I’m always a bit wary of health claims attached to chocolate. We all know that dark chocolate is good for you. I don’t need to have it metaphorically (or even physically) shoved down my throat.
This box – found in Tesco – caught my eye because it epitomises everything I dislike about this kind of marketing. The box is plastered with logos and health claims to a point where the packaging just looks cheap and tacky.
What we actually have here is cranberries, flavoured with orange juice and covered in 63% “Acticoa” dark chocolate.
Acticoa is a product of Barry Callebaut (the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer), which is specifically formulated to have higher levels of anti-oxidants. Annoyingly, the Acticoa web site itself makes yet more dubious health claims, including “keeps you young and fit” and “protects the brain”. Seriously.
Marketing hype aside, what’s more important is how they taste. Thankfully, the answer is “pretty good”.
The chocolate itself is a little bitter, and covered unnecessarily in shellac (that’s squashed beetles to you). Personally I’d rather have seen these with a matte finish or dusted in cocoa powder, but I’m sure Hadleigh Maid had their reasons for going down this route.
Once you bite into the chocolate, that initial bitterness is immediately counteracted by a sweet, tangy fruitiness that is really rather nice. The flavour is more orange than cranberry, but it’s a natural orange flavour, like fresh orange juice. The cranberries have a wonderful texture. They’re soft, light and chewy, and the overall effect is a little like a fruity, chocolate covered jelly baby. They’re really moreish. I ended up having to hide the box in the back of the cupboard to stop me eating them in one sitting.
To sum up, I’d like to see Hadleigh Maid tone down the health claims and design a prettier box, because they’re a really tasty little snack, and I’d recommend them on that basis alone.