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As a chocolate addict, there's nothing quite like the experience of heading into the kitchen and getting hands-on with the stuff. As you can see here, I enjoy making a variety of chocolate products (although the standard of my work leaves a lot to be desired).
But I love the challenge of creating something interesting or exciting from a pool of ingredients. So, when Brecon's The Mallow Tailor challenged me to make my own chocolate bar with their new DIY kit, I couldn't resist.
I roped in my seven-year-old (who shares my chocolate experimentation bug) and we embarked on becoming chocolatiers for the day.
The Deluxe Chocolate Bar Making Kit is a one-stop-shop, designed to be sent to friends and family, with the ingredients needed to make four chocolate bars. It's presented inside a gift box making it ideal as a birthday or Christmas present. It also doubles up as a half-term, summer holiday, or lockdown activity kit too and is a great way to get children learning useful skills in the kitchen.
Inside the bow-wrapped black board gift box is everything you need to get going. At this point, it's worth noting that this kit is available in either milk, dark or white chocolate versions and it's the milk chocolate version I've got here. The contents of the box are:
- A 400g bag of Callebaut 823 Belgian milk chocolate callets.
- A sachet of popping candy pieces.
- A sachet of pink and white mini marshmallows.
- A sachet of milk chocolate crispearls (chocolate covered crunchy balls).
- A sachet of caramel curls.
- A very wobbly silicone mould to make a 100g chocolate bar.
- A printed set of instructions (which have since been updated).
Inspiration From The Mallow Tailor's Pretzel Slabolate Bar
To get our creative juices flowing, The mallow Tailor sent over their Pretzel Slabolate Bar. That's right. Pretzels smothered in Belgian milk chocolate. It's one of a range of inclusion bars they produce as you can see here.
The bar is wrapped in a white board box that opens up like an envelope. Copper foiled text decorates the front of the box together with a transparent window to peek at the bar inside.
This bar itself has a bit of everything I seek in a chocolate bar - sweet, gently salty and crunchy all in one bite. The depth of flavour and the saltiness of the pretzels (together with an extra sprinkle of Halen Mon sea salt) plays nicely against the smooth and creamy milk chocolate to hit all the right marks.
I especially love the quantity of pretzels in this dual-layered bars. Examples I've seen typically include a single layer of pretzels but this bar benefits from the additional crunch as a result of the double helping.
Our Everything Milk Chocolate Bar
Then it was our turn.
Thankfully, the included instructions are a doddle to follow - even a seven-year-old could follow them. And he did. The method calls for basic kitchen utensils and nothing else. No sugar thermometers or complex kitchen gadgetry required, just a microwave, microwavable bowl, and a spatula.
As a side note, The Mallow Tailor has since redesigned the instruction leaflet that comes with this kit. The thin beige paper is traded in for sturdy white card, and the layout and typography of the sheet is now easier to digest (if that's even possible as it was a breeze to follow previously). There's also more of an emphasis on the link to a web video that shows Kate demonstrating the kit in action.
We melted down our chocolate as directed. Keen to truly fill up our loaded chocolate bar, we opted to scatter some of the inclusions over the base of the silicone mould. Then the chocolate went on top. Trying to rid the silicone mould of air bubbles isn't easy (it has a life of its own), but the instruction sheet contains a few tips to get around this.
Some toppings were liberally scattered and the bar was set aside to solidify. The result is a seven-year-old's chocolate bar of dreams, and blends lots of textures and flavours together into one crazy loaded milk chocolate bar.
The result looks pretty good, with a generous helping of all four toppings running right through the chocolate. It's sweet, creamy, chewy, crunchy, poppy, and spiked with hints of caramel. What's not to love?
This kit contains enough chocolate to make four 100g bars, but you don't need to stop at the toppings included in the box. For my next bar, I drew inspiration from The Mallow Tailor's pretzel bar...
My Ready Salted Ridge Crisp Milk Chocolate Bar
Crisps. Yes, crisps. Ready salted crinkle cut ridge crisps.
I first heard about this unusual combination last year and wanted to try it myself. This kit was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
I followed the same instructions as before, pressing in flakes of potato crisps along the way. Like their pretzel bar, I tried to double layer the crisps, although crisps aren't flat and don't lend themselves to being neatly stacked.
A few air bubbles decorate my bar, which is the result of not being able to tap out the air forcefully enough using the super-flexible silicone mould.
Nevertheless, the proof is in the pudding. And what a peculiar pudding this bar is. Texturally, I love the crunch against the smooth chocolate. Flavour wise, it's a tad lacklustre. I don't think there's a high enough crisp-to-chocolate ratio so the flavour of the crisps themselves doesn't really come through. The mild saltiness works nicely with the milk chocolate base though.
It tasted best on the first day of being made. The supermarket own-brand crinkle crisps softened slightly overnight, losing a little of their crunch by the following day. Soggy crisps are the worst.
What's next? Salt and vinegar or cheese and onion crisps, perhaps? Cheesy puffs?! Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.
The Mallow Tailor Deluxe Chocolate Bar Making Kit Review
RRP: £26.00 | The Mallow Tailor | Shop now
This kit contains all the ingredients (and the mould) you need to create your very own chocolate bar. If you've not tried making your own chocolate bar before and want to give it a go, the simple-to-follow instructions will help you unlock your ideas and turn your dream bar into a reality. This is a ready-to-go gift that's ideal for birthdays and as Christmas presents, but it's also a useful interactive school holiday kit to keep the kids busy for a while.
Where to Buy Online
You can buy this kit direct from The Mallow Tailor via their website here (£26). It's available with a bag of milk, dark or white chocolate drops to suit your preferences. You can also select the inclusions based on your dietary preferences. The 'fun' mix is the selection I had in my box, but you can opt for gluten-free or vegetarian alternatives.
Top-up kits are also available, should you wish to receive more chocolate buttons and toppings to carry on your creative experiments.
Should you prefer in-person learning, The Mallow Tailor runs hands-on chocolate making experiences, teaching you everything you need to know to make bars at home. You can find more details here. Group chocolate workshops are also available for corporate events and parties.
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What toppings would make it onto your ultimate chocolate bar? Let me know in a comment below.