To the non-Australian chocolate fans amongst us, the above heading might sound a bit alarming or even slightly rude, but it’s not. Pink Lady is an Aussie owned chocolate company based in Melbourne (so I’ll hopefully be paying them a visit sometime soon) and they do a range of Australian shapes including wombats, koalas and green tree frogs that are commonly found in cafes. They also do larger, hollow versions of these animals at Easter time for those of us who wonder just why the rabbit-shaped chocolate swept the world as the key shape for the holiday.
Their biggest hitter over the Easter season is the bilby. Bilbies are an endangered Australian species and the shape was developed and sold not only by Pink Lady but also by Haigh’s who donate part of their profits towards conservation efforts.
These poor little critters are marsupials that are only about 30 centimetres long (including their black tail with a white tip) that forage at night in the desert for bulbs, seeds, insects and spiders and they particularly like the yalka (bush onion) that grows in sand plains after a bushfire. Like koalas, they can do without water because they get most of their moisture needs from their food (if chocolate could do the same for me, my trips to the kitchen would be halved). The bilby’s large ears are useful for listening out for predators. Or at least they used to be – the increased incidence of domestic cats-gone-feral have made their numbers decrease markedly due to being far-too-easily caught and eaten.
Pink Lady’s 150 gram milk chocolate bilby is a rather cute looking fellow, but how does he taste? It is ironic that an edible bilby is for sale to prevent the real ones from being eaten out entirely. However in this case, what seems initially like a form of animal cruelty against an endangered species is really just for the benefit of finding out if this one tastes as good as he looks.
At a minimum of 27% cocoa solids and featuring no weird ingredients, he smells pretty warm and inviting when stripped of his outer coat. Seeing as the first ingredient is sugar, the over-riding sweetness of the chocolate isn’t surprising, but it is then toned down effectively by the confident creaminess that eventually emerges and lingers on the palate. In plainer terms, he’s pretty more-ish. This is a nice version of milk chocolate that isn’t too cloying or too oily.
I felt a bit of shame in desecrating him in such a way, but the pesky emotion soon left me as I continued eating and enjoying…