"The Ambassador's receptions are noted in society for their host's exquisite taste," claims the 1990s television advert for Ferrero Rocher. A pyramid of gold foil wrapped chocolates are dished out to high society, with the iconic final line being "Monsieur, with these Rocher you're really spoiling us".
The successful advertising campaign cemented in the minds of many that these pricey little chocolate hazelnut balls were the epitome of luxury. Ask a sample of the Great British public to list a luxury chocolate brand and Ferrero Rocher will undoubtedly be high up on their list.
The brand quickly became synonymous with Christmas, which introduces a conundrum for the board of directors - how do you get people to buy more Ferrero Rocher throughout the year?
Similar to Guylian squishing seahorses into a chocolate bar, Ferrero Rocher balls are now available in flat 90g bars. But would the Ambassador approve? Let's find out.
First off, the chocolate bar packaging is not as glitzy as the sturdy clear plastic containers Ferrero Rocher arrive inside. It simply cannot compete on the wow-factor front.
The box design is especially dull, with swathes of dark browns, and it struggles to stand out on the shelf against other brands behind hazelnut chocolate bars. Credit where it is due, it tries to portray luxury, but it's not quite at the level of other products on the market.
A dark chocolate brown colour scheme is used here, with a graphic of the chocolate bar itself used as the background, behind the Ferrero Rocher logo. "Dark 55%**" reads the top line, with an explanation at the base that the 55% refers to the cocoa content of the dark chocolate shell, not the contents of the bar (more on that later).
A segment of the bar is shown below along with a couple of hazelnuts, just to reinforce that this is a chocolate and hazelnut bar.
The reverse of the box mentions that Ferrero Rocher is "committed to source 100% sustainable cocoa". On their website, Ferrero claims that since January 2021, all its cocoa used in Ferrero products is "sourced through leading certification bodies and other independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance (UTZ), Fairtrade, and others". The company reckons it uses "100% sustainably sourced cocoa via third party programs" and has achieved "96% traceability to farm level" (the cynic in me questions whether you can really achieve 100% sustainability if you can't yet fully trace 4% of your supply?).
The ingredients and nutritional lists are printed in English and Polish.
Ferrero Rocher Dark 55% Hazelnut Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa mass, hazelnuts (12%), palm oil, cocoa butter, fat-reduced cocoa powder, whey powder, concentrated butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanillin. Cocoa solids: 55% minimum (dark chocolate).
Ferrero Rocher Dark 55% Hazelnut Chocolate Bar Review
Opening the box, I was greeted by golden Ferrero Rocher branded foil. When I tried tearing into it, I realised it is a metallised plastic wrapper, which is great for freshness and appearance, but a nightmare for recyclability and a pain to break through.
As I finally tore open the golden wrapper, I picked up a sweet, nutty aroma. Cocoa is present in the fragrance, but it's dominated by an unmistakable sweetness and the perfume of roasted hazelnuts.
The bar is portioned into 15 segments, each imprinted with the Ferrero Rocher logo or a motif that reminds me of a wild foraged truffle (I think it's supposed to be a design of a Ferrero Rocher).
A light bloom dusted the surface of the bar, which was expected as this clearance chocolate bar was nearing the end of its life. It's purely cosmetic.
I wasn't sure what to expect when biting into this bar, but it transpires this is a 55% dark chocolate bar with a "hazelnut and cocoa filling." Each segment contains a soft, crumbly heart of chopped hazelnuts and cocoa paste. There's no snap when portioning this bar, largely due to the pliable filling.
Taste-wise, the hazelnut flavour dominates, accompanied by a prominent sweetness. The cocoa flavour comes through towards the end, but its relatively weak content and lack of nuances means it's quite a vague and subtle flavour. It nods to dark chocolate but without any of the bitterness you might expect, thanks to the sugar content (sugar is the primary ingredient in this particular product).
But, the most important question needs answering. How does this compare to a Ferrero Rocher? Would the ambassador be proud? Honestly, no, not really. The bar format just doesn't do it for me. It doesn't taste nor look premium, and doesn't strike me as a logical bedfellow to the traditional Ferrero Rocher ball.
Tinker around the edges and perhaps replace the chopped hazelnuts with a oozing chocolate hazelnut spread and Ferrero might have stumbled across a new cult hit that could be marketed under the Nutella brand. But in a saturated chocolate bar market where hazelnut dark chocolate bars are plentiful, this doesn't stand out for me.
The bar doesn't hold up to my memories of Ferrero Rocher. The bar cannot create the same experience, and I think lending it the Ferrero Rocher branding probably doesn't help, as it raises expectations beyond the scope that the chocolate bar version can deliver.
If you've got a hankering for a Ferrero Rocher, I suggest sticking with the classic balls and avoiding this flat-pack alternative.
Ferrero Rocher Dark 55% Hazelnut Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £2.00 | Ferrero Rocher | Shop now°
The Ferrero Rocher brand elevates expectations, but this bar cannot deliver. To me, it tastes off the mark for a Ferrero Rocher. I'd much rather devour the golden foil-clad chocolate hazelnut balls than this flatter alternative. You choose Ferrero Rocher for its luxurious experience marketing, so stick with the classic balls instead as these hit the spot.
Where to Buy Online
I bought this bar on clearance from Lidl. The 90g bar was priced at £1.49 before my discount.
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Indulge in the ultimate chocolate experience with this exquisite Ferrero Rocher 96 Piece Chocolate Pyramid Cone. The unique cone shape is filled with delicious milk chocolate balls, coated in a luxurious hazelnut flavour and wrapped in a gold foil for a touch of elegance.
Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Gift Box, 5 x 200g
Ferrero Rocher. Indulge in the exquisite taste of Ferrero Rocher with this chocolate gift box. A delicious crunchy, gently roasted hazelnut and velvety hazelnut filling wrapped in a light wafer shell and coated in creamy milk chocolate and finely chopped hazelnut pieces.
Ferrero Rocher Collection All Occasion Heart Assortment Chocolate Gifts Box Sets
Ferrero Grand Rocher 125g. Ferrero Golden Gallery Box of Chocolate with 22 Premium Specialities. Ferrero Rocher: Whole Hazelnut in Milk Chocolate and Nut Croquante. Ferrero Delicius Black Symphony: Crispy Speciality with a Dark Chocolate Centre in a Smooth Cocoa Filling.
Ferrero Rocher Chocolates Truffles Selection Box For All Occasion Gift Pack
Ferrero Grand Rocher 125g. Ferrero Grand Rocher 240g. Ferrero Golden Gallery Box of Chocolate with 22 Premium Specialities. Ferrero Rocher: Whole Hazelnut in Milk Chocolate and Nut Croquante. Ferrero Delicius Black Symphony: Crispy Speciality with a Dark Chocolate Centre in a Smooth Cocoa Filling.
Have you tried the chocolate bar? Do you prefer the bar or the classic Ferrero Rocher? Let me know in a comment below.