Saturday, 20 January 2018

Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels

I remember scrolling through my Instagram feed a few months back and being stopped in my tracks by a delicious sounding new bar that was launching in the U.S. - Hershey's Gold, a Caramelized Creme candy bar with Peanuts & Pretzels. Apparently according to Google the first new bar that Hershey's have launched in 22 years! I've got to admit that although I'm not a fan of Hershey's milk chocolate bars this sounded amazing and so I waited, checking my local import shops, until just a few day ago I noticed it sitting there on the shelf, at the rather pricey £2.99 I still couldn't resist, I had to try it.

Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels

You'll notice first off that I called this bar a "candy bar" now this isn't me turning American but in actual fact there is nothing in this bar that can be called chocolate, like Caramac it doesn't contain cocoa butter but instead a blend of oils and milk. The colour is slightly darker than Caramac and is split into easy to break off pieces, which upon snapping you can see are dotted with pieces of pretzels and peanuts.

Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels
I had high expectations, I was really hoping that Hershey's were going to pull this off. Oh my, they have. Everything about the ingredients list tells me that I shouldn't like this, the combination of oils/sugar doesn't scream quality but it is really good. The Caramelized Creme chocolate has a lovely, rich, slightly burnt caramel flavour (much superior to Caramac) and although it didn't say anywhere it almost tasted like peanut butter had been blended into the base (I don't think this is the case, I think it's just the peanut pieces but it really tastes like it - which is a great thing).

Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels

The small pieces of peanuts and pretzels add a lovely satisfying nibbly texture to the bar, with the peanuts adding a really great peanut butter flavour (as mentioned above) whilst the pretzels add a slightly savoury/salty edge. Absolutely delicious and so incredibly moreish to snack away at.
Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels
I think you'll definitely need a sweet tooth to enjoy this bar but I really feel that any peanut butter/caramelised chocolate lover should give it a go. It's really, really good. I'd love to see this bar done with Valrhona Dulcey chocolate so it was a proper "chocolate" bar; however Hershey's have hit a home run here. Let's just hope that it doesn't take them as long to release another quality bar.
Hershey's Gold Peanuts & Pretzels

Taste - 9.2/10 - Rich, buttery, caramel with a really good peanut butter flavour.
Texture - 7.5/10 - Not the creamiest of bars due to being confection as opposed to chocolate but the peanut and pretzel pieces added a lovely nibbly texture.
Appearance - 8.3/10 - Looks good.
Price - 7.8/10 - At £2.99 from the import shop it doesn't come cheap but I definitely think it was worth paying to try, it'll obviously be cheaper in the U.S.
Overall - 8.2/10 - A caramelly, peanutty, pretzelly success!

Sweet tooth lovers who are big fans of caramelly/peanut flavours.

I bought mine from an import shop on Oxford Street but you can also get it on eBay.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Belgian Chocolate Company Milk Chocolate with Black Tea

I reviewed The Belgian Chocolate Company White Chocoalate with candied lemon pieces a couple of weeks ago here, so it seems fitting to now give one of the milk chocolate bars a go - this one contains the rather unusual and intresting addition of black tea, in the form of black tea powder.

The Belgian Chocolate Company Milk Chocolate with Black Tea bar

Containing 38% cocoa solids it's a higher cocoa percentage milk chocolate, which you can tell from the slightly darker colour of the bar and the crisp, clean snap it has upon breaking a strip off. The eat is also a lot deeper and richer than standard commercial milk chocolates and quite different to a lot of the other Belgian milk chocolate bars I've tried in the past.
The Belgian Chocolate Company Milk Chocolate with Black Tea bar

Whilst most Belgian milk chocolates are very creamy and milky, this was still creamy but had a richer, darker cocoa note to it, which I rather enjoyed. The black tea flavour is subtle but comes through as the chocolate melts slowly in the mouth, adding a slightly earthy/floral note to the bar, which complements the deeper milk chocolate perfectly.

Sometimes I worry when bars have a cleaner snap to them quite often they don't have as an indulgent, rich, melt to them; however this was not the case here with the bar melting slowly and luxuriously upon popping a piece into your mouth. Heaven.
The Belgian Chocolate Company Milk Chocolate with Black Tea bar

I was really interested to see how the black tea flavour would play out in this milk chocolate bar, it's a flavour that I haven't actually experienced in chocolate bar format before - coffee -  yeah, black tea - not so much, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed it and kept going back cube after cube. Definitely one to try and made we wonder why black tea isn't a flavour that's more widely used in chocolate.

Taste - 8.3/10 - Deep, rich, cocoa notes balanced with a subtle earthy yet floral black tea.
Texture - 7.9/10 - Smooth, slow, indulgent melt.
Appearance - 7.0/10 - Fairly simplistic packaging, it reminded me a bit of Waitrose chocolate range.
Price - 7.0/10 - Priced at £2.25 for 85g it's affordable and think the price reflects the quality fairly.
Overall - 7.6/10  - An unusual yet delicious chocolate bar.

Anyone looking for something slightly different in a chocolate bar that isn't going to break the bank.

The only details that are available on The Belgian Chocolate Company's website here are that they are available throughout a network of independent stockists.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Rhythm 108 Sweet 'n' Salty Almond Mylk Chocolate Bar

In honour of Veganuary it seems only right to kick off the first review of the new year with this chocolate bar from Rhythm 108. However not only is it vegan, but it's also raw, organic and gluten free, with 46% less sugar than comparable products - it's certainly ticking a lot of the health trend boxes! Now I've mentioned before I don't buy chocolate for its health credentials but appreciate that others may be looking for alternatives, to me as long as it tastes good then it ticks the box!

Rhythm 108 Sweet 'n' Salty Almond Bar

Coated in Swiss Mylk chocolate the filling is a blend of oats and almond butter; however looking at the ingredients deck there are also hazelnuts in there, along with some sea salt.

My first qualm, as was the case when I reviewed the Super Coconut bar was the size of the bar vs the packaging it's in, upon opening you feel as if you've been undersold a bit, with the bar only being about half the size of the wrapper.

Rhythm 108 Sweet 'n' Salty Almond Bar

Cutting a section off the bar once again the filling is quite crumbly and a lot drier than I would expect a praline/nut type bar like this to be, unfortunately it's not melt in the mouth smooth. Whilst the outer chocolate coating is waxier than standard milk chocolate, most likely due to the higher addition of cacao butter to make up for the lack of milk in the product. However the addition of the oats and nut pieces made for a nice crunchy contrast and helped inject some life into the bar.

Rhythm 108 Sweet 'n' Salty Almond Bar

In terms of flavour it was pleasant enough, not overpoweringly sweet with a good balance between sweet/salty and nutty, with the sea salt adding a nice salty tang to the eat. However it didn't blow me away, I was left wanting slightly. I think because I know how good standard praline/nut bars can be I just felt the alternative didn't massively live up to expectations, that's not to say it's a bad product, it's certainly a viable alternative for anyone looking for a chocolate bar to suit their dietary needs, but the Super Coconut definitely impressed me more.

Taste - 5.6/10 - I just felt it lacked some 'oomph', it was slightly bland and compared to the often rich, indulgent eat of nut chocolate bars it just didn't live up to what I'm used to.
Texture - 5.4/10 - The filling was a bit dry/dense; however the nuts did add a nice crunchy element. The outer mylk chocolate was a tad waxy.
Appearance - 5.0/10 - The packaging and the bar itself are fine but the fact that the bar is so small for the wrapper it's in wasn't all that great.
Price - 6.7/10 - £1.39 for this bar isn't bad I don't think and I definitely think it's a viable option for those seeking chocolate alternatives.

Overall - 5.7/10 - Although this bar didn't do it for me I do think there is definitely a customer out there who is seeking this kind of product that would enjoy it.
This bar is targeted towards those who are looking for a lower sugar alternative and also those seeking "gluten free", "vegan"and "organic". 


You can find details of all Rhythm 108 stockists here