/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Haigh's Premium Milk
Haigh's Premium Milk
Posted: 17 October 2010
Hats off to Haigh's for this one but respect for their tasty milk still doesn't earn it my endorsement. At these prices, there are better investments for your choco-dollars. John Haigh looked towards Switzerland and maybe you should, too.
price/gram: USD 0.072
Cocoa %: 32
Aussie Dave knew I panned
Haigh's on my first go-around with the
Dark Bar with
Cardamom. As he grew up in the state of South Australia,
Haigh's home state, and was intravenously dripped with
Haigh's cacao since he was a child, he couldn't accept that
tarring without giving Haigh's a few more shots to redeem
itself in the Republic's eyes. I have entertained
the thought he's a Haigh's sales rep as his alternate
identity. Another parcel from
Oz was sent to me and included a Haigh's Premium Milk
Chocolate bar and a Haigh's
Premium Dark Chocolate bar.
Haigh's has one thing going for it. It's an Australian institution,
and Aussies have been programmed by the Aussie powers-that-be to buy Australian-made stuff from Australian-owned
businesses. Dissect that further and you'll comprehend it's all a crock.
Plenty of "Australian" businesses are actually owned by foreigners,
primarily Americans and British. And Australian-made usually means the factory is
in Oz and the product assembled in Australia, but from "local and imported
ingredients." Nearly everything in Oz seems to have some component of
foreign included, Haigh's chocolate included. The cacao,
machinery, expertise, and probably even the fillings come from outside Oz
and we're sure the youngish Haigh brothers currently running the company
love picking up women from other countries.
What Haigh's doesn't have going for it is its price. They company
sells its chocolates in 12 high-end stores across three Australian states,
not in supermarkets or premium health food outlets. Without a
free-market of competing brands on the
Haigh's shelves besides its own and with its near one hundred year reputation
of Aussie-owned, Aussie made, Haigh's can charge more than most of its
competitors and get away with it
-- for now.
On the back of the Premium Milk Aussie Dave sent me, there is a little blurb
written about John Haigh, the only grandson of the founder Alfred Haigh.
It says: "John obtained his skills from a leading Swiss chocolate
maker and returned with the knowledge and machinery required to make premium
chocolate." According to The Haigh's Book Of Chocolate, that
Swiss company was Lindt and Sprungli. John wrote to Switzerland's top
ten chocolate manufacturers in the late 1940's. Seven blew him off, two rejected him. Lindt
was the only one to say, "Get your ass on over here." The company wanted an
Anglophone to be a companion for their director's friend's son. Jesus,
I'm an Anglophone. It could have been me
who applied to intern at Lindt and been the director's friend's son had I actually been alive back then!
We can infer from the statement written on the back of the bar wrapper that before John
took the helm and did his apprenticeship with Lindt, Haigh's was making
s--t chocolates, but Australians didn't know better. The Haigh's Book
agrees: "When he came into Haigh's, John soon found that the company
was making poor quality products under great difficulties." Hence,
between Haigh's founding in 1915 and, say, around 1959 when John became
managing director, Haigh's chocolates sucked.
John Haigh freely admits to this day that Lindt sets some high standards.
So it's more than fair to ask how Haigh's Premium Milk measures up to
With 32% cocoa solids, Haigh's milk clocks in at more or less the same
as everyone else's cocoa solid content for a milk chocolate bar. Lindt uses 31%.
Haigh's milk solid content mimics his Swiss gods, at 26%. The more I ate, the more addictive it became. It was a
more pleasant eating experience than the internationally renowned Green &
Black's milk version.
If G & B's and Haigh's were priced at similar levels, Haigh's milk would
trump it. Haigh's should actually be cheaper than G & B's. G & B
is organic chocolate and enjoys a premium for that reason alone, and it's an
import which needs to be shipped the far distances to Australia. Yet Haigh's retails for more than double G & B's and almost triple the
delicious and the superior Lindt
Swiss Gold Hazelnut. This contradicts Haigh's very own marketing schlock in their Haigh's book which claims "new
equipment and methods helped keep the retail prices of Haigh's products
reasonable, as did the company's practice of selling chocolates exclusively
through its own outlets." I guess this all depends on the definition
of 'reasonable.' Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, during impeachment proceedings, redefined what the words 'the' and 'sex' meant. Haigh's chocolate
prices could be seen as reasonable, if you're George Soros, Jamie Packer, or
Hats off to Haigh's for this one but respect for their tasty milk still
doesn't earn it my endorsement. At these prices, there are better
investments for your choco-dollars. John Haigh looked towards
Switzerland for inspiration and maybe you should, too.
Australia has its own indigenous chocolates. Haigh's from Adelaide, South Australia. They make milk chocolate. Current board member John Haigh learned
chocolate making techniques by apprenticing at Lindt. Australian chocolate
at its unfinest. Haigh's makes premium milk chocolate, they say. Haigh's has stores in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. Come visit the chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic