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Posts Tagged ‘Maltesers’

One of the nice things about January is that this is the month when Easter treats pop up on shop shelves here in the UK.

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are one of my favourite Easter snacks, but I’ve waxed lyrical about these before (here), so instead I would like to introduce a relative newcomer to the Easter treat market, the Malteaster Bunny:

Malteaster Bunny

I don’t know exactly when the Malteaster Bunny hopped into production, but I’ve been aware of them bouncing about for the past two Easters.

When it first came out, as far as I’m aware, the Bunny was available in one size only – the 29g pack pictured above. This year, however, I’ve noticed for the first time that there is a smaller treat called the Malteaster Minibunny, which weighs in at a teeny wee 11.6g, less than half the weight of the original Bunny.

From what I’ve seen of them, Minibunnies only come in packs of five. Here is a single original sized Malteaster Bunny next to a warren of 5 Minibunnies:

Original Bunny with a warren of Minibunnies

And here is the warren, with the Bunny and then one Minibunny:

Warren, Bunny and Minibunny

Here’s a full complement of 5 Minibunnies:

5 Minibunnies

The original Bunny and the Minibunny are a little bit different from each other in shape, as well as size. Here’s a Bunny on the left with a Minibunny nextdoor:

Malteaster Bunny with Minibunny

Where the Minibunny is pretty svelte, the larger Bunny has an agreeably expansive paunch:

Fat Bunny and Minibunny

The Minibunny is just over 5cm tall and the Bunny is very nearly 9cm:

Bunny heights

Both the Bunny and the Minibunny are made of the same stuff, a thick and creamy chocolate coating round a Malteser-based centre. The centre is made up of the honeycomb crunchiness you find in Maltesers, encased in an almost fudge-like matrix. The chocolate on the ears of the Bunny, in particular, is quite glossy:

Inside the Bunny

In an attempt to find out if there was any difference in taste between the Bunny and the Minibunny, I did a blind taste test. The only discernible difference was that the Minibunny seemed to have a creamier taste, but I think this was due to me biting a bit that had thicker chocolate and less honeycomb centre than that of the Bunny.

I’m not sure what the recommended retail prices are, but when I bought them they were all on special offer and the Bunny worked out cheaper than the Minibunnies per gram.

As you would expect with any sort of chocolate, Malteaster Bunnies slip down perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee (and a piece of marmalade cake if you happen to have it):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABunny with bunnies:

Bunny with bunnies

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Mimi’s Bakehouse is a tearoom I’ve been wanting to visit for some time. It’s situated in the Leith area of Edinburgh, a part of the city I know reasonably well, having inhabited three different flats in the vicinity.

Edinburgh, and Leith in particular, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. In the past couple of weeks I’ve read two Ian Rankin books set in Edinburgh, and the main character in my own novel (still under construction, currently at 25,000 words) lives in Leith.

All of this, combined with my desire to meet up with a chum who lives in the great metropolis, led to me nipping down there last week.

The day was dreich (wet, damp, dull and – some might say – a bit miserable) but, arriving a bit early, I wandered round some of my old haunts.

One never knows, on revisiting a place, quite what one’s feelings will be. I was half expecting to be irritated by the noise and traffic, put off by the general busyness of the city, which has sometimes been the case when I’ve been back to Edinburgh after my quiet life in leafy Perthshire. However, I was surprised to find that I felt happy, exhuberant and delighted to be back. Quite a few of Leith’s streets are cobbled, rather than covered with tarmac (is this known in the US as asphalt? I’ve never been too sure): I was glad to see this old chap again, a fellow I often used to walk past and bid good day to: Although some of the shops, pubs, cafes, etc. have changed since I was last here, it was reassuring to see that some looked exactly as I’d left them. This wee pub has probably looked much the same for the past 200 years, dating back as it does to 1785: Inside, Mimi’s provided a bright and welcoming contrast to the weather. Indeed, far from feeling the chill outside, the ladies on the wallpaper appeared to be feeling the heat: We opted to sit in one of the sofa areas, which was decorated with some stylish cushions: The main point of interest to my mind, however, was the cake counter. I opted for the coffee and walnut: If I’d been in a chocolate mood I would have found this creation hard to resist: And if I’d been craving the malty crunchiness of Maltesers, this little gem would have been top of my list: To go with my cake, I ordered Teapigs Chai tea, which came in a little teapot with a slice of orange on the side: The cake was heavily iced (a bit too much for me on this occasion, although if I’d been desperate for a sugar rush I’d have scoofed it back readily enough), but the sponge itself was extremely light and fluffy:

Just as coffee and walnut is one of the cakes I frequently like to try, my chum is very partial to a caramel, or millionaire, shortbread. Mimi’s had large slabs of the stuff on offer, and he jumped at the opportunity, pairing it with a cappuccino: I wasn’t too fussed about trying it, since it looked a bit heavy and solid to me, but when I tasted a little corner I was astonished by its melt-in-the-mouth texture. The biscuit, toffee and chocolate disappeared together in a most pleasant manner. It was, surely, one of the best of its kind.

Mimi’s is, altogether, rather a stylish establishment. The ladies toilet can be located by this attractive notice on the door: The black and white theme evident throughout the tearoom itself, is continued in the bathrooms: After our delicious repast, my comrade had to get back to work and I thought I’d get a little exercise by way of trotting round the Botanic Gardens, which were on my route out of the city. The colours were beautiful but it was raining quite heavily. One good thing about going to the Botanics on such a wet day was that I virtually had the place to myself, including the magnificent hot houses: While I was pounding the pavements in Leith and driving through the city, I noticed that there are lots of new tearooms that weren’t there in my day.

The trouble, if you can call it that, is that there are far more tearooms to sample than I have the capacity for. Just as I don’t expect to die with an empty in-tray, neither do I anticipate managing to consume all the cakes I would like to gorge on in this one short lifetime. If ever there were a reason for reincarnation, that must be it.

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I recently had a malteser tiffin (see Works of Art post) and discovered from fellow blogger Marian that not everyone knows what a Malteser is. I feel this situation needs to be rectified.

Here’s a typical packet of maltesers (I was going to buy the standard sized bag but this one sitting next to it jumped out at me):

Here’s a little group of Maltesers:

If you’ve ever been to Britain, a 1p coin might help you to imagine the size of a Malteser:

Or perhaps the relative sizes of a sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, Malteser, Scrabble letter and 1 Euro coin may be more useful:

Each Malteser consists of a thin layer of chocolate surrounding a ball of honeycomb crisp. If you’re careful, you can nibble the chocolate layer off, leaving the honeycomb centre to enjoy separately. Alternatively, if you bite straight through both chocolate and honeycomb you get a wonderful combination of the two:

Astonishingly, Maltesers have been manufactured, by Mars, for about 75 years, and this year they will become Fairtrade certified. They are currently one of the top 5 confectionery items sold in the UK, and keen swimmers will be relieved to hear that, unlike the other bestsellers, they float in water:

The world record achievement for the most Maltesers thrown and caught in the mouth within one minute is held by Americans Ashrita Furman and Bipin Larkin. Ashrita provided the champion mouth that caught the Maltesers, while Bipin Larkin’s victorious propelling action lobbed the winning number in. According to the Guinness World Records website, the triumphant pair managed an impressive 66 Maltesers inside 60 seconds in September 2010. Ashrita’s website claims that he beat his own record by an additional 4 Maltesers in June 2011, again with Bipin Larkin hurling them in, making a new world record of 70.

The standard size pack of Maltesers (37g) contains only 187 calories, which has led to the advertising tagline “the lighter way to enjoy chocolate”. Since they are relatively low in calories, covered in chocolate and almost contain honey (there’s no honey in the list of ingredients, but they certainly have a honeyish malty flavour), they are more or less verging on being a health food. As with all medicine, they need to be taken in moderation, but given that they’re so light, they’re unlikely to cause significant weight gain.

Small horses enjoy them too (if you click on the link below you’ll see the proof – I took this photo a few years ago and can’t now find the original on my computer):

Shona enjoying Maltesers

For more information on Maltesers, please see their very own website: www.maltesers.com

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