Onto day 3 of Frey Week, and I’ve got a ‘flavour first’ for The Snack Review. I’m approaching 100 reviews, but I somehow have never reviewed a single coffee flavoured product. Well, with my century fast approaching, I thought I’d better pull my finger out and sort that out, so here we are: Frey’s Coffee and Cocoa bar.
I’m not a massive coffee drinker myself. In fact I’m the stereotypical Englishman with regards to hot drinks: it HAS to be tea if available. And not rubbish tea either. I’m generally a very laid back kind of guy, but present me with an awful cup of tea and I will KICK OFF. Snobbery is an extremely unattractive trait, and I’m ashamed to say that I definitely suffer from it when it comes to drinking tea. Not that I’m alone in that- many English people (I think!) judge their tea, and by extension the people who have made their tea.
Nut enough about tea, it’s coffee we’re talking about. Well, to be precise, coffee and cocoa (as you may have gathered from the chocolate bar’s name. Frey’s bar is ‘extra fine milk chocolate with a touch of ground hazelnuts, coffee and crispy cocoa nibs’. So this bar is slightly different from much of the stuff I’ve reviewed to date, with the flavours here a little darker and more bitter… a welcome change for my palate, which has been screaming ever since I tried to eat too much of Marks and Spencers’ Crème Brulee bar.
Alongside their unusually shaped Chocobloc range and their chunky Supreme range, Frey also produce their much more straightforward 100g, regular chocolate bar range. By ‘regular’, I mean of course that most companies have bars like this available…where I’ve never seen a company do a Chocobloc Orange for instance…or even anything close to one.
The range looks quite similar in style and design to Frey’s Swiss rival company, Lindt, in my opinion. And that’s definitely a compliment, because regardless of what you think of Lindt’s chocolate…they know how to package stuff. The design on the Coffee and Cocoa bar (as with all of Frey’s 100g range) is simple but effective. It appears classy without being gaudy. The chocolate itself is a light brown colour but intermittently flecked with the charcoal coloured cocoa nibs.
Now, the one thing about coffee is that it can be very difficult to balance as a flavour. It’s normally pretty bitter in taste, and has a tendency to really overpower other flavours that it is paired up with. If you attempt to partner coffee with anything light or delicate, it will absolutely kill the other flavour. So it has to be thought out and carefully balanced.
This bar smelt predominantly of coffee as I had anticipated, but with far more of the cocoa coming through than I had thought. The coffee is fresh smelling whilst the cocoa nibs are a subtle richness. The bar smelt reasonably attractive, even to an unseasoned coffee man like myself.
The first thing I noticed when snapping off a piece to try, was that (thankfully) Frey decided to use milk chocolate here. This is much needed to complement the darker and more bitter flavours of this particular bar. So the sweetness from the milk chocolate, whilst it wasn’t particularly ‘chocolatey’ was a good base flavour.
The coffee had smelt intense, but the flavour wasn’t overpowering. The flavour was bitter as you’d expect, but there was also a pleasant roasted element to it, as is the case with decent coffee I think. With some of the coffee stuff I’ve eaten in the past, it has been acrid and overly dominant. For me, the coffee level was just about right in this bar- present and flavourful, but not to an extreme.
My favourite part of the Coffee and Cocoa was the cocoa component though. The little coco nibs were the surprise package. They’re dark in colour and very, very dark in flavour; each little nib was an explosion of semi-bitter chocolatey goodness, which really did work nicely with the lighter milk chocolate.
I didn’t get the ‘touch of ground hazelnut’ mentioned in the product description at all, but I think that was to be expected given how powerful the coffee and cocoa flavours are in their nature.
I find it hard to compare Frey’s Coffee and Cocoa bar to other coffee based products simply because I haven’t tried that many. But as a standalone bar of chocolate, this was enjoyable. The amount of coffee was well judged (for my tastes anyway) and not too strong which allowed the cocoa nibs and milk chocolate to come through flavour wise. If you like your coffee full on like a smack in the face, perhaps you wouldn’t be as impressed.
So all in all, whilst the Coffee and Cocoa didn’t have a ‘wow’ factor for me, it was a very credible bar. Tomorrow will be day 4 of Frey Week, and I have something which is pretty darn different to the Coffee and Cocoa bar…you’ll have to check out TheSnackReview to find out what *winks*