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I love Pocky (what these are called in Japan) so I was super-excited about Mikado coming out in the UK, and I'm very keen to try all the new flavours they produce. As soon as I saw these (on offer, no less) I made sure to pick up a pack and check them out - and I was not disappointed. I wish I had bought more! Each of these treats consists of a long, thin biscuit stick coated in a delicious chocolate and hazelnut mix. The end of the stick is left clean so that your fingers don't get mucky. I originally thought the coating was a smooth mix like you would get with a chocolate and hazelnut spread, but no - the sticks have tiny bits of real hazelnut peppered over them. Yum! If you can imagine coating a rich tea biscuit in a thin layer of nutella, that's what these treats taste like. And the best part - only 11 calories per stick! These come in a cardboard box with a foil bag on the inside to keep them fresh. They seem remarkably resilient to breaking in this format, I thought they would fall apart in my bag but they stayed together, although sitting on the box is going to leave you with a lot of crumbs.
Now for those of you who read my previous review many moons ago about the original Mikado sticks you will know that I really quite liked them. So when I popped into Tesco at the weekend I was quite happy to see said biscuit sticks on offer, and decided to pick myself a packet of the hazelnut ones off the shelf to go with my milk chocolate box. I like Nutella, so I decided I'd probably like these - since they are meant to be made by the same thing. So I put them in my basket and forgot all about them once I'd put them in the fridge until the other night! ~*~ So What Are Mikado, and How Do I Spot Them? ~*~ Mikado are crunchy biscuit sticks, which are very thin and covered in chocolate with varying flavours attached to them, see below. They are slimmer than the average pencil, and really are moreish little sticks of biscuit. This in particular variety spotting them shouldn't be too difficult - they come in a small rectangular box with a perforated lid and 'Mikado' on the box this time on top of a giant hazelnut. The cool thing about this box is the little squirrel that is looking all mean and attitudey - I think it may be a way of attracting children actually. If not it is a little bit of a childish thing to put on the front of a box. There is also the normal nutritional information, and if you are a non-English speaker, there are plenty of different languages describing the product on the back! ~*~ The Different Varieties ~*~ Mikado comes in plenty of different varieties depending on your taste buds; Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Coconut and, Hazelnut... So there are five different flavours for you to pick from, so far I have had them all and enjoyed them all, so let's see if the Hazelnut ones match up to the standard! ~*~ Nutritional Information ~*~ Per 2.3g stick, you get the following; 11 Calories, 0.19g of Protein, 1.5g of Carbohydrates, 0.48g of Fat... So not overly good or bad for you, but as normal suggested being within a normal diet and exercise plan! ~*~ So, How Do They Taste? ~*~ Well as I said I was expecting a slightly Nutella like taste, and I wasn't wrong they genuinely do taste a little bit like you've dipped the end of your biscuit in the Nutella jar, rolled it with hazelnut pieces and left them in the fridge for a few hours until they are hard. That's probably not the greatest description of the taste of the chocolate part, but I tried! The chocolate isn't too rich as it is only a thin covering, but not too thin that it disappears as soon as you put your tongue on it of course. My sticks have been known, after taking a bite out of one when it has been in the fridge for a while to break off chocolate shards from the actual stick. So the chocolate is of relatively good quality I feel! The biscuit stick underneath, is well tastes a bit like a digestive as I said in my review of the milk chocolate ones. However with having the hazelnut on top it does seem to taste a little different, not in a bad way though I still really like them, they are incredibly moreish, in the same way that dunking normal digestives in tea is addictive. This is all assuming you like digestive biscuits of course! The biscuit isn't too sweet in comparison to the chocolate, so you aren't sitting there thinking this is an incredibly sweet treat that becomes sickly after a while. As soon as you open the box the smell of hazelnutty chocolate is quite apparent, you wouldn't bite into one of these not knowing they had something to do with nuts put it that way. It doesn't slap you in the face when you open them thankfully, but it is quite an appetising smell, providing you aren't allergic to nuts of course. The texture of these little sticks is quite appealing, a nice smooth covering of chocolate, filled with some nice chunks of hazelnut, on a long thin stick of biscuit that provides a nice crunch... What more could you want?! Less calories for the whole box of 30ish biscuits - I know, especially since they are quite moreish it doesn't take long for the whole box to be demolished. Especially if you are sharing, oh who am I kidding no one shares boxes of Mikado! They don't leave an overly heavy taste in your mouth when you have finished with them, the last taste when you finish a stick is the biscuit to be honest. So I'm trying to work out which bit of them makes them so moreish, I think it is the initial hit of chocolate when you bite the end off, or suck it depending on how you like to eat them! They do however have a habit of drying your mouth out, so make sure you have a little drink to hand, something healthy preferably considering you have probably just stuffed half a pack of Mikado down your throat!! Overall, a nice treat, better shared if only for the calories, if you can anyway. Come in many flavours but if you like Nutella you are sure to like these! ~*~ Are They Expensive? ~*~ Not overly, they vary in price - at full price they are around £1.25 a box, but they are currently on offer in Tesco stores on two for a pound, obviously not forever but they are worth a buy when that cheap. In discount stores you can occasionally pick them up for a bargain too, so keep your eye out for offers when you can in supermarkets and other shops.. Thank you for reading! :D