Thursday, 31 January 2013

Marks and Spencer Milk Chocolate with Caramelised Macadamia Nuts


Whilst perusing Marks and Spencers chocolate aisle recently I spied this bar of Milk Chocolate with Caramelised Macadamia Nuts reduced to £1, so could hardly resist giving it a try. It's described on the box as "Extra fine milk chocolate with a touch of ground hazelnuts sprinkled with caramelised macadamias" and contains 35% cocoa solids and 12% macadamia nuts.

Opening the wrapper I was met with a creamy, nutty aroma. It smelled amazing!


It tasted amazing too. Creamy, smooth, and with just the right balance of rich cocoa and milky sweetness. The chocolate melted in the mouth very easily and the macadamias tasted crunchy, fresh and were very moreish. I soon managed to scoff most of the bar along with a cup of coffee (in my defense, it was a thin bar of chocolate!)

I'm not sure why these bars were reduced in price but I hope they aren't being discontinued (as the white chocolate Creme Brulee bar reviewed here by The Snack Review seems to have been). Just incase, I will be going back to M&S soon to stock up on a few bars while I still can.

Incidentally, I must also mention that this is very similar to the Swiss Frey Macadmia bar from a few years ago, and is also made in Switzerland. Hmmm....

Overall, a delicious bar of chocolate, which you should snap up while you still can!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Morrisons Ice Cream Sundae Fondant Cremes


When I saw these "Ice Cream Sundae Fondant Cremes" at Morrisons I just had to try them. Firstly because they were reduced to £1 (they're usually £1.99) and secondly because I love fruity chocolates, especially fruit cremes (I'm one of those rare people who likes the strawberry cremes in Quality Street).

Described as "Milk chocolate coated fondant cremes with peach melba and raspberry ripple flavoured centres", they come in a little plastic bag inside the box:


It's all a bit tacky looking, but considering the cheap price tag I will let them off. The raspberry ripples are white chocolate coated and come in a pink wrapper, whilst the peach melbas are milk chocolate coated and come in an orange wrapper :


Cutting into them revealed a thin layer of fruit "jam" in the centre of each fondant:


Taste-wise, they were throat-searingly sweet. I should have expected this since fondant cremes are usually sugary by their very nature, but these were insane. I have to say though I did enjoy the fruity flavours, the peach melba was very pleasant and did actually taste of peach, although the milk chocoate coating tasted cheap and poor quality. The raspberry ripple was ok, the white chocolate gave a nice creamy contrast to the raspberry filling, but it was still far too sweet.

These are cheap chocolates, there's no doubt about that. They're quite rubbish; garishly packaged, overly sugary and yet...I can't help but find them endearing. I think it's the nostalgia factor. Fruit cremes will always bring out the little kid in me, and as sugary as these were, they were kinda fun too.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Morrisons Afternoon Tea Chocolate Collection


What's this? Tea flavoured chocolates... surely not? Well, not exactly. This Morrisons Afternoon Tea Chocolate Collection is "Inspired by teatime treats, all wrapped in British chocolate". And as usual, it's a load of marketing nonsense to get you to buy them. They usually cost £2.99 but had been reduced to £2 when I bought them.


The flavours include Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Carrot Cake and Earl Grey. Sounds interesting, right? I thought so and was interested to see what an earl grey truffle would taste like. Well, turns out it's not that nice. I'll go through each flavour individually:

Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake:
Described as: "Strawberry & cream flavoured truffle enrobed in smooth milk chocolate and sprinkled with biscuit pieces".

This was an okay chocolate. The filling was a mild tasting milky strawberry flavour, and tasted quite powdery. The little bits of shortcake added a nice crunch. Overall, okay but not great.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake: 
Described as: "70% cocoa dark chocolate with a cocoa infused fudge centre".

As expected, this didn't actually taste of fudge cake, it was just a piece of chocolate fudge coated in chocolate. Still it was very tasty, the fudge had a nice rich chocolatey taste and the 70% dark chocolate coating added extra richness. This was the best chocolate in the box. 

Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake:
Described as: "Carrot cake flavoured truffle coated in white chocolate and finished with a dusting of ground cinnamon".

This was one I was the most intrigued by after the Earl Grey. I love carrot cake, so having it in chocolate form sounded like heaven. Unfortunately, it was horrible. The white chocolate was cheap tasting, and the truffle filling had an awful perfumed kind of taste that was very sickly. It certainly didn't taste anything like carrot cake. This was the worst chocolate in the box.

Earl Grey
Earl Grey:
Described as: "Earl Grey truffle centre infused with lemon oil covered in milk chocolate with a dark chocolate strickle".

This was the one that intrigued me most, being a fan of earl grey tea. I guess I should have expected it to taste bad though, given that earl grey is such an acquired taste. To be honest, it wasn't as bad as the carrot cake flavour, but it wasn't all that nice either. It had a similar perfumey taste, and was a bit sickly to eat. The filling seemed to be a mass of milk powder and fat so there wasn't much to go on. It was just a weird perfumey lump that didn't resemble earl grey all that much.

Overall, I kind of like the concept of these chocolates, but they were very poor quality and badly executed. They're on the cheaper end of Morrisons price range, but still, I expected better. I can't see them lasting long on shelves and won't be surprised if they're discontinued. They're worth trying once to say you've eaten an earl grey or carrot cake truffle, but otherwise, I would avoid them.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Willie's Cacao El Blanco


Here we have the El Blanco bar from Willie Harcourt Cooze, famous for his "Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory" TV show. I was intrigued by the El Blanco because other blog reviews suggest it's one of the better quality white chocolates around. Looking at the ingredients list I could well believe it; cocoa butter is the first ingredient, followed by milk powder, and sugar is last. Now that's very rare for white chocolate! It also contains no vanilla flavouring, another rarity for white chocolate.


I found this in a local department store for £1.90. It's very well presented, with a classy looking box design and matte foil wrapper. The blurb on the back says: "This is white chocolate as it should be, light and milky. The secret is beautiful ingredients and balance. Natural Venezuelan cacao butter, sugar cane from Guadaloupe and British milk, all in perfect harmony".

The chocolate itself looks great - very clean and smooth, with "Willies fruitful cacao" imprinted on it. I'm guessing he's referring to the fruity tastes from the cacao beans.


I found there was a crack going diagonally across the back, so I snapped it in half that way:

I have to say, this bar did indeed taste as good as other bloggers have described! What struck me the most was how creamy it tasted, without being overly sweet. It wasn't cloying or overly milky, just creamy and fresh tasting. There was an odd "cocoa" aftertaste, and as I'm not used to white chocolate having any hint of cocoa whatsoever, it was quite a surprise to me.

I imagine those who are used to sweeter chocolates might be disappointed in this bar, as it's a very different experience from virtually all other types of white chocolate. Personally I loved it, and will definitely buy it again at some point. According to the pack it's usually used for dessert making, although I'm not sure many people would use it for that since it's quite pricey for the amount you get.

Overall, a very delicious and good quality white chocolate bar!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's (Limited Edition)


Dark Chocolate M&M's aren't anything new in the snacking world. They made an appearance in pound shops and discount stores last year as "65% Intense Cacao" (see review here by Grocery Gems), but it seems Asda are now officially stocking this limited edition version, for the bargain price of 50p for a large pouch!


Like the Intense Cacao M&M's these contain 65% cocoa solids, and are made my Mars Polska.


I found these very moreish, and enjoyed the savoury taste of the peanuts combined with the rich dark chocolate and sweet crunchy shells. I'm also glad to see that at least some companies aren't afraid to use bright artificial colours on their products (has anyone seen how boring Smarties look nowadays?!). The pink M&M's seemed to be a bit larger in size than the rest. Some kind of feminist statement, perhaps?


Overall, a delicious and moreish snack, and such a bargain too - snap these up from Asda while you can! Mine had a best before date of 24th March 2013 so I guess that's why Asda are trying to get rid of them so fast.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Gubor Feines Duett Apple Calvados Truffles


After my disappointment that the Gubor Winter Apfel wasn't apple flavoured, I've been on a mission to find some decent apple flavoured chocolate. Laima's Christmas Chocolate Apple-Toffee was disappointing, but when I found these Feines Duett truffles by Gubor, I was a bit more excited. 


I saw these in Tk Maxx for £1.99 pre-Christmas, alongside a plum flavoured version. Unfortunately they no longer stock either flavour, boo! They're basically little truffle balls in a similar vein to Lindor, half filled with calvados truffle filling and half with apple filling.


I'm happy to report that they were very yummy indeed! The calvados truffle wasn't too strong, which is a plus for me because I don't like strongly flavoured alcoholic chocolates, and the apple filling had a nice balance of sweet and tartness. The chocolate itself was excellent quality; creamy, rich and with a smooth taste that melted in the mouth nicely. My only complaint was that the truffles seemed a bit under-filled.


I would recommend these Feines Duett truffles to anyone who enjoys fruity chocolates, as long as you don't mind a light touch of alcohol on the side. They're not the most "appley" chocolates around, so I'm still on a mission to find some good apple flavoured chocs.

Overall, Gubor are a great brand producing excellent quality chocolates, and I hope to come across more of their products in the future.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thorntons Cherryade Pop Bubbles

Whilst browsing my local Thorntons recently, I noticed they've changed their store layout and product range quite a bit - apparently they're doing this across all their stores at the moment. There's a lot of new novelty and gifting products, most of which didn't appeal to me (I could have sworn I saw a chocolate handbag!) until I saw this. I thought it was a bottle of jelly beans at first, but these are actually "cherry flavour white chocolates with popping candy". They cost £3.99 per bottle or you can get 3 for £10, and there's also a lemonade flavour.

The bottle is kind of weird, it looks almost like a tomato ketchup bottle but I think it's meant to resemble an old-fashioned pop bottle (incidentally, does anyone else remember when lucozade used to come in glass bottles?)


Unscrewing the cap I could smell a nice tangy cherry aroma coming from the Bubbles; they smelled just like sweets. They're irregularly sized, kind of knobbly and nugget-shaped. Cutting into them revealed the white chocolate interior:


They reminded me a bit of M&M's, although the shells aren't crunchy like M&M's. Biting into one, I could first taste the tangy cherry coating, and then the creaminess of the white chocolate. It was very tasty. As the chocolate began to melt I got some bursts of the popping candy. I was expecting my mouth to be an explosion of popping candy, but it was actually quite mild. I was a bit disappointed because I love popping candy! I also love cherry flavour, so I managed to munch through a lot of these before the sweetness of the white chocolate became overbearing.

Overall these Thorntons Pop Bubbles were very tasty, if not a bit strange. They're like a mashup between a sweet and a chocolate, which might leave your tastebuds a bit confused. I think they're a great novelty product and kids will probably love them. Although in my opinion, adding some extra popping candy would make them even better.

If these are anything to go by, I'm looking forward to seeing what other new products Thorntons come up with. I might give their Lemonade Pop Bubbles a try next, I imagine the combination of lemon and white chocolate works even better than cherry.

Have you tried any of Thorntons Pop Bubbles range? If so what did you think?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snickers More Nuts & Snickers More Caramel

When I heard Mars were bringing out these "new" Snickers varieties I was a bit skeptical. They're not really new at all and have both been done before (More Caramel was previously known as Snickers Maximus). It baffles me why snacks companies can't come up with something truly different instead of constantly re-branding products they've already done. According to this article (warning: it's from the Daily Mail), cheap snacks will fuel consumer spending during the recession. If that's the case I hope it means we'll get some true product innovation in the coming years rather than re-branded stuff.

Anyway, enough complaining. Being the snacks hunter I am, I had to give these bars a try. I found both in Morrisons, but I've also seen a multipack of the More Caramel in Poundzone, which I find a bit odd. If they're selling at 4 for a pound then Mars can't have much confidence in them selling well as single bars.

Snickers More Caramel
The More Caramel Snickers basically replaces the nougat with caramel and extra peanuts, just like Snickers Maximus did. It's okay, but a bit too chewy for me. The caramel is a bit tasteless so having more of it puts too much emphasis on this. Overall it's alright but I would never go for this over a regular Snickers.

Snickers More Nuts
The More Nuts in comparison was as a Snickers should be - with a soft layer of nougat, chewy caramel on top and plenty of peanuts. It was thoroughly delicious, and a perfect snack. They should just replace the original Snickers with this because the extra nuts make it even tastier.


In conclusion, these Snickers bars are a bit pointless and Mars really missed an opportunity to try something new, but the More Nuts at least is a very good chocolate bar and I would happily buy it again. I hadn't bought a Snickers in a while so I guess this marketing strategy worked.

Have you tried these "new" Snickers bars yet? If so which was your favourite?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Kitkat Chunky Coconut & Choc Fudge (Choose a Chunky Champion)


This is my final review for the new Kitkat flavours released as part of Choose a Chunky Champion. So far I feel all the flavours have been a bit lacklustre and haven't offered a great deal of excitement, including these two. When I opened them I was surprisingly more tempted by the smell of the Choc Fudge as it had a delicious fudgey smell going on. The coconut in comparison smelled quite artificial, and certainly didn't smell as nice as a Bounty bar that's for sure. Out of the two the Choc Fudge was also the only one to add something different - the chocolate fudge paste. The Coconut was just coconut flavoured chocolate and that's all. I feel Nestle could have put more effort into it and done some kind of creamy coconut filling or something. It's almost like they don't *want* it to win the Chunky Champion.
Coconut Chunky
The Coconut  Chunky tasted alright, it was a nice change from the norm and had a decent coconut flavour, but it got a little bit sickly for me. Still it was nice enough. I think it will win the Chunky Champion because it's the most exotic sounding bar of the lot.

Choc Fudge Chunky
The Choc Fudge Chunky was a bit plain and overly sweet, with its layer of sweet chocolate fudge paste atop the crunchy wafer. Taste-wise it reminded me of the Caramel Kitkat Chunky from a few years back, although richer because of the chocolate influence. I don't think it will win the Chunky Champion as it's just not "special" or interesting enough.

Overall, the new flavours for Choose a Chunky Champion have been a very mixed bag this year, some were nice (ie. my previously reviewed Mint) whilst others were lazy and boring. I think mint or coconut will take the crown, but I can't see any of these bars lasting that long if they are made a permanent addition to the Chunky range.

Does anyone remember Kitkat Editions from years ago? The idea of them was that they would release new Chunky flavours seasonally. They did red berry, seville orangetiramisu and mango and passionfruit flavours...now they were truly different indeed! Bring them back Nestle! Plus, who can forget the legendary Kitkat Caramac?

(Sorry for all the links...I just love reminiscing about old snacks!)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Halloren Kugeln Irish Cream

Over the Christmas period I finally got the chance to visit a 99p store. They had a lot of interesting European brands there but these Halloren Kugeln Irish Cream caught my eye the most. Apparently Halloren are a German company that were founded in 1804 and own Germany's oldest chocolate factory, and:

"The most famous product is the "Halloren-Kugeln", or Halloren globes, which receive their name from the early salt workers, whose buttons the chocolates resemble. The brand was especially popular in Communist East Germany and remained popular after reunification." (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloren_Chocolate_Factory)

So apparently we are dealing with something quite special and historic here!
I loved the presentation of these chocolates, they come in a little tray with a paper insert that makes them look quite special:

The Kugeln have an interesting shape (thanks, salt workers ;)) with a sweet irish cream aroma. I hate to sound like some marketing type person, but they really are the perfect size and shape for popping in your mouth. Biting into one of the Kugeln, I was met with a very intense sweet hit. The filling was some kind of fondant, with half irish cream and half plain fondant. The two were indistinguishable and it all just tasted very sweet, with a hit of irish cream. I can't comment much on the chocolate coating as it was just standard milk chocolate, and the sweet filling overpowered it. 

Overall I'm not sure what to think of these Halloren Kugeln. They are certainly a unique product, and kind of addictive, but yet so sweet you can't eat too many at once. I think they're worth a try if you see them. According to the Halloren website they make a dizzying array of products, with many different Kugeln flavours including plum-rum, apple & cinnamon, black forest, and seabuckthorn (!). Hopefully some of those will also find their way into 99p stores! 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gnaw Go Bananas

After hearing about Gnaw Chocolate and perusing their website I had to check out their stuff. They are a small Norfolk-based company producing handcrafted chocolate bars, with varieties including peanut butter, jelly beans, lemon meringue, banoffee pie and more. Sounds exciting huh? Here is the blurb from their website:

"Our bars come in over 30 different (and sometimes surprising) flavours, using the most delicious ingredients we could lay our hands on and recipes perfected by experienced Gnawfolk chocolatiers. The folks at Gnaw have had a lot of fun getting creative with our chocolate range – and whether you crave devastatingly dark delicacies or ludicrously munchable goodies, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!"

This "Go Bananas" variety cost me £2.99 from a local organic store. It's described as "Cocoa butter based yellow confectionery with banana flavouring and a milk chocolate dipped foam banana topping". The wrapper is transparent so you can see the chocolate. I loved the aesthetics; on one side you can see the foam bananas embedded in the chocolate, and the other is divided into blocks with the words GNAW going across:

I felt like a kid again trying this bar as it looked so much fun, plus I used to love foam sweets as a kid! The foam bananas were definitely the highlight of the bar; they were chewy and sweet with a comforting banana flavour. The white chocolate also had a pleasant banana taste, although was a bit on the sweet side for me. It was good quality though and tasted fresh and creamy. Overall I thought the bar was very yummy, and I loved the texture of the bananas with the chocolate, but couldn't eat too much at once. I kept going back to nibble (or gnaw, heh heh) little pieces throughout the day.


Overall, this was a delicious and fun chocolate bar which I would happily recommend, especially if you like novelty. Next on my list to try is the Peanut Butter flavour.

Well done to Gnaw for producing such a unique range, I'm excited to see what new combinations they come up with. I really respect what they're doing because most mainstream companies are becoming predictable and boring with their chocolate offerings, producing endless variations of caramel and wafer, whereas Gnaw are offering something a bit different. Kudos to them!

Here's a short video featuring Gnaw founders Matt and Teri Legon, which shows their production process and talks about how small chocolate companies are thriving despite the recession: http://vimeo.com/48536087

Have you tried Gnaw chocolates? If not, which bars from their range interest you the most?

    Friday, 11 January 2013

    Kitkat Chunky Hazelnut (Choose a Chunky Champion)

    Here we have my last Nestle product review for this week, and this time it's for the Hazelnut Kitkat Chunky from Choose a Chunky Champion. I've always thought Nestle should make a hazelnut Kitkat and I'm surprised they haven't tried this before. I guess if you count Kitkat Senses, then they have done this before. But Senses were rubbishy, smaller, inferior versions of Kinder Bueno specifically marketed to appeal to women.

    No, I've always wanted an actual Kitkat Chunky with Hazelnut in. So far I haven't been able to find the imported "green wrapper" Kitkat Chunky Hazelnut Cream as reviewed here by Grocery Gems, so I was excited that Nestle UK were bringing out their own version.

    Unfortunately it's a bit disappointing. On opening the wrapper, it smelled very nice; hazelnutty and creamy. The filling is a creamed hazelnut paste that is nestled (heh heh) on top of the wafer, as shown here:
    The problem is that this Kitkat tasted too sweet and not hazelnutty enough. I wasn't expecting it to be as delicious as Nutella, but I was hoping for a richer hazelnut taste. Overall it was pleasant, but just a bit too sweet and not as good as it should have been. I won't be disappointed if this doesn't win the Chunky Champion, and I doubt it will anyway. I reckon Coconut or Mint will take that honor.

    I found this on offer with the other Chunky Champion varieties (Coconut, Choc Fudge and previously reviewed Mint) at 2 for £1 in my local Premier store.

    Have you tried these new Kitkat flavours yet? If so which was your favorite?

    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Yorkie Man Size Buttons

    Ladies, look away now! Because here we have Yorkie Man Size Buttons, which are manly chocolate buttons, especially for men. Yes, I finally discovered these after being bemused that Nestle would launch such a product. I like to think they're meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it's hard to tell since products are increasingly being marketed at men and women separately these days. Yorkie have been doing this for ages of course, so it's not much of a surprise, but it's the first time they've launched Yorkie outside of the traditional bar format.
    I found these on offer for £1 in Tesco alongside Mini Matchmakers (maybe those are for the ladies?). They're huge compared to regular chocolate buttons and because of this there's less in a pack, which is a good excuse not to share them I guess! Each button measures 4cm as promised on the pack:
    They taste nice; sweet and milky with that distinctive "Nestle taste" like you get with Kitkats. I actually found them quite moreish and soon scoffed the whole bag to myself. I was surprised how good they were because I've not bought a Yorkie in ages and don't remember them tasting this good. Or maybe they just taste better in button format? I was also surprised to read that the chocolate contains 25% cocoa solids, which is actually more than Cadbury Dairy Milk which I believe is 20%.

    Overall, these Yorkie Man Size buttons are a tasty and satisfying product, which I never thought I'd hear myself say. I'm not sure how long they will last in shops but it'll be interesting to see if they're successful. Somehow, I predict they will end up in pound stores by the end of the year. Just a hunch.

    Are you man enough for these Yorkie Buttons? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts...

    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Kitkat Chunky Mint (Choose a Chunky Champion)

    So here we have the Kitkat Chunky Mint which is part of the "Choose a Chunky Champion" range. I haven't tried any of the other flavours yet (which are coconut, hazelnut and choc fudge) but I bought this along with the Hazelnut on a 2 for £1 deal at a local Premier store.

    I wasn't expecting much from this to be honest, as mint flavoured product variations tend to be underwheming, I find. However that wasn't the case with this Kitkat Chunky Mint. It tasted very minty and delicious! Kitkat Chunky is delicious anyway, but the addition of the mint flavoured chocolate to the crunchy wafer made it even more addictive. It tasted quite strong, just how I like my minty chocolate! I can't help but think it would be even nicer with a layer of mint creme filling, similar to After Eight. Heck, they should just make an After Eight Kitkat! (imagine the advertising: "Now you can have your Kitkat after eight!")

    I somehow doubt this will win the "Choose a Chunky Champion" competition, and reckon the Coconut variety will take that honor. Why? Well, coconut just seems like more of a special flavour to me. That said, I haven't actually tried the coconut variety yet, it's next on my list after the Hazelnut.


    Overall, a delicious Kitkat that should be made permanent whether or not it wins "Choose a Chunky Champion". Which is your favorite flavour from the new Kitkat range?