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:
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
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
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.
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
Hello everyone. Soon it will be the birthday of Jesus and I hope you are having a lovely Christmas (or Crispmouse for all my kitty friends out there), a happy Hannukah, or just enjoying the season’s festivities in a non-faith related manner. I think I’ve covered all my bases there.
So, as is tradition now, let us begin by finding out which celebrity on twitter likes chocolate this week…
Why it’s none other than Radio 4 comedy writer and friend to the stars*, John Finnemore! Well done, sir. Well done.
1. Hammond’s Candy Corn and Pumpkin Spice Chocolate
Twitter legend and world traveller Tourguide Ted (you all know him, said in best Citizen Khan accent) went to the U.S. of A. recently and brought me back a nice selection of autumnal-themed candy (including my favourite Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, so sweet, so very very sweet *drools*). Ted jets around the globe so often that our friend Doctor Red had to invent the Ted Tracker 2000 (patent pending). Please take a look at his site and check out his thoroughly blogged adventures by clicking the link above.
Hammond’s Candies are made in Denver, Colorado, and their candy bar packaging is very bright and eye catching. The Pumpkin Spice is a dark chocolate bar with a creamy pumpkin spice flavour filling. One bar alone contains 320 calories, and I enjoyed each and every one of them. 4 paws out of 5.
Candy Corn is a very American product (much like Pumpkin Spice, but that’s becoming more prevalent in Europe thanks to companies like Starbucks using it in their coffees every Autumn). A bit of online research tells me that Candy Corn is mainly made of sugar, corn syrup and confectioner’s wax, and is painted yellow, orange and white to mimic the appearance of actual corn. This milk chocolate with candy corn filling was also 320 calories, and I also enjoyed each and every one of them. 4 chubby bears out of 5
2. Baratti & Milano Gianduitto and Cremino Classico chocolate box
Goodies from Japp and Camilla
On a recent tweetup with Camilla and Japp the Bear’s Human in the Museum of London, I was very lucky to have been brought many treats from Venice (from Japp Bear) and Norway (Camilla), including beer!! More on the beer later.
First, a big thanks to Japp’s humans, who visit Venice regularly and make the most GORGEOUS jewellery out of Venetian glass- please check out their site here and maybe buy a nice gift for a loved one? I personally love myself and treat myself to goodies and treats regularly, but that’s just me.
Baratti and Milano confectioners were founded in Turin in 1858. I’m only a little bear and have little concept of time, but 1858 sounds like a very long time ago. I wonder if my human was around then. The chocolates themselves come individually wrapped, and are best described as decadence in chocolate form. Creamy, smooth nutty, yummy morsels of heaven. If any advertisers wish to use my descriptive services on their products, I am freely available and will work for chocolate or beer. Preferably both. 5 paws out of 5.
3. Stratos Melky and Laban Seigmenn
Stratos is a Norwegian chocolate company I have reviewed previously on this hallowed blog. However, I have only just discovered the “moo moo moo” commercial. Genius.
Stratos Melky is a milkier, maltier, less sweet version of our Aero Bar; less crumbly and with a thicker milk chocolate coating round the outside, this chocolate really hit the spot. And by spot, I mean my fat bear tummy. 4.5 paws out of 5.
Laban Siegmenn (translation- Jellymen) are yummy sugar coated fruit jellies shaped like people. The flavours include apple, lemon, pineapple, raspberry and peach. And of course, as the sweets are people shaped, there is only one way to eat them- BITE THEIR HEADS OFF FIRST!!!!!! 4.5 paws out of 5. Thanks Camilla.
4. Hogs Back Chocolate Lager and Tre Gamle Damer Pale Ale
As I mentioned above, Tourguide Ted gets around. On an earlier visit to (*checks Ted Tracker 2000*) Cornwall with Reddy Teddy and Boo Boo Bear Green to meet #TedMates LT, Lu, and Christian, they were kind enough to send me a selection of Cornish choccies and even a chocolate beer. The beer in question was by famous brewery Hogs Back in Tongham, and is 4.5% abv.
The Montezuma Hogs Back beer is surprisingly tasty- the beer is smooth and crisp, and the chocolate is subtle and almost tastes like milk chocolate. I was surprised by how much I liked this. Perfect on its own, or even as an accompaniment to a meal or pudding. 5 paws out of 5
Tre Gamle Damer is Norwegian for “three old ladies”, and this Belgian style pale ale was brought specially back by Camilla from a Norwegian beer festival for me to try. It 5.5% abv. Whilst I am by no means the beer connoisseur that Jezza and Arpad are, I know what I like and I like this. Also, it made my teddy ears tremble in tipsiness, so it must be good. 4.5 paws out of 5
5. Crevin cafe, pistache, vanille and caramel
Speaking of beer connoisseurs Jezza and Arpad, on a recent trip to Bruges, Brussels, they were lovely enough to send me some delicious pawcrafted marshmallow style chcolates of various flavours, all coated in a delicious crisp chocolate shell. I would love to show you a picture the chocolates in all their glory, but a certain human got his greedy paws on them and, well, see for yourself…
Well, I think it is safe to say that these chocolates were exceptionally yummy, if we judge it by drunken/ hungry human behaviour. So let’s give it 5 greedy humans out of 5
6. Fuffle (Part one)- “Tia’s of Joy”
Last, but by no means least, we have a very special selection of freshly made confectionaries sent to me by #FurryTails Spa Manager Lucky and family. Lucky enjoys my drunken antics at FurryTails. Just ask him.
Fuffle are freshly made chocolate truffle bars made by a chap called Gary Davis in Bromsgrove. They come in a variety of naughty flavours, and so far I have tried just one- the chocolate and Tia Maria Fuffle.
The bars are so beautifully wrapped, it’s a shame to unwrap them. But of course I must. The bar itself has a very unusual texture, almost crumbly like a brownie. And yet smooth and not dry at all. Very strange. First bite: wow. Extremely decadent flavour of Tia Maria combined with the luxury of fresh chocolate and truffle. This is just AMAZING. Honestly, you need Fuffles in your life. I bet teddy bear heaven tastes like this. If I ever get to teddy heaven, watch out- I’m going to eat you! 7 paws out of 5
MERRY CHRISTAMAS EVERYONE!!
*one big star really, Benedict Cumbablah, who appeared in his brilliant Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure.
1. Fans of the modern BBC reworking of the Sherlock Holmes stories starring Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch will recognise the picture below. This is the street that stands in for the exterior of Baker Street, and has made Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Cafe* somewhat of a famous pilgrimage for fans from around the globe. One of those fans is our twitter friend Camilla from Norway, and last month me, Rosie and Japp (and human assistants in tow) met her here to check it out for ourselves.
Lucky for me Camilla and Rosie brought me some nommy chocolates to try out for my blog. Hurrah!
a) Japp– with its milk chocolate, nougat and caramel, this is somewhere between a Milky Bar and Mars Bar in flavour, but nowhere near as sweet. My human says it reminds him of the low sugar “red wrapper” Mars Bars he tried in Singapore a few years ago. As the UK chocolate manufacturers put more and more sugar into their confectionary to keep us addicted, the Japp chocolate was a breath of fresh air. 4 paws out of 5
b) Both the Troika and the Stratos chocolate bars, Camilla proudly tells me, come from her home town of Trondheim in Norway. The Stratos was simply delicious- a lovely bubbly, malty milk chocolate. Again, not too sweet, this is far superior to the Aero chocolate bars we have here in Blighty. Stratos gets 6 paws out of 5. I approached the Troika with some trepidation as the cover picture made it look suspiciously like a Turkish Delight/ rosewater flavoured chocolate. Bleugh! Fortunately, the top layer of jelly was actually raspberry flavoured :relieved ears:. The other two layers were truffle and marzipan, covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate (see below). This was okay, but I definitely preferred the Stratos. I give Troika 4 paws out of 5.
c) When Rosie last went to Lille, France she was nice enough to bring me back two very yummy chocolate bars from Carrefour. A dark chocolate Mango and Sichuan Pepper bar (55% min cocoa) and a milk chocolate Caramalised Almond and Star Anise (33% min cocoa) bar. Both were supremely delicious and oozed quality. Of the two, I preferred the milk chocolate bar with its crispy toasted almond biscuit and touch of star anise spice. However, the slightly chewy sweet mango in the dark chocolate also works wonderfully. Both get 5 paws out of 5.
*for a fuller review of Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and Cafe please see here.
2. My lovely friend BooBoo Bear Green has once again sent me some lovely and unusual flavoured chocolates, the first from Belgium and one second one from England.
a) Cachet ‘Blackberry and Ginger’ (57% cocoa min): gosh, this was an interesting taste experience! Lots of ginger and chewy blackberry with dark chocolate, this made a good whack to the old teddy tastebuds! 4 paws out of 5
b) Seed and Bean ‘Lemon and Cardamom’ (organic, 58% cocoa): this company prides itself in sourcing its ingredients ethically and have received 100% accreditation from The Ethical Company Organisation. The taste of Lemon Cardamom works very well with the dark chocolate, which is clearly of high quality. In this household we are no strangers to cardamom being used in desserts, being fans of Indian cuisine which use it liberally in sweet dishes. 5 paws out of 5
3.Lindt ‘Haselnuss De Luxe’ (Hazelnut Luxury): this was sent to me by my lovely friends Burnie and Greg Bear in Germany. And what can I say? Move heaven and earth to try this chocolate bar, which is just soooooooo yummy! Imagine a Ferrero Rocher in chocolate bar form, make it even yummier, and then you might come close to being the spoilt ambassador in those cheesy tv adverts. 7 paws out of 5 (don’t question my scoring system- it is what it is)
Coming soon to Jezzer Checks Chocs: CURRY & CHIPS CHOCOLATE (from BBBG), CHEESE AND ONION CHOCOLATE (from Duffy Bear in Ireland), VEGEMITE CHOCOLATE (from Ozzie Quirkybear) AND VARIOUS OTHER CHOCOLATES FROM TOURGUIDE TED!!