We don’t normally do chocolate reviews here on the World Chocolate Guide blog – primarily because I like to save that for Chocablog. But recently, Australian Chocablog writer Ashleigh wrote an in-depth feature on Daintree Estates, and now I’ve been lucky enough to get hold of some of the chocolate myself. Rather than repeat ourselves on Chocablog, I decided to write about it here!
What makes Daintree Estates Chocolate so interesting is that it’s the first commercially available Australian chocolate to be made from cocoa beans grown in Australia itself. Even the sugar used is grown in Australia.
It’s sold in 80g bars in a 45% milk chocolate and 70% dark chocolate version.
The first thing you notice about it is that the texture is very smooth, indicating a lot of added cocoa butter. A glance at the ingredients shows cocoa butter listed, but not prefixed with the word “Australian” in the way the sugar and cocoa beans are. Although it doesn’t say so, this leads me to believe that the added cocoa butter (something that’s needed to make chocolate) comes from somewhere else. This isn’t necessarily an issue, given the small harvest of Australian cocoa at the moment, but it would be nice to know where all the ingredients come from, just for the sake of transparency.
The flavour of the chocolate is rather unique. It’s very sweet and easy to eat, and there’s a lot of vanilla in there. Behind the sweet vanilla, there are notes of liquorice, toffee, caramel and red fruit that make it really quite pleasant. But for true 70% connoisseurs, it may be a little too sweet and confectionery like. The milk chocolate version is, of course, even sweeter, despite its hefty 45% cocoa content.
I shared both chocolates with a number of friends, and the opinion was generally positive. All found it a little sweet, but that’s probably just going to make it more approachable to the average consumer. I gave some to top chocolatier Paul A. Young and while his comments were also generally positive, his main issue was with the amount of vanilla. Paul thinks that should be cut back to allow the real flavour of the chocolate to come through.
But as a first batch of chocolate from Australian beans, I’m really excited by this. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a unique chocolate and I don’t think they’ll have any trouble selling it. I’m sure future batches will evolve as the farmers and chocolate makers learn how to get the best from the beans, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing more Australian grown chocolate in the future.