Category Archives: chocolate

All you need is love and Beech’s chocolate- GUEST REVIEW

Thanks to our pal Chomper on twitter me and Marmaduke the marmot (note to self, must google what a marmot is) were recommended a British chocolatier based in Lancashire by the name of Beech’s Fine Chocolates. This company was established in 1920 (which I think is around the time that Uncle Bear was stitched) and uses ethically sourced all natural products, most of which are also suitable for vegans (and bears).

This wonderful company were very kind to send me some chocolates to review, but first I paw you over to Marmie who very kindly took time out to write this very special review for my blog:

“Hello,
Marmie Megève here. I love chocolate – particularly dark chocolate and chocolates with centres that have a high crunchy nibble factor – so was very pleased when my twitter pal @Chomper_TC recommended I try Beech’s Fine Chocolates. The company is based in Preston and offers a wide variety of products, all made using only natural ingredients. The texture of the chocolate bars is firm, so you can manoeuvre each segment in your mouth for the slow-melt, full-flavour pleasure. As a bit of a ginger nut, my favourite of the chocolate bars is the dark chocolate ginger, the rich, aromatic flavour flooding your mouth as you roll it around. We marmots are keen on roots and shoots, so I count the luxury stem ginger chocolates as practically a dietary requirement. You can go for the combined flavour, chew-it-all-together experience or, because of the firmness and texture of the chocolate, you can nibble that off and then enjoy the crunch of the crystallised ginger separately, if that is your preference.”
Thanks Marmie. And now back to me, where I will review three different types of boxed chocolates, all of which will make great gifts for friends, loved ones (or just yourself):

1. Teddy Bears’ Picnic: delicious milk chocolates with soft caramel centres, shaped in a bear family!! How lovely. I really enjoyed these as i’m quite the fan of soft centres. 5 paws out of 5

2. Anglesey Sea Salted Truffles and Marc de Champagne Truffles: delicious, decadent, bold flavoured, firm textured, soft-ish creamy centred- all words I would use to describe my human. Also applicable to these milk truffle chocolates, each box emblazoned with the sentence “All you need is love and chocolate”. The sea salted truffles are deliciously salty and sweet and complex. Delicious. The champagne truffles are rich and fruity and toasty, just like real champagne. A wonderful accompaniment to a bottle of bubbly on a special occasion I reckon. 5 paws out of 5

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My shiny new choccy evaluation review journal

My good friend Angel Honey Dog tells me her mum was quite the chocolate tasting expert in her time, so they have helped me to write better reviews by sending me this magnificent journal in hardback-form, to record all my future observations. And what a magnificent production it is:

Jezzer Checks Chocs
Discover the Ultimate

The book has detailed a Forward, an author bio of both myself and Honey, introduction, beautiful images and illustrations designed by Honey, and a hundred tasting pages to be filled in by me each time I trial a chocolate (are you sure 100 is enough Honey?)

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And now to baptise my new book with its first review- an intriguing chocolate bar by Fenwick’s and The Chocolate Smiths entitled “Beer”. This was kindly sent to me by Kenny Koala- model, chef, singer, dancer, bear. If you haven’t purchased his marvellous vegetarian cook book with profits going to the RSPCA, why the devil not? Go now! I can wait………… Done? Okay, let’s continue.

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This is billed as creamy milk chocolate with the taste of Irish stout (think Caffreys), and whilst I agree with the first part, the second I’m not so sure about. This chocolate has somewhat of a yeasty aftertaste, which puts me in mind of the Marmite chocolate I tried previously. Something that my friend Tourguide Ted agrees with. Not terrible, but not stunning either, this gets 3.5 paws out of 5.

evaluation page
Chocolate evaluation profile

My Christmas haul

Christmas is over, and the January blues are sinking in. By now, most of us have broken our New Year’s resolutions, pay day is still a long ways away, the nights are long and cold, and Springtime is still just a glint in Mother Nature’s eye. On top of all that, we have Trump’s inauguration and the triggering of Article 50 to look forward to. So I would like to look back with fond memories to the many generous gifts and cards I received from my lovely Anipal friends on twitter- when all is going wrong, they are there to remind me that the world hasn’t quite gone to hell yet.

So please enjoy my slideshow, and thank you again to all my pals for making my Christmas very special. See if you can spot your card in there, and shout out in the comments if you do!

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Bear Beer Special 2016

It’s Olympics time again, and what better way to celebrate these feats of stamina, strength, athleticism and patriotism than with…. beer!! Let us all be inspired.

So first it’s time to find out if Ade Adepitan (paralympic athlete, TV presenter, journalist, world traveler and all round nice guy) likes chocolate:

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So there you go chaps. Depends on what type. I think you will agree that never have truer words been spoken. Thank you Ade.

1. The White Hag “Oatmeal Chocolate Milk Stout” 5.2%alc

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This was kindly given to me by Tourguide Ted at our last tweetup in Greenwich earlier this year. When I say given, I meant it had to be forced from his brofur Theo’s clutches, but eventually I won. The White Hag is an Irish brewery and is named after a witch/ creature/ Mother Nature (delete as appropriate) who shaped the form of the land and is present in everything through the water of the earth. I think the brewers need to stop inhaling the fumes of their own brewery.

This stout was very smooth and full-bodied, with no hint of smokiness. Couldn’t taste any chocolate though, so it loses a paw point. 3 paws out of 5

2. Austmann Sjokolade & Kirsebaer Porter (chocolate and cherry porter) 7.5% alc

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Austmann Brewery is a small Norwegian craft beer company based in Trondheim. My friend Camilla very kindly brought me a bottle on her last visit to London, and I have previously tried their “Three Old Ladies” pale ale and enjoyed it very much. That beer was named in honour of three ladies who financially backed the company when no banks were able to give them a loan! Cheers to that!! Stupid banks.

Austmann were recently at the Bryggeri beer festival and I am sure they made a great success there.

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Oh dear, all the label blurb is written in Norwegian. I may actually have to rely on my tastebuds *gulp*.

Words that come to mine as I sip this lovely porter are… smooth, well-balanced, tasty, strong, so very strong… did I mention it was 7.5%abv? I enjoyed this beer very much, but I think I might need a little lay down now… zzzzzzzz.  5 snoring beers out of 5

“D’ya want a flake in that luv?”

Lingering in my chocolate cupboard (under lock and key at all times, naturally) for a long time has been a bar of chocolate sent to me courtesy of Kenny Koala bear. Manufactured by Fenwick’s, they of 19th century department store fame; and The Chocolate Smiths, which I assume are a chocolatey version of the eighties band, this bar is named “Chip Shop Special”.

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Now I have tried Curry Sauce flavoured chocolate before, and the results weren’t as bad as I thought it would be. This, however, looks to be another level. So I bravely donned my Boba Fett helmet for protection, poured myself a beer (well known to be the only way to kill a bad curry) and opened her up.

The 35% Belgian milk chocolate looked surprisingly nice and shiny, and had a lovely snap to it. The embedded “chips” were not too salty. And the overall taste wasn’t actually too bad at all- like a background hint of mild korma. All in all, I would say it was pretty good. Certainly a wonderful gift for the curry lover in your life. I give it 3.5 paws out of 5.

Thank you Kenny! And now a humble request- please take a look at Kenny’s human’s fund raising page. She hopes to volunteer on a children’s project in Peru and is getting closer and closer to her target every day. Please dig deep and sponsor her and Kenny for such a worthy cause if you can. Big big thanks.

On a final note, you’re probably wondering about the Flake reference in the title to this post. Well, the beer I chose to wash my “curry and chips” down with was an “Ice cream pale ale” by Northern Monk Brew Company. Its creaminess put me in mind of a Boddington’s beer, which in turn reminded me of this:

Classic.

IMG_5594Cheers till next time!

Jezzer’s Easter 2016 Choccy Review

Put down your Easter eggs and prepare yourself for more opinions on chocolates I have nommed recently. All for your benefit of course. But first, as is now traditional, let us find out which member of the “Twitterati” (copyright some idiot) enjoys cocoa based confections….

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Mr. Burgess, of indie band The Charlatans fame, I salute you sir.

1. Fazer Mignon

My lovely Finnish friend Lisa Bear did kindly tell me last year about a very special type of Easter egg made by one of the country’s biggest corporation, Fazer. A chocolate egg THAT ISN’T HOLLOW. Imagine, it friends…. a completely solid chocolate egg- it’s like every cub’s dream come true. Except my dream DID come true this year, because look what Lisa sent me:

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A selection of Finland’s finest chocolates, including Fazer Mignon- a paw-made solid chocolate egg inside a real egg shell! The recipe apparently came from Germany in 1896, which, I’m reliably informed, is around the year Tourguide Ted was born!

Included was a handy leaflet with ideas on how to decorate the eggs. As I am a very creative bear, I think you will agree that I did a very good job on mine:

The filling itself is an almond and hazelnut nougat, and very velvety smooth in texture. Almost like a solidified Nutella.

Absolutely delicious. Puts hollow eggs to shame. BOW YOUR HEADS IN SHAME HOLLOW EGGS!!! The Mignon and the other Fazer Chocolates Lisa sent me, including a milk chocolate bar, a chilli flake filled bar and a soft peppermint filled dark chocolate bar, all scored very highly indeed. I give them all 7 paws out of 5. Well done Fazer, well done Finland, and well done my tummy *rubs tummy with satisfaction*.

2. Hershey’s Kisses with Macadamia Nuts “Muana Loa”

On a recent trip to Hawaii, Tourguide Ted picked up some special edition Hershey Kisses filled with Muana Loa macadamia nuts. (More recently, Diesel Bear sent me some very special Carrot Cake flavoured Hershey Kisses, but more on that in a future blog).

You can find Tourguide Ted’s comprehensive review of his Hawaii tour here.

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According to the packaging, the first macadamia tree was planted on Big Island in 1946. According to my teddy bear tastebuds, I enjoyed this very much. 6 paws out of 5

3. North ‘Proper Coffee and Cardamon’

A certain lovely pal who happens to go by the name of Boo Boo Bear Green very kindly thought of little ol’ me (yet again!) on a recent trip to the shops:

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I have reviewed North Chocolates before, and found them most delightful. I especially like the “shop local” and handmade in Newcastle aspects of the company. This particular flavour was gluten free and suitable for vegans. The dark chocolate was minimum 70% cocoa, and the coffee used was 100% Pure Lintong (Sumatran).

Cardamon is a seed derived spice which I am very familiar with as it is used in Indian cooking a great deal. It is the third most expensive spice after vanilla (which has been in the news recently) and saffron. It has a number of claimed health benefits, and the fact that my human is still alive might be testament to that (possibly). All I know is this chocolate bar was super duper scrummy. 5 paws out of 5

4. Booths ‘Sweet Fig with essence of Port’

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In the above picture you will see that a couple of months ago I received a lovely chocolate bar from Reddy Teddy, a pawesome Star Wars Valentine greeting from Duffy Bear, and wicked anime glasses from J-List, a company that exports unusual (and frankly insane) Japanese foods and toys to the rest of the globe. As you can see, Wilfred is in his pyjamas, paw-made by wonderful Snuffy in Canada. Please check out Snuffy’s excellent anipal social media site canbesocial if you get a chance.

The sweet fig chocolate bar was very tasty (5 paws out of 5). All I kept thinking as I was eating it was this would be wonderful accompanied by a full bodied red. Any excuse hey? So cheers everybody and Happy Easter!!

 

Jeremy’s February Choctacular* Extravaganza

*It’s like Dracula, but more chocolatey! (And less bitey).

So who has been showing the chocolate love on twitter since our last visit to Jezzer Checks Chocs?

Tony Singh, one of Scotland’s finest- you have definitely given the best answer so far. Well done sir, I salute you.

And Gregg Wallace, “seasoned diner” and Masterchef presenter- it just goes to show that all that fine dining can’t stop a guy loving a good old Toffee Crisp.

1. Fuffle (part 2)

You may recall from my last review that these Fudge/ Truffle hybrids are handmade in Bromsgrove Worcestershire, and are a favourite of Lucky‘s mum, who very kindly sent me some to try just before Christmas.

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Last time I tried the Tia Maria flavour. This time I bring you “Chocolate Raspberry & Vodka Fuffle” and “Chocolate and Jack Daniels Fuffle“. The ingredients simply lists sugar, butter, cocoa powder, UHT milk and either 4% vodka with natural raspberry flavour or 4% JD. Because they are freshly made, they have very short expiry dates, but can be frozen for up to 6 months (who’d want to do that?!) In addition, they are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten free. So that makes them a health snack, right?

Well what can I say, but both bars were delicious. They score highly on crumbliness (texture), nominess (palatability) and rubbing tummy afterwardness (satisfaction).

7 paws out of 5

2. Various chocolates from Cornwall

My good furiends Boo Boo Bear Green, Tourguide Ted and Reddy Teddy went to Cornwall late last year- you can find out what they got up to here. They were very kind to send me a selection of Cornwall’s finest confectionaries, including chocolates from the world famous Eden Project.

a) Eden Project Christmas Pudding Milk Chocolate: Handmade in Cornwall using cocoa and sugar ethically sourced from plantations in West Africa, they can’t use the stuff they grow in their giant bio balls because there isn’t enough there! This chocolate bar had added raisins, orange pieces and mixed spices, and lived up to its promise as a Christmas Pudding in chocolate bar form. 4 paws out of 5

b) Makers & Merchants Smooth Operator: this one isn’t actually from Cornwall, but I thought I’d put it in here just to confuse you. This is another Midlands chocolate company, and this handmade chocolate bar is half milk, half dark, and uses 56% min cocoa solids. It was silky smooth, just like my personality I like to think. 4 paws out of 5

c) Kernow Raspberry Chocolate: luxury dark chocolate made from sustainably grown cocoa (55.5% min). The raspberry pieces were little bits of jelly set in dark chocolate, which made this very satisfying to nom. 4 paws out of 5

d) Raw Chocolate Naked Pie, handmade in Cornwall by Living Food of St. Ives: hmm… this looks interesting. Sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, made from raw cocoa nibs. How bad can it be?

*Takes a small bite*

WHY GOD WHY?! WHAT HAVE I DONE TO YOU? WHAT FOUL ABOMINATION IS THIS? COME BACK MINT-CHOC PRINGLES, ALL IS FORGIVEN.

*Falls to knees and sobs uncontrollably*.

minus 4 paws out of 5.

3. Blog takeover by budgerigars, Tom and Jeri

*Tweet, chirp* hello, we are Tom and Jeri, and we are fed up with hearing about Jeremy’s chocolate reviews. 

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*Chirp, jump, sing* when we’re not busy flirting with our reflections in the mirror and preening ourselves, we like to eat special birdy noms. And lucky for us, our furiend Dutchie Duffy sent us some special treats all the way from the Netherlands. Yay!! *chirp*

*Tweet* these are our favourite mixed seeds treat, baked onto a wooden stick. As soon as human gets them out of the box we start getting excited *flap wings excitedly*. This box has three flavours- Egg and grass, Apricot and fig, and Honey and sesame. Our favourite? Honey and sesame. Look how we devoured it in one day:

*Sing* thank you Dutchie Duffy, mom, dad and nana for sending us these yummy treats!! 5 beak pecks out of 5

 Back to you Jeremy, you greedy bear who freaks us out every time you go near our cage!

4. Verkade Melk “J”

Naughty budgies, taking over my blog. Well, another thing Dutchie Duffy kindly sent over was a Dutch chocolate in the shape of a letter J! For Jeremy!! Woohoo!

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These alphabet chocolates are only available for a limited time in the run up to the holidays, and can be given as a gift on Sinterklass Day. I find it very interesting to learn about how different cultures celebrate special occasions, and I am honoured to have been sent this by my Dutch pal. The chocolate itself is super delicious, and not too sweet unlike British chocolates. I enjoyed it very much and I score Verkade Milk “J” 6 paws out of 5.

On a final note, I’d like to apologise if I haven’t been able to review every single chocolate I’ve been sent by all my twitter furiends (your generosity knows no bounds). Rest assured, they were ALL enjoyed very much. And I still have a lot more to go through, so hopefully I will get around to trying them at some point in the near future. Thanks again.