I’m not sure if it’s just an Aussie thing or more global, but it seems like there are a lot of small-time chocolate makers who sell to other larger firms or specialty stores only for their products to be re-branded under the purchaser’s label.
Thus I present you with ‘Chocolates on Parade’ milk and dark orange chocolate blocks.
‘Chocolates on Parade’ is tucked away near Coles supermarket and I try – most of the time – not to walk in there. Otherwise I end up buying import-price peanut butter M&Ms, IRNBRU fizzy drink, Cocoa Farm chocolate coated wine drops, European marzipan and too much of their locally made Bailey’s flavoured fudge.
The shop’s owner, Frank (looking surprising svelte, considering his product lines) told me that their in-house chocolates are actually made either by two different companies. Chocolatier (who I reviewed previously) do their individual truffles and flowery chocolates, and Cottage Box make their large frogs, freckles and blocks.
I bought both blocks home to try because Cottage Box chocolates were started in my hometown of Murray Bridge, in 1985 (incidentally, the same year I left home to go to university). They’ve since moved to the more salubrious and touristy town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, and they’re on my ‘must visit’ list.
The plain milk chocolate neglected to include any ingredients on the label, other than the confident statement, ‘milk chocolate only’. No fancy logo is stamped on any of the large chunks but it smelled good. Annoyingly, after only a couple of chunks my fillings were aching: this was the most sugary sweet milk chocolate I’ve tasted in a long time. Bordering on the excessive as it made me extremely thirsty. The nine year old, on the other hand, loved it. This was unusual, because her all-time favourite chocolate is Lindt’s 85%. Was I missing something?
It was time to give up on the milk and to instead sink my teeth into the Orange Cream dark block. This did include the ingredients and it wasn’t surprising to see ‘sugar’ listed as number one and ‘fondant’ and ‘glucose’ (i.e. two other types of sugar) included further down. My expectations dropped a notch or two as I bit into it. Again, it was very sweet and I could taste some sugar crystals within the cream centre. The orange centre was almost fluoro in colour and rather runny, making it impossible to take a photo of a chunk sliced in two before it escaped like an underdone egg yolk. It did taste pleasantly of orange though. Unfortunately the sickly sugariness of the chocolate threatens to overtake the orange when it is normally preferable to have the orange flavour linger after the chocolate has melted.
My verdict is one of disappointment, but I’m aware that Cottage Box are more well known for their marzipan, peppermint mice (the shape folks, not the ingredient), Turkish delight and freckles. I’ll try them with hope in my heart and tolerance in my taste buds.