September 28th: Bits n Bobs September 2012

Here are some of the random products that I have been trying out recently. If you can think of something you have seen in the shops and would like a review on please be sure to drop me a line on @ChocMission.

Milka Daim Snax
Kcal 520 Fat 27.0g Fat(sats) 15.5g Carbs 61.5g (per 100.0g)

Before I kickstart my rundown of these Milka Daim Snax I must extend my thanks to ChocolateMission reader Phil who kindly sent me these after seeing them in his local B&M store. Phil didn't include information on the price of these but one would expect a pouch based product like these to retail at around the £1.00-£1.99 price point. When I first saw these I was admiteddly excited about the prospect of another hook up between two of my favourite Kraft brands Milka and Daim. The Milka & Daim bar is one of my favourite everyday milk chocolates and it would probably be my choice of their range should I ever be pushed to pick one. Suffice to say the prospect of 'clusters of Alpine milk, milk chocolate covered cornflakes with Daim caramel pieces' sounded promising and they didn't disappoint. The combination of crunchy, salty corn cereal, sugary Daim hard toffee and creamy milk chocoalte proved to be a very tasty synergy of ingredients. These clusters were moreish yet at the same time satisfying, packing a chocolate flavour hit with a distinctive influence of burnt sugar toffee. We have several pouch based products here in the UK but if these got British distribution I think they would do very well. Well worth a purchase if you should ever come across them.

8.5 out of 10

The Fabulous Bakin Boys Choccy Flapjack
Kcal 359 Fat 17.1g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 43.5g (per flapjack)

When I saw this Fabulous Bakin Boys Choccy Flapjack on sale in my local supermarket last week there was simply no way I could turn a blind eye. To my amazement this flapjack was priced at just £0.32 - a half price deal that made all the other surrounding chocolate bars look very dear with their £0.60+ price points. As we all know cheap isn't always a good thing, though I hardly felt like I was going to be losing out in the pocket giving this oaty treat a try. The wrapper informed me this was 'a golden oaty base topped with chocolate flavoured oats', and that it contained no artificial colours or flavours. On the face of things it wasn't the most exciting looking cake  I've tried recently but thats me comparing this to the lofty standard set by the likes of Heavenly Cakes. Breaking the massive 75.0g bar apart I was pleased to see that it did so very easily and this was reflective with it's soft, chewy texture. Proportionally the golden base portion of the flapjack made up the majority of the taste and established a fair flavoured buttery, oaty taste. Later on in the flavour development the chocolate oats on top did introduce a mild element of cocoa to proceedings , though I felt it could have been a little better in this regard had it included some extra chocolate based ingredient like say chips or frosting. Suffice to say the whole flapjack consumed in one time was a pretty hefty snack and definetly left me feeling content for a long duration after. This wasn't an amazing flapjack in any sense but for that price I felt I more than got my moneys worth.

8.0 out of 10

Rocky  Chockas Toffee & Choc
Kcal 85 Fat 4.2g Fat(sats) 2.5g Carbs 10.4g (per biscuit)

In last months Bits n Bobs review (August - See HERE) I gave you all my first impressions of Fox's latest new line of biscuits 'Rocky Chockas' with my review of the Double Choc variant. Following that altogether pleasant experience I said I would take a look at some of the flavours in the range. Well my loyal JCM readership I have not let you down - I needed no second invite cashing in my hard earned £1.00 buying a pack of the Toffee & Choc flavour. I wont waste your time describing packaging/aesthetics etc - all was the same from last times 'Double Choc' flavour aside from back of pack description informing me these were 'crunchy biscuits sprinkled with caramel pieces, dark chocolate chips and crisp rice, coated in milk chocolate'. One thing I will draw attention to at this point is just how soft' the outer chocolate on these biscuits is and that its been highly noticeable how easily the chocolate melts when they are handled. A small warning - if you are eating these with a hot mug of tea/coffee I would keep them well away from the heat :-) I learnt this the hard way and boy was it messy. Anyway back to more important matters, I was really looking forward to the toffee aspect of these but after I tasted them I wasn't convinced the toffee element really worked. These differed to the Double Choc by replacing some of the chocolate chips with  similarly sized bits of hard chewy toffee. Sounds great right!? Well these hard chewy bits weren't all that flavoursome and their hard, gummy texture meant more often than not they just got stuck in my teeth. After a little bit of chewing they did offer mild buttery, burnt sugar flavours but it felt a little to late and detached from the chocolate and biscuit portions before. Altogether these were still nice enough but I would buy the Double Choc ones again if it came to it.

7.5 out of 10

Wagon Wheels Caramel
Kcal 163 Fat 5.5g Fat(sats) 3.1g Carbs 24.8g (per biscuit)

Last but by no means least today I give you my thoughts on one of the latest brand relaunches from our friends at Burton's Biscuit Company. I was approached a few months ago by Burton's to do some reviews of their 'new' Wagon Wheels biscuits, however they chose not to follow up their offer after I pointed out my not so positive review of their original biscuit back in June 2009 - See HERE. Whenever companies do this I'm always even more intrigued to try the product that they had little confidence in. After seeing these limited edition Wagon Wheels Caramel on offer in my local Tesco (£1.00) I thought I would see for myself what this brand relaunch was all about. These came described as 'biscuits filled with caramel flavour mallow covered with chocolate flavour coating'. The sound of the chocolate flavour coating  bit sent shivers down my spine, however the caramel flavour mallow sounded better than the lackluster liquid caramel I remembered from previous Wagon Wheel Toffee/Caramel incarnations down the years. Well folks I have the pleasure of reporting that not only did these sound better, but they more importantly tasted a whole lot better! The chocolate flavour coating was as expected pretty poor, though combined with the chocolatey biscuit it did create a worthy chocolatey shortcake taste. That was all fine, but it was the caramel mallow that was really to my liking. It was indeed very sweet flavoured, but at the same time it did create a very pleasant buttery, burnt sugar like appeal that played off nicely against the salt note offered by the biscuit base.  A score of 8.0 out of 10 is more generous than perhaps deserved, but Wagon Wheels have gone up in my estimation. Give one a try and tell me what you think yourselves.

8.0 out of 10

September 26th: Galaxy A Gift For You Truffle

Kcal 205 Fat 12.4g Carbs 20.5g

If this Midweek Mini is bringing a real sense of Deja-Vu then your feelings are well founded. Almost a year ago to the day I kicked off my ChocolateMission Christmas 2011 reviews bringing you  all my rundown of Mars's latest addition to the Galaxy range, the Galaxy 'A Gift For You' - See HERE. I commented back then how ridiculous it was to be finding Christmas products in the early days of September, but the supermarkets round near me have surpassed themselves with my first sightings of festive goodies coming as soon as August this year. As aforementioned, feelings of Deja-Vu are not misplaced today as the 2012 ChocolateMission reviews will also start off with me bringing you my thoughts of a product named Galaxy 'A Gift For You'. As you may have clocked by the title and photos this time around I was checking out the all new 'Truffle' variant.

Like last years Caramel based product this new truffle variety also comes in a 38.0g serving size and looks identical both in terms of wrapper and chocolate design. On pack the chocolate is described as 'milk chocolate with a truffle filling', the latter of which was contained within the two smaller pockets of the four block format. In terms of taste there were no surprises in flavour delivery with the whole experience highly familiar with the sweet cocoa flavours heavily rooted in double cream undertones and with a smooth as silk flavour progression and amplification. The truffle filling was non-enhancing flavour wise, though it did bring a notable variation texturally so it was a least compelling in one sense.

Overall this is new variety holds little in the way of surprises though this is necessarily not a bad thing . Whilst it may lack any creative or innovative newness, the chocolate at hand is by and large damn tasty and I certainly didn't hold any negative sentiment towards it. If you like Galaxy chocolate then really there is nothing whatsoever you aren't going to enjoy here. It's a cute looking product that tastes as it should do with a little bit of variety thrown it texturally from the truffle filling. Personally I would still choose the Caramel filled variety from last year, but that's pure personal preference. Let me know what you think about this years Galaxy 'A Gift For You' on Twitter. Do you think its truffle delicious-ness or a chance missed to try something new!? @Chocomission with your thoughts please.

8.0 out of 10

Site Redesign & Competition

Its long overdue but ChocolateMission has undergone a redesign!! I hope you all approve the site changes and look forward to hearing your feedback on the several Social Media platforms we are now present on.

To celebrate our little makeover we are celebrating with a COMPETITION!!! We will be giving away FOUR ... yes.... FOUR Cadbury chocolate goodie bags!! This competition is open to everyone and you all have four different methods of entering via our Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Foap pages. Winners will be announced on the site on the October 6th - Good luck ... here's out to enter.

Method 1: Twitter - @Chocmission

 -  Follow @ChocMission and Retweet our competition

Method 2: Facebook -

 - 'Like' the *NEW* Fanpage & tell your friends via a status update.

Method 3: Pinterest -

 - Follow our board and repin one of our photos at our Pinterest page.

Method 4: Foap -

 - Five star rate or buy one of our photos over at our *NEW* Foap page

Good luck and be sure to let us know what you make of the new look website.  

September 21st: Cadbury Caramilk Dark Noir

Kcal 260 Fat 13.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 35.0g

My pals @CybercandyLtd continue to help me navigate my way around the Canadian confectionery market with them today supplying me with this Cadbury Caramilk Dark Noir bar. From the very limited research I've done, the Canadians seem very bought in to the 'health' benefits that allegedly come with dark chocolate. If any of these bars are anything to go by - Aero 70% HERE, Kit Kat 70% HERE, this assumption would likely ring true so it should have come as little surprise that one of Cadbury's best selling products over there would have it's own dark chocolate iteration. Here is my take on it.

This bar came in a 52.0g format which I consumed over the course of two different sittings. It was presented very nicely, and in the same beautiful paper wrapper, foil packaging combination that the original Cadbury Caramilk from Canada comes in. As much as I love the sleek modernity of the matted plastic UK Cadbury wrappers, these Canadian bars have such a nostalgic, old school Cadbury feel to them that I can't help but love. The chocolate bar itself was segmented into well sized branded blocks and as the name led me to expect, was a deep, almost black colour.

On the wrapper the chocolate came described as 'dark chocolate pockets with caramel filling' or 'carres au chocolat noir remplis de caramel dore' if we are going for the Canadian spin. Doing the photography for the review today I noticed that the caramel was a little runnier than other caramel bars of this nature. The filling oozed the blocks when I cut in to it and with it's golden colouring looked very appetising indeed. With this being a mass produced Cadbury dark chocolate it wasn't at all surprising the taste chocolate was pretty mild in cocoa intensity. The flavours on offer were more along the lines of unsweetened milk chocolate, with the underlying milk creamyness still present, just not with the usual touch of sugar rounding off the aftertaste. The caramel inside did deliver a degree of contrasting sweetness to the party, though this was only present for a limited time as it melted away a lot faster than the chocolate leaving a lasting salty legacy.

Overall I've tried many a chocolate caramel combination in my time and I would place this Cadbury Caramilk Dark Noir right around the upper middle of the rankings. I found the chocolate to be sound, yet not particularly spectacular. I've learnt over the years not to expect to much from mass produced dark chocolates from the likes of Cadbury but with expectations low I was happy enough with the unsweetened style dark chocolate that was on offer here. The caramel inside was similarly uncomplicated with its salt noted sweet butter flavours but I still enjoyed the variation it gave from the plainer chocolate. I wouldn't classify this as one of the many Cybercandy (See Shop HERE) purchase must haves, but if like me you like trying out all the different Cadbury Caramel offerings from around the globe I can say with a deal confidence that it wont likely disappoint.

8.3 out of 10

September 19th: Heavenly Cakes Cappuccino Cake

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ??? (probably plenty of all of these haha!!)

Ever since I first showcased this cake back on the site in 2010 (See HERE), I've received a steady flow  of requests asking me to do a full blown JCM review on it. Indeed this Heavenly Cakes Cappuccino Cake has caught many an eye since that basic feature and several readers have inquired about how good it really is compared to some of the other magnificent Heavenly Cakes offerings. Well folks today is the day for the Cappuccino cake to finally get it's time in the spotlight and as you will see from my photo above you will also see that the cake has undergone a few minor changes since it's first appearance.

My lovely contacts at Heavenly sent me a few slices of this cake, each of which weighed in at an approximate 75.0g - big enough huh!? Compared to the last time I had this cake in 2010 the difference appeared to be the introduction of some real coffee bean pieces in to the lower base and upper chocolate layers. For me this had benefits both aesthetically and for the taste - more on the latter further down! Speaking specifically of the sensory benefits I felt they gave the coffee theme of the cake more legitimacy visually and they certainly enhanced the roasted coffee bean smells that wafted out the wrapper once opened - gorgeous!

As I said above I was lucky enough to be sent a few samples of this Cappuccino cake from the @BettyBakes kitchen so I was able to share some of these with my work colleagues to get their thoughts on it. If I start with the base of the cake and work my way up through the layers I can reveal that the experience started with a bottom layer consisting of chocolate digestive biscuits fused together by a coffee flavoured dark chocolate bind. This made for a taste that was initiated with a biscuity emphasis that provided a deluge of butter, coffee and rich cocoa flavours. This base was then enhanced by a topping of fused Belgian milk chocolate and white chocolate. Together they brought about a kinder, sweeter set of flavours to counteract the more bitter flavours of the plain chocolate and roasted ground coffee contained below. As noted above, the additional coffee bean pieces brought further, intensive bursts of coffee flavours to the party. They also provided some variety texturally as their crunchyness was vastly different to the softer yielding layers of the solid chocolate and moist biscuit base. As much as I loved this cake, for me a whole 75.0g serving was a little on the excessive side. This felt like a perfect amount to split between two people who wanted a little cake to go alongside their afternoon tea or coffee.

Overall given my love for all things chocolate and coffee flavoured I was pretty sure I was going to be handing out a high score for this one and it didn't let me down. What I love about this coffee flavoured offering from Heavenly so much is that it isn't your typical coffee cake. Now when I think of coffee cake normally I get a picture in my head of a rather generic looking, brown coloured sponge cake with a bit of coffee flavoured icing on top - boring huh!? Well Heavenly have completely shaken up that image for me and have created a cake that I don't think has any sort of equivalent. Indeed off the top of my head I can't think of another coffee flavoured cake like this so I think we really have to hand it to them for thinking outside of the box and coming up with something that isn't traditional and is actually innovative. Of course innovation is only really a good thing if what you come up with is of high quality and is better than what you had originally. Thankfully I can say with great confidence that I would choose this coffee flavoured cake above any other I've tried before and I would urge any of you who think you might like it to give it a go. I think it goes without saying this cake comes with a glowing JCM recommendation - none of my work colleagues disagreed :-D

8.9 out of 10

September 17th: Hotel Chocolat Passion Fruit Fiesta

Kcal 184 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 17.0g (1/3 of a slab - 33.0g)

Hotel Chocolat haven't been backwards coming forwards with the fruit flavoured chocolates this summer. The majority of their seasonal collection this year has been made up of different fruit flavoured chocolate offerings and today I wont be showcasing you anything different. This Hotel Chocolat Passion Fruit Fiesta is the latest innovation in their famous 'slab' range and I got the chance to give it a try after it came in one of my latest sampling packages. The front of the wrapper informed me that this was a 'white and milk passion fruit flavoured chocolate slab with shortbread cookies and chocolate crispies'.

My sample of this chocolate came in a 100.0g form and was contained within one of Hotel Chocolat's standard plastic packets. You can say this of most Hotel Chocolat slabs but this one looked particularly distinctive with the biscuit pieces and yellow coloured decorative swirls giving the the chocolate an easy, interesting look on the eye. The chocolate had already got my attention with it's unique proposition and compelling aesthetics but the emanating wafts of fruity chocolate that emerged from the wrapper also added to my excitement of trying it - I had a good feeling about this one.

The slab was roughly proportioned 50/50 between the milk and white chocolate and it was the latter which I tackled first. The white portion was actually my favored of the two which was surprising given my usual preference for Hotel Chocolat's milk over their white. In this instance however I thought the lighter vanilla cream flavours better matched the fruitnyess at hand. The 40% house chocolate was still delicious with it's punchy sweet cocoa flavours but the white just seemed to allow better expression of the passion fruit. Speaking of which, passion isn't one I'm all that familiar with though I have been know to have the odd glass of juice whenever I fancied a change from my usual OJ. Suffice to say I was well positioned to determine whether it was well implemented and surprise surprise Hotel Chocolat did a cracking job. The fruity element was slightly acidic but had a sugary aftertaste meaning it was engaging yet still kind mannered. It was refreshing and enhancing - everything you want a fruit influence to be. In a more subtle way the cocoa rice and biscuits brought excitement texturally but taste wise they didn't get much of a look in with the chocolates occupying all attention.

Overall this was another very fine summer themed chocolate and Hotel Chocolat did a very good job pulling off  another fruit flavour that isn't commonlly found in the mass market. I never envisaged myself concluding this but I think this could have been made even better had they just gone with the white chocolate and passion fruit rather than trying to do a fusion with the milk chocolate involved. As I said above my preference would normally lie with the milk, but in this instance it was white that I thought was the better matched with this particular fruit and it was that half of the slab I found myself finishing off well ahead of the milk chocolate half. I can't imagine this will be an all year round flavour available so if it is one that tickles your fancy I suggest making moves to get hold of it before the summer is out. The Hotel Chocolat Passion Fruit Fiesta is yet another that gets a JCM recommendation - who ever could have seen that coming!?

8.8 out of 10

UK Update 2012: Lindt Lindor Stracciatella

UK Update - September 14th 2012

I'm delighted to announce that the lovely people at Lindt have recently been in contact with some exciting news regarding these Lindt Lindor Stracciatella chocolates. Yes folks I have the rather awesome news to bring you that these delightful little chocolate morsels will soon be widely available here in the UK as a limited edition. Last week I got my own box of them to try (as per my new photo above!). I can confirm they were every bit as awesome as when I tried them back in June 2010. I've not yet heard where these are going to be distributed, though I've been assured they will be available from the Lindt Chocolate store - See HERE. If white chocolate truffles are a favourite of yours then I highly suggest you give yourself a treat.

Original Review - June 10th 2010
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Just a few weeks ago ChocolateMission reader Lauren got in contact with me and requested that I 'review the new Lindt Lindor flavours'. I have to admit that I responded by asking Lauren what these new Lindt Lindor flavours were, as I wasn't even aware that any even existed! Adding further weight to my argument that my readers are the nicest people ever ;) Lauren not only responded with the information, but also with a very generous offer of sending me some in the post. This was of course an offer to good to turn down - so thanks to Lauren I today bring you my first of three reviews on the new flavours, the Lindt Lindor Stracciatella.

Keen ChocolateMission readers will be aware that I have previously reviewed Lindt's attempt at a Stracciatella chocolate before, in the form of a bar from their Excellence range (See HERE). For those unbeknown to what Stracciatella is, I can inform you that it is an Italian type of ice cream called Gelato, which is further supplemented with chocolate shavings. From what Lauren told me, she bought these truffles in a 'pick-a-mix' type Lindor selection in her local Whittakers shop (damn my local one for shutting down!). Obviously due to this, they came with no exterior packaging, though each was wrapped in a very cool looking sky blue coloured wrapper.

Removing the truffles from their foil coatings, the first thing that struck me (apart from how difficult they were going to be to photograph!!) was how awesome the speckled white chocolate effect looked. In terms of aroma the truffles didn't offer much in the way of progression from the intial faint dairy based scents, however cutting in to the truffles the brown dotted appearance did enough to hold my intrigue. Placing the first truffle in my mouth I was instantly reminded how of just how good Lindt are when it comes to white chocolate. The taste was thankfully devoid of all the generic sugary flavours that most average white chocolates offer, and was far more focused in providing a long, smooth flowing cream based taste that was nothing short of delightful. The crunchy cocoa bits placed within both the shell and inner truffle filling were similarly great, and enhanced the overall taste with short, sweets bursts of chocolatey cocoa flavours. Speaking of the truffle filling it was your usual Lindor fair, and contrasted almost perfectly with the crisp outer shell, melting with infinite smoothness like butter once warmed on the tongue. In comparison to some of the dark chocolate Lindor truffles, these weren't as rich, thus weren't quite as satisfying and were edible in greater amounts. I guess this was to be expected given the white chocolate proposition.

Overall despite these not quite being the same imperious all round product as the Lindt Excellence Stracciatella bar, these Lindor Stracciatella were still some very tasty truffles. When it comes to white chocolate, I tend to think there are three main groups of products - firstly you have the sugary messes that belong in the abyss (Hannah's White Mice etc!), secondly the bog standard sweet, milky tasting white chocolates (Nestle Milkybar etc), and thirdly a small group of prestigious white chocolate offerings from the likes of Hotel Chocolat etc. Thankfully I am glad to report that these Lindt Lindor Stracciatella sit nicely in that third group, as the smooth melting cream based experience they offer entitle them to sit alongside some of the other white chocolates elite. If I was to compare and contrast with the Lindor White I reviewed last year, I would say the additional cocoa bursts brought to the party by the sprinkling of cocoa nibs, made them just a little bit superior. It is a safe assumption to make that if you are a fan of them you would really enjoy these - I would recommend you give them a try.

8.1 out of 10

September 12th: Artisan du Chocolat Chocolate Coated Salted Caramel Popcorn

Astisan du Chocolat are never a brand afraid to try something a little different and the products I'm featuring from them today would certainly reaffirm that statement. Although we have recently seen some of the mass market chocolate producers try their hand at chocolate coated popcorn (See Cadbury Popcorn HERE), Artisan du Chocolat are the first higher-end brand that I can recall making gourmet chocolate coated popcorn. This step into the unknown was exactly the reason why I was so excited about trying these new Artisan du Chocolat Chocolate Coated Salted Caramel Popcorn flavours. If they were going to be the same sort of quality as some of the rest of their range, I knew I was going to be in for a treat.

The three different flavour variants that got sent to me to try came in 100.0g plastic jars. I loved the look of the presentation with the containers giving a retro, old sweet shop type of feel to the range. The flavours on offer, Poping Candy Salted Caramel, Rocky Road Salted Caramel and Milk & Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel all sounded like interesting variants; the first two in particular were not varieties of chocolate coated popcorn I had ever seen produced before. Below are my thoughts on each flavour:
Artisan du Chocolat Popping Candy Salted Caramel Popcorn

Lets be honest - we all know that I really don't like popping candy so to say this was the flavour I was most looking forward to trying would be an outright lie. Despite my initial concerns I was delighted to find that the popping candy element was really not that significant and aside from a small, interesting touch of mouth fizz as the chocolate melted, it wasn't something that was all that obvious. The popping candy in no way hampered my enjoyment of the delicious dark chocolate which coated the corn - let me go in to more detail on that below ;-)

8.2 out of 10

Artisan du Chocolat Rocky Road Salted Caramel Popcorn

The next variant I tried were these Rocky Road milk chocolate coated popcorn. I have to admit that at first I was a little disappointed to read that there was no cherry or other read fruit involvement like with most Rocky Road products. This initial disappoint fizzled away as fast as the corn melted on my tongue as I was soon treated to a luxurious taste packed full of creamy cocoa, sweet toffee, woody hazelnut, salt and corn cereal. This five pronged deluge of flavours was just sensational and I found it hard placing the lid back on every time I reached inside.

8.4 out of 10

Artisan du Chocolat Milk & Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Popcorn

Now if you thought I enjoyed the Rocky Road flavour then you should really take note of how much I loved this Milk & Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel variant. This ladies and gentlemen was gourmet chocolate coated popcorn in the most grandioso sense. This combination of two chocolates types mixed 35.0% milk chocolate with 70.0% dark chocolate - both were of a phenomenal quality. The milk chocolate coated corn were obviously the sweeter of the two and they brought a lovely contrast to the plainer, richer, earthier cocoa flavours being offered by the dark chocolate pieces. Both chocolate types matched the buttery, salty flavours of the inner corn superbly. These I'm afraid did not last me longer than the one sitting - I just couldn't help myself.

8.9 out of 10

Overall it has to be regarded as an incredible feat by Artisan du Chocolat to be able to take an everyday snack like popcorn and make it seem as special as they have done with these products here. All three flavours were fantastic and I wouldn't have any qualms whatsoever recommending a purchase of any of them. With that said If you want my advice on which to go for you only need look at my scores, which should lead you in the direction of the Milk & Dark Chocolate variant. For me that was the one that stood out from the collection. Please let me (@Chocmission) and Artisan du Chocolat (@ArtisanduChocolat) know on Twitter which you fancy trying the most.    

September 10th: Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Biscuit Crunch / Toffee Popcorn

Last week I was yet again the recipient of a parcel from the folk at Cadbury HQ. A day earlier I had stumbled across this article HERE informing me of these two, soon to be released new Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates. I never thought I would have them in my hands so soon, but over the last few days I've been sharing them around with work colleagues and friends to get their opinions.

The two new bars are the Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Biscuit Crunch (200.0g) and Cadbury Dairy Milk Toffee Popcorn (150.0g), and they should be in all good stores by the time you are reading this review. Bars in hand, the first thing that I noticed about them was that the Kraft influence was very obvious, and they reminded me a lot of some Milka bars I had reviewed in previous years - see Milka Choco Rice HERE & Milka Choco Swing Biscuit HERE. Below are my own thoughts on these two new flavours:

Cadbury Dairy Milk Toffee Popcorn
Kcal 510 Fat 26.5g Fat(sats) 16.0g Carbs 59.5g (per 100.0g)

This one came described as 'milk chocolate with pieces of lightly salted caramel popcorn' and comes hot off the heels of the launch of the Cadbury Popcorn pouch which I reviewed back in June - See HERE. I thought the chocolate was very cool looking and I liked the way that the bar was absolutely crammed full of popcorn pieces - see my pic above! With comparisons to the aforementioned pouch product inevitable, I soon came to the conclusion this bar format had both upsides and downsides. On the positive side the use of the Dairy Milk chocolate was all for the better flavour wise, and I could certainly detect a creamier chocolatey taste. The denser melting chocolate however did present a downside for the popcorn element, as its already weak flavours never seemed to come to the fore whatsoever with the salt and toffee elements MIA for the large part. Ultimately it was a decent enough chocolate but it wasn't one that left me gagging for more.

7.8 out of 10

Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Biscuit Crunch
Kcal 545 Fat 33.0g Fat(sats) 19.0g Carbs 55.5g (per 100.0g)

This next Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Biscuit Crunch came billed as 'milk chocolate with a creme filling, milk chocolate creme filling and biscuit'. My photo really hasn't done it justice, but aesthetically it looked terrific with the different multiple layers clearly evident with the bar broken apart. I've long been waiting for a decent Dairy Milk biscuit bar since it got taken out of the range mid 2000's and I'm pleased to inform we finally have one. This chocolate was nothing other than delicious and I thought every layer played its part in what was a multi-dimensional taste. The outer Dairy Milk was as usual a terrific carrier for the inner filling with it's sweet, cream laden cocoa flavours a delightful lead in to the crunchy biscuit center. The layers of creme that lay between chocolate and biscuit didn't particularly add to much to the experience, though that really mattered little with the buttery, salt licked shortbread like biscuit bring added interest and intrigue to the party. Unlike the Toffee Popcorn bar above, once I opened this chocolate I really was left wanting more - I didn't deny myself.

8.8 out of 10 

Overall with new additions coming and going from the Cadbury Dairy Milk range at an increasingly fast rate these days, it's easy to write them off as bars that wont stand the test of time. Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, but I rate the chances of at least one of these bars sticking around quite high. I will make the very non-risky prediction that the Cadbury Dairy Milk Toffee Popcorn will not be around this time next year :-) On the contrary I rate the chances of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Biscuit Crunch a heck of a lot better. The latter of the two for me just brought more to the party in terms of it's proposition and uniqueness and I don't think there are than many similar alternatives currently in the Dairy Milk range. Have you tried these bars yet!? Let me know what you thought of them @ChocMission

September 7th: Oh Henry! Peanut Butter

Kcal 310 Fat 20.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 29.0g

Until a few weeks ago I was having a right old time sourcing any Canadian products to review for the site. Luckily for me, my pals at Cybercandy (@CybercandyLTD) recently stepped up to the plate and sent me a whole host of products that they stock from there - Take a look at their Canadian range HERE. Included in this rather wonderful selection, they included one of these Oh Henry! Peanut Butter bars; I remembered Cybele reviewing it on Candy Blog a while ago (review HERE!). When I saw it on Cybele's site I thought it looked and sounded like a Reese's Nutsrageous bar and the on pack description of 'peanuts, Reese's peanut butter and caramel, covered in a chocolaty coating' did little to persuade me otherwise. The aforementioned Reese's product earnt itself a 8.9 on the ChocolateMission rating scale so I was looking forward to seeing if this could be equally as successful.

This Oh Henry! Peanut Butter was a monster of a bar and it weighed a plentiful 60.0g. Although it packed a lot of calories the bar contained a pretty hefty 8.0g protein and made for a very fulfilling snack. The outer packaging was nicely designed incorporating the standard yellow Oh Henry! colour theme but also with a touch of orange to communicate the Reese's input to the product. The bar itself was nicely protected in the foil wrapper as it was protected with one of those cardboard strips. Personally I think it would have been more convenient for the bar to have already been split into two pieces (like the original American Oh Henry!) but it wasn't as if it was too much hassle doing it myself. When I split open to foil wrapper I was little underwhelmed with the smell that greeted me, but this soon changed when I cut into the bar upon where I was met with a lovely waft of Reese's peanuts.

Having had a Reese's Nutsrageous just the other day I was in a good position to make a comparison when I tucked into this bar today. I have frequently been disappointed with Reese's milk chocolate in the past and unsurprisingly I didn't perceive the milk chocolate coating on this bar to be any better at all. I say I was unsurprised as both bars are made by Hershey's so to be honest I didn't feel all that let down when I was met with a familiar mild tasting chocolate that had a slightly waxy melt. Thankfully where the chocolate was equally as disappointing the other elements to the bar were nearly just as good with the peanuts, peanut butter and caramel all combining to deliver a wonderful synergy of flavours. Together the peanuts and the peanut butter made for a delicious roasted nut taste that brought a real saltiness to the overall taste. In stark comparison the caramel was fantastically sweet and had a sweet, syrupy butter like taste with a chewy soft texture. As previously mentioned above the whole 60.0g bar made for a very satisfying snack which more than settled my hunger at the time.

Overall this was a very nice chocolate bar though I am pretty sure they also get the Reese's Nutsrageous in Canada which does beg the question why does it exist in the first place!? On the downside in comparison to the Reese's Nutsrageous I didn't think the nuts tasted quite as fresh or had quite the same crunchiness in texture and to be honest I was disappointed to see the chocolate was equally as poor. Looking at the bigger picture though this was still an exceedingly tasty bar and one that I would definitely have again if offered. If you like your peanut butter and peanuts this would well worth being a bar you should invest in at some point. This was a great bar but yet again I am left thinking what could be if Hershey's would make a product with higher quality chocolate

8.6 out of 10

Sepetember 5th: Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Flutes

Over the last five years I have received infrequent, but consistent reader requests to do some reviews of Elizabeth Shaw's chocolate range. Back in 2011 I did feature some of their chocolate bars in one of my Christmas recommendation posts but that aside I probably haven't done their line up justice .... until now of course :-) Yes indeed the kind folks at Elizabeth Shaw recently sent me a whopping 2.5kg chocolate hamper. Admittedly that is way too much chocolate for one guy - be sure to keep an eye on the @ChocMission twitter feed for my inevitable giveaways! Back to matters at hand today I'm going to give you my thoughts on  Elizabeth Shaw's Chocolate Flutes range. This included four different packs of thin chocolate sticks with flavoured centres

Elizabeth Shaw Latte Flutes
Kcal 24 Fat 1.3g Fat(sats) 0.8g Carbs 2.6g (per stick)

Unfortunately these didn't prove to be all that great. They were oddly very, very waxy in texture (just look at the bend in my photo above!!) and had a horribly greasy mouth feel that left a nasty feeling on the roof of my mouth. Whilst horrible in texture they also did very little for me taste wise and though they avoided the common pitfall of most mass produced white chocolate offerings and weren't horribly sugary, they fell right down the other end of the flavour spectrum and hardly tasted of anything at all. In fact it wasn't until I got to the milk chocolate centres where I was finally greeted with any sort of chocolatey flavours and even then the coffee influence wasn't as strong as it should have been. I don't like reporting disappointments but I'm afraid these were exactly that - shame!

4.6 out of 10

Elizabeth Shaw Mint Flutes
Kcal 23 Fat 1.3g Fat(sats) 0.8g Carbs 2.7g (per stick)

I don't know about you guys but whenever I think Elizabeth Shaw, I think dark chocolate and mint. These two are probably what you would regard as ES's signature combination and I've tried many  different offerings with them from their range before. Suffice to say I knew what to expect here - 50% cocoa dark chocolate and sweet as sin mint fondant. Unlike the Latte Flutes above these did meet my expectations and thought they were wonderful complimenting an after dinner coffee. The texture and mouth feel of the melt was ten times better with these and the same can be said about the taste. The dark chocolate was also a big step up from their white chocolate. It wasn't bitter or over powering and it was a nice match with the sugary, peppermint fondant which itself added a refreshing burst of mintyness when uncovered. Wonderful stuff.

8.2 out of 10

Elizabeth Shaw Orange Flutes
Kcal 22 Fat 1.3g Fat(sats) 0.8g Carbs 2.5g (per stick)

Out of all the flavours these were the ones I was probably the least enthused about. Despite by lack of enthusiasm there were no worries there though, I found a suitable chocolate orange fan to assist me with my taste testing. These sticks were billed as 'orange milk chocolate coated in dark chocolate' and came with the same same 50% cocoa recipe exterior as per the mint flutes above. Again I found the dark chocolate coating was rich in flavour but this time I did think it overpowered the centres and the milk chocolate fillings struggled to substantiate the orange fruit flavours. The orange was there but not as strong as desired - perhaps an orange flavoured fondant as per the mint flutes above would have been a better option. These didn't set my world alight but at the same time there was certainly nothing wrong with them at all.

6.9 out of 10

Elizabeth Shaw Amaretto Flutes
Kcal 23 Fat 1.3g Fat(sats) 0.8g Carbs 2.6g (per stick)

Last but by no means least these Amaretto flavoured Flutes were the final flavour in the selection I tried. I left them until last as I wasn't expecting that much from them given that I only very seldom drink alcohol. Well I'm delighted to report that I loved these! The combination of the milk chocolate outer portions with the amaretto liqueur flavoured centres was just marvelous. The inner fillings were a texture and flavour delight and the silky soft mouth feel was a perfect synergy with the flowing smooth flavours of the buttery almond nuttyness. There was a minor boozieness to these particular Flutes but it was well contained and was the correct level at which it was detectable and enhancing rather than a distraction. These were a close second for me.

8.0 out of 10

Overall Elizabeth Shaw did a really fine job with two out of the four flavours here and they come very much recommend them if they are flavours you fancy. I wasn't surprised to enjoy the Mint Flutes as much as I did, but as described the Amaretto Flutes were a pleasant revelation. Remember to keep an eye on @ChocMission - you never know I could be giving away some ES Flutes this week ;-)