What with all the new products going on for Spirit of Summer every time I pop into M&S I notice a new product that I want to buy. Dulce de Leche seems to be one of the overriding flavours they're using this year (I'm not complaining, I love the stuff) and it's even popped up in the chocolate section in the form of a Dulce de Leche Chocolate loaded with salted popcorn pieces.
I think it's Artisan du Chocolat who make these bars, so I had high hopes, considering the usual quality of their chocolate. However caramel chocolate, I seem to find, can often be difficult to pull off; I always have high hopes, comparing it to the Valrhona Dulcey chocolate which is oh so delicious.
The bar; despite looking like it might be a sharing sized bar is actually only 45g, with the bar being large but quite thin. Personally I quite like this, it makes you feel as if you're getting more and can ration it out over a longer period of time. It's studded with lots of little pieces of popcorn, which you can see when you flip the bar over and look at the back of it. I hoped they would be relatively crunchy and have not taken on the softer, almost soggy, texture that can sometimes happen to popcorn.
Now to the flavour! To be honest I didn't get a massive caramel hit from this, it was a nice, creamy, milky chocolate with subtle hints of caramel but did it scream 'DULCE DE LECHE' at me...hmm not really. Especially when you compare it to the likes of other similar caramel based bars - Valrhona Dulcey and one I will be reviewing in the near future Ta Caramello Croccante (I'll give you a hint, it was superb).
The popcorn pieces were crispy enough to add a nice nibbly texture and it did make for a pleasant eat but did it blow me away and want to go back and stock up on multiple bars of it before 'Spirit of Summer' becomes a distance memory? Unfortunately not. Maybe if it hadn't been described as 'dulce de leche' I wouldn't have had such high hopes, sniff.
Taste - 6.0/10 - A pleasant milk chocolate bar with subtle hints of caramel but I don't think it lived up to its name.
Texture - 6.6/10 - Nibbly pieces of popcorn add a nice textural contrast.
Appearance - 7.1/10 - Vibrant looking packaging.
Price - 6.4/10 - I think it was priced at £2.00 if I recall correctly. Not bad but I think there's better chocolate available in the M&S range and in general for the price point.
Overall - 6.5/10 - Tasty enough but not outstanding.
It's a nice enough bar to try for anyone I suppose, it's relatively inoffensive.
WHERE TO BUY?
M&S stores nationwide.