Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Haribo Rhubarb & Custard Splats Review

Whilst looking for Cadbury's Wispa hot chocolate in Tesco recently, I spied these Haribo Rhubarb and Custard Splats and couldn't resist giving them a try. I was never a huge fan of the original Rhubarb and Custard boiled sweets but this jelly version sounded a lot more to my taste.

I like Haribo jellies, especially Tangfastics, and these Rhubarb & Custard Splats really lived up to the intense fruity sourness you get from those. The only difference being the rhubarb and custard flavour, which is quite unique. There wasn't much of a custard element, just a sour-rhubarb-dominated taste, which suited me just fine because I don't like the idea of custard in sweets anyway! They were verrrrry addictive and it didn't take me long to demolish most of the bag. Texture-wise they were kind of soft and chewy, but not too chewy like some gummy sweets are.

Overall, if you like sour jelly sweets or rhubarb and custard boiled sweets, I would highly recommend these. The unique rhubarb flavour makes them stand out from other sour sweets and is very addictive.

Price: £1 at Tesco.
Nutritional facts: Contains fruit and plant concentrates of elderberry, grape, aronia, blackcurrant, mango, orange, lemon and passionfruit (but oddly no rhubarb!).

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Ben & Jerry's Core Peanut Butter Me Up

It wasn't so long ago that fellow snacks blogger Creamy Steaks wrote a post decrying the lack of interesting ice cream flavours here in the UK. And it's true; whilst the US are treated to new Ben & Jerry's varieties such as Red Velvet Cake and Key Lime Pie, the most exciting new flavours we get here in the UK are Karamel Sutra and Apple Pie. To be depressed and see what other nice flavours we can't get, check out On Second Scoop, a blog dedicated to the latest in US ice cream releases.

Luckily, Ben & Jerry's UK must have sensed our pain and have recently added this new "Peanut Butter Me Up" variety to their "Core" range, as well as a "Blondie Brownie" variety.

Described as "A raspberry jam core surrounded by peanut butter and vanilla ice creams with chocolatey covered peanut butter cups", I found this in Sainsbury's for a hefty £4.99. The ice cream contains only 4% peanuts, which had me doubting how "peanutty" it would actually taste.

My suspicions turned out to be right, as it didn't turn out to be quite the intense peanut butter and chocolate experience I had hoped. The "jam core" took centre stage and played a big part in the overall taste. I guess the idea was to emulate the classic "Peanut butter and jelly" (PB&J) combination popular in America (over there "jelly" is the same thing as "jam" here in the UK). The "jam" was really more of a fudgey, firm sauce, which tasted ok but there was far too much of it. It overpowered the peanut butter ice cream on the one side and the vanilla ice cream & peanut butter cups on the other.

The PB cups & vanilla ice cream portion was very tasty; each little cup delivered a nice hit of peanut butter and chocolate, which was delicious combined with the vanilla ice cream. The peanut butter ice cream portion was nice and nutty, but a little tame. I would have preferred more of the vanilla ice cream & PB cups to be honest!

Don't get me wrong, this is a tasty ice cream from Ben & Jerry's, but I think the peanut butter cups should have been the star attraction. The jam "core" is an interesting idea and I guess PB&J fans will enjoy it, but it's not really my thing.

Overall, I think this "Peanut Butter Me Up" is a nice idea and it's good to finally get some interesting Ben & Jerry's flavours in the UK. Personally though I would like a tub of peanut butter cups and ice cream without the jam.

Price: £4.99 at Sainsbury's.
Nutritional facts: Contains 4% peanuts and 5% raspberry puree.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Milka with TUC crackers & Milka with LU cookies

A big thankyou to Monster Sweets who sent me these Milka bars to review recently after reading of my disappointment with the Milka Lila Pause. Apparently it's common for a lot of imported Milka bars to be poor quality, and it's best to stick with German stock. Luckily, Monster Sweets sell a lot of German Milka bars for a good price and cheap postage. They also sell Ritter Sport's range, including the new seasonal flavours, as well as many American imports like strawberry and grape Fanta. I highly recommend their site: http://www.monstersweets.co.uk/

I've been curious about these Milka bars for a while now, they sounded a bit weird but potentially amazing.

Milka with TUC
Milka with TUC crackers:
This had to be perhaps the weirdest bar of the two, as it contains salty TUC crackers. The crackers are stuck to the chocolate on both sides of the bar, but many of them had fallen off, which looks like it might be a common problem. Luckily some had stayed on so I managed to munch them with the chocolate. And what a delicious combination it was! The crackers were crunchy and salty and somehow just worked when combined with the creamy Milka chocolate. It was a nice contrast and very, very moreish.

Milka with TUC
Milka with TUC
Milka with LU kekse (biscuits):
I have never heard of LU before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but apparently they're a French biscuit brand and the biscuits used in this bar are like sweet butter biscuits. Unlike the Milka with TUC they were firmly stuck to the chocolate, and seemed to have some sort of sugar syrup binding them to it. Taste-wise they were as delicious as the TUC, but sweet and with a hint of vanilla flavour. Combined with the creamy Milka chocolate they make for a delicious bar which is very addictive.

Milka with LU
Milka with LU
I can't recommend these Milka bars enough; I think they're a brilliant idea and both are delicious, addictive combinations. I would say I enjoyed the TUC version more because the combination of savoury crackers with creamy chocolate is very moreish, although the LU version is pretty tasty too. I hope Kraft/Monadalez bring them to the UK, but suspect they wouldn't trust our British palates to handle them...

Have you tried these Milka bars before? If so what did you think of them?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Mr Tom Peanut Chocolate Bar

If you like peanuts and chocolate, this is the bar for you! I found this Mr Tom Chocolate bar in Poundland recently for the price of...you guessed it.

It's described as "Milk chocolate with 35% caramelized and roasted peanuts", contains 30% cocoa solids and is made by the company Hosta who also produce the original Mr Tom peanut bar.

I remember this being reviewed on Jim's Chocolate Mission ages ago and thought it would be one of those foreign chocolate bars I'd never get to try, so I was very pleased to see it in Poundland! It's also been reviewed here by Foodstuff Finds, and it didn't fare too well with them.

The bar is a nice thick block and you can hopefully see here that there's plenty of nuts embedded in the chocolate (they make up 35% of the bar infact).

The chocolate is quite sweet, as mentioned by Foodstuff Finds, but I thought it was nice. I've had far, far worse in my time that's for sure. It's the caramelized and roasted peanuts that really bring it to life though: they're crunchy, salty, sweet and moreish! There seemed to be a mix of plain roasted chopped peanuts, as well as shards of sweeter caramelized peanuts. It's a simple combination, but it worked well and was very tasty. It didn't take me long to munch through the whole bar to myself.

Overall, a tasty chocolate bar which I would highly recommend if you like peanuts and chocolate. For £1 this is a bargain and I'll certainly be buying some more next time I'm in Poundland!

Friday, 15 February 2013

McVitie's Double Chocolate Digestives

After seeing these McVitie's Double Chocolate Digestives on A Review A Day, I knew I had to seek them out - they sounded like the Ultimate in chocolate digestives.

They're described as "Chocolate flavoured Digestive biscuits with chocolate chips, half coated in milk chocolate". This pack cost me £1.35 at Sainsbury's.

Opening the wrapper they certainly smelled more chocolatey than a regular chocolate digestive, and the digestive base was much darker, although not quite the intense darkness of a Bourbon Cream or Oreo, which is what I was really hoping for.

Breaking them up revealed some chocolate chips randomly embedded throughout the digestives, which hopefully you can see here:

Taste-wise...they were nice. Very chocolatey, and the chocolate chips certainly enhanced the experience, but I doubt these will be taking the Chocolate Digestive crown any time soon. They're not quite amazing or wow enough for that, and I would have preferred a richer flavoured digestive base akin to a Bourbon Cream, though they were still pretty great dunked in coffee.

They remind me of when McVitie's brought out Yog Fruit Digestives...does anyone else remember those? They were very unique and tasty; they were digestives with dried berries embedded in them with a creamy yogurt topping, and tasted amazing dunked in tea or coffee. I still mourn the day McV's discontinued them.

Overall, these Double Chocolate Digestives are a delicious take on Digestives and will surely be very popular, but personally I prefer the original.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wawel Tiki Taki & Wawel Malaga

Whilst browsing my local Polish store recently I noticed these Wawel chocolates near the till. For 20p each, I thought there was no harm in giving them a try. Looking at the pictures on the boxes they were in, I assumed the Tiki Taki was coconut flavoured and the Malaga Plum flavoured.

I thought their shapes were a bit mismatched with the flavours. The Tiki Taki has an almost hazelnut-like shape, whilst the Malaga has an almost orange-segment-like shape.

Left: Tiki Taki                                  Right: Malaga
Cutting them open revealed two very different types of filling. The Tiki Taki had a creamy duel-layered praline and coconut truffle type filling:

Tiki Taki
Whilst the Malaga had some kind of gooey "jam" type filling, with little bits of dried fruit in:

I had no idea what I was actually getting with these, so it was nice trying to guess. Biting into the Tiki Taki, I could mainly taste a dry, crumbly coconut truffle, with some kind of praline layer on top. It tasted very rich and coconutty. The chocolate coating seemed to be a standard plain chocolate, which tasted ok. Overall the Tiki Taki was pleasant, if a little bit rich.

Biting into the Malaga, I was met with a syrupy, sweet taste of dried fruit and a hint of alcohol. I thought it was date or prune flavour at first. The chocolate coating was again a standard plain chocolate, which tasted ok.
Overall it was an unusual chocolate, and something I have never tasted the like of before. I wouldn't say I loved it, but it wasn't awful either, just... "different".

After a bit of online research, it seems that the Malaga contains either raisins, dried plums, or both, and is named after Malaga wine. The Tiki Taki is apparently coconut fondant with peanut praline. If anyone can enlighten me further, please do leave a comment below.

Overall these are two little oddities which are certainly unique - I've never tasted anything quite like them before. Although they aren't exactly great quality, I think they're worth trying at least once.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Corné Port-Royal White Chocolate

Whilst scouring the shelves at Tk Maxx for imported chocolates recently I came across this Corné Port-Royale White in the reduced section, for £1. At that price I could hardly refuse.

I've never heard of Corné Port-Royale before, but according to google they are a Belgian chocolatier with quite a history, and have 20 boutiques in Belgium as well as 15 in France.

Despite their impressive sounding history, this chocolate was very disappointing, and I can understand why it was reduced in price. The best way I can describe it is pointless. It does nothing. It's neither a cheap and cheerful milky white chocolate like Milkybar, nor is it a smooth vanilla flavoured chocolate like Lindt Touch of Vanilla. It just tasted sugary and sickly without any emphasis on milk, vanilla or even cocoa butter. I threw most of it in the bin, which is something I rarely do.

Overall, this is one to avoid. I haven't tried any other Corné Port-Royale chocolates before so I'll reserve judgement on their brand as a whole, and I'd certainly be willing to try some of their other chocolates, but this bar left a sour taste in my mouth, quite literally!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Meiji Meltykiss Fruity Strawberry

I recently visited a local Japanese store and was quite overwhelmed with the many unusual and unique products being sold there. Flower flavoured soda, coconut jam, mochi (as reviewed here by the legendary Gobble Monkey) and Meiji Meltykiss! I'd heard about these before on other blogs and they always seem to be well received, so I was hoping for something special.

Honestly though? I don't get what all the fuss is about.

They were labelled to be stored "below 23˚C". I live in Britain so it's always a fair bet it's going to be cold, so no problems there. Presumably it's to preserve the melting filling.

Maybe I ate these wrong or something (is that even possible?), but I just wasn't impressed with the texture. The centre is basically vegetable fat and sugar, and was quite hard and waxy. Even when I allowed it to melt in my mouth, it just tasted of strawberry flavoured melted vegetable fat and sugar. The strawberry flavour was pleasant enough, but certainly not outstanding. I guess I was expecting something more akin to the melting centres in Lindor...they are called "Meltykiss" after all.

Overall I was disappointed with these, and am a bit hesitant now to try the other flavours I saw (caramel and rum) as they aren't exactly cheap. This 60g box cost me £3.15!

Maybe I'm just jaded and grumpy though. Have you tried Meltykiss before? What was your experience of them like?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Belgian Mousse Truffles

The only reason I'm reviewing these Belgian Mousse Truffles is because Sainsbury's tricked me into buying them. I found them in the Valentine's gifts section marked half price, yet after examining my receipt when I got home, found I'd been charged the full price of £3.49. Don't you just hate it when that happens?!

Annoyance aside, I was intrigued by the flavours of these mousses: Dark chocolate with Raspberry, Milk Chocolate with Lemon, Milk Chocolate with Passion Fruit and Dark chocolate with Ginger.

I've always assumed that "mousse" was just another marketing word for praline or truffle (I've certainly eaten plenty of chocolates described as "mousses" that were in fact truffles), but these chocolates surprised me because they had real mousse centres that were very light and er... mousse-y. I was a bit disappointed to be honest because they seemed so light and insubstantial; I would have preferred something more dense and buttery.

Passion Fruit Mousse (left)
Milk chocolate with passion fruit mousse: This was one of my favourites of the selection, the passion fruit mousse tasted nice and fruity and went well with the milk chocolate.

Ginger Mousse (centre)
Dark chocolate with ginger mousse: This one wasn't very nice. I usually don't mind ginger and dark chocolate, but the ginger flavoured mousse in this was quite sickly. There was a little piece of crystallized ginger on top of the chocolate, which I thought was nicer than the mousse filling.

Lemon Mousse (centre)
Milk chocolate with lemon mousse: This was my favourite from the selection. The tangy lemon flavour went well with the creamy mousse, like the kind of synergy you get with lemon cheesecake. There was a piece of candied lemon peel on top, which added a lovely fruity tang. I love candied peel combined with chocolate, so I enjoyed this a lot.

Raspberry Mousse (right)
Dark chocolate with raspberry mousse: I didn't really like this one. The raspberry mousse tasted a bit sickly and almost...floral. I can't really describe it, but I didn't like it. I would've much preferred a strawberry mousse. There were some little bits of dried raspberry sprinkled on top of the chocolate, but they didn't add much to it.

These chocolates were okay, but I wasn't overly impressed. I liked two out of the four flavours but felt the mousse centres were a bit insubstantial.
I would recommend them if you like light chocolates though. They would make a nice Valentines side-gift and I'm sure many people will enjoy them.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Milka Chocolate Dessert

If I were to sum up this Milka Chocolate Dessert in one word, it would be AWFUL. But that's too easy, and maybe a little unfair. I'm sure it's not normally so horrible, but the one I tried was. It was a little past it's best before date (by less than a month), but I still don't think that's an excuse for how bad it tasted.

When I bought this for 40p (from a discount store, naturally) the lady at the till informed me I could get three for a pound, which I politely declined. I knew why she was trying to get rid of them... because they were obviously rubbish! Still, being the snacks hunter I am I had to give one a try for reviewing purposes. The things I put myself through...

This was described as "Milk chocolate with alpine milk and whipped cocoa filling". I was expecting it to be a simple cheap truffle type filling, but it was much worse than that. The vegetable fat must have gone rancid or something, because the taste was just awful. I can't really describe it properly... it was kind of dry, musty and just tasted "off". The milk chocolate coating didn't really help matters, since there was more filling than chocolate.

I imagine this would be a lot nicer if it were in date, but I can't say for sure so if you've tried this bar yourself please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, otherwise I shall have to assume it's one to avoid in future!

Morrisons Salted Butterscotch Milk Chocolate

Morrisons are one of my main local supermarkets. They don't have the greatest range of chocolate around but have started to change that recently and introduced some new varieties (including the Afternoon Tea Selection I reviewed recently). Adding salt to chocolate seems to be in vogue at the moment, so I suppose it makes sense they've brought out their own salted chocolate bar. I didn't really pay much attention to the wrapper when I picked this up, I just wanted something chocolatey and sweet and assumed it was yet another salted caramel bar.

Described as "milk chocolate with salted butterscotch pieces", this cost £1.39 and contains 32% cocoa solids. It's basically a Morrisons version of Milka with Daim, but with richer chocolate and salty butterscotch pieces. And I'm not really sure if I liked it or not. It had a certain addictive quality because of the salty crunchiness of the butterscotch, and the chocolate had a decent rich taste, but...I think it was a bit too salty. I guess I'm not really used to salty chocolates. That said, it was good quality and I think many people would enjoy it.

This bar is produced in Italy and has won a "Quality Food Award 2012", so it must be doing something right. I noticed Morrisons also do a raspberry dark chocolate bar, and one in a green wrapper that's possibly...lime flavour? Probably not, but I'd definitely like to give them a try sometime.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Nero & Bianco Milk, Butterscotch, White & Dark chocolate

Today's review is thanks to Nero & Bianco who kindly sent me some samples of their chocolate range recently. Nero & Bianco are a new ethical and fairtrade chocolate brand whose bars are available at Holland & Barrett, as well as other health food stores. To be quite frank I wasn't expecting a lot when I received these as the packaging design doesn't really "grab" me. It doesn't make me think of luxury like the designs of other chocolate bars in the market do.

I am very happy to be proven wrong; these bars tasted amazing and were better than a lot of other brands with much fancier packaging. They are also fair trade, organic, and contain a high percentage of cocoa.

Nero & Bianco Milk
Milk: This bar contains 39% cocoa, and I was expecting a bog-standard tasting milk chocolate which just happened to be fair trade, however I was very wrong! Biting into it I was met with a delicious creamy hit; it was very smooth in texture, and melted in the mouth beautifully. The taste was a nice balance of creamy and cocoa-rich, which is the best way I can describe it (sorry, I'm not good at this sort of thing!). It was a step above other milk chocolates known for being creamy, such as Lindt Extra Creamy for example. For a small 35g bar it was also surprisingly satisfying. Overall, a delicious milk chocolate which I intend to buy again in future.

Nero & Bianco Butterscotch
Butterscotch: Containing 39% cocoa like the Milk chocolate bar, I knew the chocolate would taste good but the question was how would the butterscotch pieces taste? Well they were nice enough, and added a burnt sugar crunch to the delicious chocolate, but weren't quite as distinctive as I was hoping for. If they were as tasty as the crunchy bits in Milka with D'aim, this would be an amazing bar. As it is, it's just a nice varient on Nero & Bianco's milk chocolate. Which is a good thing, but it could have been even better is what I'm saying.

Nero & Bianco White Chocolate
White: Containing 39% cocoa solids and ground vanilla, this is one of the nicest white chocolates I've eaten in a long time. It had a delicious creamy vanilla taste, and melted in the mouth nicely. I'd be happy to pay good money for a large bar of this, and would like to see it available in cafes as it'd go perfectly with coffee (plus it's better than the ubiquitous Green & Blacks bars found in most cafes). Overall, a great quality white chocolate.

Nero & Bianco Dark Chocolate
Dark: Containing 70% cocoa solids, this bar smelled rich and fruity like any good dark chocolate should. I was expecting the usual bitterness you often get from dark chocolate, but surprisingly there was none. It tasted very smooth, and like all of Nero & Bianco's chocolate, melted in the mouth wonderfully. It had a slightly fruity tang, but wasn't bitter at all. Overall it was a pleasure to eat, and I enjoyed it more than the comparable Green & Blacks 70% dark chocolate bar.

I hate to sound like I'm advertising for these guys, but in my opinion Nero & Bianco's chocolate is very, very tasty, and this came as a total surprise to me. I will definitely be buying their stuff again and hope they bring out more flavours in future. My only gripe is the packaging design - it just doesn't grab me, and I don't think it communicates how good the chocolate is. That aside, I'm now a Nero & Bianco convert!

Info on Nero & Bianco: 
From their website: http://www.neroandbianco.com/
"Nero & Bianco launched in 2010 and was the brainchild of a number of crazy chocolatiers, who hadn’t noticed that we were in the worst recession since 1920".
"Because we associate chocolate with happiness and good feelings, we wanted to ensure that our business is not causing anyone to have unduly bad times. We knew from the start that creating a Fairtrade and organic chocolate was imperative to our vision and everything that we do in the future will be Fairtrade and organic too. Our chocolate is made using the finest organic and Fairtrade certificated cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic and Peru. The majority of the cocoa beans in our chocolate are trinitario beans, a family of beans renowned for their complex flavours."

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Donkers Choco Bananas

I can't help but smile when it comes to these sweets. Firstly, because the name Donkers sounds funny, and secondly because they tasted ace and reminded me of being a kid again.

I found these in Family Bargains for £1. After trying the Gnaw Go Bananas recently I've been searching for some decent quality foam bananas, and these fit the bill perfectly. The only problem is they aren't really "foam" bananas, they're more like jelly bananas and are made from pectin, which according to the online dictionary is: "A soluble polysaccharide present in ripe fruits and used as a setting agent in jams and jellies". They're produced in Holland.

The taste of the pectin was very evident and made these Choco Bananas taste absolutely delicious. They had a fruity taste and an almost gooey texture that was extremely moreish and addictive. I couldn't stop eating them! The banana flavour was very realistic. The chocolate however wasn't anything special, but it did provide a nice contrast to the fruitiness.

These are the sort of sweets you can eat by the handful, and if like me you loved foam bananas as a kid, I would highly recommend them. They're actually nicer than real foam bananas, although the texture is very different.

Were you a fan of foam bananas as a kid? Do you still buy them?

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Belgian White Chocolate Donuts

When I found these Chocolate Donuts in TK Maxx recently I had to give them a try; I've never seen donut shaped chocolates before, so was quite intrigued. They cost £2.99 for a box of 18 and are basically hazelnut praline rings coated in white chocolate, with a base of milk chocolate.

I liked how they were packaged, I felt like these were a special treat when I opened the lid and saw the gold foil wrapper.

Opening the wrapper I was met with a strong smell of hazelnut, which reminded me of Guylian Seashells. The chocolates looked very appetizing and just like miniature white donuts. Splitting one in half revealed the praline filling:

Unfortunately the taste of these let down what could have been a nice novelty product. The praline filling was a bit boring and tasteless; I felt like I was mostly eating vegetable fat. And the white chocolate was a bit non-descript, it just tasted sweet and without any real creaminess or other distinguishing features.

I'm not really sure what else to say about these as they were a bit of a disappointment really. I haven't tried any other products from "The Belgian" so I don't know what their quality standards are usually like, but Tk Maxx stock a lot of their stuff so I might give one of their milk choc bars a try sometime.

Overall, a nice idea that was ultimately a disappointment.