30 April 2010
These two boxes of Cadbury’s fingers caught my eye in the supermarket. Especially that magic word on the box of white chocolate fingers – “new”. It left me puzzled, I’m sure I’ve had white chocolate fingers before, weren’t they a Christmas special a few years back? Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve already tried dark chocolate fingers too.
It didn’t take me long to realise that what Cadbury’s had done is introduced the branding from their popular Dream and Bournville bars in order to create new look products. Oh well, any excuse...
Bournville chocolate is what could be described as a mild dark chocolate that is still quite sweet. The chocolate added a nice flavour to this version, and to be honest anything darker would have been too intense. In fact I felt the chocolate was a little bit much with the delicate biscuit flavour.
Dream chocolate is a lovely creamy sweet white chocolate, and I thought it might be a bit sickly with the sweet vanilla biscuit. Thankfully I was wrong, the combination worked well, and enhanced the flavours of the white chocolate perfectly.
If I was to pick a winner, I would choose the Dream version hands down. The flavours of biscuit and white chocolate just went together really well, making them very easy to eat. The Bournville biscuits were nice, but the darker chocolate did conceal the biscuit taste a little.
29 April 2010
I do like the crisps from the REAL range, and was pleased to find a new flavour. I have to admit to being a little cautious in my enthusiasm as these crisps are lower fat, which made me worry a little.
In fact I say ‘crisps’ but these aren’t even made from potato, they are actually made from cassava (another root vegetable), and from there appearance looked like thin Snack-a-Jacks, curved into a bowl shape.
Unlike Snack-a-Jacks though, the texture is much crisper and there is no aftertaste of savoury popcorn. The product is so full of seasoning and flavour, it made them a wonderful taste experience. There is a rich sweet strong tomato base, that tastes fresh and natural, and a lovely aftertaste of garlic and oregano. I felt the seasoning was spot on, and worked beautifully with the tomato flavour. These were a very tasty snack, and when I noticed they were just 83cals per bag, given the size of the bag, I think I have to throw in the word: genius! Yum!
28 April 2010
It has to be said, the three key ingredients in this ice cream aren’t ones which feel like they would readily work together. Having said that, I always love the idea of something a bit different, and am a fan of strange but clever flavour combinations.
The mascarpone base, is rich and creamy, and makes a nice contrast to the passion fruit sweetness mixed into it. The fruity section is full of flavour, and add a lovely sharp taste to the mascarpone's thick vanilla backdrop. The truffles were literally that, chunks of dark chocolate truffle thrown in, and were a pleasure to find when eating this ice cream. They added lovely shot of texture and cocoa, which was rather luxurious.
The flavours may seem a bit strange, but they do work rather well together, and I rather enjoyed it. I think the dark chocolate added a nice extra contrast to the flavour, but it would have been nice to have a few more of these chocolate chunks mixed in.
27 April 2010
McVities digestive biscuits are sort of a British standard of biscuits, they are flavoursome, tasty and available in most grocery shops, from grab bags with mini biscuits through to tubes like this one.
This is a limited edition Digestive biscuit, infused with orange. I do like orange, and I do feel it works well with chocolate, but I would love to see some more adventurous new biscuits on the shelf. Brands seem to focus on caramel, mint and orange – and that is about as far as it goes, except on very special days (i.e. Summer) when you find the odd strawberry item. There are of course one or two notable exceptions, and I still can’t get enough of Turkish Biscuits.
Back to these digestives, I felt the taste from the orange was sweet, citrusy and well balanced. It worked well with the milk chocolate, but did not over power the oaty flavour from the biscuit base. It was just about the right strength and the flavour tasted sweet and fruity, rather than zingy. I did rather like these biscuits, and give them a thumbs up for a fresh Summer flavour. They may not be adventurous, but they are tasty!
26 April 2010
I do like the idea of ridge crisps, I like the added texture and I like the fact that the flavour tends to gather in the grooves making the crisps even tastier.
I was, as you can imagine, rather pleased then when I discovered that Kettle have brought out a selection of new ridge crisps. Thankfully, these crisps do not disappoint, each ridge does the job perfectly, the crunch feels substantial and the taste is full on. They have such a lovely meaty beef flavour, almost like a rich beef gravy with a hint of onion, and almost a note of mustard in the taste. The flavour is wonderful, moreish and I just loved the strong beef taste, it may not be a perfect ‘flamed steak’ but it is a fantastic meaty crisp! These are a definite re-purchase, the bag did not last long at all.
I also managed to find some Spicy Chilli crisps in this range, will let you know how I get on with those very soon!
25 April 2010
I opened my cereal cupboard this morning to find a box of new cereal had appeared. As my parents had visited the day before I am presuming this is a kind gesture on their part, and not an assassination attempt by a disgruntled Kellogs employee after the KRAVE review.
The cereal is proudly packed in the Honey Monster brand boxes and has fun stuff for children to do on the back of the box. No company these days seems to include fun stuff in the box, I do miss that - It's like PG Tips without the tea cards... The cereal tastes a lot like Kellogs Start, a cereal which was originally touted as the male Special K - being 'targeted at athletes' and dad's who are happy to watch the Special K adverts but wouldn't touch the cereal. Noticing that this was similar to a Kellogs cereal got me wondering who actually makes the Sugar Puffs range.
Turns out it's the Honey Monster! Honey Monster foods make Sugar Puffs and Honey Waffles and also Honey Meltz which I may have to try.
Also - Honey Monster not only sponsors the pro-wrestling but actually goes to the events.
This is all too surreal for a Sunday morning...
Suffice to say Honey Waffles are a nice cereal, crunchy and a bit malty in flavour like Kellog's Start, but with a much stronger honey aftertaste and good milk flavouring abilities.
24 April 2010
I thought I’d try to relive some of the animosity between the Germans and the Americans in a Second World War type Battle of the Bulge with snack food. The American burger eating G.I’s were famously taken by surprise in the later part of the war by the massive sausage wielding Wehrmacht. Although this is hardly a Bastogne, more like a couple of country’s infamous snack foods going head to head in a crisp flavour challenge. Both packets are quite attractive to look at with each country’s respective flags covering them in a strange blurred effect.
The American Cheeseburger flavour was first up for eating. I’m not much of a sniff and lick type taste tester, so I dumped the crisps unceremoniously into my mouth. The flavour is mad. It’s just like eating a real cheeseburger, but it’s not a real cheeseburger. It’s a crisp. This takes a few moments to get your head around, but by then the packet is half empty. This is a really great snack. I could easily see myself downing loads of packets of these whilst drinking beer and watching a favourite war movie. However, I was at work during my taste test and couldn’t help but feel I’d missed a good opportunity.
Next up was the German Bratwurst Sausage flavour. The name of these crisps creates a bit of consternation for me as my usual extremely reliable source (Wikipedia… okay, okay… but what else is there that’s quicker?) showed me that the “brat” describes how the veal, pork and beef are prepared for the sausage making and the “wurst” translates to “sausage”. So the name of these crisps roughly translates to German Sausage Sausage flavour! That aside, on opening the packet a big whiff of German sausage hit me right between the nostrils. The crisps tasted like a good strong German sausage and didn’t disappoint the taste buds. With the sausage flavour bouncing around in my mouth I quickly came to the conclusion that these crisps would compliment a few beers more than the heavy cheese flavour in the previous packet. At this moment the “missed opportunity” feeling hit me again. And with the weather brightened up outside, eating these meaty flavours of crisps just made me want to chuck on an apron and set fire to the garden with a barbeque, well that’s what usually happens.
Wikipedia also informed me that Bratwurst has been an American snack food since the first German immigrants set foot in North America several million years ago (okay… a couple of hundred years or so ago). Bratwurst was popularised in the 1920’s and has been a mainstay snack food in most American sports stadiums since the early 1950’s. So, even though the Germans put up a good fight at the Battle of the Bulge and lost, I guess you could say that they won this snack battle way before the Second World War.
23 April 2010
The prospect of a new praline truffle is always appealing to me; as I’m sure you all know my views on nuts and chocolate by now.
Inside the box were a decent amount of individually wrapped round truffles, each one around the size of a ten pence piece. The chocolate coating was a decent quality milk chocolate and was rather flavoursome, and the praline truffle inside had a good balance of flavours with the hazelnut and the cocoa. The truffles were quite smooth and had a nice silky texture, but they were only a smidgen away from being too oily for my taste buds.
I liked these pralines, and to be honest I have to give them a thumbs-up. That is where it should really end, but the fact is I’ve eaten Lindt Lindor chocolates before. The main thing that comes to my mind with these Melts is that despite them being good, they just aren’t quite as good Lindt Lindor. The Lindor don’t have that vaguely oily taste, and the hazelnut and the flavours are more defined. If I was buying chocolates as a gift, I’d go for the Lindt Lindor over these, as I personally preferred them. What’s everyone else’s thoughts?
22 April 2010
Last week I wrote about Cherry and Brownie Options Indulgence, and this write up covers the remaining flavours I have found.
I know I have already mentioned this, but frankly it needs mentioning again. The thing I like about Options usually is that they are so easy to mix. This new indulgence range has been annoying me.
I followed instructions, and made a paste with hot water. I then stirred and stirred and stirred. As per the instructions I then topped it up with more hot water, and stirred some more. It looked so lumpy, I took a fork out of the drawer and gave it a good whisking – and it STILL looked lumpy and unappetising with bits floating on top. *sigh*
Chocolate Banana – now I wasn’t impressed by the taste. It smelt nice when I was making it (i.e. continuously stirring) but the banana flavour was mild as was the chocolate when I came to drink it. It is simply not a patch on the “Go Bananas” edition of the normal Options.
Chocolate Fudge – This was a little bit better than the other flavours, and it had a sweet vanilla after taste. It was okay, but it didn’t meet my expectations of indulgence, as it wasn’t a strong rich flavour.
I think I will be sticking to the normal Options range as I much prefer them. They have stronger flavours and are much easy to make.
21 April 2010
A few days ago I wrote about the rather tasty new Raspberry Enigma Cornetto. The idea behind the new range is that the sauce goes all the way down to the bottom of the Cornetto giving a lovely chocolate hit throughout.
Now here is the thing, it says ‘sauce’, it mentions sauce both on the television advert and on the box. I would debate the work ‘sauce’. What I found was a very thick stodgy base with small pieces of almond and chunks of chocolate, to me sauce means runny, not something of fudge consistency? However the chocolate ‘filling’ did go pretty much down to the bottom of the cone, which was nice because my particular raspberry one failed to do so.
The flavours are good, the chocolate is strong and full of rich cocoa, and does somewhat over power the almond taste, but is tasty all the same. I did enjoy the Cornetto, and would recommend it, just so long as you don’t mind not having sauce!
20 April 2010
Dodging the showers a week or two back we drove down to Warwickshire for a trip to Charlecote Park and House. The weather had finally picked up after our fairly harsh winter. I say “fairly harsh”, as to English standards, several periods of more than 24hours of snow over a few months could be considered as bitter and harsh. Whereas many other countries have months of deep driving snow and still manage to get to work on time and home from work on the same day. Charlecote House has nice sweeping grounds next to the River Avon. They have an old brewery, which was the highlight for a beer lover, some deer dotted around, a few nice rooms to look through, and a carriage collection.
Generally when you’re wondering around these places you get shepherded into a shop at some point or other. In a local produce shop in the grounds we got accosted by three old ladies; let’s call them the three blind mice. They spent far too long trying to work out how to use the chip and pin machine and till in the shop that Cinabar started adding more and more products to the stash. It was then that I had this beer flavoured mustard shoved under my nose. My only thought at the time was that at least it wasn’t mustard flavoured beer. I decided to go with the time honoured tradition of a ham and cheese sandwich for a taste test.
On opening the jar I couldn’t help but notice the graininess of the mustard and the sweet smell. I couldn’t smell a hint of beer as I spread the mustard thickly onto the ham. I wasn’t expecting any heat from this mustard, but I was still slightly disappointed when none materialised. There was also no beer flavour. However, what I have now is a sweet, healthy tasting mustard that I shall relish finishing the rest of the jar with as many sandwiches that I can make from it. By then I shall be having dire cravings for Coleman’s English, and have the odd sachet of the good old French grainy stuff just to be adventurous.
19 April 2010
On a hot day, and you fancy a treat from the freezer, and you can’t make your mind up... sorbet or ice cream? This is the solution as this mix has a little of both! Whirled within the pot are a section of red strawberry (smoothie) sorbet and a section of almost white creamy banana ice cream.
My initial thought was that I often have both a tub of sorbet and a tub of ice cream in the freezer, but I would never normally serve them together. I’m convinced that there is some unwritten rule about it. I mean lemon sorbet with chocolate ice cream? It just doesn’t sound right!
Despite being a sceptic, I have to say these flavours did work really well together. The banana was natural tasting and creamy, and the strawberry was sweet and juicy. It did really make for a lovely fruity balanced mix that was very tasty and refreshing. I actually like the idea of having a little of both flavours on the spoon.
I may have to try that lemon sorbet / chocolate ice cream combo after all!
18 April 2010
In my haste to start munching through the Glico Pretz and tell the world just how good the Tomato flavour ones are I neglected to finish off the other Easter themed things I picked up. I thought it would be a good idea to catch up on these and complete the set, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I have curry, shrimp & 'butter' Pretz to eat at some point which will require a very specific mood...
Mr. Kipling Lemon Whirls I think may have been mentioned by Cinabar before but they only ever seem to appear erratically in Asda so I picked some up for Easter visitors. They are essentially Viennese whirls with some hard yellow lemon jam in them. It adds nothing to the experience except as a conversation starter where everyone says that the other ones were nicer and that these don't really go with tea.
Cadbury Easter Mallows are similarly themed. A traditional product with some yellow (orange flavor) jam added for Easter. Also there are rabbits on the packet - again reinforcing the idea that rabbits lay eggs with white outers and a little yellow bit in the middle. While you get 10 in the packet they are quite small so you have to eat two to avoid feeling hard done by. They are nice, but again really add nothing to the experience.
I always think that larger mallows are best, and with red jam inside too. Maybe I'll have to hunt down a few varieties of those for a try.
17 April 2010
I had a good lunch out at Pizza Hut with some friends the other day where I had my usual favourite of Hot ‘n’ Spicy. I must admit on that rare sunny day I did get quite a healthy sweat up whilst eating it. I passed a couple of pieces around the table to formulate other’s opinions. There was a consensus that at some point in the past Pizza Hut had changed the flavour from a tomato base to a chilli / pepper base sauce. This has made the pizza a lot hotter to eat. However, I digress. When I first started writing these blogs way, way back a couple of months ago, you may recall me being pressured by Cinabar to taste various disgusting flavoured beers. There was *Bane of Banana*, *Cherry Catastrophe*, and *I’m Forever Blowing Raspberries*. You also may recall my distaste for anything laced with chilli or spice in my *Kit Kat Wasabe Whatever* debacle. Guess what? After hunting high and low Cinabar has found me a chilli beer! As if things can’t get any worse, it’s not actually chilli “flavoured” beer as such; it actually appears to be a normal run of the mill beer with a big fat chilli shoved unceremoniously inside the bottle. When I returned home from Pizza Hut I fancied another heat sensation for dinner, so I decided to crack open the beer.
Now I like beer, don’t get me wrong, not the liquid goo that I’ve been tortured with on this blog, but normal, everyday, run of the mill beer. I like chilli. Generally not chilli flavoured pap. But a good old fashioned short fat flaming hot chilli in a sandwich for lunch can really wake you up. So chilli beer or beer chilli, which one’s better? There’s only one way to find out… You guessed it, a Harry Hill style; FIGHT!! I first opened the bottle of beer, and after a quick whiff I can confirm, it is actually beer with a strong hint of chilli. I then poured the beer into a glass and fished the chilli out.
I finely chopped the chilli for a kamikaze beer flavoured chilli cheese and ham sandwich. I put on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme tune by Ennio Morricone. I stared at the sandwich long and hard. I stared at the glass of cool beer. I stared at myself in the mirror (tried to look serious, but ended up looking slightly constipated). I stared back at the sandwich and then took a bite. Where had the steaming hot chilli flavour gone? All I could taste was cheese and ham. I took a small piece of chopped chilli from inside the sandwich and gingerly popped it into my mouth. The beer clearly had sucked all the heat out of the chilli. I dejectedly downed the rest of the sandwich and moved to the beer. The beer had a lovely heat to it. It clearly had greedily nicked all the heat from the chilli and not left any heat for my sandwich. But let’s face it, it tasted like a regular run of the mill beer where someone had dumped a whole fat chilli inside the bottle. The drink was likeable, but there are better ways to get some heat in a meal. At this point I wondered off into the other room to break open a pack of Nando’s HOT flavoured crisps, and ogling the Dorothys on the box I settled down for a good hour of heat.
16 April 2010
It was only at Easter that I was thinking to myself that there hadn’t been many new variants of crisps recently, and that it would be nice to see some new flavours on the shelves. Somebody over at Walkers HQ has obviously been thinking exactly the same thing. They are releasing the World Flavour Cup with fifteen(!) new varieties. Each has a flag on the pack and is made with the flavour of a popular dish from that country!
It is so hard to know where to start with these that when faced with all the flavours in front of me, I chose Spain somewhat at random!
The flavour from Spain is Chicken Paella, which seems to me quite a complex flavour to replicate. The flavours I picked up from the crisps were salt, onion, chicken, smoke (almost like bacon) and a hint of raw green peppers. The crisps were pleasant, and tasty, and I had no problems finishing the bag. Could I, hand on my heart say, they were obviously ‘paella’, no. But they were perfectly pleasant crisps, that went some way to covering the main ingredients of the dish. I was surprised by how much I liked the green pepper vegetable flavour, I thought that added a hint of something a bit different.
I’m looking forward to trying the other available flavours, and will be writing about them very soon!
15 April 2010
Last month Cadbury’s released some rather yummy Crunchie and Caramel biscuits, and just this week these seem to have appeared and be from the same range. I’m not sure why they weren’t released at the same time as the others, but I was pleased to find them as I am quite a Turkish Delight fan.
Having said that, when I broke one of these biscuits in half I was a little surprised to see that the filling was gooey, and oozing out. Anyone who has had proper Fry’s Turkish Delight, and carefully peeled and eaten all the chocolate off it first (not just me – right?) will know that it is usually a solid purple jelly. It was then that I realised these biscuits were indeed Cadbury’s Turkish Delight, and not Fry’s.
Once I had bitten in I stopped caring about the Turkish Delight texture as the sweet floral flavour mixed with the shortbread base and the milk chocolate, tasted lovely and I was hooked. If you are a Turkish Delight fan, these are well worth hunting out!
Out of the three varieties of biscuit that have been released my extensive testing (ie friends/family) has shown that your favourite will be whichever of the chocolate bars you favour the most!
14 April 2010
When I saw these they reminded me of the Halloween version of “Lemon and sLime” Jaffa Cakes that came out last year. I liked those Jaffa cakes, and thought at the time that citrus worked rather well.
This cake bars takes that concept one step further, buy adding a real zing to the lemon flavour. As you bite in, the thin layer of chocolate coating cracks, revealing the soft sponge and lemon layer. The sponge maybe vanilla, but the chocolate is surprisingly dark and full of a rich cocoa taste, while the lemon is wonderfully fresh. The flavours work perfectly together, and they complement each other really well. They left my taste buds tingling.
These Jaffa Cake bars are really something quite special, full of flavour, and an excellent ‘Summer’ edition. Here is hoping that they take this sharp tasting lemon curd and put it in a regular Jaffa Cake with dark choc as that would be seriously yummy too!
13 April 2010
I have been on the lookout for these hot chocolates for quite a while, but my local stores don’t seem to stock them. They are an extra special indulgent range of instant hot chocolates, and supposed to be a little more luxurious.
The sachets themselves appear to contain a lot more powder than a regular Option’s sachet. The instructions on the sachets were to pour the powder into a mug, add a little hot water and stir to make a paste, then top up with more hot water. I did this, and found that even with this methodology there were quite a lot of lumps and the powder did not so much dissolve completely as remain partially in bits on the top of the drink. I’m not a big fan of instant hot chocolate, but one of things I have always liked about Options is that it usually dissolves very easily, so I was disappointed by this.
The two flavours I tried were:
Chocolate Brownie – Now I wasn’t keen on this. They seem to have tried to recreate brownie by adding a strange salty bitter after taste, which didn’t represent ‘cake’ to my taste buds. The strange taste over powered the chocolate and it just left me wishing for a plain hot chocolate instead of brownie flavoured one.
Chocolate Cherry – This had a good chocolate flavour, and the cherry was quite sharp and flavoursome, like a wild cherry. It went well with the chocolate, and added that extra boost in fruitiness that is nice in an instant hot chocolate. This was definitely a success of flavours, but then I do like my Black Forest Gateaux taste combinations.
I have Fudge and Banana left to try!
12 April 2010
Wow – I wasn’t expecting so many entries! I’m so glad that so many of you took the time to read and enter my competition. The number of entries inspired me to increase the number of winners to five. There is one main winner winning a selection of Galaxy goodies, and four others winning a packet of Galaxy Counters and a bar of Galaxy Bubbles. I do hope you all enjoy the choccies, they will be with you very shortly!
- Frances, H from Preston
- Lucy R from Essex
- Samantha M from Glasgow
- Ellen A from Essex
- Louis B from Middlesex
Did we just have a mostly sunny Easter break? Was that really sunshine outside? Well there has been a notable improvement in the weather, and I noticed the supermarkets seem to be increasing the freezer space share for ice creams. There are few new items appearing, and even TV adverts for this new Cornetto variety.
In this new Cornetto the idea is the chocolate and raspberry sauce goes all the way to the bottom of the cone, thus giving lots of flavour all the way through the item. The cone is also chocolate lined, to add the extra bit of chocolate there too.
I really enjoyed this ice cream. I felt that the raspberry had a nice sweet flavour, with a good taste of the berries. The chocolate was dark and added lots of cocoa, and the vanilla ice cream balanced it all out. Curiously the ‘chocolate and raspberry sauce’ actually consisted of the raspberry part making up the sauce, and the chocolate came from chocolate chips within it. This was quite nice as it added texture.
My only niggle with this rather fine ice cream was that the sauce in mine did not go all the way down to the bottom of the cone as displayed on the pack. Instead it stopped about 10cm short, but with a small extra blob 5cm down. This was a little disappointing, but not enough to put me off the overall flavours and taste. I still really enjoyed the item as a whole.
There is also an almond edition of Cornetto Enigma out now which I will be writing about very soon.
11 April 2010
Glico (makers of Pocky) also make other products too. I guess that this makes sense as there are lots of similar style products to chocolate on a stick that you can make with the same set up - namely just chocolate, and just bread sticks. Glico Pretz are essentially just that - hard salted bread sticks without the chocolate. Around Chinese New Year I noticed that Sing Fat Birmingham had increased their range so bought nine boxes - one of each flavour I thought I could eat safely - and here is a selection.
Tomato Extract Pretz
On first look this was the flavour that I fancied trying the most. They look appetising, I can imagine them working well with salad, and tomato is a flavour that is easy to replicate. I wasn't disappointed, the box contains three smaller 27g packs and I polished off one without really thinking about it. They are like a less sweet Walker's Tomato Ketchup crisp, with the texture of bread-sticks. The Pretz are more crumbly than Pocky but still satisfying in their own savoury way. Off to a fantastic start - I'm already planning to buy these again for summer party season.
Milk Coffee Taste DOUBLE Pretz
Double Pretz are like a half way house between Pocky and Pretz in that there is a topping (similar to Pop Tarts) on one side of the bread stick. This is your typical Cappuccino flavoured topping, like a 'coffee' cake that tastes like cheap coffee, but in the context it works surprisingly well. I think it's probably actually got coffee dust in it and it made me have cravings for actual coffee. While nice to eat three or so after that it gets a bit much and you don't find yourself chomping through the box (one big 50g packet instead of smaller ones), but every so often I'd eat one while working away. I think a hot choc version of this would be better, but it's still edible.
I had chosen this one for the first batch as I presumed that corn would be the plain flavour and a good baseline to base comparisons on. Upon opening the packet I got a strong waft of another flavour entirely and realised my folly. Not corn, Sweetcorn... Now as the baby variety of pop corn you'd think that it was a flavour that was one people would like. Also the use of butter in most sweetcorn serving suggestions would make it a bit nicer. This smelt ok, but tasted of eating corn husks. It wasn't nice. I tried three just to get the flavour down and kept getting flavour flashbacks all evening. It seemed to be as indigestible as the real thing. I convinced my sister to try one and she ate half and almost threw up and binned the rest. Needless to say the box has been abandoned and may never be finished. Not one to buy again, and this isn't the least appetising sounding flavour of the 9 I have bought...
Tomato Pretz are the clear winner from this group, the only issue being that they are moorish enough to easily keep at until the packet is finished. Three more next week (if I'm feeling brave...)
10 April 2010
Here is another chocolate bar sent to us by Cinabar’s American friend Gigi. After my flawed comparison between the British Kit Kat Chunky Caramel and the far superior American version, I realised I had set the original benchmark far too low. This review sees the American Milkyway Caramel bar, as we’re clearly not good enough in this country to get one, go up against the Cadbury’s big gun; the Wispa Gold. Okay, maybe my benchmark is slightly high this time, but hey, after the last caramel bar write up, I can’t help being more than a little over cautious. Wispa Gold is the ultimate in caramel bar glory. I may have previously said that my favourite caramel bar is Cadbury’s Caramel, and yes, I can chomp a whole block of it happily all day, but Wispa Gold is like a chocolate bar of the Gods. You not only get the soft luscious chocolate hit from a Wispa bar, but you also get gooey, sticky, sweet, gushing caramel. If you don’t get caramel on your chin when you eat this bar, you’ve done something wrong. So, Milkyway Caramel, get in the ring…
On opening the packet, the bar looks like a normal Milkway bar, but you can smell caramel from several feet away. Believe me, I tried! Apart from the outer resemblance, the similarity with Milkyway ends there. This bar is more like a Mars Bar. The chocolate has the usual Mars flavour, but the Mars nougat has been completely replaced by Mars’ thick, gooey caramel. The bar exploded as I bit in, and yes, I proudly wiped my chin. Although not remotely like the soft and heavenly indulgent Wispa Gold, this chocolate bar holds it’s own very well indeed. Believe me, it didn’t last long. My only complaint is the name; it should be Mars Caramel. We’re totally robbed of this here in the UK. Sure, it’s a kick ass American chocolate bar, but they should just learn to share! Okay, okay…. So this actual bar was sent to us by an actual American, but you know what I mean…
9 April 2010
This is another item from the candy swap that I have been doing with Gigi from Gigi Reviews. :-)
Now, and I realise this is a generalisation, but it seems that sweets / sweet packaging in America is wonderfully luminous and bright. They are designed to stand out on the shelf, and the internal product is full of colour too. In Britain things seem much more muted, the packets may be fairly bright, but the sweets themselves although coloured never seem so vivid.
When I shook some of these out of the box, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the sweets themselves, so cool! Each brightly coloured sweet has just a coating of its colour and turns white when it starts to dissolve. The sweets are hard, but they do crumble if you bite in. Each one gives a really cool sweetness rush, which is just ace!
- Grape – purple oval -wow, we just don’t get grape over here! It had a lovely sweet full flavour.
- Banana – yellow crescent - similar flavour to British foam bananas, and my favourite shaped sweet in the box.
- Strawberry - red heart – this was sweet and fruity, full of flavour, but not a sharp taste.
- Orange – orange ball – very citrus in flavour, so zingy it’s almost like lemon and lime.
- Apple – green heart - full of flavour, like a Cox’s apple, then as strong as a Granny Smith when you bit in, really good.
8 April 2010
You would have thought that I had tried a Mr Tom bar before now, but they have always just escaped my grasp. I adore peanuts, but the original Mr Tom bar doesn’t contain chocolate, and it is the combination of peanut and chocolate that really gets my attention. So when I saw that the new Mr Tom bar was just such a bar, I felt the need to try both variants.
First up; Mr Tom Original:
First thoughts were that it was a very hard bar, and very crunchy to eat. The cracknel added a little hint of a taste of caramel, but it wasn’t very strong, and the peanut flavour just over powered everything. I would have preferred a bit more sweetness to this bar, and a softer coating.
Mr Tom Chocolate:
This was a major disappointment to me. It is is almost the opposite of the Original variety. It is overly sweet from the chocolate, which didn’t offer me much of a cocoa hit either. The peanuts were chopped so small, that the major flavour was ‘cheap chocolate’ and not much nut at all. Such a shame, with an increase in cocoa, and a few more nuts this could have been the dream bar.
There is a little part of me that thinks that the very best solution to this would be to melt the two bars together in a pan, and when it finally sets it may just create the dream bar!
7 April 2010
When I first saw these in the pound shop, my first thought was that they were a new variety of Rice Crispie Squares. The outer packaging is a similar blue, and when I opened up a bar, it wasn't that dissimilar in its raw state either.
However the individually wrapped bars are very distinctive, with the Honey Monster very brightly showing through. I liked the flavour of these, with the honey dominating the taste and just a hint from the chocolate too adding a little more sweetness. The texture of these bars wasn’t as crisp as I had expected, as they were actually slightly chewy. I would have preferred a cleaner crunch, but one of the other testers said that they preferred the texture of this to other similar products.
All in all a nice bar, and a new variation of cereals bars for Sugar Puff fans. If you’ve tried them, let me know what you think!
6 April 2010
This is a re-launch of a product that was last available in the 1980s, but I have to confess I don’t remember them first time round. It does seem an odd product to discontinue though, as its simplicity should have made it a permanent feature.
The product consists of Minstrel size pieces of chocolate, without the crispy shell, making them perfect for the chocolate purist. The chocolate is the usual silky, creamy and smooth Galaxy chocolate that you would expect from their bars, all in an easy to eat pouch for sharing. The bag is re-sealable too, but frankly these choccies are rather moreish, so that might be a little optimistic. The discs are glazed, and contain a decent amount of chocolate, but each one just leaves you wanting another!
I do like curiously flavoured chocolate, and this might not be the most innovative item I’ve written about, but sometimes an uncomplicated product undeniably works.
The nice people from Galaxy have very kindly sent me a bag of Counters to give away. So if you would like to win the bag simply send me an email telling me which decade Galaxy Counters were last available, before their re-launch.
Any personal data will only be used for processing of this competition.
The winner will be chosen at random from the correct answers.
UK residents only.
Competition closes 12pm on Sunday 11th April 2010.
If I can’t get in touch with the winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
This is the first competition I have run, so if you have any questions about it, please send me an email or leave a comment below.
5 April 2010
I actually won this rather lovely box of fudge through a Twitter competition which was a lovely treat this Easter. It is made by a company called Sugar Kitchen, who specialise in ethical sweets and chocolates.
The packaging looks rather rustic, with the product name written in felt-tip pen and the box tied with string, this is not a bad thing and it adds to the whole home-made feel about the product. When I opened the box there was a wonderful rich buttery smell with a hint of spiciness mixed in, and it was remarkably appealing.
The fudge has a firm texture that gives way as you bite in, then melts easily in the mouth. The base fudge has a wonderfully buttery sweet sugar flavour that is rich and creamy. The hot cross bun taste is represented by a lovely mix of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg, and also juicy raisins. It complements the taste perfectly without over powering it.
In short, this fudge is fantastic, lovely flavours in an expertly made base fudge. It really is something quite special, absolutely gorgeous stuff and I am going to have to order some more flavours!
4 April 2010
Easter is a time for confusing small children by telling them bible stories and feeding them chocolate, and is responsible for young children thinking that rabbits lay eggs.
On this Easter Sunday I decided to collect up all the chocolate wildlife that has gathered around my work desk to find out which really is the superior life form. As seasonal chocolate is always overpriced price isn't really the issue here - a bar of your favourite chocolate will always cost less than the hollow seasonal variations. As these are intended as gifts I shall focus on the relative disappointment that receiving each of these would cause.
Introductions & Appearance
Left to right:
Choceur Milk Chocolate Reindeer - Aldi Christmas range - 150g
Nicely wrapped & chunky feeling, this one isn't going to get broken in the store. Has a rather cool neck pendant to imitate more known brands. This is the only store brand choc I found (being too lazy to get one of their 99p bunnies this is indeed an uneaten Christmas present). Clearly the underdog.
Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Chick with 'Dairy Milk buttons in my tummy' - 167g
This one looks less correct in shape to its actual animal, it's like a monsterised version of a little yellow chick, and looks targeted at the younger end of the market. Its necklace is purely to identify brand and highlight the contents of the bird's stomach. Being Cadbury this is a serious contender.
Nestle Milkybar cow - 100g
The cow looks oddly happy, maybe it's enjoying the high milk content of the white choc that I'm guessing is inside. Again the necklace is purely informative and has a space to put the name of the child you are traumatising by giving them a chocolate cow with bright blue eyes.
Champion Brand - Lindt Gold Bunny, Milk - 100g
I designated this as champion purely because this is the one I see all year round. The bunny is now for Christmas as well as Easter and even seen on TV. The funny little bell on the red ribbon and the shiny gold wrapper are as well known as many other seasonal greats such as Coca-Cola's Red Santa and Home Alone.
As the Lindt Bunny is the current main brand I'm starting with that. My usual method of breaking an easter egg is to throw it at the wall. This works amazingly well and usually breaks it along the seams and into pleasing shards all kept in place with the foil. This seems disrespectful to the animals so I shall be using alternate methods.
Proving my earlier theory about its sturdiness one sharp blow from the Aldi Reindeer opens the bunny nicely. The choc inside is nicer than I remember, being creamier and thicker it also smells fantastic. While it's only 100g this would be easily a couple of sittings for me due to its richness. While the lack of originality that receiving a Lindt bunny would cause some initial disappointment the opening and eating easily compensates for this making it a tough benchmark.
Next up, the Milkybar Cow.
Sabatier knives make short work of white chocolate and open up the smiling cow to reveal the goods. The Milkybar chocolate is something I haven't really eaten for years and I think 100g is about 4 bars worth, and may be too sweet. In the small amounts I sampled though this is actually surprisingly nice. Also a nice touch is that the pattern is also printed on the choc. For the under 10s I'd say this is fab, but the Lindt bunny is still in front for me.
Thirdly the Cadbury Chick
In this case I went straight for the buttons. Again, pleasingly thick chocolate - it took a bit of hacking to get in! The Cadbury choc taste is very familiar and I could probably eat most of this in one work session without feeling too sick. The buttons are a nice touch and are of a very similar taste and texture to the Chick itself, which has the wrapper pattern on it too. I was sure that they are slightly creamier, but this may be my imagination as the ingredients are listed as one lot. There is an awful lot of choc here too - the highest of the 4 - which as a gift makes it that little bit more impressive.
Finally the Reindeer.
The Reindeer is probably the thickest of the choc overall, with the base requiring a bit of effort before its legs came off. The taste is like a less sophisticated version of the Lindt though, and while I eat lots of Choceur it doesn't stand up to such close comparison as well. I think that this is a nice gift as it's unusual, but if the recipient gets some posher choc it will be eaten last.
None of the choc animals were disapointing, I'd be happy to receive any of them. With this in mind I am discounting the Reindeer (despite the cool pendant) and Cow as the weakest of a good bunch, which just leaves the Bunny and Chick.
The Bunny gets bonus points for the reusable bell (last year’s sits on my lucky black cat on my computer).
Despite this I think that for the majority of people the Chick would be the better gift. There is almost twice as much choc, the variety (in shape at least) of the buttons and the lovely familiar Kraftbury chocolate taste just push it over the edge. The bunny is a perfect gift for the more sophisticated or older recipient and I was happy to be reminded why this is the leading brand of animal related confection.
Happy Easter to all - it's going to take me most of the year to finish all this chocolate now I think...