I've come across The Grown Up Chocolate Company a few times now but hadn't actually had the chance to try that many of their bars; thankfully that's about to change as I got to sample their range recently and find out what they were all about. Their ethos is that they produce chocolate bars that remind us of when we were children but with an adult twist, using higher quality ingredients and just making the bars a tad more sophisticated - no they haven't gone as far as William Curley in his Nostalgia range, but they are that step in between.
Naturally, being such a big praline fan, the first one I wanted to try was the Crunchy Praline Wonder Bar - that ironically had me wondering what bar this was based on; I can't quite think of any commercial chocolate bar in my time that had a crunchy praline filling? Either way it was tasty.
The bar itself is quite hefty; well if you want to be really correct about it, once you open the box there's two small bars inside, each weighing in at 35g, but you know you're not just going to eat one of them, well not unless you have self control of steel - so a pretty heavy 70g serving.
There is a thick milk chocolate covering and a mixture of pieces of caramelised wafer and praline centre; to be perfectly honest I prefer my pralines rich and smooth, with no mix ins, I often think adding pieces of caramelised wafer etc detracts from the quality of the praline. Nevertheless it was still a tasty bar, the texture of the praline isn't quite there but the caramelised wafer bits do add a nice 'crunch' element meaning that this is a bar you are more likely to chew and eat quickly than one you are going to allow to melt and savour.
The actual flavour of the bar was good; the praline is a great mix of sweet/nutty whilst the caramelised wafer pieces add a slight caramel undertone, the milk chocolate provides lovely creamy rich cocoa notes, made with 38% cocoa solids, this definitely comes through in the flavour.
I can't think of many other praline bars like this on the market; pralines are often only found in their single chocolate form, so in that aspect I think its a really good offering and if I was out and about in my local department store and fancied something satisfying yet also still good quality then I would most definitely pick this up. You can tell it's made with higher quality ingredients but isn't so unreasonably priced or high end that its polarising.
Taste - 7.4/10 - A tasty, satisfying, good quality praline chocolate bar. Not too sweet and a good nutty,creamy flavour.
Texture - 6.9/10 - I wasn't massively averse to the caramelised wafer bits, just I would have preferred that they probably weren't in there and a rich creamy praline was allowed to take centre stage; others I am sure will love the crunchiness of the caramelised wafer though - so I think it's just a personal preference thing.
Appearance - 7/10 - Good size chunky bars, packaging is cute; although I'm not sure whether they're missing a trick by saying that this bar "isn't meant for kids" - although I'm sure some parents would probably buy it for them anyway if they wanted a higher quality treat, a bit like Yorkie and "not for girls". I guess it's just part of their marketing.
Price - 6.9/10 - Priced at £2.50 for 70g its obviously more expensive than your typical commercial chocolate bar but I definitely think the price here is relative to the quality.
Overall - 7/10 - A nice step inbetween your standard commercial bar and your high end artisan offering. If I was a child I'd be a tad bit jealous that I wasn't "supposed" to have this bar.
WHO FOR?Apparently adults only! Honestly, if you're a praline fan then you're probably going to enjoy this bar.
WHERE TO BUY?I picked my bar up at a local Fenwicks, you can also purchase online from The Grown Up Chocolate Company's site here.