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Swiss Chocolate Experiment

Because if I say the word “experiment”, it makes me feel better about eating four bars.

The Swiss are a pretty serious bunch. Especially when it comes to the things they are really good at. Like cheese.ย  And clocks. And Chocolate.

Although the grocery stores here feel more like a 7-11 than a full-service food market, they don’t skimp for space or selection on their beloved chocolate bars.

A typical Swiss grocery aisle dedicated to nothing but chocolate. That might seem like no big deal, but this is in a country where there is ONE choice for every item. Seriously.

So when hubby suggested I come back from the grocery store with something milky and sweet for our games night, I decided it was high time we did an across-the-board comparison experiment.

Naturally.

It's a tough job...but somebody's gotta do it.

{The Nobody}

Prix Garantie Swiss Milk Chocolate. 100g, 45 cents.

The local grocery store’s no-name brand, Prix Garantie (yep, just like it sounds) came in at a whopping 45 cents. And lived up to about that much, too.ย  We agreed that this tasted like the standard Easter candy back home. Waxy and with a shallow flavour.

Does the fact that it says it's "Swiss Milk Chocolate" override the fact that it only cost 45 cents? Nope. Tim and I voted this as the worst tasting chocolate of the bunch.

{The Wannabe Lindt Bar}

Cailler Frigor Milch. 100g, $1.85.

We were a bit surprised by the strong hazelnut flavour but sure enough, the fine print on the bar says “mit Haselnuss”. Can’t fault the bar for my poor German skim-reading.ย  But even though we like a good hazelnut chocolate, this was really strong.

Perhaps the expectations were too high (considering this is a popular Swiss brand) but we agreed that the milk chocolate was weak and the hazelnut too strong. It comes in at #3.

{The Swiss Religion}

Ovomaltine. 100g, $1.95.

Like a shrine to the Ovomaltine gods, every grocery store seems to have an end-aisle display dedicated to all things Ovomaltine. You can get cookies, energy bars, mรผesli, ice-cream, and of course, the chocolate milk. In fact, only in doing research for this post did I find out they have an Ovomaltine “spread“. No wonder I have to buy peanut butter imported from the US…the Swiss are too busy devouring Ovalmaltine Cruncy Spread on their fresh baked bread to care.

But I digress.

If you’ve never had Ovalmatine before, the best I can describe it would be to say it’s like the taste of hot chocolate but with the mouth feel of an Oreo crumb. This chocolate bar had a black speckle throughout it, so it was almost like a “Cookies n’ Cream” experience but without the waxy Nestle white chocolate.

For me, this was #1. It was rich, the texture was fun, and I love the interesting flavour of the Ovalmatine. Tim ranks it as runner-up and liked it's airy feel.

{The Splurge}

Lindt Passion Chocolat, Caramel & Fleur de Sel. 100g, $4.95.

I won’t hesitate to spend five bucks on chocolate from local shops like Merkur but somehow dropping that cash (errr…I mean…coin) in a grocery store just seems….wrong.

Tim said this was "in a whole other level" and that it was the "perfect blend of caramel and salty". He clearly ranked it as #1. I found the dark chocolate a little too bitter (I'm a milk chocolate girl) and although I love salt and caramel, my mouth kept wanting to go back to the Ovomaltine.

For the record, I ate nearly all of the Ovolmaltine bar (surprise!) and Tim ate the fancy Lindt bar, both of us only having one bite (or half a bite!) of the others. The losing bars were sent to the snack cupboard where they’ll stay until one of us has a major hankering and stoops that low.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Swiss Chocolate Experiment

  1. Uuuuhhhh you’re doing nothing for my diet. Please take some of those ovomaltine bars back to NA with you, i must try one!

    Posted by zena rittenhouse | July 30, 2010, 10:00 pm
    • Definitely! So when are you coming to visit?! Wonder what the shelf-life is like on those things…Christmas should be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted by Natasha Kay | August 2, 2010, 6:08 am
  2. LOL — I just love your experiments ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely an interesting choice of bars/brands, too.

    IMHO, Cailler is a lot better than Lindt, but you have to buy their plain “Milch” or “Sublim Noir Truffon” (Frigor is what I’d get from my grandma and which I would only ever eat if I had a major hankering ;-)).

    While you’re still in Basel: You just *have* to go to Choco-Loco (@ Spalenberg) and try their http://www.choco-feeverte.com — Best. Chocolate. Ever.

    Ovomaltine is like Rivella: definitely very swiss, but I would only ever eat or drink it in winter, after snowboarding.

    Posted by Rahel | August 1, 2010, 7:37 pm
    • Choco-loco…?? Didn’t know about that place but sounds fun! The boys and I will have to check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tim will probably like the absinthe fairy chocolate…cool present to bring home for people, too…since absinthe is illegal and somewhat of a “forbidden fruit” (which is kinda silly in its own right).

      I bought the Ovomaltine ice-cream bar the other night — and it was heavenly! Next up, the crunchy spread…in the cupboard now but we sold our toaster the other day so I’m not sure I can enjoy the full experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted by Natasha Kay | August 2, 2010, 6:08 am
  3. Thanks for the inside scoop. Desperate to try Ovomaltine anything. Wonder if it’s a cousin of Ovaltine? Anyway, great blog – thanks!

    Posted by Chrissy | August 2, 2010, 1:11 pm
    • You bet!

      “Ovomaltine was exported to England in 1909; it was a misspelling in the trademark registration that led to the name being truncated to Ovaltine in English-speaking markets.” {thank you Wikipedia!}

      But it all started just a few hours away from us in Berne, Switzerland.

      Now I’m curious why the rights for this originally came from Novartis (a pharma company?!)! Oy! A little investigative reporting might appear on the blog next. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted by Natasha Kay | August 2, 2010, 1:38 pm

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