Cocoa Belgian Dark

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on May 21 2009 | Leave A Comment
Cocoa Belgian Dark

Every now and again you have to get a pleasant surprise, and yesterday was one of those days.

The Lady of the House likes to make snide remarks about “The Chocolate Obsession”. But she also finds new and different things when out shopping, and brings them home. Then has a go at me when I have a rush of enthusiasm and whip out the camera. For the chocolate. (What were you thinking?)

Yesterday, she brought home this “Cocoa Belgian Dark” – which immediately put her in the good books seeing as I’m a pal of Darth Vader (Dark Side… OK, I suppose it IS getting a bit lame). This is a 50% cocoa solids block – so not a dark as some, but dark enough!

My enthusiasm faded a bit when I read the back of the pack, and saw the dreaded words “Made in Belgium for Big W”.

We’ve had a number of reviews here of chocolates made for large stores in Australia, the UK, and the USA. In most cases they have been pretty ordinary, some have been terrible. So I prepared myself to be disappointed, and set the pack aside – for later.

Well…. Later arrived after an hour or so. It was time to give it a try. Weak willed.

Cocoa Belgian Dark

First impression on opening the pack was a rich, dark, almost earthy aroma. A good start. Next, breaking off a piece. This chocolate is quite thick, the pieces are a good size, and it’s pretty solid – so the pieces break with a nice, very satisfying snap. And the taste? It’s good. Very good. The texture is excellent – fine, a good slow melt, lots of complex flavours. I promptly ate a couple of rows. And a couple more today.

This reminds me a bit of the Kinnertons – perhaps that’s just that they are both 50% chocolates – but no, there are other similarities in flavour and texture as well. There’s almost a vanillin flavour, or hint there. No vanilla listed on the ingredients, so it must come from the beans used. And mercifully it’s not too sweet.

Best of all: it comes in a decent, healthy sized 200 gram block. But there is even better (though in this regard the Lady of the House is a terrible disappointment, because she thought it excessive) – it also comes in a 400 gram block! Excellent! This one would actually make a really good chocolate to use in the mousse recipe, instead of the Lindt.

All in all, a very pleasant surprise for a megamart own-brand. (Makes note to go buy more.)

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Comments On This Post

  1. Simon

    I had to laugh when I read the start of this review. I was once accused of ‘taking all the fun out of chocolate’ by having to take photos of it prior to consumption.

  2. Me too, Simon. There’s always a couple of overly-dramatic sighs, some eye-rolling and then a whine of ‘Haven’t you finished photographing it yet?’

    Ashleigh I’m glad that you liked this. I saw it and, to my shame, immediately wrote it off as being as bad as the Woolworth’s Select chocolate. Nice to see that sometimes the big house brands can provide something decent. Does it come in any other flavours?

  3. Simon & Kath – I’ve been accused of exactly the same: “Oh, do you HAVE to do that?! Can’t we just OPEN it?” On being told “No”, much eye rolling, sighing, shaking of heads. BY ALL OF THEM! Even the damn cats seem to be in on the act!

  4. I get the same whine…it takes like two minutes at most for photos and then the consuming of chocolate can begin! Sometimes I break a piece off the end, hand that over and then slide the chocolate back into the wrapper for the photos.

  5. Ben

    I didn’t mind the Fruit & Nut version of this one… Nice surprise.

  6. James

    Hi Ashleigh,
    Thank you for the kind review.
    I am the buyer for BigW and sourced this chocolate range.
    I really enjoyed putting this range together and it is doing very well.
    I am looking to extend the range, do you have any suggestions?

    Kind regards
    James

    • Markus Enkler

      I’d like to know a Constantin Email to the Belgian supplyer or to your Buying Department at Big W as I need to give further quality feed back to a change in production starting here in WA about 4 months ago… markus.a.enkler@gmail.com

  7. James – find more like this.

    Go a bit higher in cocoa (there are some REALLY good 70% to 85% chocs out there, and in spite of being high in cocoa you don’t get your socks blown off like you might sometimes expect).

    Don’t whatever you do source anything with the dreaded vegetable fat in it. Thats just sacrilege and yuk.

    Make sure what you buy gets tasted, by somebody who likes things a bit more complex than “Dairy Milk” from that well known mega-maker.

    Avoid harsh flavours, and strange flavours (except see below).

    If looking for something a bit off-beat, then go for unusual flavours due to the original of the cocoa rather than additives. But make sure you have a suitable name as a warning to the consumer.

    Strange / stand-out / funky packaging adds interest. Just make sure the contents match!

    Take tasting notes, and check now and again to make sure its all still what you thought you have sourced.

    Use more than one taster. (Send me a sample and I’ll check it out for you!)

    And steer clear of whoever makes the Woolworths Select stuff, which I’m afraid to say is pretty ordinary. (I know you are the same company, I’m VERY familiar with Woolies). No. The select is actually pretty awful. Those of us in Oz who have tried it won’t ever touch it again.

    Above all remember – life is too short to eat bad food / drink bad wine, and this applies to chocolate. Sell a good product and you get loyalty for life. Sell a bad product, and you have an enemy for life, who will never trust you again. And doubly so with chocolate! You only get one chance with Joe Public. If the chocolate is crap and you change the supplier, tough, you’ve lost ‘em forever.

  8. Oh. One more thing… these are personal preferences to read into them what you will.

    Chocolates with nuts in. Read some of my other reviews here. Nuts need to be BIG. Lots of them. And toasty/crunchy. Small pieces are horrible, so are not enough. There are some fantastic Polish chocolates with nuts in.

    And my favourite – Ginger chocolate. It needs to be dark (>50%, preferably about 70%), and it needs to have plenty of big chunks of crystallised ginger. There are some good examples out there, and some awful. Australian ginger is good, we should exploit it. Again… read my reviews of ginger choc. I bang on about what makes a good ginger choccy. You’ll get the message soon enough :)

  9. Simone

    I am a converted Dark fan, once upon a time it was too rich for me, but now I prefer it. Wondering if you can help me. How do I know how Much Cocoa Butter is in the chocolate? I am looking for a Belgian Chocolate to use in a Chocolate Fountain I bought for a Christmas gift. I live in a small town so there is no such place as a ‘Speciality Chocolate Shop’. I’m considering including a few blocks of this chocolate in the gift, but I want to be sure there Cocoa Butter is high enough so no dreaded vegetable oil needs to be added. Thanks in advance!

  10. Hi Simone
    Check the back of the pack. You want to check the cocoa solids amount, and make sure there is no added fat of any other kind.

    Then check the nutrition panel, and check the amount of fat present. For example, suppose I have 55% cocoa solids, and it is 25% fat (you might have to look in the amount per 100 grams column, which gives percentage automatically). Then you have your answer.

    The reason for checking the ingredients list is only to check out what’s in it. If you want to avoid vegetable oils and fats, they have to be listed. If you find something with those in, then put it back and choose another. By definition, if there is fat there and it only came from one source, it must be cocoa butter.

  11. Colin

    The Cocoa Belgian chocolate is somewhat delcicious and accordingly my wife bought several 400gm blocks of fruit & nut and milk. When she weighed them (for the fudge recipe she was making) we found every block weighed in at approximately 370gm. Mmmm, might have to check Cadbury chocolate blocks next time….

  12. Carl

    I bought this chocolate on a whim. I thought it would be rubbish, because it was a supermarket chocolate, and the cost was $1 per 100 grams………
    But that is also the reason I bought it, because the cost was $1 per 100 grams!
    $4 for a 400 gram block, and it did say BELGIAN dark chocolate [made in Belgium, which is always a plus when buying something that says "belgian" on it in these days of misleading packaging]…………
    So for that price, I just had to give it a go…
    but it is quite excellent!
    I love it.
    My favourite chocolate is Green and Black’s chocolate,
    but this is comparatively very expensive , exactly 4 times the price [$4 for 100 grams] but it is fair trade so it is the most ethical choice…. but I love to eat chocolate in bulk, ie. LOTS, so I will be buying the Belgian chocolate from now on as a dietary staple / necessity , and the Green and Blacks as a treat for my self.

    • kevin

      The manufacture information on the latest block of Belgian Chocolate says “Packed in China from Belgian Chocolate for Big W”. I seem to recall as recent as 3 months ago it used to say “made in Belgium”. Not real sure what the latest information means. It might be Belgian chocolate but is it still made in Belgium?

      • Ashleigh

        Kevin – thats a shame.

        I have not tried this recently. I was recently in a Big W store and saw huge jumbo packs of these. I didn’t check the label (I was looking for other things).

        Personally, I’d be wary of “packed in China”. Shame on Mr Big W for trying to suck the cost down a smidgin more.

        • John

          I have just tried the Chinese Belgian variety and found it to be a disaster mainly from the sweet taste which comes from their increasing the sugar content by 15%.
          I have sent Woolworths a negative message informing them I will be returning my unopened blocks.
          Shame on Woolworths for this move.

  13. David

    Where is Cocoa Belgian Dark now???
    None on the shelves in Big W anymore.

    • John

      It is back on the shelves in Big W in another dark packaging and looks like they have gone back to their original recipe but still ex China.

      • David

        Have you actually seen it John?
        I’m heading to my local store to see what they have. I hope you are right!

        • John

          Tried it a few weeks ago and found it to be similar to the original and less sweet than the last one.
          The KMart one is not as sweet.
          Both are good value for use as a daily choc.

  14. Jeannie

    We found this dark chocolate 4 years ago when on a caravan holiday coming from the west we stopped to do some shopping at Port Augusta S.A. And this chocolate was recommended to us and was very pleased it is scrumptious only trouble is my husband thinks he is the chocolate police and will only hand out 4 squares each a night even if I threaten divorce makes no difference.
    Now we have another big problem, Big W don’t seem to be able to keep supplies available , in our town of Mandurah we have not had any for a few months, NOT HAPPY JAN.

  15. David

    Still no dark Cocoa Belgian at Big W in our area. I’ve tried 3 different stores.
    I spoke to the manager of one store and he told me it was being replaced by another brand and that they would have it at the end of August.