Sunday, 31 January 2016

Biscoff Belgian Chocolate (Tesco)

There seems to be lots of bright blue signs in our local Tesco, pinpointing the way to new (or in this case not-so-new) products. It was one of them that called me to these Belgian chocolate coated Biscoff biscuits. I regularly buy the Biscoff crunchy spread -delicious on hot crumpets I've you've never had the pleasure of tasting it- but for some reason I tend to forget that Lotus make the biscuits themselves too. 

I'm a firm believer that if there's any way to enhance a biscuit, it has to  be by smothering it in chocolate. Fortunately Lotus didn't stop there, deeming standard chocolate not good enough for their product, and upped the game to a layer of the more superior Belgian variety. 

The biscuits came in seven handy, individually wrapped, three biscuit packs. The biscuits themselves weren't very large, and by comparison I would say that they were about a third smaller than a rich tea finger. The chocolate coating covered one side with a pretty even layer, and of course they had the characteristic Lotus crunch.

With one nibble I was transferred into chocolate-caramel heaven; the caramelised flavour was still prominent, but it was enhanced further by the silky smooth chocolate topping. These biscuits were made for dunking -although you need to be quick as they don't hold their rigidity for very long. 

The Biscoff Belgian Chocolate biscuits have got to be up there with the best (chocolate digestives and hobnobs of course!). They are a lovely indulgent treat but, I warn you, they are so good that I was left craving more after I finished my triple pack of mini biscuits... So, pass me the Biscoff spread and the crumpets please?


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wawerl Maciek Adwokat *Milk Chocolate with Advocaat Filling* (Tesco)

Our local Tesco Express store has just introduced a Polish section. I'm embarrased to admit it, but whilst I am all over the American section in the bigger Tesco, I've given the Polish section a wide berth until now. In fact, I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance if it wasn't for One Treat's Worldie Wednesdays thankfully opening my eyes to the plethora of good quality European (and beyond!) chocolate. Nibbles 'N' Scribbles also recently reviewed the E.Wedel Creme Brulee Bar with resounding success. So, its thanks to these ladies that I bought this Wawel Advocaat filled milk chocolate bar (and I might add, for a very reasonable 39p). 

Advocaat will always hold a very special place in my heart due to my other half choosing to propose three Christmas Days ago whilst I was sipping a Snowball cocktail -glamorously dressed in my PJs. Snowball cocktails were a staple part of our Christmas Festivities growing up, and although its now January, who says its too late to enjoy the traditionally festive spirit in chocolate form?

The bar consisted of 6 square shaped segments, which once broken revealed a gooey, fondant style centre. The Advocaat filling had a paste-like consistency, slightly thicker than the middle of a Creme Egg. It tasted slightly alcoholic, but in a standard Christmas-selection-box-truffle sort of way. The milk chocolate wasn't half bad. It wasn't very thick, which meant it was almost lost against the sugary filling, but I used the chocolate as a scoop to eat the centre separately so I could savour it until last. It was no dairy milk, but it was of a far superior quality to what I was expecting. 

All in all, this was an unusual bar. The boozy element gave it a slightly naughty edge, and as such I can imagine eating this at my desk on a Friday afternoon after a hard week with the Weekend beckoning. If you like liqueur chocolates (or you're after a cheap chocolate bar!) then I recommend giving the Wawel Maciek Adwokat Bar a try. 


Friday, 29 January 2016

NEW! Mini Mocha Hot Cross Buns (M&S)

Good old Hot Cross Buns, the Easter-time bakery treat that makes the cold wintry days that little more comforting. As traditional as they may be however, they haven't managed to escape the recent trend of being enhanced or meddled with (depending on your viewpoint).

Over recent years we've seen the emergence of creations such as the double chocolate Hot Cross Buns (Tesco in-store bakery) and chocolate fudge buns (M&S and Tesco). Lauren from Nibbles 'n' Scribbles recently reviewed Waitrose's newest buns on the block- Heston's Cherry Bakewell -which unfortunately I haven't been able to find as they sound divine! Of course M&S couldn't miss the opportunity to create something potentially even more wacky, so they have pulled out the Mini Mocha Hot Cross Buns.

I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I love Mocha, its transference into snack items can be a bit hit and miss.  KitKat Mocha underplayed the coffee element, whilst Nakd's bar lacked the required sweetness. I also wasn't sure how to serve them... With butter? Jam? Warm? Or just plain and cold? 

I could smell the cocoa and spices as soon as I unwrapped the buns, but couldn't really detect the coffee. However, with my first mouthful, I was pleased to discover that both the coffee and dark chocolate favours were in abundance. I couldn't quite get round my head around the concept at first. It was the combination of flavours one might expect in a mocha cake, but with the light and fluffy texture of a hot cross bun. The spices were somewhat lost against the coffee and chocolate, but that wasn't a problem as there was already so much going on.

I tried a whole realm of possibilities with regards to temperatures and filling, but I certainly most enjoyed the buns  when slightly warm and slathered in butter -with the chocolate chips starting to melt. I imagine they would be pleasant filled with cream cheese to resemble the icing on the cake -or rather, bun/ 

I'm not sure these will ever replace unadulterated Hot Cross Buns for me, and I did buy some of M&S' more traditional buns when purchasing the mocha variety, but they certainly make a good alternative afternoon treat.


Thursday, 28 January 2016

NEW! Kellogg's 5 Grain Muesli Bars: Chocolate & Nuts (Morrisons)

Kellogg's must be on somewhat of a 2016 health kick. First off, we saw the release of the 'Ancient Legends' range of breakfast cereals, granolas and mueslis, and now they've launched a range of similarly themed grain-focused cereal bars. 

There's two threads in this new range; with two flavours of the 'nutty chewy' bars and two of the muesli variety. I opted for the most chocolatey of all the new products, of course: the 'Chocolate and a Blend of Nuts' Muesli Bars. The pack of four was £1.24 at half price from Morrisons. 

'Oats, wheat, barley, rye and triticale bar with peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and chocolate chunks'.

I was astonished by the lovely cocoa and nut scents that hit me the second I unwrapped the bar. The chocolate chips seemed to mostly be dotted on top, but the peanuts were studded throughout. The texture was gritty and chewy, which made it feel more of a substantial snack. Taste-wise, there were no complaints from me, the combination of dark chocolate and nuts were in perfect harmony, and I felt I could've quite happily polished off the whole five pack in a single sitting. 

These muesli bars each contain 3.9g of protein, and just 0.8g of saturated fat-making them a perfect go-to mid morning snack for the like-minded chocolate cravers out there. I'll definitely buy more of these, especially whilst they're on offer! 


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

NEW! For Goodness Shakes Chocolate Milkshake (Boots)

As you may have gathered by now, chocolate plays a huge role in my every day life. In fact, one of my New Years resolutions is to eat chocolate every day, and my other half will agree that I'm far less grumpy as a result! As such, my eyes are now preprogrammed to spot anything with cocoa in, and so when I spotted this chocolate milkshake in Boots with the word 'new' emblazoned on the front, I felt impervious to resist.

It wasn't until after paying that I realised that it was a protein shake, with claims to many health giving properties. The Goodness Shakes range consists of low sugar, low fat drinks containing 20g of protein and 14 minerals and vitamins. I'm certainly no athlete (unless you count the daily dog walk!) but I figured that as a rare-meat eater, the vitamins and protein in chocolatey form could do me no harm.

I gave the bottle a good shake, and was pleased to find that it was lovely and thick. It wasn't quite as dense as a Frijj milkshake, but it was certainly thicker than semi-skimmed milk. The chocolate flavour was very sweet considering the product's low sugar content, but that was only a bonus for me. There was an odd, almost metallic, aftertaste which I attributed to the 'lean milk protein'. I was certain I could detect notes of coconut, but it wasn't expressly stated on the ingredients, so unless it was included in the flavourings I must've just imagined it.

If you're craving a Frijj milkshake, this won't hit the mark. If however, you're in need of extra protein and/or fancy a healthy alternative to the chocolate bar that's calling to you at lunch time, give this a go and see how you get on!


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

NEW! Perk!er Goji & Cranberry Quinoa Bar (ASDA)

Whilst perusing Nakd Bars (currently on offer) in ASDA's gluten free section, I spotted a couple of new -unusual sounding- bars from Perk!er. Now, whilst I find the use of an exclamation mark as part of their name quite irritating, I was intrigued by their use of a grain I've not much experience of -Quinoa. Quinoa seems to be experiencing something of a craze recently amongst the clean eating brigade, and in similar vein to Chia/Flax seeds I've given it a bit of a wide berth. 

BBC good food however, informs me that it has been a staple food for the Incas and their descendants for thousands of years, and that its now being seen as a great wheat free alternative to starchy grains. Apparently it contains "twice the protein content of rice or barley, and is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. Quinoa also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre." So there you have it!

Perk!er have created three different quinoa bars (Cashew, Chia & Pumpkin Seed, 
Goji & Cranberry, and Cacao & Cashew) but our ASDA only had the Goji variety in stock. For those who are interested, they are: gluten, wheat and dairy free, low GI, high protein and vegan friendly!

The bar was quite sticky, and I was pleased to see lots of glossy red cranberries and seeds dotted throughout. The quinoa was crunchier than expected, resulting in a satisfyingly munchy texture. The bar was also much sweeter than expected, which was a pleasant surprise for my tastebuds*. I really enjoyed the combination of flavours and textures, and I'll buy both this one and try the Cacao one in future. 


*I later read that the bars contain 15.3g of sugar, which (more than) explains the sweetness! 

Monday, 25 January 2016

NEW! Individual 'Cookie Dough & Brownie' and 'Strawberry Donut' Cheesecakes (ASDA)

I believe that ASDA's Extra Special White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecakes are the best on the market; they look pretty, and taste even better. The wonderfully sweet and creamy white chocolate is matched brilliantly with tart fresh raspberries, and a rich buttery biscuit base. With this in mind, I was pleased to discover that ASDA have bucked the January diet trend by adding three single-serve cheesecakes to their range of fresh desserts: 'Cookie Dough & Brownie', 'Strawberry Donut' & 'Chocolate Hazelnut'. They are priced at £1.50 each, but are currently on a 2 for £2 deal.

Unfortunately, our local store had sold out of the Chocolate Hazelnut variety, so I bought the other two instead.

Cookie Dough & Brownie

'Temptingly sweet cookie dough cheesecake with a rich chocolate biscuit base and a delicious brownie topping decorated with chocolate sauce and multi-coloured chocolate curls.'

The cheesecake came well packaged with a protective casing and base -which I presumed covered the biscuit layer as it wasn't visible. When I took its sleeves off however, alarm bells started to ring, as (no exaggeration) the base was barely 3 mm thick.

I sliced the cheesecake in half to discover a pea-sized daub of cookie dough in the centre. The cheesecake was very fluffy and light, but it was simply a baked vanilla and not cookie dough flavoured as advertised. The cookie dough simply came from the daub in the middle and -although pleasant- there simply wasn't enough of it. The disappointment didn't end there, as the brownie chunks on top lacked any real cocoa flavour, and so just contributed an odd texture to the top of the dessert. The chocolate curls were far and few between, and as for the base -the less said the better really- it truly was indistinguishable.


Strawberry Donut

'Smooth vanilla cheesecake with a hidden fruit strawberry sauce center sat on a delicious biscuit base finished off with a mini donut and drizzles of strawberry sauce.'

Although this is a new product for ASDA, they have sold strawberry donut cheesecakes before -in a pack of two slices rather than these individual rounds. From what I remember, the cheesecake was an unusual concept but they pulled it off rather well.

Once sliced, the pocket of strawberry sauce was visible, and although it wasn't generous by anyone's standards, it was larger than the aforementioned cookie dough. The biscuit base however, was just as disappointing, and again was barely detectable. The cheesecake was exactly the same as in the previous dessert, but at least this time it was accurately described as vanilla.. The strawberry sauce was sweet, with a slight tartness that offset the cheesecake well, whilst the mini donut on the top was a cute addition, and thankfully hadn't gone stale. Again, ASDA could do well by being less stingy with the base and sauce, but this flavour was better than the (non) cookie dough brownie cheesecake.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Cinnamon Toast Crunch XXL Treat Bar (American Soda)

Today's post is concerning another purchase from American Soda -the Cinnamon Toast Crunch XXL treat bar. I fell in love with the General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal when visiting America three years ago, and I still miss it now. Somehow the British (Nestle) Version 'Curiously Cinnamon' just doesn't cut the mustard, and my longing for the state-side version led to this purchase.

Stupidly, I wasn't quite expecting the XXL to be the absolute whopper it truly was. It was quite some feat to get my chops around the bar, but once I did, it was true to its name and had a satisfying crunch. Given that there was no best-before date on the packet, and the amount of miles it had travelled to reach me, I was unsure as to how fresh it would be - but it didn't taste remotely stale. 

The cinnamon was strong and sweet, but the confectionery coating adorning the bar toppled it into the realm of being overwhelmingly saccharine. By the end, I'm sure my jaw ached from the sheer amount of sugar and chewing it had to contend with.

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch XXL bar was true-to form -but probably best saved for those in need of a sugar rush with an excessively sweet tooth. 


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Pip & Nut Peanut Butter (Sainsbury's)

As a peanut butter fiend, I get through an awful lot of the stuff. I'm afraid I'm not a loyal brand buyer though, and I go through phases of preferring the salty-sweetness of Sun Pat smooth, to craving the gritty -but more natural- Whole Earth. I also regularly like to mix things up with adulterated peanut butters such as the M&S Maple & Pecan (utterly wonderful if you haven't tried it) and the ASDA own brand chocolate chip.

Pip & Nut are a brand who specialise in nut butters made without palm oil, and have recently gained listing with Sainsbury's stores nationwide. Their peanut butter simply contains peanuts and sea salt- so I imagined that its closer to rivals Whole Earth than Sun Pat. The peanut butter is currently on offer for £1.80 for 250g (normally priced at £2.30).

Removing the lid, I discovered the peanut butter to be extremely runny -almost to a pourable consistency. Having bought Meridian's spreads before, I realised that the oils may have naturally separated so I gave it a good stir -but it didn't make a jot of difference. I tend to enjoy my peanut butter on warm toast or bagels, so I was undeterred by its liquidity, thinking that it would simply make it easier to spread. 

In fact, it was so thin that it started to drip off the edges of my bagel. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse, the peanut butter wasn't salty enough for me, and my sweet tooth missed the characteristic sugary-ness of Sun Pat. The consistency also meant it stuck to the roof of my mouth, giving it a rather unappetising claggy texture.  

It might be easy to blame my disdain for this product on my addiction to sugar (and salt), and my recent phase of Sun Pat love, but I probably won't fork out the extra pennies for this premium brand in the future (I'll save up for Peanut Butter & Co's 'Cinnamon Raisin Swirl' instead!).


Friday, 22 January 2016

NEW! The White One "Solid Creamy White Chocolate Bar" (M&S)

M&S isn't the first place I'd consider when buying a chocolate bar (a selection box for grandma maybe) but I did promise in my Christmas Day post that I'd buy more of their non-seasonal chocolate. M&S have got lots of inventive new bars for sale, but it was the white chocolate bar that took my fancy.

White chocolate is an utterly under-appreciated commodity here in the UK, with Milkybar tending to be the only choice in most newsagents and supermarkets (and I do feel like a bit of a twit buying Milkybar buttons as an adult). This bar isn't obviously directed towards children however, and at 60p (or 3 for £1.50) its competitively priced price to boot.

The bar comprised of 5 sections in a similar shape and size to Dairy Milk, although it was much smaller than its compadre (weighing just 32g compared to 45g for a Cadbury's bar). The chocolate was silky smooth to touch, and easily snappable into its segments.

It tasted heavenly -I had forgotten how fantastic a good white chocolate can be. It was even creamier and milkier than a Milkybar, with the curved edges of the segments making it all the more enjoyable to eat. I savoured every delicious mouthful, but by the last segment (etched with writing to remind you its the last one, just in case you forget) I was satisfied. It seems that M&S have got the size just right given the sweet nature of white chocolate.

This is a bar I will buy again and again. It is delicious, affordable, and doesn't make me want to pretend I have a child to buy it for! Well done M&S!


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Nakd Caffé Mocha

As you might have gathered if you've read my previous posts, I've recently fallen in love with cold press snack bars, such as NakdTrek, and the cheap (but very tasty) Tesco Banana Bliss. I'm starting to get alarmingly excited by trying flavours I've not seen before; so when I popped into an odd little independent Health Food shop and spotted the Nakd Caffé Mocha, I ignored the fact it was more than double the price that they're currently on offer in ASDA for, and snapped it up.

The Caffé Mocha bar is just as saintly as the other Nakd Bars, consisting purely of Dates, Cashews, Raisins, Cocoa and natural flavourings. It also contains one of your five a day, and is suitable for anyone who's Vegan, Coeliac, or Lactose intolerant.

As you can see, the cashews are clearly visible once the bar is broken. I've learnt from experience that Nakd bars are lovely warmed in the microwave for twenty seconds, giving them a comforting gooey-ness. I did nibble the end before heating, and it was tasty cold (but better warm). Both the coffee and the chocolate flavours were well represented within the bar, although its far less sweet than many of the other bars within the range.

I enjoyed the bar, but it comes way down my list of favourite cold-press snacks (perhaps an indication of why it's a less widely available flavour). I missed the usual Nakd sweetness, so I'd choose the Rhubarb & Custard over the Caffé Mocha Nakd bar every time.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Cookie Dough Ice Cream (ASDA)

Given how impressed I was at ASDA's Mallow Mayhem Ice Cream, I returned to the store to buy more flavours within the range. I really enjoy Ben & Jerry's cookie dough, and so I wondered how the supermarket own version would compare.

'Vanilla flavoured ice cream swirled with chocolate sauce, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate fudge chunks'

This ice cream was much firmer and therefore less scoop-able than ASDA's Mallow Mayhem flavour, meaning it took some effort to scoop direct from the freezer. The ice cream had a generous chocolate sauce running through it, with a few of the fudge pieces and cookie dough bites hiding within.

It was just as creamy as the Mallow-Mayhem, but the flavour wasn't as strong -nor as tasty- and I equalled the use of the term 'vanilla' as an adjective meaning plain/lack of flavour, rather than a nod to the use of vanilla pods. The cookie dough bites were firm, and provided a wonderful crunch to the dessert. The sauce was also pretty damn good, with the ample swirls creating lovely little pockets of chocolate. The chocolate fudge chunks were unfortunately far and few between (particularly considering its label as a 'loaded' ice cream), and it would have been better to have more of them -giving a better balance of flavours and textures. 

This ASDA Loaded Cookie Dough ice cream is a good option to go for if you've popped in for some B&J, seen its not on offer, and decided not to fork out the £4+ full price... However, if the two desserts are of similar price, I would definitely choose Ben & Jerry's version over ASDA's.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy Cocoa Dusted Truffles (Tesco)

Monty Bojangles is a name that I've only come across recently; 1 treat reviewed their bonbons back in October, and only last week Hannah (the review addict) reviewed their bubbly truffles. Both of the ladies gave the products very high scores, so i couldn't resist the mini box of Monty Bojangles' Choccy Scoffy truffles reduced to clear in the January sales.  

The pretty 27g box contained three individually wrapped cocoa dusted truffles. The strong, dark chocolatey aroma welcomed my nostrils as soon as I unwrapped the first one, and it wasn't long until I took my first bite. 

Wow. They pack a punch; they are dark, and taste every bit as indulgent as they sound. As always, I kept my chocolate in the fridge, so they were quite firm, but that meant I could savour them as they melted away so obligingly in my mouth. 

These Choccy Scoffy chocolates are delicious, and terribly moreish. Indeed, if the individual wrappers were an attempt at preventing the consumer from eating them all in one go, they need to perhaps think about padlocking each truffle instead. Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy Truffles reminded me of a solid version of Gu's ganache -and that's certainly no bad thing. The larger boxes are stocked in all the major supermarkets year round, and I'm sure I'll buy them long before Christmas rolls around again. 


Monday, 18 January 2016

Dove Cookies & Crème Chocolate Bar (American Soda)

As part of my (rather large) Black Friday order with American Soda, I bought the Dove Cookies & Crème Chocolate Bar. Dove is owned by Mars and is the US equivalent to Galaxy (you'll notice the packaging & branding is very similar). Although I've not had it in a long while, I think that the Hershey's Cookies 'n' Crème Candy Bar is a stroke of genius, and seeing as Galaxy is my go-to chocolate brand, I thought that I better try this Dove bar (which I saw as an amalgamation of Galaxy & the Hershey's bar).

'Enjoy a rich DOVE® Cookies & Crème Bar, with crunchy cookie bits blended with sweet and creamy white chocolate. It’s the perfect combination of childhood indulgence and DOVE® deliciousness.'

The bar was very slender, and had grooves to allow for easy breaking into 12 mini mouthfuls. The chocolate smelt very sugary, although I have to admit it didn't put me off. The bar wasn't milky as I'd have liked, but it was as sweet as it smelt -and actually reminded me of a Caramac. The cookie pieces added a gritty texture and a little bit of darkness to the bar, providing a welcome contrast to the otherwise sugary chocolate. 

The bar was very comforting to eat and evoked warm memories of eating Caramac as a child. It's not my favourite American chocolate bar (that's a spot still reserved for the wondrous Peanut Butter Twix)  but it's certainly a bar I'd like to have again.  


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Loaded Mallow Mayhem Ice Cream (ASDA)

The Mallow & Marsh bar must have rekindled my love for the fluffy sweets, as not long after eating it I felt the urge to try ASDA's Loaded Mallow Mayhem Ice Cream. I've seen it on the shelves for a while now, but seeing as ASDA's pint tubs are £2 (and therefore roughly the same as Ben & Jerry's offer price) it never occurs to me to pick them up! 

'Marshmallow flavour ice cream swirled with marshmallow flavour sauce, mini marshmallows and white chocolate chunks'

The dessert was surprisingly soft and easy to scoop with pretty pink sauce running through it. The mini marshmallows could be seen nestled amongst the ice cream, with a few white chocolate chunks dotted throughout.

The ice cream tasted utterly luxurious, with a soft creamy filling that felt ever-so-indulgent, and the mini marshmallows adding a fluffy texture that melted pleasingly in the mouth. The sauce tasted more strawberry than marshmallow, but that may just be my brain automatically linking pink to strawberry flavouring. The chocolate chunks were rather lacking, but what I could find was of pretty low quality (think smart price white chocolate). My other half told me that he got loads of chocolate in his portion, so it may just be uneven distribution throughout the tub contributing to my rather stingy share. 

My comments above make it sound like I didn't enjoy this product, but that simply couldn't be farther from the truth; I thought that the ice cream shone in terms of its creaminess and balance of sweetness (I sometimes find Ben & Jerry's too sugary). The concept was well thought out, and although the chocolate wasn't the best quality, it still added texture and flavour to this dessert. ASDA's Mallow Mayhem will never fill the gaping hole that B&J's Baked Alaska left behind, but I'll certainly buy it in future -and try other flavours from ASDA's premium ice cream range! 


Saturday, 16 January 2016

Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups (Tesco)

 I was lucky enough to receive a huge stash of peanut butter goodies for Christmas from both my other half and Nibs 'N' Scribs -including lots of Reese's goodies. I'm a huge fan of Reese's products, and simply adore the combination of sickly sweet chocolate flavoured coating and salty peanut butter filling. I'd tried most of the peanut butter goodies before (Nutter Butter Bites & PB Twix) but until Christmas I hadn't tasted the cookie dough bites or the white Reese's cups. 

The white Reese's excited me as I love white chocolate, but I wasn't sure if the sheer amount of sugar would knock the confection off kilter and into the realm of sickliness. 

'Peanut Butter Crème in a White Chocolate Flavoured Coating.'

I needn't have worried. As usual, Hershey's had perfected the ratio of coating to filling. The chocolate wasn't the best I've ever had, but it's a damn site better than many of the cheaper white chocolate products on the market. The peanut butter centre was pure nutty heaven, and the two elements worked in perfect salt and sweet harmony.

I think I actually prefer this to the standard chocolate Reese's cups! Fortunately our local Tesco stocks them for £1.20 per pack so I'll be buying them again and again as a special treat.


Friday, 15 January 2016

Mallow & Marsh Raspberry Marshmallow Bar Coated in 70% Dark Chocolate (Sainsbury's)

I popped into a Sainsburys Local store whilst in Cardiff recently and spotted two snacks I've not seen before, by gourmet marshmallow makers Mallow and Marsh: 'Coconut' and 'Raspberry & Dark Chocolate'. The name sparked a memory of Lucy's review (from Reaching for Refreshment) a while ago, and although I remembered her saying that they were pretty damn good, there were plenty of comments from people who'd had different experiences. Given that they were quite pricey at £1.35 per bar, I thought I'd try the dark chocolate & raspberry one first -if it was good- and buy the coconut version on my next visit to Wales. 

'This is a succulent, light as a feather marshmallow filled with bitter raspberry. then smothered in 70% dark chocolate.'

I was confused by the packaging, as the calories advertised per bar were 174, but the packet also said that there were 386cal per 100g (which would make it 135 cals per bar). A quick browse of their twitter page showed that many other customers have also been baffled by the discrepancy, so I asked them for clarification:

 "You're absolutely correct, the packaging states 2 separate calorie counts at the moment. This is because when the bars first launched (September) their weights fluctuated (It is still a completely hand made product) and as a result we work with the legal average weight (the E number next to the grams). This allows a % fluctuation on the final product weight as no 2 products are identical."

They went on to say:

"We are a very small company (3 people) that won a competition to launch the bars into Sainsbury's (so it's a very exciting time), so we are working hard to bring everything in line quickly."

Thanks for clearing that up Mallow & Marsh, you're certainly forgiven! 

The handmade nature of the bar was evident when I removed the packaging, as the chocolate had a gloriously artisan, rippled appearance. Out of interest I weighed the bar, and at 44g my luck was in! 

I always keep my chocolate in the fridge, which meant that the dark chocolate cracked pleasingly once bitten. I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate (my teeth are too sweet!) but it tasted of superior quality and provided a lovely bitter backdrop for the sweet marshmallow within. The mallow was full of giant air bubbles which gave it a lovely fluffy texture, and it was far 'wetter' than its mass-produced counterparts. The flavouring was powerful and tasted of freeze-dried raspberries which worked exceedingly well against the dark chocolate. 

Mallow & Marsh vs a mass-produced mallow

All in all, this is an unusual sweet treat, and I'm glad to have tried it. I think the high-price point (compared to most convenience chocolate bars) would prevent me from buying it regularly, but if you'd like to support a new British company and fancy something a bit different then I implore you to give Mallow & Marsh a go!


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Billionaire Bullion Bar (M&S)

I've had my beady eye on the Billionaire Bullion Bars since their release in late Autumn, but seeing as I'm a cheap-skate, I've not forked out the £4 to try them.  I received an M&S gift card recently, which provided a good excuse for finally treating the other half and I to these devilishly indulgent desserts.

'Layers of salted caramel sauce, caramel flavour mousse, chocolate ganache and shortbread crumb encased in a golden chocolate shell.'

The bars looked beautiful with their shimmery gold coating. I turned it upside down to discover that it was full of chocolate covered shortbread balls.

The chocolate casing was super thick which meant it took quite a bit of effort to crack into, but boy it was worth the effort! The caramel mousse was light and fluffy whilst the salted caramel sauce had a wonderful depth of flavour. The chocolate ganache was very smooth and rich, and the chocolatey balls added a crunch that made the dessert all the more texturally interesting. The gold chocolate casing was consistently thick all the way round, and M&S didn't slack on its quality either -It was rich, creamy and indulgent.

This dessert by M&S is for sweet-toothed chocoholics only; all of the components are of the best quality but the bar can become quite sickly. For me, I adored the bar in all its chocolate and salted caramel glory...

I'd better get that first at Uni so I can afford to shop at M&S more regularly in the future!


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

KitKat Limited Edition Mocha Flavour (Morrisons)

Sometimes I'm quick off the mark when it comes to new food releases, whilst other times I'm not so excitable and wait a long while before buying. This is certainly true when it comes to this KitKat Mocha, as they've since released two new flavours: Stirred Vanilla & Extra Chocolatey (check out One Treat's review here). Anyway, on the off chance that you've not tried the Mocha Kitkat yet either, I thought I'd give it a quick review.

The four-finger bar smelt convincingly of coffee. The chocolate was of standard Nestle quality (I much prefer both Mars' and Cadbury's milk chocolate). The coffee came through as a mild flavouring, certainly earning its status as mocha rather than espresso, which gave it a rather comforting element. The wafers were perfectly crisp, but the ratio of chocolate to wafer was rather stingy- but maybe that's only my chocoholic opinion!

Overall, this is a pleasant bar, but I wouldn't choose it regularly over a more chocolatey product. I just wish there were more true coffee chocolate bars on the market!


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

NEW! Coconut & Pineapple Flavour Popcorn (Boots)

Whilst picking up my meal deal from Boots, I spied this new Coconut & Pineapple flavour popcorn. I hesitated, wondering whether it would fare any better than their rather revolting Cinnamon & Vanilla flavour which I reviewed back in October, but as the bag cost just 70p I decided to take a punt on Boot's having improved their range. 

I opened it up, and saw lots of fluffy looking plain coloured kernels. I could detect a slight whiff of tropical flavour, which unfortunately wasn't as aromatic as the popcorn made my Propercorn or Portlebay. Biting into my corn, I realised that the flavour was just as lacking as the smell -there was the mildest hint of pineapple, with absolutely no coconut to be found. 

The kernels lacked the crunchiness of Portlebay's Kracklecorn, and without any flavour to back it up, I just felt like I was eating mouthful upon mouthful of polystyrene. To make things worse there was loads of unpopped corn, and at one point I actually thought I'd broken a tooth. Propercorn Peanut & Almond is an absolute taste sensation and utter joy to munch, but this popcorn from Boots just felt like a never-ending chore to eat.