Thursday, 29 December 2016

Not that anyone should particularly be caring about what I have to say right around now, but if someone approached me in public asking if it's a good idea to spend £1 on 100g of supermarket own-brand chocolate, I'd walk right past them, pretending not to hear a thing. But let's imagine I'm not as awkward as a scalene triangle. I'd blast "Hell no!" to them. £1 for just 100g? For that price, you may as well just buy an established mid-tier brand, such as Cadbury or a variety from the Mars group.

But Tesco are really trying their hardest to mean business here. Take the packaging, for example. If you removed the Tesco branding, you could quite easily convince me this was a bar of chocolate from a fairly upper-tier brand. I mean, the name of the bar is about as creative as the road layout on Manhattan island, but there's a touch of elegant beauty about it. It also comes wrapped in foil, and boy do I like a good foil-wrapped bar.

Once you're past that little metal delight, you're greeted with chunks with generic mint leafs printed on them - better than nothing, I suppose. What makes me grit my teeth and spit over my neighbour's garden fence is the fact you only get 8 chunks per bar. Now, I'm sorry, but in most peoples' books, one chunk is one bite, or one mouthful. If you have to split the chunk into 2 or 3 separate mouthfuls, then they become rather pointless. Mongs.

The chocolate is fairly brittle and snappy, but that's just a general characteristic of dark chocolate. The bar is thin, too, so the area of the bar tricks you slightly into thinking there's more - especially if you're used to bars such as Dairy Milk and Galaxy. That's not necessarily a mark against Tesco, more just an observation.

Anyway, the taste; the main reason why you probably came to this review in the first place. It tastes alright, and just alright. Average. Five out of ten. The plain chocolate is inoffensive, but leaves nothing of excellence for you to remember it with rose-tinted glasses in the future. If you want to view it more positively, then it's good the chocolate is only 'meh', because it will allow the mint to burst through and take over the show smoothly.

But it doesn't. Not even the slightest. Without a doubt there's mint in there - you can taste it right from the very moment you place the chocolate on your tongue, but it's not a particularly fresh kind of mint. The packet says it's 'refreshing', but it isn't. There just isn't enough of a peppermint kick to it to give it a properly dynamic taste.

If I had to describe the overall taste, I'd call it 'safe'. There's nothing shocking about the bar, but as a result, it ends up being a bit bland and boring - a stark contrast to its fairly attractive wrapping. But there you go; at the end of the day, own-brand chocolate will still be just own-brand chocolate. If you're willing to spend a bit more, there are some premium brands out there that give mint its deserved wow factor.

Buy it?     Only if you're crazy over mint chocolate - better options are available. 


Thursday, 22 December 2016

For the second post in the row, I have decided to review a chocolate product which I'm fairly certain the entirety of the United Kingdom has tried at least once. It's almost as though I want this new baby website of mine to purposefully suffer and fail in the scary world of page views and audience retention.

But no, there is a fairly decent reason as to why I'm bothering to review something as widely known as Maltesers, the favourite treat of middle-aged Mums who try to keep an eye on their calorie intake, but do a poor job of it. As the name of this site would suggest, I want this to be the be-all, end-all encyclopaedia of all chocolate, which means all kinds of products fall under the umbrella, be them big or small popularity-wise.

Anyway, full steam ahead with the review. Maltesers have always proudly claimed to be 'the lighter way to enjoy chocolate' - which gives weight watchers a false sense of security, because it's like saying a brick is lighter than cast iron - but this 184g bag kind of defeats the point of it being a light treat somewhat. Of course, they get around that by saying 'More to share!', but I personally know of no people who buy bigger bags of sweets with the sole intention of sharing. 

But anyway, does a bigger bag of Maltesers change anything as such? Well, yes, I'd say so. The regular big bags are about 110g if memory serves me correct, and it's dead easy to get through a whole bag of those. With this 184g bag though, I find it almost impossible to get through it in one sitting without physically forcing myself.

That's not to say that I don't like Maltesers, because I do. But the nature of their honeycomb-like centre means things can get pretty sickly, pretty damn quickly. Rather ironic for the 'lighter' treat, but then again, your mileage may vary. You'll likely find the honeycomb forming a disturbing hard substance on your back teeth after you've had a few, and the extreme sweetness of the honey will discourage you from binging on them so heavily; perhaps that's how they get their healthy slogan.

The chocolate itself is alright. In fact, if I was feeling pretty generous, I would go as far to say as it's quite nice. But be in no doubt, the chocolate on a Malteser is not its standout selling point. Now I'm dwelling on it, I think they only really sell well because there's not much else on the market like them right now - at least not that I can think of from the top of my head. I'm fairly confident that a rival brand could probably cook up something even nicer than Maltesers if they really wanted to, but what's the point now that Maltesers are so established in this country?

So, there we have it. They're not my favourite form of confectionery in the world, because the honeycomb inside is sweeter than Katy Perry in her California Gurls costume. They're certainly not moreish like some sweeties. But they are pretty iconic and integral to our lives - be that mindlessly munching them in the cinema, picking them up with straws in a party game (seriously, it's great fun), or kinky time with your significant other. You absolutely do not need the 184g bag unless you're sharing with people, so save a few precious pennies and get the smaller sizes if you so personally crave them.

Buy it?     Buy a smaller portion - big bag is too sickly


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sometimes, if I really concentrate, and the house is miraculously empty, I can hear the anger-fuelled tap-tap typing of bitter UK residents making their emotions known on the Chocolate Orange Facebook page. And who can blame them? If you're not particularly in the loop with this slightly winding introduction, Terry's - no, wait, Mondelez - made the decision to reduce the size of the iconic Orange from 175g recently to 157g. Doesn't sound like much, but if you look at the tone of the Facebook commenters, you'd think Mondelez themselves have personally skinned their children in front of their eyes.

This happens all the time. Product gets a bit crapper, people are enraged, people still buy product because it's still good. Rinse and repeat. The Chocolate Orange 'scandal' (and I use that word reluctantly), seemed to hit a nerve of the general public like no other recent product though, besides the Creme Egg, perhaps. So what makes this thing so adored by us? The time felt ripe amid all this brouhaha to investigate.

The box has stayed the same for a long, long time. Why change it, though? The near-cube shape of it has become pretty much a national icon, with the blue colours contrasting nicely against the imitation fruit orange wrapping. Open the box, get rid of the tacky plastic holding, and you're greeted by old familiar. Which, to this day, still includes a sticker saying "Made with REAL orange oil". Are they asking for a round of applause or something? I would've thought striking up an orange flavour with some E chemicals would be harder work than just using the authentic stuff.

Then, of course comes the most satisfying part. Think of the person you hate the most. That ex who's a full-on snake. What a bitch. If only there was something to release such anger upon... oh wait. We have a Chocolate Orange. BANG BANG BANG. Now this person has an imaginary concussion, and to top it all off, you now have a Chcocolate Orange fit for human consumption. Best day ever.

Now the Orange has been brutally murdered, you can suddenly see how Mondelez has managed to save their precious 18g per item. 175g Oranges were, I dunno, orange-shaped. 157g are shaped like oranges who have an anorexia issue. In fact, you know how lean people can suck their stomach in and it goes really weirdly far back beyond their ribs? The 157g Chocolate Orange, ladies and gents.

But if I'm being honest, I'd rather they screwed with the weight than the ingredients any day. Shedding the weight was a downer for the Orange, but it does at least retain its good taste. The chocolate is fairly smooth, but leaves that rough feeling at the back of the throat if you have a large serving. The Orange is very moreish, and one of the quickest ways to consume '5 servings' of chocolate. Unlike some orange-flavoured things, this is really tangy, and not unnaturally so. If you took the orange flavour away though, the chocolate would be so-so. It's just not quite up there to be its own standalone thing.

It's a bit steep in the pricing: £2 in most stores. And for that price I would say it's not worth it. Almost no chocolate is worth £2 for 157g, no matter how tangy and inviting the flavour. But the Orange is almost always on offer somewhere, usually for £1. I managed to pick mine up for 90p, and for that it's a million percent worth it. It's a staple Christmas treat, and a great way to completely mess up your fitness plans.

Buy It?      When it's on offer



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