Thursday, 22 February 2018

Marks & Spencer White Chocolate, Raspberry & Matcha Bar

Marks & Spencer White Chocolate, Raspberry & Matcha Bar

Whilst buying the delicious Swiss Blond Chocolate bar from M&S recently I thought I'd also try one of their new smaller "treat" bars with "healthy" additions. I went for this White Chocolate with Matcha tea and raspberry added because it sounded pretty unusual if not delicious. It's in the same range as the Latte Coffee Kick and Turmeric Coconut treat bars and costs 60p for 25g.

Marks & Spencer White Chocolate, Raspberry & Matcha Bar

Described as a "matcha green tea flavoured white chocolate bar with freeze-dried raspberries" it's split it into two chunks - one for the AM and one for the PM. Really, M&S?! This may not be just any chocolate, but I certainly ain't saving half for later!

Marks & Spencer White Chocolate, Raspberry & Matcha Bar

The dried raspberries were clearly visible on the underside of the bar. I can't say it looked all that appetizing to be honest.

Marks & Spencer White Chocolate, Raspberry & Matcha Bar

Starting with the AM square (it was actually in the PM - so I had a good excuse to eat both pieces!) I took a bite, and thankfully it tasted a lot better than it looked! The chocolate is super creamy but this is offset by the sharp flavour of the matcha tea, which actually blends really well with it. Opposites attract it seems! The raspberry pieces added some nice crunch and bursts of tart flavour, which complimented the chocolate well. All in all this is a strange bar that's actually pretty tasty, a nice mix of creamy, sharp and tart flavours all in one.

Overall, would I recommend this bar? If you're a white chocolate fan then yes, definitely, it's something a bit different and not quite as odd as it sounds on paper. Only for the adventurous though!

Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa butter, dried whole milk, freeze dried raspberries (2%), dried matcha green tea, emulsifier soya lecithin, vanilla extract. Milk solids 21% minimum. 

8 out of 10. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Nestle L'Atelier Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Milk Chocolate

Nestle L'atelier Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Milk Chocolate

As well as the Nestle L'Atelier Salted Caramel bar I reviewed the other day, I also picked up this 100g bar of Milk Chocolate with Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts in Sainsbury's Express recently. It was on offer for £1.50 - usually it's £2. It comes foil wrapped which I love, since most chocolates are plastic wrapped nowadays and I'm sure it makes a difference in the taste.

Nestle L'atelier Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Milk Chocolate

It's described as "Smooth milk chocolate with dried sweteened cranberries and whole hazelnuts and almonds", and the chocolate contains 30% minimum cocoa solids and 18% milk solids.

Nestle L'atelier Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Milk Chocolate

Like the other bars in the range, the cranberries and nuts are clearly visible in each block which is nice as it means you know exactly what you're getting.

Nestle L'atelier Cranberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts Milk Chocolate

Breaking a piece off, it had a nice chunky feel and reminded me a little of the Nestle Double Cream bars from many many years ago. Anyone remember them?

The chocolate tastes pretty creamy and melts in the mouth nicely, but definitely has that distinctive "woody" taste that you just know is Nestle. It's kind of like a higher quality version of the chocolate they use in their other products. I wouldn't say it screams high quality but it was pleasant. The cranberries and nuts are really where the bar shines, they're so plentiful and combine well with the chocolate, making this feel like a posh Fruit and Nut bar. In fact considering Cadbury's Fruit and Nut tastes rather greasy these days, I'd say this tasted better.

Overall, this is a pretty tasty bar and worth picking up if you spot it on special offer. I wouldn't go out of your way for it though, the other bars in the Nestle L'Atelier range like the Blonde Chocolate with Nuts look a lot more interesting!

Nutrition Information (per piece): 77 Calories, 4.6g Fat, 7.5g Carbohydrates, 7.3g Sugars, 1.2g Protein. 

Ingredients: Sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, dried sweetened cranberries (6%) (sugar, dried cranberries, sunflower oil), almonds 5%, hazelnuts 5%, emulsifier sunflower lecithin. 

7.5 out of 10. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Nestle L'atelier Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Review

Nestle L'atelier Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate

Recently, Nestle launched their range of premium chocolated Les Recettes De L'Atelier into Sainsbury's stores. This range has proven very popular in Europe so they are testing the waters in the UK it seems. There's some interesting flavours in the range, most notably L'atelier Blonde Chocolate with Roasted Almonds and Hazelnuts, although at £3.50 per large bar I have been put off trying it. A bit more reasonably priced is this thinner Dark Chocolate Sharing Bar with Salted Caramel pieces, usually £2 but reduced to £1.50 per 115g bar recently.

Most of the bars in the range have the added ingredients clearly visible on top, with the salted caramel pieces clearly visible on this one:

Nestle L'atelier Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate

The bar can be broken into 5 pieces, although it's a bit difficult to get a clean split.

Nestle L'atelier Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate

The underside has an unusual pattern on it, presumably due to how it is moulded:

Nestle L'atelier Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate

Unfortunately, despite being dark chocolate this bar isn't suitable for vegans as it contains butterfat and cream, boo! The percentage of cocoa solids is listed as 54% minimum.

Taking a bite, it has a nice sweet flavour and was quite rich and flavoursome, moreso than I was expecting for such a low percentage of cocoa. The butterfat adds a pleasant buttery creaminess, with the caramel pieces providing bursts of sweet crunch whilst eating. They didn't taste particularly like salted caramel although there was the faintest hint of salt there. Overall, this is a pretty nice tasting bar and the salted caramel definitely makes it a bit different from most types of dark chocolate, although I'm not sure it's better than Lindt Dark Crunchy Caramel.

All in all, not a bad bar and this looks visually interesting but it's not something I would say justifies a very high price tag. £1.50 is about right as a standard price so I would only recommend buying this when it's on special offer.

Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, salted caramel pieces (8%) (sugar, cream powder, whole milk powder, salt, cocoa butter, whey powder, natural flavouring), butterfat, emulsifier sunflower lecithin. 

Nutrition (per 100g): 547 Calories, 34.5g Fat, 47.2g Carbohydrates, 44g Sugars, 7.8g Protein.

8 out of 10.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate Review

Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate

With two new Blond chocolates to choose from in shops I feel we are being spoilt here in the UK. There's the Nestle Les Recettes De l'Atelier Blonde with Whole Roasted Almonds & Hazelnuts available from Sainsbury's (currently on offer for £3 - still too pricey for me!) and this more affordable, and probably better quality Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate that costs £1.50 for 100g.

Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate

Described as "A unique recipe with aromas of caramel, shortbread and fresh toasted notes - which stands it apart from milk and white chocolate" this sounded very tempting indeed. It's basically a white chocolate made with caramelised sugar to give it the "Blond" effect.

Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate

Now the first thing that springs to mind when trying this was always going to be Caramac - because it's a bar that many of us in the UK grew up on and has been available forever. It's always had a special place in my heart, despite the poor quality and use of cheap ingredients over the years. So it was quite a revelation for me to finally try something of a higher standard made with not just any ingredients, but M&S approved ingredients!

Marks & Spencer Swiss Blond Chocolate

The first ingredient listed is cocoa butter, and taking a bite of the chocolate it's immediately evident in the texture. The chocolate melts in the mouth beautifully, it's so silky and creamy, moreso than most white chocolates. The description of shortbread is quite apt because it definitely tastes quite biscuty, as well as of caramel. The flavour is superb, it's the perfect middle ground between milky white chocolate and toasty buttery flavours. It just works, and in comparison to a Caramac it doesn't leave you feeling sick or like you've dirtied yourself by eating it. It tastes clean, smooth and downright delicious!

Overall, this is a winner from good old M&S and I'm pretty certain it will become a big seller for them. It's unique on the market and I'm so pleased they brought it out. Whilst Nestle L'atelier's Blonde Chocolate may be getting all the attention, this deserves it just as much. If you like white chocolate or Caramac - seek this out!

Ingredients: Cocoa butter, sugar, dried whole milk, caramelised sugar (5%), dried whey, emulsifier soya lecithin, flavourings. Milk solids: 23% minimum. 

Nutrition Information (per 20g): 119 Calories, 8.3g Fat, 9.8g Carbohydrates, 9.8g Sugars, 1.3g Protein.

9 out of 10. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

New Coca Cola Zero Peach (UK)

coca cola zero sugar peach

When I bought the New Diet Coke Mango flavour the other day I didn't realize that there was also a Peach variety, in the Coca Cola Zero Sugar range and exclusively available from Tesco. When someone informed me via Instagram I had to go and look for some, and luckily found this bottle in the same Tesco Express as the Diet Coke Mango. This cost £1.25, quite a lot for a small bottle!

coca cola zero sugar peach

Described as "Sparkling Low Calorie Peach Flavour Soft Drink with Vegetable Extracts with Sweeteners" these come in both 500ml small bottles and also larger bottles.

coca cola zero peach uk

Like all Coca Cola products this contains caffeine as well as the sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame k.

coca cola zero sugar peach tesco

I waited until I got home to try it, as with the Mango variety I had to drink it using my authentic Coca Cola glass!

coca cola zero peach

I took a sip...unlike the Mango variety the flavour here is a lot tamer, you get an initial peach taste that is very refreshing but it quickly gives way to the stronger cola flavour. It's very nice indeed, but I would have preferred the peach to be a lot stronger. I think the Diet Coke Mango variety works better because Diet Coke doesn't have a "strong" taste like Coca Cola Zero does, so the fruit flavouring isn't overshadowed quite so much.

Overall, this is definitely a nice and different drink from Coca Cola but it's not perfect, so I hope to see more new UK varieties in the future (maybe the Diet Coke Ginger Lime and Zesty Blood Orange cans recently launched in the US?):

Ingredients: Carbonated water, colour caramel e150d, phosphoric acid, natural flavourings including caffeine, sweeteners aspartame & acesulfame k, acidity regulator sodium citrate.

Nutrition: 0.4 calories, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugars.

7.5 out of 10. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

New Diet Coke Exotic Mango (UK)

diet coke exotic mango

It's not often that Coca Cola bring out a new flavour, so when they do it's always an occasion worth shouting about. The last one was when Vanilla Coke was brought back (wayyyy back in 2013 - it feels like only yesterday!). More recently we had a Pepsi Max Ginger variety, which is about as exotic as the cola world gets these days.

diet coke exotic mango

So it's quite exciting indeed that Coca Cola have gone for such a bold, fruity flavour to pair with Diet Coke - Mango!

diet coke exotic mango

I was super surprised to find this in Tesco Express recently, I had heard rumours about it on Instagram but thought it would take a while to make it here up North. I immediately bought a bottle, not really caring about the price (turns out it was £1.10).

diet coke exotic mango

I waited until I got home to try this just so I could drink it from my bona fide special Coca Cola glass:

diet coke exotic mango

It's described as "sparkling low calorie mango flavour soft drink with vegetable extracts and sweeteners" and the ingredients are pretty much fizzy water, flavourings and sweetener. It also contains caffeine.

Taking a sip, I immediately tasted the mango and it was quite strong albeit artificial. This quickly gave way to the standard diet coke taste. It was kinda pleasant and definitely makes a change from regular diet coke, with the flavours both fighting for attention as you sip it. I wouldn't say the flavours blend together perfectly but it's an interesting drink for sure.

Would I recommend this? Yes, since it's more interesting than a regular Diet Coke, but I can't see it sticking around though as it's not super special or "unique" enough but it's still a nice change. I imagine it will be popular in the Summer months.

Available at Tesco. 

Nutrition Information (per 100ml): 0.3 Calories, 0g Carbohydrates, 0g Sugars.

Ingredients: carbonated water, colour caramel E150d, phosphoric acid, sweeteners aspartame & acesulfame k, natural flavourings including caffeine, acidity regulator sodium citrate.

8 out of 10. 

Lurve is all's Valentine's In Shops!

the chocolate smiths love is bizarre

It's nearly time for the day of luuuuurve, so I thought I'd do a round-up of some special Valentine's Day treats I've seen in the shops recently. Enjoy!

First up is the latest limited edition from The Chocolate Smiths, "Love is Bizarre", a milk chocolate bar containing strawberry and caramel. Potentially sweetness overkill? Available from Fenwicks.

Hotel Chocolat Raspberry Heart Lolly:
Hotel Chocolate Raspberry White Chocolate Heart Lolly

This white chocolate and raspberry lolly looks super special, and is one of the more affordable items from HC's range this Valentine's Day. Available from Hotel Chocolat stores, online and John Lewis.

Hotel Chocolat Melting Hearts:
Hotel Chocolat Melting Hearts

Also on the more affordable end of the scale, these Hotel Chocolat Melting Hearts sound scrummy. Spotted in John Lewis.

Hotel Chocolat So Good Together Slab:

A blend of rich milk chocolate and caramel chocolate with a melting pink strawberry heart in the middle...this sounds delicious! Spotted at John Lewis, also available in Hotel Chocolat stores.

Holdsworth Handmade Peanut Butter Caramel Truffles:
Holdsworth Peanut Butter Caramel Truffles

One for the #peanutbutterlovers, these sound divine! Available online or at John Lewis.

Holdsworth Milk Chocolate Banoffee & Chilli Truffles:
Holdsworth Milk Chocolate Banoffee & Chilli Truffles

Something for the more adventurous, Holdsworth also produce these Banoffee truffles with a spicy chilli kick. Available at John Lewis or from Holdsworth Chocolates website.

Holdsworth Sensational Sea Salt Caramel Truffles:
Holdsworth Sensational Sea Salt Caramel Truffles

And the classic combination of sea salt and caramel. Also available at John Lewis or online.

House of Dorchester Carrot Cake Truffles:
House of Dorchester Carrot Cake Truffles

Featuring white chocolate and carrot cake spices, these don't actually contain cake so are #glutenfree. Thank goodness. Available at John Lewis or Selfridges.

Montezuma's Mini Chocolate Library:
Montezuma's Miniature Chocolate Library

One for fans of richer chocolates is this Mini Chocolate Library from Montezuma's. Available from Montezuma's stores, John Lewis or online.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures 56 Ounce Bags:
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures 56 Ounce Bags

Another one for the #peanutbutterlovers are these huge 56 ounce bags of Reese's Miniatures Cups, available from Home Bargains. What a treat!

Tesco Heart Chocolate Cubes:

Cube shaped cakes with chocolatey hearts on top. Find them in Tesco and Tesco Express.

Tesco Finest Rhubarb, Orange and Vanilla Bean Creme Pots:
Tesco Finest Rhubarb, Orange and Vanilla Creme Pots:

These pots sound lovely and come complete with white chocolate hearts!

Tesco Finest Passion Fruit & Raspberry Cheesecake Slices:
Tesco Finest Passion Fruit & Raspberry Cheesecake Slices

Also with little white chocolate hearts on top!

Mr Kipling You're Baking Me Crazy:
mr kipling youre baking me crazy

Also available in Tesco are these Special Edition Mr Kipling slices.

Mr Kipling Pink Fancies:
mr kipling pink fancies

As well as these Mr Kipling Pink Fancies. Because cake is always a sign of love!

Waitrose Raspberry Mousse Hearts:
Waitrose Raspberry Mousse Hearts

Heart shaped raspberry mousses, one for you and one for your lover!

Waitrose Sicilian Lemon Cheesecakes: 

Mini cheesecakes with a heart shaped splodge of jam on top. Cute!

Waitrose Strawberries in Heart Boxes: 

A simple, but lovely touch. If you're into #cleaneating or have any food allergies these would make a lovely gift. Providing you're not allergic to strawberries of course!

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Heart Gift Cake:
Marks & Spencer Chocolate Heart Gift Cake

Featuring a pink Jazzie heart on top, this looks like the perfect gift for your Valentine!

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Heart Cupcakes:

Perhaps one of the nicest looking Valentine treats in today's post, these cupcakes contain pink chocolate hearts on top.

Marks & Spencer Pink Himalayan Salted Caramels:
Marks & Spencer Pink Himalayan Salted Caramels

You can't beat a good salted caramel, but M&S have gone a step further and made not just any salted caramel, but Pink Himalayan Salted Caramels. Yum!

Marks & Spencer Blackforest Rose Desserts:
Marks & Spencer Blackforest Rose Desserts:

The perfect way to say I love you - rose shaped black forest desserts!

Marks & Spencer Raspberry & Prosecco Spheres:
Marks & Spencer Raspberry & Prosecco Spheres

Ignoring the fact these potentially look like something else, these look really cool with their heart shaped white chocolates on top!

Krispy Kreme Donut Shaped Chocolates:

Who needs a chocolate donut when you can have a donut chocolate? (see what I did there? har har). Spotted in Next.

Heart Marshmallows:
heart shaped marshmallows

Last but not least are these heart shaped marshmallows, featuring corny Ed Sheeran lyrics. Available from Home Bargains.

Well, that's all for this years Valentines In Shops - if you are lucky enough to receive any of these treats do let me know in the comments! And have a great Valentine's Day!