August 31st: Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares Honeycomb Crunch

Kcal 134 Fat 3.0g Fat(sats) 2.0g Carbs 25.0g (per bar)

Im sure by now you all know that Im rather partial to the odd Rice Krispie Square and that I never leave  it to long to write my reviews whenever there is a new limited edition flavour released by Kelloggs. Well lads and ladies Im sure you will all be ecstatic to hear that we have yet another variety joining the Rice Krispie Squares ranks, this all new Honeycomb Crunch flavour. This latest variety joins the likes of the Rocky Road, Totally Chocolatey Orange and Totally Chocolatey - all of which have been released in the past 12 months. The Honeycomb Crunch came billed as 'toasted rice cereal topped with milk chocolate covered honeycomb pieces and a chocolate flavour coating'.

The launch of these new Honeycomb Crunch bars has been all rather low key and I didn't happen to see any press releases prior to my purchase. I bought these as part of a 4 bar multipack that just so happened to be a on a 'better than half price' deal in my local Tesco supermarket, priced at a rather attractive £0.95 price point point. Having not been aware of them before seeing them in store it was by luck that I actually spotted them; I certainly didn't feel like they have great standout when they were placed to the similarly colored packaging of the Totally Orange bars.

Casting my minor grievances about the packaging standout to one side, I thought the cereal bars themselves looked nice and attractive and I liked the look of the golden cereal with the plentiful milk chocolate topping on top. If you look back in the archives you will see that my least favourite Rice Krispie Square of all time was the Chocolate Caramel flavour which I described as 'overpoweringly sweet'. Fearing an experience of similar quality I was pleasantly surprised to taste a more mild mannered Rice Krispie treat. To me this Honeycomb Crunch was far superior to the aforementioned Chocolate Caramel and the less sugar intensive bind that fused the bar together had more of a lighter sweet flavour delivery to it. This milder base meant that the flavours of the chocolate and the floral noted honey came through a lot stronger and every bite seemed to deliver a good flavour hit of both these two elements.

Overall although this was a simplistic cereal based bar offering it was decent nonetheless and I got a fair level of enjoyment from it. I wouldn't classify it as the best of the Rice Krispie flavours (See Totally Chocolatey or Totally Chocolatey Orange for that!) though I think in the long run if it replaced the Chocolate Caramel I wouldn't think it a necessarily bad thing. I guess we will have to wait and see if that does happen but at the moment I believe this to just be a Limited Edition flavour so it could be gone before we all know it. There probably isnt much more to say other than whether I would give it a JCM recommendation!? To that point I would direct Rice Krispie Square fans in the direction of it, however I would struggle to justify it as a 'must buy' purchase. Let me know what you think of it on Twitter @ChocMission

7.0 out of 10


August 29th: Hotel Chocolat Puddles 2012

Considering the amount of rain we have received in the UK this summer it feels somewhat appropriate that I review these Hotel Chocolat Puddles. Both of these flavours were included in my latest sampling package from HC - one new variant and one I had reviewed previously way back in the day of May 2009 (thats over 3 years ago now!! Crazy huh!?)

Both of these Hotel Chocolat Puddles came in 110.0g bag sizes and separately cost £5.50 each. I thought this was rather expensive for a single bag on it's own, however I thought the promotion of £4.50 each when buying 3 or more bags was a lot more agreeable - See promotion HERE.

Down the years I have reviewed  a few different Hotel Chocolat Puddles with varying amount of success - you might want to see HERE and HERE for those old reviews. If you do take the trouble to take a wander back in ChocolateMission time you will notice that the packaging has changed a little. The Puddles now come presented in frosted plastic packets as opposed to the cheaper looking older bags - personally I think they look cooler, and more premium than previous.

Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Puddles - See 2009 review for my extensive thoughts HERE. These were still every bit as fantastic as when I last had them. I'm more than happy to stick by my 8.8 out of 10 ruling.

Hotel Chocolat 70% Dark Chocolate & Ginger Puddles - Boy these were god awful .... only kidding :-) No these were seriously very good and met my high expectations. The dark chocolate was typically Hotel Chocolat in that it started off mild mannered and non-bitter but grew in stature of it's cocoa strength and flavour sophistication as the taste developed. The puddles shape meant these were perfect just popping on the tongue and the smooth, well paced melt meant that the earthy cocoa and subtle ginger spice flavours were long sustained in the mouth. The ginger influence was a little under powered for my liking but it did bring about another dimension to the taste with its small lick of spice and heat to the mouth feel.

8.8 out of 10

Overall if you are thinking of purchasing any of these Hotel Chocolat Puddles then I would strongly suggest you take these two flavours in to your consideration. Fans of dark chocolate will no doubt love the ginger infused Puddles and the Salted Caramel ones offer a similarly superb, friendlier offering. I've always thought these are good options to gift people if you are looking to impress them with good quality chocolate, but at a price that isn't going to seem over the top to either purchaser or receiver.

August 27th: Mars Caramel (UK)

Kcal 204 Fat 8.1g Fat(sats) 4.0g Carbs (sugars) 27.0g

Two weeks ago I broke the news on the JCM twitter feed (@Chocmission) that Mars were launching a new limited edition offering for the UK market, the Mars Caramel bar. The official announcement read:

'The latest product innovation from Mars contains 100% chewy caramel coated in thick Mars Chocolate, and aims to capitalise on increasing consumer preferences for caramel. Available in stores across the UK from the 10 September, the Limited Edition Mars Caramel has already had success in the US, Canada and Australia.'

You may recall that I have actually tried both the American (See HERE) and Canadian (See HERE) versions of this bar before, and it was the US Milky Way Simply Caramel that was much to my preference.

Well it didn't take me long to track down our very own UK bar and I found it on sale in my local Tesco retailing at £0.53. Both the wrapper and the bar looked very similar to the Canadian version and it was disappointing to see it was a less impressive looking, smaller 45.0g offering compared to the beefier American Milky Way Simply Caramel. The bar still retained many of the sweet milk chocolaty scent synonymous with Mars chocolate but at this point I was already braced for disappointment.

As you will see from my JCM leaderboard the Mars bar is one of my all time favourite chocolates and I've never been much of a fan of tampering with a winning formula. Why on earth would you want to remove the nougat in the first place? Well I guess if you get more caramel like you do in the American version then it is somewhat understandable as you are sacrificing one element of the bar to make room for another. Personally the feeling I got left with from this Mars Caramel UK bar was that the nougat had been taken out, but with no added extra caramel included. I could be wrong in that the caramel may be more greatly portioned, but my this wasn't something I perceived in the taste thus what I was left with was a rather generic sweet tasting milk chocolate, with a decent standard sweet buttery caramel - if I wanted this why would I not just choose the superior Galaxy Caramel in the first place!?

Overall I don't like to ever call anything in life pointless but Im afraid Im very much struggling to find a justifiable reason why I could suggest this Mars Caramel UK bar is worth you trying. The bar both aesthetically and when you eat it feels like something is missing. Do you know the defect Kit Kats you sometimes get where they are all chocolate and no wafer!? Well this bar gave me exactly the same feelings as when I used to come across one of them. Indeed all seemed cool and quirky at first, but then after a few bites it became all too apparent that the bar was just missing something. As I said above if you are taking away the nougat then you have to compensate it with something else ala more caramel in the Milky Way Simply Caramel. This was something Mars UK didn't oblige us with Im afraid. Buy one perhaps for the sake of trying it, but trust me I think you will be yearning for the original not long after.

7.0 out of 10

August 24th: Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly Mini Bar

Kcal 210 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 7.4g Carbs 22.5g

Earlier this week I received a rather funky package in the post from my friends at Cadbury @DaryMilk .

Within a Cadbury branded cylinder tube parcel I found a rather cool collection of @DairyMilk goodies - an Iphone case, a memory stick, a miniature parachute!??? and last but not least the latest new product from the 'Joyville' chocolate factory.

Now before any of you get your hopes up too much (like mine were haha!!) I will quickly douse your innovation dreams by revealing this was a simple re-sizing of an existing product. Ladies and Gents I present to you the latest addition to the Cadbury @DairyMilk line up - the Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly Mini Bar.

Yes folks Cadbury are soon releasing a 39.6g version of the original 90.0g bars first released back in January 2012. You can see my original reviews of those bars HERE where you will find my 8.1 out of 10 JCM ruling.

As much as I appreciate the nice parcel of goodies from Cadbury I cant pretend like I'm all that excited by the launch of this new mini bar format. A few obvious things spring to mind like its similarity in proposition to the Cadbury Wispa, though I guess with it coming out of the blue and not at the expense of another bar in the Cadbury range we shouldn't really criticse. At the end of the day its still Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate and frankly that makes it a tasty little number in my opinion.

August 22nd: Zotter Mitzi Blue Mango Tango

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Josef Zotter really does live on a different planet to the rest of us! The bar I'm reviewing today is the first one I've tried from Josef's new Mitzi Blue range - a new line of chocolates inspired by a car nonetheless (I told you he was nuts!!). Yes it seems our Austrian chocolatier friend takes inspiration from not only his ingredients, but also the automotive trade. His attempt to combine his two passions has seen him create this new range of 'wheel shaped' chocolates, included in which this Mango Tango variety lies. Before launching head on in to the review, I must again give a shout out to my friend Lee from @Chocolatereview - he was again the kind provider of this chocolate for my reviewing pleasure.

If you take a look in the JCM archives at all the Zotter reviews you will realise that a near 90% of my previous experiences have been with Zotter's 'Handscooped bars' range. This Mitzi Blue Mango Tango offering was a different proposition entirely and it came presented as a flat, thin, round shaped chocolate. Whilst the format of the product was different to normal, there were consistencies with the style of the presentation with the bizarre on-pack artwork again penned by Andreas Gratze. As usual I wasn't clever enough to work out the symbolism behind the drawings, but at the same time I appreciated the cool, funky unique look it established. I'm no art critic but I don't think it can be disputed that Gratze's work doesn't add character to the Zotter products. The chocolate itself was also very interesting on the eye and it certainly created further intrigue with it's chocolatey, fruity scents.

So what exactly constitutes a madhouse, Zotter created "Mitzi Blue Mango Tango" chocolate then!? Why it's the combination of 'mango chocolate and dark chocolate with brazil nuts' of course :-D As you will hopefully be able to see from the my photos above this was predominantly a thin outer rim of cream coloured mango white chocolate, with a centre piece of 80.0% cocoa dark chocolate, all topped with chopped brazil nuts. Breaking the chocolate apart was very easy and I tackled it by eating all around the central dark chocolate before allowing myself to the 'treat' of my favourite chocolate type for my last few mouthfuls - best until last is my policy of course :-) Starting with the mango chocolate then, it was a delicious white chocolate offering and it's mild, crisp, milk focused taste had a strong citric, mango flavour edge to it. Importantly it avoided the pitfall of being overly sweet and the main impression it left on me was it's fruity emphasis which was very much a good thing. The addition of the chopped brazil nuts added little to the taste, though they did bring a sense of variety texture wise with their fresh crunchyness. As for the dark chocolate, aka the 'Main Event' haha well it certainly wasn't a letdown - it was wonderful! The dark chocolate maintained a hint of fruitiness from the outer mango portion yet also established strong tones of rich, earthy cocoa with intriguing hints of coffee and red wine. This was a superbly variable, progressive tasting chocolate that seemed to develop with every stage of it's melt - it was certainly an exciting flavour journey from beginning to end. 

Overall I could label Mr Josef Zotter with every word under the sun relating to the term 'crazy' but I think time would be better spent just marveling at his fantastic chocolatiering capabilities. The guy is frankly from a different planet to the rest of us but I think it is this uniqueness that makes him the genius that so many have come to love. This Mitzi Blue Mango Tango was yet another example of his talent for combining different flavour combinations - I'm not saying he gets it right 100% of the time, but if you look at the JCM archives it's not often that he picks ingredients that are ill-matched for each other.The pairing on offer in this bar today was again an instance where Josef has got things spot-on. The sweetness and acidity of the mango fruit played nicely with the richer, more mature offering from the dark chocolate and it made for a highly enjoyable plethora of different taste directions. I can see why quite a few people often turn their noses up at Zotter chocolates as I understand his creations don't always fall within the boundaries of what is deemed 'normal'. Personally I enjoy them for the most part and would recommend you at least give them a try if they do hold some intrigue for you.

8.9 out of 10          

August 20th: Hotel Chocolat Jam Jar Chocolates

A fair few chocolate companies go a little a quiet in the summer months but this is not something that cannot be attributed to Hotel Chocolat. With summer themed beauties like their Hotel Chocolat Taste of Summer Collection they have continued to produce some fantastic new offerings and I got the chance today to to try out a further three.

These all new Hotel Chocolat Jam Jar Chocolates came in 100.0g containers that had 22 chocolate truffles in each. I thought the presentation style of all of these was rather quirky and not something I had seen done before - kudos for the innovation there HC! All three of these truffle variants looked well presented and the flavours were made very obvious with the colourings placed on top of each piece. Below are my thoughts on the three flavours and the all important JCM ratings.

Hotel Chocolat Jam Jar Raspberry Jam

If I'm starting off with the 'worst' of the three flavours and you see I'm still giving a score in the 8's then you will know you have some quality products here. These 'Raspberry Jam' truffles came billed as 'raspberry and white chocolate truffles incased in a milk chocolate shell'. The 40.0% house milk chocolate fast established a sweet, cream heavy cocoa taste and this was supplemented superbly by the soft centre filling that bore a seriosuly good tangy raspberry flavour burst. They were verging a little on the sweet side for me but the friend I tried them with described them as 'incredibly moreish'.

8.4 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Jam Jar Lemon Curd

As these were the white chocolate offering in the selection I was probably least excited about trying these though they did ultimately prove to be my second favourites. These 'Lemon Curd' truffles came with the simple descriptor of 'lemon curd and creamy white chocolate truffles'. A few of my work colleagues turned their nose up at these at first but once they tried them they finished them off within an hour. The combination of the cream and milk flavour laden outer chocolate was just awesome and the way the citrus sharp lemon filling contrasted with it was just delicious. These well exceeded expectations.

8.6 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Jam Jar Orange Marmalade

The Lemon Curd chocolates were fantastic - these Orange Marmalade ones were incredible! The 'orange marmalade filled dark chocolate truffles' instantly took my fancy and the orangey smells emanating from the Jam Jar when unsealed didn't little to persuade me otherwise.The dark chocolate here was extremely good (surprise, surprise) and it's unsweetened, rich cocoa flavours set up a delicious, sophisticated chocolate flavour base. Contrasting with this completely the centre of each piece contained a sugary, zingy orange jam that was so wonderfully real tasting in terms of its fruitiness. Unlike most dark chocolates these were served chilled from the fridge - this gave the centre fillings a very refreshing coolness in the mouth. I honestly couldn't get enough of these.

8.8 out of 10

Overall I must yet again hand the plaudits to Hotel Chocolat for creating a new range of chocolates that they have done so innovatively and effectively. As I said above the 'Jam Jar' presentation style is not something I have seen done previously and the matching of the chocolates to the flavours was superbly done. If you have to pick only one of the three flavours I would go for the Orange Marmalade but trust me I think you would be happy given any of the three.     

August 17th: Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread / Smartie Pants Brownie

Heavenly Cakes are a good company and do you know what all good companies do??? They practice the philosophy of Kaizen :-) Kaizen!? What the devil is Kaizen young Jim!? Please ... allow Wiki:

'Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for "improvement", or "change for the better" refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement' ...

Indeed at it's basic principles Kaizen is all about companies maintaining a competitive advantage by constantly improving on what they already do - thus creating effencies and/or a better product/service. If I haven't bored you tears already please bare with me on this one as I believe this highly relevant to the reviews today. Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread and Heavenly Cakes Smartie Pants Brownie - Were these cakes to be Kaizen successes or Kaizen squibs!? Let's find out shall we :-) ...

Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread

I've come across lavender flavourings in confectionery products before and I have to say my experiences have not been successful. The two that stick out in my memory are the Lindt and Hotel Chocolat chocolates which frankly I remember being ruined by the said flower. Suffice to say I thought this had all the makings for the first ever Heavenly Cakes failure - a Kaizen squib so I should say. Well colour me totally and utterly wrong, this not only exceeded my expectations, but well and truly took my expectations, gave them a good stamping on and then threw them back in my face and made me feel like I don't know what I'm talking about :-) This shortbread was wonderful, and the lavender influence was expertly integrated both visually and in flavour. Small lavender bud heads were dispersed among the biscuit giving a great visual impact and aesthetic standout with what looked like little purple seeds. Taste wise a small amount of lavender oil purely enhanced the gorgeous buttery shortbread and created the most subtle of sweet floral, blossom honey like flavours. The older generation of my family (thats a nice way of saying the old geezers haha!) thought this shortbread was epically good and said they preferred it to the plain Heavenly Cakes Shortbread they had tried previously.

8.8 out of 10

Heavenly Cakes Smartie Pants Brownie

Whilst I was a little unsure about the Lavender Shortbread before trying it, I had no qualms with the philosophy behind this Smatie Pants Brownie whatsoever. The prospect of  'Milk Chocolate Brownie mixed with naturally coloured Smarties' had the philosophy of Kaizen written all over it - Heavenly had in effect taken their fantastic brownie from before and made a subtle tweak to make it even better. It sounds very simple, and sure it was! Again as I thought above in the shortbread review, I thought enhancements had been made to the aesthetic presentation and of course the taste. The Smarties employed on the top of the brownie gave the cake greater visual standout. It still wasn't up there with some of the 'food-porn' visuals of say a Billionaire Shortbread, but the multi-coloured pieces on top certainly added a little interest and colour. Taste wise things also felt like they had me taken on a notch with the maturation of the sweet, sugary candy shells to the richer, chocolatey cake brownie providing just another layer of variability to the overall experience. Smartie Pants or just plain smart? Decide for yourselves but take note - not many products ever reach the JCM 9.0 mark!

9.0 out of 10

Overall from my opening load of waffle you probably tell I was exceedingly happy with both of the cakes featured today and was in favour of both the minor enhancements that had been made on the originals. Whether or not the shortbread is suitable for a younger audience is up for debate - explaining to little Timmy what the purple bits in his biscuit are is probably more hassle than it's worth, however for mature audiences I think you would be on to a winner. The Smartie Pants Brownie gets all round thumbs up from me. Simple,  if you don't like Smarties then pick them off :-D I'm sure the rest of us will happily eat them for you. One of these days these guys are going to send me a cake I don't think is all that special, it's got to happen eventually. For the minute I'll continue to be wax lyrical over the excellence they continuously deliver - I can't say anything other than the truth now!

August 15th: Bits n Bobs August 2012

You guys will all know the drill now. Here are some mini reviews of both the latest products hitting the UK shelves and also some very generous contributions sent to me by my loyal JCM readers. If you have an opinion on any of the products you see here be sure to share them with me @ChocMission.

Elizabeth Shaw Cocoa Crunch
Kcal 521 Fat 35.8g Fat(sats) 19.4g Carbs 42.5g (per 100.0g)

You may or may not be aware (depending on how my review schedule plays out!!) that I was recently the lucky recipient of a big hamper full of samples from the folks at Elizabeth Shaw. Included in this big collection of goodies the ES guys included some samples of their chocolate bar range - you can find two of the flavours reviewed here in one of my Christmas posts last year (See HERE). Since then  Elizabeth Shaw have introduced a new variety to the range in the form of this Cocoa Crunch bar. At times like these I'm glad I don't commit to writing full on reviews for some chocolates as I would have really struggled to write anything more than I will do here ... this bar was AVERAGE in almost every possible sense. It sounded unremarkable 'dark chocolate with cocoa nibs' and for the most part it was. It looked fine, smelt like any standard dark chocolate and ultimately tasted like a very run-of-the-mill 57% coocoa offering. The flavour generation was of a more than acceptable level and did have a rich, unsweetened cocoa prowess, though it was ultimately a little one dimensional. The cocoa nibs did nothing more than add a not so great crunchy, rough element texturally. This wasn't a bad product at all but I've had so many better dark chocolates in my team I doubt I would ever buy it again.

7.0 out of 10

Nestle Boci Aero Strawberry
Kcal 193 Fat 11.9g Carbs 18.5g (per bar)

First off thanks to JCM reader Phil who sent me this bar for the review today. Phil got in contact after finding a number of European chocolates in one of his local discounter stores. Being the kind guy he is, he sent me a selection of what he found and this included this Nestle Boci Aero Strawberry bar. According to the back of the wrapper this was a bar that produced in Budapest at Nestle Hungary. Back in December 2011 I did review a few bars from Hungary including one Boci bar - (See HERE). I was hoping for another good Hungarian experience though I must say I feared the worst when I unsealed the wrapper and was greeted with some horrible, fake smelling strawberry scents. The jet pink coloured filling did nothing to subside my fears though I commenced my taste test and I'm sure glad I did. The outer milk chocolate was very Milka esq - light, milky and altogether pleasant. The Aero textured filling was the big surprise though and it was lovely! It was far departed from the overly sugary, artificial flavour experience I expected and was more a creamy, not overly strong, red berry taste that I actually really enjoyed. The strawberry flavours were far more reserved than I thought they would be - it wasn't strawberry excellence ala Hotel Chocolat Eton Mess but it was tasty nonetheless. This Boci Aero Strawberry is certainly worth a buy if you like your Aero products. I liked it a lot more than the Aero Orange.

7.0 out of 10

M&M's Peanut Intense 65% Cocoa
Kcal 209 Fat 12.1g Carbs 19.7g (per pack)

Here in the UK Mars don't often treat us to any of the new M&M's flavours that we often see our American pals get treated to. Suffice to say I was hardly surprised to read that these were a product made by Mars Polska when I took a look at the back of the bag. Once again I must extend my thanks to JCM reader Phil for sourcing these for me. Phil said when he found them that he got 3 bags for the bargain price of £1.00 - that sounded like a great deal to me! These M&M's Peanut Intense came in a bag weighing 40.0g which included around 20 or so randomly sized candy coated peanuts. Despite all the on-pack blurb being in Polish there was a English translation informing these were 'peanuts in chocolate, in a coloured layer of sugar'. The 65.0% cocoa billing sounded strong for an everyday mass consumer chocolate product but it proved to be anything but the sort. Indeed when it came to the chocolate it was more your non-sweet milk chocolate rather than a darker, richer flavoured one; and it ultimately lacked the flavour depth of the sweeter, creamier chocolate of the standard M&M's Peanut. When you factor this in with the peanuts not being as flavoursome or as fresh crunchy as normal you will understand why I haven't rated these so great. I wont pretend like I buy M&M's very often but I cant see myself having these again.

6.1 out of 10

 Rocky Chockas Double Choc
Kcal 86 Fat 4.4g Fat(sats) 2.6g Carbs 10.2g (per biscuit)

When it comes to chocolate biscuits here in the UK it seems more and more manufactures are bringing an ever increasing amount of new limited edition products to the table. For me to cover them all would be impossible but don't you worry if I try something and have a strong opinion on it you will be sure to be well informed (N.b. if you think I have missed something tell me @ChocMission). This brings me on nicely to these Rocky Chockas Double Choc, guess what!? I have a strong opinon on them :-D Don't worry though boys and girls I have nothing but glowing praise. These 'Rocky Chockas' are the latest line of biscuits created by Fox's and are obviously a line extension of the original Fox's Rocky bars (See HERE). The new lineup consists of three flavours - (Full details HERE) and are available in most supermarkets currently retailing on introductory £1.00 offers. I recently bought a pack of the Double Choc - 'chocolate shortcake biscuits sprinkled with dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and crispy rice, coated in milk chocolate' ... err shouldn't that be 'Triple Choc' then!?? Name fail!? Menial nonsense aside I have the pleasure of reporting I thought these were wonderful! The milk chocolate coating the biscuit was thick, soft melting and instantly delivered a satisfying chocolate flavour hit. The buttery, salt licked shortcake in the middle was crisp to the bite and the two chocolate chip types added richer cocoa bursts and creamy vanilla hints when called upon. Altogether these were just very nice, affordable chocolate biscuits and had I paid more than just £1.00 for them I probably still would have felt content with my purchase. I certainly feel encouraged to try the other flavours now.

8.2 out of 10

August 13th: Nestle Vice Versas

 Kcal 98 Fat 4.1g Fat(sats) 2.6g Carbs 14.3g (per 7 sweets)

Nestle UK have answered the prayers of many a Facebook 'fan page' and buckled to consumer demand bringing back Nestle Vice Versas. Although these re-released chocs come under the guise of a 'new' crediatation on the packaging I'm sure many a chocolate fanatic will recall their first flirtation with the UK market back when they were first released in 1991. Since that time they have been taken in and out of distribution a few times - according to Wiki the last limited edition batch I believe was around the 2004 period. Well all you need now know is that they are back and are being stocked in a few limited retail outlets - Asda and Toy R Us are the places spotted so far.

Before I launch in to the review today I have to pass thanks to ChocolateMission reader Michael who kindly sourced these from his local Asda for me. Michael told me in his e-mail that they were on an introductory £1.00 offer but had an RRP of £1.59 according to the label on the shelf. These days it seems that £1.00 buys you 126.0g worth of Vice Versas - I would guess around 30 to 40 sweets.

Aside from being contained in a glossy new plastic packet, the outer packaging looked very similar to the old Vice Versas I remember from yesteryear. Whilst I liked this consistency from the past I was very unimpressed by the look of the actual chocolates when I got them out the packet. As you can probably ascertain from my photo the sweets with the milk chocolate outer shells were very dull in complexion. This wasn't too much of an issue I guess but the contrast between the two varieties wasn't as striking as it could have been and it just didn't visually look as impressive as I thought it could be.

When it came to the taste test my first impressions were that the candy shells were a lot thicker than I remember. For all I know they may be exactly as they used to be but regardless I still thought they were very thick here. When it came to which of the two variants I preferred I will have to sit on the fence as to be honest neither were anything special or differentiated. To me both tasted broadly similar and with that both similarly mediocre. The sugar candy shells dominated the main stay of the taste and ultimately made most mouthfuls a monotonous brown sugar led flavour generation. The middle fillings did inject sweet chocolate flavours (the white filled ones with a little note of vanilla), but they weren't that significant and after a few mouthfuls I found myself very unexcited by the one dimensional sugar dominated taste.

Overall some things are better left in the past and sadly I think that applies to these Nestle Vice Versas. We live in a day and age where we have all sorts of different flavours being offered by the likes of M&M's and with Nestle Smarties being available all year round anyway I cant see a situation where these suddenly become a permanent fixture again with us here in the UK. I cant deny it wasn't fun reacquainting myself with these Vice Versas to just get old nostalgia kick, however as described above it was only after a few mouthfuls that I got bored of them. For that reason alone I can suggest perhaps a cheeky purchase if you see them on offer. One packet is enough though and I certainly wont be complaining if its another 8 years until I have another.

5.0 out of 10

And the winner is .... part 2

Two competitions in two weeks eh!? I am getting kind in my old age aren't I. I'm sure we all have Olympics Closing Ceremonies to be watching so without further ado I can announce that this weeks winner of the Kit Kat Cookies & Cream bars is ......


Congrats Daisy. I will be in contact and your chocolates will be in the post.

Have you failed to win yet another JCM competition??? Don't be sad! Just make sure you keep an eye on the site and the JCM twitter feed @Chocmission You never know when the next competition will crop up!

August 10th: Kit Kat Cookies & Cream (UK)

Kcal 107 Fat 5.1g Fat(sats) 3.2g Carbs 10.8g (per bar)

Got a feeling of Deja Vu?? Well folks you haven't traveled back in time to last weeks Kit Kat Cookies & Cream review - See HERE - you are in fact reading my views on Nestle's latest Kit Kat new product for our very own UK market. Yes Nestle must be avid Chocolate Mission readers as it took them under a week to read my glowing report of the Australian bar and then get their own incarnation into the market :-) Haha ok ok perhaps not!! Whilst I'm pretty sure you guys are glad I haven't gone completely crackers and started posting the same reviews over and over again, I'm even more sure you will be pleased to hear that this weeks Kit Kat Cookies & Cream bar review also comes with another competition:

COMPETITION: Simply follow me on Twitter - @ChocMission and 'retweet' my review here today. Simple huh!? The winner will win themselves 3 of these Kit Kat Cookies & Cream and will be notified on the evening of Sunday 12th.

Back to the matter at hand, and I can inform you that these bars came billed as 'two crisp wafer fingers covered with milk chocolate and cookies flavour white chocolate' .... yes you read that correctly 'cookies flavour white chocolate' hmmm indeed! The small matter of £1.00 bought me an 8 bar multipack with the bars each weighing 20.8g. I haven't had two finger Kit Kats for a long while now but I certainly welcomed back the paper sleeve, silver foil combo used to wrap each of the bars.

Out their foil confines the scents of sweet vanilla greeted me as I broke the bar in half with the usual reassuring snap of the wafer. Based on my interpretation of the description I had a dreadful feeling that this might be a lazy invention by our pals at Nestle and unfortunately my fears were confirmed by the taste test. I'm afraid I thought the execution of the Cookies & Cream theme was poor at best with the white chocolate coating the majority of the bar simply boosting the sugary flavours of the usual sweet milk chocolate and dominating the mild malty wheat flavours of the wafer. The small hint of vanilla present was by no means enough to give it a sense of the taste being enhancing and by the final bite of the small bar I was getting that sugar induced hot, uncomfortable feeling at the back of my throat.

Overall I never like to put a downer on companies trying new things but Nestle got these Cookies & Cream bars all wrong. For starters I cannot see for the life of me where these bars justify the Cookies & Cream name - I don't actually see where the cookie aspect comes in to it at all? The white chocolate used here was frankly cheap tasting, overly sugary and resultingly depreciative of the other milk chocolate and wafer constituents. Sorry to say folks but in my opinion these new Kit Kat Cookies & Cream bars aren't great. You wont break your shopping budget giving them a try but I honestly wouldn't expect much. Share your views (and mine if you want to enter the competition!!haha!) with me on twitter @ChocMission.

6.4 out of 10

August 8th: Cadbury Dairy Milk Marble

Kcal 540 Fat 31.2g Fat(sats) 17.9g Carbs 55.8g (per 100.0g)

First of all I must thank my friends @CybercandyLtd who sent this bar across to me in one of my latest sampling packages. When it comes to getting the latest chocolate and snack treats from the Southern Hemisphere, these guys have become somewhat of a savior for me. They not only stock all the latest Cadbury Australasian bars like the one today, but they also have all the latest stuff from the likes of Nestle, Mars etc (Check it all out HERE). Supplier pimping done with, I now get to talk to you about this Cadbury Dairy Milk Marble chocolate - a bar I was exceedingly excited to get the opportunity to review.

This was a bar that I used to have quite a lot when I was a younger and up until it was taken out of production here in the UK it was probably one of the Cadbury bars I used to have most often when I fancied something different from Cadbury Caramel. I used to always think that the swirled chocolate marble effect made the bar a more 'posh', upmarket, and altogether special offering than just the usual Dairy Milk. These feelings all came flooding back when I had the chance to try this Australian version and a wonderful sense of nostalgia swept over me when I opened up the silver foil revealing the very cool milk and white chocolate blend.

'Dariy Milk milk chocolate and Dream white chocolate with a hazelnut praline centre'. Though I had my concerns that this might be a chocolate that my tastebuds had 'outgrown', I was reassured by the strong nutty smells that the Dream contents might play second fiddle to the hazelnut influence. This reassurance was for the large part proven correct, and it was with great delight that I discovered the Dream white chocolate was the lesser influential constituent involved in the taste. Placing the sensibly sized block on my tongue the well paced melt began with the familiar sweet cocoa flavours of Cadbury Dairy milk chocolate exerting authority immediately. This being Australian Dairy Milk the taste wasn't quite as creamy or thick than our UK recipe yet it was still very tasty and was a nice set up for the even smoother, soft yielding praline center. To my joy the praline was every bit as nutty as the aromas suggest and the hazelnut tones were strong, woody and nicely tempering of the sweetness of the milk and white chocolate covering it. A serving size of 6 blocks (37.5g) was a nice amount and it meant this big bar last me a good week which I thought offered good value for money.

Overall this was a nice trip down memory road and I just hope one day we see it come back to the UK in one shape of form. As I said above I was a little worried that it might be on the sweet side for my own taste now with the presence of the god awful Cadbury Dream white chocolate, but thankfully I didn't find this to be the case. As chocolates go this was probably verging on my limit of my sugar tolerance levels but the praline was 'big' enough in presence to take focus away from that and my lasting impression was that of hazelnut not a burning throat sensation that usual follows Dream white chocolate around where ever it is present. Unfortunately for the moment it doesn't look like we will be getting a UK comeback for the Marble anytime soon. If you fancy reminiscing with a previous age then you will have to get yourself on over to Cybercandy or better yet visit your long lost brother Skip :-)

8.4 out of 10

August 6th: Hotel Chocolat H-Box Taste of Summer 2012 Selection

Whilst some chocolate companies 'shut up shop' during the summer months and go quiet on the new product front, Hotel Chocolat have never been one to conform. Yes the HC think tank has been working in over drive again this year and they have updated their Summer selection boxes with several innovative chocolate truffle flavours.

This Hotel Chocolat H-Box Taste of Summer 2012 Selection is a 160.0g pack that contains 12 ... yes ... 12 different chocolates inside. The poor 'Old Man' was working overtime snapping all of these. Suffice to say he was rewarded with many a chocolate so please look out for some extra input from the rest of my family who were more than happy to lend me their tasting palettes. Passing comment on the packaging and presentation of the product almost seems pointless - I'm sure you can all see it was all up to the usual HC standards. Here are our thoughts on the chocolates:

Bucks Fizz - I think this chocolate would have been better with a milder chocolate type as the dark outer shell and stronger orange influence dominated the lighter champagne lick. It was unsual to come across an HC alcohol infused chocolate that didn't have a strong enough boozie kick. Standard.

Mocha Frappe - We all know I like my coffee strong so the promise of a 'light airy coffee' centre didn't fill me with the greatest of confidence. Unfortunately it was indeed a little on the non-substantial side and though the coffee element was detectable it wasn't one that left a lasting impression. Standard.

Berry Mousse - Previously reviewed. Good. See HERE

Blackberry Mousse - This was a really tremendous chocolate that combined an outer shell of white chocolate with a blackberry infused soft center. The mixture of the two was spot on for me with the sweet white chocolate beautifully mellowing the sharper, tartier flavours of the blackberry. Very Good.

Orange Praline - Previously reviewed. Very Good. See HERE

Lemon Curd Truffles - These were cute mini chocolates that were about half the size of the others in the selection. These were especially enjoyable when they had been chilled and the creamy, sweet white chocolate perfectly balanced the cool, silky smooth lemon centres. Very Good.

Chocolate Ice Cream - Previously reviewed  Good. See HERE

Chocolate & Orange Pot - This chocolate was essentially the same as the orange praline but sans the hazelnut. Personally I preferred the chocolate with the nut element, however my mother was more enthusiastic about this one where the orange just had a little more longevity and prominence. Very Good.

Mango Creme Brulee - This was one of the stand out pieces in the selection for me. This milk chocolate had the fruitiest, real tasting mango infused cream centre and it was topped off by a lovely trickle of buttery caramel. It was a amazing how the cream, fruit and sweet caramel flavours all came to the fore in such a small bite-size piece. Superb.

Summer Pudding - Previously reviewed. Very Good. See HERE.

Prosecco & Raspberry - Well this one woke me up :-D This truffle had a real boozie kick and that added to the sharper raspberry fruit made for a very strong flavoured chocolate. Personally it wasn't one of my favorites but this might of been my under prepared taste buds for the alcohol lick. My mother liked the one she tried! Good.  

Eton Mess - Previously reviewed (Yes still as amazing as ever!!). Superb. See HERE

Overall I thought this was a good selection of truffles from Hotel Chocolat and I have to compliment them on their willingness to shake things up on the variety front every year. Changing up the flavours not only creates an element of excitement, but when they are as good as say the Mango Creme Brulee it also shows they are also committed to keeping the quality high. After full consultation of my tasting panel I would present the Eton Mess, Blackberry Mousse and aforementioned Mango Creme Brulee as the stand out pieces. Though I'm more of a guy that prefers the dark chocolates, pralines and caramels, my Mother is rather partial to Hotel Chocolat's fruit flavours so this selection was got a big thumbs up from her.

8.4 out of 10