These unassuming little 100g tubes of well, ‘pastilles’ have been available in Australia for years now and, like their Dutch makers, have tended to be a quiet achiever not garnering lots of international fuss or attention, despite the fact that over 65% of their product is sold overseas and they make 5,256 every sixty seconds. Droste has been around since 1863 when they started as confectioners selling ‘cups of water chocolate’ and developing their now-famous round pastilles.
Having visited their website, I discovered that there are in fact eight varieties of pastilles, but I can only get my hands on two kinds here – the milk (35% cocoa solids) and Extra dark (75% cocoa solids).
There are twenty 5g pastilles in each box which makes them nice to sneak into your handbag and share with a mate at the movies, or, as Love Chunks and I did, scoff them in front of the telly. Actually that’s not being fair – we let the first couple of pastilles from both boxes dissolve slowly in order to fully appreciate the taste before scoffing the rest. We were both extremely impressed with the 75% dark – it is very smooth and silky (instead of gritty like some very dark varieties) with a hint of burnt coffee (but in a good way), finishing off with a buttery cocoa taste at the very end.
The milk flavour, on the other, now-sticky hand, was rather cloying. Perhaps it’s merely a European vs Antipodean mistranslation, but it seemed too milky to our palates; tasting a bit like warm milk that’s gone past it’s sell by date and mixed in with a bit too much sugar. Not surprisingly, the first ingredient is sugar, and sugars comprise 55% of the chocolate compared to 25% in the Extra dark.
What intrigues me are the flavours we can’t get here in Australia – Stracciatella (is it like Lindt’s Lindor?), orange, milk/dark and the milk/Madagascar combinations. Droste also have ‘tablets’ available, which make blocks sound so much more sophisticated and grown up. They even have a downloadable ‘homework’ information booklet and their own hotel and restaurant complex. Frustratingly, the details are all in Dutch, so I can only assume that Droste pastilles are placed on the guests’ pillows every evening. In addition, Droste, like my own country’s Haigh’s Chocolates, make their chocolate all the way from starting with the raw cocoa bean, so I’d love to see some of their tablets and specialty flavours make the trip down under some day.