“ Brand: Simsek „
In Manchester there are a lot of independently owned small food shops, and invariably they stock some random stuff, much of it foreign. In this part of Sierra Leone, there are not a lot of independently owned small food shops, but the two that there are invariably stock some random stuff, much of it foreign. You can buy this item in both places but, in yet another random twist, it is made in Turkey. Go figure.
I love Kinder eggs. It's the double whammy, y'see. Toy and chocolatey treat. Just when the excitement of one fades, you have the other to distract you. Roy's Toys are similar, sort of like a fake Kinder egg, but subtly different, too, and not just in their use of language: "eggs of games from chocolate milk" more of less tells you what it is, but made me hope their chocolate making was better than their translation.
These eggs come wrapped just in foil but are remarkably sturdy, and I've not had a broken one yet despite the number of food miles they must have travelled, north west or south west, to the places I've seen them. Thin chocolate is not normally that resilient, so it makes me wonder what they've added to the mix. Some kind of glue, maybe? The one advantage of the slimy texture of these is that the foil never, ever sticks to the chocolate. I don't have any fillings but I still hate it when you get a tiny bit of foil in with your food when you take a bite.
Lots of the time cheap imitations aren't quite as fancy as the originals on which they're modelled, and the same is true with these. The egg is only milk chocolate, with no milky lining like with Kinder. This is chocolate at its cheapest: rubbery and with a greasy sheen. Kinder Eggs are crisp so you can break the two halves apart, but Roy's are more of a sticky mess that you peel bits off, bit by bit. Chocolate connoisseurs who favour Lindt and Godiva might class Cadbury or Galaxy as cheap chocolate, but this stuff is really scraping the bottom of the chocolate barrel.
This chocolate smells decidedly odd. It is quite like those milk chocolate jazzies you can get, in other words it smells like a 'chocolate candy' or 'chocolate flavoured' item, not chocolate itself. When you peel off a piece you can tell it's standard chocolate egg thickness, but the inside somehow looks grainy and speckled as if it's not been mixed in properly.
These eggs taste...interesting. I suppose the best comparison I can draw is to cooking chocolate. It is not totally unlike normal chocolate but something is a little off with it, and there is a distinct after taste. This tastes like chocolate not made by chocolate people, though the company do do many other products and chocolate cakes etc. Due to the texture, this is chocolate for chewing rather than sucking, and that also alters the way in which the flavours hit you. One of the main things about these is how sweet they are. Verging on sickly, you certainly wouldn't want more than one at once, which could be a good thing if you are known to scoff a box of 3 Kinder Eggs in one go.
Now for the toys. I have a little time on my hands at the moment, but am also on a budget. So, when given the option of a Dairy Milk (4500 Leones) or one of these eggs (2000 Leones), the eggs often win, not least because of the toy inside. As with Kinder there are various 'themes' running at the same time, though you never quite know what you're going to get. From the same big display box I have recently picked up cars and trucks, what appears to be a tropical range (lots of palm trees and weird monkeys) and even pencil toppers, though I don't think I could quite get away with using them in the hospital. My most recent 'win' was a rather sweet faux-glass dolphin that fits on a completely unrelated heart shaped base, part of a tropical animal series.
The toys come housed in a yellow plastic egg inside the hollow chocolate. They average 5 to 10 pieces to fit together, sometimes with decorative stickers (e.g. eyes for animals) to finish them off. There is a piece of paper inside too which says, in a whopping 20 languages, that these are unsuitable for children under 3. In case it's not totally clear, this is also shown in the form of a red circle with a line across it, the writing 0-3 inside and what appears to be a picture of a Christmas bauble with eyes. I think it's supposed to be a child.
One thing that baffles me about the toys in these is that they are just so complicated to assemble. I'm a quarter of a decade beyond their minimum age of 3, and have a Masters degree with 'Engineering' in the title, but these flummox me every time. Part is down to the instructions, or lack thereof. There appears to be no consistency about whether or not you get a guide and when you do the pictures often bear little resemblance to the components you've just emptied out. It simply shouldn't be so hard to put together half a dozen pieces of coloured plastic, but it just is. Once assembled, the toys are pretty good, and rarely fall apart or break, but getting to that stage is most of the battle, and woe betide you if you accidentally push the wrong two pieces together as they are almost impossible to separate.
I'm back and forth over whether or not to recommend these. On the one hand, their cheap price makes them ideal for children who wouldn't necessarily notice the chocolate wasn't top quality. On the other, I imagine most junior school children would grow frustrated with the difficulty of the put together toys, and demand parental input. They could be just the thing to con naive kids though. If your little one is always losing at competitions, and isn't yet well versed in the chocolate-egg-with-toy concept, one of these with the exclamation "Wow, you won!" might work to cheer them up. After all, every one's a winner.
I pay about 30p for one of these here, about the same price they retail for in Manchester.