Who isn’t trying to cut corners these days? But should the line be drawn with chocolate? I picked up six brand name chocolate bars and paired them against their dollar store equivalents. I conducted a blind taste test and enlisted the services of a second taste tester, so you’ll get more than just my opinion. Even though mine is the most important. Obviously.
So how did the dollar store bars stack up?
Meteor vs. Mars
The difference in size is pretty obvious, as you get two Meteor bars for half the price of one Mars Bar. But if you prefer girth to length, Mars is your man. In terms of the knockoff name, I get Meteor, but why not something more appetizing? Like Uranus?
Tasting notes: Meteor didn’t have much flavour, although there was a satisfying caramel ribbon. I also detected a slight cardboard aftertaste. Mars was richer, fresher and definitely had more flavour in terms of chocolate and caramel. Size isn’t everything, folks.
Verdict: Sorry, Meteor, but looks like you’ve crashed.
Island Bar vs. Bounty
Call me a child of the ‘70s, but every time I taste coconut, I think of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil. I’m ruined, I tell you. Ruined. In terms of the difference between these two bars, well, you tell me.
Tasting notes: I actually preferred Island Bar over Bounty. I thought the chocolate flavour came through more. Or maybe I was just focusing on it to get over the Hawaiian Tropic thing. My taste tester preferred Bounty. It should be noted that both brands left annoying little bits of coconut in our teeth.
Verdict: A tie, but with its cheaper price, you might want to head to the island.
4fun vs. Kit Kat Chunky
I have to say that 4fun doesn’t seem like the most inspired name for a chocolate bar. Plus, is that a wave of milk it’s riding on the wrapper? Still, if you’re two for a buck, I guess you can point your arrow a little low.
Tasting notes: As you can see, Kit Kat Chunky’s layers were better defined. But how important is that to taste? Turns out, there wasn’t much difference between the two bars, although 4fun was noted as being “waxier” and not as fresh as the Kit Kat Chunky. There was also a subtle hazelnut flavour in the 4fun, but Kit Kat Chunky was the preferred bar.
Verdict: A close call, but the Kat’s in the bag.
Titan vs. Snickers
Titan promises to “conquer your hunger,” and, with two bars in the pack, hopefully it does. For at least 20 minutes or so. In terms of its name, I think Titan was the god of chocolate in Roman mythology. But Titan would need to summon all of his super powers to compete with a classic like Snickers. So how did Titan compare?
Tasting notes: I didn’t think you could come close to the perfection of a Snickers. And you can’t. In terms of taste, Snickers was the hands-down winner, a perfect marriage of salty nuts and sweet chocolate. Titan’s nuts tasted pretty old and had no doubt seen better days. The worst part? Old nuts always leave a lingering taste in your mouth.
Verdict: Time to turn in the toga, Titan.
Luppo vs. 3 Musketeers
I often pick up a 3 Musketeers if I’m feeling guilty about eating a chocolate bar but not guilty enough to not eat a chocolate bar. 3 Musketeers bills itself as having 45% less fat than other leading chocolate bars. So it’s healthy. Sorta. Luppo, by the way, has 12 grams of fat to 3 Musketeers’ 7 grams.
Tasting notes: This taste test drew the strongest reaction. My taste tester spit out his Luppo. “It’s dry!” he said. “Disgusting!” My reaction wasn’t so over-the-top (even bad chocolate is still chocolate in my books), but I agreed that Luppo wasn’t very good. It was like if you mixed sawdust and chocolate together. Which, you know, is still chocolate, so…
Verdict: Three cheers for 3 Musketeers.
Duoletta vs. Bueno
My Bueno, made by Kinder, came with no toy, so I was a little pissed. But it should be noted that the twin bars in each package came individually wrapped in cellophane which made me feel classy and that I should be wearing white gloves and a floppy straw hat.
Tasting notes: My taste tester found Duoletta to be more flavourful and crispier than Bueno. I, on the other hand, preferred the creamy hazelnut flavour of Bueno. It should be noted that my taste tester said both Duoletta and Bueno left him with the sensation of something in the back of his throat. “Yeah, that’s called an uvula,” I said.
Winner: A cellophane wrapped tie.
And that’s a wrap! So, no real surprises, although a couple of the dollar store bars came close enough to provide some serious competition. I encourage you to do your own chocolate bar taste test. And if you’re not sure what do with the leftovers, here’s a recipe for Mars Bars I once featured on my Caker Cooking blog. These kick regular Rice Krispies Squares’ ass to the curb IMHO. Experiment with any chocolate bar. Except for Luppo.
Melt 4 Mars bars and a 1/3 cup of butter in a double boiler or microwave. Add 3 cups Rice Krispies. Press into a buttered 8” x 8” pan. Melt a bag of milk chocolate chips, spread over top, let cool and voila! You’ll be the hit of your next bake sale.