Thursday, 4 February 2016

M&Ms Valentine's Day Flavours - Strawberry & Cherry

You've just got rid of all of your Christmas chocolates and here we have a whole new plethora of all of the Valentine's Day and Easter products hitting the shelves. Alas the big UK players in the commercial chocolate market don't seem to be as inventive as their American cousins, as we very rarely see any limited edition products for Valentine's Day from the likes of Cadbury's/Mars/Nestle..etc.

 However thanks to my kind eBay supplier of limited edition M&M flavours I got the chance to try some of the new limited edition flavours that have been launched in the US for the next main chocolate buying occasion.

Both flavours are red fruit based - flavours often associated with Valentine's Day in the form of strawberry and cherry. Both are milk chocolate based and are packaged/decorated with appropriate 'loving' Valentine's Day design. Mr M&M has his rose and Cupid's bow ready!

M&Ms Strawberry

Valentine's M&MsMy first thought on opening these were what lovely pink shades they'd actually chosen for the colour of the M&Ms - 3 different shades: dark pink, a pastel pink and a hot pink colour - they looked very appealing and can imagine they would be great to fill a little cellophane gift bag or to decorate Valentine's baked goods.

Valentine's M&Ms

They had a sweet strawberry aroma and despite my worry that the strawberry flavour wouldn't be prominent against the milk chocolate delivered a really good flavour hit. The flavour is definitely artificial strawberry - I think it's actually quite hard to pull of a natural fruit tasting strawberry flavour in a chocolate, in fact it tasted pretty much exactly like a strawberry cream, without the sickly texture of the cream filling.

Valentine's M&Ms

For me personally this was great, I actually quite like the flavour of strawberry creams but the texture puts me off, so I really enjoyed tucking into these. If you're partial to a strawberry cream here and there then these will definitely tick all of the flavour boxes and aren't as messy/sticky/sickly to eat!

M&Ms Cherry

Valentine's M&Ms
The colouring on the cherry variety definitely wasn't as pretty, with just a deep red and a plum tinge colour and unfortunately the flavour wasn't as strong as the strawberry. The cherry flavour was quite weak compared to that of the strawberry, which I found quite peculiar as normally cherry & chocolate is quite easy to execute as opposed to chocolate/strawberry.

Valentine's M&Ms
My only thinking is that maybe they decided to tone down the overall cherry flavour as sometimes if cherry comes through too strongly it can start to taste quite medicinal...which definitely would have been worse than the more subdued cherry flavour.

Valentine's M&Ms
In all honesty I think they just tasted like a regular chocolate M&M with a tiny hit of something else.

If these were available in the UK then I would probably repeat purchase the strawberry ones, they were really, really good; unfortunately the cherry flavour didn't perform quite as well and although not awful were nothing spectacular.

Taste - 8.4/10 (Strawberry) 6/10 (Cherry) - As highlighted above I think the strawberry provided a much better overall flavour.
Texture - 8.2/10 - Larger size as with all of the US M&Ms, giving a nicer overall bite/texture.
Appearance - 8.1/10 - The colour on the strawberry ones is lovely.
Price -8/10 - Depending on how many packs you buy they range from ~£5-£7ish. Not bad really for an imported product.
Overall - 7.7/10 - Would opt for strawberry over cherry but if you're a sucker for limited edition products then I would recommend trying both!

Would make a nice alternative Valentine's Day gift or to use over the Valentine's Day period. Having said that even after the occasion has passed they're still worth trying.

From eBay seller sk-destiny.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Asda Extra Special Maple Chocolate Pecans

I love chocolate coated nuts. I'm not a big one for snacking on nuts in their 'naked' state, but slap some chocolate on them and I can't get enough, as if nuts need to be made anymore calorific! I noticed these new Extra Special chocolate coated pecans when I was last in Asda, over the Christmas period.

Asda Maple Chocolate Pecans

Coated in white/milk marbled chocolate and flavoured with maples they sounded delicious. Pouring them out of the packet they were pretty variable in size, some of the pecans were huge, whilst some pieces didn't look like they even had a nut in them!

Nevertheless the flavour of them was great. A lovely sweet maple flavour combined with the nutty pecan and a creamy white/milk chocolate covering. A match made in heaven if you ask me. They are quite sweet, but if you're buying a maple product what can you expect really.
Asda Maple Chocolate Pecans

The texture is delightful, a lovely, crispy crunch, no soft pecans here, and just the right amount of thickness on the chocolate coating.
I really do hope that these nuts weren't just a limited edition product for Christmas as I most certainly will be picking them up when I next go in, they're great for snacking on and extremely moreish!

Taste - 8.6/10 - Really good! Maple + pecans + chocolate. What more could you want?
Texture - 8.5/10 - Crisp, good crunch.
Appearance - 7.1/10 - Nice marbled effect. Size could have been a little less varying.
Price - 7.3/10 - £1.99 for a 100g bar. Really good value!
Overall - 7.9/10 - Utterly delicious.
WHO FOR?Anyone who likes chocolate covered nuts!

From Asda.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Vego Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know by now how much I love anything praline/hazelnutty/nutella-esque. Chocolate + hazelnut is one of my favourite flavour combinations - I swear it will never get old, I could eat it all day long!

Vego Chocolate Bar

Being suitable for vegans this Vego Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar contains no milk/dairy products and is simply made up of sugar blended with cocoa mass, hazelnut paste, vanilla extract, soy lechitin and some whole hazelnuts added in to the bar for some extract texture + crunch!

Vego Chocolate Bar

I was hoping that this bar wasn't going to be too bitter/dark and lived up to expectations of tasting like Nutella in bar format and would live up to its milk including competitors! Opening up the bar you are hit with a delicious aroma creamy chocolate and hazelnut and the bar is  really generously thick in shape with a good amount of whole hazelnuts dotted around the bar.

The texture is ultra creamy, smooth and melt in the mouth; whilst the taste, well the taste is utterly divine. In fact I would say it was one of the nicest hazelnut/chocolate products I've had in a long time - you certainly cannot tell that it isn't a 'milk' chocolate per se. The balance between sweet/nutty is perfect and is even better than Nutella would be in bar format purely due to the spotlight being given more to the cocoa/nut as opposed to sugar; having said that there is still a good level of sweetness there, so it doesn't feel like you are eating a bitter dark chocolate bar.

Vego Chocolate Bar

Whether you are vegan or not (I'm not and I know I would choose this bar again!) I would certainly recommend this bar if you are a Nutella/chocolate & hazelnut fan. It is indulgent, luxurious and extremely satisfying; the best vegan bar I've ever tried and high up there with other 'non-alternative' chocolate bars.

Taste - 9.3/10 - Heaven, perfect balance between nutty/sweet/cocoa.
Texture - 9.3/10 - Silky smooth, melt in the mouth, nice crunch from the hazelnuts.
Appearance - 9/10 - Good size bar, good smooth shiny chocolate.
Price - 7.5/10 - Either £2.05 for a 65g bar or £3.65 for a 150g bar from the Ethical Superstore.
Overall - 8.8/10 - An outstanding chocolate bar in its own right, whether vegan or not.
Vegan or not this should go down a hit with chocolate + nut lovers!

I got mine from Ethical Superstore but there should be other retailers which sell it online also.