Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Rhythm 108 Super Coconut

Whilst I was at the Speciality Fine Food Fair I was lucky enough to pick up some of Rhythm 108's new chocolate bars. Normally I don't gravitate massively towards 'health' chocolate, I buy chocolate if it tastes good, not if it's "gluten free", "organic", "vegan" and with "less sugar" (45% less Rhythm 108 are claiming) but when I stumbled across Rhythm 108 and tried a bit of the hazelnut bar they were sampling I was fairly impressed.

Rhythm 108 Super Coconut Bar

The first bar I'll be reviewing is this Super Coconut bar, a "deeelicious Swiss dark chocolate bar with oat and coconut filling", which I presume is meant to be the "healthier" alternative to a standard Bounty bar. The ingredients list is fairly simplistic - coconut flakes (30%), raw cane sugar, cacao butter, cacao mass, gluten free oat flour (10%), agave fibre and emulsified (sunflower lechitin) and upon opening you can definitely tell that the bar has a more "raw" cacao feel to it with less of a gloss and sheen on the bar.

Rhythm 108 Super Coconut Bar

Unfortunately upon opening I was met with one slight qualm, the bar is TINY compared to the packaging it had been put in, making up just over half, I would have preferred it had they either just packaged it in smaller packaging or made the bar a bit bigger, at least then I would have known what I was getting.

Rhythm 108 Super Coconut Bar

Cutting into the bar the coconut filling is definitely much denser and crumblier compared to a standard Bounty and I was really worried it was going to be dry and unappetising. Thankfully I was proven wrong, despite the drier texture I actually preferred it to Bounty due to eating as a solid mass meaning you don't get annoying bits of intrusive coconut that get stuck everywhere and I really enjoyed the addition of oats to the bar. In conjunction with this when eating it doesn't actually feel drying at all as the cacao coating is really rich and buttery, with a smooth, creamy melt.

Rhythm 108 Super Coconut Bar
Quite often with "health" bars they don't taste all that great but this was actually pretty good, it's not too bitter and has a really good level of sweetness. It's definitely a good bar if you're watching your sugar or carbohydrate intake with nutritional values of - 185kcal, 14g fat, 11g carbohydrates (8g) sugar  and even 5g fibre! Would I go out and buy it often? Probably not as I don't think I'm necessarily the target customer but there's no denying that it tastes great and most definitely hits the spot if you're looking for a less sugary chocolate alternative.

Taste - 8.2/10 - Really tasty for a "healthy" chocolate bar, lovely coconut flavour and creamy dark chocolate. Well balanced.
Texture - 7.5/10 - The bar is quite solid, with little give to it, it might have been nicer had it been a bit softer but at least the filling was a lot more pleasant than Bounty without any obtrusive coconut pieces.
Appearance - 5.0/10 - The packaging and the bar itself are fine but the fact that the bar is so small for the wrapper it's in wasn't all that great.
Price - 7.3/10 - £1.39 for a bar is quite fairly priced I think.
Overall - 7.0/10 - A really tasty chocolate bar irrespective of whether it's a healthier alternative or not.
WHO FOR?This bar is targeted towards those who are looking for a lower sugar alternative and also those seeking "gluten free", "vegan"and "organic". However even if you're not necessarily looking for this in a chocolate bar it's still a really tasty alternative to mass market chocolate.

WHERE TO BUY?You can find details of all Rhythm 108 stockists here

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

M&M's Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Having previously reviewed the Strawberry M&M's block it's time to move onto the next block that I bought, this hazelnut version. Unlike the strawberry block the hazelnut here isn't achieved by flavouring the bar but instead by using pieces of chopped hazelnut which are spread throughout the bar with the mini M&M's.

M&M's Chocolate Hazelnut Block

My first thought was as to whether the use of a hazelnut inclusion would mean that the inclusion of mini M&M's would be less, consulting the ingredients list I could see that this was the case - the strawberry block contains 15% mini M&M's, where as the hazelnut bar has half of this with only 7.5% and the addition of 7.5% hazelnuts. 

The bar has the same fun design but on breaking off strips you can definitely clearly that this bar has less colourful mini M&M's and instead is also dotted with small roasted hazelnut pieces.

M&M's Chocolate Hazelnut Block

For me as this bar is called 'hazelnut' I really felt it should deliver a good hazelnut flavour hit but unfortunately I just felt overall it was a bit lacking. Due to less mini M&M's in the bar you lose out on one of the things that make this type of bar so great - the textural contrast of the smooth milk chocolate and the crunchy candy shells, as you don't necessarily get a mini M&M in every piece.

M&M's Chocolate Hazelnut Block

Unfortunately the addition of the hazelnuts doesn't massively improve this; although they offer a nice nibbly bite here and there they don't add the same textural contrast and unfortunately I found they didn't deliver a huge flavour hit, they add a hint of roasted nuttiness but not what I really look for in a 'hazelnut' chocolate. Granted, the milk chocolate base used is pleasant enough, creamy and not overly sweet but I think this bar would have been absolutely incredible if Mars had blended hazelnuts into the milk chocolate to create a praline-esque base and then dotted it with the mini M&M's. That would have made it for me.

I'll still enjoy eating the rest of this bar as it is still pleasant enough but if it were available in this country I don't think I'd be rushing out to buy another.

Taste - 6.1/10 - Doesn't offer anything massively different, pleasant enough milk chocolate but would have liked more of a hazelnut hit.
Texture - 6.0/10 - The lack of mini M&M's is a miss. The roasted hazelnut pieces don't provide the same satisfying textural contrast.
Appearance - 8.9/10 - Love the design of this bar and the packaging is really eye catching.
Price - 5.9/10 - I paid £5.95 for this bar, I presume it's cheaper in Australia but I think the other bars in the range are probably better value for money.
Overall - 6.7/10 - Unfortunately a slightly disappointing bar, I was hoping for a lot better.

If you're looking to give all of the M&M's blocks a go it may be worthwhile picking up.

I'd imagine this bar is widely available in Australia, I purchased mine from Sanza here.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

KitKat Chunky New York Cheesecake

After bemoaning the fact that Australia seemed to get lots more new KitKat products compared to the U.K, I was granted some saving grace in the form of this new KitKat Chunky New York Cheesecake bar. In all honesty I prefer KitKat Chunky to regular KitKat, due to its satisfying, thicker nature. New York Cheesecake sounded like a pretty fun flavour, so I was hoping it wasn't going to be as disappointing as KitKat Cookie Dough...which didn't taste remotely of cookie dough.

KitKat Chunky New York Cheesecake

Described as "Crispy wafer finger with a New York cheesecake flavour topping (19%) covered with milk chocolate (60%)". The bar is split into 3 sizeable chunks making it easy to break into pieces. Breaking one off you can clearly see the New York cheesecake topping atop the classic KitKat wafer, I must admit that the cheesecake topping wasn't as white as I expected...can't say I've ever had a vanilla cheesecake that colour before.

Checking the ingredients list I could see that "powdered soft cheese" had been used in the bar but I didn't have high hopes considering the bar is essentially drenched in thick milk chocolate which I thought would mute the taste of the cheesecake.

KitKat Chunky New York Cheesecake

As I expected this was the case, there's a slight vanilla sour-ness reminiscent of cheesecake but that's all it is, you wouldn't eat this bar and think "oh my what a great representation of cheesecake in chocolate form", no instead you'd think it was a standard KitKat Chunky with a slight sour hint.

KitKat Chunky New York Cheesecake

I can't help feeling this was another let down from KitKat, wouldn't it had been much better if they'd kept the cheesecake flavour topping but instead of using milk chocolate using a white chocolate coating mixed with powdered soft cheese to really deliver that cheesecake hit. Well I most definitely think it would have. One of my biggest pet peeves is when companies name something after another item and then it fails to taste anything like that, safe to say I won't be repeat purchasing this bar.

Taste - 4.0/10 - It doesn't taste bad but it hardly delivers a good cheesecake hit.
Texture - 7.0/10 - Standard KitKat Chunky texture - thick chocolate, crispy wafer, cheesecake topping doesn't add much in terms of texture.
Appearance - 6.0/10 - Fairly standard.
Price - 6.5/10 - At 60p for a bar it's not going to break the bank if you do want to give this a go but I wouldn't buy it again.
Overall - 5.9/10 - A poor attempt at a cheesecake chocolate bar.

Worth picking up if you want to try the new KitKat flavour a go and aren't going to be devastatingly disappointed that it doesn't taste all that "cheesecake-y".