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Okay, its a fair cop! I do loiter around my local shops each day waiting for a new product to emerge so that I can test for you all. After all, if I told you that I'd managed to find yet another yummy newcomer to the confectionary scene BY ACCIDENT.....well you might believe me but thousands wouldn't ;-)
I did actually see this product on the counter of my local "One Stop" shop last week - but as I had already paid for my purchases, I didn't wait to be the sad person who joined the long queue again, just to buy two of these (remember - any new product must also be bought for the husband to sample too!). So instead I waiting patiently until I revisited the store this week - and made sure that this was the first thing in my grubby little mitts!
What is it - well, if I gave you a clue and said "Belgian Chocolate"......yes, you'd probably want another clue. So what if I said "Sea Shells"........well yes surely I'd be giving the game away - after all, only one confectioner from Belgium makes sea shells. But this is new and somewhat radical for that manufacturer - and so without further a do, allow me to introduce you to........
"GUYLIAN PRALINÉ" - A CHOCOLATE BAR!!!
***** WHO ARE GUYLIAN? A MINI HISTORY *****
This confectioner started life more than 30 years ago in Belgium when founded by Guy and Liliane Foubert. They now supply their famous chocolates to over 132 countries world wide, which roughly translates into the need to produce more than 75 tons of their chocolates per day to meet the huge demand.
Until now their range has been strictly boxes of chocolates - a range which includes "Chocolate Sea Shells", "La Trufflina" and "Opus".
***** WHAT'S NEW THEN? *****
So new that it doesn't even appear as a product on the companies official website (see end of opinion for the site address), Guylian have now broken into the Chocolate Bar market, by bringing out a bar in the same mould as Dairy Milk, Galaxy and the like - pocket-sized Belgian chocolate - yummy yum yum!
***** WHAT DO I LOOK FOR? THE PACKAGING *****
Wrapped in the same plastic/foil packaging as we have come to know Cadbury and Galaxy to sell their products in, this bar is the same size as each of the above (40g).
The wrapper has dark brown ends (same colour as Galaxy.......is anyone detecting a theme here???), with a middle which subtly changes from cream to light brown from left to right.
On the front of the wrapper you will find the well-known "Guylian" brand name in gold metallic writing, with the bar name of "Praliné" in brown underneath, both on the left-hand side.
Then finally, as if you need to be enticed further, you are given a glimpse of the chocolate which lies within the wrapper - chucks of milk chocolate, each with its own individual white and dark chocolate shell on top.
***** DOES THIS TASTE AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS? THE TASTE TEST *****
On opening the wrapper, the lovely sweet smell of the beglian chocolate hits you. It smells like the Sea Shells which this company is so famous for.
The disappointment, however, comes when you take the whole bar from its wrapper. Only 4 chunks of chocolate!! This is the least amount that I have seen in any chocolate bars I think, but I guess when its the only moan that you can have about this chocolate bar, well it can be over-looked (just!).
Each chunk of the chocolate, as the wrapper has already shown us, comes with a milk / white chocolate shell on top of it - slightly smaller versions of the famous boxed variety, but none the less they cover the top of each chuck totally.
Biting into the chocolate - well of course it is heaven!! The texture reminded me very much of Cadbury's Marble bar - a soft chocolate surrounding the lovely melt-in-the-mouth praline centre. The taste is creamy, not too sickly and well up to the standard of the boxed chocolates. To harp back again to the mere 4 chunks - this just wasn't enough for a gannet like me!! It had me wondering if a larger bar might become available ;-).
***** WHAT'S THE DAMAGE THEN, NUTRITIONALLY SPEAKING? *****
As mentioned above, this bar's weight is 40g, so pretty standard for this size. Because this is made in Europe, there is no mention of calories, just kilojoules - so here goes: -
So in summary - ouch ouch ouch!! That's around 222 kcals / 14.4g fat per bar. Oh well, perhaps only having four chunks is just as well!!
The ingredients include Whole Milk Powder and Hazelnuts, so anyone unable to consume these should of course (unfortunately) steer clear!!
***** WHERE WILL I FIND THIS CHOCOLATE GEM & HOW MUCH WILL IT DENT MY PURSE? AVAILABILITY & PRICE *****
Hmmmm - good question at the moment! I have only seen them in my local "One Stop" shop (formerly known as "Dillons" chain of stores), but I am sure that once word is out on the street, it will be available in more places.
The bar cost me a very reasonable 38p. When compared with like bars from the big UK brand names, this is actually quite cheap - me wonders if the shop had made a boo boo, but I wasn't about to question that when I paid for it ;-).
***** AND FINALLY MY THOUGHTS - WAS IT REALLY THAT GOOD? *****
As you can see from my list of opinions, I do love a good choccy bar - but not any old rubbish is allowed to pass my lips (who mentioned Nestlé - not me!!). This is certainly up there with the best for taste, quality and price. I just hope that it spreads to more shops soon, so that I don't have to cross the city to enjoy a bar!! Otherwise I may end up buying in bulk! It must have taken a big decision for Guylian to attempt to break into an already highly competitive market - but I think they have broken the mould with this one!!
***** CONTACT DETAILS *****
As mentioned before, Guylian do have an informative website which can be accessed with the address below. Clearly it cannot be updated too regularly, given that this bar receives no mention - perhaps they are waiting to make sure that it is popular!!
The wrapper does not contain a contact mail address for Guylian, but interestingly it does have an address for the chocolate's importer - but this is a company in Australia!! But just incase you're interested, I'll let you have it anyway: -
Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd, 62 Rosebery Avenue, Rosebery, New South Wales 2018.
Now surely "One Stop" didn't buy a European chocolate bar from a company in Australia???
As always, thanks for reading and bearing with me! All comments happily received - and I hope that you don't have to hunt far to enjoy one of these yourself!!