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Review: Whittaker's Milk Madagascar
Whittaker's Milk Madagascar
Posted: 24 July 2011
Milk Madagascar is the better of Whittaker's two milk bars. The taste is sharper and more distinctive. But I suppose, in the end, it all comes down to preferences. Are Ethiopian coffee beans better than Vietnamese? Is Robert De Niro a better actor than Al Pacino? One may not be, per se, better than the other. Each just has different character. The Milk Madagascar, while tasty, is, at the end of the day, a Whittaker's marketing gimmick.
price/gram: USD 0.018
Cocoa %: 33
By this time, I've reviewed
so many Whittaker's bars, I should be made an honorary
employee. The truth of the matter is that Whittaker's
doesn't really give a s--t what I say. When I
e-mailed them some less-than-flattering comments about their
atrocious rum and
raisin bar, I got back a polite "Thank you for your
interest in our chocolate" response. I seriously doubt
anything was seriously changed with that one. The
formula has since been revised to 50% cocoa solids, with
slightly less sugar, but based on the photographs Aussie
Dave sent me of his recent taste experiment, the bar didn't
appear to be a true reformulation. Sounds exactly like our politicians. Names change but nothing much else does.
Around the same time I was
nearly killed eating Whittaker's rum and raisin, Aussie Dave
sent me Whittaker's
Creamy Milk. It was a decent milk chocolate bar,
33% cocoa solids, 30% milk solids. I recall commenting
that the bar tasted like it was missing something. The
taste was good, not great. The Creamy Milk was
like the Dark Ghana
in this respect. Each bar was a decent base and would
be complemented by the addition of nuts or fillings.
Whittaker's is quite unique
as a manufacturer in that they make two types of
milk chocolate bars, both with identical cocoa solid and
milk solid content. Creamy Milk uses
cocoa beans from Ghana, a mainstream provider of cocoa beans
worldwide. The second bar, the Milk Madagascar, has
beans sourced from Indonesia. Okay, I am just
checking to see if you're really paying attention.
With a name like Milk Madagascar, where do you think the
beans come from?
Ivory Coast and Ghana, the #1
and #2 cocoa producers worldwide, respectively, are bulk
bean producers. That Hershey bar or Cadbury bar you
just ate, the beans likely came from one of those two
countries. These are deep, classic flavor cacao
beans. Madagascar, on the other hand, producers
flavor beans known more for their light citrus flavors and natural sweetness. It's not a large cacao-producing nation and
produces less than 1% of world supply, so it's rare.
Whittaker's would have a difficult time using Malagasy beans
as the base for most of their milk chocolate bars.
Milk Madagascar is the better
of Whittaker's two milk bars. The taste is sharper and
more distinctive. But I suppose, in the end, it all
comes down to preferences. Are Ethiopian coffee
beans better than Vietnamese? Is Robert De Niro a
better actor than Al Pacino? One may not be, per se,
better than the other. Each just has different
character. It doesn't look as if Whittaker's is using
a completely different recipe for each milk chocolate bar.
The beans and the way they're roasted is the difference.
The Milk Madagascar, while
tasty, is, at the end of the day, a Whittaker's marketing
gimmick. Chocolate connoisseurs know Madagascar
is a source for very flavorful beans. For that reason,
when Malagasy beans are used in a bar, they're used to an
extent that their flavors are obvious.
There are two bean-to-bar manufacturers in Madagascar as of
this writing, Chocolaterie Robert and Cinagra. While Robert
does have a 34% milk, all of Robert's other (non-white)
chocolate offerings exceed 47%. Its two latest
offerings contain 61% and 68% cocoa solids.
Cinagra's lightest is 38%. The bulk of Cinagra's
products contain between 55% and 100% cocoa solids.
Now if native
Malagasy manufacturers are going mainly dark with beans they
get just down the street, how does it make sound sense that
Whittaker's is going light with their only bar utilizing
rare Malagasy beans? Valrhona's
Madagascar beans, but Valrhona is smart enough to make that
a 64% bar. If Whittaker's is going to
feature a Madagascar bar in its product lineup, it would be
a more beneficial and unique taste experience to have done
so in a Dark Madagascar (72%, to contrast it with their Dark
Ghana) vs a Milk Madagascar. Using rare Malagasy beans
in a milked down bar is tantamount to using rare grapes in a
grape sugared beverage that contains 10% real grape juice.
There's not enough of the special ingredient to make a real
Whittaker's from New Zealand makes milk chocolate in New Zealand. It's a New Zealad bean to bar. Their New Zealand chocolate
contains 33% cocoa and 30% milk solids and its Milk Madagascar has Malagasy beans in it. The Chocolate Republic with Doug at
Doug's Republic doesn't need to journey to Porirua taste their milk chocolate from Madagascar.