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Brand: Wonka / Type: Other Desserts

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      29.11.2010 12:15
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      A kids' party sweet rather than an adult treat

      Tie-in products, those released to promote films or books or whatever, can be a bit hit and miss, a bit of a novelty, a bit of a waste of space really. Putting a certain branding on a product doesn't make it any better, and often indicates it might be worse - after all, if it were good enough to be developed in its own right, surely it would have been? Why wait for a promotional opportunity to inflict it on the masses?

      These Wonka Donutz are, as you'll imagine, a product linked to the Willy Wonka films. I've not tried the (many) previously released products but these caught my eye a few weeks ago for a number of clichéd reasons: the pretty lilac plastic wrap, the intriguing picture on the front, the words "One dozen" making it sound like you get ever such a lot for your money. The clincher was, as is often the case, the price. I would get 12 of these for £1.30 of your English money. But what exactly were 'these'? The description of "Candy Donutz with a creamy chocolate centre" was a little open to interpretation, as I was pretty sure the one thing these *weren't* was donuts in the traditional sense.

      I read the packaging. They count 3 Donutz as one serving, which somewhat takes the thrill out of getting 12 of them, but still. Inside, each one is individually wrapped. Great for portion control, less great for the environment. The packaging of choice is stay-fresh foil, and they've made it look as busy as possible, with each one having the Wonka logo, the word "Donutz", an outside picture and a cross section, summary ingredients, the Nestle contact details and so on. That's a lot of information to pack into something the diameter of a 50p, and just 15mm deep.

      Opening the packet of my first (of 12!) Donutz, I was hit by the smell: artificially sweet, definitely more candy than chocolate, a bit like the pick-and-mix corner of my local cinema. Inside, I found what looked like a cross between a donut and a Bundt cake, circular with a hole, but also a flat bottom, and totally covered in hundreds and thousands. Well, almost totally covered, because a few dozen had fallen off into the foil. They were a weird sight and at first I couldn't pin it down, but then I realised this was the American version of the sprinkles, including all sorts of peculiar colours (like dark blue and turquoise) that we don't tend to get in the UK. As I removed the Donut, even more of the dots abandoned ship, making quite a mess. I wondered whether they'd put so many on so that some, at least, would survive but, in doing so, had used too many given the limited chocolate surface area to which they were valiantly trying to stick.

      Biting in, again, I didn't know what to expect but from handling it briefly I knew it would be thicker and harder than a mini donut. What you really get is a thin, crisp, chocolate candy shell filled with a proper(ish) chocolate cream. The texture is good - crisp and creamy has proved itself time and again with everything from Smarties to Lindor - and the hundreds and thousands give an additional crunch to each bite.

      Taste wise, it's a different story. The hundreds and thousands add no flavour as such, just a bit more sugar to a product hardly lacking in the sweet stuff. The candy coating is very artificial - like those chocolate mice or jazzies- but the chocolate cream is better, though it definitely emulates American chocolate more than it does European stuff. It is creamy but not quite milky enough, a little like Hershey's. The three parts combine together pretty well. It's like sweet and sweeter, but somehow it works, albeit in a sickly kind of way.

      These are much more a children's chocolate than an adult one, but I think they are a nice idea, and would go well in party bags (since they're handily individually wrapped) or opened up and arranged on a plate for an easy alternative to desert. They look pretty until you try to eat them at which point it goes a little down hill, but that's more a concern for parents than it is for their kids, I'm sure.

      One thing I found most odd was that although they are VERY sweet, one is strangely not satisfying enough, and their suggestion that 3 is a serving actually is about right, though you'd want a big drink handy if you were to attempt any more in one go.

      I wouldn't buy these for me again. 12 is too many to want to eat in a short space of time, and though they were fun to try once, I know what they're like now so my curiosity is satisfied. That said, if someone was handing them round, I wouldn't say no. They're ok, if a little messy, and you can't deny they're chocolatey.

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