“ Brand: Aldi „
Cheap chocolates can be a bit hit or miss, but this Chocisserie selection from Aldi is definitely a hit. I spotted them a few weeks ago, and I think they are fairly new in store, since I'd not seen them before.
The hexagonal box opens into a sort of fanned bowl, and contains 6 different flavours, though all are quite similar. The chunks of chocolate are wrapped in different colours for each flavour, so you know what you're getting, and this is also shown on the bottom of the box, and on the side too - each picture shows the inside of the chocolate as well, so there's simply no way you couldn't know what you were about to put in your mouth (and is a lot handier than fiddling around with the little cards in Roses or Quality Street if you're not one of those people who knows them all off by heart anyway). The wrappers also rather bizarrely feature a waiter. He looks a bit French, but I've no idea what he has to do with the chocolates, though he pops up on every one.
The 6 flavours you'll find inside are:
~~ Praline Crème - in the navy wrapper ~~
This is probably my favourite of the bunch though the filling is perhaps a little bit simple as it's just a smooth, quite thick truffle. However, I liked it because it has just the right blend of cocoa and nut flavour, without any nasty nut pieces, and it melts in your mouth into a thick, creamy liquid. A bit similar to a Lindor truffle, but with a thicker chocolate shell, this one is definitely a winner.
~~ Cookies - in the brown wrapper ~~
This was one I was looking forward to, since I tend to like all things cookie flavoured (chocolate, ice cream, cookie flavoured cookies...). It tasted like a nicer version of the milk chocolate Hershey's Cookie bar (not the Cookies and Cream - the brown wrappered one) - I say nicer, because the chocolate they use is European and therefore not as weird and bitter as Hershey's can be. There was a generous helping of dark cookie pieces, encased in a chocolate centre that seemed more solid / less creamy than some of the others in the pack, giving it a slightly different texture. The cookie bits were not sweet, and had an almost bitter tinge to them, but combined with the extra milk chocolate the result was a yummy little bite I happily crunched my way through.
~~ Nut Crisp - in the green wrapper ~~
This was one I was not too bothered about - in fact I bought the pack in spite of this flavour, not because of it. I don't tend to like chocolate with nuts in, but do like smooth nut flavoured items, so I thought I'd give it a go since the illustration made it look as if the nuts were very small. I was pleasantly surprised as the nuts are absolutely tiny fragments and taste more like compacted rice krispies than nuts, per se. I thought this was more like a croquant chocolate - crispy but not very nutty. With hindsight, this was perhaps a bit odd, and might irritate ardent nut fans (for whom I'd recommend the nuttier tasting praline one), but it suited me perfectly.
~~ Caramel Crisp - in the orange wrapper ~~
This is the only one whose representation is a little misleading. The illustration shows it as having a pale orange centre with brighter orange crisp pieces but the centre is actually a pale brown colour. The filling is another of the creamy ones, a sweet truffle with a rather burnt after-taste being the only hint this should be a caramel flavour. The crisp part was much the same as in some of the others in the selection (it didn't taste wildly different from the nut crisp), but was the bright orange shown on the pack. This is perhaps the sweetest chocolate in the bunch and tastes more like a kiddie chocolate than some of the others. It was ok as part of a mixture, but I wouldn't want a whole bar of the stuff.
~~ Yogurt - in the pale blue wrapper ~~
This is another one I was happy to find since I love all yogurt flavoured chocolates, from Ritter Sport to the cheap sticks you get in Lidl aimed at kids' lunchboxes. This was a simple chocolate in the pack as it didn't have a lot of different textures going on - it's a milk chocolate chunk (they all are, in fact) filled with a smooth, tangy yogurt flavoured filling with a hint of vanilla to it. I do wonder about yogurt flavoured chocs sometimes, because I eat a lot of yogurt and haven't yet found one as tangy as chocolate makers seem to think the stuff tastes, but this chocolate was still delish and very creamy too, and if they made a box just with this flavour in, I'd buy it.
~~ Capuccino & Amarettini - in the cream wrapper ~~
This not a flavour I would normally eat up, but with my normal live-in coffee vacuum currently ensconced in Ecuador, and me having eaten up all the other chocolate in my house, desperate times called for desperate measures and I thought maybe I could bite the nice milk chocolate off the sides of this, leaving the nasty coffee flavoured centre behind. This worked to a degree - of the 6 sides, 4 came off easily, but I didn't stop there and, going for the top layer, accidentally ended up with a mouthful of coffee gunk. I was again quite pleasantly surprised that it didn't taste all that horrifically awful - the coffee flavour is extremely subtle, as it's blended with a cocoa to make a cream, and the amaretto bits add a bit of crunch not dissimilar to the caramel crunch and nut crisp. I ended up eating all of these, though I'd still push them on others first given the chance, since they were the one I liked least.
Overall, I was impressed by these chocolates and thought they made a nice change from the kilo tins of Roses / Quality Street / Celebrations we scoffed all last month. I would happily serve these up to visitors, but maybe not give as a gift, except to certain people. The box is branded as Chocisserie but it is an Aldi own-brand, and you can spot this easily if you turn the box over and read the base. I have no problems eating Aldi and Lidl stuff (and find it nicer than many other own brands) but I have some friends who would view this in the same way as if they received a box of the Tesco Value chocolate assortment, and feel rather hard done by, brand snobs that they are.
The quality was excellent, both in terms of presentation (no machine fault wrappings here) and in terms of the chocolate which was silky smooth. I liked the fact that they were all milk chocolates - others might find this a bit boring. I thought I would give them a try since I was sure to like 4 of the 6 flavours, and ended up enjoying 5 of them and tolerating the final one. The centres are all quite similar - either solid chocolate or a thick truffle - and there are no soft centres or fruity flavours as you might find in other selections - but I would recommend them.
Any complaints? I thought the pack was a little wasteful on packaging, as the chocolates are over-wrapped compared to some other brands. Each looks like a bowtie / Christmas cracker so there's extra wrapping at either end. Also, I didn't find the chocolates very big given their calorie content - 38 in an average 7g square (with each also containing 2.3g fat). I was eating these 3 or 4 at a time, which soon added up to nearly a normal bar in terms of nutrition, but felt a lot less in terms of satisfaction. That's always a danger with little chocolates - you can munch them in an idle way and only afterwards realise quite how many you've eaten.
Finally, they are not all that cheap for Aldi - £1.89 for a 250g box. It's not expensive given the quality, but it's not a dirt cheap credit crunch buy either. Recommended as a change from the norm more than anything - it's an excellent, different chocolate selection, but unfortunately it's not one that will save you many pennies or calories.
If you want to know what to look out for, you can see a picture of the box here: