May 23rd: Lindt Excellence Caramelised Hazelnuts / Roasted Almonds

Eagle-eyed ChocolateMission readers will have seen that Lindt have not only redesigned the packaging for their milk chocolate Excellence bars, but they have also introduced two news varieties. If you are wondering what the other two flavours in the range are, you might want to See HERE for the original Extra Creamy variant, and See HERE for the Crunchy Caramel.

If my UK readers take a look in their supermarkets, it is likely they will see the entire Lindt Excellence milk chocolate range on some sort of offer. Lindt seem to be coupling this relaunch with some very welcome in-store discounts to entice consumers. In the FMCG business we call this a penetration drive (basically discounting products to get people to trial them!), and in my local Sainsbury's both these bars on show today were priced at a very affordable £1 each.

Before I launch give you my opinions on how these two new ones tasted, I should first pass comment on the new packaging. The actual changes are very subtle, but I think the cleaner background makes the range look more modern. Long story cut short I think the new designs are every bit as good looking as the previous, and they give the same premium brand feel of the previous with just a little bit of reinvigoration.

Lindt Excellence Caramelised Hazelnuts

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

'Lindt milk chocolate generously blended with caramelised roasted hazelnuts'

Seasoned readers will know that when it comes to hazelnuts I always prefer them to be implemented in a whole nut style rather chopped in to smaller bits. This particular chocolate was a perfect example of why I am of that way of thinking, as the small, granule like pieces of nut failed to cut through in the taste. Admittedly the cream based sweet cocoa flavours of the Lindt Excellence chocolate are stronger tasting than your average milk chocolate, but the smallness of the nut pieces hampered their input in to the taste, and they more just spoilt the texture by giving it an unwelcome grittiness. Despite the hazelnuts not having great cut through, there was still a terrific milk chocolate at the base of this bar which still made it a very tasty offering.

7.8 out of 10

Lindt Excellence Roasted Almonds

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

'Creamy milk chocolate with slivers of roasted almonds'

I should probably stop myself from trying to second guess these things, but this was one out of the two variants being showcased today that I fancied the least. As I hope you can see in the photo above these almonds nut pieces implemented in this bar were few in number, but were actually bigger in size, which surprise-surprise made them have a better influence on the taste. Just as with the previous bar the chocolate was still as gorgeously creamy, but there was an extra raft of savoury butter nut hints in the latter development of the melt. Unlike the hazelnut bits in the last bar, the smoother cut almonds didn't hamper the softness of the melt, and in comparison were pleasant to crunch on once the chocolate had melted entirely. This was a great quality milk chocolate, with a very tasty nut influence - big thumbs up!

8.8 out of 10

Overall I was never expecting to write this, but when it came to these two bars my preference firmly lay with the Roasted Almonds flavour. In the past I have tended to find hazelnut chocolates to be more flavoursome than almond ones, however this just wasn't what I experienced here. Although the hazelnut bar was disappointing, I must stress the credit that the almond bar deserves, as it was certainly one of the better almond bars I have ever tasted in the last few years of writing this site. One thing that can be said about both chocolates is that the quality of the milk chocolate is absolutely superb for the price you pay. It might not be quite as rich as some of the up market offerings like Hotel Chocolat etc, but the double cream lead taste has a terrific vanilla hinted finish, quite simply it isn't a million miles away in terms of quality. For what it is worth my recommendation would be to go for the Roasted Almond flavours if you are picking between the two - it would be great to hear some of your opinions if you have tried either.