January 30th: TABASCO® Spicy Chocolate-McIlhenny & Company

Kcal 537 Fat 30.8g Fat(sats) 15.4g Carbs 53.8g (per 100.0g)

Before I kick off this review I have to say a big thank you to my friend Liz from Foodstufffinds (See HERE). Liz aka @Cinabar on Twitter, was kind enough to send me this chocolate today as a Christmas gift last December. With the ridiculous amount of chocolate sent my way last December, I've only just got the time to sit down and write a proper review on it - considering the proposition I felt it was one that deserved some full attention.

According to Wiki 'TABASCO® sauce is made from tabasco peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor'. Indeed, TABASCO® sauce is something that I frequently use as an ingredient and as a condiment to add a bit of spice to food ... savoury food that is :D It isn't something that I think any of us would naturally have assoiciated with chocolate, however the US company 'The Chocolate Traveller Inc' obviously had other ideas.

The chocolate came packaged in a tin bearing the traditional McIlhenny & Company Tabasco sauce branding and contained eight segmented 'spicy dark chocolate wedges' within. The chocolate had a relatively sweet cocoa smell that reminded me of hot chocolate powder and showed no indications of containing anything untoward. The experience however really started upon tasting the chocolate, and the TABASCO® content was certainly not withdrawn or lacking. To speak firstly of the quality of the dark chocolate, it wasn't anything remarkable, though it was step up from my expectations and had a richer, earthy cocoa taste than the expected mass consumer friendly unsweetened milk chocolate I had predicted. To be honest all thoughts regarding the quality of the chocolate were rendered an after thought once the TABASCO® influence came in to play, which was around the time of mid-melt. At this point a pleasant heat sensation was created in the mouth, and the taste took on a more bitter peppery focus that lasted until the end melt and for a little duration after. Consultation with my fellow taste testers revealed that they were split right down the middle on whether it enhanced or spoilt the chocolate.

Overall if you posed me the simple question of whether this chocolate was a thumbs-up or thumbs-down I would give you the very unhelpful answer that it was a thumbs-in-the-middle :D Frankly I was pretty ambivalent towards it. It was fine for what it was, though I'm not sure it was as flavoursome or subtle as say something like the Lindt Excellence Chilli. One thing I can 100% confirm though is that it was a chocolate that was very interesting to try and it created a great deal of talkability amongst us all that tasted it. For that reason I would categorise this chocolate with a lot of the Japanese Kit Kats I try. Just like flavours such as the Wasabi, Green Tea etc they aren't always the best tasting, but they are always a good bit of fun to see what they are like, and how a brand has attempted to integrate them into chocolate. I would give this TABASCO® Spicy Chocolate a recommendation, but on it's novelty factor rather than it's chocolate quality.

7.3 out of 10

January 25th: Midweek Mini Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly

Our 'Midweek Mini' today comes courtesy of our pals at Cadbury UK and their new 'Bubbly' chocolates. I first heard of these new bars about two weeks ago (See HERE), and it didn't take me long to track them down in my local Tesco supermarket on sale for their RRP £1.42 each. Described as 'Milk chocolate with an aerated milk/white chocolate centre', I have to say I found the prospect of these so called 'New' chocolates rather unexciting. Given the presence of the blocked Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly bar and Cadbury Wispa already on our UK shelves, I found it somewhat surprising Cadbury chose these Bubbly variants as their first NPDs for 2012.

Kcal 530 Fat 29.9g Fat(sats) 18.5g Carbs 56.9g (per 100.0g)
Kcal 530 Fat 29.8g Fat(sats) 18.1g Carbs 59.3g (per 100.0g)

I wont be handing out any prizes for guessing which was my favoured one of the two, as anyone whose read JCM prior would have been aware of my dislike for Cadbury's white chocolate. Well what can I say to spruce this review up a little!? Unfortunately I'm stumped - these bars were exactly as I expected. Creamy, sweet Dairy Milk goodness, with one of the bars containing a very unnecessary center of sugar laden 'white chocolate'. Admittedly the white chocolate coloured center did look rather cool with the 'Bubble' effect, however it did nothing for me taste wise and negatively effected my enjoyment of the Dairy Milk chocolate. Would I buy them again? No probably not. Would I be disgruntled if someone bought me one? Not at all.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly - 8.1 out of 10
Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly White - 7.7 out of 10

January 23rd: Kit Kat Strawberry Cheesecake / Yatsuhashi

We started the year looking at two of the latest flavours to be gracing the ever expanding Japanese world of Kit Kats with the Wasabi & Black Honey flavours (See HERE). Well since this time I've been trying out yet another two flavours which you will see reviews for below today. Please do remember, if any of these take your fancy, you can try them out for yourselves by heading over to J-List and paying my friend Peter a visit. Please be warned that some of the content on that site isn't suitable for younger viewers ;) (J-List HERE)

Kit Kat Strawberry Cheesecake (Yokohama Edition)Kcal 69 Fat 4.1g Carbs 7.6g (per 12.3g Mini Kit Kat)

I'm guessing there is a portion of you reading today wondering what the 'Yokohama' and 'Kyoto' Editions mean tagged on the end of the names. Well folks these are not only Kit Kats from Japan, but they are Kit Kats that can only be found in certain regions of Japan - that's got to make them even cooler right!? Well entertaining us from the Yokohama region, this Strawberry Cheese flavour was admittedly one I wasn't looking forward to trying that much. Fearing being confronted by an overly sugary artificial strawberry confection taste I was happily surprised by what I got here. The white chocolate lacked the cheese factor of the cheesecake billing, though it creamy milk focus that far less sugar focused than expected. Amongst the wafer, a light, thin layer of creme established a subtler hint of strawberry than I expected, but all things considered less was probably more given how badly strawberry confectionery can be done. The culmination of these with the wafer made for a taste I would more accurately describe as Strawberries and Cream, whatever these were nice enough and I have made my way through a fair load of the twelve pack I was sent.

7.6 out of 10

Kit Kat Yatsuhashi (Kyoto Edition)
Kcal 69 Fat 4.0g Carbs 7.7g (per 12.3g Mini Kit Kat)

Hailing from the Kyoto region, this Yatsuhashi Kit Kats had me straight away consulting my favourite online resource (Wikipedia :D ). According to Wiki Yatsuhashi is 'a Japanese confectionery sold mainly as a souvenir sweet (miyagegashi). It is one of the best known meibutsu (famous regional products) of Kyoto. It is made from glutinous rice flour (上新粉 jōshinko?), sugar and cinnamon' .... ahh this all makes sense now! These had all the promise of being rather good and I'm glad to report they were. Like our Strawberry Cheesecake friend above, this flavour was also a white chocolate Kit Kat at heart, though they were lightly brown coloured with 'cinnamon specs' - an interesting look it has to be said. Taste wise these reminded me of sweet chai tea with a glorious undercurrent of cinnamon flavours nicely complimenting a base taste of sweet milk. A whole Kit Kat Chunky size version of these would probably be a struggle to eat given the sweetness, though in this mini format these were a real winner. Well worth checking out if you like the cinnamon flavoured confections.

8.3 out of 10

January 19th: Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter

Kcal 260 Fat 15.2g Carbs 26.2g

Anyone who doubted me saving the best until last obviously doesn't know how things work round here :D This was one of the first ever bars I reviewed on ChocolateMission way waaaaaay back in February 2009 - See HERE. At the time I had no idea that the bar would then go on to be axed for the release of the Kit Kat Chunky Caramel - a decision which many of us today still bemoan :D

'Crispy wafer finger with a creamed peanut topping, covered in milk chocolate' - this not only sounded the business, but the familiar peanut scents smelt just as lovely as I remembered. With all indicators pointing towards things staying true from the old Peanut Butter Chunky it came as no surprise that the memories came flooding back when I took my first bite. The sweet milky chocolate, the malty wafer and the salty peanut topping made for a progressive and beautifully contrasting flavour journey. As ever I still thought the peanut butter lacked the quality of Reese's without the more textured mouth feel and nut intensity. Reese's comparisons aside this was still an extremely satisfying chocolate bar and I savored the taste from the first block to the third.

Overall this is my Kit Kat Chunky Champion of the week. I always think a product should be judged on whether you would buy it again, and this Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter is a bar I can see myself buying frequently. That coming from a guy who has reviewed 1000+ chocolate bars in his time should indicate how highly I rate this bar. I don't like changing previous scores but having been in the situation where we have been denied it for the past two years, I think this was a perfect case of not knowing what you have until it's gone. I will be very surprised (and disappointed) if this flavour doesn't win.

8.8 out of 10

Remember the JCM Kit Kat Chunky Week Competition - Follow me on Twitter & Retweet my reviews!

January 18th: Kit Kat Chunky Double Choc

Kcal 256 Fat 14.8g Carbs 28.0g

Our penultimate review this weeks has me taking me a look at another flavour that has never been present here in the UK. Looking elsewhere online I have managed to track this bar down to Australia - See HERE, where it appears to have once made up the triple variant Chunky range over there. Interestingly enough, a quick look at the Australian Nestle website revealed that it has obviously been axed, as it no longer appears listed as part of the range - See HERE.

Described as a 'crisp wafer finger with a chocolate flavour topping, covered in milk chocolate', this flavour didn't sound the most exciting out of the four. That said I was impressed by the look of the bar with it's plentiful chocolate topping, which looked appetizing above the wafer. What did it taste like!? Well this bar did exactly what it said on the tin. The milky sweet chocolate flavours were far more dominant over the wafer and the taste had an intensified chocolate focus. The extra chocolateyness meant the malt and biscuit elements generated by the wafer less of a input in the end taste which wasn't to my own preference.

Overall although I would classify this 'Double Choc' variety as the least exciting, I still wouldn't classify it as a poor chocolate bar. Without doubt this is the 'safest' flavour out of the selection. I can't see anyone disliking it, though neither can I see it having a great fan base due. I would be surprised if it turned out to be the Chunky Champion.

8.1 out of 10

Remember the JCM Kit Kat Chunky Week Competition - Follow me on Twitter & Retweet my reviews!

January 16th: Kit Kat Chunky White Choc

Kcal 250 Fat 13.0g Carbs 29.1g

It's Day One of the Kit Kat Chunky Champion Week and today we are taking a looking at the 'White Choc' offering. Long time JCM readers will be aware that this is a bar I have previously reviewed from Germany - See HERE. That was a review I wrote nearly three years (WOW!!) and where I concluded by saying how I was 'bemused why this bar is not available in the UK'. Well now you all have the opportunity to vote it in to the everyday Chunky range, and having tasted it once again I wouldn't be one to be disappointed if it was.

As I commented so wisely in April 2009 (haha!), the white chocolate coating to this bar wasn't white chocolate in it's finest form, but it's sweet, milky flavours provided a pleasant mellow contrast to the usual milk chocolate. A full bar of this sugary white chocolate wouldn't be such a desirable prospect, but the malty, biscuit flavours of the wafer counterbalanced the searing sweetness just enough to make for a moreish tasty bar of chocolate.

Overall my score of this 'White Choc' Chunky stays consistent from three years ago. In my opinion this has one has got a good chance of becoming a permanent fixture to the Kit Kat Chunky range.

8.5 out of 10

Remember the JCM Kit Kat Chunky Week Competition - Follow me on Twitter & Retweet my reviews!

January 14th: Kit Kat Chunky Champion Week

So much for a hiatus eh!? Presenting DAY 1 of Kit Kat Chunky Week here on JCM. Indeed I've come out of blogging hibernation to give the JCM verdict on Nestle's latest Kit Kat Chunky Champion competition which will all be kicking off January 23rd 2012.

" ... consumers will be asked to vote for their favourite from four new flavours, with the eventual winner being added to the Kit-Kat line-up permanently. One voter a day will win £100 ..." ... full details HERE

Starting next week Monday I will be doing mini reviews of the four flavours in contention - White Choc, Double Choc, Peanut Butter & Orange. Not only are you guys getting reviews, but I'm also running a competition to win your own full set of the four contenders stated above.

To enter simply follow me on Twitter (@Chocmission) & then retweet one of my tweets this week.

See you Monday for our first Kit Kat Chunky Champion Contender! Here's a cheeky sneak peek to whet the appetite ;-)


January 12th: Midweek Mini Snickers 3x Chocolate

Kcal 210 Fat 9.0g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 28.0g (per 45.0g bar)

This weeks 'Midweek Mini' is another new bar from the States and our friends at Mars. This Snickers 3x Chocolate was another that I spotted in Cybele's Candy Tease post back in November (See HERE). Similar to the Mars Triple Choc limited edition we got here in the UK in 2011 (See HERE), this Snickers bar came with the proposition of the golden caramel being swapped for a 'chocolate caramel' alternative. Add in the usual milk chocolate coating and chocolate nougat and you have yourself the new Snickers 3x Chocolate.

The package came devised in to two separate 45.0g bars that were nice to eat across separate sittings. I thought the wrapper looked good - I can't recall the blue being used before for a Snickers bar. When it came to bar aromas, all the usual gorgeous Snickers peanut scents were on offer, it was only the much darker coloured caramel that gave away the bar was a slightly different animal to the norm. So what did the chocolate caramel add to the experience? Well it had much the same effect as it did in the Mars Triple Choc UK bar. The chocolate intensity and emphasis was increased a notch, however the usual butterscotch and salty peanut contrast was of course lacking.

Overall this was a tasty chocolate bar, but just as I expected it didn't have the classic caramel version beat. Like so many limited editions (I'm assuming this is a limited edition btw!) It's one of those bars you will buy once, enjoy, yet just revert back to the original when the time comes again when you fancy a Snickers.

8.6 out of 10

January 9th: Kellogg's Pop Tarts Frosted Chocolate Chip

Kcal 210 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 36.0g

It may be a whole new year but the same generous site sponsors continue to support the ChocolateMission. Throughout 2011, American Soda were my chief supplier of American goodies, and they took it upon themselves to make it their business that I try every Pop Tart flavour currently Stateside (See older Pop Tart reviews HERE). Continuing my mini ChocolateMission side project on today, I tried out the Kellogg's Pop Tarts Frosted Chocolate Chip flavour. Although the box proclaimed that these were a 'good source of 8 vitamins & minerals', I somewhat doubted these were as good for me as my usual bran based cereal :D

American Soda sent these to me in an 8 count box that split the contents into 4 foil wrapped packages with two in each. Aesthetically the Pop Tarts looked nice, and I was pleased to see that the 'Frosting' was sparingly placed on top and not fully coated. Having had it's session in the toaster, my kitchen was filled with nice smelling, sweet chocolatey aromas. One thing of note was the caution that had to be taken removing the toaster pastry from the toaster itself. The piping hot inner chocolate filling was oozing out the small puddle holes on the top of the pastry - I guess this was to establish the chocolate chip effect'. FYI, I'm describing these from a 'toasted' perspective, as this was by far my favoured method of consumption rather than from room temperature or frozen. Speaking firstly of the outer pastry, I found it to be a far nicer than a lot of the chocolate flavoured pastry Pop Tarts I had tried previously. This plain pastry had more of a biscuity taste and wasn't as sugary or sweet tasting as say the stuff used on the UK's Chocotastic (See HERE) or the US's Ice Cream Fudge (See HERE). The filling was also pretty tasty in comparison to other more disappointing chocolate focused Pop Tart flavours. It wasn't chocolate of any great quality, though on reflection it did generate a chocolatey flavour hit, and it was noticeably more fluid and not sticky and dry like others I've had. As far these providing a nutritious and filling breakfast I can't say these ticked those boxes. My chocolate hunger pans were at least satisfied to a reasonable degree though.

Overall these probably rank among the better Pop Tart flavours I've tried but I wouldn't be able to say with any confidence that they are worthy of replacing your everyday breakfast. What I did like about these was that they weren't overcomplicated like some of the other attempted flavours that Pop Tarts have tried doing. As far as delivering on their promise to provide a credible chocolate flavour hit these are a success. As I said above, this isn't chocolate in any grandeur from, but if you are after a chocolatey breakfast option you wont be left disappointed. I'm sure there are better Pop Tart flavours out there, but if you are the kind who wants to keep things simple and veer away from the 'Triple, double, cherry topped, cream flavoured Chocolate Trifle' flavour :D then these are worthy of looking at.

7.5 out of 10

Midweek Mini: 3 Musketeers Coconut

Midweek Mini - what the blazes!?? This is my new way of keeping you guys in the swing of the latest market offerings. 'Midweek Mini's will be short, snappy, straight to the point, but will include the standard photo excellence *ahem* and of course the all important JCM jurisdiction graphs and scores. Enjoy.

Kcal 180 Fat 6.0g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs 32.0g

It was with great excitement last year that I read about Mars' intention to bring out this coconut flavored version of one of my all time favourite mass confection bars the 3 Musketeers (read via Candyblog HERE). By the time I had managed to source one over here in the UK, my anticipation was pretty high so it's with regret that I have to inform you that my expectations were sadly nowhere near exceeded.

In regards to presentation, the bar showed promise; the delightful coconutty scents of the chocolate in particular smelt delightful. Unfortunately the taste was the let down, as these promising coconut aromas did not translate into a favourable coconut flavour experience. The outer chocolate delivered it's standard sweet, milky Mars taste, however a very sugary, artifical and ultimately rather sickly coconut element dominated the usual malty nougat flavours of the nougat. Despite the bar being significantly smaller that it's sibling milk chocolate version, I definitely couldn't have eaten more than the 42.0g on offer due to monotone chemically derived coconut flavouring.

Overall I felt this was a disappointing attempt at a coconut variant from Mars and I would have welcomed them using a natural source of coconut flavouring rather than the artificial means they used here. Worth trying the once, but probably not a bar I would buy again.

7.0 out of 10

January 2nd: Kit Kat Wasabi / Black Honey (Japan)

Happy 2012 everybody!!! This blog may be on it's knees for a while with the new reduced posting schedule (See note below!!!), but don't worry I have a cracker of a review lined up for you today.

Just before Christmas time, my pals over @J-List sent me some of the latest Japenese Kit Kat flavours that are doing the rounds right now in the Far East. Below are my thoughts on two of that Peter sent over, we have a nice bit of variety with the dangerous sounding Wasabi flavour, to the milder sounding Black Honey option. FYI both of these came in beautifully presented boxs that contained twelve of these Miniature Kit Kats in each. Personally I find the Miniature size just about right to have as little treat with afternoon/after dinner cup of coffee.

You can buy these HERE!!!

Kcal Fat Fat(sats) Carbs

You know what Wasabi is right!? (If not See HERE). In a nutshell, Wasabi is an extremelly strong Japanese condiment that is made using Japanese horseradishes, and is comonlly used as a way of flavouring savoury dishes such as sushi etc. The Japanese being the Japanese with all their wonderful creativity *ahem*, have recently seen fit to place the stuff in one of the world's leading confectionary snacks our beloved Kit Kat - why you ask!??? Well I'm sure the Japanese would flip that very question back on you ... why not!? I approached these with a high level of caution expecting a 'blow the back the back of my pants off' (haha!!) type experience. Frankly I needn't have done so, these were not as expected at all. Indeed upon tasting them I gathered underlying grassy, herby mustard undertones admist the creamy, sweet white chocolate, though the 'heat' and spice elements were a real let down. I wanted (and fully prepared for!!) a big time heat surge but what I got was a mild, minor warmth at best. To be honest I felt underwhelmed by these given the proposition that could have been.

6.8 out of 10



Kcal Fat Fat(sats) Carbs

Times and posting structures change but my philosophys will stay the same - best until last!? You bet!! This was one of the flavours that when I opened my box from J-List I had no clue to what it actually was. A brief bit of research on the internet led me to understand that this was a Japanese Black Honey flavor (Kuromitsu literally means “black honey”), something confirmed by the on-pack image. With it's white chocolate pairing I was somewhat expecting this to be too sweet for my taste, however I have to say this was one of the best Kit Kats I've tasted in a long time from Japan. Much as the name portrayed the taste was largelly akin to Mayple Syrup, and had a lovely slight burnt sugar taste to it. This paired with the creamy white chocolate made for a honey and sweet yogurt type experience that I found delightful in this mini format. This flavour wouldn't work in say the 'Chunky' or 'Four-Finger' format, though consumed as a sweet side-bite it was nigh on perfect. I would buy these again.

8.3 out of 10