A while ago now, I seemingly enraged some people with my suggestion that the then brand new peanut butter chocolate from that beloved Kiwi brand Whittaker's, was not actually quite as good as I might have hoped it would be. I didn't say it was terrible, I merely suggested that I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. But, oh, the wrath that came down for my voicing an opinion was swift. And it was vengeful.
Nevermind that I said that I really liked their Berry & Biscuit, which I wasn't even holding out that much hope for. I was declared a heretic - it was though I had suggested that Six60 were a bit crap, or that the "colossal squid" at Te Papa was in fact merely large. We, as a nation, are a ferociously parochial bunch - we hate being told that Richie McCaw is a bit of a cheat, or that other countries might have any claim on having the most breathtaking scenery, or that Crowded House were, in fact, pretty much, an Australian band. We ought to be proud of what we do have, and a whole lot less insecure. When will we stop asking visitors the leading question "so, what do you think of New Zealand?" We really need to let our greatest accomplishments and assets speak for themselves, without false modesty. We need to let it go, grasshopper.
To their credit, the good people at Whittaker's clearly did not take too much umbrage at one fat man's opinion of their product. They did not cry, and weep, and moan, and gnash their teeth at the terrible injustice that had been foisted upon them. They merely did what they do - they got on with making great chocolate. And, in doing so, they may just have broken some new ground.
All the water cooler talk of late has been about Whittaker's new L&P White Chocolate, and justifiably so. It is a most peculiar fusion.
It's actually difficult to say exactly what flavour L&P is. I mean, sure, it's predominantly lemon - when I first tasted the L&P choc, and didn't know what it was, the first thing I got was the pop rocks - little beads of candy that, literally, burst in your mouth, exploding with flavour. When pushed I was able to identify lemon - lemonade, maybe? But no, there was something else. "Is it a naturally occurring flavour?" someone asked. "Um, not exactly" 'fessed the pusherman.
"L&P pop rocks flavoured white chocolate!" -nailed it! I am probably a supertaster, you know, after all.
It's a big call for an independent NZ chocolate producer to collaborate with a Coca Cola stable product, but I reckon it comes off on the level that L&P is an iconic, NZ only beverage, manufactured in NZ since the late 1940s, and taken over by Oasis Industries in the late '70s, and then by Coke.
It is a drink I really crave sometimes. It is ripsnortingly sweet, but I always reckon it goes great with fish and chips, or a burger (I will be testing that theory again soon...)
But - what's the chocolate version like? Lots of people will have probably tasted it already, and made up their own minds, but I reckon it's cool. It's a bit weird. It's bloody sweet, and kind of trashy, but sometimes I reckon that's just what you want. It is reminiscent of some kind of lemon cheesecake. And with the pop rocks, the overwhelming impression is that it is quite American tasting.
I am not entirely convinced that it will be around for all that long, so I reckon if you like it, or like the sound of it, you should get amongst it. Good fun - fun with food; who knew it could be so easily obtained?
And ditto the cornflake chocolate slabs - the crunchy cornflakes are a magnificent textural contrast with the sweet, milky chocolate. Thank God it is only presently available as mini slabs - a full bar of this could really prove to be my downfall. Immensely sessionable, as my buddy PJ would say (meaning you want to sit on down with it and have a serious session eating it), but who could be bothered with all that unwrapping? Phew...
As an addendum, I also did a bit of a reccy on the peanut butter chocolate that I wasn't entirely convinced by previously, and you know what? I reckon - actually, I'm pretty damned sure - that they have fixed it. I thought the filling was less sweet, and more salty, and a little less liquidy. It was really, really good - and yes, deeply "sessionable", in a way that the L&P choc is perhaps not. Just a wee bit sweet, even for me...
And ditto the cornflake chocolate slabs - the crunchy cornflakes are a magnificent textural contrast with the sweet, milky chocolate. Thank God it is only presently available as mini slabs - a full bar of this could really prove to be my downfall. Immensely sessionable, but who could be bothered with all that unwrapping? Phew...
Whittaker's L&P choc - tried it? Going to? What did you think? Cornflake choc slabs? And - the re-upped peanut butter choc - much better, huh?
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