I grew up with Swizzels Matlow confectionery. Who can resist reading the corny messages on Love Hearts, discovering the sherbet centre in Refreshers, or crunching on Fizzers? Perhaps your vice is Palma Violets, which incidently make a great addition to a hot chocolate when crushed down and shaken.
The king of them all has to be the humble two-tone Drumstick lollipop. The soft chewy lolly combines a pink raspberry chew with a white milk flavour chew to create the confection that's now more than 60 years old.
In an attempt to rescue society from the miserable year that 2020 has become, Swizzels has added a new line to its Drumstick range - a chocolate bar! Yep, that's right, a Drumstick in chocolate. Nearly. Rather than a chocolate-smothered Drumstick, the company has formulated a Drumstick filling that is sandwiched between milk chocolate.
Seemingly only available in Home Bargains stores, local Coronavirus lockdowns here in Wales meant I couldn't get my paws on a bar. So I had to sit here watching the mainstream media get giddy about this new addition. Until this week when I found myself in a Home Bargains store for this first time in months. I handed over my 99 pence and took home a 100g bar of this new chocolate. So, does it live up to the hype?
The classic Drumstick lolly packaging has been supersized for a chocolate bar. The outer paper packaging is decorated in the Drumstick red and yellow stripes, with text and imagery to make sure you know this is chocolate, not a larger than normal Drumstick (although I suspect these would sell well at Christmas if they existed).
Beneath the Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate logo, the strap-line reads "delicious milk chocolate with a raspberry and milk centre". A bubble to the side of the chocolate graphic boasts that there are real raspberry pieces in here, unlike in the traditional Drumstick recipe which uses flavourings instead.
On the rear, there's an explainer on what this bar is all about, followed by the ingredients and nutritional information.
Swizzels Drumstick Milk Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Milk chocolate (55%) (sugar, dried whole milk, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soya lecithins), flavouring), sugar, palm fat, dried whole milk, glucose syrup, freeze dried raspberries, emulsifier (soya lecithins), flavouring, salt, citric acid, colour (black carrot extract). Cocoa solids: 30% minimum; milk solids 18% minimum.
This bar contains 56% sugars, which isn't too surprising given the original Drumstick lolly comes in at just under 88%. The bar is suitable for vegetarians and may contain traces of wheat and nuts.
While the chewy lollipops are made in the High Peak factory in Derbyshire, this chocolate bar is instead produced in Germany.
Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate Bar Review
Peeling back the paper outer reveals a silver foil wrapped chocolate bar, meaning the packaging is fully recyclable.
The bar follows a traditional chocolate bar form, with 15 segments marked out. Swizzels reckons three segments is a sensible portion size and I'm inclined to agree.
The initial aroma is sweet, with great quantities of creamy, milky notes. Raspberry notes site behind this and a buttery - almost caramel-like - quality sits behind that.
The snap is softened by the extremely generous amount of filling contained inside the bar. Swizzels call it a "filling" which is quite a vague term. Texturally, it's a pliable paste. It's grainy, with notable waves of white and pink running through it just like a Drumstick. Unlike a Drumstick, there's flecks of freeze-dried raspberries running through this paste.
On tasting it, the first flavours that hit instantaneously are those of the classic Drumstick lolly. It's sweet, creamy and tastes of raspberry. Then the chocolate begins to melt and that adds more creaminess and sweetness to the flavour, with mild caramel notes right at the base. Make no mistake, this is all about the Drumstick flavour. But it's amplified in this chocolate bar through the addition of raspberry pieces. These flecks add a crunch to the texture. I like the flavour but think the crunch distracts, as does the saltiness that comes through right at the end.
In the aftertaste, you've got the milky-raspberry Drumstick flavour that lingers longest, along with the sweetness that stubbornly hangs around. You'll want something savoury after a few bites of this bar.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this bar. The chocolate is used merely as a delivery vehicle, so it sits back, imparting sweetness and creaminess with little consequence to the overall flavour. It lets the milky-raspberry flavours shine front and centre, as it ought to be in a bar like this. I like the flavour of the original Drumstick but hate the chewy texture. This chocolate bar format allows me to enjoy one without the other.
So, is it a "game changer" and a winner? I'd say so. Rather than simply replicate the Drumstick flavour inside a chocolate bar, Swizzels has chosen to enhance it with the added zing of freeze-dried raspberry flecks. Texturally, they are a bit of a nuisance but they enhance the flavour and make this chocolate bar feel a bit more grown up.
While I hate the phrase "game changer", I think this may well be the start of more Swizzels confectionery receiving the chocolate treatment. A Palma Violets chocolate bar is perhaps the next obvious choice, as violet and milk chocolate works well together. While I'm not a huge fan of lemon and chocolate, I reckon Swizzels could rustle up an interesting Refreshers chocolate bar too.
Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £0.99 | Swizzels Matlow | Shop now
A fun and quirky take on a chewy lollipop, in chocolate form. The flavour is spot on, so if you like the flavour of Drumstick lollies but hate all that chewing, this is a great alternative. No doubt this will be the first of a range of Swizzels chocolate bars.
Where to Buy Online
Home Bargains is selling a 20-bar box of Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate bars for £19.80 on their website here.
Swizzels DRUMSTICK Original Lollies GLUTEN FREE Kids Party Wedding Chewy Sweets
Swizzels DRUMSTICKS ORIGINAL LOLLIES. Milk and Raspberry Flavour Chewy Lollies. GLUTEN FREE. DAIRY FREE.
Swizzels DRUMSTICK ORIGINAL Chews Sticks Packs - VEGAN Sweets RETRO PARTY
Raspberry & Milk Flavour Chewy Sweets. NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS.
Swizzels Drumstick Milk Chocolate Bars Full Case 20 x 100g DATED FEB/23
Swizzels are one of the longest running sweet factories in the world. Another formulation of the household favourite Drumstick lolly. in chocolate form! In Raspberry and Milk Centre, made with real raspberries.
Swizzels Drumstick Milk Chocolate Bars Full Case 20 x 100g BBE FEB/23
Swizzels Drumstick Milk Chocolate Bars Full Case 20 x 100g BBE FEB/23.
DRUMSTICK CHEW BARS RASPBERRY & MILK SWIZZELS- 60 BARS
Raspberry and Milk Flavour Chew Bar. 60 bars in each box.
In person, you'll need to head to a Home Bargains store to find this bar. It has an RRP of £0.99. My local store had plenty of boxes of these so they should be fairly easy to find.
Should Swizzels Matlow turn more of their sweets into chocolate bars? Let me know what you'd love to see transformed into chocolate next in a comment below.