20 February 2018

Nestle Les Recettes De L’Atelier - Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Chocolate (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

I find it is difficult to not be excited when I find a new chocolate bar in the supermarket. That is probably where this blog comes from. When I spotted this new chocolate bar in Morrisons I did think for a minute that it was an imported bar, as the title of the bar is in French; Les Recettes De L’Atelier. Having using google translate, because my French GCSE was more than a few years ago, I discovered that this meant “Recipes from the Workshop”, which does make it sound like a selection of fun experimental flavours. Indeed this particular mix is of Cranberries, Almonds and Hazelnuts in milk chocolate and it sounded very appealing. As for the foreign connection, the address on the back of the bar is for York, but perhaps the concept still came from abroad.

The chocolate is shaped into long pieces all packed with fruit and nuts, so much so they deliberately peep through on the centre of each piece.As someone who loves a mix of textures, this bar worked very well for me. The almonds and hazelnuts are firm and crunchy, and the cranberries sticky and soft. The milk chocolate that surrounds them is very lush, it is very creamy, and the chocolate has a lovely thick melt. The taste is sweet and it is very rich. The cranberries add a little tartness to the taste, and nuts add their woody goodness. I loved this chocolate, it was like a very posh fruit and nut, but it was the sumptuously sweet chocolate that held it all together. I can’t wait to see what other bars get released under Nestle’s new Les Recettes De L’Atelier range.

19 February 2018

Molten Hot Chocolate (Starbucks) By @Cinabar

February has been a cold month, the kind where you get home and put the fire on to warm up. When I was out shopping I was looking for somewhere to warm up there too and thought I’d see if there was anything new in Starbucks. I was excited to see they had a new drink, Molten Hot Chocolate, and knew that would be perfect to warm me up.
The drink came topped not with regular cream, but with mocha infused whipped cream, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It looked like just what I needed. I gave a the drip a sip and found the hot chocolate was remarkably soothing. The flavour tasted like a proper hot chocolate, full of flavour and very rich. The cream added an nice mocha taste, which contrasted well with the drink. To be honest the hot chocolate had so much flavour it felt like dessert in a mug. Despite this when I finished my Molten Hot Chocolate I found loads of chocolate sludge at the bottom of my cup. Now if this had been mixed in I suspect the drink would have been even more intense if that is possible. I’ll have to go back for a second cup, just so I can test the theory of the completely stirred version!

18 February 2018

Import Snacks in Spain, but from other places - feat. MilkyWay Midnight (@NLi10)

Tenerife has sweet shops because tourists like eating sweets, and tourists like taking sweets home as presents.  All of these shops were really quite dull and with the hotel buffet being the source of 2/3 of all my meals I was worried that I'd have nothing to review.

Then we spotted this unassuming place.  We almost didn't bother going in!

The only clue that it's a bit out of the ordinary was a sign outside that had American and English oddities on it.

Inside the shelves are sparcely stocked but with some of the best and most exciting things from around the world.  I ignored the wide selection of English stuff and got just over 5 Euro of wonderful things to try.

Milky Way Midnight Dark - USA

This is a fascinating little idea.  In Britain Milky Way is marketed as a treat for 4-8 year olds that won't stop them eating their dinner too.  This is a MilkyWay for the Dads.

The chocolate on the outside is devilishly dark, and is closer to a Green & Blacks than any American chocolate should dare.  The inner is fluffy and white and far too sweet for my English taste-buds, but with the dark choc surrounding it - it gets away with it.  The caramel, which could easily have been a throw away layer, is luxurious and slightly burnt.

One of the nicest American bars I've ever had the pleasure to try and even at around 2 Euros for the import version actually worth the money.  If I'd not waited til we got back to try these I'd have picked up a spare for you. As it is, you'll have to find your own.

Alpella Wafer Hills - Turkey

Looking to make the most out of my Euros and to grab as many things that I'd never see again I went for this bar, which appears to be in the same family as the Kinder Bueno.  It's twice as long as the Milky Way, but at 42g about the same weight.  I think it was about a Euro.

Pleasingly it's stolen the Cadbury's metallic purple colour scheme - I always said someone should paint a F1 car in those colours.

Interestingly it has the import details printed on the wrapper which suggests these are designed for the Spanish.

The wafer is a bit cheap and doesn't snap as nicely as I'd like, and the Nutella style paste in the lumps isn't flavoured quite as I'd expected but it's still quite a compelling snack.  The many different ways to eat a bump at a time means it dissapears quite fast, and unlike the Milky Way is a very light bite.  More like a wafer bar in the shape of a Bueno then, and tasting more like the cheaper cremes of those I can understand why it's much better value.  Enjoyable, but not that memorable.

17 February 2018

Choc & Orange Stout (Morrison’s @BlackSheepBeer) By @SpectreUK

It's no secret that I make a beeline for the soft centres in any box of chocolates. Cinabar and her mom have given up losing so many soft centred chocolates that they now buy me boxes of chocolates solely made up of soft centres. That's a great idea, but I still steal their's as well!

Here is a novel idea from the Black Sheep Brewery which is to make a soft centred stout, so to speak. This is a chocolate and orange stout. Chocolate orange is one of my all time favourite soft centres, next to strawberry of course. I've tried orange peel beers before and many many chocolate stouts and porters in my time, but I don't think I've tried a chocolate orange stout before.

This stout was brewed with real dark chocolate and orange peel, as well as roasted dark malts and Cascade Hops for added citrus zest. It sounds like a pudding beer to me, one that could be served after dinner all year round, rather than a spiced chocolate and orange stout which could be considered a winter warmer.

On opening, this 6.1% volume jet black stout certainly packed a fulsome aroma of dark chocolate and roasted malts, with a little orange suggestion at the back of the smell. On taste the roasted dark malts sprang to the fore merging after a time with velvety dark chocolate and then a touch of citrus bitterness from the hops, and a little orange zest into the aftertaste. I must admit with the heavy flavours of dark malts and some dark chocolate and then the kick of alcohol at the end of the flavours, the orange peel was a little lost on me. The flavours from the roasted dark malts dominated this stout, which was no bad thing. Mixed with the dark chocolate and a little suggestion of citrus hop and orange peel at the back of the flavour made this an ideal pudding beer for those that love their stouts flavoursome and warming, for this is a winter warmer with a cheeky soft centred end.
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