31 October 2008

Mr Kipling’s Fiendish Fancies (Waitrose)

Happy Halloween!!

I was trying to find something new or interesting to talk about for Halloween, and was a little disappointed by the poor selection. There are only so many packets of chocolate foil coated pumpkins / ghosts etc... that the world needs.

Mr Kipling’s Fiendish Fancies
Thankfully these cakes, labelled as a limited edition, caught my eye. They are very nicely packaged, perfect for Halloween. The inside is a little more disappointing as they are just orange (coloured not flavoured) and black fondant fancies. The same fondant fancies available all year round. Don't get me wrong, they tasted lovely just as you would expect. I was kind of hoping the product itself would be a little more seasonal, even if it was just a case of icing in the shape of spiders!

Halloween biscuits

Halloween biscuits
We had biscuits at work, they were gingerbread in a Halloween theme.

Rather yummy! (That there shadow you see on the plate was a doughnut shadow… there may have been other treats around too!)

30 October 2008

Cadbury's Flake Ice Cream (Sainsbury's)

Cadbury's Flake Ice Cream
Well I made an important discovery a little while ago that Golden Syrup and Dairy Milk ice cream were two of the nicest ice creams ever. I was very happy to find Cadburys Flake ice cream as a previously undiscovered part of the range.
This ice cream has a creamy vanilla base with both flecks and chunks of Flake mixed in.
The vanilla is a good quality, but the small flecks of Flake make little difference to the flavour. Each mouthful that contained a chunk of Flake however was lovely, the gentle crunch of it breaking up when you bite in, and the peak of chocolaty flavour make for ice cream perfection. But, and there is a but, the larger chunks of Flake are few and far between... The ice cream essentially becomes a game of treasure hunt as you search for the bigger Flake pieces!

29 October 2008

Taste The Difference Blue Stilton Crisps (Sainsbury's)

Taste The Difference Blue Stilton Crisps
These are part of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range, and come in a big bag for sharing.
I like Stilton cheese, I like the fact the flavour is sharp, but with an element of creaminess. These crisps are very mild, a little too mild to be honest. As cheese flavour crisps go they are very pleasant, but as Stilton flavour crisps, they are a little disappointing.
In terms of texture they do feel special. Each crisp is a good quality decent slice of potato, and the crunch is just right. I would just prefer a little more commitment to the Stilton concept.

28 October 2008

Seeds of Change Apricot and Cashew (Sainsbury's)

Seeds of Change Apricot and Cashew

I have so been hoping for a chocolate bar that covers both apricot and nut, I personally thought it a genius idea.
This particular bar wasn’t everything I hoped for.
Biting in to the luxurious chocolate, was simply marred by the hard flavourless sticky lumps that get stuck to your teeth, (allegedly they are apricots).
The packaging goes on about how sweet and juicy the apricots are, but I swear I couldn’t taste a thing. I considered that maybe I have a cold coming, spoiling my taste buds? I don’t feel ill. Or maybe it is because I have been spoiled by artificial flavours, and now have a certain artificial expectancy for how an apricot should taste? Or maybe they just are the mildest of apricots, and have practically no flavour?
Has anyone else tried this bar? I would love some other opinions.

Gulab Jambu

Gulab Jambu

Had a treat at work, when one of the people I work with brought in something his wife had made - yummy Indian sweets. They are like a ball of sponge packed with juicy sweet syrup. Lovely!!!

27 October 2008

Pocky Strawberry

Pocky Strawberry

It’s been a while since I last mentioned Pocky, the thin breadsticks dipped in a flavoured coating. But then it has been a while since I’ve seen a new flavour! Not sure how easy it is to find these in the UK, as they came back with someone who was visiting Thailand.
And you may be right in thinking that I have already talked about Strawberry Pocky, but these ones are a little bit different.
They have an extra special coating, which isn't just strawberry flavoured, but actually has pieces of freeze dried strawberry stuck to them too!
Not as cute as the Hello Kitty ones, but rather lovely!

One cube of chocolate

One cube of chocolate Cadbury Dairy Milk

As an update to the huge bar of dairy milk that was sighted at my work... Some of it got shared round the office.

I’ve seen diet plans that state one or two squares of chocolate are a harmless treat... I wonder, is this what they meant?

26 October 2008

Options White Chocolate and Raspberry (Sainsburys)

Options White Chocolate and Raspberry

Options make nice flavoured instant hot chocolates, they also now make very nice instant coffee drinks... But one thing I've not been a fan of is their instant hot white chocolate drink, which I always felt lacked flavour.
The addition to the range of a white chocolate and raspberry drink did make me optimistic that the fruit would add the needed kick. Unfortunately the raspberry was again too mild, and the whole drink was lacking anything special. Hot vaguely milky sweet water with a slight hint of raspberry flavour, don't think I'll buy it again.

25 October 2008

Monster Munch vs Monster Munch

Monster Munch Baked vs Monster Munch Old

This could get confusing. This is a taste comparison of the old but now new Monster Munch vs the new but now old Monster Munch...

Old New - VS - New Old
Everybody with me so far?

Walkers re-introduced the Monster Munch from the 70s and 80s which is bigger (both in terms of snack size and packet size) and has the old style characters. Let’s call this Monster Munch Retro.

Still available though is the more modern smaller style, available in multi-packs, lets call this Monster Munch Small.

Retro - VS - Small

Two packets of Monster Munch in pickled onion flavour were purchased... And a Monster Munch expert was hired, (his anonymity is being kept to protect him from potential fans, think of him like you would the Stig, but call him Spectre!).

The packets were tested and re-tested by the expert who assured me there were obvious taste differences. Just to be certain of both the expert’s skills and taste buds, a blind test also took place. (Using smaller broken pieces, so as not to give anything away from the size). I can report that the expert could successfully tell the difference and passed the test.

And now the results are in...

The expert stated that the Small Monster Munch had more flavour and were tastier, but that the Monster Munch Retro did have the better crunch. If pushed for an over all winner, Monster Munch Small won the day! An unexpected result!

The expert then finished off both bags... What a trooper!

24 October 2008

Essential Organic Fairtrade Duo Swirl Chocolate Spread (Oxfam)

Essential Organic Fairtrade Duo Swirl Chocolate Spread
Firstly this item gets a little prize for presentation. The idea of swirling milk and white chocolate spread, and displaying it in a glass jar does make for an attractive product.
The product also gets a star for being fair trade too! So its win win, before we even begin.
It only gets better when you tuck into the spread. There is nothing like watching it melt on hot toast. Admittedly the two spreads blend into one when serving, but it is a gorgeous strong sweet rich chocolatey flavour. Heaven.
I had it on brown toast - that makes it healthy too... Right?

23 October 2008

Edinburgh Rock (Scotland)

Edinburgh Rock

Ok, so this is another of the treats from my stay in Edinburgh. It isn't like seaside rock in that it isn't hard and crunchy. The packs I bought aren't in sticks either, just broken pieces, which seems to be a common way to package them for the gift market.
It is difficult to describe the texture, it isn't soft, but the way in which it breaks up and melts in the mouth certainly makes it seem that way. Chalky is probably a good description.
It’s very sugary too, and to be honest I can't tell the difference between the flavours. There is suppose to be flavours as diverse as lemon and ginger in the box, but the only clue really as to which one you have is the colour! I don't want to be negative about this product though as it is so lovely. Pure bad for you sugary goodness!

22 October 2008

Rococo Bee Bar –Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tea

Rococo Bee Bar –Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tea

This is from the same range as the sea salt chocolate, and is another of their ornate miniature bars.
I forgot to mention just how prettily packaged this chocolate is, it is even moulded with a bee design in every piece. It is definitely going for a luxury - to be savoured- style, rather than a quick chocolate fix. The flavours reflect this too. Earl grey, who'd have thought of that for a combination? At first I though it was almost an amusing cliché. We want a posh chocolate, what do posh people drink? Earl Grey!
However, I pushed my cynicism aside, and found this chocolate is beautiful. The dark cocoa and the sweet tang of earl grey are a good match, and this, unlike the sea salt, was rather morish.

21 October 2008

Rococo Bee Bar –Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt

Rococo Bee Bar –Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt

So I tried the disappointing chocolate with pepper, and also bought this milk chocolate with sea salt at the same time.
I'll be honest, I'm not a big salt fan, and the idea of mixing it with chocolate didn't bode well for me. I even opened the bar and stared at it for sometime before building up the courage.
I was surprised, it is actually very tasty. The salt enhances the flavour, and adds an unexpected edge. I'm not sure that it is the sort of chocolate that I could eat too much of, but the miniature bar is perfect for the flavour and well worth trying.
I also bought a miniature bar of earl grey tea chocolate from the same range. I will let you know how I get on with that shortly.

20 October 2008

Kronen Marzipanstollen (House of Fraser)

Kronen Marzipanstollen

Stollen is a German cake, popular around Christmas time. I know it is only October, but I can’t help it if all the shops have already filled themselves with their Seasonal offerings.

It’s a bread like cake with plenty of fruit, and often contains a specific filling such as cherries or marzipan. This one contains marzipan, and is absolutely heaven. I’m not even a big marzipan fan, I wouldn’t be overly excited about marzipan on its own or coated in chocolate, but in a cake is where it is meant to be!

This Stollen is rich but moist, and melts in the mouth. Good stuff.

Just need to avoid the inevitable joke –
“It's Stollen cake”
“Don’t you think you should have paid for it?”


19 October 2008

Hachez Cocoa D’Arriba –Strawberry & Pepper (House of Fraser)

Hachez Cocoa D’Arriba –Strawberry & Pepper

Well after the comments on the Thornton’s Summer bars page, I had a look round the department stores for Chateau Javablond, but unfortunately I was unsuccessful. (I will have to order some online!)

In other news I did find this interesting chocolate bar tucked away. The name implies a rich dark chocolate, strawberries for sweetness and pink peppercorns to add a zingy flavour.

The concept is great, but the chocolate is less than impressive. I have no idea how a group of such appealing ingredients are so lacking in flavour. The strawberry is barely noticeable and the pepper adds but the mildest of notes. The chocolate has a strong cocoa percentage at 77%, but doesn’t have the flavour of Lindt’s 70%. This just didn’t work for me.

18 October 2008

Haggis (Scotland!!!)

Well as some of you may be aware, I’ve been in Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days. I’ve been taking in the castle, the shops and other tourist attractions, it’s all been lovely and the weather has been kind. (Cold, but not wet!)

One thing that struck me was on the breakfast buffet in the hotel were slices of haggis. I ignored this at first, as you do. But after building up the courage I gave it a try…

If I had to describe the flavour I would say that it was; spicy, herby, fatty, meaty, peppery and rich in flavour.

It wasn’t actually unpleasant in flavour, but the actual concept – I don’t think I’ll think about the ingredients!!!

17 October 2008

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Nut (Sainsburys)

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Nut

I associate Terry’s Chocolate Oranges with Christmas, I guess it’s because they make great stocking fillers. I’m sure the availability of chocolate orange nut is a reflection of the fast approaching season.

I’ve learnt something very important from eating this product, I was wrong about nuts... Let me summarise:

Chocolate = a good thing
Nuts = a good thing
Orange = a good thing
Chocolate + Orange = a good thing
Chocolate + Nuts = a good thing
Chocolate + Nuts + Orange = a bad thing

The flavours were all very strong, and they all over powered one another. Perhaps "bad" is the wrong word, but it is certainly a strange flavour combination.

16 October 2008

Chocolate Dippers (Boots)

Chocolate Dippers

Currently available in Boots gift section on a three for two offer, but similar products are available throughout Winter from a number of retailers such as Marks and Spencer's.
So the idea is a spoon or stirrer with one end in a block of chocolate. When making hot chocolate you use the stirrer and the chocolate block melts into your drink. Dippers have the ability to brighten up the dullest hot chocolate and turn it into a luxury drink.
Yes, they are one use only, expensive and a novelty, but I can't help it - I love them!

15 October 2008

Aero Hot Chocolate Orange (Sainsburys)

Aero Hot Chocolate Orange

It must be getting Wintry outside, as there seems to be yet more movement in the hot drinks isle at the supermarket.
As I think I have already mentioned, Aero hot chocolate is one of the only instant (i.e. made with hot water, not hot milk) chocolate drinks that really taste chocolatey.
Aero’s new Orange Chocolate is no exception! It mixes with the water really easily, and creates a cafe style froth of bubbles on top.
The extra orange flavour is good and strong, but not over powering. It makes for a very nice hot chocolate and is definitely worth trying.

14 October 2008

Milka Melocakes (Home Bargains)

Milka Melocakes

Mmmm.... A biscuit base; a splodge of gooey marshmallow, and a coating of Milka chocolate - now there is a recipe designed to succeed if ever I saw one!
Ok, the concept isn't new, but this is the first time I've seen them with Milka chocolate. Admittedly the chocolate on them is designed to crack and crumble when you bite in, so it’s not a very thick layer and the Milka chocolate probably doesn't make that much difference. The biscuit base is very flavoursome but not too hard, and it makes the product seem a little more wholesome. The melocakes are also a little smaller than some of the supermarkets’ own products, which creates the “unfortunate” requirement to not stop at only eating one! ;-)

13 October 2008

Soreen Go (Asda)

Soreen Go
Soreen are the makers of fruit loaf or malt loaf or whatever the correct name for it is! Either name - I refer to the really nice fruit packed 'bread' that is heaven when buttered.
I found it strange that they had created a cereal bar, as they already sell a snack pack with two pre-buttered slices. (yummy!)
I was worried that I was being sold a chunk of malt loaf in new packaging, but the texture is a lot firmer. Despite the lack of butter this cereal bar is not at all dry. It is moist and packed with that wonderful raisin malted flavour. The cereal in it adds to the texture, makes it feel more like a proper bar, without ruining the taste. I was surprised by just how well it works.

12 October 2008

Skinny Cow Mint Hot Chocolate (Sainsburys)

Skinny Cow Mint Hot Chocolate
This product is the other new release from skinny cow, who have recently entered into the hot chocolate market (after their successes in ice cream).
Again this drink is made with hot water, not hot milk, so it is supposed to be nice and easy to make. It actually still takes a fair bit of mixing to get all the powder dissolved, and again I ended up with bits on top. The flavour is better than the plain version though. The taste of mint strengthens the flavour and the whole drink is very pleasant. It could just do with being a little easier to mix up.

11 October 2008

Lyles Golden Syrup - Syrup Sponge Ice Cream (Sainsburys)

Lyles Golden Syrup - Syrup Sponge Ice Cream
This is from the same range as the rather lovely dairy milk ice cream, so obviously my expectations were high.
The ice cream is a light creamy syrupy flavour that even on its own would be heaven. But this ice cream contains ripples of golden syrup and pieces of golden syrup soaked sponge. It’s difficult to find criticism for this product, its one of the nicest ice creams I've ever eaten. The mix of cream and golden syrup just wows the taste buds! It would work as an accompaniment with a piece of cake or melting on a hot sponge, but it would be wrong to dilute the flavour like that. Have it on its own. Give it the appreciation it deserves!

10 October 2008

Milka Happy Cows (Sainsburys)

Milka Happy Cows

Another new Milka bar! This one is gorgeous Milka chocolate with splodges of white chocolate set into it. The pattern is very sweet and resembles the Milka logo cow patches! So cute!
The chocolate is of course gorgeous, standard Milka alpine goodness with that special hint of nuttiness. The white chocolate is creamy and lovely. I really wouldn't mind trying a whole bar of it - Milka probably make one, and hopefully it will find its way into UK shops sooner rather than later.
(Insert usual disclaimer about my love for Milka chocolate here.)

9 October 2008

Dairy Milk Ice Cream (Sainsburys)

Dairy Milk Ice Cream
Chocolate ice cream is one of those wonderful staples in life.. a bit like potatoes, bread and cheese... And there are an awful lot of chocolate ice creams on the market, and I don’t think I can name one that is really bad. Even the cheaper ones are perfectly pleasant.
I can however name one that is really good - this one. This one is in a league of its own. The flavour is perfect, you can recognise the make of the chocolate as being yummy sweet and creamy dairy milk. There are decent sized chunks of dairy milk buried within it too. What can I say - as chocolate ice cream goes, this is spot on!

8 October 2008

Spicy Piri Chilli Crisps (Pret a Manger)

Spicy Piri Chilli Crisps (Pret a Manger)

I love the crisps in Pret, they are so wholesome, and have a good crunch. They contain no artificial ingredients, and are decent thickness of crisp and have a nice amount of flavour on them. For want of a better description they taste 'proper'. The packet also says that they are hand cooked, which somehow makes them feel special.
These piri crisps are no exception, and are a welcome addition to the range. The spice on them has a gentle warmth, tangy but not enough to ruin a sandwich accompanying them.
I did ask if they were a new product as I hadn't seen them before - the lady replied that they were new "here", whatever that means. It is a shame they aren’t available in supermarkets as I would gladly add these to my weekly shop.

7 October 2008

Rice Krispies Squares - Crazy Choc

Rice Krispies Squares - Crazy Choc
As per the regular squares bar, this consists of Rice Krispies stuck together with a sticky marshmallow coating, but this one has a crazy chocolate topping.
The crazy chocolate refers to chocolate pieces covered in a coloured sugar coating.
I don't think there is enough topping to justify the word crazy, it seems a bit light to me... (Have a look at the picture above to see just what I mean.) I except I might have just been unlucky and had one pack without a full portion of topping.
The chocolate doesn't have a great flavour as it isn’t very strong, so I wasn't too impressed. They are pleasant enough, but not a patch on the yummy Chocolate & Caramel Rice Krispies Squares.

6 October 2008

Kinder Bueno White

Kinder Bueno White
It seems to be the thing at the minute to have two bars in one packet, I'm sure it was NestlĂ© that were introducing Kit Kat Duo instead of Chunky in order to “aid portion control”. (As if it would be possible to open a Kit Kat Peanut Butter Duo and only eat one bar?)
Anyway, at least with this each bar is individually wrapped, upping the chances of just eating one!
The bars are a rich white chocolate coated wafer filled with a gorgeous hazelnut gooey centre which compliments the chocolate. The edges are lightly dusted with a mild nutty cocoa crumble, which adds a little texture - and looks pretty. Very tasty!

5 October 2008

Muller Black Cherry and Dark Chocolate

Muller Black Cherry and Dark Chocolate
This is the other new Muller product, and it is an addition to their fruit corner range.
The desert consists of a chocolate yoghurt, with a cherry corner. There is no need to worry about the concept of chocolate yoghurt, it is only creamy Muller yoghurt with chocolate flakes mixed in. (Actual chocolate flavoured yoghurt can be so hit and miss!)
Anyone who has ever had Black Forest Gateaux knows chocolate and cherries work - and this is no exception, the flavours just work. I would have preferred it if Muller has been a little more heavy handed with the chocolate content though. I had this yoghurt for breakfast (I have a sweet tooth) but it wouldn’t be out of place after dinner.

4 October 2008

Muller Lemon and Passionfruit Light (3 /10/08 Asda)

Muller Lemon and Passionfruit Light
Muller has released two new flavours - this one and a new fruit corner, the write up of which will follow shortly.
Both are packaged in a much darker, luxurious container and look very up market.
I found the lemon and passionfruit yoghurt to be zingy, and full of flavour so all in all very enjoyable. I enjoyed it more than the Lemon and Orange, which I tried not too long ago as that one was a little overly citrus for my tastes.
As with most of the Muller Light range you would never be able to tell it was a low calorie product, there is no disappointment in flavour whatsoever. I have no idea how they produce a product that tastes this creamy and yet is fat free?

2 October 2008

Thornton’s White Chocolate Fruit Bars

Thornton’s White Chocolate Fruit Bars
Apologies, I'm a little late to the party with this one... Its part of Thornton’s (almost over) summer collection.
When I wrote about Cadburys Dairy Milk 5kg bar, I was impressed because of the size of the chunks - which were massive; this product is its natural opposite. A selection of mini bars sized down. The bars are so cute the chunks are only about 5mm!
Each mini bar is individually wrapped white chocolate infused with a tempting fruit flavour. A very refreshing summer treat - I know, its autumn now- get them while you can!

1 October 2008

Cadbury's Dairy Milk 5kg bar!

Cadbury's Dairy Milk 5kg bar

This isn't mine, it belongs to a lady at work, but I felt it worth a mention all the same. This bar is a limited edition bar made by Cadbury weighing a whopping 5kg! It’s hard to imagine just how big and heavy this really is! What's impressive about the bar is the size of the chunks - they are huge! It’s simply a regular sized bar scaled up! Wow!

Skinny Cow Hot Chocolate (30/9/08 Sainsburys)

Skinny Cow Hot Chocolate
It’s officially getting cold outside, so it seems hot drinks are back on the cards....
I am always wary of "instant" hot chocolate - anything made with hot water and not hot milk is immediately disadvantaged. Add into this that the product in question is low calorie, and I was even more worried. Still, it is made by Skinny Cow, and I do rather like their ice creams - so I mixed up a mug. First reaction was that it takes a fair bit of mixing! And even after I had ironically used up a fair few calories stirring it, it still had undissolved bits on top. Sadly the flavour was poor too, acceptable, but a way off fixing a chocolate craving.
On a side note, I have tried a lot of instant hot chocolates and the only one that I think works is Aero, which always hits the spot and isn't too high in calories either.