I was in the department store David Jones on a sweltering 39C day and, in air-conditioned comfort happened to ‘find’ myself in their gourmet food hall’s chocolate section.
Admittedly what attracted me initially was the similarity to those Hotel Chocolat type of slabs that lucky Dom always gets to try – the mixture of dark and milk swirls in a home-made-looking splodge appealed to my eyes as well as my tastebuds.
Plus, it’s my new local – Victoria. The ingredients looked fine – sugar, cocoa butter, milk, cocoa mass, emulsifier and vanillin, but I laughed at their suggestion that the bar consisted of six-and-a-quarter 25 servings of 20g each. Then, after looking at the price tag of $13.95 for a mere 125g, their measly serves made sense – this stuff costs $2.23 for a mouthful, or $111.60 per kilogram. This is significantly more than the standard luxury chocolate, hand-made truffles, than generally retail for around $95 per kilogram.
That’s big bucks for a small block. But was it worth the price?
The smell was a very sweet one when freed from the strong plastic wrapper and I was encouraged by the description as ‘Belgian-style coverture chocolate.’ Coverture is essentially good quality chocolate that is favoured by chocolatiers because it melts quickly and has at least 32% cocoa solids. The cocoa solids weren’t specified in this block, probably because it was a mixture of milk and dark.
There was no satisfyingly snappy ‘thock’ sound when I broke off a chunk, but I’m prepared to allow that the summer heat was more responsible for this than the freshness of the product.
In my mouth, the chunk was decidedly creamy and it was the milk chocolate stood out as the key note flavour. This surprised me, until the dark asserted itself. Sadly, the dark had a distinctly unpleasant ‘cooking chocolate’ taste to it that jarred unflatteringly when compared to the sweet and superior blend of the milk. Instead of being a nice pairing, the dark actually ruined the bar for me and this would not be one I’d ever buy – or pay such a price for – again. In fact, I don’t think it would stand a chance against faithful stalwarts like Cadbury or Nestlé either.
Moral of this story – Pretty, Local and Pricey doesn’t necessarily equal Delicious, Decadent or Deserved.