Tuesday, 17 April 2018

M&S 35% Single Origin White Chocolate - Colombia

Single origin chocolates are a lot more mainstream now, a few years ago they could often only be purchased in speciality chocolatiers, now most retailers have a range of bars. However they are still often confined to dark chocolate, sometimes milk, very rarely white.

M&S 35% Single Origin Colombia Chocolate


I guess people think that as white chocolate doesn't have the cocoa solids element  that the flavour profile of single origin isn't worth the bother but at the end of the day the cocoa butter comes from the cocoa beans which can vary in flavour depending on type and production area and therefore in my opinion (and being the lover of white chocolate that I am) it's very much worth it.
M&S 35% Single Origin Colombia Chocolate

Described as "creamy and sweet with a gentle cocoa flavour and subtle floral tones" the bar came neatly presented in its 45g form. The moulding is fairly simplistic with easy to break off pieces that snap crisply and cleanly.

M&S 35% Single Origin Colombia Chocolate
It's no surprise that at 35% cocoa butter this bar has a rich, smooth melt - no granular pieces, it's smooth and luxurious. It's quite unlike many white chocolate bars I've had before, the sweetness is massively toned down and it's a much creamier, subtler eat. Unlike many white chocolate bars which can be throat burning, cloyingly sweet, this is mellow and moreish.


M&S 35% Single Origin Colombia Chocolate
I definitely did detect subtle floral tones throughout the bar but they're not dominant by any stretch of the imagination with the overall eat being creamy, sweet and buttery. Surprisingly the overall eat of the bar is quite clean and fresh and doesn't leave your palate feeling weighed down or overstimulated - making it quite easy to go back for piece after piece.

Taste - 7.3/10 - Mellow and creamy, well balanced and not overly sweet. Quite an understated bar.
Texture - 7.8/10 - Smooth, rich melt.
Appearance - 7.0/10 - Fairly simplistic.
Price - 7.2/10 - £2 for a 45g bar.
Overall - 7.3/10 - A tasty, higher end, less sweet white chocolate that's accessible to the masses.
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WHO FOR?
Lovers of white chocolate who want something a little less sweet.

WHERE TO BUY?
M&S stores nationwide.

Monday, 16 April 2018

RED Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut & Macadamia

I'm one of these types of people that's a bit of a volume eater; therefore if I can save calories and eat more of something without feeling I'm massively comproomisnig on taste then I will. I prefer diet drinks to full sugar and I'm a bit of a fiend for full tubbing "healthier" ice cream. However chocolate is one of those areas where I feel has yet to create a lower calorie product without compromising on flavour.

Enter RED chocolate, a fairly new brand, who've used Stevia, malitol and erythritol, to sweeten their chocolate, thus reducing calories, in this bar by 35% to the market equivalent - 378 vs ~580 and 23kcal per piece.The branding is quite sleek, with a diamond shaped logo and pieces and with a minimum of  25% cocoa solids, hazelnut paste and hazelnut + macadamia pieces I hoped it was going to be tasty.

RED Chocolate
The chocolate has a smooth, crisp, clean snap to it and looked like it had a decent amount of filling. Tick, tick. However when I popped a piece into my mouth and began eating you could immediately tell that this wasn't a rich, indulgent, "regular" chocolate.


Firstly, the chocolate doesn't have as rich, indulgent melt to it. It feels a bit waxy. Secondly you most definitely pick up on that Stevia backnote and sweetener flavour. It's not horrendously unpleasant but it's not a match to regular chocolate, I've had better products where the Stevia flavour has been masked a lot more. There's a pleasant nuttiness flavour to the filling but again, being the huge lover of praline chocolates that I am this was no comparison.

RED Chocolate
There may be some people who are happy to compromise on this for the sake of the sugar/calories, in the same way that I'm happy to compromise on things like soft drinks but others are not. However it's not one for me, it's a bit of a step too far. I happily ate the rest of the bar as it's not unpleasant in it's flavour but would I go out and buy it, most likely not.


Taste - 5.7/10 - Definitely picked upon that sweetener aftertaste, not a rich/creamy chocolate.
Texture - 6.2/10 - A bit waxy/dry in its melt.
Appearance - 7.4/10 - Branding is quite sleek/neat.

Price - 3.6/10 - At €5.79 I don't think it's good value for money at all. Normally you do pay a premium for "health" products but in this instance I don't think it's worth it.
Overall - 5.7/10 - May be suitable if you're really after a lower calorie/sugar alternative but unfortunately not one for me.
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WHO FOR? 
Someone looking for a reduced sugar/calorie alternative and is willing to compromise slightly on taste/price.

WHERE TO BUY?
RED are a fairly new company so aren't widely available as of yet, you can buy from Memory Sweets here or find out more information on RED's website here.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

KitKat Senses

There are many chocolate products that have been sent to the chocolate graveyard over the years that I miss – Mars Delight and White Maltesers to name a couple. KitKat Senses was one of those bars that didn’t seem to hang around long enough for me to become obsessed with it, but delicious it was, launched around 10 years ago, it consisted of the classic KitKat wafer with a light, hazelnut topping and chocolate coating.

KitKat Senses



I was intrigued when I read that Nestlé were bringing back KitKat Senses but this time in mini 1 stick format, individually wrapped, in gift-box style packaging and containing 3 flavours – salted caramel, double chocolate and the aforementioned hazelnut.
KitKat Senses

When I saw them on special at £3 at my local Sainsbury’s I couldn’t resist. When you take the lid off the bottom packaging expands and releases slightly, almost as if to form a little bowl of wrapped KitKat, a nice touch I guess if you want to keep them out on the side in your house.
KitKat Senses

Cutting the KitKat in half the top flavoured element looked a lot denser than the KitKat Senses I had been used to and looked like more of a dense cream, compared to the lighter more Kinder Bueno type texture I had been previously accustomed to.

I decided to try the Double Chocolate first and was fairly impressed, a rich, deeper, almost ganache like topping. As I was eating it I felt it reminded me of something, somewhere between an Oreo/Bourbon biscuit, it has the darker, more cocoa rich eat to it. Pleasant but definitely my least favourite out of the box.
KitKat Senses

Salted Caramel was next up and this was more up my street, a sweet, caramel like paste topping which was akin to the topping used on the KitKat Chunky Duo Caramel (the cream side not the soft oozing caramel) with a slight added hint of salt. I maybe would have liked maybe a tad more salt for just a little bit more flavour contrast but in general it was pretty good!

Saving the best until last – Hazelnut – as anyone who reads this blog regularly will know I’m a huge chocolate hazelnut fan and this, no surprise, was my favourite option in the box and also what the flavour profile of the previous larger KitKat Senses bar was. Obviously many a year has passed since I tried the original but I think this is quite a different eat, like all of the new KitKat Senses the texture of the topping is a lot denser and more like a cream paste. It’s not the most indulgent, nuttiest, praline filled chocolate I’ve ever had, but at £3 I didn’t expect it to be, the hazelnut flavour is still fairly pleasant and the little pieces of nibbed hazelnut add a nice textural contrast.
KitKat Senses

Overall I really enjoyed these, my only qualm is with the texture, I would have liked the flavoured topping to have been a bit lighter and closer to the original; however I can imagine this is probably harder to execute in smaller format and without the bulbous topping that the original bar had.

Taste - 7.2/10 - Hazelnut was definitely my favourite, they were all pleasant enough but not incredible.
Texture - 6.7/10 - Light, crisp wafer. Slightly firm/dense creamy toppings which I would have preferred to have been a bit lighter/fluffier.

Appearance - 7.3/10 - The box they're presented in is nice and good that they're all individually wrapped to keep them fresh.
Price - 7.1/10 - At £4 or on offer at £3 they're not going to break the bank.
Overall - 7.1/10 - A nice enough offering to the KitKat range but would have liked to have seen a bit more of a nod to the original.
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WHO FOR? 
Great if you're a KitKat lover, especially if you like variety! Think they fall into the same sort of purchasing category as the likes of Cadbury Heroes/Roses etc due to them being individually wrapped. More of a sharing chocolate.
WHERE TO BUY?
I picked these up in Sainsbury's but would imagine most major retailers should have them soon.