The family and I are travelling around the South Island of New Zealand. Naturally, when in another country there are many things to do: places to see, countryside to look at, and food to taste.
Much to the amusement (disgust?) of the family, I’m also interested in ducking into supermarkets and checking out what’s available as the chocolate-of-the-masses for our friends across the ditch, this being what the Kiwis call a 3½ hour flight from Australia over the Tasman Sea.
Exhibit 1 is a Whittaker’s Cashew nut bar. Most of the Whittaker’s range is available in Australia, but I’ve not seen the Cashew nut before. It seems like some of the Whittaker’s range is not exported, including the dark squares placed on the pillows in a hotel we stayed in, and which was especially yumbly.
In New Zealand, Whittaker’s is available absolutely everywhere. I found this Cashew nut bar in a roadside shop where we stopped to buy apples. It’s milk chocolate with whole cashew nuts. I scoffed the whole lot down before noting the cocoa percentage – a web check shows it at 33%.
This is a sweetish rich chocolate; Cashews have a pretty mild flavour at the best of times,
and they are really a bit drowned out by the chocolate. Pleasant, and very easy eating but I would not walk over broken glass for it.
Supermarkets everywhere in NZ sell Cadbury chocolates, a great many of which are made in New Zealand, including varieties not available elsewhere. But because we expect a certain standard of Cadbury, I’ve concentrated more on other things.
My next sample is the “Trade Aid” organic dark chocolate with orange. This fair trade range seems to be widely available in NZ, I saw it in quite a few places. According to the pack this is made in Switzerland for an importer in Christchurch. It is 58% cocoa, with all manner of ethical sources listed for the cocoa beans, sugar, and so on.
I found this one in a New World supermarket one evening while looking for breakfast things for the following day: Must have priorities right. This is a pleasant chocolate, with a couple of things I think could be better: the orange is very subtle and you’d struggle to pick it if not told it should be there. It also seems to have a slight harshness to the flavour. It’s kind of grown on me but I have had other middling-dark chocolates that are better. Pleasant, but not exceptional.
Next up, I had noticed Richfields chocolate in a few places – all sugar free and containing that thing that can cause “trouble” if eaten in excess. Not interested.
Then in a Four Square supermarket at Franz Joseph Glacier, I found Richfields Dark 70% with Kiwi fruit; I subsequently saw this in a number of other places.
What could be more Kiwi than chocolate with Kiwi fruit? The tourist trinket and junk shops all think so too, selling some other brand of Kiwi-fruit chocolate with pretty pictures on the label, at tourist-shop prices.
This is very rich, a chocolate to eat in small quantities. The Kiwi fruit part seems at first to be over-rated, and I can’t even tell its there. But the chocolate has a richness and unusual complexity of flavour compared to many other 70% blocks. My guess is this is the Kiwi fruit doing its thing. I could easily eat too much of this. Of course, coming in a massive 250g pack for about NZ$4 makes it pretty good value as well. Subsequently scoffing of a bit more confirms: this one has to be my pick of the bunch, really pleasant and very good value for a mass market product.
And finally – the New Zealand equivalent to the venerable Muesli Bar: energy food to keep a weary traveller fuelled up.
This is the Naturally Tasti Choc and Peanut Nut Bar. It tastes better than it sounds. So much so that I commandeered the whole boxful and told the rest of the family to go find something else for themselves. The chocolate is only compounded, but when they call this a nut bar they are not kidding – there’s loads of nuts, a generous slathering of chocolate. It’s not excessively sweet and the chocolate / peanut / gooey-binder-stuff go well together.
These are very pleasant, and I could easily eat too many. If I could find these back home, I’d buy them because they’re really good.