Saturday, 25 April 2015

M&S Malted Milk Chocolate

I love the flavour combination of malt & chocolate together; creamy, sweet and comforting, if I'm browsing the supermarket shelves and fancy something a bit sweeter then Maltesers are always one of my safe go to chocolates. Other than Maltesers and their sub brand range of other malt chocolates and the warming drink Horlicks there's not many other products utilising malt as a flavour; so you can imagine I was delighted to find this chocolate bar in my local M&S as part of their new Tastes of the British Isles cross category range.

M&S Malted Milk Chocolate


The bar is sleek and dainty in appearance, weighing in at 45g and with 31% cocoa solids; the chocolate bar itself is pretty standard in visual, split into pieces and easily snaps apart with a clean, firm snap.

M&S Malted Milk Chocolate

I was really hoping that the malt flavour would come through well; without the actual presence of crunchy malt pieces and with it actually blended into the bar it could have been quite easily been lost against the milk chocolate flavour. However thankfully it is not.

M&S Malted Milk Chocolate

Instead you are hit with a wonderful creamy medley of creamy sweet milk chocolate and comforting, soothing malt notes. The malt isn't too subtle that you have to search for the flavour but it's not so strong that it completely overpowers the chocolate; it adds to the flavour rather than dominates it. I also loved how you could actually let this bar melt without the intrusion of nibbly malt pieces.This is definitely the type of bar that I would buy again, there's not much I could really find at fault with it and for any malt chocolate lovers is definitely one to pick up!

Taste - 8.6/10 - Gorgeous blend of creamy milk chocolate and a great malt flavour.
Texture - 8.6/10 - Really good smooth melt; glad there was a point of difference in that there were no nibbly malt pieces but rather the flavour of the malt was in the chocolate itself.
Price - 7.1/10 -£2.50 for 45g, isn't going to break the bank.
Appearance - 6.9/10 - Pretty standard chocolate bar appearance; nice fold out card packaging.
Overall - 7.8/10 - One I will most likely go back and pick another bar up of.
Malt chocolate lovers - rush out and buy this now!

WHERE TO BUY?M&S stores nationwide.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dairy Milk Oat Crunch

Following in the footsteps of the Dairy Milk Lu & Ritz the latest addition to this range is the new Dairy Milk Oat Crunch, a 30g bar consisting of "milk chocolate with 2 biscuits sprinkled with oat flakes". It's marketed as a kind of mid-morning snack you'd have; almost like a breakfast biscuit  to tide you over until lunch time. I guess this is a more "chocolatey" replacement to the likes of Belvita etc.

Cadbury Oat Crunch  

At only 150kcals per bar it's certainly nothing to feel too guilty about, but not being a massive fan of breakfast biscuits and never eating them I was sceptical as to whether I would enjoy this bar or not. The bar can easily be broken into 2 if you decide that you want to either a)share it or b)eat one half now and save the other half for later. However personally I think the bar was pretty small in itself and can't see anyone who would want to break it in half and eat it in 2 lots!

Cadbury Oat Crunch

The oat biscuit snaps cleanly in half with a good decent filling of Cadbury Dairy Milk that runs through the centre and also around the outside; it's nice to see that actual Dairy Milk chocolate has been used as opposed to a cheaper Cadbury's chocolate as you can definitely notice the classic creamy Dairy Milk flavour cutting through the more savoury/sweet oat biscuit.

Cadbury Oat Crunch
The biscuit has a nice crisp bite to it and provides a nice wheaty flavour to the overall eat; whilst the Dairy Milk chocolate filling is just the right thickness to provide a chocolate hit. Would I buy this if I fancied a chocolate bar? No definitely not, I don't think it has enough of that indulgent feel and for me is definitely more of a biscuit than a chocolate treat. Albeit this is exactly what it is supposed to be and if you're looking for a mid-morning breakfast snack with that slight hint of chocolate then I suppose this fits the bill. Not the most exciting of products I've seen from Cadbury but then I suppose I'm not the target market here.

Taste - 5.0/10 - Nothing ground breaking but nothing dreadful either, a nice hearty oat biscuit and the classic creamy, sweet flavour of Cadbury Dairy Milk. Definitely more biscuit than chocolate though.
Texture - 6.7/10 - Nice, crunchy biscuit.
Appearance - 6.3/10 - Pretty standard.
Price - 5.2/10 - Priced at 58p for a single or £1.49 for a 3 pack this makes them quite a bit more expensive than other products they are looking to compete with, considering each bar is only 30g. I guess it's a bit more of an 'up-market' breakfast biscuit what with the addition of the Dairy Milk chocolate.
Overall - 5.8/10 - An alternative mid-morning snack if you're a breakfast biscuit eater; I can't see the appeal but am sure that many will.
WHO WHO FOR?For anyone looking for something a bit more 'chocolatey' for their mid-morning snack without all the calories. Definitely suited to those who are breakfast biscuit fans.

Available in most retailers.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Guido Castagna Lacri Blend 76% Arriba

I reviewed Guido Castagna's  Lacri Blend 76% Madagascar quite some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed the flavour profile and high quality eating experience it offered. Here we have another 76% blend apart from this time beans from the Arriba area, produced from cacao in the upriver areas of the Guayas River in the lowland of Ecuador and considered to be the finest cacao source in Ecuador. Like the other bar this also has a 48hour conch time, ensuring that not all of the beans delicate flavours are not broken down but still trying to achieve an optimum texture for the bar.

Guido Castagna Lacri Blend 

I guess whether you're a fan or not of this particular bar depends on your personal preference in terms of the flavour profiles you look for in a bar; unfortunately I much preferred the Madagascar blend. I found it quite a bitter drying chocolate bar. The melt is good but it leaves your mouth feeling dry and wanting as opposed to luxuriously enrobed.

Guido Castagna Lacri Blend
You're hit with strong notes of tobacco and molasses that as the bar melts develop into deep red fruit notes, wine, red grapes and plums, leaving you with a slight subtle hint of acidity in the mouth. If I could use one word to describe this bar it would be robust, if you like your dark chocolate bars deep, dark and bitter, then this is the one for you.

Guido Castagna Lacri Blend

If I had to describe this bar as a situation/experience it would be sitting inside on a dark wet winter's night with a cigar and a deep glass of red wine - unfortunately I am not fond of either, which is probably why I wasn't as keen on this bar. That's not to say that it is not well made though; you can tell from the sheen on the bar and the clean snap that it has been produced superbly; unfortunately the flavour profile just doesn't float my boat.

Taste - 6.5/10 - I feel it's difficult for me to judge this as I wasn't keen on it but think it's just down to personal preference - which the score reflects; others however may love this.
Texture - 6.2/10 - Too much of a drying melt for me.
Appearance - 8.3/10 - Bar is packaged beautifully.
Price - 7.2/10 - Searching online this bar is priced at €5.00 for a 100g bar, even though I wasn't a fan of the flavour profile I must admit this is a great affordable price for a high quality chocolate bar such as this.
Overall - 7/10 - Not to my tastes, but may be to many others.
Lovers of robust, deep and smoky dark chocolate.

Online at Guido Castagna's website