February 22nd: Marks & Spencer Caramel & Peanut Bar

Kcal 280 Fat 16.0g Fat(sats) 6.6g Carbs 28.1g

For a bit of fun I nearly challenged myself to write this review without mentioning the word 'Snickers'. After five minutes I must admit I gave up as it appeared to be pretty much impossible. This bar if you haven't put two and two together yet was M&S's take on our dearly beloved Snickers bar, and was formed of a very familiar sounding 'milk chocolate coated caramel, peanuts and nougat'. Having had both my ups and down with the M&S range so far I did carry a degree of scepticism ... though as I always say 'there was only one way to find out'

The product came in a 55.0g serving that was a whole 7.5g smaller than a standard Snickers. I wasn't all that enamoured with the presentation. There was nothing wrong with the actual bar, just it didn't look quite the monstrous prospect of its comparator. The wrapper was also not the most aesthetically striking, as it used a rather dull brown colour that just really didn't stand out, it cut a rather placid look. The appearance of the product really wasn't allaying any of my preconceived scepticism, and the aroma did little to help it either. The smell was not unpleasant by any means, though the sweet, chocolaty led scents were quite meagre in comparison to the ferocious nutty smells of the Snickers.

My love for the Snickers is not grounded in the individual brilliance of the ingredients, but more in the amalgamation in which they deliver the fantastic overall taste. This bar didn't quite deliver this same mixture, though it still had some individually great aspects. It will come as no surprise that the milk chocolate wasn't all that wonderful. It delivered a fine set of milky flavours, though the cocoa really wasn't a strong enough influence for my liking. The nougat was also relatively unspectacular, it gave a nice chewiness to the texture, though failed to create any sort of impact on the taste. In comparison to the Snickers the real downfall of this bar came in the influence of the peanuts. The peanuts in this M&S version failed in delivering the same salty, nutty flavours that would have really given the taste some interest. I don't think this was down to the proportion of the peanuts, as they were still quite generously present - I am guessing it was purely just the quality of the nuts themselves. I have done an awful lot of bemoaning about this bar already, but I can at last dish out some praise in the way of the caramel. The caramel was quite superb and had a fudgier, syrupy taste than in comparison to the Snickers. I am not necessarily sure it was better ... but it was certainly a little different.

Overall this was in every department inferior to the original Snickers, though as chocolate bars go it was hardly a complete disaster. The synergies between the ingredients that are present in the Snickers just simply weren't present with this bar, and despite a small amount of interest generated by the caramel layer, it really just failed to deliver an experience that was by any means worthy of comparison. This isn't a product I would suggest you go out and buy, but at the same time I wouldn't discourage you if you wish to give it a try. A fair enough attempt at replication by M&S, but this was by all means a 'knock-off-Nigel' version your Snickers.

7.5 out of 10