Friday, 24 January 2014

Whittakers 33% Cocoa Peanut Butter

Whittakers is a brand of New Zealand chocolate that has had extensive time in the Australian market, yet it never seems to be hugely popular. Wikipedia indicates the brand is popular in its native country; in a 2013 Readers Digest, the brand was declared the number one most trusted brand in the country. But in Australia, the brand hasn't moved far from its lower shelf status. A limited selection of flavours is available in Woolworths, with the full range carried in Big W. This exclusiveness may contribute to it being somewhat uncommon.

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I have fond memories of using an empty giant Chocolate Sampler box to store textas, crayons and pencils as a child at my grandmother's house, but don't recall ever trying the chocolates themselves. So because of my lack of attention on the brand, I can't tell you exactly how new this 33% Cocoa Peanut Butter block is - only that I spotted it a couple of weeks ago and picked it up as peanut butter is still uncommon as a flavouring in Australia.

The Whittaker's chocolate block range includes a variety of flavours. Most are used with their 33%  cocoa milk chocolate range, and flavours include Coconut, Hazelnut, Almond Gold, Berry and Biscuit and Fruit and Nut, as well as the plain chocolate Creamy Milk. At the darker end of the spectrum, you can find 50% cocoa Dark Block, 50% Rum and Raisin, 62% Dark Almond, and 72% Dark Ghana. There's also a 28% cocoa White Chocolate block. Part of the Whittaker's claim to fame is their exceptionally smooth chocolate. According to their website, the company has acquired a Swiss-made five-roll machine, which enables the makers to roll the chocolate five times before pouring it into the moulds.

The Peanut Butter block package features an image of a jar of smooth peanut butter, suggesting the filling doesn't include nut pieces, and according to the ingredients list, the peanut butter itself is real, as it only includes peanuts (98%), canola oil and antioxidant, which keeps the butter from spoiling). It doesn't appear that the peanuts were salted, as there is only 15mg of sodium per serve of 25g.

The block is well moulded which each piece well defined and easy to snap off. The chocolate is a little darker than Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, and has a light semi-gloss finish. It smells strongly of peanuts. On snapping a piece off, I discovered the filling is not sectioned completely off in each piece, but as the peanut butter is a solid, that is not too much of a problem.

Unsurprisingly, the peanut butter is the most prominent flavour. It's mildly peanutty, but seems to overwhelm the presence of chocolate. Actually, it's a pretty bland bite, and rather disappointing. Maybe I'm just used to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but I feel a few sea salt crystals would enhance the flavour greatly. I had high hopes of this block, but it's not the groundbreaker I was expecting.

Score: 2.5 out of 5 jellybeans.

Whittaker's 33% Cocoa Peanut Butter block is made in New Zealand. It may contain traces of tree nuts.

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