Monday, 12 October 2009

October 12th: Mars Dark (UK & Poland)

What better way to get the week started than to not only cover off the latest product released by Mars in the UK, but also at the same time to compare it with the same product from Poland!? Before I crack on with the review I must firstly thank ChocolateMission reader Alan who sent me the Polish bar to make this possible.

When Mars announced
that the Mars Dark would be making a reappearance again here in the UK (See HERE) I don't think I was the only one that was quite pleased. Having tried the equivalent bars from Canada (See Here) and the US (See HERE) I knew that this was a bar with real potential.

I know
I am always going on about confectionery bargains but I felt £1 for a multi-pack of four was really very good and found a pack in my local Sainsbury's supermarket. I am not sure what price Alan paid for the Polish bar but I am sure he will be kind enough to fill us in via the comments box.

Looking at
both the wrappers and cross-sections I have to say that I thought that overall the UK bar was slightly the nicer presented product out of the two. Aside from the obvious 'Dark' & 'Midnight' branding when it came to the packaging there was very little difference with both sporting a black background and royal blue secondary colour behind the Mars logo. Where I did feel the UK looked aesthetically better was the actual bar where I thought that the cleaner looking surface of the chocolate and golden coloured nougat had more of an appeal to Polish comparator. When considering the smell of the bar I have to say that both didn't measure up to the sweet dairy scents of the original UK Mars though I guess this would have been down to the different chocolate involved.


Mars Dark (UK):

Kcal 236 Fat 9.9g (per bar)

Despite it being from a multi-pack this was actually the bigger of the two and came in a 52.0g size. On the wrapper this bar was billed as 'dark chocolate with with white nougat and caramel' which having eaten it seems a pretty inaccurate description.

Why is it inaccurate? Well in my opinion the chocolate wasn't what I would describe as dark and the nougat wasn't white ... was this a problem? Not in the slightest! The chocolate was noticeably not as sweet as the milk chocolate coated original Mars but it was nowhere near 'dark' in any manner. The milk undertones were still present throughout the taste with the only thing lacking was the sugar. With the sugar mostly out the equation the volume of the cocoa in the taste was raised but it never reached levels that I would describe as strong. Although the nougat that lay below was not as billed it tasted utterly fantastic with its chocolate noted, vanilla flavours that could be enjoyed for a long time in the mouth when simply sucked on. As with every Mars caramel the layer that sat on top of the nougat was divine and had a wonderfully soft feel in the mouth whilst providing some divine butterscotch flavours.

8.7 out of 10


Mars Midnight (Poland):

Kcal 190 Fat 7.7g Carbs 28.5g (per 42.0g)

Now I am afraid this part of the review is going to lack a little bit of detail as I still haven't managed to grasp the Polish language yet :) What I could understand from the wrapper was that the this bar was slightly smaller than the UK one and weighed in at 42.0g - yep 10.0g smaller! Whilst this was obviously beneficial calorie wise it was less satisfying as the UK 'Dark' bar.

Comparing the two photos above you will clearly be able to see that the polish bar had darker coloured chocolate and the nougat was more of a ghostly white. Despite the chocolate looking darker this didn't translate into the taste and it actually tasted a whole lot blander than the UK bar. Unlike the 'Dark' this bar lacked both the milk and the sugar influences in the taste and only offered a mild coffee like note throughout its time in the mouth. Below the chocolate the lighter nougat offered much the same in the way of its vanilla led taste however it didn't last as long in the mouth given its far softer, yielding texture. One redeeming aspect of this bar was the caramel which certainly was up to scratch with the UK offering and had a touch more salt in it's sugar based flavours.

7.9 out of 10

Overall you will be able to clearly see from the scoring charts that I have rated the UK Mars Dark ahead of the Polish Mars Midnight. Although I would say that on whole these are two pretty good chocolate bars if you have read the above you will understand that I have scored one above the other for a fair few reasons. Firstly the size - simply put you get more bang for your buck with the UK bar and with it's denser more viscous nougat it made for a more fulfilling snack. Secondly I felt that the quality of the 'dark' chocolate was just a touch better with the Mars 'Dark' as it's flavours were just a little more forthcoming. Given the bargain price and 'limited edition' nature of these bars I would strongly suggest that you give them a try. With the dark chocolate being 'mass consumer friendly' i.e. weak they were never going to be quite as good as the original Mars but they were still very tasty chocolates. What these bars do make you wonder though is that if they were properly done with some fine quality dark chocolate - how good could they really be!?
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