Now I feel like a bit of a hyprocrite writing this. A few days ago, when I published the review of Morrisons's "Best" gingerbread muffins, I was asked if I'd had Costa Coffee's version and that I should compare the two and I replied that I don't buy food from coffee shops because it's so expensive. That's still true, but I was meeting my mum for coffee yesterday and so she treated me to a tiramisu slice to have at home that evening (I'd only just eaten lunch). As a lover of all things tiramisu I couldn't wait to get stuck in. Admittedly I've never had any food from Nero before, but had eagerly been eyeing it up every Tuesday when I collect my free mocha courtesy of O2 Priority.
"An Italian takeover of a millionaire's shortbread - chocolate shortbread, coffee caramel and white chocolate. Dusted with cocoa and gold shimmer."
Sounds delicious right? Except... Where does the tiramisu come into play? Surely Marsala wine, Savoiardi and mascarpone are key ingredients of the famous Italian dessert? At least the cocoa and coffee elements where there I suppose. I moan, but in all honesty, the combination of the three layers sounded intoxicating. I just wish they'd called it a winter mocha millionaire's slice or similar.
The white chocolate topping had shattered on every single slice in Nero's cabinets, and by the time it got home mine looked even more worse for wear thanks to the oozy caramel peeping out from all sides and the gold shimmer having all but disappeared. The instantly redeeming factor however was the delicious aroma of freshly ground coffee that escaped from the bag the moment I retrieved my treat.
Chocolate shortbread can often be a bit hit and miss. The cocoa sometimes dries out the mixture and the biscuit loses some of that beautiful butteriness that it's known for. The thick, crumbly base of the tiramisu slice had fallen prey to this trap, but fortunately only slightly. Thankfully it was chocolatey, and benefitted from being slightly less sweeter than expected. Normally this would be a negative point for my sugar addicted palate, but given the toppings that sat above it, the shortbread needed to be less sugary.
The caramel was sheer heaven. Earlier this year I tried the Cappuccino Twix, and found it to have a very mild coffee flavour. This, by comparison, packed an almighty flavour punch and yet the caramel still shine alongside it (think caramel macchiato). The consistency of it was spot on too -gooey enough to ooze, but not so much that it slipped off the shortbread and became a pain to eat.
Of course the white chocolate on top offered an additional sugar hit, but it wasn't thick enough to really taste on its own (especially due to the strength of flavours in the layers below). All I could detect was the creamy sweetness but it worked well.
By the end of the tiramisu slice, I started to find it very sickly -but isn't that the case with most millionaire's shortbread. I felt like I'd had a real treat though, and now feel like I might be missing out on some of the coffee shops' bakery items! What's your favourite coffee shop treat? I'd love to know what's worth the pennies!