Leonidas was one of the treats from the UK that I haven’t heard of before. They’re not based in the UK either, as they’re a traditional Belgian chocolatier and are pretty widely distributed around the world. I feel this sampling of a few of their chocolate bars seems like a good indication of what kind of products I can expect from Leonidas. I was especially eager to try them, considering the experiences I’ve had from Belgium chocolatiers in the past have been less than noteworthy. I’m hoping these will change my mind!
White: I chose to sample this bar first since white chocolate is a pretty good indication of the quality and style of the chocolatier. I had high hopes right away, as the bar smells sweet, buttery and fatty from the real cocoa butter in here.
The bar itself is pristine and ivory colored. Gorgeous.
The flavor is extremely rich. The texture is very thick, buttery and smooth on the tongue. There’s a nice sweetness to it and it’s not too much. The chocolate is very creamy, milky and buttery as the aroma indicated. It has a good cocoa butter taste and it’s not polluted with lots of vanilla, which is how I like my white chocolate.
54% Nibs Bar: Leonidas calls this bar “dark”, even though I don’t consider a 54% cocoa solids to be a dark. I digress, as I don’t want to get into semantics here.
The bar is very deep in color, showing a rich brown with nice cool undertones. The back shows the nibbly texture which is lightly bumpy.
The chocolate smells of cocoa, vanilla, cream, cocoa, coffee and berries.
Breaking off a piece, the snap is very crisp because of the thinness of the bar. It also breaks easily and it’s mostly clean with only a few small air bubbles.
The flavor is extremely rich. The chocolate tastes, well, chocolatey, as opposed to being clouded by milk and sugar. There’s nice flavors of coffee, cream and vanilla which are very complimentary. The mouth feel is extremely slippery and rich. The nibs have a roasted flavor and provide a nice subtle crunchy texture. It’s not crispy, as the nibs are a little soft. The contrast is just lovely.
Feuilletine: It took me a moment to figure out how to describe how the wafers in this bar are different than the ones you find in, oh, say a Kitkat. These are denser and crunchier like waffle cones.
The back of the bar is quite bumpy and there’s lots of visible air bubbles. It doesn’t look like it was tempered well, as if it was a rush job. The break is also just ridden with bubbles, which makes me suspicious. But, there’s no sign of wafers in my break either, which I’m confused by. Where are they?
The flavor is lacking. I get sweetness, a little dairy tang, but there’s not a lot of chocolate flavor. The wafers are actually crumbles in the chocolate that are small and crunchy. You can really feel them when you chew. The deliver a very salty flavor that appears halfway through the taste as you eat a piece. It’s very odd.
Dark Orange: Beautiful dark and has a very bright, zesty, citrusy smell. It smells more like tangerine to me than orange. The break is nice and clean.
The flavor is first of the dark chocolate which is mildly sweet, very rich with nice deep cocoa flavors. Then the orange comes in, not too strong or overly artificial, it’s fresh and zesty and light and just kisses the chocolate. It’s really nice and smooth as the two flavors combine and melt together. A beautiful pairing and I wish I had more of this bar.
Aside from the Feuilletine bar, I was impressed with these. The chocolate had dignity and wasn’t too sugary like I find most Belgium chocolates are. I’ll have to make a special trip to go visit their new store in New York City to take a peek at their other offerings.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Leonidas Website
I’ve heard tales of the Mars Delight across the blogosphere. At first I couldn’t help but wonder, especially with the “Delight” in the name, if this was one of the many diet knock-off candy bars that exist (or existed, as many have gone instinct) on the market. Obviously I didn’t know much about the bar at all, so with one finally in hand, I was able to put my assumptions to the test.
The wrapper gives no hint as to what it’s made of. It just says “surprisingly crispy, deliciously smooth” at the bottom. Huh.
Opening the wrapper I see that it’s a long, thin bar that’s split into two sections like an Almond Joy and 100 Grand. I slide out one piece and I’m reminded of a Tobelrone in shape, it’s taller than it is wide. The chocolate is a medium brown color, suggesting the dairy content. The bar itself is beautiful, because the top is molded (instead of enrobed) and has beautiful, curvy, undulating ridges. Despite it’s size, it’s quite heavy.
The bar smells very sweet I get notes of the chocolate, dry milk powder and some caramel. I’m really excited for my first bite.
I bit down, soft…soft. soft….CRUNCH! Whoa, what was that about a surprising crispiness? Looking at the cross section I just bit into, there’s a very light, cylindrically shaped curly wafer stuck smack-dab in the center of this bar. The top is a caramel creme and the bottom a chocolate mousse. Cool! The flavors are nice as you get a very sweet milky presence from the milk chocolate and another sweet hit with a touch of salt from the caramel. I don’t get anything from the mousse at the bottom. The wafer is really all about the texture, as it tastes lightly of a waffle cone. All you pay attention to is how it’s “surprisingly crispy” and it’s really, really nice.
I enjoyed the noise this bar makes when you eat it. It’s fun to hear the crunch in your mouth when you chew the wafer interior. The only thing I didn’t like about this bar is I don’t feel satisfied after just one. Granted, that wouldn’t have been a problem if I had two of them, but I didn’t, and it really left me wanting more. Very, very badly.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Mars Delight Website
I’ve tried many Kit Kats in my candy blogging days, but none of them have been from the “Senses” line. The physical structure of the Kit Kat Senses differs from the many other strangely flavored varieties which have become commonly available all over the world. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, Kit Kats are all about the four, long, wafer filled bars. The Senses line adds more to the equation by creating one large single finger like a Kit Kat Chunky with five creme filled cavities on the top. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
This specific Kit Kat Senses had hazelnut creme filled cavities; an interesting twist on the format that Kinder Bueno uses, really, now that I look at it. In fact, it just seems to be a Nestle took that idea right off of Kinder and just re-named it as Kit Kat. Interesting.
The bar smells extremely hazelnutty, as if I just opened up a jar of Nutella.
The flavor is awesome. It’s a similar to a Manner Biscuit but with more chocolate. It tastes intensely of hazelnut, cream, cocoa and sweetness. In fact, I find that those flavors practically overpower the chocolate and I find myself missing it a little. It’s an amazing flavor overall though and an immensely satisfying.
The texture is great, as it takes the best part of Kit Kat and adds a contrasting element. You get the crispy wafers and then the thick, creamy texture of the hazelnut creme. Mmmmm.
I’m impressed with Kit Kat Senses! I thought perhaps it’d be too much of a good thing or mucking with perfection, but I stand corrected. They’re addicting. I highly recommend trying one if you ever see them.
Links Kit Kat Senses
Out of all the treats from England, the Starbar was the only one I specifically requested. I’d heard tales of how utterly delicious this bar is from other candy blogs on the web, so I’ve been secretly waiting for the day I might stumble across one in a random import New York City deli. Alas, I’ve had little luck with my passive search, so I decided to take the opportunity to ask my boyfriend to please, please search one down for me. Obviously he did not disappoint!
The description of the the Starbar is: “Shot through with peanuts and caramel”. I’m not sure quite what that means but it sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Out of the wrapper, the bar looks like a giant Twix finger. It’s rounded at the top with flats sides. It smells very malty, milky, sweet, and of mainstream UK chocolate (sweet with a tart, creamy notes).
My first bite is so very thick, soft and chewy. Oh wow. It’s marvelous.
Here’s the breakdown of the construction: the center is a giant log of thick, chewy caramel with bits of peanuts in it. Then the whole this is enrobed in chocolate. Simple and very tasty.
The flavor is similar to peanut brittle. It’s sweet, lots of burnt sugar flavors, peanutty, lightly salt, cocoa and strong dry milk flavors. The milky flavors are very tangy and they’re complimented with notes of malt and vanilla in the aftertaste.
The peanuts are lightly crispy and there aren’t too many in the bar. They’re a good size too, about 1/4 of a full nut. Thankfully they don’t stick to my teeth.
I was so sad once I finished my Starbar, as it was every bit as tasty as I was described. It really lived up to its reputation. I want more, and I hope a return trip to England isn’t the only way to get another.
Fruit Pate of all kinds have been a confectionery that have been around for hundreds of years. Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles are no exception, as they’ve been around since 1881. They’re Rowntree’s oldest and best selling product, which also like the Fruitella, contains no artificial flavors or colors. I’ve been asked several times if I’ve had these before, and once my boyfriend heard me say that I haven’t, he made sure to being me back some from his trip. Sure enough, I was presented with them upon his return.
I had them in a roll form, so I unwrapped the label and foil package to see these beautiful little fruity gems roll out. The pastilles are small rounded discs covered in granular sugar, and they’re lovely to look at. Too excited to wait any longer and dwell on their beauty, I pooped one in my mouth. The chew on these is so nice: firm like gum, but after chewing a little bit is beings to dissolve into a grainy gumminess in the mouth. Extremely satisfying.
Yellow (lemon): Light, tart flavor of lemons. It’s punchy, slightly artificial, and there’s a strange bitterness in there. As if I was easting the rind along with the fruit’s pulp. Some of the pieces were sweeter than the others.
Green (lime): Very bright and citrusy, with the bathroom cleaner like taste. I also found it sweeter and juicier than most lime flavored candies I’ve had.
Orange (orange): Mild with a light sweetness and even lighter flavor. My thoughts turn to the taste of orange flower oil. It was barely noticeable, but it did have an authentic orange essence to it with a light zest.
Purple (black currant): On man, this one is good! Very juicy to start with a good sweetness. The flavor wasn’t terribly strong, but it did give nice woodsy notes, hints of berries, and a touch of wine. I wish I had gotten more than one of these in my roll.
Red (strawberry): Immediately flavorful with a floral, jammy taste. It has a nice sweetness and strong strawberry taste. It reads as a “wild” strawberry flavor to me, as it’s unlike any other strawberry candy I’ve had. It’s very “red”.
I really enjoyed these and am happy to have had the opportunity to try them. They’re a great, more inexpensive substitute for more gourmet fruit pate candies. I’d be buying them regularly if they were easier to find. *sigh*
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Rowntree Website