I’m always on the hunt for bargain eats and today I stumbled across Villa Del Conte at the Alabang Town Center. And guess what? They’re currently on discount!
An Italian artisan of chocolates, the current owner of Villa Del Conte is the third generation in an Italian family that specializes in artisan chocolates. Meaning it’s a delicious recipe past down from father to son, to our eagerly waiting mouths.
So I bought a few bars of the chocolate. The wonderful thing is you can scoop up the chocolate for 4 bars of 100g each, for just ₱499. When you look at it like that, it’s not so bad. At ₱125 for a 100g bar, it’s in the range of a Cadbury bar which you get for around ₱145 for a 165g bar. At its normal price, a Villa Del Conte 100g bar goes for ₱299. Had I bought four bars at normal price, it would have cost me ₱1,200.
I didn’t get to try the other chocolates, which were ridiculously expensive to be honest, although they looked soooo good. 🙂 So there’s a choice of three types of chocolate bars — the milk chocolate and cereal (white one), the dark chocolate (orange one), and the hazelnut flavor (green one).
I picked up a bar of the cereal chocolate and the hazelnut chocolate. RR got the dark chocolate.
So how does it taste?
Cioccolato Al Latte: Con i Cereali – This is a very verbose and pretentious way of saying, “Nestle Crunch.” It’s really just milk chocolate with cereal. But I bet when you say it to the ladies they’ll swoon more with the Italian name. As you can see, it really is just Nestle Crunch.
So how does it taste? Well… when you first bite in, there’s a good rush of smooth, chocolatey flavor. It tastes very rich, and the texture was very good. The summer heat assailed the chocolate and almost liquefied it, but a minute in the freezer brought it back to the perfect form. Just right — smooth and chewy and not at all hard, just absolutely perfect, and you can tell by the perfect indents of my teeth marks in the picture. Then I noticed the cereal chunks, rice crispies really, and they are very crisp! Villa Del Conte got the art of making the texture and cereal just right.
Then the yuckiness started. After a quick initial taste of rich chocolatey flavor, it suddenly fell off a cliff. It became flat, and I was left with nothing but an overwhelming taste of sugar. This stuff is very sweet. Sweet to a fault. And as a Sweet Tooth Extraordinaire, I can tell you that’s very bad. I like thing sweet. But this bar of chocolate tasted like I was just ingesting sugar straight onto my tongue. It’s curious because the initial wash of chocolate flavor seemed to just vanish into thin air and all I was left with was cloying sweet flavor.
There is no complexity to this chocolate, it’s just a flat, boring bite. If not for its sublime texture, I would have considered it an absolute waste of my time.
All of a sudden, that Cadbury bar at ₱145 is sound so much better.
Okay, maybe it’s just the flavor. I’ll try the Hazelnut instead, because Hazelnut means Italian Ferrero and that means Nutella. And it’s impossible for me to feel bad with Nutella in my mouth.
Cioccolato al Latte Finissimo: con Granella di Nocciole
So this bar looks promising. There are white specks, so I thought the chocolate might be old, but upon closer inspection it was the chunks of hazelnut. When you take a bite, it’s obvious that the specs are actually just nuts. The chocolate itself is still good and clean.
The real problem though is the taste. Just like the Cereal flavor, the first bite tastes relatively good. But it doesn’t really taste like hazelnut. After the initial wave of cocoa washed you taste the hazelnut, but then a strange flavor surfaces, which tastes very artificial and almost like medicine. It’s inexplicable, but it feels like there’s a lot of artificial flavoring laden into the bar, and it just doesn’t work. It was an icky flavor.
Still, the texture was really good, without the cereals this bar felt even better in the mouth, but it’s ruined by the sweet cloying flavor and the strangely artificial overtone.
So in Conclusion…
All in all, this stuff is a good deal at the discount — either 50% off or the ₱499 for four bars is great. But the taste is for you to decide, if you like it. I certainly didn’t. I felt like eating a normal Nestle Crunch was so much better than the cereal flavor, and the hazelnut flavor tasted so artificial that I can’t really recommend it.
I can’t recommend this at the discounted price, what more at the normal price?
The little individual chocolates wrapped like candies look like they may have more promise — the pralines and truffles and other little nuggets of goodness. But they’re even more expensive than the chocolate bars.
I’d give Villa Del Conte a pass and stick to Cadbury, Nestle, Meiji or any of the commercial mass-produced brands, to be honest.