“ Brand: Fruit Bowl / Type: Snack „
Fruit Bowl Chocolate Orange Fruit Flakes are a rather interesting product I've recently had the pleasure of discovering. Think of something akin to chocolate covered raisins. Now take away the raisins, and make the centre out of a fruit puree filling. Use 7 parts apple puree to 1 part orange, add some sugar and vegetarian gelling agents and cover the whole thing in a smooth, milk chocolate. Intrigued? It's hard to imagine what these are like until you try them, but I recommend you do because they are delish.
Even with the funny apple : orange ratio, it's the smell of orange that is very strong - it hits you as soon as you open the bag, along with a hint of the chocolate too. The bags are only small - you find these in 25g bags, sold in multipacks - but contain between 35 and 45 'flakes' of varying sizes. They're not really flakes by the usual definition (cornflakes, snow flakes etc) as they're really shaped like small footballs and rugby balls, but then 'Fruit Balls' is not quite as nice and alliterative as 'Fruit Flakes', so we'll stick to that. Unlike general dried fruit products that can take on a shrivelled appearance, these look appealing because, from the outside, it seems like you're about to eat little balls of shiny, smooth milk chocolate. Yum.
Because these flakes are so very small, and because they are, at the end of the day, 58% chocolate, the centre is not as prominent as you might think. The texture is some way between chewy chocolate and a jelly sweet - it's definitely not silky like pure chocolate, but there's not much to it either and what you can taste is smooth, with no 'bits' to alarm fussy eaters. If you bite one in half the filling looks dark (unlike the juicy orange shown on the foil bag) but beyond that you can't pick out many details of it, making them a little tricky to describe.
That said, the taste is the most important factor, and these are truly scrumptious. They may be made out of much more apple than orange, but due to the dominant flavour of the latter, orange is all you can taste. You could be forgiven for thinking these were somehow related to a Terry's Chocolate Orange because the flavour is so similar. The milk chocolate is surprisingly nice for a product not from a known chocolate manufacturer and is creamy and thick and not too sweet. More importantly, it's not weird and bendy if you try to peel it off like the artificial stuff you often find on cheap chocolate covered goodies, or on Poppetts. The orange filling is tangy and sweet and, thanks to the real fruit used to make these, not artificial in the slightest. The result is a match made in heaven for lovers of all things chocolate orange flavoured.
Sometimes when a product is so varied in terms of presentation, I assume the quality control is poor. With these, though, in a home-made kind of way it's really rather endearing how the flakes vary so much in size and shape, and I get a little thrill when I come across a double one, with two bits stuck together as a happy little bonus. While aesthetically they may not all be the same, I have had no issues with lack of chocolate (it's always present and thickly enrobing the centre) or the filling itself (you always get some, though the amount can be predicted from the overall size of the flake in question).
These are a snack relatively high in 'fruit' - 40% - and relatively healthy for a snack food. Compare them to a bar of chocolate and the 110 calories and 4.5g fat per bag is appealing. What's more, they don't stiff you on the serving size, as one bag is a decent amount, unlike with some diet or lower calorie products where you really have to eat double the suggest serving size to fill up. Obviously they wouldn't compare favourably to an orange or apple as the fibre and nutrients are so much lower, but treat these as, well, a treat and they're quite saintly.
I enjoy these because the sheer number of 'flakes' in the bag means I can graze on them for ages, making a bag last half the morning. And, as the old toothpaste adage goes, there's always a little more left in the bag, even when you think it's all gone. They are a satisfying snack with a proper chocolatey kick to them, and even though they're a little pricy for what they are, I will keep buying them because they save me about 100 calories a time eating these rather than a bar of chocolate, and last longer too.
These are currently available in multipacks only, in Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons nationwide. They cost about £1.85 for a pack of 4 individual bags.
Since these are made with 'real fruit puree and juice' it begs the question, do they equal one of your 5 a day? While I've been unable to find an answer to this, most online posters seem to believe one bag will provide half of one portion at most, plus a fair amount of added sugar (in total a 25g bag contains 16.6g sugar, or about 67%). As for the company, they don't make claims either way, though they do rather interestingly have the following on their website:
"Most people in the UK still fall well short of the target of five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. In fact, the average child reaches only half this level, with nearly one in five failing to eat any fresh fruit in a week. Fruit Bowl® fruit snacks provide a great compromise between fresh fruit and confectionery products."
In other words, as I had kind of concluded by myself, these are a better alternative to a traditional chocolate bar or bag of sweets, but nothing more really. They are, in a nutshell, chocolate with a fruity kick, not fruit with a chocolatey kick. I wish I could eat multiple bags of these a day to reach my nutritional goals, but I'm not deluded enough to believe I can, more's the pity.