Having heard about the existence of ‘Rolo Sticks’ (literally long, thin sticks of Rolos) I immediately dispatched a London based friend to go to Sam’s 99p stores, where they were rumoured to be, and buy me some. Unfortunately they didn’t have them (if any readers know where they can be found- please do tell!) but my friend picked up something else for me instead… Lion Pop Chocs. I knew that Nestle had released Kit Kat Pop Chocs in England already, but these Lion Pop Chocs appeared to be a French import.
Nestle Lion Pop Chocs
Coming in a 140g pouch, Nestle describe these as ‘crispy wafer in milk chocolate with mini-cereals’. The good news, for anybody who likes what they’ve seen so far, is that I found these on sale in my local Asda last week. So if you fancy giving them a try, you might well find them in Asda supermarkets across the UK.
The Pop Choc brand is old hat now- they’re basically little nuggets, about the size of marbles. The difference between the Kit Kat version we have available here in England and these Lion branded Pop Chocs is the ‘mini-cereals’ being used by Nestle here. In general, I like products like this which are ‘bite-sized’ and designed to just chow away on…but I was a bit pissed that they didn’t have any caramel in them like regular Lion Bars do.
The bag (or pouch as I prefer to call it..not really sure why but I like the word pouch) was decorated with the usual Lion branding- the predominant image of course being the roaring lion picture; an image which has been used on Lion Bar wrapping since the bar’s creation about 40 years ago.
It looked decent- the colour scheme of the traditional Lion colours (the brown and orange) isn’t particularly lurid or colourful but it was nice in a subtle, toned down kind of way. If I had seen this on the shelf myself, I definitely would have picked it up and bought it. The Nestle Lion brand is just really appealing to me… I suspect that, as a 21 year old male, I am the target market for Lion products.
I’m not actually big on Nestle chocolate- it’s a bit bland and someway short of what Cadbury offer who are their direct rivals in price terms. And I had expected the rather bland and boring chocolate smell to emanate from the pouch as soon as I opened it up. Instead, I was greeted with a delightful butteriness, which was most strange. The reason I say that is because I’m not sure where it was coming from! Normally when something is intensely butter, it has caramel or toffee in it. These Lion Pop Chocs only had Nestle’s milk chocolate, wafer and cereal pieces… however I’m not exactly Columbo and I gave up trying to figure it out pretty quickly.
Aside from the almost buttered popcorn scent, the other thing that was pretty obvious smell-wise was the usual Nestle milkiness that goes hand in hand with everything they make just about. It isn’t bad smelling but it’s a bit boring and doesn’t excite me at all. None the less, the overall smell was excellent.
After eating a few of these Pop Chocs, I was really impressed. The textures were great; really crispy cereal pieces sandwiched with wafer which crunched at first and then dissolved very quickly on the tongue. Every bite was a pleasure. The milk chocolate is alright- a little waxy but could have been worse.
The problem was that, after eating a few more of them, they just got a bit ‘samey’. There isn’t a great deal of flavour in them, so after eating a few, they can become a little boring. Milky chocolate aside, the wafer is flavourless and whilst the cereal pieces are quite nice (tasting a little bit like Honey Loops cereal) they aren’t the strongest tasting. They just could have done with something else to keep them a bit more interesting for longer- a little bit of caramel would have done the job for me.
The Lion Pop Chocs are pretty tasty in small amounts though. The chocolate is passable, and there is enough going on from the cereal pieces and the texture of the wafer to create an enjoyable enough overall product. Shared between two or three friends, there would be a couple of handfuls of Pop Chocs each- which would be just right for me. I reckon that a bag or these would go down a treat amongst a small group of friends.
That does leave the question though- who is regularly going to buy these? The Lion series of products is probably more of a masculine brand I’d say, but the ‘sharing pouch’ packaging is definitely (speaking in generalisations and stereotypes here of course) more of a feminine thing…that whole ‘oh yay girlies, lets watch a film and get some chocolate to share’ situation. I can safely say, when I am over at friends’ houses playing some Fifa/Call of Duty, I wouldn’t take along a sharing pouch of chocolates unless I wanted to get the piss ripped out of me. Crisps and beer- yes. Chocolate- definitely not.
These are tasty and worth a try but I’m not sure, thinking long term, where their place in the market is. I don’t think they’ll be around for long myself.