Taste Test – Rose Otto Milk Chocolate

Last week when I was having my London mooch, I thought I’d pop into Liberty’s for a mooch and somehow ended up walking straight through to the chocolate shop. I was initially drawn to some “Great British” themed chocolate but after a closer look, I discovered a rose flavoured milk chocolate. Rococo’s Rose Otto set me back £4.50 for a 70g bar so it’s pretty pricey and my expectations were high.

Rose Otto

Excuse my poor quality photo, I promise I am looking at cameras! You can see better pictures on the website through the link I gave earlier. As you can see, the packaging is understated, not the usual garish purple I’m used to having as the wrapping of my chocolate and I have to say, it instantly made me look at this differently and expect something good.

When you open it up, it just looks like any other milk chocolate bar though slightly on the thin side but you cannot miss the smell. It smells like Turkish delight, but really good Turkish delight. The rose smell is so fresh you almost don’t want to taste it because it doesn’t compute that it can taste as good as it smells. It does! The bf and I both tried it and had the same conclusion…this is what we wish Turkish delight tasted like. It’s delicious! In fact, it’s so delicious that I haven’t scoffed the whole bar at once as I want to return to savour it again and again. 

The chocolate itself is smooth and the perfect level of milkiness, not overly sweet as some is. It’s also fairly soft so you don’t get any crunch or crumble; I hate when you bite into milk chocolate and it’s tough, it should start melting immediately in my opinion.

So, the verdict is… buy this! But don’t buy it when you’re depressed and want to munch a whole tub of celebrations, buy it when you feel good and fancy a treat. You can’t waste this by eating it too quickly, it’s far too good for that. It’s expensive and delicious, a bold statement so you should treat it with the respect it commands. Yum! x

P.S. – Yes I just blogged about a chocolate bar right after eating it. That’s how much I love it!!!

Where to Eat (Posh Pub Grub) – Berkshire

I’ve had an absolutely fantastic couple of weeks and finally I have internet and TV again so I can finally update you on what’s been going on and pass my recommendations on to you!

Last week my lovely dad took me out for dinner, partly just because he could and partly because  he was lonely while my step-mum was away. It was kept secret from me until we arrived but his destination of choice was Anthony Worral Thompson’s The Greyhound which is just outside Reading, Berkshire. I’ve heard from friends and family before that the food there is good but had never got round to actually going myself so I was quite excited.

The Bar Area Where We Sat (Taken from The Greyhound website)

Once inside, the venue is split into a bar area and a restaurant area; we were sat in the bar area because they allowed dogs in there so we took my parents’ little bear with us. (He was missing his mummy even more than my dad was!)

Firstly, I must say the service was fantastic, our waiter was really friendly and attentive from the moment we walked in the door. Although, and I must make this clear, I didn’t feel like I was being watched or under pressure as I sometimes do with waiters who are overly attentive. Not only that, but a plastic tub of water was brought out for the dog almost immediately which is a thoughtful touch; often you have to ask for that.

Secondly, we had AWT himself in the kitchen which was nice to see. So many celebrity chefs open establishments and I always wonder just how often they even get round to visiting them. Thirdly, there was live music; we had a singer with a beautiful voice singing Nina Simone, etc. which really added to the atmosphere, making it really relaxed and also ensuring you could have a conversation without feeling everyone else was listening.

Finally I must of course mention the food! There was a set price menu which you could have 1-3 courses off, all 3 was only £14 which is great value. That’s a bit of an early bird deal before 8pm though. There is also the proper restaurant menu and then there is the pub grub menu. Sadly I didn’t think to take any pictures but I can remember what we had and it was delicious!

To start we shared the Chilli-Salt Squid with Spring Onions from the main menu which was amazing! The squid wasn’t chewy at all, the chilli was strong without being overpowering and there were a lot of other flavours also thrown in to make it just that bit different to everywhere else. I highly recommend!

For mains, dad had a fish curry which had fish cakes and big juicy prawns in it. Even the rice was really well flavoured! I had a steak and ale pie with mash, veg. and gravy and it was divine. The pie had a lovely, rustic, homemade feel to it and tasted like love had been put into it. I can’t find those on the website menus so not sure which menu they came from – I think it was the pub grub menu which is only available for lunches or on Wed and Thurs evenings.

I’d like to say we stopped there but we did have dessert. Again, our menu differed slightly to what’s on the web but dad had an almond panettone type thing with custard. Not the sort of thing I would ever order but it was fantastic. It was sweet and full of homely flavour whilst also remaining quite light so it didn’t sit too heavy.  I however, went down the fully chocolatey route: chocolate brownie with chocolate tart and chocolate ice-cream! It was rather rich but all very tasty; the tart was my favourite as the base was really sweet and cut through the richness of the chocolate somewhat.

All in all, it was a very pleasant meal and somewhere I would love to go back to for a lazy Sunday lunch. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend a visit. For the quality of food, the pricing is very reasonable so you should definitely check it out. Oh and don’t forget, it’s dog friendly too! x

Where to Eat – Ice Cream

Now we all know that my favourite place for ice cream in Reading is Tutti Frutti in Reading station; in fact it still is the best ice cream I have ever tasted! They don’t have a website but you can find their details and a couple of reviews here. They’re open nice and late and serve coffee, etc. as well. The service is great, they do loyalty cards and the ice cream flavours vary and are home made – check it out.

However, on my recent birthday trip to London with the bf, we finally got around to visiting The Icecreamists in Covent Garden. You may remember this place for being in the press earlier this year when they sold breast milk ice cream! Since then I have been dying to go and see just how wild it is and am glad we finally got to it.

The ice cream was just as fresh as that at Tutti Frutti but the selection of flavours appealed to me a bit less. I ended up going for a salted caramel, a white chocolate and a Ferrero Rocher flavour combination whilst the bf went for fresh donuts with a chocolate orange ice cream. It was all delicious and the black decor added to the feeling of naughtiness but the thing that really topped it was the hot chocolate. I was brave and went for a chilli chocolate whilst the bf went for a marzipan flavour and they came in full pints!

The chilli chocolate has quite a kick to it and really hit the back of my throat so only order that if you’re up for a challenge; personally I had to wimp out about a third of the way through. I do think part of that may have been down to how much sugar was in my system though, we’d also been for afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel! (More to come on that one.)

So, my recommendation if you’re in Reading, or indeed Berkshire is to get yourself into Reading station and visit Tutti Frutti. However if you are in London, check out The Icecreamists, it’s a pretty good city version 🙂 x

Bacon cakes! (Yes, I said bacon!)

A few weeks ago I found a post on here about bacon being incorporated into chocolate treats in the US and in particular, into cupcakes. So there was only 1 thing to do…try it myself!

I decided to follow a “normal” recipe, using sugar and gluten and many things I try and avoid so that I could test the results and work out how I could adapt the recipe to come up with a healthier version. Here is the result:

Not displayed in the most elegant way but it was about 11pm last night when I finished them so I just took a shot the way they were!

Essentially they are chocolate cakes with some tiny bacon bits in the sponge and then a buttercream topping with some more bacon bits on top. I have taste tested with some of my friends and the general consensus is that we can’t really taste the bacon that well, especially in the sponge. So… I will be making these again as when you can taste the bacon, the salt cutting through the super sweet buttercream is awesome. However, what I might try doing is using gammon or something even saltier than normal bacon to really pull the flavour through.

Anyone else tried these? Any suggestions?

Better get off now and check out the London riot situation just in case we need to leave the office a bit early!

Exercise…How is this good for me!?!

OMG…have just exercised for what could well be the first time in literally years! I must however point out that I have not gone totally mad, I did follow this exercise with eating far too much chocolate…wouldn’t want to actually lose weight because then I couldn’t moan about my thighs any more!

Not only have I exercised but I have also broken a sweat…yes actual beads of watery type stuff appeared on my forehead…mental! This could not have been at a much worse time as I then saw a very attractive man in the car park who had handily parked next to me. He did “check me out” and I had a good look back, though I fear I may be kidding myself and actually he was wondering what the hell I had been doing in the gym to come out looking quite so shit!!! What I had been doing was in fact a class with the most hideous name ever…Step: Bums and Guts. Apparently I am now so obese that I have a gut rather than a slight tummy, shock tactics are clearly working though as I did attend. Luckily next week’s class clashes with a theatre trip…oh darn!

I’m thinking maybe restricting my exercise to the odd go-karting session when I’m at work may be the way forward, not least because I seem to be good at that as it requires no co-ordination and impatience is actually a bonus!

Right, exercise rant over, time to hang out my washed and wet laundry before bed. Over and out x