Richinflavour and the Chocolate Factory...

For chocolate lovers out there you’ll know that this week is National Chocolate Week – a perfect excuse to indulge in some heavenly chocolatey goodness.

Being relatively keen chocolate advocates it seemed the perfect opportunity to hold our first chocolate taste test. So, along came two good friends, one of who is a HUGE chocolate lover, to try out different brands of chocolate and see which came out tops - and let me tell you we were shocked by the results!

For the purposes of this test we decided to go with milk chocolate - I felt that there were more well known brands that could be tested against each other. We opted for nine chocolate bars, eight of which came from a well known supermarket chain, the exception being a bar of milk chocolate brought back from a recent trip to Bruges.

So, the rules of engagement were:

  • All chocolate bought described as milk or au lait chocolate
  • Taste testers would be blind folded – hence the scarves
  • Chocolate to come out in no particular order
  • No influence to be given by the master of ceremony (me)
  • Judging to be done on taste and smell of each tab of chocolate
  • At the end of tasting judges were to rank the chocolate from one to nine; one being their favourite.

And the results – in winning order…

By Sainsburys – Smooth Milk Chocolate
Price – 80p for 100g
Cocoa solid minimum – 30%

Taster notes – Smooth and creamy, nice and chocolatey with two testers thinking it could be Galaxy.

Cadbury – Dairy Milk
Price - £1.39 for 120g
Cocoa solid minimum – 20%

Taster notes – All the tasters knew exactly what it was just from the smell, with no hesitation.. One taster noted it was sweet and another noted slightly grainy in comparison to the other chocolates tested.

Galaxy – Smooth Milk
Price - £1.39 for 114g
Cocoa solid minimum – 25%

Taster notes – Quite sweet, with a taster suggesting it was quite tacky in the mouth with the other saying it was smooth. All three tasters suggested it could be Galaxy.

Sainsburys – Basic
Price – 30p for 100g
Cocoa solid minimum – 27%

Tatser notes – A slight berry fruit flavour, fairly rich flavour. Flavour good in mouth though not much aftertaste.

Lindt – Swiss Classic
Price – £1.80 for 100g
Cocoa minimum solid – 31%

Tater notes – Very creamy and quite sweet. Rich chocolate smell. It reminder one of the tasters of a Kinder egg.

Green & Blacks – Organic Milk Chocolate
Price – £2.00 for 100g
Cocoa minimum solid – 34%

Taster notes – Smooth caramel. Burnt toffee and slightly bitter. Strong flavour with a long lasting aftertaste.

Milka – Swiss Alpine
Price – £1.19 for 100g
Cocoa solid minimum – 30%

Taster notes – Clammy in mouth slightly glue like. Very nutty and earthy flavours. All about the hazelnuts, not really a milk chocolate.

Dolfin – Chocolate au Lait
Price - €2.90 for 70g
Cocoa solid minimum – 32%

Taster notes – Not so good, it was suggested it tasted slightly fake with a slightly plastic aftertaste. The Dolfin was definitely not the tasters’ favourite bar.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference – Swiss Milk Chocolate
Price - £1 (special offer – normally £1.39) for 100g
Minimum cocoa solid – 31%

Taster notes – Not very creamy and slightly nutty. Dry, horrible and you can have it back were the main comments. Though in joint last, from the comments I would suggest it was definitely the most disliked in the test.

Don’t throw money at milk chocolate

It was great to see some of the cheaper chocolates up there alongside some of the more expensive alternatives. The ‘By Sainsbury’s’ standard milk chocolate was excellent and definitely a worthy joint winner with traditional favourite Dairy Milk; even with its low cocoa content it still made my flavour testers happy.

A couple of surprises

The most surprising bar (in a good way) had to be the Sainsbury Basic bar, it actually tasted pretty good. Though reading the ingredients there were some ingredients I’d nether heard of; Polyglycerol Polyrcinoleate sounds pretty tasty - according to Wikipedia it is basically a viscous liquid that’s derived from castor or soybean oil, so basically it’s a vegetable oil used in place of cocoa butter to keep the cost down. If it’s all about the cocoa mass content then the Basic trumps the Dairy Milk which also has vegetable oil in its ingredients.

The most surprising (in a bad way) had to be Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Swiss Milk Chocolate. At its normal price, four times the price of its Basic brother, it is definitely not worth the money. The other bar that didn’t represent good value for money at a cost of €2.90, a Eurostar ticket and couple of nights in a hotel in Bruges, was the Delfin bar I purchased whilst on holiday in Belgium. It didn’t really do it for the testers.

My findings

I’m sold by the brand; my top three chocolates were the most expensive. The key reasoning behind my choices, were the depth and length of time the more expensive chocolates lingered in my mouth. Excluding the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, I enjoyed all of the other chocolates, I just liked the flavour to linger for longer.

When I was buying the bars, I didn’t pay to much attention to the ingredients. Two of the bars had hazelnuts in the ingredients, it may just be me but with names such as Swiss Milk Chocolate and Alpine Milk I don’t think I would be expecting to buy nutty milk chocolate.

Both the two winners are Fairtrade which is great. Green & Blacks also had an abundance of Fairtrade ingredients. With Green & Blacks being organic as well, you’re buying into probably the most economically and environmentally responsible product on test, it’s up to you whether you can afford or justify the extra cost. Out of choice if I was going for a standard milk chocolate I would probably go for the By Sainsbury’s bar, if I was going to add an extra flavour, e.g. Butterscotch, It will always be Green & Blacks.

Buying a lot of chocolate and eating it is a lot of fun. There are worse ways to spend a Wednesday evening after all. 

Rich. 18 October 2013