June 18th: Bits n Bobs June 2012

I'm sure you guys know the deal by now with these Bits n Bobs posts now - short, quick, snapshot reviews of products I've come across on my day-to-day living. I hope you enjoy them and please if you have any requests, musings or inquiries ... hit me on the JCM Twitter feed @Chocmission

Kate's Cakes Caramel Slice
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

As well as documenting the latest and greatest in the Chocosphere I like to keep my eye on what is happening in the cakes market and recently I've noticed the emergence of new brand gaining distribution in our biggest UK supermarkets. In the last few weeks I've come across a new range of cakes from a manufacture called 'Kate's Cakes' - a company who claim they 'make and bake in small batches using only free range egg and carefully selected non GM ingredients'. I'll be totally honest - I couldn't care less what type of eggs or ingredients they use, I was more drawn to them because they were promising me 'all butter shortbread with a luxurious caramel layer, topped with thick milk chocolate' aka their Caramel Slice :-D With such a tough comparable product from Heavenly Cakes to live up to (See HERE), I guess it gives you some indication of how good I thought it was given the scores I've attributed. For the £0.75 I payed for this I thought it was up there with some of the better mass produced caramel slices I've tried. The biscuit was just how I liked it - with it's buttery, sweet, salt hinted flavours all packaged in a party of textures ranging from the crunchy outside to a soft, crumbly middle. The caramel layer was perhaps not quite on the level of other alternatives as it was just a touch grainy and sugary, however the chocolate was of a fair standard and brought a creamier focus to the heavy sugar intensive taste of the other two layers. Would I recommend Kate's Cakes Caramel Slice!? Well put it this way - they aren't life changing but I don't think you will be left feeling unsatisfied.I'll park by bum firmly on the fence for the minute, I think more research is needed :-D

7.2 out of 10

Maryland Great British Summer Big & Chunky Cookies

Kcal 123 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 3.3g Carbs 15.8g (per cookie)

Summer has certainly kicked in here in the UK in the last few weeks with some glorious weather seen up and down the country. Before I curse us all and call it a 'Great British Summer', Maryland have gone and done that for us all already with launch of these Limited Edition Maryland Great British Summer Big &Chunky Cookies. I found these on sale in my local Tesco superstore - priced at £1.00 and hidden within all the other Jubilee paraphernalia we've seen over the last few weeks. Although the packaging did it's best to blend in with all the other 'wallpaper' GB branded and coloured packaging the actual cookies looked rather cool with the red, blue and white chocolate beans dotted generously amongst the lovely golden coloured cookies. With that I can say that good looks translated in to taste success and being a real non-fan of Burton's Maryland cookies this came as a nice surprise. Compared to the original packs of Maryland cookies I've had previous, the cookie bases tasted a whole lot nicer - less sugary, more buttery and wheaty. The chocolate 'beans' were essentially mini Smarties and brought a decent enough amount of chocolatey flavour bursts whenever encountered. Like many of the GB branded products we've been bombarded with this year these are another that can be categorised as 'ok but not life changing'. It must be said that £1.00 for ten cookies isn't a bad deal.

7.5 out of 10

Cadbury Popcorn

Kcal 160 Fat 7.6g Fat(sats) 4.4g Carbs 18.7g (per 1/4 bag)

We seem to be getting more and more Cadbury sharing bags by the day with the Twirl Bites and Bitsa Wispa already brought in to the line up in the last twelve months or so. Though both of those were simply line-extensions of existing products, the latest pouch based snack from the lovely folks at Kraft is actually a new proposition altogether and sees Cadbury take their first foray in to the popcorn market  (I cant remember them doing anything in this area before!?). Unlike some of their latest products, the press releases regarding the announcement of Cadbury Popcorn came well before their actual distribution so I was on the look out for this product in all of my local shops.  I finally found them on sale in none other than WH Smith - priced on an introductory £1.00 trial offer. My hard earned pound bought me a 130.0g pouch - an amount suitable for four servings if you believe the nutritional information breakdown. The pack wasn't all that distinctive from many of the other Cadbury pouches - off the top of my head I can name the Caramel Nibbles, Cornflake Clusters and Crunchie Rocks that all use a similar yellow/gold colour scheme - not the cleverest of choices huh!? Although the exterior packaging wasn't all that eye-catching the popcorn looked a little more promising and I was impressed by the large sizes of the majority of the pieces and liked how the chocolate coatings looked nice and thick. When it came to the taste the aesthetic perception didn't mislead and it was the familiar sweet, milky taste of Cadbury chocolate that took a hold flavour wise. The popcorn at the core of each piece had a lovely lick of toffee which further added a small influence of caramel like flavours to the taste. For me the only thing missing was a little lick of salt which I think would have really taken these that step further and probably even more addictive than they were just like this. Whether or not you would enjoy Cadbury Popcorn is no more complicated than asking yourself whether you like popcorn or not :-) If you do then I would suggest a dabble as the Cadbury influence is integrated nicely here. Let me know what you think on Twitter @Chocmission.

7.6 out of 10