I always try and mention where I buy my review products from…purely because if they’re good, the chances are some of you might want to try them too. So far, I’ve had holiday chocolate, ordinary shops and supermarkets, Poundland/bargain shops and weird foreign foods places. Well today is my first train station review. I mean I’m reviewing a product bought from a train station shop, rather than a review of a train station itself. (Although I once bought a cheese and pickle sandwich from Doncaster train station that didn’t have any fecking pickle in it. Not cool Doncaster station. Not cool.)
I spied Ritter Sport’s White Whole Hazelnut bar whilst knocking about waiting for a train in London, and thought I’d give it a try. I’d previously reviewed their Strawberry Yoghurt flavoured bar before, which was ok if a little unremarkable. But it was tasty enough to tempt me into giving Ritter Sport another chance, so I paid my (I think) £1.29 and brought this eastwards home with me.
You might well be able to guess what the White Whole Hazelnut bar is made up of. Ritter Sport have cunningly taken some whole hazelnuts and covered them in white chocolate. No idea where the name came from though. All joking aside, this reminded me of Frey’s White Chocolate Almondthat I was lucky enough to try not so long ago, in that Ritter Sport are a European company (just like Frey) and this is a white chocolate and nut combination (just like Frey’s.)
There are some pretty recognisable differences too though, the first being that the White Whole Hazelnut is a square in shape. Apart from Ritter Sport, I’ve never seen another company make square blocks of chocolate like this before I don’t think. It tricked my brain with their Strawberry Yoghurt bar and it did again here; whilst these bars are 100g in weight, they seem much less for some reason. I ate half of this (8 squares) to review it, and was just about to move onto the second half of the bar when I stopped myself and realised I was going to eat a large bar of chocolate and my brain only thought it was a regular, single bar.
I literally have no idea why changing the shape of the bar from a rectangle (the traditional shape) to a square influenced my cognitive decision making so significantly… I’d never really eat a 100g rectangular chocolate bar in its entirety. But in a square, it just fooled me! I guess I must just be a little simple…
I should probably mention actually that, strangely, despite the name White Whole Hazelnut, this is in fact ‘white chocolate with whole hazelnuts and crispy rice’. So Ritter Sport have done what seems to be pretty big in mainland Europe and chucked some crispy rice into the bar… no idea why this is such a prevalent trend in European chocolate, and yet British companies hardly ever do it. The idea of these crispy cereal piece/ rice pieces has never really won me round so far- they’ve always been a little flavourless and boring whenever I’ve eaten them in the past.
The really cool thing I spotted after taking the White Whole Hazelnut out of the creamy coloured wrapper it came in was that this thing was jammed with hazelnuts. Now nuts are expensive and I see companies try and short change us on the nut front all the time by selling a ‘nut bar’ and only putting a hilariously nominal portion of nuts in it, like half a brazil nut or one sixth of a walnut. But this thing was loaded with hazelnuts which were poking out of the bottom as the photos indicate. It looked spiggin’ great.
And it didn’t smell half bar either. With any product with a white chocolate base, my immediate expectation is that the bar will smell like the contents of a sugar bowl. But (probably for the first time ever in my experience) the white chocolate here was very much secondary to a really, really strong nutty smell. It was a very welcome surprise to me; a great earthy and roasted scent with just a little creaminess from the white chocolate coming through.
Now, I eat a lot of chocolate to review. And a lot of it just fades into a blur in my mind as a bland, sugary haze. To be frank, I had predicted that Ritter Sport was going to add to that pile of unremarkable and average chocolate I’ve eaten in the past (prejudiced I know, but I’m being honest and up front). But at this point, having taken it from the wrapper and looked and smelt it up close, I was starting to wake up a little- as it was not what I had anticipated at all.
I, when holding the bar in my hands, could feel from the underside of it that the nuts were very dry. And when bitten into, they were tremendously crispy. This was the first test passed, because too many big companies use nuts, be they pecans/hazelnuts/peanuts or whatever which are limp and lifeless. Ritter Sport’s hazelnuts were a textural hit with a high level of crunch, and also a flavour hit too… a savoury, roasted flavour which was easily prevalent enough to contrast the white chocolate.
White chocolate is always a high risk strategy. Get it right and it can be luscious and indulgent. Get it wrong and it will ruin any bar, no matter the quality of flavour of the other ingredients. Ritter Sport get it right here; it has a beautifully silky melt and despite it being intensely sweet, there is much more emphasis on the vanilla notes of the white chocolate as opposed to just sugar.
It’s balanced excellently, luxurious but not overly so. Sweet but with a predominantly more natural nutty taste. The only large negative… these rice pieces. Fair enough, the ingredients only listed the crispy rice as 3%…but I ate the bar over 2 or 3 days and only found about 1 little bit. Either chuck a bit more in, or leave it out altogether I say- the nuts and white chocolate are good enough on their own.
Ritter Sport’s White Whole Hazelnut was delicious and is an excellent bar of chocolate in my opinion. That wasn’t something that I had necessarily expected to say before I reviewed the chocolate. It’s little gems like this which keep us all looking for slightly unusual and rarer bars… because for every twenty which tastes like rotting turnip, you might find an excellent one hidden away. And that’s what this was.
It wasn’t quite as good as Frey’s White Chocolate Almonds, purely because Frey’s white chocolate was mind- blowingly good. But it was still a super bar in both flavour and texture, and it has got me wanting more Ritter Sport, who I know have an extensive range in continental Europe. And I’l be looking for them whenever I next go on holiday.