I cannot remember exactly when I first discovered the delights of the M&S Fudge Bar, but it has since changed my life for the better. It is definitely right up there in my top snack rankings. Please bear with me while I rave about it for a few paragraphs. :)
The picture above is slightly outdated - the most recent wrapper is similarly bright, but the text and picture smaller, and instead has a half-and-half swirl of yellow and brown background (for fudge and chocolate, I presume). In addition, there is no longer any mention of the fudge being vanilla flavoured! (No vanilla in the ingredients...) The front of the wrapper also states in small capitals on bright green (not exactly conducive with the colour scheme, I know, but I forgive them this small point) that there are no artificial colours or flavourings.
The back of the wrapper gives a full breakdown of nutritional values, list of ingredients (milk chocolate contains minimum 30% cocoa and 20% milk solids), and clearly highlighted allergy information (contains cow's milk, eggs, soya; made in a factory which uses nut ingredients). It also states that the packaging is currently non-recyclable. Which is a shame, although M&S have stated somewhere before that they are working on making more of their packaging recyclable.
Storage suggestions, M&S contact details, best before date, and weight of the bar (45g) also feature on the wrapper lip.
By way of neatly serrated edges, the wrapper opens to reveal a small, rectangular bar of about 4 inches in length and half an inch wide and deep. The chocolate is slightly rippled on the top. Inside the bar is a fairly substantial filling of creamy beige fudge, not hard like a Cadbury's Fudge, but almost the same consistency as butter icing - smooth enough to scrape out with your finger, but with an ever so slightly grainy texture in the bite (I expect this is the sugar).
The chocolate is about 1/8th of an inch thick across the top of the bar, and a little less the rest of the way around. If you're used to Marks and Spencer's chocolate you will recognise it here - not necessarily with the distinct individual flavour that brands such as Cadbury or Galaxy have, but certainly good quality milk chocolate that is not too sickly or that overpowers the fudgy taste. Similarly, the fudge isn't too sweet. Texturally the chocolate is ever so slightly brittle and so again complements the fudge's creaminess. In fact, it's the balance between the two which I find makes this product really special. (Thorntons do a similar fudge bar which has a layer of caramel on the inside, and I find it a bit too much on the palate.)
My only complaint is regarding the price of the product... Depending on where in the UK you shop, you can see this bar costing from about 45p to 51p (likely to be more where the rent is higher!). But while the bar itself is only 45g - relatively small for a chocolate bar - I do find that that is just enough. And then again, if you're feeling dangerous, the bars also come in a multipack of three, so you can indulge now and save one for later! :)
We have all been there. Standing in a long queue at the supermarket check out, being bored and impatient, surveying our surroundings. Next thing we know, we start picking up the various sweets that have been conveniently placed at eye level in the check-out bay. Sometimes we manage to be good and resist, other times we give in to the temptation and throw the unnecessary calories into our shopping trolley only to devour them on the way home and to feel guilty about it
. This familiar picture was indeed painted a few months ago when my fiance and I went into Marks & Spencers to get soup and bread. Next thing we knew, we were walking out with soup bread, midget gems and a bar of whipped vanilla fudge.
***The product ***
This species of chocolate is no more than 10 cms in length and weighs in at 43 g. It is clothed in a wrapper of different shades of orange and displays an image of itself in the middle of the wrapper a rectangular shaped dual-coloured chocolate bar with a brown milk chocolate coating and an off-white fudge centre. In the middle of the bar fat letters spell out the word fudge. In the top left hand corner, the Marks & Spencer logo is shown in hardly noticeable white lettering. Just beneath that, also hardly noticeable, it says whipped vanilla.
The back of the wrapper displays all the usual nutritional information and warns allergy sufferers that the product contains cows milk, eggs and soya. There is also a note that the product has been made in a factory using nut ingredients so nut allergy sufferers should clearly stay away from this species of chocolate.
My boyfriend unwrapped the bar and broke it in half. When looking at it, I noticed that the surface of the bar was much like the one of a mars bar, except that it was not as high: a rich milk chocolate colour with ripples across the top. I was slightly surprised to see that the milk chocolate coating was a lot thicker than I expected but when checking the wrapper again, I discovered that a mere 65% of the bar actually consists of fudge the rest is milk chocolate.
I sniffed the bar and immediately noticed that it was pretty much odourless. The wrapper itself smelled of milk chocolate however, it was more in the nature of cheap milk chocolate coin than of a luxurious treat. Not much to whet my appetite for this species of chocolate and fudge.
I took a first bite of the fudge and started chewing. The consistency was very 'pasty' - much like play-dough or cookie-dough. It was very sticky and I could feel the individual sugar granules grind against my teeth, hurting them in the process. For a few moments I considered letting the fudge melt in my mouth rather than exposing my poor teeth to this rather painful experience, but I quickly noticed that the fudge then turned into some kind of slimy consistency that did not appeal much to my taste buds and tongue at all. Consequently, I started chewing the bar again.
The taste itself was not too bad. As I had already expected from the smell, the milk chocolate was bland and not very creamy. The fudge itself was very very sweet, too sweet, even for a sweet tooth like myself. The other thing that I noticed was a clear absence of vanilla flavour. When I purchase something that prides itself to have vanilla in it, I expect something of a rich vanilla bourbon nature. Instead, the fudge tasted a lot more like a chewy caramel square like Werther Originals chewy soft caramels. I checked the ingredients label again and it surprised me to see that there was actually no mention of vanilla flavouring or anything similar in this fudge. I am no fudge maker but I would have expected something of the sort to give it the advertised flavour.
I only had about half a bar, and my stomach felt sick, due to its sweetness. I certainly could not have finished the whole bar on my own.
***Price and Availability***
This fudge bar is only available at Marks & Spencer and costs £0.39.
Next time you are in a Marks & Spencers and tempted to buy a treat at the check out counter, I suggest you choose something else unless all you are looking for is an instant sugar rush. You will surely get one from this. While the vanilla fudge bar is not disgusting or unpleasant, it is certainly nothing special either. Neither myself nor my boyfriend feel compelled to buy this one again.
Marks and Spencer PLC
London W1U 8EP