May 15th: Bartons Chocolate Range

Phew!!!! What a busy day its been here at ChocolateMission HQ! The reason its been so hectic today is because this morning we were the very grateful recipients of an entire new range of chocolates being stocked by our pals at AmericanSoda. They have just started importing goodies from a brand called Bartons.

The Bartons brand proposition promises the 'fusion of the best chocolate creations from Europe and America'. As a concept we thought this was pretty unique and it generated a good degree of interest amongst the team.

Here is what we made of the products we tried from their range today:

Bartons Million Dollar Bars
Milk - Kcal 280 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 10.0g Carbs 35.0g (per 57.0g bar)
Dark - Kcal 290 Fat 20.0g Fat(sats) 12.0g Carbs 34.0g (per 57.0g bar)

The wrappers for these bars were absolutely superb. The 'million dollar' theme was very well presented with the paper and foil duo giving them both a cool look and lovely freshness. Neither bar communicated a cocoa % level, though our expert palates would hazard a guess at 20-25% for the milk chocolate and then perhaps 40-50% cocoa for the dark chocolate. Truth be told we felt comfortable giving these both the same rating of 7.5 as they essentially represented their chocolate types to an unspectacular yet very fair standard. The milk chocolate was obviously the sweeter of the two with a predominantly milky sweet undertone complimented nicely by a very minor note of vanilla. The dark chocolate was what we describe as mass-consumer friendly i.e. noticeably unsweetened, but certainly never bitter or overly rich. Life changing!? ... no ....Pleasant enough!? ... certainly and packaged awesomely.

7.5 out of 10

Bartons Peppermint Bark
Kcal 200 Fat 22.0g Fat(sats) 17.0g Carbs 49.0g (per 76.0g)

This Bartons Peppermint Bark bar came in for some serious love from the ChocolateMission team! Peppermint Bark is a phenomenon synonymous with American culture and for our money this is one of the better interpretations we've had the chance to lay hands on here in the UK. Combining 'crunched peppermint with creamy vanilla and dark chocolate' the plentiful 76.0g bar was broken apart and shared between three of us. First impressions were all very positive - it looked colourful and well preserved in its foil wrapper and the minty smells greeting us were every bit as welcoming. Taste wise Bartons certainly didn't let us either! This Peppermint Bark was nothing short of delicious delivering an initial dark chocolate flavour hit that was sweetened with an amazingly fresh, creamy, minty taste that could be long savored. Secretly I think the taste panel were disappointed we decided to share this one :-) we've already requested a few more from AmericanSoda - we highly recommend it for you mint chocolate fans.

8.7 out of 10

Bartons New Yorker Chocolate Classics

In addition to both the Million Dollar Bars and Peppermint Bark we have also been busy tasting the delights on offer in the Bartons New Yorker Chocolate Classics selection. This collection of 'New York's finest chocolates' promised 'Caramel Pecan, Almond Butter Toffee, Caramel Nocturne, Vanilla Butter Creme, Chocolate Fudge and Caramel Apple' pieces. These all came contained in a nice looking tin that held all the chocolates inside within a plastic tray. We normally go in to uber massive detail when it comes to selection boxes however the team thought it might not be that appropriate for this particular collection as the message across all the chocolates was pretty consistent with Standard to Good ratings felt appropriate for all. Given the 'Classics' proposition some of the team did single out the Vanilla Butter Cremes and Caramel Pecan pieces as the standouts and they were the first ones to that the team lay siege to. Further investigation of the mix however revealed that the almond Almond Butter Toffee and Caramel Nocturne were just as capable and they were hardly far behind performing their own 'disappearing act'. Overall the consensus was much the same as the Million Dollar Bars - the chocolates weren't anything out of this world but they were certainly a good enough standard to justify a look at with the unique American Classics proposition on offer. The well presented tin packaging makes this a very good option if you are after an American themed gift.

7.5 out of 10