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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: San Churro Milk Chocolate

     
San Churro Milk Chocolate 
Posted: 18 October 2010    5.5 
San Churro Milk It's not a bad bar by any stretch of the imagination. On taste and texture, it can hold its own with many a milk I could select off a supermarket shelf. But it's price tag puts it up into a Haigh's category price range without the Haigh's quality, and Haigh's in our Republic's esteemed opinion, can't even justify its current pricing in today's marketplace.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.081   Cocoa %: 36  Size: 85g  Australian chocolate 
       


Have you ever been sitting in a street cafe and strolling musicians wander by your table and play you a song for a small tip?  They may even have an album of music they've recorded and try to sell it to you   This has happened to me many times.  I can recall an incident just outside Cancun (Mexico).  The mariachi band wanted $17 for their CD, about twice what you could get a CD of a famous artist or band for on sale.  My father bought one and probably never listened to it.

The newest trend has hit us, and it's hit cafe culture Melbourne, Australia particularly hard.  We should've seen it coming.  The 1990's ushered in a time for darker "healthier" chocolates and fashion coffees.   The next logical step was chocolate cafes.  Australia has seen a raft of them.  Maybe because the population is concentrated in a just a few cities and the Australians love calories, it's easy to test market the concepts there.

San Churro is one such chocolate cafe concept whose products are currently being enjoyed by the mouths and minds of paunchy chic Australians.  The menu consists of churros and chocolate (the name of my first Spanish language textbook), truffles, Spanish hot chocolate, fondues.  You get the idea -- high calorie delicacies you'll pay for later with a triple bypass.  San Churro was a Spanish monk and open chocoholic who used religious imagery to convince the Spanish aristocracy to grant the monks the exclusive concession to manufacture chocolates for them.  Today, Mr. San Churro would have likely become a political lobbyist.  Who knows how good San Churro's original chocolates were?  We're guessing pretty foul.  Lack of competition plus crude sixteenth century choco-manufacturing techniques = chocolates inferior to even Hershey's worst.

Before Aussie Dave finally enrolled himself in a Chocoholics Anonymous 12-step program, he was getting his lunches and his dinners at chocolaterias like San Churro's.  He sent me three Spanish-made Chocovic bars which San Churro peddles, and most recently, he mailed me a milk chocolate bar with San Churro's very own brand name upon it, designated as "Sinfully Smooth," San Churro's own version of that mariachi CD my father bought years ago.  Would the monk San Churro consider it sinful to eat one of these?

Doug's Chocolate Republic does, but not because it's sinfully extraordinary.  It's not.  This milk consists of 36% cocoa solids, an amount we consider respectable for a decent milk chocolate blend and for a virgin monk's diet.  And it's smooth, too, with 23.5% milk solids. The girlfriend loved it, but I thought it was a tad too sweet -- and too expensive.  This bar is even more expensive than the already mega-expensive Haigh's Milk, which we compared side-by-side.  Haigh's, with 4% less cocoa content but higher milk content, was superior.  

To be honest, I was never expecting San Churro's bar to redefine the world of milk chocolate.  San Churro established itself as a chocolateria, then branched into chocolate bar making.   Contrast that with the Swiss chocolatier Lindt which has been making chocolates for over 150 years and then only recently expanded into chocolate cafes.  I can't even be sure if San Churro really manufactures its own chocolate bars.  My guess is they don't.  The bar's label indicates that the chocolate is manufactured in Spain for San Churro, not made in Oz by San Churro.  San Churro has outsourced the manufacture of that bar.

If you've already bought the bar and been "had," forgive yourself.   We've all been fooled in like ways.   Say a comedian appears in a successful television series, suddenly all his financial backers think that anything with his name on it will sell like hotcakes.  Musical albums, books, serious dramas, clothing lines, political punditry.  Most of the time, the side projects don't live up to the established  brand.  You would've been ahead of the game if these San Churro branded chocolates lived up to the alleged standards of their menu.  I'm trusting Aussie Dave's word on the quality of this chocolateria; I've never been to one myself. 

Look, mates -- it's not a bad bar by any stretch of the imagination.  On taste and texture, it can hold its own with many a milk I could select off a supermarket shelf.  But it's price tag puts it up into a Haigh's category price range without the Haigh's quality, and Haigh's in our Republic's esteemed opinion, can't even justify its current pricing in today's marketplace, but it can coast for the time being by being Australia's oldest chocolate manufacturer.  The Republic is pretty sure that the San Churro brand chocolate bars are just another upsell for this burgeoning Aussie franchise.  San Churro customers, entranced by the delicious choco-desserts, will grab a San Churro bar for the road thinking it'll offer the same degree of pleasure as the sinful desserts just consumed. Our advice: stick to the churros and couverture hot chocolate and buy your bars from a chocolatier dedicated to the art of making bars and at lower prices.  


If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Lindt Raisin Nut from Switzerland -- 31% cocoa solids
 Whittakers Creamy Milk from New Zealand -- 33% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Insights From A Travel Mastermind

  San Churro is a francise of chocolateria in Australia. Now they trademark their own milk chocolate bar. This bar is considered sinful at the chocolate republic. See Doug of Doug's Republic. They serve a lot of churro and chocolate, mates.