Friday, 12 November 2010

November 12th: Aero Dark Chocolate (UK)

Kcal 185 Fat 12.2g Carbs 16.6g (per bar)

There's nothing like a cheeky limited edition chocolate sneaking up on us all is there? Without announcement or any advertising communication Nestle have indeed sneaked this Dark Chocolate variant under the noses of consumers here in the UK. Although it managed to make its way on to our shelves without my knowledge, Nestle weren't able to get this one past several ChocolateMission readers (namely Phil & Thea) who earlier this month informed me of it's distribution in Tesco. Looking across the rest of the trade, this Aero Dark Chocolate doesn't appear to have found it's way to any other of the major retailers so one would suspect that Nestle are using it as a customer exclusive for Tesco as part of a trade deal for shelf space etc.

After a few weeks of waiting this self described 'bubbly dark chocolate' bar did eventually make it's way in to my local Tesco store. Unlike most limited editions or new chocolate bars, Nestle appear to be promoting this Aero Dark Chocolate straight away, and I managed to buy 2 bars for only £0.70 (hence the double bar picture above!). At £0.35 for a near 40.0g bar I thought this was a very attractive price - suffice to say I don't think they will have many problems getting people to trial it. One thing I was slightly less impressed with was the wrapper, which I thought looked way to similar to the original Aero. If you ask me it should have been more clearly branded to communicate the dark chocolate limited edition theme, and certainly a darker shade of brown.

Although the idea of a dark chocolate Aero may be broadly new for the UK market, there has indeed been a 70% cocoa variant available in Canada for over a year now. I reviewed that bar back in June this year (See HERE), and I quote ... "the taste was far more complex and rich than I thought it would be and it was so much the better for it. There isn't much in the way of true innovation here, but if this 70% bar is price aligned with the rest of the Aero range I would suggest you give it a try". With that context I was hoping that this UK bar was going to deliver the same experience, but my hopes were dashed immediately upon learning that our UK bar had only 50% cocoa vs the 70% of the Canadian alternative. Given I was aware of this all before I ate the bar, I was very unsurprised with what I tasted. Fundamentally this was a pretty poor tasting, generic mass consumer friendly dark chocolate. Compared to a standard UK milk chocolate Aero, the sugary sweetness was a little less forthcoming, yet still very much there and present throughout the taste. The cocoa volume as I like to call it wasn't significantly raised above the norm, so the flavour depth felt somewhat lacking due to the milk flavours taking a more passive background role. The typical Aero bubbly mouth feel was its ever pleasant self, however the light texture certainly didn't help the longevity of the flavours which have to be said were poor at best.

Overall despite having relatively low level expectations, I was still ultimately disappointed with this bar. At the end of the day the product didn't deliver on the proposed dark chocolate experience, which is something that can only lead me to conclude that it isn't as good as the Aero varieties. I'm not saying for one minute that the quality of the chocolate used in the milk or mint Aeros is the best, but it can at least be said they deliver on the proposition they offer. Unfortunately this Dark Chocolate variant never did that, as it's cocoa flavour depth was forever kept under wraps by a shroud of unnecessary sweetness. As I said above, the way Nestle have priced this bar makes me think they wont have any problem getting people to try it. The issue they are going to face in my opinion, is that I can't see consumers repeat purchasing - the product simply isn't good enough. With this review now written all I have left to do is to figure out what I should do with the one remaining bar I have - any suggestions ??? :D

5.8 out of 10

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