk chocolate'.

Now, I have complained about nougat bars being stodgy and flavourless before (see Reese's Fast Break), however this was thankfully not the case here. The nougat felt delightful in the mouth and was very fluffy and light, and melted on the tongue with a real softness delivering a fine malty chocolate taste as did so. The chocolate coating wasn't anything overly spectacular, but it more than did it's job of delivering a sweet milky chocolate flavour hit. Considering that it was never going to be the best quality chocolate around, it was really quite nice in comparison to other mass manufactured US bars. Most importantly it complimented the inner nougat amazingly, making for a sublime creamy milk chocolate and malt flavour combination. I savoured the entire 64.0g from start to finish.

Overall this was definitely the best bar I have ever had from the US. I honestly don’t think I could choose it over the Cadburys/Galaxy Caramel bars, which still lead the way on the ChocolateMission, but it is certainly in the same league. In terms of recommendations, I would suggest that if you are a fan of the UK MilkyWay this would be a bar you would really enjoy. I am really looking forward to reviewing the 3 Musketeers mint, which should be on its way to me in the very near future. In the mean time do yourself a favour and buy one of these original 3 Musketeers - you wont regret it.

9.3 out of 10


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

August 24th: Lindt Lindor Milk

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

Having now tried every Lindt Lindor truffle flavour under the sun, yesterday I thought it was about time to try the bar version of the range. Indeed I found this Lindt Lindor Milk chocolate tablet in my local Sainsburys for the sum of £1.99 making it a more economical option versus the small packets of truffles you usually get for 99p. On the packaging this bar was described as 'milk chocolate with a smooth-melting filling' and it certainly had high standards to live up to considering the original Lindt Lindor truffles scored a pretty hefty 8.5 out of 10 - for links to all my Lindor reviews See HERE.

This product came in a 150.0g tablet that was sectioned in to 24 seperate blocks in a 3x8 format. When you think of Lindt chocolates bars I guess the first thing that springs to mind is the Excellence selection which is traditionally presented in sophisticated looking black and white packaging. Well Lindt chose to do things a little differently here and as you can see above this Lindor bar was wrapped in a brighter looking red packet with white coloured trim. Personally I thought it still looked pretty smart and I was glad to see that the inner chocolate was familiar looking with the Lindt logo branded across all of the blocks. In regards to smell the chocolate I must admit the chocolate wasn't quite as strong or distinctive smelling as previous Lindt offerings though there were still pleasant enough sweet dairy suggestions.

If I had rated this bar on the first few blocks I tried I would probably have scored it far worse as it took a few helpings before I really felt like I was tasting a chocolate anywhere near Lindt's usual quality. Elaborating on this further my initial reaction to the very first few blocks I tried was that this was a very fast melting chocolate that didn't offer up a great deal of flavour. Indeed just like the Lindor truffles the centre filling of the blocks was extremely smooth and fast melting on the tongue, however unlike the centre of Lindor truffles it offered up little or nothing in terms of flavour. Thankfully the more blocks of this I ate the more I felt like I was getting from the outer milk chocolate, and I did eventually feel like I was getting a fair degree of milky cocoa flavours. Admittedly these flavours were all too short lived for my liking and I quite easily ate 50.0g without taking a great deal of satisfaction from it. Personally I felt that this bar not only lacked the depth of flavour of the truffle equivalents but also the certain prestige factor that comes with the truffle format.

Overall I don't think it takes a genius to work out I was disappointed by this Lindt offering and it isn't often I say that now is it! This chocolate had one major issue and that was the fact that it offered up only a fraction of the flavour that the equivalent Lindor truffles do. Whilst it did have the same silky smooth feeling centre it failed to retain the same depth in taste and I just didn't feel that the cream flavours were as pronounced as you usually get with Lindt milk chocolate. To be honest I can't see a single reason why you would want to swap the usual Lindt Lindor Truffles for this blocked version. They simply don't look as good, don't taste as good and basically don't have that special truffle feel that you get in abundance with the originals. If someone offers you this bar as a present I wouldn't turn your nose up at it but at the same time I wouldn't go choosing it over the traditional Lindor truffles.

7.1 out of 10

Monday, 22 August 2011

August 22nd: Hotel Chocolat Coffee Truffles

It's Monday so we all know what that means! Yes indeed the 'spotlight' is back on Hotel Chocolat - apologies I know it's too early in the week for cheesey puns :D Dipping in to the new 'Spotlight On' range again, today I'm posting my review of these Coffee Truffles. I'm starting to think Hotel Chocolat may have just designed this new line of boxed chocolates entirely around my own favourite flavour combinations, as they have managed to cover off my two favourite ones in what is only a line consisting of eight variants. The Salted Caramels I tried a few weeks ago were flawlessly executed - I was expecting similar things here.

As I mentioned in the last 'Spotlight On' review the range is line priced at £13.00 a box. These truffles were formatted a little differently to the Salted Caramels as they came in a 165.0g box consisting of 14 truffles. Suffice to say, between myself and my Old Man this was more than enough for us to spread our taste testing over a week - generally consuming them alongside our post meal coffees. In fear of me boring you all with my repetition, I needn't say anything more about the packaging and presentation other than it was again heralded as mega classy by one and all.

These truffles came described as 'Cappuccino balanced with the flavours of deep tasting, super smooth, milk chocolate truffle'. On the face of things they looked a lot like some of the chocolates from previous Hotel Chocolat selections. In terms of aromas these truffles emanated strong roasted coffee scents as soon as they outer cellophane wrapper was removed - boy did they smell sensational. Each piece was suitably edible in two bites - best served from the fridge. The outer chocolate was a bit of a halfway house between dark and milk - I would hazard a guess at a 50.0% cocoa recipe!? Whatever, it created a delightful cracking sound when bitten in to and then proceeded to melt like a dream when left on the tongue before transitioning to the even softer filling which lay inside. Flavour wise the coffee element was evident from the outset, with a strong roasted bean influence beautifully combining with the rich, fresh tasting cocoa flavours immediately. The inner filling did little to progress the taste aside from adding supplementary cream tones, though it's sensational mouth feel creation was not to be denied - glorious.

Overall I was expecting great things from Hotel Chocolat again and I thankfully wasn't denied. These truffles were both delicious and satisfying - you can't really ask for anything more than that. The chocolate was unsurprisingly of an outstanding quality, whilst the coffee element was integrated seamlessly to create flowing smooth truffle experience. For my taste the coffee influence was just about the perfect strength - a little richer than your average cappuccino/latte experience but not overly so like an excessive espresso shot which undoubtedly would have masked the contribution of the chocolate. With this americano like coffee strength, this ultimately made for some of the best tasting coffee chocolates I've tried. I can't recommend them enough to fans of this particular flavour genre. Another gold star for the book of Hotel Chocolat.

9.2 out of 10

Saturday, 20 August 2011

August 20th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 84 - Cadbury Twirl Mini Bites + Kit Kat Mini Pop Chocs

SITE UPDATE

Hi All,

After last weeks uproar when I said I was stopping the weekend comments you will be glad to hear that I have reconsidered my decision. Please feel free to throw in your two pennies worth on the review today, I've even made SOTW extra special today by giving you all a heads-up on not one, but two, yes TWO of the snacks that have made it down my gob this week.

The week may have died off in terms of the high scores with the Prestat bars and most of 'Bits & Bobs' on Wednesday and Friday, but lets not forget how brilliantly Hotel Chocolat kicked off proceedings with their Hotel Chocolat Le Grand Crunch offering (See HERE).

There's not much else to report ChocolateMission side, but please be sure to check out the news page (See HERE) as there have been several interesting product announcements this week

I hope you all have great weekends. Bring on the sunshine!

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

The two products taking centre stage in my 'Snack of the Week' are two of the latest market releases from our UK confectionery behemoths Cadbury & Nestle. Due to these 'New products' being so alike their original concepts I didn't it necessary to attribute them with scores. I thought you guys might just appreciate some photos of what they are and the details on where I got them. You can see my original Cadbury Twirl review (HERE) and my Kit Kat Pop Choc review (HERE)

Cadbury Twirl Bites
Kcal 220 Fat 12.5g Fat(sats) 7.7g Carbs 23.1g (per 1/4 bag)

First up we have these Cadbury Twirl Bites. After hearing the their trade announcement (See HERE) last month I found these on sale in my local Co-Op on a BOGOF offer for £2.09. These went down terrifically well with all parties that I dished them out to at work. Suffice to say both packets were polished off in double quick time - warning they are very, very moreish!

Kit Kat Pop Choc Mini Bag
Kcal 109 Fat 6.3g Carbs 11.4gg (per 9 pieces)
Another snack that has been doing the rounds in our office these week are the new Kit Kat Pop Choc Mini bags. Indeed Nestle have followed up the original large sized pouches with these conveniently sized 40.0g packs. The person who bought these in somehow managed to acquire what must have been 10+ bags, but like the Twirl Mini Bites above the office locust soon made mincemeat of them :D

You know I'm always keen to hear what you guys are recommending/getting your lips around this week. Drop me a line I'm interested to hear from you.

CHOCOLATE NEWS

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Friday, 19 August 2011

August 19th: Prestat Choxi+ 70% / Dark Chocolate with Stem Ginger


"Choxi+ is an exceptional chocolate that's naturally good for you - a truly positive indulgence" ... those are the words you are greeted with if you log on to Prestat's website. If you are reader of my '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' posts you probably be familiar with my ongoing joke of finding news articles that talk about 'health benefits' associated with chocolate. I have to admit that I just cant buy in to the idea at all - I'm stubborn in my views that chocolate is one of those things that can never be classed as a 'healthy food' and should be eaten as a treat or indulgence. Despite my scepticism Choxi+ was still a brand that intrigued me, and granted it was more the proposition that caught my attention rather than the garish looking packaging.

After seeing them whilst browsing the shelves of my local Waitrose, I decided to give both of these dark chocolate varieties a try - one plain 70% bar, and the other flavoured with Stem Ginger. As I have mentioned above the wrappers weren't to my liking, and I didn't think they did a very good job of reaffirming the premium price proposition, they both looked a little cheap and tacky to me. To make matters worse when I opened both bars the chocolate inside had dusty, bloomed surfaces which sapped my confidence of the product quality even more. Below are my thoughts on each variety.


Prestat Choxi+ 70% Dark Chocolate - Kcal 514 Fat 39.5g Fat(sats) 24.8g Carbs 29.7g (per 100.0g)

Although it may sound strong to the average chocolate consumer, 70% cocoa is a recipe that has seen a lot of success on this site (check out Lindt, Hotel Chocolat etc) so I had my fingers crossed this Prestat offering could hang with the big boys. Cutting right the chase the taste test went on to prove that this was simply just not the case. Just as the appearance of the chocolate suggested the melt was lazy and transcended in a slow, chalky dry fashion. In comparison to the textures the taste wasn't quite as poor, but it suffered as a consequence as the flavour generation was equally slow to develop. The eventual taste was surprisingly mild given the strength of the chocolate, and the unsweetened cocoa flavours were largely forgettable and lacking in definition. On a positive note the aftertaste did have a welcome suggestion of vanilla, however this did little to heighten my overall enjoyment.


Prestat Choxi+ Dark Chocolate with Stem Ginger - Kcal 485 Fat 34.0g Fat(sats) 21.4g Carbs 36.3g (per 100.0g)

Having been totally and completely uninspired by the previous dark chocolate offering it would have been all to easy to settle in to a way of thinking that this Stem Ginger flavoured bar was going to be equally as bad. Well I'm glad to say it wasn't as poor as the plain 70% offering above, but being frank it was still a hell of a way off being a good quality dark chocolate. As you will see in the photo above this bar had small bits of orange ginger distributed throughout the bar. The portioning may not look overly generous, but the ginger flavours came through quite strongly which thankfully gave the bar the desired flavour dimension that the one above was so severely lacking. Once again the cocoa flavours were mild and not as flavoursome as desired, but the ginger did somewhat make up for this with it's sweet and spicy play on the taste.

Overall I was pretty disappointed with both of these chocolates and with health benefit guff aside they were fundamentally just not the quality I was hoping they would be. The textures and mouthfeel that both these chocolates generated was pretty poor in comparison to the likes of Lindt, Hotel Chocolat, Galler etc - all those brands manage to make chocolates that almost caress your mouth and really feel great in their transition of state. Prestat can talk about the health benefits of their cocoa until the cows come home, but the flavour generation within their dark chocolate here was poor, and certainly not up to scratch with any of those brands I have just mentioned. It is never nice to have to write a review that is so downcast and negative about any brand, but I just cannot recommend you buy these chocolates under any circumstances. It would be great to hear some second opinions on these, as I know Prestat is a brand that normally associated with very high quality produce - why not tell me what you think.

Prestat Choxi+ 70% Dark Chocolate - 5.6 out of 10
Prestat Choxi+ Dark Chocolate with Stem Ginger - 7.0 out of 10

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

August 17th: 'Bits n Bobs' Chocolate Cakes, Biscuits, & Brownies

Here a few random 'Bits n Bobs' that I have eaten over the last few months and felt compelled to give a ChocolateMission rating. For those new to the 'Bits n Bobs' format, let me inform you that these posts contain multiple, short snappy product reviews. Be sure to let me know whether you agree/disagree with any of the ratings I've dished out.

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Jacob's Club Chocolate Cake Bars - Kcal 98 Fat 5.2g Fat(sats) 2.5g Carbs 11.7g
'Moist sponge cake with a chocolate flavoured cream, covered in smooth chocolate'

"If you like a lot of chocolate on your cake bar" .... then don't buy Jacob's Club Chocolate Cake Bars :D Haha I don't think Jacob's will ever be using that line on any further media communication but it was sadly the reality of the situation.

I bought these cake bars from a OneStop convenience store priced on a £1.00 promotional deal for a pack of ten. I guess you could say the price was pretty much the only thing these had going for them, however retrospectively thinking I would have much rather have spent £1.00 on several other of the round pound deals going on in store. So what was wrong with them!? The outer chocolate was flimsy, thin and poorly flavoured just like the inner sponger and chocolate cream layers. The sponge was especially disappointing with it's light as air texture and relative tastelessness. The chocolate cream took the highly sugary milk flavours of the outer chocolate and failed to do anything with them in a way of taste progression. I would avoid if I were you.

4.6 out of 10


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GU Brownie - Kcal 178 Fat 10.7g Fat(sats) 5.7g Carbs 20.0g (2/3rds of a brownie)
'Chocolate brownie with pecan nuts'

This was always going to be more of a FYI (for your information) post rather than a whole new product review - those of you with long term memories may recall my reviewing GU Brownies back in September (See HERE).

I thought you guys ought to be made aware that these brownies are now available in 60.0g individual packs, this one cost me £1.00 in Sainsbury's. Taste wise this was unsurprisingly exactly as it was all those months ago with the dark chocolate cakey, doughy base nice complimented by the buttery nutty goodness of the inner pecans. What with this brownie being 60.0g in size the whole thing was very rich to eat in the single sitting. This was a feat I didn't quite manage and consumed it by nibbling away at it throughout a working day on my desk. Like I said before, this isn't the best brownie in the world but If you like them it's a decent option as a quick fix.

7.8 out of 10


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McVitie's Temptations Belgian Milk Chocolate Praline - Kcal 50 Fat 2.8g Fat(sats) 1.3g Carbs 5.8g (per biscuit)
'Bite sized biscuits topped with hazelnut and chocolate cream, covered in Belgian milk chocolate'

Working in a busy office environment the turnover of biscuits can reach extraordinary levels and there is always a wide variety on offer in our tea making area. One of the more commonly featuring biscuits these past few weeks have been these new McVitie's Temptations - unsurprising given they are currently being heavily promoted at the magic £1.00 a pack biscuit introductory offer pretty much everywhere.

For the review today I thought I would feature this praline variant as it was the one I was hearing most positive things about. Although I should have probably guessed from the nutritional information and on-pack description, I was really quite surprised at just how small each biscuit was. To me it made no sense packaging them in twos - these alone wouldn't settle the smallest of stomach rumbles. These grumblings about the size are probably more frustrating as they actually taste rather nice. Although the presence of the hazelnut in the chocolate made the chocolate a little slimey and waxy feeling in the mouth, it tasted pleasant and the woody nuty influence of the nuts were complimentary of the sugary cocoa flavours. What with the biscuit being nice and buttery I really couldn't complain about the level of flavour creation despite the small size. I would happily say give them a try if they tickle your fancy.

7.1 out of 10


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The Fabulous Bakin' Boys Coconut Star - Kcal 320 Fat 16.1g Fat(sats) 15.0g Carbs 41.1g
'Star shaped chocolate and coconut flavoured macaroon'

This was one hefty cake I tell you! I'm not too sure of the actual catch-weight of the thing, but to say it felt heavy in hand would be somewhat understating the matter. You may also wish to take note of the saturated fat content stated above - yes indeed those NI values are for just one cake and that is no typo! I'm not one for usually caring too much about these things but at 15.0g of saturated fat for a single cake I wouldn't promote these being a 'one-a-day' snack :D

On to more important matters - the taste. It's a delight for me to report that when I ate this cake alongside a hot chocolate late at night I loved every bite of it. I've had a few hit-and-miss flirtations with the FBB range, but these Coconut Stars get a ChocolateMission thumbs up. The cake base was very dense and perhaps a little on the dry side on the outer crust, however the inner portion was a delightful treat of moist cakey coconut flavours. Despite the chocolate drizzle appearing to be criminally thin, the sheepish looking underside coating was surprisingly forthcoming in with it's unsweetened chocolatey flavours and counter balanced the sweet, sugary coconut inner contents rather splendidly. Coconut treats are few and far between here in the UK - this is a nice option for those that enjoy them.

7.6 out of 10

Monday, 15 August 2011

August 15th: Hotel Chocolat Le Grand Crunch Dark

It's been such a great summer of outstanding chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, it's easy to forget that all this time in the background they have also been making new additions to their standard range. Don't you go worrying yourselves ChocolateMission fanatics, luckily for you Hotel Chocolat have sent me a few samples of their latest chocolate slabs - suffice to say I'm all over it :D The first one of these new slabs I will be showing you today is one called Le Grand Crunch Dark. This slab is available both instore and online - the latter of which you can See HERE.

As time goes by Hotel Chocolat seem to be getting increasingly generous with the samples they send across to me. They must be pleased with the nice things that generally appear in my conclusions as they were so kind to send me this one in it's 500.0g form. There was plenty to go around, and many second/third/fourth opinions offered to me from my family and friends. Packaging wise this slab came in a single layered thick paper based like folder. It wasn't the most conventional material for keeping the chocolate fresh (a potential issue for the more greedy person!), however this wasn't a problem for me as aforemenioned I shared this amongst many a friend.

On the packaging this chocolate came billed as 'Dark chocolates blended with pieces of feuilletine, decorated with solid milk chocolate domes and milk chocolate drizzles'. Removing the seal at the back, it became immediatedly apparent that this was going to be one heck of a tasty chocolate. The rich cocoa scents that filled the air when the chocolate was removed were incredible. The chocolate smells were so incredibly forthcoming and indicative of the taste that confidence in it's quality were never in doubt. Breaking my first piece off and placing it on my tongue I was straight away treated to a lovely set of earthy, coffee noted dark chocolate flavours. These rich, unsweetned cocoa flavours strong, yet never ventured in to the world of bitterness due to an ever present fresh double cream taste. The cream flavours were increasing prevelent amongst the chunks I had where there were the sold milk chocolate balls. This sensational taste was complimented by an equally impressive mouthfeel, with the miniescule pancake particles surprisingly not upsetting the smooth melt of the chocolate, but more leaving a nice biscuitty aftertaste for every mouthful.

Overall this might not sound like one of Hotel Chocolat's most exciting propositions, but if you are looking for a kind flavoured dark chocolate offering from Hotel Chocolat then you needn't look any further. The sound of 70.0% dark chocolate may put some folk off trying this Le Grand Crunch Dark, but I think that to be a real shame as this is not a chocolate I felt ever bore a taste that I would deem excessively strong or threatening to an in experienced dark chocolate consumer. When I first read about the 'bolt-on' elements to this slab, I have to admit I really wasn't too impressed. The truffle balls sounded like they might be ineffectual on the taste, whilst the panacake pieces struck me as the sort of thing that could ruin the free flow melt texture. I shouldn't of feared as both were highly complimentry to the dark chocolate and total experience. The record may sound like it's broken, but I refuse to apologise as I can't deny being truthful about quality when I come across it - highly recommended.

8.9 out of 10

Saturday, 13 August 2011

August 13th: '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' - Edition 83 - Kellogg's Pop Tarts Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon

SITE UPDATE + COMPETITION WINNERS

Hi All,

Welcome back to '7days of Chocolate Reviews'. I have a few announcements starting with our competition winners from last weeks Thorntons Cloudy Lemonade draw. The Three winners are ....

Claire Snowey from York
Ian Lesbitt from Worthing
Colin Sanders from Maccesfield

Congratulations to all of these guys who correctly identified the three bars as the Twix Fino, Cadbury Starbar and Kinder Bueno White. Your chocolate is in the post, please let us all know what you think of it.

My second announcement is that for the minute I will be disabling comments from the weekend post. Unfortunately as things are comment moderation isn't something I can adhere to doing at the weekends. If you wish to contact me at the weekend you have these options ...

1. Via e-mail - Jim[@]Chocolatemission.net
2. Via the News Page (See HERE)3. Via Twitter @ChocMission
I hope you enjoyed the reviews this week - there are changes coming to the site :D Stay tuned!

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 weekKellogg's Pop Tarts Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon
Kcal 200 Fat 7.0g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 34.0g

Snack of the Week makes a triaumphant return today with the product of focus once again supplied by the merry folk over at www.AmericanSoda.co.uk Yes indeed this week my usual cereal based breakfast was again replaced by a Kellogg's Pop Tart variety - Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon.

At first I have to admit to being a little scpetical about this flavour. My common complaint with Pop Tarts in the past have been that they have been overly sweet and sickly. The explicit call out of brown sugar in the product name itself had me a little a cautious, however it was to prove to surprisnly inconsequential in the taste. The toaster pastries might not have looked as exciting without any icing, but believe me they smelt gorgeous once toasted and filled my kitchen with sweet, freshly baked pastry scents. Taste wise these also get a thumbs up. Without the icing, the outer pastry had a saltier, more savoury emphasis and this contrasted beautifuly with the sweet, slightly spiced centre. Unlike most Pop Tarts I felt more than happy eating these two at a time so collectivelly they came across as a pretty satisfing breakfast. As Pop Tarts go I would rank these up there amongst my favourite flavours.

8.0 out of 10

You can buy Pop Tarts HERE HERE at AmericanSoda

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Friday, 12 August 2011

August 12th: 'Bits n Bobs' Chocolate Biscuit Superpost # 2

Earlier this year I broke my all time promise of not reviewing chocolate biscuits and opened the floodgates for several reader requests to come my way. It may have taken me a while to do, but I took all of your suggestions seriously and with the aid of my work colleagues have slowly but surely made my way round the supermarket biscuit shelves. Below are some very short, concise reviews on numerous different chocolate biscuits that were suggested to me. I hope you enjoy the photos etc. I may regret saying this but again if you have any further suggestions please send them through.

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McVitie's Caramel Chocolate Digestives
Kcal 80 Fat 4.0g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 5.0g (per biscuit)

It was an education to learn of the existence of these but given my love of caramel chocolate it was an offering I certainly had no qualms trying out. The 300.0g pack cost me £1.40 in my local Tesco - on a £/Kg basis these were at a price premium versus standard McVitie's Chocolate Digestives.

In size these Caramel Digestives were smaller in hand at around two thirds the stature of the normal digestives. I was hoping the that the caramel integration was going to involve some sort of liquidy centre, however I was to be disappointed by more a chewy toffee like substance that ran between the thin chocolate layer and the biscuit base. Ultimately the caramel layer was more disappointing than it was poor, it was fine for what it was, but it only offered an extra added dose of sweetness to the taste which negated the usual saltiness of the biscuit to a degree. Not horrible, but not a pack of biscuits I would rush out and buy again.

6.8 out of 10


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Mcvitie's Quirks Chocolate And Hazelnut
Kcal 61 Fat 4.0g Fat(sats) 1.0g Carbs 4.0g (per biscuit)

The majority of the reviews today are ones that have been asked for by readers but these new McVitie's Quirks first caught the eye when I saw them announced in the trade back in July - See HERE. You got to love the marketing spiel: "Our research has shown this launch will be accepted extremely well by consumers" ... oh really now eh :D

I bought these again in Tesco on an introductory £1.00 offer - this got me a pack of about 16 biscuits that had a catch-weight of 175.0g. In terms of packaging and presentation everything to me cam across as very lazily designed. The outer foil wrapper was overly plain and simplistic (boring!!!), whilst the unbranded biscuits themselves looked horrendously generic and unexciting. Taste-wise these tested a little better than they looked. The biscuit portion offered a generic set of floury, sugar noted flavours, though the inner hazelnut hinted chocolate cream at least went some way to taking them on further and adding a little more interest. These biscuits were 'accepted extremely' averagely by this consumer :D

6.6 out of 10


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Fox's Melts Chocolate Vienesse
Kcal 83 Fat 4.9g Fat(sats) 2.9g Carbs 8.8g (per biscuit)

According to a good few people who fedback after my classic chocolate biscuit bits and bob post, Chocolate Vienesse biscuits were a shocking absentee from my original selection. Personally I wouldn't bracket them in alongside those all time greats, though I was more than happy to give them a ChocolateMission airing.

Chocolate Vienesse come ten-a-penny in this country so I wasn't lacking options when it came to choosing which to review. I was initially keen on the the Marks & Spencer ones, though I thought I would settle for the ones I think the British public know best, which are these made by Fox's. The current packaging and presentation was all fair from my perspective though, I did get a niggling sense that the size of the biscuits had been slimmed down since I last had them. Taste wise nothing seemed out of place with the buttery shortcake like biscuit a nice light foil for the inner sticky layer of milk chocolate. The chocolate cut through in the taste was of a sound quality, however the light biscuit and chocolate flavour hit were both a little short-lived for my liking compared to other more substantial biscuits reviewed recently.

7.2 out of 10


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Mcvitie's Hobnobs Medley Caramel Milk Chocolate
Kcal 134 Fat 4.8g Fat(sats) 2.1g Carbs 20.9g (per bar)

I know this isn't strictly a chocolate biscuit but hey the rules are pretty lax around here :D The McVitie's Hobnobs Medley bars have been out for almost a year and I since that time I have tried all three of the original flavours - Raisin (HERE), Hazelnut (HERE) and Peanut (HERE). In April 2011, McVitie's announced they would be bring a £2m advertising campaign to further push the Medley range (HERE).

If you read that article above you will notice there was no mention made of this new Caramel Milk Chocolate flavour which I found in my local Sainsbury's store. As far as I'm aware this flavour has replaced the Peanut one, though it wasn't as if that flavour had great distribution anyway. In construct this bar was a mirror image of the others in that it was an oat and wheat flake bases bar which was fused with a sticky honey tasting like glaze. On the underside of the bar a caramel flavoured chocolate was coated reasonably thickly and provided a better than fair chocolatey taste that did indeed have a little hint of buttery syrup to it. Cereal bars aren't a snack of choice for me all that often but I would happily have one of these again.

7.7 out of 10

 

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