August 8th: Marks & Spencer Swiss Milk Chocolate

Kcal 30 Fat 2.0g Fat(sats) 1.2g Carbs 2.7g (per disc)

Own Label (Grocery Store brand) chocolate till today had been an area I'd simply stayed cleared of. Working in the marketing industry I am pretty fascinated by brands, so these own label offerings generally just don't seem to make it on to my radar. Well today this was all change as due to the volume of requests I have been receiving to review some Marks & Spencer chocolate I could gloss over this area of the market no more.

For my readers outside the UK let me give you a quick low-down on M&S: it's a British food and clothing retailer with 600 domestic stores, and is generally perceived by most consumers as a more up market brand in comparison to our major multiples Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda etc.

Today I sampled some of their Milk Swiss Chocolate that came in a 115g tube which contained twenty disc shaped chocolates. On pack they were described as 'Extra fine Swiss milk chocolate discs with ground hazelnuts'. The ingredients read pretty cleanly: 'Sugar, cocoa butter, dried whole milk, cocoa mass...ground hazelnuts (1.2%)', the cocoa and milk solids were at a reasonably high level - 35% and 21% - this all seemed pretty premium sounding to me.

The product itself was presented nicely - i wasn't quite sure of the cardboard tube format at first, aesthetically it wasn't terribly impressive but it did a job protecting the discs inside. The discs were foil wrapped in plain blue wrappers which kept them relatively fresh looking; they had a nice pattern displayed on the surface which added nicely to their relatively plain look. The discs didn't offer the strongest of aromas - a faint chocolaty smell but nothing overly enticing.

One thing I immediately found quite puzzling with these discs when I came to eat them were their size. They were to large to place in the mouth to eat whole (comfortably!!), yet to flimsy to really break into smaller pieces - this was a slight annoyance. Despite my issue with the size, the disc shape really helped deliver a delightful melt on the tongue. The large surface area allowed the chocolate to have an immediate flavour intensity and nice longevity of melt. The chocolate had a nice cocoa flavour with a nice milky smoothness - the aftertaste was noted with the slightest of nuttyness from the hazelnut that added a nice dimension to the overall taste. Due to the milkyness and smoothness of taste these were not the richest or most satisfying of chocolates, though one or two with a mid-morning coffee seemed a perfect situation for these to be consumed.

Overall although not the most unique tasting on the market these are a better than average milk chocolate. The quality of ingredients is reasonably good and the additional element of the ground hazelnuts made for an more compelling overall taste. I wouldn't necessarily recommend these as a product to enjoy on mass i.e. eat a tube at a time - as I wouldn't say it would be the most exciting of experiences, although as I said above, these are a great choice of product to eat one or two at a time for a quick chocolate fix.

7.7 out of 10