Monday 31 March 2014

Thorntons White Chocolate

After enjoying Thorntons milk chocolate with fudge I went straight into this white chocolate

The creamy, sweet aroma was not as pleasant as other white chocolate I've had (M&S, Lindt & Go*Do) as after a while there was a sense of an excess of sugar. There were hints of vanilla but it seemed artificial

The taste wasn't unbearably sugary, but it did become quite overwhelming. Because this chocolate was so thick, it didn't feel comfortable to let it melt - chewing was far more pleasurable 

With a sickly and cloying finish, I was let down by this chocolate bar; 90g of a basic white chocolate. I liked the minimum ingredients though, with nothing unnecessary inside! 

Friday 28 March 2014

Lindt Creamy Milk Cookie Crunch

Through the creamy, indulgent milk chocolate (typical of Lindt) was the smell of rise crisps which was of course the cookie pieces, with a notable malt aroma

As I took my first bite it didn't feel like Lindt. It just didn't seem sophisticated enough: in taste, the way it looked and even the name: Cookie Crunch. However, I was reassured that it was Lindt by the creamy, rich, sweet milk chocolate (although little of that could be tasted as the cookie flavour dominated)
But saying that, the cookie element didn't even taste like cookies, or what we call here in England: biscuits! It really just tasted like rice crisps (with a poor, crumbly texture) and that was seriously disappointing. But, I did like how that distracted away from the sweetness and creaminess of the Lindt milk chocolate...  making me actually quite enjoy it as it didn't have a cloying taste/finish 

If you're to stumble across this chocolate, don't be tempted

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Thorntons Irresistibles: Smooth Coconut & Belgian Truffle

Impressive packaging. I liked the dark colours and contrasting font, overall looking fairly seductive. I must admit that I wasn't overly excited to try these chocolates as neither of them really appealed to me. As I work in a chocolate shop that sells handmade Belgian chocolates, I've found myself to have less interest in industrialised chocolates. Of course I still love them but the quality certainly cannot compete

Smooth Coconut Melts
note: 'Coconut Melts' alone sounds better 
The milk chocolate coating tasted nice, it was creamy and slow melting. After the coating had melted, this then lead to the coconut flavour being exposed. The coconut filling was creamy but tasted artifical and completely overwhelmed the chocolate flavour

The more I had, though, the more I enjoyed. But this is the general rule with anything edible and sweet. It was nice to see that cocoa butter was used in the coconut centre, however the coconut element was just too sweet

"Transport yourself to a beautiful beach on a Caribbean island" - I guess this went without saying, as the tropical flavour made me have a taste of piña colada and summer. Oo a rum twist would have been interesting... 

"drenched in dreamy milk chocolate" - I don't think drenched seems the most appealing adjective that Thorntons could have used. Have they run out of their enticing adjectives? Nevertheless, the milk chocolate definitely was dreamy

Belgian Truffles
I was quite horrified by these truffles. Vegetable fats, no cocoa butter... oh Thorntons, why not use your signature chocolate and simply stir up a ganache? 

The smell and taste was so cheap and woeful; not irresistible at all. It did not taste of chocolate. The vegetable oils used were so powerful in taste. And to top it off, a poor tasting cocoa powder heavily dusted on top. Words cannot describe how disappointed I was with these low quality truffles

I will say one nice thing about these truffles though, they looked better than the droplet appearance of ASDA's Marc de Champagne truffles. I also thought they were of a good size... just a shame about that ghastly taste

Friday 21 March 2014

Beech's New Chocolate Bar Range

Traditional British chocolate since 1920: Beech's; it's a recognisable brand amongst us Brits, often seeing their chocolate covered stem ginger and brazil nuts in shops especially around Christmas time. However, I do not recall having ever tried Beech's before... so, here I am; 6 of their newly launched chocolate bars sitting in front of me. Already admiring the colours and patterns of the cardboard sleeve packaging

Natural Ginger Dark Chocolate
A warm, assertive ginger aroma and taste. I was fond of this ginger and dark chocolate combination, but a spicier more potent ginger wouldn't have hurt

Lime & Chilli Dark Chocolate
A refreshing, zesty aroma. In the taste the lime was first noted then I started sensing that chilli... gradually building up (but remaining subtle), a nice buzzing on the tongue. Now, I haven't been a big fan of previous lime or chilli chocolate i've had in the past... but this really worked. Which surprised me as I was expecting to dislike this chocolate the most. The finish was of a diminishing lime yet the spicy sensation still present for a while

Milk chocolate
30% cocoa solids and 20% milk solids. A nice creamy aroma and taste. I found myself eating all of this chocolate bar very easily

Anglesey Sea Salt Milk Chocolate
Again, a creamy aroma and taste. The salt I only really noticed whilst chewing the chocolate, but when I did leave it to melt on my tongue I was left with little pieces of the salt which when bitten released sudden bursts of saltiness. I liked this one, and I found it sweeter than the plain milk chocolate bar

Dark Chocolate
A plausible 55% cocoa solids. It wasn't bitter but rather sweet instead, I think those who don't enjoy dark chocolate will quite like this one. I'm very critical of dark chocolate, only find myself enjoying it if it's complex and expressive, and this chocolate was boring for me. Like all the bars I've tried so far, there was that grainy texture (noticed especially during melt) 

White Chocolate
Sadly I couldn't really smell much but the texture was smooth and had a beautifully rich taste! The vanilla wasn't too subtle nor overpowering, so I ended up really enjoying this chocolate

Beech's is no bean-to-bar company, nor do they know the origin of their cocoa... (something I LOVE and respect about chocolate) but for £1.50 a bar... it's definitely worth it. Although I didn't enjoy the dark chocolate itself, I must credit the flavoured chocolate bars as they were well balanced in flavours; nothing was too overpowering nor underwhelming. I think that maybe the chocolate should be conched for a little longer to allow for a smoother texture; but apart from that; all was good. My personal favourites were the Sea Salt Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Raw Chocolate Company: Pitch Dark 70% and Vanoffee

These two 44g bars from The Raw Chocolate Company are retailed at around £1.99 each, with their cocoa being Fairtrade, organic, from Peru and processed with low maintained temperatures. The Raw Chocolate Co. have a nice selection of unique chocolate bars, as well as being winners of 2 gold stars in the 2013 Great Taste Awards! I believe The Raw Chocolate Company have a clear established target market: those interested in healthy-living opposed to the indulgence and luxuriousness of chocolate 

The Raw Chocolate Co. use "minimal additional ingredients so that the cacao can sing out", but also maybe because the hype of raw-anything is at it's highest right now? But okay, with all seriousness, I'm sure they are passionate about chocolate! 

Pitch Dark - Raw Chocolate - 72% Cacao
Ingredients: cacao mass, coconut palm sugar, virgin cacao butter. I was pleased to see there being no vanilla, seeming likely that maybe these Peruvian beans taste so good that vanilla is just not necessary, am I right? And no emulsifier!

A coffee bean aroma, reasonably dark... an ideal roast. This chocolate had a dark, intense yet sweet taste, and with my second piece; opened up to lots of subtleties. Several times I picked up on lemon, tiny bursts of it coming through that darker fruity body!

Wow. A VERY smooth, long melt. This melt was incredibly impressive. A slight bitter finish, but pleasant... I feel as if I must mention the melt of this chocolate again, just absolutely beautiful

Vanoffee - Raw Cacao Confection
It looks like milk chocolate, yet contains no cocoa mass... I then considered it to be white chocolate but then I saw it had no milk. So, I guess this is just simply a cocoa confection, like the packaging says. But no doubt I was eager to try

This Vanoffe is a blend of  ingredients from four exotic plants: cacao butter, lucuma, coconut palm sugar and vanilla

It was a toffee aroma, but after a while I thought it to be quite strange, it was almost bark-like. It was a scent that I recognised, but just couldn't quite put my finger on it; basically; I've smelt better chocolate (oh yes, but this isn't chocolate...). But hats off for this smelling natural! 

The taste mimicked the aroma, but the only difference being that the longer I was exposed to it...the nicer it got. It was sweet, tasting like cake batter (yum) and actually had a similar texture of it too. There were delicate notes of sweet spices, creating this tingling sensation on the tongue. I much preferred the chew of this chocolate opposed to the melt of it, as the toffee flavour was more prominent this way! 

Monday 17 March 2014

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Fudge

A Thorntons milk chocolate block of Papua New Guinea 35% cocoa solids... You may notice that this is Thorntons old packaging design - they've had an exciting makeover! - and after looking at their website it appears that they've got rid of this particular milk chocolate variation. This seems a shame because this was Thorntons only chocolate with its cocoa origin stated

An aroma of creamy coffee was unleashed as soon as I opened the gold plastic bag, I wouldn't have guessed it was fudge

The fudge pieces within gave an interesting texture, but not one that I was totally enthused by. There was a smooth melt but the fudge distracted me away from it. It is a thick block of chocolate which made breaking and biting to be fairly difficult but challenge accepted as I do love chunky chocolate

The milk chocolate tasted lovely and rich with depths of caramel and dark sugars, however this would have most likely been the fudge influencing the chocolate

Overall, an enjoyable chocolate bar... great to see that the chocolate itself contains only cocoa butter for the fat, but the fudge pieces are sadly full of unknown (to me) ingredients... which just made the ingredients list look very messy! 

Sunday 16 March 2014

The Co-operative Ghanaian Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt

This chocolate of 89% milk chocolate to 10% toffee and 1% sea salt creates a perfectly balanced flavour

The Co-op having all their Truly Irresistible label chocolate Fairtrade is something to respect, it certificates that those who grow the cocoa beans are receiving fair prices for their crops. And for this particular bar of chocolate, it's the Kuapa Kokoo organisation in Ghana!

A light aroma, nothing too stimulating. This milk chocolate was of 34% cocoa solids

A soft melt slowly separates the toffee crystals from the chocolate. The sea salt suddenly sparking as the palate clears, creating a beautiful sweetness. Then with my second bite (and so on) I was much more aware of the salt, having a greater taste as I'd crack up the toffee pieces with my teeth. Salt in chocolate never fails to amaze me, just how it can bring out this sweetness; a sweetness that would not have been appreciated if that salt wasn't there

As I came to the end of each bite it irritated me that I could not put my finger on what this chocolate tasted like! But after my eureka moment, I believed it to be similar in taste to the Daim bar though 1000 times better

Saturday 8 March 2014

Marks & Spencer Fairtrade White Chocolate with Madagascan Vanilla

The Mast Brothers-esq design, intricate patterning and attention to colour scheme makes this Marks and Spencer's white chocolate packaging look a work of art

A deep and beautiful aroma. It was rich and creamy with a delicate vanilla touch; a very natural scent. What I loved was that I could have kept on smelling this chocolate for hours. Unlike most white chocolate, it was more creamy than sugary which reflects upon the respectable "25% milk solids" stated proudly on the front  

The taste certainly did not let me down. It was of a distinct high quality, each ingredient working together in harmony... to create such an indulgent bar of chocolate

I did rejoice after taking my first bite of this chocolate but this was probably due to me trying the M&S 72% Dark Espresso Chocolate prior and being disappointed with it. After trying this chocolate again the following evening, my initial reaction seemed sufficient. It really was a powerful chocolate. Again, I loved the thickness of it as it made for the bite to seem indulgent

Purchasing this chocolate bar will only set you back £1.99 and it is completely worth it

Marks & Spencer Fairtrade 72% Dark Chocolate Espresso Coffee

The aroma fairly smoky, lacking a cocoa intensity but it definitely smelt dark. The coffee was coming through quite substantially and it wasn't too pleasant, sensing more of a 'coffee oil' opposed to freshly ground

The chunks were fairly small but had a lovely dark colouring and of good thickness. A firm snap, but difficult break. The melt was long, releasing little sweet tones. The sweetness balanced with the earthy and oaky tones. The coffee element brought a bitterness, though the chocolate remained fairly sweet - from that I presume that the 72% alone is rather sweet

I enjoyed the texture when chewing. The melt had an oily presence, but this wasn't too bad. It seemed as if I did come across some ground coffee, yet the ingredients simply stated 'coffee flavouring'

The aftertaste was not pleasant; a smoky bitterness along with a drying finish. This chocolate had a notable acidic taste to it which made it have a cooler feel on the tongue

To be honest, I was reluctant to buy this chocolate as I wasn't in the mood for a dark chocolate, and especially not an espresso flavoured dark chocolate.  But I did so anyway, and doing so was a mistake. When I first tried this chocolate I really did not enjoy it, but with my second tasting, which took place at night, I found myself enjoying it that little bit more!

I would not go out of my way to try this chocolate again, the smokiness over did it. I can not commend the coffee flavouring, but I have a feeling I would have enjoyed the 72% chocolate alone

Thursday 6 March 2014

Ritter Sport Caramelised Nuts

Those butter caramel cubes as well as the colour of the packaging caught my eye. I was hoping for a luxurious dominating caramel aroma but instead it was a strong, poor quality hazelnut aroma. I was not convinced. I thought that maybe Ritter Sport chocolate just was not for me after being underwhelmed by the Hazelnut Crunch

However, the taste was delightful. The butter caramel was rich and sweet and the hazelnut only light and mild, thus contrasting very well 

The texture of the filling was interesting, with delicate hazelnut pieces as well as rice crisps. I enjoyed the bite of this chocolate. The soft caramel creme filling sandwiched in the firm milk chocolate coating