Supermarket Sweets

Taste-test, Aisle 1.

Have You Tried The New Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond Bar?

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[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Socks. A miniature toothbrush in its own case. A man's plastic comb. A small toiletries bag with British Airways written across the front. I loved these and any other little pieces of travel that my father would bring home for me from his business trips to Europe.

Once he brought me back a Toblerone, not one of those oversized bars you find in duty-free, just a small yellow box you could fit in your pocket. I'm sure it was the alternative-to-peanuts snack on the plane. It was incredibly exotic to me then, the triangular pieces of nougat filled chocolate. (Toberlone wasn't acquired by Kraft Foods until 1990, so it's not unlikely that I had never seen it before.)

Like the other chocolates smuggled back for me on the plane, I thought Toberlone was fantastic; the milk chocolate creamier than what I normally had at home, the nougat faintly marshmallow in taste but nuttier, and much different than the nougat in my 3 Musketeers. I've loved this bar ever since, for both the taste and the way it transports me, for a moment, across the sea.

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So I was pretty disappointed with this new Crunchy Salted Almond Bar. It's not that I'm a Toblerone purist—I like new versions of classic candy bars and I will always give salted chocolate a try—but I could barely detect the salt. I would say on a rough estimate that one in five bites contained a pop of salt, the rest tasted like normal Toberlone. Well not quite normal: instead of the creamy milk chocolate I expected, I found milk chocolate that tasted more like sugar than anything else, a closer kin to a Hershey's Kiss than original Toblerone. But my biggest concern were the pieces of carmelized almonds, which were hard, not just crunchy, and unpleasant to bite through. Given how soft the chocolate surrounding the almonds is, it makes for a weird eating experience, like when you realize that you've chipped a tooth.

What about you—have you tried this new bar? What did you think?

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