Nothing says Christmas quite like chocolate orange. So why the hell I’m eating and reviewing Frey’s Dark Orange bar in February I’m not quite sure. Well my parents did always insist that I was very ‘special’ and a lot of my school teachers said the same…so I guess that would probably explain it! I’m nearly at the end of my (initially vast!) Frey stocks now with just a couple of bars remaining, and today I’m looking at their take on the classic chocolate and orange flavour combination.
As you’ve probably gathered already from the name, their Dark Orange is ‘dark chocolate with orange granules’. Or, for a little more detail, a 55% cocoa solids dark chocolate base with orange granules embedded within it. Not exactly like the legendary Terry’s Chocolate Orange which uses orange oil to flavour their product I think, but aiming for a similar flavour.
Chocolate and orange are a combination that I’ve never fully grasped. I mean, they work absolutely brilliantly when they are balanced well. But why? Orange is used so much more with chocolate than other, equally strong fruits like raspberries, bananas, lemon and the like. Yet I don’t particularly see why it lends itself to chocolate so much- could a Jaffa Cake not work just as well with a raspberry flavoured filling? Could Terry’s Chocolate Orange be turned into Terry’s Chocolate Banana with ease? But for some reason chocolate an orange just ‘work’. They click. It’s like love or Wigan Athletic staying in the Premiership every season- you can’t explain it…it just happens.
Frey’s attempt at the chocolate orange classic comes in (as with most of their range I’ve reviewed) a very regular 100g format. A long, thin, rectangular bar with 10 very sizable pieces which snap off very loudly and cleanly. None of that bullshit where you try and break a bar along the dividing lines and yet it somehow breaks in a completely different place and you end up with a piece which looks like you’ve gnawed it off with your teeth. How does that even happen?!
As with just about every Frey product I’ve had the fortunate of reviewing, the Dark Orange was aesthetically very attractive and the packaging was of a pretty high-quality for the middling price range. I can’t say a lot more about it than that without repeating myself- it’s a good job again from the Swiss company. Frey have set a high bar with their previous bars be it small, 100g or the Chocobloc Milk monster…and they reach that high bar again with the design.
The Dark Orange smelt tame though. With a Jaffa Cake or something, the product BURSTS with orangey fruitiness as soon as you get anywhere near it. But here, there wasn’t any of that citrusy goodness. Instead there was just Frey’s relatively plain dark chocolate with just the tiniest hint of fruitiness. Not horrible, but not brilliant and hardly inspiring.
The one thing Frey have failed to really impress me with has been some of their dark chocolate- almost everything else I’ve tasted has been top-drawer, and their White Almond Supreme is still my favourite ever bar of chocolate. But I’ve found their darker stuff to be a little indistinct and banal (fancy words here meaning: YAWN). Not something that you’ll hate but not something you’ll rush back for more of.
And that dullness continues into the taste unfortunately. The melt isn’t too bad at all- Frey’s dark chocolate has a pleasing, smooth texture to it. But the semi-bitter cocoa flavour is far too strong for what is supposed to be a chocolate and orange flavoured bar. After a moderate bitterness to start off with, the dark chocolate eases into a slightly sweeter taste and after that, finally, the orange granules come into play with most of the chocolate flavour already gone.
The orange is actually a super flavour. The little granules have a sharp fruitiness to them and with more of them, their refreshing sweetness would balance the dark chocolate quite nicely. But there are probably half as many granules in the bar as there should be for my tastes- the Dark Orange is weighted at about 90% dark chocolate and 10% orange in flavour terms.
The best part of the entire bar is the granules themselves really. After the dark chocolate has melted and you’ve had the initial sweetness from the orange, the only thing left in your mouth is the tiny little granules. They’re crunchy and intensely fruity…not enough so to save the whole bar but a nice end none the less.
Frey’s Dark Orange isn’t terrible- just slightly below average- but it is some way short of the high standards that they have displayed up until I reviewed this. Many of their other products have been sublime and remain right at the top of TheSnackReview’s overall ratings, but the balance between the chocolate and orange elements in this bar was significantly off…the orange is a mere hint. It’s a dark chocolate bar with a splash or orange to it, which will please some dark chocolate lovers but not many other consumers.
I wouldn’t pick the Dark Orange from Frey’s range again- their other produce has been much, much more flavoursome and exciting for me personally.