Monday, March 4, 2013

Nestle Big Joe Bar

I was most intrigued by the name of this Nestle bar, hailing all the way from Romania. I found it in my local Budgen's, which seems to make a habit of stocking three or four new, completely random foodstuffs from various sundry locales every time I come in. My favorite are the Rainbow Cookies from Russia, who proudly say that 'Even the kids like 'em!' on their package. Hey, if you can manage to get a kid to eat a cookie with M&Ms in it, let alone actually like it? More power to ya, magic man.
Well, the Big Joe doesn't make any such bold proclamations, instead relying on you to have fond memories of that Big John song but also to accidentally sing it to yourself as Big Joe. The wrapper itself is mostly black and purple, and looks more like an energy bar or a meal replacement for weightlifters than a chocolate bar. The graphic on the front is like a lightsabre, or something else that has a glowing, phosphorescent stick attached to it. This one is purple!
As you can see it is more of that dry wafer stuff. Does anybody get their world set on fire by these things? Sure, this Big Joe bar was completely inoffensive...plain chocolate kept it from being too sweet, and the creme between the wafers actually seemed to have a fairly strong cocoa taste, but the wafers just turned to dust as I was trying to chew. There is something special about a KitKat's texture that these things just don't seem to have down. KitKats are crispy and crunchy, while the wafer in this and the PS Bar both just seemed like those 'sugar wafers' found in your great aunt's handbag. I'd totally eat them, and with interesting coatings (Caramilky PS...) and decent cremes (Big Joe's big cocoa) they can be pretty nice. I just don't think a bar with this kind of wafer in it can ever go beyond just nice.

Funny enough, the Big Joe is marketed to men in Romania, as opposed to most of our wafer chocolates here in the UK and America that are aimed at figure-conscious ladies. Even in the Romanian description of the Big Joe it says, "Today there are many products that specifically targets women (reduced calorie, lower formats, sophisticated flavors ...) but not many sweets that a man can choose convinced that just for him." Sure, this isn't a sophisticated chocolate (something apparently hated by men) but it is kinda reduced calorie. It is a big bar of airy wafer, 230 calories for a bar longer than the whole of my hand is pretty calorie conscious! Compare it to the butchy man's man chocolate here in the UK--the Yorkie standing in at nearly 400 calories for a little bar--and one looks positively Weight Watchers approved.

I for one am a fan of chocolate without any gender stuff attached to it, but in this instance it doesn't even really make stereotypical sense. In a way I applaud it for defying social chocolate gender cues, but in another way I think they were just being very cheap by pumping it full of wafer, but made it physically big so men could be convinced it was a hearty chocolate anyway. Either way, they won't have to worry about this girl eating inside their powdery, dry clubhouse again. Until I review the Big Joe XXL, that is.


  1. I'm not a fan of these kinds of wafers either. As a child I remember we always had Blue Ribands in the house, and I grudgingly ate them because there were no other chocolate biscuits around, haha. I've disliked them ever since.

    Good review, I laughed at "dry powdery clubhouse"!

    1. Haha, I've never had a Blue Riband! I always assumed they were like KitKats, but knowing now that they're made of this crummy wafer I'll keep away. Thank you!