Friday, 29 March 2013

Lindt Lindor Caramel Block

Another of Lindt's phenomenally popular products is the Lindor range. Available in both balls and blocks of pieces, each little piece has an incredibly smooth flavoured centre just melts into molten delight in your mouth. The balls come in a wide range of flavours, while the 100g blocks are constrained to three flavours: milk, white and dark chocolate. Until now. Lindt has just released a brand new caramel block to join the ranks.

Housed in a lovely yellow-amber coloured box, the caramel block is made from 'Swiss milk chocolate with caramel with a smooth melting filling'. I found this a little ambiguous - was there a caramel centre? Was the chocolate just caramel flavoured, or was there something else going on? Time to investigate!

The Lindt Lindor blocks aren't a block as such, but rather 18 individual pieces on a cardboard tray. The top of each piece is emblazoned with the Lindt dragon and crest logo (I think this is new; the last time I bought one of these blocks they used the word 'Lindt' instead). As expected, the chocolate is a light milky brown, slightly glossy and each piece is perfect with very little damage. (Mine are the weeniest bit heat affected, but we all know that doesn't affect the chocolate at all!) The block smells divine - very warm and rich with toasted notes of toffee and burnt sugar.

I wasn't too far off with my guesses: the caramel is mixed in with the chocolate, in both the exterior and interior. Surprisingly it's not an overly sweet combination, but it does have lots of depth and it invites you to sit and taste and concentrate on the flavour mix. I bet this would be delicious with a hot chocolate on a cool evening.

Definitely don't eat the whole block - a serving is just 25g (four pieces) and eating the whole block will cost kilojoule counters 2600kj. The milk chocolate in this block contains 31% cocoa solids, and 20% of milk solids. It may contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

M&M's Crispy Mint

The Crispy-Mint seasonal M&M's flavour is one we've seen before - it was first released in 2006 in Australia, also as part of the seasonal rotation. I for one am glad they are back as I've missed them!

If you're unfamiliar with this flavour combination, the Crispy-Mint M&M's have a crispy green centre (made from rice, I believe), which is surrounded by a layer of plain milk chocolate, and that is then surrounded by a mint-flavoured candy shell. Unlike the original plain milk chocolate M&M's, these ones have candy shells coloured to fit the theme- two shades of green and white. More interestingly, the M&M's are not uniform in size. Have a look at the comparison photos before and you'll see. The smallest size is similar to the plain Crispy M&M's (in the blue bag), while the largest of the ones I found in my pack rivaled the Peanut M&M's, so there's quite a difference in size there.

The M&M's still feel relatively light, however, but the bright green bag feels quite substantial given that it only contains 160g. Inside, the M&M's are not strong in their mint-chocolate scent, but enough is there to make sure you know you're eating a mint-flavoured product.

Biting into one, I found the mint flavour got somewhat stronger, complete with a faint cooling sensation on my tongue from the shell (there's no peppermint oil or similar in the ingredients list, so maybe I'm just imagining it). There's a lovely combination of textures - the crunch of the shell and the rice centre, plus the smooth  layer of chocolate to balance it out. It's a little like eating chocolate and pretzels and chocolate, without the salt! (If you haven't tried it and like a bit of sweet/salty mix, I highly recommend Pretzel M&M's - unfortunately only sold here as imported stock, but still worth a shot!)

The mint flavour doesn't hang around long, and neither do I find the centre getting stuck in my teeth either. But I wouldn't go and eat an apple or drink juice after eating these, as you might get a bit of the toothpaste effect! I will, however, continue to pick these up as they are perfect for snacking in front of the TV (or computer), and aren't nearly as sweet as some other M&M's flavours.

M&M's Crispy-Mint contain milk, soy, barley, wheat and peanut, and may contain traces of treenut.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lindt Creation Velvety Vanilla Almond

It is so not chocolate weather here in Perth, but Lindt has just released a brand new range of 100g blocks called Lindt Creation. Created by Lindt's master chocoletiers, the range includes three flavours: velvety vanilla almond (milk chocolate), sumptuous orange (dark orange) and divine hazelnut (milk).

I've picked up the velvety vanilla almond flavour for review, and the box-type package describes as: 'deliciously crisp almond pieces in a vanilla flavoured truffle with a caramel layer, coated in dreamy milk chocolate.' Everyone knows that Lindt milk chocolate is most definitely dreamy, but how about the rest of it?

The block is just shy of 16cm long, 7.5cm wide and each gently domed piece is 0.8cm high at the centre. There are ten squares (they're really rectangles) in the block, and each piece is large enough to satisfy the largest mouth, but will sit comfortably on the tongue. Each piece also includes the pretty Lindy logo carved in the top.

As with all Lindt milk chocolate, the first note that hits is the creamy milk scents in the chocolate. It's warm and it's inviting. Just behind it comes the warm and somewhat spicy scent of vanilla to round out the sweetness of the chocolate.

Inside each bite there is a layer of vanilla flavoured truffle, which takes up a significant proportion of the piece, and then a layer of caramel across the top. The almond pieces studded through the truffle are not large, per se, but they are visible and will definitely make their presence known when you bite in. Unfortunately, all of the pieces on my block seemed to be filled at a slant - the truffle was sloped up against one side. I don't know if this is standard or if my block is just weird.

As expected, the caramel was the first to burst out and make its presence known when I bite into a piece. It was quickly followed by the strong vanilla flavour though, and together I found they made an interesting combination that reminded me a lot of creme brulee. The chocolate definitely takes a back seat to the sweet and tasty centre, but that's A-OK with me! I found that the almond pieces did not make a huge infringement on the taste; they added texture interest to the chew but not a whole lot of flavour (in fact I couldn't taste them at all), and I don't think the block is any worse off because of it. Texturewise, the chew did feel the slightest bit gluggy and the truffle a touch stick-to-your-teeth-y, but I was happy to work through it for the delicious flavour.

This is most definitely 'absurdly good'!

The milk chocolate contains a minimum of 30% cocoa solids and minimum 20% milk solids. The block may also contain traces of hazelnuts.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Spotted in the Wild: M&M's Crispy Mint

Mint lovers rejoice: the newest seasonal M&M's release is out and about! Keep your eyes peeled for the Crispy Mint variety, in bold emerald green packaging.

This one was spotted at an IGA in WA.

If you spot a new release, please email your photos to the blog at this address here.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Cadbury Boost Max Choc

Cadbury has been busy. Among their latest releases is the next seasonal release for Boost: Max Choc. (The last Boost seasonal product was Max Caramel, which you can still find on some product shelves at the time of this review.)

With distinctive silver packaging, the Boost Max Choc immediately stands out both from the other Boost products, and most other products on the shelves. Although I don't know what silver has to do with chocolate, it is a unique choice, and I can't really think of any current confectionery products that use silver as the main colour. The bar itself is described on the packaging as  "chewy choc caramel, surrounding smooth choc flavoured centre and crispy choc biscuit all covered in cadbury milk chocolate". Now that's a lot of chocolate-flavoured items!

It weighs in at a hefty 58g, which is on the large side for a medium-sized bar, but the weight and physical size is the same as the original Boost bar. It's quite a solid bar, and the Cadbury chocolate coating is around 1.5mm, so quite thick compared to many other chocolate-enrobed products these days. The chocolate on mine formed a solid seal, with no voids or holes into the interior.

The 'choc caramel' was interesting. Mine was soft (although it was in the mid-30s degrees (centrigrade) when I reviewed) and the softness allowed me to sample a little bit by itself. I found strong cocoa notes, but that was quickly tempered out by the rest of the bar. The choc cream centre was very soft, sweet and was almost like icing. I did find that it was very smooth with no grit. That smoothness helped the crunch of the little biscuit balls in the centre stand out quite a lot.

Unlike an original Boost bar, this one doesn't seem to contain the wafer-like tube that separates the caramel from the centre cream. I find that tube adds a nice element of crunch, so I missed that in this bar. Overall I found this bar extremely sweet - so sweet I couldn't eat more than half - and I found that the sheer amount of sugar overwhelmed my taste buds to the point that I had trouble recognising the chocolate flavour until I had been chewing for a while. Only then did the warm notes of the choc caramel come through and make things a little tastier. As much as I enjoyed the choc caramel, it didn't redeem the bar.

This bar contains wheat, milk, barley and soy. It may also cintain traces of peanuts and tree nuts.