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Showing posts from 2018

Marks and Spencer Mindanao Island Dark Chocolate

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Following my review of the M&S Single Origin 100% Cocoa Dark Chocolate last week, today we have something perhaps a little more palatable to those not used to sugar free chocolates, a Single Estate 72% cocoa bar from Mindanao Island in the Phillipines. This bar is part of the new range at M&S which also includes a single origin White Chocolate bar.


The bar is thinner than other bars M&S usually do, no doubt due to the need to charge more for less since these are from single estate cocoa growers. And to be honest that's no bad thing - the taste is much better than any average dark chocolate!

For a 72% bar this was very flavourful, with an almost honey like taste as well as some sharper fruity cocoa flavours. I enjoyed every bite and savoured it since the bar was quite small. And despite being small I felt like I'd gotten a lot more compared to the larger dark bars.

Overall, if you're a dark chocolate lover I would highly recommend giving this one a try - the fl…

Charlene's Chocolate Factory Wake Me Up Before You Cocoa

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Another review courtesy of Charlene's Chocolate Factory today, makers of interesting and quirky chocolate bars (check out my reviews of their Bubblegum Blonde, Mint Choc Chip and Beetroot Bars!). This time it's for something a bit more common as a chocolate flavouring - coffee, brilliantly named after the classic Wham! hit. I do love me some coffee in the mornings, so I loved the idea of being woken up by a chocolate bar rather than coffee!

A bit of background first: Charlene's Chocolate Factory are of course named after the classic Charlie and The Chocolate Factory film, and are dedicated to making interesting and quirky bars, from the likes of Gin and Tonic, Marmite and various fantastically-coloured bars. To check out their range see:

www.charleneschocolatefactory.co.uk


A darker bar than the others I've reviewed, this vegan chocolate contains 72% cocoa solids and has ground coffee beans direct from Italy added. Ooh-er! One side has a lovely patterned effect printed …

Botonique Botanical Drink For Wine Lovers

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Today's review is something a bit different, and not something I feature as much of compared to snacks - a fizzy drink! But not just any fizzy drink, rather, a botanical drink with added vitamins designed for wine lovers - minus the alcohol! Its "made by and for very positive people but there are some antis we favour: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-toxins, anti-dehydration".


The drink contains an array of vitamins and flavours extracted from herbs, spices, citrus, milk thistle, minerals and amino acids. There's no added sugar, sweeteeners or sulphites, just pear juice to give it a light delicate sweetness.


I chilled the bottle and poured it out into one of my fancy cocktail glasses, to get the full benefit. I'm not a wine drinker and rarely use it so this felt like a special rare occasion indeed. I took a sip - it's just the right level of fizziness. The flavour is subtle and definitely botanical, which I loved.

I was a big fan of those botanical drin…

Marks & Spencer Single Origin 100% Cocoa Dark Chocolate

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When I'm avoiding sugar I do like a good 100% cocoa dark chocolate bar. They're hard to find in most shops, but luckily thanks to Sainsbury's the Montezuma's Absolute Black is becoming widely available - handy for anyone on a low carb diet. But now M&S are here to challenge it with their own version of 100% cocoa chocolate, a Single Origin Fairtrade bar made in Peru. This bar costs £2 for 100g and is available in most of their larger stores.


There's a Taste Profile inside the case, which mentions notes of red fruits and honey, as well as a whisky that pairs well this chocolate. Steady on M&S, are you trying to get me drunk?!


Make no mistake about it, this is a very, very dark chocolate and one that I imagine is just too much for most folks. It's intense, and has that fruity acidic flavour that is common with unsweetened chocolate. The description of red berry flavours is quite accurate; this does indeed taste strongly of berries, and is quite complex w…

Prestat The Red Box Review

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Amongst the treats Prestat sent me recently, such as the Ruby Chocolate Bar and Ruby Chocolate Thins they also sent me this box of truffles named The Red Box. Originally conceived of in the 1950s, "this delightful box adorned the drawing rooms and ballrooms of the stateliest of Britain’s homes and could be found in the green rooms of London’s famous West End Theatres". Prestat truffles were also "adored" by Roald Dahl, creator of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Beautifully presented, the chocolates come in three types: dark, milk and of course white. The flavours are Sweet Clementine, Earl Grey and London Gin & Lemon. I started off by trying the Earl Grey since I'm a big fan of earl grey tea.


Encased in milk chocolate, the truffle contains milk chocolate ganache infused with earl grey tea, and you can just about see the specks of tea in it. It tastes delicious! The chocolate is high quality whilst the creamy ganache is very comforting with the bergamot …

Charlene's Chocolate Factory Beet It Bar

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Another review from the rather interesting Charlene's Chocolate Factory today, who make a wide variety of funky chocolate bars from the likes of the blue Bubblegum Blonde bar to Mint Choc Chip, and others like Gin and Tonic and even Marmite! Find them on their website here:

https://www.charleneschocolatefactory.co.uk/

Yes there's definitely something for everyone, even to the point of catering for the vegetable lovers with this "Sweetened Dark Chocolate with Beetroot". I chose this one to review out of pure curiousity...just how would the familiar earthy vegetable taste in chocolate form?!

Containing 60% cocoa solids and powdered beetroot, the bars weigh 90g and have a lovely pink patterned design on one side - the other side is regular blocks.


I took a bite. The taste is...not as weird as I expected! It's surprisingly sweet, and I certainly didn't expect it to lend a nice mild flavour to the chocolate. Yes there's the earthy unmistakable beetroot taste i…

Nestle Smarties Unicorn Edition!

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Just a quick heads up today...Nestle are going to launch a "Unicorn Edition" of Smarties next week! Available at Asda for £1 in 112g pouches, these will contain the "magical" unicorn colours of blue and pink. How...innovative! Unfortunately these won't be white chocolate (now that would be magical indeed!) but milk chocolate Smarties. So whilst there is no difference in flavour, you can create #unicorn themed cakes and cookies with them. Very Instagrammable, very modern!

It remains to be seen what will come next in Unicorn Themed Products...perhaps a Unicorn Kitkat? Unicorn Snickers? Let me know what you'd like to see in the comments!


Koko Dairy Free Cheddar Cheese Alternative

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I've tried quite a lot of dairy free chocolate bars and other products now, but cheese is one thing that has eluded me. I did try Violife briefly but haven't bought it regularly as it apparently contains wheat starch in the ingredients - boo! So I was pretty excited when I found this new Dairy Free Cheddar Alternative made by Koko in Waitrose the other day. It's on an introductory offer, I forget the exact price now but it was around £1.79 or so. There's a Koko Dairy Free Cream Cheese alternative too, which I didn't buy.


Described as "mature but mellow", this is a coconut based alternative to cheddar with added calcium and vitamins D2 and B12. It has cococnut oil, coconut cream and potato starch as the main bulk of the ingredients, and is "Vegetarian Society Vegan Approved", which made me chuckle...couldn't they get it approved by the actual Vegan Society? I guess second best is better than nothing at all!


It comes in a block that looks pre…

Charlene's Chocolate Factory Mint Choc Chip

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Following on from the Bubblegum Blonde Chocolate from Charlene's Chocolate Factory, today's review is for their Mint Choc Chip bar, a green-coloured white chocolate containing mint and milk chocolate chips. You can buy this from Charlene's website here: https://www.charleneschocolatefactory.co.uk

The name Charlene's Chocolate Factory is of course based on the classic film Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and their range includes some unique and unusual flavoured bars, from Gin and Tonic to Basil & Rosemary, and even Marmite. They certainly have something for everyone!


While the colour of the Bubblegum Blonde bar may have been a bit out there, this one is more reminiscent of the innards of a Mint Aero, which is quite comforting - you know to expect sweet minty goodness!

And that's exactly what this bar is, sweet minty white chocolate, offset with the milk chocolate chunks. It's sweet and it works very well, the milk chocolate chunks break up the sweetness…

Charlene's Chocolate Factory Bubblegum Blonde

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Today's review is for a rather novel chocolate, it was kindly sent to me by Charlene's Chocolate Factory, a company inspired by Charlie And The Chocolate Factory specializing in unique flavour combinations. I chose this one because it sounded rather special indeed. Not only is it made from white chocolate, it's bubblegum flavoured and coloured bright blue - how cool is that?!


Opening the wrapper it had a super strong bubblegum aroma...I was kind of expecting this to taste a bit too sickly. Luckily the taste works; it's creamy and super sweet of course but has a strong bubblegum flavour, that will remind anyone of being a kid again.

Overall, there's not actually much I can say about this bar because it tastes as you'd expect - like sweet bubblegum with a creamy edge! Definitely one for the kids (and big kids)!

For more info on the range, which also includes a Gin and Tonic flavour (!) check out Charlene's Chocolate Factory website:

https://www.charleneschoco…

Marks & Spencer Toasted Coconut Pots

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Today's review is somewhat more healthy than usual, since I've been on a bit of a health kick again recently. I'm a fan of toasted coconut chips to help  stay away from chocolate bars, however my major gripe is usually the price - they almost always cost a lot for a small amount! That was no exception with this new variety from M&S, which costs £1.20 for a little pot. Still I thought I'd give it a try to see how it compares to the likes of Ape Coconut Curls and Urban Fruit Coconut Chips.


Unlike most toasted coconut chips these ones still have some of the shell on them, which may be a good thing or not depending on you. I suppose if you're looking for extra fibre it's a plus, but it certainly doesn't make them tastier.


They were a bit tasteless to be honest. They were very fresh, I'll give them that, but there was no real toasty flavour. It's almost like they were too scared to toast them too much so they ended up somewhere in between regular bl…

So Free Dark Chocolate with Coconut Blossom Sugar

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Another Plamil review today and this time it's for their So Free Organic Dark Chocolate sweetened with Coconut Blossom Sugar. This bar is dairy free, vegan and contains 67% cocoa solids and replaces white sugar with coconut sugar. So how does this affect the taste?


Opening the wrapper it smellt very rich with a distinctive almost treacle-like aroma, which is presumably the coconut sugar. I do find coconut sugar generally has that kind of taste, which is very different from white sugar but nice in its own way - it lends an almost caramel flavour to chocolate.


The taste is interesting...the coconut sugar is very prominent, and like I said it does have that treacle-like flavour which is quite strong. To be honest I'm not sure it worked with the dark chocolate, I think the cocoa clashes too much with it. A milkier chocolate might have been better (the Waitrose 1 Indian Ocean Bar is a good example of coconut sugar that tastes great in chocolate).

Overall, not a bad bar at all and …

So Free Dairy Free Milk Chocolate Alternative

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Today's review is for Plamil, who sent me some dairy free chocolates a while ago, but they're back today to get the review treatment with their So Free Milk Chocolate Alternative bar - a dairy free, vegan organic bar made with 45% cocoa and lower in sugar than the average milk chocolate bar. This is a bar perfect for those on a dairy free or vegan diet, and is great for use in baking or just eating!


I chose the latter of course. I like that this bar has a higher cocoa content than some dairy free chocolates, it tastes like you're actually eating chocolate rather than just sugar! The rice powder used to replace the milk works well to give it a creamy, soothing edge that makes a fine dairy substitute. It's not exactly the same of course, but that's to be expected. I imagine this would be great used in brownies or cookies - and luckily Plamil make some dairy free baking chips just for that purpose. For more info see their website: https://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/

Fancy…

Prestat Ruby Chocolate Thins

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Following on from my review of the Prestat Ruby Chocolate Bar, today's review is for their Ruby Chocolate Thins. I was super excited to try these, perhaps even moreso than the bar because who doesn't love nibbly pieces of chocolate - they looked like buttons, albeit very large buttons! They're made with the same ingredients as the bar version, a mixture of cocoa butter, milk powder and ruby cocoa. The cocoa solids are lower in the ingredients list that regular chocolate, making this more of a creamy chocolate akin to white chocolate, but with a fruity, slightly tart edge.


How pretty do they look? I mean I'm not usually one for pink coloured things but these are rather special indeed!


The discs or "thins" were nice and big, perfect for nibbling on and felt like a real treat indeed. The taste is fruity, creamy and slightly sharp, like that of a good quality cocoa but toned down with a creamy edge from the milk powder. They're highly moreish, and I certainl…

Prestat Ruby Chocolate Bar Review

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Ruby Chocolate is becoming quite trendy now in the confectionery world it seems. It's been described as a "fourth" type of chocolate, after traditional milk, dark and white chocolate, and is pretty much a type of fruity chocolate thanks to the cocoa beans used. Nestle recently launched their own Kitkat Ruby bars in the UK to capitalize on the trend, but other companies are also making versions of the pink stuff. Enter Prestat, a London company famous for making quality handmade chocolates.

Prestat kindly sent me some of their range to review recently, spanning the history of their company from the launch of their first The Red Box in the 1950's, to the present day when Ruby Chocolate was created. I'm starting with the bar version, but Prestat also sent me some Ruby Chocolate Discs as well as The Red Box, which I'll review separately.


Ruby chocolate is made from Ruby cocoa beans, which are especially selected for their exceptional colour and forest fruit flav…

Waitrose Espresso Swirl Chocolate Review (#slabgate)

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So there's been a big fight recently between Waitrose and luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat; the latter have claimed that Waitrose's new chocolate slab range are copying their famous Selector bars (see my #slabgate post for pics of the new range). They've even gone as far as taking legal action, but that hasn't stopped Waitrose who launched their new range this week. I thought I'd try one of the bars to see what all the fuss is about - would it live up to Hotel Chocolat's high standards?

I chose the Espresso Swirl bar as it appealed to me the most; these are currently on offer for £2 and this bar is described as "Marbled Belgian milk and dark chocolate delicately swirled with hazelnut praline and coffee, topped with chocolate mocha beans". Sounds delightful doesn't it?


Opening the wrapper it was definitely reminiscent of Hotel Chocolat's slabs, the sides are curvy although less so than a HC bar.


One side contains the coffee beans whilst the o…

Sprite Lemon Lime and Cucumber Review

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Whilst in Tesco recently I spotted a rather new and unusual flavour of Sprite and must admit I had to do a double take - "Does that say cucumber?!" I thought. Yes, indeed it did, and as a new flavour I had to give it a try in the name of snacks science!

This variety is available in multipacks of cans or large 2 litre bottles in both Tesco and Morrisons. I went for the bottle which cost a pretty reasonable £1.


The ingredients consist of fizzy water, sweeteners, citric acid and natural flavourings. I'm not usually a fan of drinks like this due to the artificial sweeteners, but we can let that slide once in a while right?

Opening the bottle I was met with a cucumber aroma that wasn't really enticing...in fact my reaction was "ewww!" But nevertheless I took a sip, and after the initial faint cucumber flavour disappeared I was met with the traditional sweet lemon and lime Sprite flavour. It's actually not too bad at all and is rather refreshing - I certainl…

Waitrose copying Hotel Chocolat bars?! (#slabgate)

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There's been a bit of a barney recently between luxury Chocolatier Hotel Chocolat and Waitrose - Waitrose have launched a new range of chocolate slabs with a similar design to Hotel Chocolat's selector range. Hotel Chocolat aren't happy about this at all, and offered customers an exchange of the Waitrose slabs for one of their Selector bars for free over the weekend. They've even gone as far as demanding Waitrose removes their bars from sale and destroys them! Wow...get that promo HC! ;)

The new range includes the Eton Mess White chocolate bar shown above, as well as...


This Espresso Swirl bar, containing a mix of milk and dark chocolate with coffee bean pieces.


There's also this Totally Chocolate variety, with a mix of milk, white and dark chocolate plus chocolate buttons.

There's also this Gentle Ginger bar, with dark chocolate and ginger pieces. Unfortunately it isn't dairy free, sorry vegans :(


Similar to one of Hotel Chocolat's top sellers, there…