Monday, 20 November 2017
Another day, another review of Green & Blacks Velvet Edition. Why do I do this to myself? I should have learnt my lesson from trying the Velvet Edition Orange & Almond and Mint Dark Chocolate varieties, but as a dark chocolate lover I'm often tempted by special offers in supermarkets. When Green & Blacks 85% bar is on offer I'l buy it, but on this occasion the Velvet Edition range was on offer at £1.50 a bar in Tesco, so I thought I would see how the 70% tastes...naked so to speak, free from other flavours or nuts.
One thing I do like about these bars is that they contain no soy lecithin, which is always a plus. They're also dairy free and suitable for vegans (except for the Salted Caramel variety). I like the designs of the bars, too - they have nice clean squares that are easier to break than the likes of Lindt or regular Green & Blacks bars. This variety contains vanilla bean powder in the ingredients, so I was curious if this would enhance the taste at all.
To my surprise this bar was a tad nicer than some of the others I've tried in the range. It's definitely "smooth" in the sense that there's no distinct punchy cocoa flavours, instead this is replaced by a "softer" flavour of vanilla. It's pleasant, and a nice sweet bar, but I really don't see the point of it. If you're buying a 70% cocoa dark chocolate, surely you want it to taste rich, dark and punchy?
Overall, again I have to conclude that this is another pointless product from Green and Blacks and I honestly can't see this range sticking around. They've been given a good marketing push that's for sure, but fans of G&B's regular bars won't be buying them and fans of sweeter chocolates certainly won't either. I just don't think there's a gap in the market for them.
If you've tried these bars, do let me know your thoughts in the comments!
6 out of 10.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
When I'm on a health kick I do enjoy eating a lot of coconut butter. It's a healthy paleo fat that tastes sweet and is very filling to boot. I usually eat it right from the spoon, but sometimes I'll mix it with cocoa powder and make chocolatey snacks from it too.
I've never known of any flavoured varieties so I was super dooper excited when I spotted this Salted Caramel Coconut Bliss made by Biona, in my local vegan store recently. It costs £4.93 which is a standard price for coconut butter, and is described as "our Salted Caramel Coconut Bliss is made from high quality coconut flesh blended with coconut milk, coconut nectar and pink Himalayan salt".
A natural salted caramel coconut product, sounds like heaven!
Since it's now Winter it was of course rock solid in the jar, and some of the fat had separated from the coconut nectar leaving unpleasant looking lumpy bits. I took a spoonful whilst on the bus as I couldn't wait to try it and....it didn't taste good. I was so disappointed. I could only describe the flavour as somewhat meaty, sickly and unpleasant. I suspected the problem was the separation of the coconut nectar from the fat, so when I got home I melted it down in a pan into more of a liquid, fudgey paste.
And it tasted a lot better! In fact it tasted lovely, like a caramel coconut fudge of sorts, and was super easy to eat from the spoon. Yum! I will admit, I ate a bit too much, although compared to real fudge with tons of sugar and dairy, this was a lot more filling and satisfying. I was able to actually put it down and stop eating, haha!
Overall, I'm glad I put aside my initial reaction to this and saved the day by melting it down - in liquid form it's lovely and makes for a nice natural fudge substitute. I can see a lot of potential for using this to make various vegan and dairy free sweets, if you add nuts, dried fruit or seeds to it. Definitely worth a try if you're vegan, paleo or into healthier eating!
8 out of 10.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
I always love a new chocolate bar variety, so when I spotted this mini bar of Doisy and Dam Dark Chocolate in a local Sainsbury's Express recently, straight into my basket it went. Costing £1 for 25g it certainly ain't cheap, but that's because it contains organic cocoa and has won a Great Taste Award. I had high expectations, especially since I've reviewed Doisy & Dam before - do check out my Doisy & Dam Maple, Toasted Rice & Pink Salt Review.
This bar contains coconut flakes and vanilla as well as lucuma, which is a type of fruit with caramel undertones. There's 4 segments per mini bar.
Considering the price I was expecting something special from this, and luckily it didn't disappoint. The coconut chips add some nice toasty crunchiness, whilst the lucuma and vanilla both give it a smooth, sweet caramel-like flavour. This is balanced by the rich dark chocolate, which is good quality and has a finer taste than the likes of other dark chocolates such as Green & Blacks or Lindt.
Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed this bar! It may be small but it's super tasty. Suitable for vegans, dairy free and gluten free too. For more info and ingredients check out the Doisy and Dam website: https://doisyanddam.com/products/coconut-lucuma
8.5 out of 10.
Monday, 13 November 2017
I do enjoy Madecasse chocolates, ever since I was introduced to them a few years back I've been a fan. Their range is made with Heirloom cocoa - "Earth's original and most flavourful variety of cocoa", which is quite the claim but may just be accurate. Madecasse work directly with farmers in Madagascar, making them "Direct Trade". To learn more about their story visit www.madecasse.com.
Madecasse have changed their packaging recently, and I have to say I do prefer it over the previous look. There's now a monkey holding a cocoa pod on the front which is very fitting. This Honey Crystal variety caught my eye in a large Waitrose store - but it's also available from waitrose.com. I found it on special offer of £1.99, and if you hurry it might still be on offer!
As well as a new packaging design they are also using gold foil to wrap the chocolate, which I love - it makes the bar feel super special! The chocolate contains 63% cocoa solids, with honey granules mixed in.
I ate it whilst on my travels and it was the perfect energy boost for a stroll in the park. The chocolate is rich and flavoursome - especially for a 63% cocoa bar, often at this percentage dark chocolates can lack a good flavour. The Heirloom cocoa sure does have a lot going for it! The honey crystals give the chocolate a nice sweet crunchiness which balances the flavour perfectly - you've got the rich cocoa flavour of the chocolate and the natural sweetness of the honey working in perfect harmony together. Sorry to sound corny, but it really does work well!
Overall, I have to say this is a lovely bar and one I enjoyed a lot more than most dark chocolates. The honey crystals make a nice and natural substitute for crunchy caramel, and combine perfectly with the chocolate. This is one I would buy again as a special treat, or maybe even for Christmas.
Ingredients: Cocoa liquor, cane sugar, cocoa butter, honey granules (6%), emulsifier sunflower lecithin.
9 out of 10.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
This is Part 2 of my Creighton's Chocolaterie festive reviews, do check out my review of their Mulled Wine Milk Chocolate from a few days ago. As well as that bar they sent me this Spiced Tangerine, described simply as a "citrus flavoured dark chocolate bar with spices". This is available from Fenwicks stores as well as Creighton's Website. They have a rather lovely range of festive chocolates indeed, such as Bucks Fizz Truffles, Chocolate Sprouts, and more...do check them out!
I do love a good dark chocolate, especially one with an orangey flavouring so I was very excited to try this. Opening the wrapper it certainly had a nice zesty aroma.
I broke off a chunk and took a bite. The dark chocolate is semisweet, somewhere around 50% cocoa solids at a guess (the wrapper doesn't state the percentage). The tangerine flavour is very fresh, moreso than regular orange chocolate and blends well with the spices, which are subtle and creep in in the aftertaste. They're at just the right level - not too strong that they overpower the other flavours, not too weak that you can't taste them. This made for a lovely treat alongside a cup of coffee, which is definitely how I'd recommend eating it!
Overall, another lovely bar from Creighton's, this would also make a lovely Christmas gift for anyone vegan or who can't eat dairy - it offers a unique flavour pairing that you won't find with other dairy free dark chocolates (please note though - if you have a serious dairy allergy, this is made in a factory that handles dairy).
8 out of 10.
Friday, 10 November 2017
I do like Creighton's Chocolaterie. They produce some excellent chocolate bars, with unique flavours that vary season by season. I enjoyed the Pumpkin Spice Latte Bar for Halloween, so was curious how their festive offerings would compare. Luckily, Creighton's offered to send me two of their Christmas bars for a review.
This Mulled Wine bar is described simply as "mulled wine flavour milk chocolate with cranberries" and is available from the likes of Fenwicks stores as well as Creighton's Website. They have a wide range of delightful festive goodies on there, from the likes of Gingerbread Latte Cups, Rum & Raisin Truffles and the rather special Planet Tree Decorations.
The bar is paper wrapped like all Creighton's bars which gives it a nice special feel compared to plastic wrapping. The chocolate had a lovely mulled wine aroma amongst the creamy milk chocolate notes.
I took a bite...yum! The chocolate is super creamy and melt in the mouth, you can tell it's good quality. There's a delicate mulled spice flavour in there, it's subtle and thankfully not overpowering as I think that would have spoiled the chocolate. The cranberries are tart and chewy, bringing some welcome texture that makes it feel like a posh Fruit & Nut bar...without the nuts of course! The flavours work really well together, which surprised me as I wasn't sure how mulled spice and milk chocolate would taste combined.
Overall, for a treat that's a bit different this Christmas I would highly recommend this bar. It has festive flavour in abundance and would make a lovely gift for any chocolate lover!
Stay tuned for a review of Creighton's Spiced Tangerine bar...
8.5 out of 10.
Thursday, 9 November 2017
For this festive season, rather than try every sweet product I can find I'm branching out a bit into a hopefully healthier direction. I'm not reviewing as many sweets but products suitable for general Christmas Gifts. Yay! I'm very excited because I do love a challenge, and there's so much cool stuff in shops aside from snacks. If there's anything you'd like to see reviewed, please do leave a comment and let me know what - I'll try my best to see if I can find it!
Today's review is for some super special glasses I was sent to review, sold by Root 7. I've seen some fancy whisky glasses in my time but none quite as special as these!
Called Geo after their geometric design, they come in either black or gold. They look almost like candle holders, not that that's a complaint, because they fit the bill as super special alcohol glasses too. They can actually be used to display your favourite succulent, which means small plant or cactus (who knew?)
Even though I'm all spirit at this time of year, I didn't have any booze on hand to try these with so you'll have to bask in their glory with my Hand Selfie photos. They look beautiful don't they? (The glasses, not my hands!)
Rest assured, once the booze is flowing over the festive season I'll do an update on these, but for now all you need to know is that they're fab and available from Root 7. Definitely one for the whisky lover in your life!