Time for a confession: I have not written anything about Haigh’s Chocolates before. Shameful, seeing as they are one of the few Australian chocolate makers that actually manufacture all the way from bean to product, and they are in the same city as me.
I’ve happily eaten my way through Haigh’s products, and even sent them overseas as a specialty present that you’d never be able to buy anywhere else; Haigh’s don’t have an on-line shop and don’t export. They sell their product through their own retail outlets, and don’t even supply wholesale.
Somewhat unusually for modern times Haigh’s has been going since 1915, is still a family owned company, and is run by the 4th generation descendants of the founder. Keeping any family company together for more than 3 generations is a huge accomplishment; this family seems to have pulled it off.
So reporting on Haigh’s feels a bit like a childhood taunt: “Nyah nyah – I’ve got a secret, I’m not going to tell you, and you can’t find out.” (Unless you come to Australia and go into one of their retail stores.) They also have such a large line-up that any store visit is daunting – where on earth does one start?
So – one starts with something simple: In this case, a Dark Chocolate Couveture. The reasoning is simple: I’d expect this to be used in their other products, so if it’s good then everything else stands a decent chance. Oh, and I received it as a gift, so why the heck not try it?
As you can see, the packaging is very plain – just a printed cellophane; and the presentation is simple – entirely appropriate for a couverture which is expected to be used in making other products.
Although called ‘dark’, this chocolate is only 53% cocoa solids; mildly dark in my books. In spite of that, though, it has a very crisp “snap”, and a very rich deep aroma.
But it all comes down to taste, and the only way to taste this is to break a piece off, pop it in the mouth, and let it melt. This reveals gradually opening flavours, a slow melt, a hint of vanilla and an after-taste that lingers very nicely. There’s no grittiness in the texture at all.
Just by way of comparison I had some Green & Blacks 70% open, so a comparison tasting was in order. The only analogy I can make is that it’s like being walloped by a sledgehammer instead of a pillow – the Haigh’s is lighter, more subtle, less harsh notes. I could eat it all day.