Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Cadbury Furry Friends

Cadbury Furry Friends are one of the few lollies I can remember from my childhood, 20-odd years ago. Sadly, the packaging has changed since then.

The Furry Friends I remember was wrapped in a piece of paper-lined foil, and then held inside a paper sleeve that, like now, featured endangered Australian animals. The foil retained that delicious chocolate smell for several days, and inside the sleeve were several facts about the featured animal on the front. My late mother used to collect the paper sleeves. Unfortunately they did not survive my childhood, and I can't even find images on Google to share with you a bit of Cadbury history. Although, I did find these which look a little older than the ones I remember. (I couldn't even find Furry Friends listed on the Cadbury site.)

Inside the Furry Friends plastic wrapper you'll find a flat, thin bar of plain milk chocolate, moulded with the cursive Cadbury name. The bar itself is around 9.5cm long by 4.3cm wide. The raised edge is about 0.5cm tall, and the centre is thinner. Surprisingly, the bar managed to remain unbroken during its travel home in my handbag, although it didn't arrive home completely undamaged.

Disappointingly, inside the wrapper I didn't find any facts about the endangered Red Kangaroo on the front.

There's no difference in recipe between the Cadbury Dairy Milk used for this bar and for other Dairy Milk products; it is just presented differently, and in a more kid-friendly format. (A step up from Freddo Frogs, perhaps?) The bar itself smells fantastic, with the strong milky, creamy note that instantly reminds me of the chocolate-scented foil from my childhood. It's very sweet and inviting.

The long, thin shape makes the 15g of chocolate go a lot further than a Freddo of the same size, forcing you to take your time and savour the milk and sugar notes.

If you are not a sweet tooth, then Cadbury Dairy Milk may prove to be too sweet for your tastebuds. (I'm a sweet tooth, and I find it to be a bit much for me sometimes.) While it is a rather one-note munch, it is a dependable taste that hits the spot when you're craving something sweet and simple that doesn't fill you up.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Nestle Kit Kat Chunky 3 Cookies and Cream

Kit Kats are well known across the internet for having a large array of flavours around the world. (Just look at this list!) Kit Kats themselves have been around since the 1930s, although the Chunky variation, involving one super-sized wafer finger, was only introduced in 1999.

The '3' varieties of Kit Kat Chunky have been a recent development for Nestle, introduced in May this year here in Australia. There are three flavour varieties in the 3 range: chocolate, caramel and cookies and cream. Each bar is sectioned into three, and each section contains a different filling based around the flavour: fudge, crisp and sauce.

I've actually eaten these quite a few times before, but I thought I should pick one up to review as well. I did have a chocolate one in the review bin, although that one has mysteriously disappeared.

This variety is the cookies and cream-flavoured one. Those who think the light blue packet looks familiar aren't dreaming - it was used back in 2008 for the Cookie Dough variety of Kit Kat Chunky. Sadly that one has been discontinued.

This bar is decently-sized, weighing in at 65g - a good 12g more than a standard Mars bar. The bar gives off a crispy, wafer scent as is removed from the packet. Sure, there's chocolate there, 65% of it, but the wafer is the first scent to say hello. Once fully unveiled, the bar is shown to have a dark milky-coffee-coloured chocolate that smells of a mild sweetness. Sadly, there aren't many cocoa notes to be found, but since the chocolate contains a minimum of 20% cocoa solids, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. The bar features the Kit-Kat logo (without the Nestle add-on) on top of each of the three pieces.

Dived into three 'breakable chunks', the bar's three different centres are separated. Some customers might enjoy the thrill of not knowing what filling they will encounter upon their first bite. Breaking the bar into three reveals the wafer that continues along the entire length of the bar. It's chocolate flavoured and has three layers, with a mild chocolate centre in between each layer. The wafer has a nice crunch to it, although when I sliced the bar for photos, it crumbled easily.

My first bite reveals the 'vanilla fudge' centre. By itself, the fudge is quite stiff, and is reminiscent of cheap plasticine that has been left unprotected. The vanilla flavor behind is is rather strong, but also somewhat unnatural, and I'm reminded of homebrand vanilla ice cream. Disappointingly, when eaten as part of the bar, the fudge all but disappears under the taste of the strong and sweet chocolate outer and the crunchy wafer.

The middle section of the bar is the 'cookie crunch' filling. It seems to be white chocolate with biscuit pieces - perhaps it's some of the chocolate from the Milky Way Milk & Cookies bar. When removed from the bar (via surgery to remove the top layer of chocolate), the filling doesn't taste like much on its own. There's too little of it to have any real impact on my tastebuds. When eaten as a whole piece though, the filling is an interesting comparison to the outer chocolate. The extra crunchy pieces of biscuit are a nice bonus, echoing the wafer finger. Surprisingly, I can also tell there is a smidgen of white chocolate present, and it adds an extra touch of sweetness.

Finally we reach the 'cookie cream' filling. The ingredients list gives no indication of what it is made from. The cream, unlike the image on the packet, is actually a pale caramel or tan colour. It has a nice string to it, and is more stretchy than the caramel found in a Mars or Snickers bar. When sampled by itself, the cream is disappointing in taste. There's no real flavour of anything beyond sweetness and burnt sugar.The cream really comes alive when tried with the rest of the bar, though. The soft and smooth texture contrasts the crisp wafer and adds an element of surprise, especially when the top layer of chocolate caves in under your bite.

Overall, the bar is an exercise in the overly sweet. The play on the differing textures for each filling is a fun novelty, although it is nice to have the consistant wafer throughout that ties it back to the original and well-known Kit Kat. For someone who is not a sweet tooth, I suspect they may have trouble finishing the entire bar in one sitting.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Natural Confectionery Company I Love Red Snakes

The Natural Confectionery Company is fully Australian made, and has its roots in early Australian confectionery. It originally began as Sunrise Confectioners in 1941, a company which also made other products, such as aniseed rings, barley sugar, bulls eyes and chocolate bullets. Their second factory was based in Prahran, Victoria, and in 1991 they moved to a bigger factory in Camberwell. 

The following year, Sunrise Confectioners founded The Natural Confectionery Company, and focused on their all-natural range of jellies. In 2003 they were bought out by Cadbury Scheweppes (now owned by Kraft, and the range of lollies, which are free from artificial colours and flavours, is now the most popular range on Australian shelves.

TNCC jellies have a nice soft chew that doesn't stick to your teeth. The flavour generally isn't overpowering, but this factor also makes it very easy to eat a whole bag in one sitting.

I spotted this new offering from The Natural Confectionery Company in Coles last week, and had to pick up a bag. The Coles Online website lists this as a limited edition product, although I can't find any mention of it on the TNCC site.

I'm amused by the bag's title. They aren't just 'Red Snakes'; they are 'I Love Red Snakes'. The front of the bag also says: 'Taste our new raspberry flavour'. I had a bag of regular TNCC Snakes at home and checked; the original range also includes a ripe raspberry flavour, so I'm curious to know if this bag really is new. Unfortunately I didn't have any raspberry snakes from the original bag left, so comparisons will have to wait for another post.

As soon as the bag is opened I can smell a strong scent that reminds me of raspberry jam, and there is a very slight medicinal note there as well. It's not an off-putting scent; it's warm and inviting.

The snakes themselves are the same length and shape as standard TNCC snakes, and the texture is the same. Up close the jam notes are stronger, but the first flavour that comes to the taste party is of a very mild, sweet berry tea. It doesn't lean directly towards raspberry - there's no tartiness or sharpness like you would expect from the fruit. The chew is almost as stiff reluctant to break as a gummi bear. While the jellies are soft, they are not as soft as some of the other jellies available, such as Allen's Snakes. However, there are no little pieces left in my teeth and the snakes leave a pleasant, somewhat floral taste behind, but it doesn't stay for long.

I can see this product being popular with kids. The TNCC range of jellies have a mild flavour that could work well for littlies, and they have the benefit of being free from artificial colours and flavours.