Up until now, I've only tried Hageland's limited origin bars, but the last time I was in the candy aisle at Wal-Mart, the Pear & Almonds bar called out to me. Pear is one of those fruits that I love as a fruit but not as a flavoring, but based on my history with Hageland, I convinced myself that this time would be different.
According to the back of the box, the Hageland County in Belgium is famous for growing pears. The natural pear flavor joins almonds, 57% dark chocolate, and an unexpected emulsifier: soy lecithin (non-GMO, less than 0.5%). Right away, I noticed the bar was softer than other dark chocolate Hageland bars.
The bar smells of roasted almonds and bitter cocoa, but the first taste is all pear. It's so strong that it reminds me of banana, and that's not a good thing. Luckily, the pear taste fades very quickly, leaving behind only almond and dark chocolate. The chocolate is of the quality I've come to expect from Hageland, and the almond flavor has melded with the chocolate for a lovely mixture.
The snap of the chocolate must be affected by the other ingredients, as the bar was softer than expected. The slivered almonds and pear granules are so crunchy that it almost seemed like the nuts were candied. The texture was certainly pleasant and aside from the first hit of pear, the flavor was pretty good, but I much prefer Hageland's standalone bars. I think it all comes down to how you feel about pears in chocolate.