Chocomania: German, Italian, and Slovenian goodies

Part of an occasional series about chocolates I have eaten.

I have been asked if we tried any new chocolates on our recent travels, and I think anyone who knows me knows the answer to that question.

The photo to the right was taken our last night in Germany before we flew home. It is part of our chocolate haul that we imported to Jenworld. The largest bars were huge and heavy — 250 grams, which translates to nearly 9 ounces, or over a half pound per bar. My estimate is that we had 5-10 pounds of chocolate in our bags and our plan was to buy more at the Frankfurt airport the next day. A plan that went awry, due to various snafus and miscommunications, so we were unable to burn through our remaining Euros in Duty Free.

I am a huge fan of chocolate and marzipan, and my hope was to eat a lot of chocolate + marzipan while in Germany. Specifically, I wanted to get my hands on some Niederegger and buy about a metric ton of the stuff. Seriously, I packed an extra duffel bag just for this purpose.

And guess what? We did not buy one gram of Niederegger. Warum? Because we never once saw it anywhere, even though I know for a fact that it hails from Deutschland. We looked in every convenience store we were in, three or four different supermarket chains, upscale chocolate shops, and the Frankfurt airport. No luck. I have no idea where they sell Niederegger in their homeland.

Quick side note about German convenience stores: Whereas American ones sell a wide variety of artery-clogging salty and fatty snacks, a slightly lesser amount of chocolate, an even lesser amount of healthy foods, then a full array of caffeinated beverages, the German ones sell a massive amount of chocolate, a very tiny amount of salty snacks, some sodas, plenty of beer, to-go milk, and then the interesting combo of wine, liquor, and condoms all together in one area.

Getting back to chocolate, if Niederegger was the elusive yeti, Milka was the fecund deer. It was everywhere. Thus it was that were able to try a wide array of flavors. Any time we stopped to get gas or buy groceries or just walked by a place selling chocolate, the girls and I were all over the candy aisle like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat. It got to the point that we were having dessert after all meals, as well as dessert after snacks.

Some of the Milka bars we tried were plain milk chocolate, milk chocolate with a creamy center and Oreo bits, milk chocolate with hazelnuts, milk chocolate with toffee and whole nuts, milk chocolate with some sort of candy bits (sort of like M&Ms), milk chocolate with wafers and some sort of hazelnut cream, and more. All of it was good and strongly reminiscent of Cadbury, which is a favorite of ours. That said, overall, I found the chocolate to be too sweet and usually only had a bite or two of it.

Ritter was another chocolate we tried a lot of. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, as it’s something that can be easily found here in the U.S. We had dark chocolate with marzipan, chocolate with whole hazelnuts, and more that I can’t remember now.

We picked up some Mister Choc, which appears to be found only at Lidl grocery stores, which are whatever you call the opposite of an upscale market. And, on a related note, absolutely nothing about this brand or its products stand out in my mind, in terms of flavor or taste.

I bought one bar of vollmilch schokolade mit apfel-buchweizen (milk chocolate with apple and buckwheat) by J.D. Gross, but haven’t finished it because it was so sweet that it actually made my teeth ache.

We also saw this at one of our last chocolate forays:

No, we didn’t try any and not just because those pictures on the box are rather unfortunate looking.

So that’s the German part of our chocolate adventures. Lots of chocolate, lots of interesting flavors.

In Italy, however, things were a bit different. We saw fewer Italian chocolate options, other than Perugina, as well as plenty of of Kinder Eggs and other Kinder products, which are made by Ferrero, an Italian company. We had assumed that Kinder chocolates were German, as kinder means children. The strange thing is, we saw more Ferrero products in Germany than we did in Italy. I was also surprised to learn that Ferrero makes Nutella, which we also assumed was German-made.

Seen in Venice.

Here’s one bar we tested out:

Again, this tasted too sweet to me.

What we did eat a lot of in Venice was gelato.

We ate a lot of gelato in 60 hours. Probably the equivalent of two gallons. That stuff was amazing. Uh-may-zing.

One other place we ate chocolate during our travels was in Ljubljana, Slovenia. We stopped in a chocolate shop for a small treat:

I forgot to take photos of our purchases and can’t remember what we tried, only that everything was delicious.

So that’s a belated post about our chocolate adventures on our last trip. And now I’m feeling like I need to go back to Germany just to have a Niederegger safari to hunt down the elusive beast.

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10 Responses to Chocomania: German, Italian, and Slovenian goodies

  1. badness jones says:

    I love Nutella. There’s an Italian chocolate bar that tastes exactly like Nutella filled with whole hazelnuts. I. Love. It. I’ve only seen it sold here at Christmas, which is good, or else I’d never be able to fit in my pants again!

    I love Ritter too - especially the coffee and cream flavor.

  2. alison says:

    Nutella was big in Nice too. As a crepe filling.

    I like the Ritter milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts. For some reason it tastes better than the dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts that I once bought by mistake. We can get that brand here.

  3. Cassi says:

    When I was a kid, a past teacher of my mom’s, who had become a friend, would send us a box of the mini Niederegger marzipan chocolates. I grew up fairly poor, and this box of chocolates was spread out (over a family of 6) during the four weeks of advent. That is such a strong memory I have of our Advent/Christmas celebrations.

    We used to be able to get Niederegger marzipan bars here when we had a Cost Plus/World Market store in town, but they closed (because I live among peasants who prefer their goods made in China and as cheap as possible). Sometimes we can find them at a local grocery that specializes in ethnic foods before Christmas.

    When I was in grad school, one of the German post-docs would always bring us a box of Weinbrand Bohnen brandy-filled chocolates when he had been back home. OMG, much better than marzipan. :-)

  4. Loth says:

    You can get Niederegger in Edinburgh.

    And if you go to Lubeck in Schleswig-Holstein, you can’t MOVE for marzipan!

  5. ~annie says:

    I haven’t had those Choco Bananas in forever, but I remember them to be pretty good, unfortunate picture notwithstanding. Niederegger is a family business in northern Germany and probably doesn’t distribute on a wide scale, especially not to supermarkets or chains. Maybe that’s why you couldn’t find it in the more southern part of Germany. If you’re really desperate for some Niederegger you could order a kilo or two directly from them, though.

  6. Ry says:

    I got a huge stash of Niederegger at the KaDeWe department store in Berlin a few years ago. So, it did exist in Germany at one point. Possible that I ate all of it. Sorry.

  7. Going to lick a spoon of Nutella now because I haven’t got a Ritter bar handy.
    And you are right-those pictures of chocolate-covered bananas are unfortunate.

  8. bdaiss says:

    Oh the gelato… my #1 reason for wanting to return to Italy is the gelato. Man alive. It’s like torture just thinking about how fabulous it was. I made it my personal mission to eat gelato at least once every day (16) that we were there. Some days I had 2 or 3…

    Nutella: yum yum yum. And my daughter is a fiend for it. She is not a big fan of peanut butter, so I’ve taken to making her pb&j with a skim coat of nutella. She’ll gobble the whole thing up in record time. Can’t says I blame her. :)

  9. Sarah says:

    I didn’t know you’re a marzipan fan. It is my all time favorite! Do you like non chocolate covered marzipan? If so next year when my sisters friend from Spain sends ours I’ll try to swipe a few pieces for you. The best part of my sister living in Spain was the marzipan she brought home or sent from Toledo. Best stuff EVER! :)

  10. Ritter dark with marzipan <3
    I agree about the Milka, but you should have bought some Kinder Eggs for the novelty and the toy (sometimes you get a "keeper" inside).
    We have a Cost Plus/World Market store here. I will look for some Niederegger for you.

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