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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Whittaker's Cashew Nut

     
Whittaker's Cashew Nut 
Posted: 22 June 2011    8.5 
Whittaker's Cashew Nut Overall, the 33% bar is better, but not by much. I had to go back and forth between the two bars several times to fully appreciate the differences. You would think a 33% bar would taste approximately 33% more chocolately than a 24% bar by doing the math. However, realize that Whittaker's is also 'diluting' that full cocoa taste with milk.  The result is that the 33% bar has just a slightly richer cocoa and full bodied taste than the already delicious 24% bar of yore   
Avg price/gram: USD 0.018   Cocoa %: 33  Size: 250g  New Zealand chocolate 
       


There's always a first time for everything.  Way back in October, I experienced my first taste of Whittaker's down home cashew nut bar, and the experience was positive.  It awakened in me the need to find out all I could about cashews. Did you know cashew nuts grow as an accessory to the cashew apple, a fruit whose juice is supped throughout South America?  Do you even care? .

Whittaker's was not my first time trying a cashew bar though.  Cadbury manufactured a respectable cashew nut bar that no choco-addict would be ashamed to eat in front of a television set.  But Whittaker's raised the bar, tossing in more cashews and doing so at a price even trailer trash could afford.       

Korean resident in Thailand and aspiring playboy, Wan Hyuk Park recently returned from a celibate trip Down Under bearing six bars.  Aware of my recent obsession with cashews, Wan Hyuk snagged one of these, not knowing I'd already reviewed it.   Well, some version of it.   I examined the wrapper and realized that Whittaker's has changed the formula on their cashew nut bar.   The original cashew nut bar was made from a 24% cocoa solid blend.  I found that unusual at the time because all of Whittaker's other milk chocolate based bars were 33% cocoa solids.  In fact, I made a mistake on the original review, and Aussie Dave, the benefactor of the 24% cashew nut bar, corrected me and said, "Sorry, mate.  You gave that bar 9% points too much credit."   Hence, this marks the first time in the Chocolate Republic's short history that a bar with an altered formula gets re-reviewed. 

Whittaker's must have practiced the philosophy that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The old version was 24% cocoa solidsWhittaker's Cashew Nut with 22% milk powder.   This version is 33% cocoa solids with 30% milk powder, the identical mix to all of Whittaker's other milk chocolate based bars.  That is, I suspect, the entire reason the formula was altered.   Not to improve the taste, but to standardize the chocolate used in all milk bars in order to reduce costs.  Initially, Whittaker's probably thought they could save a little dough on the cashew nut bar by reducing cacao content.  Cashew nuts are rich by themselves.  The Indians are well aware of this and use cashews as the base for their rich shahi kormas.  But the savings from skimping on cacao on the cashew bar were probably negated by having to manufacture a special blend of chocolate just for the cashew bar.  Guys with suits crunched the numbers in back offices and it was bye bye to the 24%. 

Is it an improvement?  When Aussie Dave heard about Wan Hyuk placing this new bar on my doorstep, he immediately scoured Australian supermarket shelves for traces of the old 24% and sent one overnight delivery so I could do a side-by-side taste comparison.  The film of that revolutionary comparison is here.  Crafting a good chocolate bar is a lot like creating a good pizza.  If you create a good base (with pizza = dough, tomato sauce, and cheese; with chocolate = chocolate blend), you can pretty much add anything to it, subject to food science considerations and get something delicious.   Whittaker's 33% milk chocolate was rated highly here already.  Adding cashew nuts to that 33% shouldn't have made the bar worse by any noticeable percentage.  

Aussie Dave told me the 33% bar would "blow away" the 24% one.  Overall, the 33% bar is better, but not by much. I had to go back and forth between the two bars several times to fully appreciate the differences. You would think a 33% bar would taste approximately 33% more chocolately than a 24% bar by doing the math. However, realize that Whittaker's is also 'diluting' that full cocoa taste with milk. The 24% bar has only 22% milk solids in it.   Whittaker's has upped the cocoa solid content by 37.5% in the newer bar, but they've also increased the milk solid content by a nearly identical amount to keep the chocolate flavor virtually constant.  The name of the game here seems to be one of streamlining rather than a complete flavor revamping.  Whittaker's wants to standardize the milk chocolate blend for all their milk chocolate type bars.  If the 33% bar is blowing away the 24% in Australia, then it must be because Aussie Dave has the 33% bar attached to a very powerful fan.   

Look at it on the bright side, old cashew nut bar lovers.  Most of the time, manufacturers reduce cacao content and/or size and effectively raise the price.  Cadbury Australia tried that.   Whittaker's has done the opposite.  They've increased the cacao content and kept the size and price the same. In today's world, that's as close to a free lunch (or dessert) you're going to get in the chocolate world.        

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Cadbury Old Jamaica Rum N Raisin from Australia -- 37% cocoa solids
 Chocolate Monggo Orange Peel from Indonesia -- 58% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe

  Whittaker in New Zealand makes tasty 33% milk chocolate with cashew nut. YOu been to New Zealand? New Zealad bar in question is the cashew nut with 30% milk pwder. Full of rich New Zealand chocolate. The Chocolate Republic goes to Porirua to investigate. Read Doug at Doug's Republic