Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Whilst in 99p Stores recently I spotted this bar of Elizabeth Shaw Amaretto Crisp milk chocolate and thought I'd give it a whirl. I've never tried Elizabeth Shaw's chocolates before, so wasn't sure what to expect.
Amaretto isn't a common flavour pairing with milk chocolate, and understandably so - it works better with cakes and coffee based desserts. I was very intrigued how it would taste.
Turns out it was just okay. The milk chocolate was pretty good - milky and sweet with a nice melt, and the amaretto flavoured honeycomb crisp added a nice crunch. I liked the sweet honeycomb flavour, but felt the amaretto flavouring ruined the experience. It just didn't taste right with the chocolate, and spoiled the sweet honeycomb. Kind of like when you get alcoholic chocolates that overpower the taste of everything else.
Overall, an interesting attempt but not something I would buy again. I think next time I'll try the cocoa crunch or regular honeycomb Elizabeth Shaw bars (both of which were on sale at 99p Stores last time I checked).
RATING: 6.5 out of 10.
Price: 99p at 99p Stores.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
I'm a huge fan of coconut products, so it's just as well they're the hot new food trend at the moment. There's an increasing variety appearing in shops, with the gem of them all being coconut butter. If you haven't tried this stuff you seriously need to invest in some - it's delicious!
Coconut butter isn't the same as coconut oil or the butter you refrigerate; it's more like a nut butter that can be spread on toast or eaten from the jar. It's made from whole coconut flesh and tastes creamy and sweet, and is usually smooth in texture depending on the weather. In fact I would describe it as a coconut version of white chocolate spread...only much healthier of course!
I've bought a few jars during the the heatwave and found it to be quite oily and gooey due to the temperature, but in cooler weather it sets to become a firm "paste". It can be rather chunky in it's natural state, as shown here:
Unfortunately there's not much left in this pic as I'd already eaten most of it! (this tends to happen pretty quickly with me!). As you can see it's quite solid - I usually shave pieces off with a spoon and eat it that way.
It tastes very rich and delicious, but can sometimes be a little difficult to swallow due to the fibrousness of the coconut, so don't eat too much at once! The coconut fat makes it creamy and spreadable, and the jar recommends to spread it on toast or mix into smoothies...but I prefer to eat it straight from the spoon. I like to imagine it's a healthier version of white chocolate spread! It's moreish yet oddly satisfying - a few spoonfuls easily fill you up and it gives a nice energy boost to boot.
Overall, Tiana's Coconut Butter is a fantastic product which I would recommend to anyone who loves coconut! It's a bit pricey but well worth it.
Tiana's coconut butter is sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan and fairtrade. It contains metabolism boosting MCT fats (the good kind!) and is apparently good for making raw desserts and pina coladas...I may have to try this sometime! ;)
RATING: 9.5 out of 10 (yes, I love it that much!)
Price: £10 a jar at Holland & Barrett. Other brands can be found in health food stores, plus it can be purchased online (make sure not to buy the cooking butter version which is just coconut oil).
Allergy Information: Contains coconut. Made in a factory that only processes coconuts, so no risk of cross-contamination.
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes, and vegans.
More info and coconut recipes: www.tiana-coconut.com
Sunday, 20 July 2014
I'm really getting into 100% cacao chocolates recently; so far I've tried The Grenada Chocolate Company's 100% bar which is one of my favourites, plus the various varieties in Hotel Chocolat's range as well as the Rococo Plus Noir Que Noir which were all very lovely.
Whilst ordering from chocoaltiers.co.uk recently I decided to try something new and went for this Madagascar Depuis 1940, which sounded a bit milder than most 100% bars judging by the reviews. I'm glad I did as it turned out to be very delicious, almost usurping The Grenada Chocolate Company as one of my favourites!
Firstly I have to say I liked the packaging design, it's simple but elegant. Unwrapping the foil (yes, some chocolate companies still use foil!) revealed a glossy bar divided into small chunks; the perfect size for savouring in small mouthfulls.
Taking my first bite I was surprised by how soft and smooth the chocolate was; it melted very easily on the tongue without any chalkiness. I allowed it to melt in my mouth rather than chew it, and it revealed a rich yet creamy cocoa flavour. As others have said it's more reminiscent of 60% dark chocolate than 100%, which isn't a bad thing at all - there's no bitterness or harshness to put off anyone new to 100% cacao chocolates. I enjoyed the bar with a cup of coffee which was the perfect partner.
Overall, a very tasty bar which I would recommend if you fancy exploring the "dark side" of chocolate! I will definitely buy this again and am seriously considering the couverture block containing several 100g bars...but I'm not sure I could stop myself from eating them all!
RATING: 9 out of 10.
Available from: chocolatiers.co.uk
Suitable for vegetarians?: Yes.
Allergy Info: Gluten free, may contain traces of soya.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Whilst in my local Polish store recently I was in need of a choccy fix...and decided to go for this large Wedel Crème Brûlée bar. It's quite a hefty slab of chocolate so I knew it would be worth the price (£2.19). They also had a Raspberry Panna Cotta bar but Crème Brûlée is more up my street!
The chunks are sectioned with an interesting shape on each block - they reminded me of bottle caps, but I think they're meant to resemble the ramekins traditionally used for crème brûlée. Inside these sections was a layer of gooey golden caramel, with a layer of panna cotta cream and crunchy caramel pieces underneath.
It tasted...amazing! The cream filling was very smooth with a subtle vanilla flavour, with the crunchy caramel pieces adding a nice crunch. The softer caramel tasted gooey, sweet and buttery and went perfectly with the cream, making the bar feel very indulgent. It was a massive sugar overload, of course, but the kind that makes you feel warm and happy inside!
Overall, this is a delicious bar from Wedel and if you happen to spot it in any Polish stores I would recommend picking one up! Since they're so large they're great for sharing and very satisfying. They're also head and shoulders above the "soon-to-be-axed" Nestlé Wonka Crème Brûlée bars!
RATING: 8 out of 10.
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Spotted In Shops! - Tango Jaffa Cakes, Pots of Joy Hazel Whirl, Skittles Berry Milkshakes, Panda Squash, etc...
Here's some new and limited edition products I've spotted in supermarkets recently...
Cadbury Roses Pots of Joy Hazel Whirl
Nescafé Café Menu Millionaire's Shortbread Mocha
Cadbury Roses Pots of Joy Hazel Whirl
Following on from Roses Strawberry Dream Pots of Joy, Cadbury have now added this new Hazel Whirl variety to the range. Only available in 4 packs so far. Spotted in Tesco.
Tango Jaffa Cakes
Tango Jaffa Cakes! These are made by Huntley & Palmers who have quite a bit of history as a biscuit manufacturer, and contain an orange Tango filling coated in dark chocolate. I wonder how they compare to McVitie's Jaffa Cakes? Spotted in Home Bargains.
Skittles Wild Berry Milkhake
Last year I reviewed the regular Skittles Milk Shake and now they've brought out this Wild Berry variant...I didn't realize fruity milk drinks were so popular! Spotted at Tesco.
Nestlé Aero Bubbly White Biscuits:
Nestlé are expanding their "Bubbly White" Aero even further with the release of these Bubbly White biscuits. They remind me of the now-defunct Fox's Echo bars...who else misses those? Spotted in Asda.
Jammie Dodgers Berry Blast
The latest Jammie Dodgers flavour is this new "Berry Blast" variety. They're also doing banoffee and chocolate variations. Spotted in Tesco.
Fox's Neapolitan Jam 'N Cream Biscuits
Fox's have been steadily expanding their biscuit varieties recently with flavours like Blueberry Muffin & Key Lime Pie, and the latest addition are these Jam 'N Cream Neapolitan biscuits. Spotted in Asda.
Fox's Rocky Cookie Dough - Limited Edition
Fox's have also added this limited edition cookie dough variety to their Rocky biscuit range, which contain a cookie dough cream filling. Spotted in Asda.
Fox's Chunkie White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fox's have also added this new white chocolate chip variety to their Fox's Chunkie cookie range. Spotted at Tesco.
This new limited edition has the flavour of both caramel and biscuit (how does that work in a drink?!) Spotted at Tesco.
Nescafé Café Menu Irish Cream Latte
There's also this "new" Irish Cream Latte variety, although I'm sure I've seen it before...
Barny Strawberry Sponge Bears
Barny "sponge bears" now come in a variety of flavours, which now includes this strawberry variety. There's also a new apple flavour. Spotted in Tesco.
Fireman Sam Cheese Snacks
Another child-friendly product are these Fireman Sam Snacks, which come in both cheese and BBQ flavours. Whatever happened to Potsman Pat?! Spotted in Asda.
Fray Bentos Chicken Balti Half Time Pie
With the World Cup now over with, expect to see these "Half Time Pies" reduced to clear...or in most good discount stores at the end of the year. Spotted in Asda.
Mikado King Choco
Mondelez are expanding their Mikado range with this "luxury" variety of biscuit sticks called King Choco. They contain hazelnut praline and chopped hazelnuts with a thick chocolate coating. Spotted in Tesco.
Also debuting at Tesco are these German DeBeukelaer ChocOlé biscuit sticks, which look similar to Mikado but with a twisted shape. According to the DeBeukelaer website they are "pastry sticks for connoisseurs".
The Collective Dairy Blueberry, Cranberry & Acai Yoghurt Drink
I've heard a lot about The Collective Dairy and it seems they're bringing out lots of interesting new products recently. I don't think I've seen acai used as a yoghurt flavouring before! Spotted in Tesco.
Panda No Added Sugar Squash - Summer Fruits
Who else remembers Panda Pops?! They were small bottles of fizzy flavoured pop sold in most newsagents for around 20p. They came in an array of flavours including bubblegum, sherbet lemon, candy floss and even jelly and icecream, all with artificial flavours and colours. They may have been bad for you but I used to love them - I have fond memories of the bright blue flavour! Sadly they were recently axed after 35 years on shelves due to negative perceptions of fizzy drinks - boo!
Since then it seems they only produce non-fizzy drinks with all natural colours and flavours, and have introduced this No Added Sugar squash range. Spotted in Tesco.
Panda Tropical No Added Sugar Squash
As well as Summer Fruits there's also this Tropical flavour. I'll live in hope of a blue-coloured bubblegum variety!
Vimto Squeezy No Added Sugar Water "Flavourer"
Tesco must be expecting "water flavourers" to be a new trend as they had lots of varieties in recently. Whilst I think they're very handy, I can't see them replacing ready-made drinks or good old fashioned mineral water, to be honest.
Tesco One Squeeze
Tesco also do their own water "flavourers", in both apple and blackcurrant, and orange and pineapple.
Well, that's it for this edition of Spotted In Shops...I hope you've enjoyed reading! Be sure to let me know if you've tried any of these new products in the comments!
Sunday, 13 July 2014
A 99p Store opened near me recently so I had to check it out, and of course I went straight for the chocolate aisle like an excited kid! When I spotted this bar of Nestlé Baci Dark I couldn't resist - Baci chocolates are awesome, especially in bar form so I was curious how the dark compared to the milk chocolate variety (click here for a review of that one from Evening Treats).
Unfortunately the bar wasn't all dark chocolate...it had a dark chocolate base with a milk chocolate upper half. This was a bit confusing to my poor tastebuds; I'd rather have either all milk or all dark chocolate!
The chocolate was very nice, it was full of a rich hazelnut gianduja filling plus whole and chopped hazelnuts, but unfortunately the dark and milk chocolates kind of cancelled each other out. The dark half spoiled the creamy sweetness of the milk chocolate, and didn't have a particularly rich or strong cocoa flavour - it just tasted of unsweetened chocolate. The milk chocolate was delicious though and brought a creamy sweetness to the hazelnuts, which is what I was really after! The gianduja was very tasty; think of Nutella in bar form and this comes pretty close.
Overall this is a very tasty and moreish bar, but the plain milk chocolate variety is much superior! Stay tuned for a review of that one soon, and also check out Evening Treats review of it HERE.
RATING: 7 out of 10.
Price: 99p at 99p Stores.
Friday, 11 July 2014
I've noticed a new range of bars from The Chocolate Smiths in local stores recently and been wondering what they might be like. They produce hand made chocolate in different varieties, and the "bizarre" combinations range from: white chocolate with rose and mint, milk chocolate with bacon bits, marshmallows and cinder toffee, jam coconut and caramel, plus many others! I opted for this limited edition Baba Bizarre to try first, which comprises of dark chocolate with a rum and sour raspberry filling.
The dark chocolate shell was very thick and so the filling wasn't really "portioned" - this made it ooze out, which was a little messy but isn't such a bad thing as it was so plentiful. It had a strong sour raspberry kick that was very refreshing and flavourful. You can tell it's hand made because the filling tasted of real raspberries, rather than the artificial stuff most companies use! Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your tastes!) the rum flavour wasn't very strong...in fact I couldn't taste any. Rum is only listed as a flavouring in the ingredients so perhaps it was never meant to be the defining flavour.
Despite the lack of rum flavour I really enjoyed this bar; the dark chocolate was rich and flavourful whilst the raspberry filling gave it a tart, refreshing contrast. As an introduction to The Chocolate Smiths range this was a very positive experience and I can't wait to try more in future!
Overall, if you get a chance I'd highly recommend The Chocolate Smiths bars. They're available from their online store plus various Northumberland delis and shops.
For a review of some of their other bars check out Lot-O-Choc's reviews here:
RATING: 8 out of 10.
More info: TheChocolateSmiths.com