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!
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Tesco are taking on Nakd Posh Bits with their own range of healthier snacks made with dried fruit, oats, nuts etc but at a lower price point. How do they compare?
There's a few varieties in the range; Almond Bites, Cranberry, Coconut and Strawberry Bites and these Cocoa & Orange bites. The best thing about these is that they're nut free, so unlike Nakd Posh Bits are suitable for those with nut allergies - hurrah! Unfortunately though they're not suitable for vegans as they contain honey.
Described as "A tasty blend of dates, blossom honey and cocoa nibs" and costing £1.50 for 110g, these come in cube shapes and felt a bit more substantial than Nakd Posh Bits. They have a slightly pale appearance thanks to a dusting of rice flour which isn't such a bad thing; it prevents them sticking together too much.
They tasted nice, very chocolatey and the cocoa nibs certainly give them a lot of crunch. They're a very filling snack indeed, but do become bit one-dimensional after a few pieces.
Are these as good as Nakd Posh Bits? No, to be honest they're not but they're a decent and cheaper take on the healthier snack bites. I would recommend them if you want a healthier snack but are on a budget. That said, you can easily make such snacks yourself from scratch with dates, coconut, nuts and a good blender!
Ingredients: Date Paste, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Nib (7%), Orange Powder (3%), Honey, Rice Flour, Flavouring.
Nutrition Information (per 6g bite): 21 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 3.7g Carbohydrates, 3.3g Sugars, 0.2g Protein.
7.5 out of 10.
7.5 out of 10.
Monday, 6 November 2017
Amongst the Nakd bars I was sent recently were the New Recipe Apple Danish and Banana Bread bars, as well as these Berry Bliss and Cocoa Twist varieties. They're made with a mixture of oats, raisins, cashews, dates and "fruit extract" which consists of apple and carob. All are vegan and gluten free, as well as refined sugar free. Thankfully they're not flavour free!
The Berry Bliss variety is lovely; so fruity thanks to the raspberries and strawberries, it feels like a real summery treat indeed, in fact it'd be perfect for the Wimbledon season! But it would also be good for those times in Winter when you want to remember the Summer months too, haha! 8 out of 10.
The Cocoa Twist bar is a more simple affair, but very satisfying and has a nice rich cocoa flavour. It's the closest to a natural brownie bar you're going to get, and makes for a very filling snack. Highly recommended. 8 out of 10.
Overall, these are another two great snacks from Nakd, perfect for a low sugar, gluten free vegan treat. The addition of oats makes them extra satisfying and filling compared to regular Nakd bars - I'd recommend them for a healthier mid morning snack fix!
Saturday, 4 November 2017
It's been a while since I first tried Magnums Signature chocolate range now, they first brought out three bars in Milk, Dark and White Chocolate - the latter two of which I've reviewed. Since then they've added more varieties to the range, including Salted Caramel and Orange. I chose the Orange one to try recently because I was curious how it would compare to the classic Terry's Chocolate Orange, which is declining in quality rapidly year on year, it seems.
Like the other bars in the range this weighs in at 100g and costs 99p in the likes of Home Bargains and B&M stores. I believe WH Smiths may also stock it. There's two thick squares per bar, each one the perfect size for an indulgent treat all to yourself. Of course I ate both both!
It has a nice zesty orange aroma with a stronger cocoa kick than Terrys Chocolate Orange.
I took a bite. Yum! This is seriously good quality chocolate, far far better than Terry's, no greasy or waxy texture, just melt in the mouth creamy chocolate. The higher cocoa solids (30%) give it a richer, finer flavour and the orange flavour tastes fresh and compliments it perfectly. Added to all of this is a lovely smooth creaminess from the milk powder. This is one tasty bar indeed!
Overall, if you love orange chocolate this bar is a must try. It's far tastier than Terry's Chocolate Orange is becoming, and offers better quality for the same price. If you have any Home Bargains or B&M stores locally - seek these out and stock up for Christmas, you won't be sorry! And forget about Terrys Chocolate Orange full stop. They're really not worth it these days!
8.5 out of 10.
Friday, 3 November 2017
There's always one novelty product every Christmas that intrigues you to the point you just have to try it. From the likes of Chocolate Veggies (this year Tesco are doing Carrot Truffles as well as Sprouts - last year it was Chocolate Potatoes), Candy Cane Crisps, Salted Caramel Crisps and Mince Pie Fudge, there's always something fun or just plain weird.
This year it's M&S who may have won the Weirdest Christmas Product award - they're doing a Christmas Pudding Smoothie! And of course this isn't just any smoothie, it's an M&S smoothie so they have gone the extra mile and actually used raisin purée (!) to give it that authentic Christmas Pudding taste and texture. It's all in good spirit too as 5% is donated to Shelter from every pack, something that will be very welcome at this time of year with austerity cuts.
Described as "a dairy smoothie made from raisin purée, yogurt, apples, cinnamon and flavourings" this costs £1.50 and can be found amongst the M&S festive sandwich range.
It had a brownish colour with spices and raisin "bits" visible within.
I took a sip. Initially I was hit with the taste of cinnamon - not bad at all. The yogurt and cream make it somewhat tangy and creamy and then the raisin flavour hit me. It's very reminiscent of Christmas Pud indeed, almost as though someone had been blitzed one up and then added it to a smoothie (appetising right?) There were gritty bits of raisin in it, which wasn't the nicest texture, but kudos to M&S for making it authentically like Christmas Pud!
Overall, this is certainly an unusual product, but it's really not as bad as expected. I can't see it being all that popular beyond the novelty factor but hey, at least it's a healthy way to get a Christmas pudding fix over the festive season! It's also a source of vitamin C - win!
Ingredients: raisin purée, low fat yoghurt, skimmed milk, apple juice, apple purée, single cream, lemon juice, antioxidant ascorbic acid, flavourings, cinnamon extract.
Nutrition Information per 100ml: 86 calories, 1.3g fat, 15.4g carbohydrates, 10.3g sugars, 2.7g protein.
7.5 out of 10.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Whilst trying out some of the latest new snacks in shops recently, one thing I had to get was this new "Home Sweet Honey Comb" from Ben & Jerry's, which has been launched in support of refugees. I'm not sure the brexiters will approve, but it's nice to see B&J being socially conscious. Or "woke" as the kids are calling it these days.
Combining sweet cream ice cream with a honey caramel swirl, and chocolatey covered honeycomb chunks, this is a fairly simple variety that is very sugar focused! It varies in price but you can get it for around £2.50 when it's on special offer in Tesco, as I did.
It reminded me a little of the Caramel Chew Chew variety in appearance - I couldn't wait to try it!
It tastes super sweet indeed. The ice cream is somewhat different to standard vanilla Ben and Jerrys, with a smoother creamier flavour, and one that I very much enjoyed. The honey caramel swirls were lovely, but there weren't nearly enough of them and they got a bit lost in the ice cream. The honey flavour makes it super sweet, but I really enjoyed the combinbation and wish there was more of it, and that the texture was chewy rather than runny. The honeycomb pieces are sweet and buttery, adding bursts of crunchiness that added to the overall sweet feel.
Make no mistake this pint is a sugar lovers dream, and might be one you want to eat in smaller portions, but it's still very tasty! I doubt it will stick around forever, so do make the most of it before it's inevitably discontinued.
Ingredients: Cream (27%), Water, Condensed Skimmed Milk, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Free Range Egg Yolk, Honey (1.5%), Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Butter, Stabilisers (Guar Gum, Carrageenan), Salt, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Vanilla Extract, Sugar, Cocoa, Vanilla: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 18%.
Nutrition per 100ml: 229 Calories, 13g Fat, 26g Carbohydrates, 22g Sugars, 3.2g Protein.
8.5 out of 10.