Tucked away in an arcade next door to Fortnum and Mason in London can be found tiny little shop bearing the Prestat name. Despite it's small size the shop itself is bright and colourful though you'd struggle to fit in more than half a dozen people at a time I reckon.
During my trip to London I popped into the shop. Due to the small size and the fact that the two women behind the counter glared at my wife and I the entire time we were in there the shopping experience was rushed and uncomfortable. I had high expectations for a shop that bears the royal crest. Perhaps if the assistants had been more engaging I would have bought more (or at least left happy). Nevertheless, I did pick up a 75g bar called "scrumptious raspberries and rich dark chocolate" and thought I'd review it here.
The packaging is certainly bright and colourful, with a furled British flag on the wrapper emblazoned with gold coloured print. I wonder how many fellow London tourists buy this bar? It certainly looks like something you'd take back as gifts for friends and family of your holiday in London.
The rear of the packaging explains the flavour was developed for the Royal Jubilee. It also explains the Prestat commitment to trading fairly though the bar doesn't display an official Fairtrade logo. Other handy information is that in this dark chocolate bar there's only a minimum of 60% cocoa solids which feels quite low (considering I bought a slightly bigger bar with 70% cocoa solids for a fraction of the price at a supermarket last week (Galler Noir 70% Intense, £1.25, Sainsburys)). Also, this Prestat bar is long life with around one year's shelf life on it.
When opening there's a strong raspberry fragrance. The bar is pre-portioned into six decent sized squares which break up easily.
I really wanted to enjoy the bar especially given the price but just couldn't. The combination of dark chocolate and raspberries is normally a match made in heaven but in this instance the large chunks of freeze-dried raspberries just felt crunchy and gritty. Some might light that as it contrasts with the smooth chocolate but I found it distracting. The dark chocolate itself was quite bitter and left quite an acrid after-taste that lingered. The chocolate wasn't that sweet which was expected as the raspberries should have countered that. However, whilst the raspberries were very tart they weren't all that sweet. I do wonder whether it would have worked better if the raspberries were ground a little more finely, thus offering a more integrated flavour rather than two separate flavours of bitter smooth dark chocolate and tart crunchy raspberries. Credit where it is due this bar was packed with plenty of raspberries.
Overall the bar was distinctly average which is very surprising given the royal crest on display. Perhaps I expected too much but when supermarket chocolate tastes much better than a premium product that's not a good sign. Perhaps opting for this bar was just the wrong choice and perhaps with a bit more browsing time in-store I might have found something I could rave about more. It's a safe flavour combination that ought to have been a safe choice but in this instance I'm really not a fan of the bar. Perhaps if the chocolate had been slightly sweeter and the raspberries ground down a little more then maybe I would be telling a different tale here. But unfortunately this bar simply isn't worth raving about and I wouldn't buy it again.
Disclosure: I paid £3.50 for this 75g bar of Prestat chocolate from their London store and wasn’t asked for a review.