During my brief foray into radio the other day, a listener rang in to suggest that I track down a “chocolate fizzy drink” made in South Australia.
I’d never heard of it and was duly intrigued. A visit to Bracegirdle’s specialty chocolate café saw me pay $4 for a 250ml bottle of a liquid that resembled Coca-cola and I’ll have you know that I saw a 99% cocoa content bar there that I might get up the courage to try another day. I also sought out a childhood favourite, a packet of Allen’s Chicos because the caller reckoned that Chocolade tasted a bit like them.
Firstly, the Chicos.
The only way I can describe them (especially if we ignore the particularly cringe-worthy design of the packaging) is that they are the consistently of jelly babies (or, in the UK’s case, wine gum?) but with a rather pleasant chocolate flavour. Yes, the first ingredient is sugar – cunningly disguised as ‘glucose syrup’ and then followed by ‘sugar’ but they also have full cream milk powder and cocoa in them as well. They are exceptionally soft and designed so that it is impossible to stick to one – or even one handful.
So, did the Chocolade stack up to the Chicos? Yes and no.
The design of the bottle is rather elegant, presumably to help me get over paying $4 for 250ml. This seems very steep, especially when, like all other carbonated drinks at a quarter of the price, its main ingredient is water, sugar, flavours and food acid. Also, the girl who served me in the shop said that they don’t sell too many of them, as “Customers are a bit freaked out by drinking cold fizzy chocolate – they’d rather have a chocolate milk or hot drink with their cakes, truffles and fondues.” Fair enough.
Chocolade did remind me of Chicos but as a liquid it was more a weird experience than a pleasant one. After giving my eight year old a few sips to try, she declared it “Delicious!” which is odd considering that she loathes Chicos. My husband Love Chunks on the other hand, hated it. “Bleuuggh, it might as well be Frangelico mixed with tonic water,” he gasped, spitting it down the sink and washing his mouth out with water. (Needless to say he had a ‘big night’ on the grape water a few years ago. The good times ended when the bottle of Frangelico was brought out from the back of the drinks cabinet. He then spent the next day clutching the ‘white porcelain phone to God’ and has disliked the liqueur ever since).
Therefore, I would describe Chocolade as a curiosity to try the once rather than a new drink sensation that will force us all to give Coke, hot chocolate and iced coffee the big elbow forever.