Friday, March 29, 2013

Cadbury Bournville Cranberry

Mondēlez International is a busy company and constantly trying to make the people of the world fat with its new creations. It is, afterall, the world's largest chocolatier and candy maker and among other hugeass brands, it owns Cadbury. The latest product they've been making a lot of noise about recently is the Cranberry Bournville. I've tried the Bournville Almond variety before and wasn't too impressed by it, but then a chocolate reviewer's gotta do what a chocolate reviewer's gotta do.

I still find it laughable that 44% cocoa is proudly sold as dark chocolate in India AND has takers. But then anything above 35% qualifies as dark chocolate according to EU regulations, so it's okay. Another thing that caught my attention was the Queen's seal on the packet and it turns out Cadbury is a multiple Royal Warrant holder.

According to Wikipedia, Royal Warrants of appointment have been issued for centuries to tradespeople who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The royal warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the issuer of the royal warrant, so lending prestige to the supplier. Royal families of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, among others, allow tradesmen to advertise royal patronage.

Anyway, coming back to the new Cranberry Bournville, when their FB page started rubbing in product posts relentlessly in my face, I had to pick a bar up. Although, I must admit their chocolate pairing suggestions in these posts are quite useful. The dark-ish bar is apparently made from the finest Ghana chocolate and is fairly smooth. It has cranberry AND almonds in it - something nut allergy people need to watch out for.

The sour dried bits of cranberry make for a wonderful contrast to the sweet-ish chocolate and the almonds lend it desirable crunch. I must admit that this Bournville experience was somewhat better than my first. The 80 g bar costs INR 80 and mostly your money's worth. Go try it.

RATING: 3.5/5

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gandour Safari

I've been dreading this post but I must take my newfound role as a chocolate blogger seriously, no? I've hated Safari for as long as I can remember, but a chocolate as 'popular' as this one had to be reviewed. So I brought home the smallest bar I could find to check if it was still as bad as I remembered it.

Safari is a milk chocolate made by Gandour, a Saudi Arabia-based company that's more than a century old! Gandour makes a range of chocolates (which, I'm pretty sure, are as shitty as Safari), and Safari is one of their most recognised products. It's either me or the Saudi nations just DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE! Any and every chocolate product that I've tasted from these countries have scored exactly the same points - ZERO.

Safari is no exception. With a wafer and cereal core and caramel layering, the milk chocolate is covered with rice crispies on the top (which look like warts, urgh!). Sweet as hell, ugly to look at and with an all-over-the-place texture, Safari makes for a terrible gustatory experience. Their only saving grace is the packaging. I couldn't finish even this tiny 20g bar that cost me INR 5, and I never waste chocolate. So yeah, Safari retains its position as the yuckiest of chocolates, at least in my book.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Bagrry's Choco Delight Healthy Crunch Multi Grain Breakfast Cereal

For a long time, the consumer of breakfast cereal in India had two polar opposite choices. Either you bought the humble Mohun's Cornflakes by the kilo or you cringed at the prices when buying Kelloggs' products. With Bagrry's India Limited, a middle ground has opened up, with the consumer getting a lot more quality and variety in affordable prices. Bagrry's has a range of products including oats, muesli, bran and bran-fortified cornflakes that all come in sugar and 'no added sugar' varieties.

I'm not a great fan of breakfast cereal, but I've had Bagrry's products before and found them satisfying in terms of taste, quality, packaging and price. I recently picked up a refill box (available in large jars as well).of their Choco Delight Healthy Crunch Multi-Grain Breakfast Cereal that additionally has almonds, raisins and ah, CHOCOLATE!

For those who like their breakfast chocolatey, this is an excellent alternative to the sweet, sugary chocolate cereals one finds in the market. Yes, it is not as tasty, and may not appeal to kids as much, but it is so much healthier. Because it has chocolate (9.3%), there is some amount of  sugar (6.2 g/100 g), but as you see, the quantity is not alarming. The chocolate taste is just enough and more than the cereal, you feel it in the residues left behind in the milk.

A 425 g refill pack costs INR 170 and will give you approximately 15 servings. It's a fair deal, I think.

RATING: 3.5/5

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chocosophy news: Chocolate teas, portraits and breakfasts

Chocolate pixels make this Obama portrait

Sixteen freshmen from Israel's Holon Institute of Technology made this portrait of the POTUS or the President of the United States, Barack Obama recently. Made using 1172 'pixels' of white, milk and dark chocolate, this  portrait is a recreation of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign poster. The students presented Obama with this work of art along with a letter saying their lives too were "full of dreams and hopes" in the context of Israel's (perpetual) unrest. Well, now that's a sweet way of driving home a point! (Source)


An all-chocolate breakfast worth 8724 calories!!!

Epic Meal Time, the new instructional cooking show whipped up this crazy all-chocolate breakfast that clocks in 380 gm of fat and 8724 calories! Basically, don't eat for the next two days if you go for this one. The creator chefs mixed in and coated bacon, eggs and potatoes with Nesquik powder, hollowed out sausages to fill them with Hershey's chocolate syrup, pancakes with double fudge chocolate in the batter and the French Toast stuffed with Nutella! The breakfast, of course, has to be washed down with a chocolate milkshake. If this isn't evil, I don't know what is.


UK twins create chocolate-flavoured tea

This one should be happy news for tea (and of course chocolate) lovers. Newcastle-based twins Jodi and Stella Kean started experimenting with different kinds of teas after their tea bar business failed to take off. Stella told Express, “When the lease on the shop fell through we came up with the idea for choclateas. I don’t think people realise how many calories and how much sugar is in a cup of hot chocolate. We wanted to create something that felt like a treat but was healthy .”

“The main taste you get is tea, followed by the undertone of the flavour, such as pure dark chocolate and cocoa powder in the traditional-style choclatea,” Stella continued. Each cup has less than 20 calories, and other flavours in this range include chilli chocolate, peppermint chocolate, vanilla chocolate and wild berry chocolate. The range will be launched in the UK next month.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ritter Sport Marzipan

I am ashamed to admit it, but this is my first Ritter Sport ever. Yeah, it is shameful that a self professed chocolate aficionado shouldn't have tasted even one of the forty million flavours that this brand seems to make. Well, not *those* many, but Ritter Sport has lots and lots of variations.

 I spotted this at my favourite supermarket cum stockist of imported maal, Chandan Stores on Sion-Trombay Road, Chembur, Mumbai. There were other flavours too, but when you're married into a Catholic family, it's like an ethical code to show favouritism to marzipan. Yup, I didn't know what it was before I got married, but five Christmases past, marzipan's become almost sacred. Who those who don't know, marzipan  is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal. Commonly used as chocolate filling a la Ritter Sport or turned into variously-shaped and coloured sweets, they are a great festival favourite in Western nations, and of course, the pao community here.

Coming back to Ritter Sport's Marzipan, it is a regular German chocolate, and by regular German, I mean good chocolate. They are better, at any rate, than regular Indian chocolate. The marzipan is encased within the squared plain chocolate bar. The bar has 16 squares. Their plain chocolate has 50% cocoa solids; nearly as much as most Indian 'dark chocolates' have. 

The filling, as you can see, is quite generous. It is also quite flavourful, with the taste of marzipan coming through quite strongly. However, it is not overpowering, and the marzipan and chocolate complement each other well. 

These addictive things cost INR 150 for a bar of 100 gm and are fairly easily available in metros. They are also comparatively affordable and make for a great occasional treat, if you like flavoured chocolates.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chocosophy product launches: Tabasco, Weetabix, Maltesers

I dunno why all the chocolate action of the world should be taking place in the UK, but sigh... here it is.

This is like the ultimate fantasy for a chilli chocolate fan. Empire Foodbrokers will soon be releasing the Tabasco Brand Spicy Dark Chocolate Paint Can and Tower to mainstream grocery channels in the UK. The release will take place at the IFE 13 (The International Food and Drink Event), the largest F&B event in the UK. According to, the red Paint Can contains 120 chocolate wedges. Each dark chocolate wedge is infused with Tabasco spice, containing just 30 calories and 53% minimum cocoa solids.


In what is being touted as the "biggest UK innovation of the decade", Mars has launched Maltesers Teasers. Teasers are chocolate-coated honeycomb balls in a block format and will be available in the UK from the 26th of March, 2013. This is the first major innovation by the company since it pumped a mindblowing $ 8.9 mn into R&D last year. Mars Chocolate UK trade communications manager Bep Dhaliwal told, "The launch of Maltesers Teasers is set to re-energise the block category and attract new customers who are looking for a treat or for sharing with friends and family."


Cereal giant Weetabix has finally gone chocolate, and is launching a multi-million dollar cross channel campaign to promote it. Ben Cooper, group brand manager at Weetabix said the campaign launch marks a “significant” investment for the brand.

“We want to communicate that Weetabix with Chocolate is Weetabix fuel with the added taste of Chocolate, making it an ideal option for Mums looking for a chocolate cereal. This new re-launch aligns the product with the brand’s ‘Fuel for Big Days’ campaign to confirm the product is Weetabix first and foremost,” Cooper added.

Sundrop Snack Break Chocolate Pudding

Sundrop, from the house of Agro Tech Foods Ltd., introduced the Snack Break Chocolate Pudding a while ago, positioning it as a healthy yet nutritious milk-based snack. I remember the first TVC of the product, especially the sublime smile on the face of the Buddhist monk on eating it. :) I can't find it anywhere on Youtube, but some of you might know what I'm referring to.

Since its launch, I've bought and eaten this product numerous times, and have found the quality to be consistent. The pudding is gooey and smooth and melts in your mouth. The chocolate is pleasantly flavoured and finishing the whole pack won't make you sick with sweetness.  

The fact that it is made of 30% skimmed milk makes it comparatively healthy. Other ingredients include water, corn starch, edible vegetable fat, low fat cocoa powder, salt, emulsifiers, stabilisers and artificial flavours. It has a great shelf life, but once opened must be consumed entirely. Priced at INR 30, it might feel a tad expensive, but makes for a good option for those who MUST east chocolate and crib about their weight all the time.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Chocosophy news: Chocolate gods, rooms and cruises

Have your God and eat him too! At least the Brahmakumaris of Ahmedabad must have had something like that in mind when they decided to make this gigantic Shivling on Shivratri this year. The 17 ft. tall, 56 ft. wide structure has been entered into the Limca Book of records for being the largest ever chocolate Shivlinga. It weighs nearly 600 kgs and took six days to make. The installation was kept for three days for the festival and then broken and distributed to kids as prasad.


In the meantime, sculptor Elena Kliment has created an entire room of chocolate in Minsk, Belarus. The 20 sq. m. room was created with 600 kg of chocolate and everything in the room, from the walls to the carpets to the furniture to the decoration is made of fine Belgian chocolate. The creation took two months to make and is part of an installation at a mall. It will be open to visitors till April 14, 2013, after which small pieces will be cut off and distributed.

However, this is not the first time such a masterpiece has been created. In February 2011, Mindaugas Tendziagolskis used 660lb of chocolate to design a chocolate dining room in Vilarus in Lithuania.



And if worshiping chocolate gods and swooning in chocolate rooms isn't enough for you, you could go all out and opt for a chocolate cruise. yes! There are entire cruises dedicated to chocolate like this one by AMAWaterways to be held in April 2014, starting in Prague. Hosted by acclaimed American chocolatier Norman Love, this cruise aboard the AmaCerto features chocolate-making demonstrations, lectures and tastings, capped off with an ultra extravagant grand finale. It is the perfect cruise for chocolate lovers!

RiteBite Max Protein Choco Slim Cereal Bar

Since I resumed my obsession for the gym, some of these 'healthy' things have been making way into my supermarket basket. Yeah, yeah, I know about health bars having a dubious reputation for doing more bad than good. But when I spotted this new 'chocolate' product by RiteBite, I had to try it out at least once.

Naturell India Pvt. Ltd makes this range of 'healthy' bars under the brand name, RiteBite and sells under categories like Snack Bars, Breakfast Bars, Diet Bars, Healthy Snacking Bars, and now, Protein Bars. They are often available in sugar and sugar-free varieties and some even have Women's specials! Their latest addition are the Protein Bars, which come in three flavours. I picked up the Choco Slim one, but the other two are Choco Fudge and Honey Lemon.

I don't know about the other two flavours, but the RiteBite Max Protein Choco Slim tastes pretty much like glorified, chocolate-flavoured cardboard. Don't ask me when I've eaten cardboard, but take my word for it. I'm guessing the other two won't be too different. But one can't expect much taste from a bar that's made of a blend of soy, whey protein, wheat, oats, flaxseed, and nuts among other things. There is no sugar and some cocoa solids are the only saving grace.

The bar sounds all healthy with its 5 g of fibre, 21 vitamins and 20 g of protein (which is a lot!) in a 67 g bar and may be a good snack option for those working out regularly. However, its price (INR 99) and palatability are its low points.

RATING: 2.5/5

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Galaxy Crispy Milk Chocolate

Mars Inc. produces just so many brands of chocolate, that it is impossible for a reviewer to not feature a mars product every few blog posts. Recently, Galaxy chocolates made quite some noise with their TVC featuring a digitally resurrected Audrey Hepburn. 

Like Snickers, Bounty and Mars, Galaxy is a huge selling brand by Mars. Established as early as 1810, Galaxy is recognised and sold the world over, albeit under different names in different countries. While it is sold as Galaxy in the UK, India, Ireland and the Middle East, the brand is marketed as Dove in other parts of the world.

The packaging and product features are exactly the same for both brands. However, Dove is famous for its cute li'l Promises messages inside every chocolate wrapper, which look like this. I wish they'd do it with Galaxy too. 

Anyhow, Galaxy chocolates are fair, with or without the messages. I bought a bar of Galaxy Crispy Milk Chocolate the other day for a review. These chocolates have been around for a while, although I'm not quite sure when they came to India first. The brand was re-launched in major cities in 2011*. 

A typical Galaxy bar looks like this with a G inscribed on the lower right corner of each of its six sections. The milk chocolate is really smooth and lives up to Galaxy's (corny) tagline of 'Why have cotton when you can have silk? It has rice crispies for the crunch, like crispy chocolate from any brand. The product is sweet like standard milk chocolate and stands out only because of its smoothness.

My only problem with Galaxy chocolates is that they melt very easily at (Indian) room temperatures. In their defence, however, they mention the ideal storing temperature as 18-22 degrees C. However, how has that stopped anyone from forgetting they had a bar in their handbag or in the office drawer just above the always on computer processor?

So one often ends up with a very messy blob of Galaxy chocolate. However, when you've paid just INR 20 for a 36 g bar of essentially foreign chocolate, you don't feel too bad.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

La Lumiére Au Chocolat

Notice how everything just spelt in French becomes so much sexier? Even if it is as plain as the words chocolate lamp. Well, the La Lumiére Au Chocolat is just that. Not the most brilliant of designs, now is it? But there are chocolate mad people like me in the world, who make things like this.

This, La Lumiére Au Chocolat here was made by Alexander Lervik and was unveiled at the Stockholm Design Week at the Lightworks Exhibition. Lervik wanted to create a lamp concept that started with complete darkness and decided upon his favourite foodstuff as the medium.

When first turned on, the lamp gives no light (duh!), and only after the first few minutes do the first rays start to emerge. As the chocolate melts with the heat of the bulb, light begins to shine through, mimicking the rising of the sun. Eventually, the whole lamp melts, and on cooling down, the chocolate forms blocks at the base, which can then be eaten!

The shape of the lamp has been devised based on extensive testing involving the melting process. “The lamp was initially cube-shaped, but once we determined how chocolate melts, we modified the shape to resemble a cut-off pyramid,” says Alexander in Design Milk.

Uh... I dunno dude. I'd much rather eat my chocolate blocks from packets and get my light from within glass cases. I'm old fashioned like that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Heidi Grand'Or Florentine

Ever since I started Chocosophy, life has been throwing varied chocolates at me. So much cooler than lemons, no? Nah, I guess these were always around; only my eyes are open to them now. So, I spotted this baby at a local supermarket and whispered a silent prayer for these Gujju bhai-businessmen who get so many imported goodies into their shops.

Owned by the Läderach Group, Heidi Chocolat is apparently one of the "top chocolate brands in selected premium chocolate markets worldwide and is present in 45 markets throughout 6 continents." The company is fairly young, having started in 1993 in Romania, but it has grown due to its emphasis on innovative recipes.

Innovation it sure was that caught my eye. I mean, who could possibly resist what looked like a chikki-chocolate (yeah, yeah, florentine-chocolate) combination? The gold embossed beautiful packaging only helped. Aesthetics obviously is important to this brand, for the chocolate bar is as attractive as its packaging.

The most distinguishing characteristic of this milk chocolate bar is the crispy layer of caramelised almonds on the flip side. The Florentine layer makes the bar a little difficult to break, but that is hardly something to complain about. At just 30% cocoa and 18% milk solids, the product is as milk chocolate-y as it can get, but one ought to buy and savour it for its unique Florentine.The combination tastes delightful; the taste of almond and caramel is just right, and the crispy almond flakes serve as the perfect foil for the smooth chocolate. Although it is a little too sweet for my liking, and some may find the caramel sticking to the teeth bit a little bothersome.

At INR 205 for a 100 g bar (yeah, ouch!), it feels a little prickly on the pocket, but it is a must taste experience for a chocoficionado.

RATING: 3.5/5

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mars' Bounty Coconut Milk Chocolate

Another famous offering from the Mars' stables, Bounty is a coconut-filled milk chocolate. Available in single & double bar packs and miniatures, it is sold internationally by Mars Inc.  

The typical rounded bars have a sweet and moist (thanks to the high glucose syrup content) coconut filling within some more sweet milk chocolate. Mars had apparently tried to register the rounded shape of the bars, but were not allowed a trademark by the European Union. The chocolate will be preferred either by coconut buffs or anything-sweet-goes folks. I belong to the former category. Snickers and Mars Bars are perhaps more popular of the three Mars products available easily in India.

There is apparently a dark chocolate version of Bounty too, but I've never seen it here. As always, I'd love to try it out, given my preference for dark chocolates.

Interestingly, Bounty is not marketed in the US, because Hershey's has a very similar product called Mounds. The shape of the bars, the packaging and the filling are almost identical to Bounty. This, I'd like to try too.

Bounty has, in the past, released some limited edition flavoured versions too, like Cherry and Mango, but did not enjoy much success. I guess people prefer their coconut to taste like coconut.

I wonder if Mars will ever introduce any flavoured variations in India. If nothing, they ought to bring at least the dark chocolate variant of Bounty. Priced at INR 50 for 57 g in a double bar pack, these are quite popular; at least, going by their presence in supermarket shelves.


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