Monday, 15 December 2014

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

I've noticed Thorntons Winter Dessert Gallery on shelves for a few years now but never actually got round to trying it; I believe that this year they've updated it so they've got a selection of different chocolates in and renamed it to 'Dreamy Winter Desserts'.

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

Quite a few of the flavours really intrigued me so I was looking forward to giving them a go. Containing 8 different chocolate varieties and 2 of each you get 16 chocolates in the box for a total of £10.00, not expensive but not as good value as the Continental Box of chocolates that Thorntons also offer.
Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts   

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

Clementine Creme Caramel

A milk chocolate shell filled with a clementine flavoured caramel topped with a rich dark chocolate and candied orange peel. The caramel inside was a nice runny smooth texture with a slight clementine flavour, however nothing ground breaking.
Banoffee Pie
This was the chocolate I was most looking forward to trying; I thought if they could nail the flavours of banoffee pie in a chocolate then this would be superb - however it is often difficult to get the flavour of banana right, without it seeming too artificial. The actual chocolate contains layers of sea salted caramel, banana & cream flavoured fondant & topped with crunchy banana pieces. Unfortunately this chocolate was far too sweet, the sea salted caramel wasn't salted enough to balance the sweetness of the rest of the chocolate and it just tasted like a cloying mess unfortunately.

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

Almond & Cranberry Torte
Just reading the description of this one I was fairly sure that I wasn't going to like it - I'm not particularly keen on marzipan nor cranberries so the two of them combined in a chocolate was never going to be great for me. Some may enjoy this but I did find that again, it was a relatively sweet marzipan more reminiscent of battenberg as opposed to a nutty quality marzipan.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
This chocolate was meant to encapsulate a chocolate fudge cake; a chocolate truffle encased in milk chocolate topped with pieces of fudge. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either, a relatively standard sweet truffle that didn't really taste anything like chocolate fudge cake.

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

A creamy coffee flavoured chocolate in a dark chocolate shell; again it wasn't particularly bad but it wasn't anything ground breaking either - a relatively okay coffee flavoured chocolate but to be honest if I was going for a coffee chocolate I'd prefer the option from the Continental box.

Gluhwein Chocolate Pot
Again the flavours in this just weren't my cup of tea; a German inspired mulled wine flavour truffle paired with orange purée and topped with spiced orange pieces - there was nothing that remotely appealed to me in this chocolate. Some may enjoy it but it was a bit sickly sweet for me and far too much of an alcohol flavour.

Thorntons Dreamy Winter Desserts

Ginger Cheesecake

I absolutely adore Hotel Chocolat's cheesecake style chocolates so I was really looking forward to trying this one; biting into it I was slightly perplexed as to where the 'cheesecake' element had gone. This is pretty much a gingerbread flavoured praline wrapped in milk chocolate topped with a ginger this is a cheesecake I have no idea...and the praline wasn't even that great. Very disappointing.

Triple Nut Tart
Now, you all know how much I love my praline/nutty chocolates so I was pretty certain that I was going to enjoy this one - crunchy hazelnuts & walnuts combined in a praline, coated in milk chocolate and topped with roasted pecans. However something just tasted off with this chocolate and I didn't find it pleasant at all, it wasn't balanced and didn't remotely taste like the delicious pralines that I'm used to and enjoy.

Overall I see what Thorntons are trying to do here - trying to create a more 'upmarket' box of chocolate flavours based on classic desserts but I really think they need to focus on a)getting the chocolates to actually emulate the desserts properly, how is a chocolate a 'ginger cheesecake' with no cheesecake element present and b) work on getting their flavours spot on. If I was looking for a box of chocolates the Continental box previously reviewed is most definitely better value and tastes a lot better.

Taste - 3.1/10 - Very disappointing.
Texture - 6/10 - Nothing particularly bad, nothing great either though.
Appearance - 6.1/10 - Again I think the Continental chocolates look better.
Price - 5.3/10 - At £10.00 they aren't too expensive but I think you could get a much better box of chocolates for your money.
Overall - 5.1/10 - Could be great if worked on.
If you're going to Thorntons I'd recommend picking up the Continental box instead.

In Thorntons stores or online here.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Chocolate Smiths Cherry Christmas Bar

Having previously reviewed the Crimbo Dinner bar from The Chocolate Smiths this is another of their limited edition Christmas bars; albeit not as 'wacky', encapsulating a cherry pie in a chocolate bar this is white chocolate filled with a cherry filling, cinnamon & glace cherries, sounded nice enough to me.

The Chocolate Smiths Cherry Christmas

 Again I really like the exterior design of the bar, its classy but also fun, the bar inside is the usual format and dusted with a red edible glitter - to give it a festive look. I was quite disappointed when I snapped into the bar - I'm not sure whether the filling is meant to be like this or whether I got a bad batch but my cherry filling was so, so dry and almost crumbly. To me cherry pie should be juicy, gooey and packed full of fruit - this wasn't really emulating it whatsoever - it did on the description say that it was meant to be 'gooey' so I was questioning what had happened.

The Chocolate Smiths Cherry Christmas 

It was quite a pasty filling that looked like it had almost bloomed, the glace cherries in it are, well glace cherries, they offer a slight sweetness to the bar but to me, the filling should have been the star of the show. It didn't possess much of a cherry flavour either and I didn't detect much cinnamon nor many crumble pieces, which is a shame as there's nothing really massively 'out there' with this bar and if done well I think it could have been great.

 I would be interested to hear if any of yourselves have tried this bar and whether your filling was the same? Or whether I simply got a bad batch.

The Chocolate Smiths Cherry Christmas

Taste - 5.1/10 - Standard Belgian white chocolate but the not much of a cherry nor cinnamon flavour.
Texture - 2.5/10  - Very poor, the filling was so dry & crumbly.
Appearance - 5.5/10 - Standard bar.
Price - 4.3/10 - I paid £3.99 for this bar in Fenwicks; for that price there's definitely some better bars you could pick up from The Chocolate Smiths.
Overall - 4.3/10 - Not sure whether something had gone wrong or simply this bar wasn't executed well.
Could be a fun stocking filler I guess, but there's better bars you could get.

At Fenwicks in Newcastle or online here.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Chocolate Smiths : Crimbo Dinner Bar

I've been pretty impressed with the creative chocolates that The Chocolate Smiths have been pumping out recently and I couldn't resist this Crimbo Dinner Bar when I saw it - unusual, certainly, I was interested to see whether the flavours of sage, garlic, onion, black pepper, salt and a filling of gooey cranberry jelly would work in a milk chocolate bar.

The Chocolate Smiths Crimbo Dinner

I could definitely see that the cranberry jelly should work - but the other herbs, well let's just say I was skeptical. The bar itself looks pretty enough, dusted with a light gold shimmer dusting to give it that festive look.

Breaking the bar into cubes, unlike some of the other filled chocolate bars from The Chocolate Smiths' range it seemed that this one had been filled in certain pockets as opposed to the whole bar which meant breaking it into chunks was a lot less messy and made it a lot easier!

The Chocolate Smiths Crimbo Dinner

The cranberry jelly had a nice tart yet sweet flavour that paired well with the milk chocolate; however visually it didn't look massively appealing, with a slightly goopy like texture, but the flavour was there...unfortunately for the other components of this bar I can't say the same.

The garlic,sage and onion was just too out there for me; it felt wrong, the herbs were too strong and overpowering, as if dried herbs had just been added in, giving a too raw intense flavour to the bar, I'm pretty sure that it would have been dried herbs that would have been used - perhaps if fresh could have been used it would have given more subtle undertones to the bar and helped it  balance better.

The Chocolate Smiths Crimbo Dinner

A nice novelty 'fun' chocolate present perhaps but be prepared for a flavour that's a bit out there.

Taste - 3.4/10 - I just didn't think the flavour worked well at all unfortunately, I think this bar is based more on the novelty factor; however if the herbs were toned down a bit I think it could actually be quite pleasant.
Texture - 6.3/10 - Cranberry jelly was a bit gloopy, but the chocolate had a nice melt.
Appearance - 5.7/10 - Packaged nicely, again the cranberry jelly wasn't the most appetising looking thing I've ever seen.
Price - 7.1/10 - At £3.50 its an affordable novelty gift.
Overall - 5.6/10 - A novel stocking filler.
A fun novelty Christmas gift.

WHERE TO BUY?I bought mine at Fenwick but you can also buy it online here.