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Archive for the ‘Cadbury’ Category

After my post about the Malteaster Bunny, fellow blogger, David, suggested I do a comparison of Galaxy chocolate bars.

I’m not a huge fan of Galaxy chocolate, so this is probably not something I would have thought of doing for myself. However, always willing to eat chocolate for a good cause, I obtained a small selection to taste and review.

From the various options available, I picked the three that appealed most when I was faced with the shelf of choices at my local supermarket – Smooth Milk, Roasted and Caramelised Hazelnuts, and Caramel:

3 Galaxy Bars

It used to be, in my youth, that Galaxy was Galaxy. It was a relatively humble chocolate bar, not one to big it up with fancy fillings and different varieties. It left that sort of carry on to the likes of Cadbury, who have always (at least as far back as I can remember) been keen on giving the customer a number of options with their standard Dairy Milk bar, such as Dariy Milk Fruit and Nut and Dairy Milk Whole Nut.

I have the feeling that there may be two types of people in the world, or at least in Britain: those who favour Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate and those who prefer Galaxy.

I am, virtually always, in the former category. Having made this distinction, I should perhaps be comparing a Galaxy bar and a Dairy Milk bar, but alas I didn’t have any Dairy Milk and I did have three large bars of Galaxy. Another time.

Of the three that I chose, the Smooth Milk was the only one I was familiar with, but I had high hopes for the nut one, seen in the middle here:

3 bars in a toast rack

The outer paper sleeves of the bars were very similar, but each one had a distinctly different colour of inner foil wrapping:

Galaxy bars coloured foil inners

Inside, the three bars looked very similar, except that the Caramel one had larger chunks than the other two:

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The Caramel chunks also had a more rounded top than the others. The shape reminded me of a peculiar bed I once slept in in the south of France, which was a bit like a narrow treasure chest on legs. I spent the entire night trying not to roll off it, particularly as it was quite high off a hard wooden floor.

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Unlike the bed, however, the Caramel chunks were filled with sticky sweet caramel, which oozed out satisfyingly when bitten into:

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The Smooth Milk chunks had an asymmetrical cross section and a very sweet taste, although not quite as sweet as the Caramel:

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The Roasted and Caramelised Hazelnut chunks also had an asymmetrical cross section. Due to the addition of the nuts, they were slightly less sweet than the Smooth Milk chunks:

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As I’ve already incidated, Galaxy chocolate is not my usual nibble, and I was reminded why this was when I tasted these three bars. For my taste, Galaxy chocolate is too sweet. I say this as a fan of chocolate and multitudinous other sweet snacks, and I’m not quite sure if it’s solely due to sugar content or if there’s something more subtle at work.

If I were buying Galaxy again, I would a) go for a smaller bar, and b) probably opt for the Smooth Milk or the Roasted and Caramelised Hazelnut, rather than the Caramel, which was the sweetest of them all.

After finding them too sickly, I wondered what to do with all the leftover chocolate. In my usual manner when faced with such dilemmas, I fell back on bunging it in some scones:

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When I’ve made chocolate scones before I’ve grated dark chocolate into the mixture, and for some reason that worked better with a scone than Galaxy Smooth Milk, at least in my opinion. To my mind, these scones were, like the chocolate on its own, a bit too sickly sweet.

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Given my definite preference for Cadbury, I wondered if there was any situation in which I would choose Galaxy instead.

Since the sweetness of Galaxy was the thing that struck me most, it would seem to be the ideal treatment for shock. A nice hot cup of tea and a slab of Galaxy chocolate would be more to my taste than a very sweet cup of tea on its own, and so for that reason I’m thinking of Galaxy more as a medicine than a sweet snack.

Despite my own preference for Cadbury’s chocolate, the fact remains that Galaxy is an enormously successful global brand, having gone from strength to strength since its creation in 1810. It now exists in at least 10 different varieties, and that’s not including the Easter egg versions.

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Outside the UK, the same chocolate is known in some places as Dove, although why that name was chosen in place of Galaxy I really have no idea. It seems an odd choice, given the astronomical connection between Galaxy and its manufacturer, Mars.

Incidentally, I recently learned from a newspaper article that three members of the Mars family are amongst the richest people in the world, featuring at joint 36th place in the Forbes World Billionaires List. As with most of the people on the list, the three Mars family members are in their 70s and 80s. Being the heirs to a huge confectionery company obviously hasn’t done their general health too much harm, but I can’t help wondering about the state of their teeth.

Note for Geoff, who suggested long ago that I do a review of Willie’s chocolate – sorry I still haven’t got round to this. I did buy some from Provender Brown for a friend but I haven’t tasted it myself yet…the day will come, I’m sure!

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If you like Creme Eggs and you like cakes, you might like this Creme Egg cake. I saw it today on Twitter and was quite overwhelmed:

That came from Mimi’s Bakehouse in Edinburgh:

http://www.mimisbakehouse.com

I strongly recommend looking at the Gallery on that website, prepare to be amazed.

Hats off to Mimi!

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A few weeks ago, it might even be a couple of months ago now, I noticed Cadbury’s Creme Eggs making their annual reappearance on supermarket shelves. As with displaying Christmas cards in September, they like to warm us up for Easter well in advance.

Such aggressive marketing can of course sicken us of the event long before it’s actually upon us, but in this instance, if you’re a fan of the Creme Egg, it lengthens the munching season which, to my mind, is no bad thing.

Here is one of the eggs of which I speak, lying down:  And sitting up (I had to apply a blob of adhesive on its bottom for this shot, just as you would with a newborn baby, as it utterly refused to remain upright unaided): The Creme Egg is one of these clever confections, like the Tunnock’s teacake (featured elsewhere on this blog, click the name to see), that manages to wrap itself up in nothing more than a sheet of tin foil and some clever folds: Taken cumulatively over the years, I must have dedicated many hours to the consumption of Creme Eggs, but have yet to divest one of its foil without tearing the little jacket. However, if done carefully enough you can see that the jacket is simply a rectangle of prettily coloured foil: Despite being heavily barcoded, the Creme Egg must cause considerable annoyance to checkout assistants. I have often witnessed them trying and failing to scan Creme Eggs (I’ve even tried to do it myself at a self-service checkout and failed dismally), because of the way the foil is folded round the egg.

However you take the wrapper off, this is what greets you inside (apologies for the poor focus) –  a beautiful chocolate egg shape with varying sizes of egg-shaped rings and a star in the middle on each side: What comes next is probably very much a matter of personal taste. I have tried various ways of breaking into a Creme Egg, but my favourite way is to bite into the top first, using a similar line of attack to that used on boiled eggs (except then I use a spoon, since I’m not yet a complete degenerate). I have, in fact, tried to open one by putting it in an egg cup and cracking it open with an egg spoon, but it wasn’t terribly successful and I remember the egg spoon getting very sticky with the fondant. As my father says, fingers were made before forks (and, by extension, teeth before spoons): Inside is a luscious, sticky, gooey fondant. Depending on how the egg has been stored, the texture of the fondant can sometimes be thicker and harder than it ought to be, but at its best it flows in a silky gloopy manner and glistens at you from inside its chocolate shell:  Nowadays, I like to lick and slurp the fondant out but I remember in my youth I used to enjoy scooping it out with a teaspoon: When the little orange yokey bit is revealed it’s a joy to behold: Another thing I remember from my youth is that I used to enjoy a Creme Egg with a cup of tea (and still do), but rather than just dunk the egg in the tea or swish tea and egg around in my mouth together as I would do now, back then I used to use the scooping spoon to transfer some of my tea to the inside of the egg. I did it on this occasion, just for old time’s sake, but since it would distress my mother to see it and quite possibly lead to her disowning me, I’m not going to include the photo I took (it isn’t very nice, I must admit).

Around the egg, the thickness of the chocolate does vary a bit. For the most part it’s fairly uniform but towards one end – and with some eggs this is at the bottom and others at the top – there’s a a thicker, chunkier bit of chocolate. In the case of this egg it was at the bottom: I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever eaten more than one Creme Egg in a sitting. I have a very vague recollection of having done so once and having been left feeling so sick that I’ve never repeated the process, so – for me at least – more than one Creme Egg at a time would be too much. They’re so sweet, so sticky, so filling and so satisfying in themselves, that the shape and size Cadbury have made them is just right, in my opinion.

I generally buy my Creme Eggs singly, but now and then I splash out and buy a box of 6. I think it’s very fitting that Cadbury have jumped on the egg-packaging bandwagon by supplying them in half-dozen packs:

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When it comes to Cadbury’s chocolate, I have long held the view that the Cadbury’s Twirl is my favourite chocolate bar:

When I’m doing my ‘proper’ job at sea, there are teams of cooks who look after all the catering during the voyage. No unauthorised personnel are permitted to cook on the boat and so what we eat is determined largely by the cooks onboard. Being a reasonably health-conscious* vegaquarian, this is not the ideal situation for me, because meals are largely meat-based and there can be a lot of fried food. There are certain foods I miss at sea: my breakfast bagel, scones, cakes, and various veggie food I enjoy cooking at home, and although I would like to take more of my own food with me, there simply isn’t the luggage space. However, one thing I do always make room for in my luggage is a big bag of Twirls.

The Twirl first burst onto the scenes in the 1980s, and is now Cadbury’s best-selling chocolate bar. Hardly surprising, when you eat one and realise the absolute genius of the product.

It is based on the concept of the Cadbury’s Flake, which has been around since the 1920s:

The Twirl, in its standard form (there are several deviations available), consists of two bars of Flake, each coated in a thin layer of chocolate. The Flake is a single bar, slightly longer than the Twirl, and exists without the extra chocolate coating:

Even if you’re not familiar with Cadbury, you may well have seen a Flake, or something like it, sticking out of an ice cream, for the Flake has been a popular addition to ice cream cones throughout the decades, in the form of the ‘99‘ (there are suggestions about the derivation of the name on Wikipedia, which can be viewed by clicking on ’99′ above).

The Flake came into existence, the way many great inventions do, as a by-product of something else. In the 1920s some eagle-eyed employee of Cadbury’s noticed that when excess chocolate dribbled over the moulds used to create other bars, it fell off in folds leading to the trademark flakiness so central to both the Flake and the Twirl:

I do remember having a passion for Flakes pre-Twirl, but since I was born in 1972 I didn’t have much opportunity to establish them in my diet before Twirls came muscling in and stole my heart. The question that has been troubling me is this: is the Twirl really better than the Flake?

Today, I set out to find the answer. In order to start my investigation, I had to obtain both a Flake and a Twirl, which was an extremely easy task as my local shop very handily stocks both in profusion.  I got them home, opened them up and, as you can see, took some photographs of them, before diving in for the taste test. As shown below, the Flake (on the right) is slightly larger in perimeter than the Twirl:

The outside edges of the Flake are heavily textured with lots of visible folds, while the Twirl is encased in a smooth outer shell that barely suggests the interesting structure beneath:

According to the ingredients and nutrition information on the packaging, the two products are almost identical. They only differ in tiny ways in terms of typical values per 100g. The Flake apparently contains very slightly fewer calories, a bit more protein, a little less carboyhdrate and just 0.1g of a difference in fat, fibre and sodium than the Twirl. Why these differences should exist at all, I really can’t tell but perhaps one of my intelligent readers could enlighten me.

So, down to the important bit of all this: eating them. I started with a bite of the Twirl, which was quite a clean and neat operation:

And then, carefully because I know what sort of crumb trouble can ensue with this manoeuvre, bit into the Flake:

As you can see, eating a Flake is a messier procedure than eating a Twirl, which is the major thing against the Flake, in my opinion. On the up side, if you eat it carefully enough and manage to save all the crumbs (particularly if you catch them in the wrapper and make a chute out of it, down which the crumbs can slide straight into your mouth) there is the enjoyable prospect of the ‘extra’ bits at the end when you’ve finished the main body of the confection.

But what of the taste? Well, at first I really didn’t detect any difference in taste, but the more I went on with it the more I became convinced that the Flake tasted slightly creamier. However, I’m a bit suspicious that this could actually be down to the texture rather than the taste. Since it doesn’t have the outer coating to break through, the Flake melts immediately in the mouth whereas the Twirl takes a bit longer to disappear on the tongue. Could this result in a creamier tasting Flake? I don’t honestly know. I think I will have to try and induce some volunteers to test this out in a blind tasting.

So, what is the result of this investigation? Well, based on this one trial I think that if I had to choose a favourite taste and texture combination, I would – surprisingly to me – choose the Flake. On the other hand, in terms of portability and ease of scoffing, I would opt for the Twirl. I should imagine that this means I will continue to take Twirls offshore with me, but perhaps when I’m at home I’ll veer more towards the Flake.

Welcome back old chum!

* you may take issue with this, given the number of cakes I devour, not to mention bars of chocolate

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