Friday, October 30, 2020

Choceur Legends Mini Mix (Aldi)

Not sure this collection is really befitting the "legends" tag...

Back when I started shopping at Aldi (circa 2005 or so), they used to sell a few varieties of off-brand candy bars, individually wrapped in large bags. I remember trying a couple of them, but the quality was nowhere near the name brands they were trying to duplicate, and so I forgot all about them.

Imagine my surprise when I saw an assorted box of seven different candy bar flavors in the Special Buy section of our local Aldi, just in time for the Halloween season! And for the decent price of $2.99! I barely even hesitated before popping these in my cart, eager to see just how the flavors had improved since I last tried them over a decade ago. Or, at the very least, to jog my memories of why I stopped buying them.

The chocolates are contained in what appears to be an innocuous cardboard box...but open it up to reveal a "blooming" effect that was completely unexpected, but somehow kind of cool. Also weird, because this doesn't really have a "premium" feel worthy of such packaging, nor does it scream "giftable" but hey, it's a neat little touch regardless.


The included line-up.

Anyway, let's take a look at each individual bar, shall we?

Nougat and Caramel: Well, you should know what this is a knockoff of based on the wrapper and contents...a candy bar named after our galaxy that contains the titular ingredients. The original is an overall pretty boring candy bar that I nevertheless enjoy more than I should on the rare occasions I find myself gorging on one. Aldi's version is no different, offering up a nice bit of mass-produced chocolate on the outside, that gives way to nougaty goodness. I feel like there's more nougat here than in the mainstream bar, but maybe it's just that there's less caramel, which seems thrown in as an afterthought. Either way, this is a pretty good bar and a good alternative to the “real thing” that tastes similar enough to appeal to fans of the original.

Peanut and Caramel: Am I stupid? What bar is this even a knockoff of? Oh! I think it's supposed to be a "Sneakers" bar...by those lofty expectations, this little bar falls pretty well short. Some of it has to do with the size, as the large peanut chunks of the original are replaced by smaller, almost “ground up” chunks that don't give off an accurate texture. It fares a little better when taken on its own merits, although the “caramel” the plain title alludes to seems to get lost in everything else. It's there in spirit, but not so much in taste. It's a chocolate bar, so I like it, but it's not going to satisfy the hunger of fans of the trademarked bar.

Monarc: What on Earth is this a takeoff of? The name signals opulence...and what this gives us is just a standard chocolate bar that's a few notches below even Choceur's own milk chocolate bar. Whereas that one melts in your mouth with a tempting delectability, this one is just bland all the way. The bar itself is hard, and the efforts required to snap into it don't match the end result, which is to say, very straightforward and disappointing. This one would be a good one to skip.

Monarc and Caramel: Aaaah, now I think I can put two and two together to figure out what “Monarc” is a knockoff of: the company known here for their "cream eggs" available around Eastertime. This one is actually one of the reasons I decided to pull the trigger on this mix. I always remember these caramel bars from school fundraisers (do they still do those or am I showing my age?); even though they're available in stores everywhere, I feel like outside of that no one ever eats them. Well this one makes up for the blandness of the plain Monarc by delivering a creamy caramel center to go along with some pretty decent chocolate; the end result is a solid knockoff that will hit the spot for fans of the original. Definitely one of the better options in here, if not outright the best.

Coconut Bits: I'm not even going here for this one, as coconut is one of very few things that I've never gained the taste for. My wife loves the mainstream coconut bars, and found this one to be lacking, with a center that's literally all coconut, surrounded by a rather thin layer of chocolate, and nothing else. On the plus side, the design on the packaging is by far the cutest (and the only one where the designers spent any amount of time whatsoever), so I guess it gets some slight marks for that.

Cookie and Caramel: This is one I was most excited to try...and also one of the most disappointing. This knockoff of a popular cookie-based bar has similar texture, with a soft layer of chocolate on top, giving way to a rather thick layer of caramel before finishing with the cookie on the bottom. The chocolate and caramel layers, while not really a direct knockoff, are acceptably close, but the cookie botches the fantasy, by delivering an uninspiring flavor that is stronger than it should be, and that doesn't even mesh well with the rest. It's like the cookie was meant for a different bar, but thrown in here; I don't think it would be that great even if I wasn't comparing it to the national brand bar.

Nougat and Chocolate: These aren't my favorite candy bars to begin with, but it seems to be a reasonable knockoff of what I remember from the national brand. The middle is filled with nougaty goodness, assuming that's your thing, while the chocolate exterior is as uninspiring as the mass-produced bars on which they are based. In other words, it's a pretty acceptable duplicate, but it's been years since I've tried the original version, and it's also not one of my favorite bars, so I might be way off base here. Either way, it's not one I'd care to try again.


Well this is a completely unnecessary, but kinda cool, surprise!

Overall: 5.5/10. I'm always down for Aldi's knockoffs of popular candies, but let's just say the end result here is a...”mixed bag” (get it?!) Really, only the Caramel and Chocolate manages to be as pleasing as the national brand, while the other ones I was most excited for (namely the Peanuts and Chocolate and Cookies and Chocolate), are rather disappointing in execution compared to the originals. Still, this is a great way to try out all the individual flavors without committing to buy an entire bag of each (which they also offer), so that makes it another plus. The cool "blossoming" container is also a surprising, welcome treat. The $2.99 asking price isn't mind-blowing, but there are quite a few bars offered for the price, so it's reasonable. Not quite the "legendary" collection promised, but there are enough redeeming qualities present to justify the purchase.

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