New Zealand Food Exploration: Parallel Universe Chocolate Review

When it became known we were planning to visit New Zealand, various friends and acquaintances told us “it’s like England, 30 years ago”.

Images of space hoppers, Ford Cortinas, Ringo crisps and rotary-dial telephones coursed through my brain, so I was more than a little disappointed to find out it was entirely untrue. In fact the only sign to support this claim we saw in our entire trip was a young man sporting a mullet/rat-tail combination hairstyle.

Actually everyone was also extremely nice and friendly, and while I don’t want to do my countrymen down, it did add a certain old-fashioned charm to shopping or asking for assistance.

H and I eventually decided it was more like a parallel universe version of the UK. We drove on the same side of the road, the Queen featured on money, there were green fields dotted with sheep and cows, Victorian architecture here and there, excellent cheese, erratic weather…you get the idea.

However so many things were also different. The large clapboard bungalows, the rainforest, mountains and kiss-me-quick-free coastline, the emptiness, the risk of earthquakes, the love of participating in sport, and a plethora of Cadbury products which I had never seen before.

parallel universe chocolate

That last point is the focus of this post, while also being slightly untrue. Via the wonders of an online site called Cybercandy, I had tried a few of these items before, along with many other products we never get to see in the UK. Dairy Milk Peanut Butter anyone?

So when I saw the array of parallel universe chocolates for sale in dairies (aka newsagents) and supermarkets, I bought up a small selection and held a taste test with an unwilling panel of H’s relations.

Myself and H represented the UK market, H Snr brought his mature palate to the table, H Snr’s wife O was our Thai representative and her much younger sister E kindly utilised her pre-teen taste buds for all the kids out there.

1: Mighty Perky Nana = 32/50

chocolate bar 1
A nougat-textured centre flavoured with banana and coated with chocolate. Neither too airy nor too heavy. H Snr commented upon its “banana chewing-gum aftertaste”, and it did remind me somewhat of those foamy bananas one gets in UK pick-and-mix.

J = 5/10; H = 6/10; H Snr = 3/10, O = 8/10; E = 10/10 (It should be noted that E gave nearly everything a 10, partly because she just loves chocolate, but also because a lot of the products were aimed more at her age group than at adults and thus appealed to her in particular.)

2: Pascall Pineapple Lumps = 13/50

chocolate bar 2
The packet somewhat confusingly boasts of “with real fruit juice”, while simultaneously declaring “artificial flavoured confectionery”. I’m not sure of the relationship between Pascall and Cadbury (research suggests Cadbury owns Pascall), but both are name-checked on the packaging. The inside is incredibly chewy, and the “lumps” (really? is “lumps” the most appetising term someone could come up with?) were not very popular with the panel (my notes say “universally met with disgust”, though E loved it).

J = 1/10; H = 1/10; H Snr = 1/10; O = 0/10; E = 10/10

3: Cherry Ripe Cherry Roll Special Edition = 38/50

chocolate bar 3
Cherry-tinged coconut-ice-style interior, covered in dark chocolate and topped with coconut. Quite pleasant really.

J = 6/10; H = 7/10; H Snr = 7/10; O = 9/10; E = 9/10

4: Caramel Chew = 18/50

chocolate bar 4
Another almost foamy chewy centre that edged ahead of the Pineapple Lumps in popularity due to the caramel-tasting centre. H said “an interesting idea ruined by execution”.

J = 2/10; H = 3/10; H Snr = 2/10; O = 1/10; E = 10/10

5: Dairy Milk Black Forest = 38/50

chocolate bar 5

Milk chocolate with nuggets of biscuit and cherry-flavoured jelly. I don’t like chocolate and cherry very much, but both this and the Cherry Ripe were better than I expected. H brought to the fore his full descriptive talents to declare “I liked the silly little cherry thingies”.

J = 7/10; H = 7/10; H Snr = 7/10; O = 7/10; E = 10/10

6: Pinky = 34/50

chocolate bar 6
I’m not on board with the name as it makes me think of fingers and other appendages. This was the first of a short run of chocolate-covered marshmallow bars we sampled, this one benefitting from the addition of some caramel. “Pleasant texture, not taste,” commented H Snr. E emitted an involuntary “mmmmm’ when she bit into it.

J = 5/10; H = 8/10; H Snr = 6/10; O = 5/10; E = 10/10.

7: Buzz = 36/50

chocolate bar 7
The packaging got partially lost for this, but I think it was marshmallow and caramel again (research confirms this), albeit smaller and thinner.

J = 5/10; H = 7/10; H Snr = 6/10; O = 8/10; E = 10/10

8: Original Chocolate Fish = 33/50
chocolate bar 8

Proudly bearing the wrapper statement “As Kiwi As…”, this was a dark chocolate-covered marshmallow fish. I think by now, everyone was a little marshmallow-jaded.

J = 4/10; H = 7/10; H Snr = 5/10; O = 8/10; E = 9/10

9: Moro  = 47/50

chocolate bar 9
Containing “caramel and nougat whip”, this was by far the most popular confection, bearing a spooky similarity to the legendary “work, rest and play” bar made by another company. H Snr said ” the only thing I’ve eaten so far that I’d go and buy again”, and after a surfeit of marshmallow, it was a delicious change.

J = 8/10; H = 9/10; H Snr = 10/10; O = 10/10; E = 10/10

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So what conclusions can I draw from this? Youngsters love chocolate of all kinds, New Zealanders must adore goopy centres, the Moro bar might do well in the UK… I find it quite fascinating that different countries love different types of bar, and would love to learn more about what influences this.

But most of all, I want to transfer the American love of chocolate and peanut butter bars to the UK, so I can be truly happy.

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Disclaimer: Please note neither I nor any of the reviewers are in any way affiliated with any of the manufacturers of these products and this article reflects our personal opinions only.

4 thoughts on “New Zealand Food Exploration: Parallel Universe Chocolate Review”

  1. The Pineapple Chunks were possibly the worst “food” I have ever eaten; and I’ve eaten grasshopper.

    1. Any foodstuff with “Lumps” in the name is usually one to be avoided. Ditto “Tract”, “Nugget” or “Slurry”.

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