As readers will no doubt be aware, Cadbury in Australia have taken a lot of flak for changing the formulation of their chocolate – specifically adding the dreaded “Vegetable Fat” – which turned out to be Palm Oil. At the same time, the package sizes were reduced, and the block squares shapes were changed. The reaction from consumers was swift, with condemnation all around.
Cadbury have backed down, and are reverting to the original recipe. Whether they change the block shape and packaging remains to be seen. All the fuss, though, has been about the Dairy Milk range. But, horrors, there was little said about the Old Gold dark range.
My local supermarket just happened to have stock of the old and new recipe – the old stock being sold at reduced prices to clear it from the shelves. At the same time as changing the recipe, packaging, and so on they also changed the dark range around so that buying a like-for-like comparison was quite difficult.
Anyhow, I was eventually able to find what seems to be the closest possible before and after pairing – two samples of “Old Gold Dark Chocolate Original” with intensity 3. Now seeing as the formula was changed, they can’t both be “Original”, can they?
- The before is in the paper wrapper; the after is in a cardboard pack;
- The before is 220g; the after is 200g;
- The before has 45% cocoa solids; the after has 40%;
- The before has no dreaded vegetable fat; the after does – and the amount is not specified but it does rank 3rd on the ingredients list.
So, the change gives less cocoa – down to a mere 40%. That barely rates as a dark chocolate at all. The change is also supposed to improve the “mouth feel”.
In breaking a row off both, I really can’t tell any difference by the feel. They are both nice solid blocks which break with a pleasing snap. The mouth feel for both is much the same – in that they both melt away quite slowly to release their flavour. The bite, and the melt are much the same.
The only difference is in the taste: they are both fairly rich, satisfying, and quite sweet. The only difference I can pick is that the new version has a slight but noticeable harshness. It’s not entirely unpleasant, but the version without the vegetable fat is smoother, does not have the harshness, and is more enjoyable.
Interestingly, after I opened both, Oldest Son devoured most of the “after” block before I could write this review. He prefers it, he can pick that the “before” block has more cocoa. But he also agrees about the slight harshness in the taste of the “after”.
Because there was little comment from Cadbury about what they are going to do about the Old Gold range, I asked. The Fat Is Out! It seems that the new old recipe is now in production again, and will be finding its way through the warehouses and into our shops soon. So no Palm Oil in our Old Gold, either. A good outcome, that.