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Whether you’re a hoarder, who gleefully descends into a chocolate-fuelled sugar coma by noon on Easter Sunday, or a saver, carefully storing your stash, nibbling on a bit of egg every day until June, we all know the disappointment of biting into a bad egg.
Good Food recruited a panel of pastry chefs to eat their way through more than 30 seasonal chocolate treats, from artisan hand-crafted fair-trade chocolate fish, to the ever-popular fondant creme-filled eggs.
For the taste test, all of the chocolates were tasted blind, unwrapped from the foil with no identifying information, with contenders broken up into three categories.
The judges assessed the appearance and the texture of the chocolate, as well as the sweetness and overall balance of flavour. Each chocolate was snapped, to indicate the quality of tempering, thickness of mould and overall consistency.
This article originally appeared on goodfood.com.au.
The Judging Panel
- Reynold Poernomo, pastry chef and owner of KOI Dessert bar, Chippendale.
- Nichole Horvath, head pastry chef of 12 Micron, Barangaroo.
- Lauren Eldridge, pastry chef, and Sydney Morning Herald Josephine Pignolet, Young Chef of the Year 2016.
- Sharnee Rawson, Good Food writer and contributing editor.
Category one: Traditional and hunting eggs
1. Monsieur Truffe mini rabbits
60g, $15 ($25 per 100g), monsieurtruffechocolate.com
These cute little cartoon rabbits won over our judges for their glossy appearance and deep, high-quality cocoa flavour, made from 37 per cent fair-trade Dominique Republic cocoa.
Eldridge said: “The chocolate is well balanced, with a strong cocoa flavour and nice bite. It’s the best for me … and you feel like you’ve eaten proper chocolate rather than sugary compounds.”
2. Ferrero mini hazelnut eggs
An egg-shaped take on the popular hazelnut Ferrero Rocher, these soft-centred, bite-size eggs are a good pick for Easter hunts. Horvath said: “It’s nice to have a bit of texture and crunch in there.”
3. Lindt Gold rabbit in milk chocolate
These little gold-wrapped bunnies have become synonymous with Easter chocolate but the thickness of the shell did make each bite sweeter than the judges would have liked.
“The taste is so creamy, it instantly makes me think of chocolate ads pouring pails of milk and cream,” Rawson said.
4. Choceur premium milk chocolate bunny
200g, $4.99 ($2.50 per 100g), aldi.com.au
Our panel deemed this incredibly detailed bunny as exactly what you’d expect from a moulded supermarket chocolate.
“The flavour is more milk than chocolate, and the sweetness is slightly delayed; you eat it and think not bad, then go for a second bite and it’s like – bam – so sweet,” Horvath said.
5. Haighs milk chocolate egg
50g, $4.95 ($9.90 per 100g), haighschocolates.com.au
This was a nice chocolate but didn’t hit the high notes in taste, with an off-putting metallic-like aftertaste.
“It has that soft snap – it doesn’t have a glassy break, like a well-tempered chocolate,” Poernomo said.
6. Simon Johnson milk chocolate Easter egg
60g, $12.95 ($21 per 100g), simonjohnson.com
These eggs had one of the prettiest wrappings, but the panel was divided over the quality and taste. “It has a good snap, and that milky flavour that I look for in a standard milk chocolate,” Poernomo said.
7. Divine milk chocolate egg
55g, $9.95 ($18 per 100g), shop.oxfam.org.au
Available through Oxfam Australia, the chocolate comes from a fair-trade company 44 per cent owned by cocoa farmers. It was a softer, stickier chocolate.
“This one is really crumbly it has a very rich flavour,” Poernomo said. “I didn’t find it as sweet as the others.”
8. Coles bag of hunting eggs
300g, $7 ($2.33 per 100g)
If you want a bulk amount of hunting supplies, this is the way to go. Scatter at will.
“The shell is a lot thinner than the other eggs, and it melts better,” Poernomo said.
9. Woolworths Hunting Eggs
10 pack, 180g, $4 ($2.20 per 100g)
Just a hair behind the other major supermarket brand, these eggs tasted a little like cooking chocolate, with a flavour profile appropriate for younger children.
“I definitely found these in the garden as a kid,” Eldridge said. “I like the crunch better and the shell is nice and thin.”
10. Pink Lady milk chocolate bilby
150g, $9.95 ($6.60 per 100g)
Who doesn’t love an Australian native animal? These chocolates give a small amount to the Save the Bilby Fund.
“I really wanted to like this, but it tastes like it’s been stored in the fridge for a while,” Rawson said.
“That flavour is almost like UHT milk, like skim milk powder,” Horvath said.
11. Red Tulip Mixed Eggs Hunt Bag, Caramel and Chocolate
1kg, $20 ($2 per 100g)
This giant bag of mini eggs has a mix of caramel-centred and solid choc options. Just the caramel ones were tasted. The panel was concerned about the caramel having a grainy texture and overt sweetness.
12. Red Tulip Giant Sitting Rabbit
170g, $4.50 ($2.65 per 100g)
This rabbit was a sitting duck for a group of pastry chefs, shot down for apparent poor tempering. “This is all about sugar and flavouring, not chocolate” Eldridge said.
Category two: Artisan and adult chocolates
WINNER AND OVERALL WINNER
1. Koko Black caramelised coconut egg
120g, $24 ($20 per 100g), kokoblack.com
Despite riding out sugar highs, the judges kept coming back to this one for a little nibble. Likened to a posh coconut rough, it had a crunchy texture and well-balanced flavour.
“I don’t even like coconut rough, but I really like this,” Poernomo said. “It’s got a great texture, like there’s little wafers through it.”
2. Monsieur Truffe 72 per cent dark chocolate fish
90g, $16.50 ($18.33 per 100g)
These vegan-friendly, dairy-free fish were enrobed in pale blue foil and packaged on a bed of raffia, and won points for their high quality dark chocolate finish and flavour profile. Ideal for people who like their dark chocolate with 75 per cent cacao or more.
“Sardine shape aside, I quite enjoyed the flavour and the dark taste,” Horvath said.
3. Oxfam Fairtrade Bio-organic Mini Easter egg pack
160g, $24.94 ($15.59 per 100g),
These individually wrapped chocolates come in four flavours, with the hazelnut praline sampled for the test. Pleasant, crowd-pleasing chocolates, with packaging that makes them perfect for hunting.
“It’s not too sweet, and the hazelnut flavour adds a subtle note, rather than being overwhelming,” Poernomo said.
4. Adriano Zumbo Le Coq
77g, $15 ($19.50 per 100g), zumbo.com.au
There is a heck of a lot going on inside these candy-coated chickens, with a roasted green tea ganache, sesame praline crunch and acidic passionfruit reduction. In a blind tasting, it was mind-boggling: serve these up to a Heston-wannabe and watch their mind go into overdrive.
“There is a lot going on here, visually and taste wise, but some sour notes mean I’m not sure it all works,” Rawson said.
5. Choceur Deluxe Easter egg, roasted macadamia
150g, $5.99 ($3.99 per 100g)
One consistent theme through our taste test was that pastry chefs love a bit of texture. This large Aldi egg won points for the crunchy qualities, even though the enrobing chocolate was judged to be low quality.
“You can taste that the nuts have been caramelised; there’s a crunchy coating on them but I’m not sure it works,” Horvath said.
6. David Jones hot cross bun eggs
Carton of six, 200g, $14.95 ($7.47 per 100g), davidjones.com.au
Unlike other HCB flavoured confectionery, these include chunks of sultana and mixed peel, suspended in thick chocolate and housed in an egg carton.
“It’s like fruit and nut chocolate, but I don’t know if I like the mix – the cinnamon is very heavy and the shell is too thick to bite into,” Poernomo said.
7. Coco Chocolate organic Easter hot cross bun spice milk chocolate bar
70g, $10.95 ($15.64 per 100g), cocochocolate.com.au
Carefully wrapped in layers of pretty paper, this bar has a premium feel, with 37 per cent milk chocolate blended with spice merchant Herbie’s HCB mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, clove and all spice.
“But the spices it make it gritty and the flavour is too strong,” Eldridge said.
8. Chocolatier Murray River salt and caramel dark chocolate
120g, $14.95 ($12.45 per 100g)
The overwhelming sentiment about this chocolate was: your child will probably hate it, but your boozy uncle will love it.
“It’s an adult chocolate with unidentifiable liquor flavour,” Eldridge said.
9. Fardoulis cello bag of milk chocolate mousse truffles
200g, $19.95 ($9.97 per 100g)
These cute little bunny-shaped truffles are individually wrapped in bright foil wrappers, with flavours such as rainforest lime and sunset orange. The milk chocolate had a Milky Way quality to it.
“These are so intensely sweet, I couldn’t get through one without a large glass of water,” Eldridge said.
10. Oh Boo hand-painted Easter chook
You can tell that someone has laboured over this cute white chocolate chook with plenty of detailing. Each one comes with its own nest of dark chocolate pebbles. Our panel voted this as the best chocolate to give as a gift, but once again it was way too sweet.
“My mum would really dig this,” Rawson said.
Category three: Guilty pleasures and family favourites
1. Koko Black hazelnut praline quail eggs
Packaged in a little pouch or tiny egg carton, these incredibly detailed eggs were a favourite with the judges for the thin candy coating.
“The texture and the matte appearance of the egg is cool,” Poernomo said, “And the inside flavour and hazelnut note is great as well.”
2. Adriano Zumbo peanut butter creme filled eggs
176g, $12.50 ($7.10 per 100g)
Holy peanut butter balls, Batman, these really deliver. The whole panel found the shell quite thin, and wished for a little more chocolate to foil the soft nut filling, but liked the salty contrast.
“These are so shiny and pretty, but whoa there is a lot of salt in there. It’s a total peanut butter bomb,” Rawson said.
3. Cadbury Marvellous Creations bumper bunny
190g, $5.50 ($2.89 per 100g)
If you’ve tried the bar version of Cadbury’s popping candy, raspberry chips and bits, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this. Labelled as more fruity than chocolatey, it won points for novelty, and the long lingering popping candy effect.
“I buy this chocolate a lot, it’s my guilty pleasure,” Horvath said. “The popping candy does get a little lost in the bunny version though.”
4. Coco Chocolate dark chocolate half egg with freckles
200g, $25.50 ($12.75 per 100g)
This tempered half egg, filled with 100s and 1000s-covered discs, was incredibly neat and pretty, with rich dark chocolate.
“People go mad for a freckle,” Rawson said. “This is one of the prettiest chocolates, but definitely one for the dark chocolate fans”.
“No child would like this, but you’d think they would because of the freckles. I like it for that real lack of sugar, it’s well made,” Eldridge said.
5. Darrell Lea Rocklea Road Easter egg
180g, $8 ($4.40 per 100g)
The good old half egg, stuffed with your favourite Darrell Lea confectionery, is an Aussie classic. Particularly the Rocklea Road number. This one was super marshmallow-heavy, with heaps of peanuts and coconut in there, too.
“That is a lot of marshmallow, that’s awesome. I love it but it would be sickening if you ate too much of it,” Poernomo said.
“It’s the kind of thing you keep in your fridge and chip away at,” Horvath agreed.
6. Moo Free Bunnycomb Easter egg and buttons
125g, $14.94 ($11.95 per 100g)
Free from gluten, dairy and soy, this vegan chocolate is laced with “bunnycomb”, a glucose-based honeycomb toffee and the chocolate has brown sugar-like appeal. It had a little plastic pack of chocolate chips in the box, too.
Eldridge said, “One side has lots of honeycomb and crunchy but not the other side. It’s not well mixed, and there’s a strange aftertaste.”
7. Haighs milk chocolate honeycomb egg
175g, $20.50 ($11.71 per 100g)
“There’s a good amount of honeycomb in there and it’s fresh and crunchy, but I still get a funny aftertaste,” Poernomo said.
Horvath said despite the hit of honeycomb, it wasn’t as sweet as the other chocolates.
8. Pink Lady mini Easter eggs, caramel
200g, $9.95 ($4.97 per 100g)
With a polka dot gold foil, these little eggs divided opinions, judged as too sweet but better than the other caramel varieties tried on the day.
“Compared to the other caramel ones, these are so much better but the caramel is still gritty,” Eldridge said.
9. Cadbury Oreo egg bag
112g, $3 ($2.67 per 100g)
Take a big scoop of the soft icing inside an Oreo, crunch a bit of biscuit into it, and smush it into a mini egg, and you have these fun little bite-size eggs. The judges found the chocolate shell too thick and sweet and wanted more biscuit.
“It’s just like cookies and cream – there’s a good texture but the inside is too sweet, and I don’t get as much of a cookie hit as I want,” Poernomo said.
10. Cadbury Creme Egg
6pk, 234g, $7.50 ($3.20 per 100g)
The classic Cadbury milk chocolate shell, filled with white and yellow fondant, a la a boiled egg.
“I remember liking these a lot more when I was younger – now I just taste sugar,” Lauren said.
“You know people dip fries into these, right?” Reynold said. “I did it once and did not like it at all.”
This article originally appeared on goodfood.com.au.