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Posts Tagged ‘Thorntons’

So far, so good. I’m holding fast to my chocolate embargo, although I am being helped along by daily doses of Lindt Chilli and the knowledge that the ban won’t last as long as I initially thought. I’ve discounted a lot of my travel chocolates as unworthy of being blogged, although I still have a good 10-15 to go.

Today’s catch-up chocolates are the last remaining Thorntons flavours from my England travels. I’ve previously blogged Thorntons’ chocolates here, here, and here, and now I bring you these two, erm, here. (Sentence construction brilliance!)

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Fudge

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Fudge

When I think of Papua New Guinea, I think of how my brother went there to help build a school and ended up in a contest where he had to eat as much of a slab of pig fat hanging from a tree as he could, all with his hands behind his back. Not the most appetising thought.

When I discovered that, firstly, Thorntons uses the phrases “caramel flavours”, “soft fudge”, and “honey-sweet notes” to describe this bar and, secondly, that the chocolate’s ingredients include glucose syrup and sweetened condensed milk, a part of me started crying out for Theo’s 91% chocolate. I may be willing to try milk chocolate when it whispers “potentially interesting”, but at the same time I know what I like, and it isn’t super sweet flavours.

But you know what, folks? This chocolate was Sweety McSweet-Sweet from Sweetsville, but at the same time it was a little bit exciting. (Even if the fudge pieces were few and far between.)

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Fudge

Dear Thorntons, you are fudge-stingy.

The aroma was, unsurprisingly, sweet. It was like golden syrup drizzled on supermarket vanilla ice-cream; you know, the kind of ice cream that interprets “vanilla” as “bland sweetness”, not as the rich, black-speckled and faintly alcoholic essence of vanilla bean.

Yet when I took a bite of Thorntons’ fudge-speckled chocolate, all of a sudden my mouth was flooded with the taste of honeycomb. More specifically, this tasted almost exactly like a Crunchie (not a Violet Crumble. Violet Crumbles = ugh). For the Americans out there, I think you call this kind of confection “sponge candy”, but really you ought to track down an import store and buy yourself a Crunchie.

This isn’t spectacular chocolate. The melt is a little powdery, the fudge pieces are scarce and flavourless, and after a few squares the sweetness becomes rather overpowering. Yet I maintain that this tastes like chocolate-covered honeycomb, which is better than nothing. L-Izzle, I think you’d like this fudge chocolate.

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Macadamia

Thorntons Macadamia

I have no stories about the Dominican Republic.

Oh, Thorntons. I want to take your product-blurb department out back and smack it around the ears with wet newspapers. Look at what is printed on the back of the above’s package:

Sometimes the Italians add a pinch of salt to their coffee to take away the bitterness and enhance the flavour. That’s why lightly-salted, caramelised macadamias and intense dark chocolate from Dominican Republic cocoa beans make such an award-winning combination.

I’m sorry, what? Did someone delete the connecting sentence here? Forget the art of the segue? Since when does salt + coffee = macadamias + chocolate? Don’t get me wrong; I understand what they’re trying to say. I’ve mentioned many times that salt works with chocolate. But this blurb is ridiculous. Thorntons, stop trying to validate your English chocolate by referring to Italian coffee culture, and/or go back to writing/business/editing/primary school. You sound unbearably pretentious.

Thorntons Macadamia

End diatribe.

Nothing much to report aroma-wise, but in terms of taste this chocolate was strong in raspberries and, might I suggest, raspberry sorbet. Unfortunately for Thorntons and its purported aim in using salted macadamias, the nuts were integrated as itsy-bitsy (teeny-weeny yellow polka dot… wait, wrong train of thought) pieces that were overwhelmed by the tangy chocolate. The macadamias did provide crunch and occasionally hints of butteriness, but all in all this chocolate was all about red currant, raspberry, and acidity. In other words, not my thing, neither in terms of taste nor employment of the English language.

After trying eight different flavours of Thorntons, I can comfortably say that the only one I would willingly buy again is the pistachio.

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So, we’ve had some hits and some misses with Thorntons, and some chocolates that fall in between. Which side of this multi-dimensional fence will today’s (or, you know, a fortnight ago’s) flavours fall on?

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Wild Blueberry and Raspberry

Thorntons Antioxi-Choc Berry Boost

A mouthful linguisitically speaking, at the least.

Oh, Thorntons. Why did you do it? Why did you succumb to the chocolate-as-miracle-heal-all gimmick? Don’t you know that we chocolate lovers just want to love our chocolate in our own way, without having to think about the effects our chocolate-lovin’ might be having on our inwards-bits? See, by talking up this chocolate as if it were spectacularly healthy, by extension you’re implying that other kinds are not.

And I refuse to believe that. Chocolate makes me happy -> stress kills -> ergo chocolate of any kind will prolong my life.

Thorntons Antioxi-Choc Berry Boost

Still, points for using the word scrumptious.

But enough about that. What did it taste like? Mostly, it tasted the way it smelt: like fake berry flavouring, the kind you find in those el-cheapo fruit roll-ups with the plastic-y consistency that somehow both melt and stick to your teeth. (I always wanted to find those in my lunch-box as a child, and never ever ever ever did. Yes I’m looking at you, Mother Who Broke My Kiddly-Wink Heart.)

Thorntons Antioxi-Choc Berry Boost

Aunty-who? (You're with me, aren't you, Aussie readers?)

The mistake Thorntons made here, in my opinion, is that they mixed sugared blueberries (fine) into raspberry-flavoured chocolate (not fine). If this had been a nice plain dark chocolate with both types of dried berries in it, I think it might have worked. Instead, the chocolate is overly sweet in a cough-medicine way, and tastes like so many fake fruit lollies that I can’t pinpoint precisely what I’m reminded of. Twizzlers? Sour Straps without the sour? Those individually wrapped fruit-and-cream chewy lollies found in ye olden day milk bars?

I don’t know. And I don’t really care. Because a) I didn’t much like it, and b) two squares were purported to “make me feel great”, yet I ate all 16 in one night and still got hit with that horrible cold. Hmph.

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Mint

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Mint

See, Thorntons? This is all you need. Just chocolate, and a simple flavour addition if you so choose.

Once again, though, Thorntons redeemed itself with another flavour. Admittedly, this chocolate is not mind-bogglingly good, but chocolate and mint is a classic combination and Thorntons pulls it off.

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Mint

The mint is peppermint, by the by.

From the first taste I’m taken back to Mint Slices and the fondant-filled after dinner mints we used to get with coffee at restaurants in Australia. (Not that I ever had coffee as a kid, but I’d sometimes pinch my Mum’s. So maybe I’ll forgive her for the fruit roll-up thing.)

I enjoyed the textural contrast that the mint-flavoured sugar crystals contributed to the experience, and was greatly pleased that the chocolate itself was just chocolate, not “mint-infused chocolate” or somesuch ridiculousness.

Thorntons produced a pleasantly minty, cooling, refreshing, and uncomplicated chocolate in this bar. It may not up my antioxi-flavanols or what-have-you, but I don’t mind – at least it tasted good.

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My intention had been to intersperse the Thorntons’ reviews with my backlog of other chocolates, but after two lovely ladies cleverly pre-empted one of my just-eaten Thorntons in the last chocolate review, I decided to instead keep at this UK chocolate company… 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean

For some reason, the word tonka makes me giggle. And think of Oompa Loompas.

I had never heard of tonka beans before coming across this chocolate, but after a little investigating I can safely say that Thorntons is trying to kill us all. 

Or maybe just Americans, as it’s only in the United States that the tonka bean is prohibited by the FDA on account of being lethal in large doses. For the rest of us, the tonka bean is merely a receptacle of vanilla and almond flavours. Who knew nationality affected susceptibility to poison? 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate With Tonka Bean

Venezuela - for you, M.HeartsofPalm.

Apparently, this tonka chocolate won a silver award from the Academy of Chocolate in 2009. Good for it, I say. (I’d like to win an award from the Academy of Chocolate Eating, if that’s at all possible.) Described as having “delicate flavours reminiscent of almond and vanilla”, I must admit that Thornton’s marketing blurb hit the nail on the head this time. 

The aroma reminds me of almond extract, butter caramel, and something a little floral, like jasmine. From the first bite, the flavour is like a magnified well-executed milk chocolate, in the sense that the honey, caramel, and vanilla flavours of a good milk chocolate are all there, but amplified. 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean

Honka honka tonka. That is all.

The tonka bean’s vanilla and almond flavours, combined with the sweetness and dairy emphasis of the milk chocolate itself, combines to create a taste not unlike toffee almonds mixed with clotted cream. HCarryOn noted that along with strong vanilla notes, this also has a bit of cinnamon spice, and I agree. It’s not quite interesting enough to make me buy it again, but I think it would be wonderful for those who are milk chocolate-inclined to begin with. 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Lightly Salted Pistachio

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Lightly Salted Pistachio

More awards, but gold this time.

So, pistachio and chocolate, we meet again. Snapping at the heels of Vestri’s pistachio chocolate, Thorntons has a lot to live up to. Thorntons opts for halved, rather than whole, pistachios, and surrounds these with plain milk chocolate rather than the white chocolate blended with pistachio paste used by Vestri. However, I will state without qualms that Thorntons’ pistachio chocolate is brilliant and, without a doubt, the best of the Thorntons’ bunch so far. 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Lightly Salted Pistachio

Never have bumpy bits been so welcome.

I don’t know whether its technically correct to describe pistachios as having a umami flavour, but I do feel that they contributed a delicious savouriness to the sweet chocolate that rendered the bar extremely satisfying. The nuts were fresh, crunchy, salty, and buttery, and toned down the sweet milk chocolate without overpowering it. There’s something of marscapone and cream cheese in the chocolate’s aroma, and something of golden syrup in the taste, while the “lightly salted pistachios” remind me a little bit of melted butter on toast. In a good way. 

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Lightly Salted Pistachio

It seems my flash had its way with this chocolate.

This is one of the few milk chocolates I have tried on my travels that I really want to buy again. Anything that makes me think of pistachio brittle and deliciousness is a winner in my books, and this chocolate, dear readers of mine, made me so think.

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Now that I’m in England, I’ve lost access to my artisan American chocolates (rest assured I still have many to post about, though). Luckily for me, Thorntons offers a fair few interesting flavours in its 70-90g block range, and I seem to be making my way through rather a lot of them.

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Balsamic

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Balsamic

Just the ticket for drizzling on salad. A salad of marshmallows and unicorns and laughter, that is.

Thorntons is quite the fan of florid marketing speak. I understand the intent behind calling this bar “exquisite, dark chocolate laced with the finest balsamic vinegar”, yet am slightly perplexed by the chocolate being described as “mildly intense”. Mildly intense? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, like saying something is “coldly hot”, or “mullet-ly charming”, for example?

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Balsamic

Don't be a sourpuss! (Geddit? Sour? Vinegar? Oh, chortle.)

There’s definitely something beyond the usual chocolate notes in this bar’s aroma. Something tangy, fruity, wine-like, acidic… but I don’t think I could pick it as balsamic vinegar. The same goes for the taste, for while I tried to get balsamic from it, my mind kept telling me cherry cordial, merlot, port, blackcurrant, and a little bit of walnut.

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Balsamic

I'm all out of vinegar-related captions. The last one shouldn't even have seen the light of day.

HCarryOn tried this one too, and was more adamant than I that it didn’t taste like balsamic vinegar. I did, however, enjoy how this started with cherry cordial, port, and redcurrant jelly flavours before trailing off into bitter walnut. In fact, I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it, as I usually tend towards earthier chocolates. Maybe I was subconsciously stockpiling pleasure before I tried…

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Chilli

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Chilli

I will not deign to comment.

Dark chocolate with chilli? Or, if we read the marketing claptrap on the back, “intense dark chocolate with hints of fiery chilli” and “dark chocolate flavoured with chilli infused cocoa butter”?

Um, I have a more appropriate name for this chocolate.

DARK CHOCOLATE WITH FILTHY, FILTHY LIES.

See, if I were to purchase something entitled “dark chocolate with filthy, filthy lies”, I’d be expecting something other than what it purported to be. I would accept tasting a taste (like walking the walk, or talking the talk, see?) entirely dissimilar to the chocolate’s promoted flavour.

And that would be okay. 

Thorntons Dark Chocolate with Chilli

Fie! Fie on you!

Instead, I found myself popping this chocolate into my mouth with a calm certainty that I’d soon be enjoying one of my favourite flavour combinations… and then… nothing.

Sweet. Some honey in the sweetness. Sweet.

No heat, at all. I ate the entire block in one go, and not once did a spark or flicker or flash of spicy flavour appear.

It was a nice, sweet, pleasant, and plain dark chocolate, but I don’t care. It said it was chilli, and it wasn’t, and so I’m going to take myself off to my bedroom and sulk with my teddy bear.

Well, what do you know? I’m in a hostel, and therefore have neither my own bedroom nor a teddy bear. Looks like this lying thing is contagious.

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