Australia’s love for classic chocolate bars knows no bounds. For some, it’s the nostalgic element: they recall the milk bars of days gone by, where children would gather, clutching coins and adding up their options. For others, especially those living far from our shores, these bars are a taste of home — the ultimate comfort food. But palates evolve and chocolatiers are capitalising on exactly that, crafting grown-up versions of old favourites. To help you decide where to up your chocolate game and where you can stick to the tried and true, T Australia pitted the originals against their high-end counterparts.
Peppermint Crisp v Poppy’s Chocolate Peppermint Crisp and Dark Chocolate Bark
How good is a Peppermint Crisp? Remember those tiny tubes of shatter-y peppermint candy that stick to your teeth? And the contrasting milk chocolate? While not strictly Australian (the Crisp was invented in South Africa), it holds a special place in our hearts. And though they’ve become hard to find in recent years, they’re every bit as delicious as you remember them. It’s not an exact replica but Poppy’s Chocolate makes a Peppermint Crisp and Dark Chocolate Bark ($8.90/100 grams; poppyschocolate.com.au) with crunchy peppermint candy and dark chocolate imbued with peppermint oil. This stuff is intense. In fact, the mint is so strong it’s almost astringent. The chocolate is light-years ahead of that which coats the Peppermint Crisp but with its flavouring, it’s only for the true peppermint addict.
Violet Crumble v Koko Black Tasmanian Leatherwood Honeycomb
Your preference here will come down to how much you love the brittle crunch of the original. Koko Black Tasmanian Leatherwood Honeycomb ($15.90/100 grams; kokoblack.com) has none of that dry crumble and a whole lot of luscious, chewy honeycomb. Available in dark and milk chocolate, it comes broken into jagged, Doritos-sized shards and is so rich you won’t need more than one or two pieces.
Cherry Ripe v Bahen & Co Cherry Coconut
There is something truly wonderful about the chew of a Cherry Ripe — it’s something you just can’t get anywhere else. Bakeries will try to approximate that sticky cherry-and-coconut-y goodness in slices and the like, but they usually turn out too sweet, too coconut- heavy. Bahen & Co has not attempted a re-creation with its Cherry & Coconut bar ($9.90/75 grams; bahenchocolate.com). Instead, this punchy block of dark chocolate is studded with cherry pieces and coconut (not so much a filling as a flavouring). It is utterly fantastic, one of the best bars in the competition. But is it a substitute for a Cherry Ripe? Not quite.
Freddo v Adora Frogs
This match-up is hardly fair since both are straight chocolate, so all there is to judge is the chocolate itself. But for those with fond memories of Freddo frogs, there’s no doubt something very appealing about a grown-up version made with much better chocolate. That’s exactly what you get with Adora Frogs ($12/100 grams; adora.com.au). The package contains frogs made of milk, white and dark chocolate, each of outstanding quality. There’s a place for Freddo’s weird, waxy Cadbury chocolate but Adora’s rich, creamy and exceptionally flavoursome version is hard to beat.
Crème Egg v treat Dreams Cream Egg
Cadbury’s Creme Egg isn’t technically Australian (it hails from Britain), but it has been an Easter mainstay here for decades. Granted, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it affair — the gooey interior either makes you swoon or turns your stomach. If you loved it as a kid but all that goo is a bit much for you now, you’ll enjoy Treat Dreams’ slightly more refined version ($20/125 grams; treatdreams. com.au). The eggs are smaller, the chocolate is darker and the goop factor is far more manageable. They are also vegan, which will please those whose diets have changed but have tastes that remain sugary.