February 11th: Kit Kat 70% Dark

Kcal 243 Fat 15.3g Carbs 19.1g (per bar)

The season of new products is showing no signs of slowing down with the likes of Cadbury, Mars and Nestle injecting several 'new' offerings across many of their established brands (See Cadbury HERE, Mars HERE). The busiest of all the mass market manufactures here in the UK has been Nestle, who having extended their Milkybar and Aeros brands already in 2011, obviously thought they better not leave out the Kit Kat. Indeed, my attention was brought to this article a week or so ago by ChocolateMission reader Phil - 'Nestle to launch 70% cocoa dark Kit Kat'. Having just written a review of the Kit Kat Dark Bitter (sourced from Japan), and stated 'it was probably a little naive of me hoping for a 70% Lindt dark chocolate experience', it was somewhat scary that the announcement of this bar came only a few days later. The only possible explanation is that Nestle are dedicated ChocolateMission fans of course :D

The press release for this new 70% bar stated that this new variant would be replacing the original Kit Kat Dark - Press Release HERE. Indeed, when I found the bar in Tesco it was situated, and merchandised alongside some of the older bars - I of course couldn't turn down the opportunity for a side-by-side comparison :D One thing that immediately got my seal of approval was the packaging. The new matted finish on the wrapper looks terrific, and suitably gives the sense of a more premium proposition. The slightly increased price of £0.59 wasn't something that I had qualms with, though looking at the latest press release I was surprised to see that the RRP should have been a whole £0.03 less (See HERE).

Insignificant pounds and pennies to one side, it was time to do the all important taste test. Giving the new fancy pants foil matted wrapper the respect it deserved (saddo haha!), I carefully unsealed the foil material to reveal a very familiar looking proposition below. The chocolate glistened in the light with a shiny looking, fresh complexion, and the fingers broke with a fresh, reassuring sounding snap. Placing the first piece in my mouth my first observations were that the melt of the chocolate was well paced, and that the subsequent flavour delivery of the chocolate retained a smoothness despite the high cocoa levels. Flavour wise the quality of the 70.0% chocolate wasn't as rich or layered as the likes of Lindt or Hotel Chocolat, but it was at least a step up from the woeful Aero Dark. The taste was still 'safe' in regards to it's bitterness and was still by all means 'mass consumer friendly', however there were underlying hints of smokey earthyness which gave the taste a sense of progressiveness within it's melt. My fear was that this stronger tasting chocolate might overshadow the wafer below, but if anything the brown sugar hinted wheat biscuit flavours came through stronger as the contrasting flavour bases were more contradictory in taste (i.e. non-sweet chocolate vs sweet wafer). The fuller bodied chocolate meant the four finger bar came across as very satisfying and rich snacking option, it certainly cured my hunger, and proved to be a very fitting snack to go alongside my afternoon coffee.

Overall I haven't been that complimentary of a number of the Nestle 'new' products so far this year, however this Kit Kat 70% Dark bucks the trend. As I have gone in to detail about above, the chocolate quality didn't come across as being up there with the higher end offerings from Lindt, Hotel Chocolat et al, but it was better than I expected, and it did at least break out of the generic unsweetened milk chocolate mould that can be attributed to way to many 'dark chocolate' mass produced varieties. Comparing the new 70% cocoa bar to the older 54% cocoa, I have to say that my preference now lies with the 70% offering. Nestle's new dedication to it's 'Cocoa Plan' (a marketing buzz phrase they have come up with for their Fairtrade policy) hopefully means that this swap to the higher cocoa formulation will be a permanent move rather than a limited edition time deal. If you are a Kit Kat fan, then I suggest you give this bar a try regardless of whether you have any affinity to dark chocolate. It is the best dark chocolate Kit Kat bar I have ever tried and I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone.

8.5 out of 10