It has finally happened. Frey sent me a ridiculously generous box of their products to review in the summer of last year, and I’ve racked up about 15 reviews since that package arrived from Switzerland. I thought it would be never-ending, and that every time I reached down into the box it would be like Mary Poppins’ handbag and another bar would appear. But alas not- today’s milk and Hazelnuts review is the last. Which, given how impressive most of their chocolate has been, is bad news. Sad face.
I decided to save this particular bar until last. Milk and Hazelnuts sounded to me like an absolute Swiss classic, and I thought it fitting that I saved it until the end. The first review from the box that Marc at Frey sent me was their White Almond Supreme (still the highest rated bar of chocolate on this website…if not quite on par with a couple of Lucky’s cakes in jars) which delivered some top-notch creamy flavour and beautiful nuttiness. I was hoping that this Milk and Hazelnuts bar would do likewise.
The bar is, unlike the White Almond Supreme, 100g in weight and a more conventionally sized product…whereas the Frey Supreme range are all 180g and seriously chunky. Frey choose to describe this Milk and Hazelnuts as ‘extra fine milk chocolate with nibbed and ground hazelnuts’. Like I say, it’s a classically Swiss flavour combination in my opinion- thin, continental style milk chocolate pieces with a subtle nutty twist.
To reflect on all of the Frey products that I’ve reviewed, I would say that the overriding feeling I have is one of surprise that they haven’t launched in the UK yet. They proudly declare on their packaging that they are the number 1 selling company in Switzerland (a huge achievement when you remember how big Lindt is and how excellent Swiss chocolate is in general from my experience) and I can fully understand why having eaten a lot of their produce too- it has mostly looked superb and tasted excellent. Many of their flavours (nuts, orange, light milk chocolate etc) are all popular in Britain and I think many of their bars would go down a storm.
Yet they haven’t tried to move into the English market. I get the feeling that it’s something they’re looking at. Perhaps I should interview somebody from Frey about it if they’d be willing to?
Granted, the chocolate market that Frey are in (above- average chocolate at reasonable prices) is already quite cluttered with companies like Green and Black’s, Lindt, Montezuma’s and Divine. However Frey offer a slightly different set of flavours to most of those other companies- it’s subtle, more delicate and generally a different style… continental and ‘light’.
That’s enough about Frey more generally though. What about their Milk and Hazelnuts bar that I’m reviewing today? Well it looks the part- the card box exterior is classy and attractive whilst the chocolate itself is equally appealing… very thin individual pieces which have a reasonable snap and plenty of little nutty pieces poking out to give the brown chocolate a little colour.
And it smelt quite nice if not particularly spectacular too. There is a delicate balance between the very light milk chocolate which has a hint of vanilla to it, and the hazelnut aspect which is pleasant. No surprises here, it smells very much as you would expect a Swiss made chocolate hazelnut bar to!
As the smell suggested, the taste is a subtle mix of sweet milk chocolate and gentle hazelnut rather than a bold, brash flavour combination. This is a bar to enjoy on a quiet day where you can savour it rather than guzzle it as you would a Mars bar.
The hazelnuts come in two forms, with the nibbed hazelnut pieces particularly enjoyable because of their texture. They are like crunchy little rocks of nut which complements the smooth melt of the milk chocolate rather well. In general though, the nuts were ok without excelling (as Frey have done with their nut bars in the past). This Milk and Hazelnuts bar didn’t quite have the same fresh feel to it…the hazelnut flavour was present without particularly shining through.
Frey’s milk chocolate base itself is of a high quality. Cocoa-led without being at all too rich or bitter, it has a pleasingly thick melt and a single piece of this can last for quite some time if you melt it slowly on the tongue.
So Frey’s Milk and Hazelnuts bar? Well it was nice but not outstanding. It wasn’t nearly the best Frey bar that I’ve had the pleasure of eating and it lacked a bit of excitement and oomph for me. However it was still a satisfying bar of chocolate made with fine milk chocolate. It’s a simple concept executed well but not perfectly…with a touch more by way of hazelnut flavour, this would be another 8.5+ rating out of 10. As it is, it scores above average but nothing better.
I’d eat it again in a flash, but compared to their very best, Frey just fall a little short here. If you see it, I’d still say buy it. But it isn’t my favourite bar from their range because of the weak, almost ‘tired’ nutty flavour.
But none the less, I should thank Frey for sending me an amazingly generous selection of their range. I have hugely enjoyed reviewing it (many of the bars have scored superbly) and hopefully it has been interesting for you guys too as there has been very little of Frey chocolate reviewed on the net elsewhere that I can see. So thank you Frey, you have massively impressed me, and I hope to see more of you in the future!