I’l hold my hands up right now, I didn’t have a clue who Frey were before this bar, and I sure as hell have never eaten chocolate with pepper in it. (Well, I’ve eaten a few small chocolates with a pepper element, but never a big bar of chocolate like this bar.)
Frey Dark Lemon and Pepper
The cardboard container informed that Frey were a Swiss chocolate company who were also ‘the best selling chocolate in Switzerland’. Given how big Lindt are, this astonished me. I had never even heard of these guys, yet they’re bigger than Lindt in Lindt’s own backyard?!
The Dark Lemon and Pepper bar originally came from Malta, but the outer packaging has all of the usual bits and bobs in English and German. Hazarding a guess at the explanation for this, I think that English is a very widely spoken language in Malta, whilst Switzerland’s (Frey’s homeland) official language is German. So by using those two languages, they can sell the bar both in Malta and also at ‘home’ in Switzerland. That’s my take on it anyway… any better guesses, or even better, the actual answer- feel free to tell me!
With all this excitement about a brand new (to me) company in Frey, I haven’t spoken about the bar at all. Frey say that it’s a ‘dark chocolate with lemon granules and black pepper’. In 100g format, this is easily the most unusual flavour combination I’ve reviewed so far- both lemon and pepper are rarely mixed with chocolate in mainstream chocolatiering (not sure if that’s even a word by the way.) The dark chocolate here was only 55% cocoa solids, so it wasn’t a really dark bar by any stretch of the imagination.
It looked ok. It came packaged and styled much like the Lindt Excellent series- a card wrapper carrying a simple design with an inner foil covering to further protect the chocolate within. It isn’t particularly remarkable or striking but it’s nice enough.
The chocolate itself was fairly thin as is the norm with Swiss chocolate from my experience. None the less, it delivered a delightful snap as I broke it, which I took to be a good sign.
The dark chocolate was quite complex in terms of smell- it had quite an earthiness about it, with the lemon bringing a welcome bittersweet contrast to that dark chocolate. It was the classic bittersweet combination really. I couldn’t note any pepper at all, it was all cocoa and lemon as I opened the foil up to reveal the chocolate contents.
The pepper can’t be smelt in this bar but it can definitely be tasted- it is acerbic and powerful. It’s hard to actually tell where the pepper flavour comes from exactly- I couldn’t see any visible pepper pieces but there was plenty of the flavour. Whether the pepper had been ground and blended with the chocolate I don’t know.
With the savoury pepper quite forceful, the bar was crying out for a cooling element to balance it. And Frey achieved that balance here, with little nubbins of lemon distributed evenly throughout the bar. After the caustic pepper, the zesty lemon shone through in the aftertaste, ensuring this was perfectly enjoyable if not a little irregular to the taste buds!
The chocolate itself, despite being only 55% cocoa, was more bitter than bittersweet- with a surprisingly deep taste, it had a slow melt. The melt itself was actually quite similar to Lindt’s dark chocolate- slow but not particularly smooth.
It was certainly an odd bar for my mouth, which is much more used to dulcet flavours. However I enjoyed the Dark Lemon and Pepper bar from Frey.
It certainly isn’t for all tastes, and Frey seem to have a more ‘normal’ range as well, with bar flavours including caramel, orange, tiramisu and pistachio. But as a one-off, this was a really interesting bar to experience. Did I like it? I’m still not really sure- I certainly appreciated the well balanced flavours, but I’m not entirely sure I’d pick up a bar of this and eat it for pleasure.
The 55% dark chocolate was just about right; any darker, and the harsher bitterness of the pepper and dark chocolate would have overpowered the lemon nibs buried within the chocolate.
It’s good to try new things, and I’m glad I tried this bar from Frey which is radically different to most other bars on the shelves. I’l hopefully be able to get some of their other flavours to review in the future, to see how they shape up next to their Swiss rivals Lindt.