"Anything is good if it's made of chocolate"
"Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food"
And Amen to both quotes. Chocolate has been my companion for as long as I remember. It's my guilty pleasure and my comfort food. Seeing a new chocolate bar is like going on a blind date: you don't know what you are going to experience. Keep your mind open and hope it's not going to be a total disaster.
New chocolate products appear on the shelves of supermarkets on a daily basis. It's impossible to try them all. Some are limited editions and are available only for a short time, some come to stay, some get discontinued after a while, perhaps due to a lack of demand.
In the last half a year our local M&S started to offer a wide selection of more unusual Italian and Belgian chocolate. While I don't claim to be a pro, I keep little notes while slowly going through some of their new ranges.
Since my guys love white chocolate, many of the chocolate bars we've tried in the past few months were white.
M&S Italian White Chocolate with whole pistachios is a thick slab of Fairtrade white chocolate, which is quite hard to break or bite.
It's not the best white chocolate taste-wise, but looks pretty.
Bonus: no palm oil
In comparison to some other white chocolate with whole nuts which we buy in Italy, it is not as good.
M&S Italian Milk Chocolate Stracciatella with creamy filling and dark chocolate pieces is another variety from the Italian range.
Nutritional info: 90kcal per 3 squares, or 537kcal per 100g
It includes a combination of oil including coconut, palm and palm kernel, cocoa solids 30% min.
Creamy and moreish, a bit on the sweet side, it's actually not bad at all.
M&S Italian White Chocolate Cappuccino is a white chocolate with a creamy coffee ganache. I like the combination of white chocolate and coffee, but found this bar way too sweet which is not a surprise at 49g of sugar per bar.
92kcal per 3 squares, or 553kcal per 100g bar
Made in Italy, packed in the UK
3/5 Would be much nicer with less sugar.
M&S Latte Coffee Kick Bar is a mini chocolate bar made with coffee beans, for when you need a coffee kick. At 149kcal per bar, it is just the right size for when you need a chocolate boost, but don't want to scoff a big bar.
Slightly bitter and a bit gritty. Melts in the mouth, but not very chocolatey.
De Villiers Skinny Cappuccino (£5) is a skim milk chocolate bar, with 51% cocoa. It is gluten free, sustainably sourced and contains no GMO.
The packaging says that though most of the world's cocoa beans come from Africa, little chocolate is made on the continent and even less is made by Africans in African owned factories. De Villiers chocolate is a "Bean to Bar" chocolate maker located in the Cape Winelands of South Africa.
Made with Ugandan cocoa beans. Even the design on the wrapping paper is an artwork by an African artist called Marien Freddy Nsompy.
It's a lovely melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. I would like a higher coffee content for a more distinct cappuccino flavour.
Top marks for the credentials and 4/5 for taste.
Dolfin Noix de Macadamia Caramelisées is a Belgian milk chocolate with caramelised macadamia nuts (70g bar).
It comes in a very elegant packaging, in a wrapper inside a pale pink pocket.
Macadamia nuts are crushed into a small crumb, so don't expect bigger chunks. It has a hint of sea salt. Overall, excellent flavour and quite delicate.
It would make a lovely little gift for any chocolate lover.
Waitrose Eton Mess is a new Belgian white chocolate blended with strawberry powder and topped with mini meringues and dried strawberry pieces.
It's very pretty and decorative.
548kcal per 100g or 123kcal per 1/4 bar, and lots of sugar - 54g per 100g - basically more than a half is sugar.
Thumbs up from my white chocolate-loving men, but too sweet for me.
4/5 for taste from my family.
My boys and I love Polish Ptasie Mleczko waniliowe (lit. bird's milk) or vanilla marshmallows in chocolate which is available in Tesco online and in Polish delis.
Bird's Milk used to be my favourite Russian chocolate, when I was a child. These Polish marshmallows taste exactly as I remember them from childhood.
I did mention this product before in a post on Polish food from Tesco. Ptasie Mleczko is a range of marshmallows with different flavours - we have tried chocolate and soured cream before, but this range has a new addition - E. Wedel Ptasie Mleczko O Smaku Strawberry Shake. As you can guess, they are strawberry shake flavoured. They are also covered in white chocolate rather than milk or dark.
Full of calories (455kcal per 100g and sugar - 49g per 100G), they are very indulgent.
There are two layers in a box, with 36 marshmallows in total.
One more item of Polish confectionery worth mentioning is E.Wedel Pawelek Advocat dark chocolate bar with Advocaat flavour filling. I first spotted it in Tesco, but then also found in Sainsbury's.
This is a treat for grown-ups, as it contains alcohol. If you like Advocaat, you will enjoy this bar.
It comes at 209kcal per 45g bar and 26g of sugar.
I'm going to finish this post with two of my personal favourites.
I'm not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but Amedei white chocolate with pistachios is absolutely lush. Fine green pistachios come from Bronte. It is quite pricey at £5 for a 50g bar, but at the moment you can catch it at half price in M&S.
This is definitely not a chocolate for anyone on a diet. It has 580kcal per 100g and 42g of sugar.
It has a lovely hint of salt. Overall, it's very moreish and a special treat. You really need just a little piece with a cup of coffee for a blissful moment.
And just a few days ago I spotted a new product from Green & Black's - Velvet Fruit (available in 3 flavours - raspberry, blueberry and orange). I only bought a pouch of Raspberry flavoured dark chocolates, and this is easily my latest indulgence. These are small balls of dark chocolate with a real fruit centre.
At 129kcal and 13g of sugar per 8 pieces, they have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
I'd say Bravo, Green & Black's, for introducing a novelty product to your already delightful range. I'm definitely going to try the other flavours of Velvet Fruit.
Have you tried any new chocolate flavours recently?