Friday, 20 November 2009

November 20th: Lion Bar (Poland)

Kcal 209 Fat 9.8g Fat(sats) 6.4g Carbs 27.9g

They don't come more manly than the Lion Bar now do they? ... ok maybe the Yorkie! If you have read my review of the UK's Lion Bar that I wrote way back in March 2008 you will be more than aware that it is one of my all time favourite Nestle bars. Combining both its great taste and masculine brand positioning the Lion Bar is a product that I feel suits me down to the ground so it was with great excitement that I received this Polish version from ChocolateMission reader Alan. If you are unaware of the constituents of a Lion Bar it is a product formed of a wafer centre, covered in caramel, rice cereal and milk chocolate. Over the last year I have tried a white chocolate variation from Germany (See HERE) which wasn't quite as good as the original milk chocolate - the question today was whether the Polish bar could match up to the UK equivalent.

At first glance something was immediately evident and it was that Polish bar was considerably smaller than the UK 55.0g bar. At 43.0g this bar didn't quite have the same 'this is a huge manly chocolate bar' feel and obviously didn't prove to be as satisfying. I guess an upside of this was that it had considerably less calories but I can't think of many Lion Bar consumers who probably care about that. Appearance wise apart from the obvious size differences it aesthetically looked no different to our UK bar with the distinct Lion branding on the outer packaging. The actual bar itself also looked no different with each of the layers of chocolate, rice, caramel and wafer all clearly visible when cross-sectioned. In regards to smell the bar didn't quite seem to smell as fresh or inviting as the UK equivalent but I'm sure this was down to the extensive travel of the product.

Up to this point apart from the size aside the bar appeared almost identical to what we have here in the UK but when it came to taste there were some very obvious differences. Again I am aware this may be down to the extensive air miles clocked up by the product but the melt of the chocolate felt slightly rougher in the mouth and not quite as smooth flowing. In regards to the flavours of the chocolate the taste had just a touch more emphasis on its sugar credentials than normal and played less to the very familiar dried milk sweet taste that I am all to familiar with UK Nestle products. On the balance of things this wasn't too much of an issue for me, however I must say I didn't enjoy the wafer element as much as I normally did with the UK bar. I often complain that wafers lack flavour here in the UK but the wafer on offer here was slightly over powering with it's strong malt rooted taste. This bar retained the appeal of the variable textures from the UK bar but the stronger tasting wafer somewhat took the cereal and caramel elements out of the equation and it was all too often that the strong malt flavours dominated the taste. The wafer by no means tasted horrible in any manner but the fact that it prohibited the other elements coming through as strongly came at detriment to the resulting taste.

Overall just like with the Mars Dark I have to conclude that the UK variant of this bar is the superior out of the two. Of course you may think this may just be home bias but I genuinely I have come to this conclusion for a few reasons I have gone into extensively above. The first reason of course has to be the size. For the product positioning the last thing you would want to do with this bar is it a smaller size as I am sure this would never be a favourable thing in the eyes of a typical Lion Bar consumer. Secondly I thought the dominance of the wafer in the taste came at detriment to the caramel and cereal elements which simply meant that this Polish bar didn't quite pull off the same classical combinations that the UK bar does so well. Personally I would say that the UK is the better bar out of the two but I would be willing to bet that a Polish person would say the opposite. I think preference is most likely down to what you 'know and trust' as a consumer; it would certainly be interesting to hear views from other people who have tried both to get their opinions.

7.9 out of 10

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