Archive for Norway

Review: Nidar Yade

I don’t often see molded candy bars that have both milk and dark chocolate. In fact, the Nidar Yade is probably the first one I’ve had. It seems most manufacturers assume that milk chocolate and dark chocolate are mutually exclusive and that consumers want one or the other, not both in the same product.

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Structure
A thin, wide molded bar with a bottom layer of dark chocolate and top layer of milk chocolate. Small, caramelized bits of macadamia nuts and hazelnuts are mixed in.

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Texture
Perfectly tempered with a nice snap when you break it into the smaller, triangular pieces. The hazelnut and macadamia nut pieces are really small, but add a nice contrast to the smooth chocolate.

Taste
There’s about two or more times milk chocolate than dark chocolate, but in terms of taste, the two are split evenly. The dark chocolate is more pronounced when you first bite in, but the milk chocolate becomes more noticeable on the finish. It’s difficult to taste any hazelnut or macadamia nut because the pieces are so small, but you do get some extra sweetness from their caramelized coating.

Verdict
I don’t actually finish many of the candy bars that I review on this blog myself. I try to share with others if they’re good or I sometimes toss out the rest if they’re really bad. So when I eat an entire candy bar myself, like I did with the Nidar Yade, that’s a sign that it’s a damn good candy bar. I would put the Yade easily in the top tier of the candy bars I’ve tried so far.

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Review: Nidar Troika

I like most candy bar packaging. There are plenty of examples of both upscale and common candy bars that have great packaging. The Troika, on the other hand, has terrible packaging design. I think they were trying to make it look upscale, but in failing to do so, created a design that looks cheap and generic. More annoying though, is that the packaging of the Troika fails to convey anything about the product itself. I shouldn’t have to comb through the ingredients in small print on the back to get an idea about what’s in the product.

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Structure
The Troika consists of three inner layers enrobed in dark chocolate. From top to bottom, these layers are raspberry jelly, chocolate truffle, and marzipan.

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Texture
Upon biting in, the chocolate shell broke off into thin pieces – separating easily from the rest of the bar. The jelly was soft. It reminded me of canned cranberry sauce, though a little firmer. The chocolate truffle layer was lost in the mix between the jelly and the noticeably dry and crumbly marzipan. Overall, kind of an odd combination of textures.

Taste
I’ll start with the good news. The dark chocolate coating is very high quality and tastes great. The bad news… the rest of the flavors aren’t good at all. The raspberry flavor is underwhelming and didn’t work with the marzipan at all. Like the texture, the flavors were an odd combination.

Verdict
This candy bar just isn’t very good. I don’t understand why they tried to put together this combination of ingredients. Marzipan and raspberry jelly? I don’t understand the appeal of that. The one bright spot for this product was the chocolate, but I’m kind of annoyed good chocolate is being wasted producing Troikas.

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Review: Cuba

I love the packaging for this bar, which is simply called Cuba. The candy bar itself is wrapped in gold foil, which is then covered in plastic – twisted off on the ends like a Tootsie Roll wrapper. The Cuba logo type is clear plastic, so the gold foil shows. I’ve never seen a candy bar wrapped like this before and I award them points for creativity. As for the candy product on the inside, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the Norwegian description, but I could figure out that it had chocolate and almonds in it from the ingredients.

Structure
A molded high cocoa percentage milk chocolate with a soft chocolate filling containing small pieces of almonds.

Texture
The chocolate shell is thin and snaps apart nicely as you bite through to the soft center. The filling is light and fluffy like a mousse or a whipped ganache. The almond pieces are chopped very fine and add a little bit of crunchiness. I also noticed some small sugar granules suspended in the filling.

Taste
Cuba has a deep, intense chocolate taste with a bit of saltiness – a welcome shot of flavor in contrast to some cheap, tasteless chocolate I’ve had recently.

Verdict
This bar is a definite thumbs up. It’s more like a truffle you’d find at a chocolate shop than it is a candy bar you’d expect to pick up at a convenience store.

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Review: Nidar Smash!

The Smash! packaging caught my eye right away. It appeared to have little chocolate covered ice cream cones flying around with little candy bar particles floating in the background. I wasn’t exactly sure what was in the candy bar though. Instead of reading the ingredients, I decided to jump right in and take a bite. For a moment, I thought there actually were ice cream cones smashed up in it, but I realized the pieces were too salty. Then it hit me. Smash! is filled with crushed up bits of Bugles. Now the packaging makes sense because Bugles look like little ice cream cones.

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Structure
A molded milk chocolate bar with crushed up pieces of corn chips mixed in.

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Texture
The bar crumbles apart as you bite through. Because there are so many corn chip bits incorporated throughout, the structural integrity of the chocolate is compromised. That’s not a bad thing though, because the bar is thick and would be difficult to bite through if it were solid chocolate. The corn chips provide a ton of crunchiness. Overall, the Smash! is very similar to the Ritter Sport Corn Flakes Bar, though these pieces are a little lighter and crispier than regular corn flakes.

Taste
The milk chocolate is very good. It’s creamy with a deep flavor. The corn chips bits are noticeably salty and the corn flavor pokes through on the finish. The chocolate and chips work well together.

Verdict
A very solid effort. My only complaint is the thickness of the bar. It should have been a little thinner. All in all, a very good tasting candy bar though.

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Review: Freia Peanøtt Kubbe

The Peanøtt Kubbe (“Peanut Log”) is a Norwegian product manufactured by Freia – a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. This bar didn’t stand out much amongst the dozen or so candy bars I currently have from Norway. The ingredients list – chocolate, peanuts, and toffee -looked good enough, but it’s not exactly exotic; we have bars like that here.

Structure
The inner toffee core is first surrounded by a layer of dark chocolate and next by chopped peanuts and milk chocolate. The package contains two segments.

Texture
I was expecting the toffee center to be firm and chewy. To my delightful surprise, it was very soft and smooth. The milk chocolate is soft and creamy, while the dark chocolate is a bit harder and the chopped peanuts provide crunch. All together, there are many textures and they work together wonderfully.

Taste
The flavor is deep and complex. The toffee center has a burnt caramel flavor. The dark chocolate cuts the sweetness of the milk chocolate and adds to the uniqueness of the overall flavor (I can’t think of many candy bars with dark and milk chocolate). Of course, both of the chocolates used are high quality and taste great. Finally, the roasted peanuts add to the mix by providing a nutty background flavor.

Verdict
The Peanøtt Kubbe is an amazing candy bar with many textures and flavors all working well together. It’s one of the best candy bars I’ve ever had actually. I’d say this one is even worth buying online and having it shipped, but I can’t find a place online that sells it. If you ever come across one, either online or off, do yourself a favor and buy it.

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Review: Freia Kvikk Lunsj

The bright, bold packaging really stands out on the Kvikk Lunsj (Norwegian for “Quick Lunch”). With it’s three horizontal stripes, it dawned on me that it looks like a country flag. I wouldn’t have a clue off the top of my head which one, but after some quick research, I figured out that it does in fact look just like the flag of Bolivia.

As for the actual candy bar, it’s apparently quite popular in Norway. The average citizen there consumes nine per year.

Structure
A molded milk chocolate bar with four long segments – each with a wafer center. A Marabou Stork (the Freia mascot) is imprinted four times on each segment.

Texture
The chocolate coating is thick and well tempered. It’s VERY smooth and thoroughly coats your mouth as it melts. Overall, Freia milk chocolate is thick, creamy, and very satisfying. The inner wafer isn’t quite as crispy as its Kit Kat cousin, but it does provide a nice complement to the chocolate coating nonetheless.

Taste
The milk chocolate is again the star. It has a distinct milky flavor that I can now attribute as unique to Freia products in the same way I can pick out Nestle or Hershey’s chocolate. The wafer is mostly tasteless, but I appreciate that it is not overly sweet. This allows the chocolate taste to shine on it’s own.

Verdict
This bar easily gets a thumbs up from me. It’s basically a Kit Kat (a bar I already like), except with better chocolate. The fact that it has cool packaging is a bonus.

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Review: Freia Firkløver

Norwegians have three extra letters in their alphabets, including this one: ø. According to Wikipedia, this is a monophthongal close-mid front rounded vowel or, in less fancy words, it sounds like the vowel in “bird”. All of this said, I’m still not sure how to pronounce Firkløver, but the word (and the packaging) look very nice.

Anyway… let’s talk about the candy bar. It’s pretty hefty – about 3 1/2 ounces. Compare this to a standard Hershey’s chocolate bar, which is only about 1 1/2 ounces. From a quick glance of the web, it also has a hefty price tag. I was lucky enough to score this one as a gift from a Norwegian friend wanting to show off his country’s goods (thanks Gunnar!).

Structure
This is an 18 segment molded milk chocolate bar with pieces of chopped hazelnuts spread throughout.

Texture
I’m always concerned about thick chocolate bars. I don’t want to work to bite through them. This wasn’t a problem at all with the Firkløver. Even though it as a nice temper, it’s still soft and smooth to bite through. The chocolate feels very thick and creamy, but it melts away effortlessly leaving small pieces of hazelnuts for the finish. Overall, the chocolate and crunchy hazelnut textures work perfectly together.

Taste
The chocolate flavor is just really good. I don’t know what else to say except I wish all milk chocolate was this good. There isn’t a ton of hazelnut flavor, but you do get some at the end after the chocolate starts to subside.

Verdict
There’s nothing creative or fancy about this bar. It’s just a milk chocolate bar with nuts in it, yet it’s incredibly good. I definitely recommend trying one of these out one day.

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