November 14th: McVitie's Penguins

Kcal 113 Fat 6.1g Fat(sats) 3.4g Carbs 13.4g (per bar)

A few weeks ago during my search of the UK's best chocolate cake bar I reviewed McVitie's Penguin offering and noted that I hadn't actually given the original bar a ChocolateMission review yet. Given how often I used to have these tucked into my lunch box during my school days I felt obliged to sort this sooner rather than later, thus today is the day! For those who live outside the UK wondering what the devil a McVitie's Penguin bar is I can tell you that they are produced by McVitie's (firstly in 1932) and are formed of chocolate biscuits, with a milk chocolate creme covered in milk chocolate.

Although I was going to buy a pack anyway I managed to stumble across a these on a half price offer in my local Tesco at the price of 54p for a pack of 9 separate bars, that is 6p a unit for the mathematically challenged! One thing I have always loved about Penguin bars is the look of the product as down the years it has managed maintain a modern look yet still kept it's branding and colour schemes consistent from since I can remember. One of the first things I think about when Penguin bars pop in to mind are the insanely awful (but wonderful!!) jokes that appear on the film packaging of each bar ...'where do penguins keep their money?' .... 'in a cold bank' ....groan :) Terrible jokes aside the actual chocolate bars look rather good with the three distinct layer clearly visible when cross-sectioned. Apart from a minor sweet smelling chocolaty aroma the bars didn't offer much in the way of smell though at this point I was still more concerned with trying to figure out the on-pack joke.

One thing that McVitie's must commended on is the fact that a few years ago they removed all the hydrogenated fat from the product. I guess the argument is they should never have been there in the first place but in 2007 United Biscuits removed them from the product entirely, I just wish a few more manufactures would do this. One thing I think we could all take from the Penguin Cake Bar review was that the standard of the chocolate wasn't all that high and I am afraid to say nothing about this bar changed my mind whatsoever. The outer milk chocolate layer was noticeably thin and failed to generate the degree of flavour of even the most standard of milk chocolates (Nestle etc) before it melted away revealing the biscuit layer. The biscuit below was thankfully more giving in terms of its flavours establishing a corn cereal taste that had touches of brown sugar and salt. Sat in the middle of the biscuit the final chocolate creme element brought a softer element to the crunchy biscuit as well as bringing a much needed touch of chocolate to the overall taste. Although I wouldn't say that these Penguin bars were the most flavoursome they were relatively good size for a mid afternoon snack.

Overall my feelings are pretty mixed about these McVitie's Penguins. One part of me wants to criticise them for their lack of telling flavours but another can't help but love the heritage of the product and the way that it is presented. One thing that I think has to be considered here is the price - for my money I would have struggled to buy even one Cadbury Dairy Milk bar for what it cost to be a nine bar multi pack of these Penguin bars. Granted these were on a half price offer but even then you would still be getting four times the amount. As far as chocolate quality goes these are certainly nothing to shout about but they do offer a relatively nice biscuit based option. Penguin bars have been around since I can remember and hope they don't go disappearing anytime soon - if only so we can still moan about the awful jokes on the wrappers.

7.2 out of 10