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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Haigh's Premium Milk

Haigh's Premium Milk 
Posted: 17 October 2010    6.0 
Haigh's Milk 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.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.072   Cocoa %: 32  Size: 100g  Australian chocolate 

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 his hero's.

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 Donald Trump. 

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. 

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Chocolate Monggo Dark 69% from Indonesia -- 69% cocoa solids
 Dove Dark Chocolate from China -- 47% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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  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