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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Theobroma Dark Hazelnut

Theobroma Dark Hazelnut 
Posted: 25 October 2010    5.5 
Theobroma Chocolate Lounge I love hazelnuts in dark chocolate. It's one of the best combinations man has ever invented. And that's the point: I want hazelnuts in my dark chocolate. Not standing out in front, looking like they're arm in arm with the chocolate yet ready to flee at the first sign of attack.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.063   Cocoa %: 54  Size: 100g  Australia chocolate 

Theobroma is a sign for things to come.  You heard it at the Chocolate Republic first.  Remember that and pay me a royalty next time you hear it from somewhere else.  Is Theobroma a sign of things to come because its chocolate is revolutionary?   No.   It's decent chocolate, but its taste sets no trends for the future.  It's the business model which is a sign for things to come.

Theombroma is the brand name of a series of chocolate lounges headquartered in the state of Victoria and found predominantly in Australia, offering on their menu chocolate drinks, desserts, coffees, and food, plus a shop selling chocolate bars and chocolate treats like chocolate cigars which have plenty more calories than real cigars, but don't stink up the home or cause obvious forms of cancer.    Aussie Dave in the past sent me a token milk-chocolate lollipop from Theobroma which I found a little sweet to my taste.   Since it wasn't a real bar, just a stick with a bear head on it, Aussie Dave asked me not to review it, to wait until the Dark Hazelnut bar arrived before lashing out with my expert tastes and wit.

More chocolate manufacturers are springing up all the time and trying to carve out their niche in the marketplace, and it's getting tougher. Supermarket shelf space is devoted to the mainstream boys.  Why should a grocery take a chance on an untested brand?  In the past, one could establish a brand and sell it locally.  A company can still do this, but it's not as easy as it used to be.  As retailing becomes consolidated, so do the suppliers.  That grocery store down the way which used to be owned by someone you knew personally who might've stocked your chocolates is now part of a huge chain.  They want to deal with Nestle, Lindt, Cadbury, and Hershey, huge suppliers that can stock all the stores in a chain.  This is not just happening with chocolates, mind you.

So chocolatiers came up with another option: take one's love of  chocolates and chocolate-making directly to the public.  A choco shop is all well and good, but the quality of your chocolates is not going to lure people in unless they already know you're delivering quality.  What about a dessert/sweet shop/cafe?  A brand need not be tested for someone to consider having a Belgian hot chocolate at such a place. 

I cannot say for sure if Theobroma's inspiration was chocolate lounge first, chocolate brand second, or the other way around.  It doesn't matter.  A chocolate brand is a chocolate brand, however it's built.  Lindt established its reputation as a chocolate maker and is now moving into chocolate cafes.  That was then, this is now.  There shouldn't be an issue establishing a brand in cafes and then moving into chocolates. Personally, I think getting involved in the chocolate cafe side of the business would be more fun starting out while using patrons as the guinea pigs for new prospective delicious chocolate lines.  That, I feel, is the wave of the future: more providers offering their chocolates in more valued-added ways to get the brand out there.  

The Chocolate Republic offers full disclosure, and I'll be honest.  I wasn't expecting Theobroma's bar to be all that fantastic.  Chocolate cafes are still rather new, and the chocolates offered within at present are more upsells than extensions of a delicious brand. Aussie Dave sent me a bar from another popular Australian chocolate cafe, San Churro.  That Spanish bar was frightfully expensive and sinfully average.  I expected Theobroma to be riding the same chocolate gravy profit train.  It says on the bar's label that it was made for Theobroma Food of the Gods (the official name of the company), not by them.

Theobroma's bar is made in Australia, though the company doesn't hide the fact the chocolate raw ingredients are Belgian. It says so on the label that it's "Belgian, smooth, rich, dark, couverture." The bar isn't cheap, still surpassing in cost two fine similarly sized Swiss imports on sale, but it's 20% cheaper than San Churro's.  Chocolate cafes must see their fellow competitors are mainly other chocolate cafes, not competing chocolate bar manufacturers, so bars sold in-store are not priced with the wider chocolate market in mind.

The 54% cocoa solids offered enough solid chocolate taste, but there wasn't a corresponding amount of sweetness to go with it.  The bar appears to be packed with hazelnuts. Theobroma packs them in whole, and you can actually count how many are in a 100 gram bar.  I counted 16.  But here's the problem.   The whole hazelnut looks good, but when you crack off a piece of the bar, the hazelnut becomes loose and falls out.  You're back to a Dark Chocolate bar before you've even started.   Green & Black's uses whole almonds in the skin in their Almond Bar, but the entire almond is hidden inside the chocolate mass and stays there when you break pieces off. 

I love hazelnuts in dark chocolate.  It's one of the best combinations man has ever invented.   And that's the point:  I want hazelnuts in my dark chocolate.  Not standing out in front, looking like they're arm in arm with the chocolate yet ready to flee at the first sign of attack.

Aussie Dave never stops talking about this place.  In every e-mail he sends, he always references the fact that he's just been to or is going to a Theobroma branch, to schmooze, network, and devise corresponding diets with the Melburnian chocoholic elites.   The dark chocolate hazelnut at these prices didn't hook me and struck me, like San Churro's bar, as an afterthought.  The cafes just might be a life-changing event.  I'm visiting Malaysia for a week in December, and I notice Theobroma has a branch at the airport.  I can think of more worthless things to do at airports than stuffing one's face on chocolates.   

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Whittakers Cashew Nut from New Zealand -- 24% cocoa solids
 Madecasse Pink Pepper & Citrus from Madagascar -- 63% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Fascinating Ideas You Could Care Less About

  Welcome to Theobroma Food of the Gods. They have the Chocolate Lounge, cafes located all over Australia. Theombroma offers their dark chocolate hazelnut bar. It's dark and made of Belgian chocolate. Doug's Republic discusses chocolate.