December 29th: 'Bits n Bobs' Hungarian Chocolate Collection
Before things get underway today I must express a big thank you to JCM reader/contributor Thea who sent over these wonderful chocolates from Hungary for me to try. These today are my first ever Hungarian chocolate reviews so please bare with me as my knowledge on the brands and chocolates involved ranges from clueless to non-existent :D Thea was so kind to send a right old variety.
N.B. Please contact me via Twitter if needs be @ChocMission - please do not attempt to leave comments on this post.
Stuhmer ChocolatesIf their brand logo is anything to go by Stuhmer chocolate has to be one of the oldest brands in the world hailing all the way back to 1868. A little research via my friend google revealed that: (warning history lesson inbound!!).
'The biggest chocolate factory of Hungary was founded in 1868 by a confectioner named Frigyes Stuhmer ... In 1883 he built a steam-working chocolate factory with this the mass-production of chocolate was estabilished in Hungary ... The secret of his success was the fact that the Stuhmer company was able to produce products for a wide range of consumers at a lower price, but this cheaper products were also made with such a great care that they became well-know in a very short time ... After his death in 1890 his successors managed the factory, which became obsolete and much less competitive to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1907 dr. Geza Stuhmer, St¨1hmer's younger son took over the governance of the plant and started rescuing it.'
Nowadays the brand appears to be much refined in terms of range, with other more mass targeted brands (more on them later!) taking the lionshare of the market. Stuhmer does however still have a few bars in market, and it appears that they try to differentiate their chocolate through some wonderfully vintage styled packaging. Both the bars below were presented beautifully - see what I made of the chocolate:Stuhmer Tejcsokolade
Kcal 560 Fat 36.2g Carbs 51.2g (per 100.0g)
This milk chocolate was a 33.0% recipe that contained no more than six standard ingredients. Taste wise it reminded me a lot of Moser Roth German chocolate in that it had a smooth milky, sweet cocoa flavour delivery. It wasn't quite as definable, rich or full bodied as Lindt's extra creamy milk chocolate, but it was getting there and satisfied me enough to keep reaching back for another block. Texturally it came across a little chalky and lazy in pace to melt, however these were by no means experience ruining. Overall a fair standard milk chocolate.
7.5 out of 10
Kcal 486 Fat 32.9g Carbs 40.1g (per 100.0g)
This was I guess the more adventurous out of the two Stuhmer bars I tried and was billed as 'dark chocolate with candied orange peel'. Like the milk chocolate above, the melt and pace of the chocolate texture wise was a little dry and unspectacular, though like the milk chocolate it was decent enough when it came to the bar taste. The 70.0% dark chocolate was underpowered in terms of taste for it's strength but the non-bitter cocoa flavours were a decent enough back setting for the orange peel which brought pleasant sweet fruit bursts very so often. Again it was nowhere near the standards of Lindt's Orange Intense chocolate, but it was fair nonetheless.
7.1 out of 10
Boci Sargabarackos-KekszesBoci Sargabarackos-Kekszes
Kcal 541 Fat 31.6g Carbs 56.5g (per 100.0g)
It probably would have been easier hacking in to Microsoft's mainframe than it was finding out any information about this Nestle owned brand Boci. After much internet trawling I finally came across this:
'...in 1992, The Wall Street Journal Europe reported that Nestle promptly acquired three factories and invested 20 million Swiss francs (US$ 13.4 million) in Hungary. One of the factories Nestlé acquired produced a highly popular local chocolate called Boci (little cow). Nestlé sought to capitalize on the strength of the Boci name, and decided to create a more premium chocolate by replacing the smoky taste of Boci with the taste of Swiss milk chocolate. When Nestlé launched the new Boci chocolate, complete with a redesign of the communist-era packaging and a premium price tag, sales plunged. Boci and other Hungarian brands suffered from an anti-communist backlash as consumers were eager to get their hands on the new Western products.' .... oh dear Nestle :D
Thankfully I did my research after I tasted the bar, so my opinions weren't swayed with expectations of a more premium smoky taste. What I experienced was a product that reminded me of Milka chocolate, with everything from the style of packaging and taste pretty closely aligned to the German alternative. Taste wise, the chocolate had a mild set of milky, cocoa flavours that were livened up no end by the enhancing 'apricot and biscuit' pieces on offer here. The fruit and biscuit influences were very well integrated here, creating true and real tasting apricot flavour licks and a delightful crumbly biscuit interplay to the texture. As a fan of Milka chocolate this was a chocolate I enjoyed and I would suggest this would a similar experience for like minded people.
7.7 out of 10
Tibi Premium 70%Tibi Premium 70%
Kcal 599 Fat 40.5g Carbs 41.8g (per 100.0g)
Last and well .. least :D we have this Tibi Premium 70% chocolate. Again acquiring information on Tibi wasn't the easiest, though I did manage to come across this basic background information:
'The production of Tibi chocolate began in 1941, in Vágóhíd street, Budapest. Tibi was named after the grandson of the founder and thus it started its successful history in 1942. Tibi chocolate is available in 100.0g packages, with 16 different kinds of tibi chocolate available according to your taste. It is a range that is supplemented in the different periods of the year with seasonal products as well.'
Sound familiar!? Indeed yet another Milka style brand. Described as 'Fine dark chocolate', I was unconvinced by the packaging, which appeared to be trying to have it's feet in two camps, promoting a mass consumer brand, but with a premium style dark chocolate - it didn't work for me. This confusion as to what it wanted to be became even more apparent upon taste testing, as the strongly billed 70.0% cocoa bar frankly tasted sweeter than any dark chocolate I think I've had previously. To my surprise the non-bitter initial cocoa flavours became increasingly diluted as a strong brown sugar note developed along with the development of the melt. This wasn't a poor tasting chocolate by any means, but for a 70.0% bar suggest a 'fine dark chocolate' experience it was really nothing of the sort.
6.5 out of 10
Well that's all the Hungarian chocolates I have for you today folks. Thanks again to Thea for making this possible and sending me across these chocolates. They may not have been the highest scoring chocolates ever featured on the site, but they were immensely enjoyable to research and taste.