It’s day two of Australian Week, and also day one of 2013- so a happy new year to all of my readers and may this year bring you lots of happiness. Today, I’m reviewing a Cadbury bar that has never graced the British shores for whatever reason- the Cherry Ripe 60% cocoa. I’d never heard of it before I opened up Aimee’s parcel, so I’ve got no idea what is coming with this!
Cadbury’s Cherry Ripe is only available in dark chocolate anyway, but the version that Aimee brought over from Australia for me was extra dark and double dipped. Meaning that the cocoa solids were at 60% (as you may have deduced from the name of the bar…) and that the top layer of chocolate is extra thick. Now I’ve tried Cadbury UK’s dark chocolate before in the shape of their Bourneville and I’ve always thought it was a bit crap really. So I’m hoping that Cadbury Australia’s dark chocolate is better, otherwise the fact that this is the limited edition ‘double dipped’ version of the Cherry Ripe will be a bad thing rather than good.
You’ve probably guessed, as well as the bar being covered in 60% cocoa solids chocolate, that a crucial flavour is cherry. And you’d be correct. But there is also another flavour in play here, as the Cherry Ripe is ‘juicy cherries and coconut lusciously double dipped in rich old gold dark chocolate with 60% cocoa’. It is 50g in weight, which is just about a perfect serving size for me- bars which are too much more than 50g tend to get a bit much, whereas much smaller than 50g and you feel unsatisfied.
For whatever reason, cherry and chocolate has never been big in the UK. I think Green and Black’s do a cherry bar but apart from that, companies have avoided using cherry. Which I happen to think is a bad thing- a really tart and slightly sour cherry flavour can be really refreshing in the same way that lemon and raspberry work. But Cadbury UK have never tried to launch the Cherry Ripe, despite it being the oldest bar of chocolate in Australia- surely a sign of a successful bar.
The shocking pink centre was pretty unusual. I swear to God everything I’ve reviewed and eaten for the past few weeks and months seemed to have had bloody grey or brown wafer in the middle…I’ve not got anything against wafer, in fact I’m a big fan…but it isn’t exactly exciting or colourful. The bright red/pink centre here though immediately caught my eye. Maybe I’l start a petition- companies should be legally obliged to make their bars more interesting colours. Actually though, that makes me think of when Heinz released their Tomato Ketchup in green/blue/orange colours. That was exciting as a child…for about 3 seconds. Then after squirting it all over my dinner, I realised how gross it looked and didn’t want to eat it anymore. I haven’t just made coloured ketchup up have I? Does anybody else remember that?
The outer appearance was obviously radically different to the traditional Cadbury look. So much so that I actually took a close up photo of the Cadbury logo in the corner of the red and black shiny wrapper just to prove that this was in fact a Cadbury’s bar! There was none of their famous purple colour whatsoever, which took me aback a little given how famous and recognisable that colour is. The Cherry Ripe actually looked very attractive though- the red and black colour scheme gives it an ever so slightly more sophisticated feel than a regular Cadbury’s bar.
The smell was totally dominated by dark chocolate. It was semi bitter much like Bourneville, but this smelt much more appetising than the bland and boring Bourneville as the dark chocolate had real character to it. And alongside the cocoa, there was a little fruitiness which combined very nicely. I wouldn’t say that it is specifically cherry or coconut, more a generic fruity sweetness. All in all, it smelt pretty decent and I was eager to tuck in at this point.
The centre of the Cherry Ripe is, as you’d expect given the presence of glace cherries, slightly sticky and moist. Each mouthful is surprisingly chewy as a result of that stickiness, and because the pinkish middle is so dense, this is a hugely satisfying bar to eat in as a result of the texture. You really feel like you’ve got some chew for your money.
Cherry dominates the flavour stakes. It is exactly what you’d expect from glace cherries- intensely sweet. I was a tad disappointed to be honest though- there isn’t a flavour punch or any tartness from the cherry…it’s pretty uncomplicated sticky fruitiness. It left me wanting a bit more. The coconut aspect wasn’t hugely strong- more of a hint in the aftertaste than anything else.
The biggest positive though was the dark chocolate coating. It’s actually very good and blows its British competition (Bourneville) out of the water. It is flavoursome, powerful and works very nicely with the cherries. The choice to use dark chocolate over milk chocolate by Cadbury is a good one- it gives it a little bit of contrast and takes the edge off the cherries.
So there we have it- Cadbury Australia’s Cherry Ripe 60% cocoa. In the note Aimee wrote to me describing each bar, she said that the Cherry Ripe is a ‘marmite’ bar in Australia and that people either seem to love it or hate it. Well I’m going to buck that trend and say that I thought it was ‘alright’. I enjoyed the dark chocolate but the cherry and coconut centre was underwhelming, lacking a bit of zing.
I’d probably eat one again if it was going free, but it wasn’t exciting enough or flavoursome enough to make me want to go out and buy it.
I’m especially interested to hear comments from Australian readers this week…what do you think of the Cherry Ripe?