Friday, 10 May 2013

Pascall Mallow Bites Chocs Mint

Pascall's Mallow Bites Chocs range has seen a new flavour join the family. Last year's launch included both Vanilla and Honeycomb, and now we have Mint as well. As with the existing flavours, these new ones are also made in New Zealand, rather than in the good old land of Oz.

The foil bag is only 130g but feels rather hefty in the handy. While the bag did a poor job of protecting the bites - mine are scuffed worse than a pair of kid's school shoes - it does keep them nice and fresh. The scent is well-contained too, and with good reason - it's quite strong! With the addition of the Cadbury milk chocolate, the bag smells like a box of after dinner mints. Not a bad comparison if you ask me.

So our bites are scuffed, with broken chocolate and bare sections of marshmallow visible as well. At least marshmallows are otherwise robust! And boy, did Pascall really lay on the colouring for these! The interior is far brighter than what you can see on the picture, or even the product image on the front of the bag. Think of the colour of a green clinker - that's around the degree of colour we have here. Other than that, the marshmallow is lovely and bouncy with a good pull. It feels a little frothy too, as if it's full of tiny air bubbles. The thin chocolate layer also provides a nice texture as well, otherwise it may feel like a mouthful of froth.

The flavour in the marshmallow is nowhere near as strong as the initial scent would suggest. It's rather like mint choc chip ice cream - creamy and sweet but not very strong. Only a few of these are needed for me to feel satisfied. Despite the artificial flavour, it's rather refreshing!

(That's a Mentos there for a size comparison.)

Five bites are one serve (25g), the product contains milk and soy, and they may contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Kit Kat Caramel Duo

Nestle's last Kit Kat variety  from October of last year was an epic fail, so you can imagine I approached this new variety with some trepidation. Visions of mockolate and 'white confectionery' aren't far from my mind, and with a pack that describes the product as 'Wafer Fingers Covered with a Smooth Milk Chocolate base & Creamy Caramel Flavoured Choc Top', I wasn't all that reassured. At least the base is chocolate, and I love caramel, so it can't be all that bad - right?

The packaging is made with the new matte-finish foil wrapper that seems to be the range these days. It still has the bright red, easily-reconisable background and bit Kit-Kat logo, but the bottom right corner of the bar includes a tan-coloured swathe dedicated to the new flavour. Often the packaging will also include an illustration of the flavour - for example, a picture of a strawberry on a strawberry-flavoured product. There's no such guide here. I know caramel can be difficult to illustrate, but that tan swathe could be representing leather for all I know!

Our 45g bar is in the classic four-fingers shape, with the foot or base of each finger made from a layer of milk chocolate, while the rest of each finger has been coated in 'caramel flavoured choc'. The caramel area is a nice tan colour, perhaps a touch lighter than I would expect for a caramel product, and is matte with no discernible gloss at all. My bar is a weeny bit heat damaged though, so that may have contributed. The bar as a whole seems quite heat sensitive too - I couldn't even hold a finger for five seconds without it beginning to melt.

The caramel coating smells suspiciously like caramel milkshake flavouring: it's sweet, and I get a hint of spices there as well (?). It's a little bit like fudge, too. Not bad! The milk chocolate base isn't as nice though; it smells bland, like poor quality Easter chocolate.

In a regular chocolate Kit-Kat, between the layers of wafer you would find a chocolate-based smooth product. Although I can't tell what it is, Nestle appear to have replaced the chocolate with a tan-coloured product inside, presumably to add to the flavour.

The wafers in my Kit-Kat were lovely and fresh and added a good crunch. But then it's downhill from there. The flavour is somewhat boring; the caramel is strong enough to dominate the milk chocolate base, but overall is weaker than the scent it gives off. Although I don't drink coffee, the weak caramel flavour is about what I would expect to find in a caramel-flavoured coffee product - the flavour is there but doesn't do a whole lot else. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'm disappointed. This is not a product that stands on its own. It's okay. There are many other nicer products out there I could have spent my $2 on.

A serve is two fingers (half the packet). This product contains milk, soy and wheat, and is made on equipment that processes products containing peanuts and tree nuts. This product was made in Australia.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Cadbury Marvellous Creations Clinkers, Gummi Bears Choc Biscuit

It's here! The delayed (if you believe the people freaking out on Facebook) Cadbury Marvellous Creations Clinkers, Gummi Bears Choc Biscuit flavour has arrived, only a week or so behind its sibling the Clinkers Raspberry Chips Marshmallow. (Thumbs up to Cadbury for using the word 'biscuit' over 'cookie'!)

Clad in the carnival-style striped packaging that accompanies the Marvellous Creations range, the new flavour is a curious creature. Clinkers aren't a new addition - some years ago, Cadbury produced a vending machine-sized 100g block range, and one of the flavours was Dairy Milk with Clinkers - but we haven't seen them around for quite a while. The Choc Biscuit filling is more than likely the same biscuit as used in the Dairy Milk Black Forest block (and a couple of years ago was also used in a Coles-exclusive Dairy Milk Cookie block). There are many fans of the Black Forest block, so I;m sure they will be happy to see it used in this block! Finally, Trolli has had a chocolate block with gummi bears for a couple of years now, although it's not something Cadbury has played with before. Having said that, the Marvellous Creations range is all about fun, so I'm sure this one will fain fans quickly!

At 290g, this is a very large block. The Dairy Milk chocolate is glossy and unblemished, and if you look closely, you can even spot the chocolate biscuit pieces poking through. Underneath, the bottom is wonderfully textured with lots and lots of little Clinker pieces, and there are some biscuit pieces visible too. But curiously, I can't seem to spot any gummi bears!

Only when we snap open the bar do we find the gummi bears, hidden in the thick chocolate. They are smaller than your average gummi bear, measuring just a hair under 1.5cm long. Despite being not that visible in the block, they are still detailed liked gummi bears, which I was pleased to see, and have a strong flavour of their own - in fact, I would say they are stronger in flavour than gummi bears you can buy on their own. Unlike the Clinkers which are limited to just three colours, the gummi bears come in many colours - I've found yellow, red, orange and green so far.

The texture of the bite is very similar to Jelly Crunchie Bits flavour that was released in the initial launch last year. Although the gummi bears are more, well, gummi, the texture is similar. I found that despite the appearance of the rear of the block, the chocolate overwhelmed a lot of the flavour. If you manage to single out a gummi bear on its own, it adds a little flavour to the mouthful, but not enough to overcome the chocolate. Unfortunately the Clinkers contribute nothing but texture and sweetness - and this block is VERY sweet. I didn't even notice the Choc Biscuit pieces either - if I didn't read that these were included, I would never have guessed.

This will be popular with the kids, but be sure to keep a glass of water on hand as the chocolate is quite cloying as well.

Cadbury Marvellous Creations Clinkers, Gummi Bears Choc Biscuit contains 26% cocoa solids and 28% milk solids. It contains milk, wheat and soy, and may contain traces of egg, peanuts and tree nuts.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Lindt Creamy Milk Chocolate Creme

The Lindt Creamy Milk range was launched late last year with three varieties. A fourth flavour has just been launched: Chocolate Creme.

The paper wrapper describes the block as 'milk chocolate with smooth chocolate nut creme filling'. (The ingredients list this mystery nut as almonds and hazelnuts. Interestingly, there is also coffee in the filling as well (albeit not much as it is the second-last item on the list.)

As with all Lindt blocks, the finish is rich and unblemished, and the chocolate a lovely warm brown tone, less milky-looking than your average Cadbury Dairy Milk block. It smells rich and creamy - the scent of Easter, although perhaps without extra sugar. The 25 pieces snap nicely with a bit of resistance. Unlike the graphic on the front of the package, however, it's difficult to tell the creme filling from the rest of the chocolate. (It's obvious in the photos, but to the naked eye the filling may as well not be there.)

At first the bite tastes like regular Lindt milk chocolate, but then the nut creme filling steps up - and there is no mistaking the almost praline-like flavour. It's bold and stays in the forefront of your mouth, dominating the milk chocolate outer a little. Thankfully, neither the chocolate nor the filling are overly sweet - in fact, I would guess that a block like this would fare much better alongside a non-sweet drink that would allow the nut flavours to develop more.

Don't worry - there is no nut texture like you might find in the Lindt Lindor Hazelnut balls. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth and coats the mouth, but disappears quickly when you are finished.

I found this block quite enjoyable, and typical of the Lindt experience - smooth, delicious and satisfying.

The Lindt Creamy Milk Chocolate Creme block contains a minimum 30% cocoa solids and 20% milk solids. There is no allergen statement on the package, however, the bar does contain 3% hazelnuts and 9% almonds.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tic Tac Fruit Adventure

(I heard about this new release through another Aussie food blogger, Junk Food Journal - go and say hello!)

Tic Tacs (according to the brands website, the name is both singular and plural, but I will add an 's' anyway!) were launched in Australia in 1974, and are manufactured in NSW. The brand is known worldwide, but is distributed in Australia by Ferrero (yes, the Ferrero Rocher brand, as well as Kinder products and others).

The last new flavour we saw from Tic Tac here in Australia was the Green Apple variety that launched in August last year. I never got around to reviewing that flavour, unfortunately, but luckily for us, the new Fruit Adventure medley contains green apple flavour, alongside orange, cherry and passionfruit. Orange is a favourite of many (although it is usually white here in Australia), but I don't believe we've seen the passionfruit or cherry flavours before. Cherry does exist in a single-flavour pack in the US. They also have a Fruit Adventure pack with the same flavours, but it's curious to note that the packet I have in hand has been made in Australia - so it's not imported stock.

Along with our four flavours we have some super bright colouring that takes the Tic Tacs away from the original 'mint' idea and more into lolly territory. A pack is 24g, and my four flavours were not inserted evenly. I have a huge number of passionfruit, but only a few cherry.

Orange tastes exactly the same as the orange found in the single-flavour packs; it hasn't been modified except for the addition of a coloured shell. The flavour is refreshing, bright and bold, tangy and undeniably citrus, but it does have a bit of that faux flavour behind it. Unfortunately the flavour is only really noticeable upon biting into the Tic Tac, and dissipates quickly. These are still my favourite (and now I want to go out and buy a pack of Orange and relive my childhood.)

I only had a few bright-green Apples in my pack. I love the shade of green. It reminds me of Granny Smith apples. Unlike the orange, I got a surprising amount of flavour just from sucking the shell. It's like a brighter, juicy version of apple juice. It's also slightly tart as well, and quite realistic for a product that likely contains only artificial flavours. I didn't think I would like this at all, but I was surprised and pleased to find that I did. They were also more satisfying.

Cherry was rather disappointing. Like the orange, I got little flavour from the shell, and on biting in, I found the flavour very artificial. Thankfully it didn't stray into medicinal territory, but instead headed towards Cherry Coke. There was some depth to it, but this would never fool anyone into thinking it tasted like a real cherry.

Passionfruit is bright yellow, and has quite a strong flavour behind it. I've never eaten a real passionfruit so can't tell you how real the flavour is, but it is very bold and bright. It's a lot like having a mouthful of Passiona (passionfruit flavoured soft drink for our non-Aussie visitors). Like the Orange, it doesn't last long, but is surprisingly refreshing and sweet with a bit of a kick behind it. This would actually make an excellent energy drink flavour. (Drink manufacturers, are you listening?)

This flavour isn't yet on the Tic Tac website, but the FAQ notes that they "contain corn gluten but not gliadin gluten from wheat, barley or rye grains. The source of the maltodextrin is corn."