Kia ora! Welcome to a brand new New Zealand post. I’m especially excited to share this new ‘adventure’ as I’m so ready to take a mini ‘vacation’! Whittaker’s is perhaps one of the most recognizable Kiwi chocolates outside New Zealand. A handful of their selections are available at shops here in the Lion City. We’re stepping into another new chocolate-tasting adventure. The name sounds predictable, but the experience was a little different!
Ah, peppermint. Some people don’t mind peppermint (the ones who say “it’s okay“), while others love it. I have a soft spot for peppermint tea all year round – it’s one of my comfy beverage choices. Peppermint just so happens to be an ingredient that partners well with chocolate in the sweets realm: a match made in sweets heaven! Although it’s a relatively straightforward chocolate combo, mint chocolate does come in various versions.
Mint chocolate. These words equate to a solid block of chocolate with a creamy green filling, or, at times, a glossy grey-ish filling takes its place. I didn’t think too much when I read the boldly printed “Peppermint Dark Chocolate”. It was the fine print that had me mystified. “Peppermint-infused dark chocolate”. What does it mean, exactly? Is the filling not enough for a minty treat, or is it going to echo mint’s star quality through dark chocolate itself? I guess I just had to give it a taste in the name of science!
A glorious whiff of mint chocolate greeted my nose as I unwrapped the gold-colored packaging. It looked absolutely normal to me, it’s just regular good ol’ mint chocolate. The real surprise arrived when I took a bite.
“Wait… what… whoa” were my first thoughts (yes, in that order!). It was like biting into a regular block of mint chocolate with great quality. The key difference, however, is there’s no filling in this chocolate! The flavors remind me of After Eights, which my taste buds are well-acquainted with. I’m intrigued that Whittaker’s has nailed the same flavors without the need for a second element to complement dark chocolate. Mint is infused through the use of peppermint oil, which reminds me of Christmassy treats (and it has me craving a peppermint mocha latte from Starbucks while I’m writing this post!).
Being 50% dark chocolate, it’s not as bitter as those in the 70% and above ranges. The quality is awesome, which makes each bite perfect. I can imagine mixing chopped chunks of these chocolate blocks with vanilla ice cream. Yum! Apparently, Whittaker’s does have a peppermint fondant-filled dark chocolate, but this peppermint-infused one is quite unique from what I normally see at shops.
What’s my favorite part about this experience? There’s a lot more chocolate to chomp on as both flavors are united as a single element, compared to the usual that only feature chocolate as a solid blanket that coats a minty filling. I’ll never complain about those usual mint-filled chocolates, though – they make appearances in my snack stash every now and then!
Winter is in full swing in New Zealand right now, and peppermint chocolate is a cool treat (pun intended) to inject a touch of winter into my snack stash. One word sums the experience perfectly: reka (‘yummy’ in Maori)! This led me to my latest mini ‘adventure’: learning about Wellington.
I’ve been pretty intrigued with Wellington since penning my previous New Zealand post on Whittaker’s saffron chocolate. Everything that peppermint represents in chocolate reminds me of what I’ve discovered about the “coolest little capital” in the world, as dubbed by Lonely Planet. It’s by far one of the coziest cities I’ve seen in a while – through my screen. There’s so much to see, do and taste. These are two of my standout Wellington activities:
1: Riding the iconic red cable car. There’s no better way to soak in Wellington’s breathtaking views than by immersing in the surroundings on a cable car ride! This iconic cable car route, which features cute retro fire engine-red cable cars with wooden interiors, runs between Lambton Quay, the city’s main shopping district, and a suburb tucked in the hills called Kelburn. Kelburn’s home to a bunch of Wellington’s most beloved locations. Some of these places include the Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus, the Carter Observatory, The Botanic Gardens and cafés. Peppermint’s green tone reminds me of beautiful nature, which is abundant in Wellington!
2: Coffee-Tasting! Wellington is New Zealand’s “coffee capital”, where internationally-acclaimed baristas share their craft by preparing their creations for café hoppers and coffee aficionados. Brewing coffee isn’t just a skill: it’s an art form in the local coffee scene. With its relatively cold climate at an average of 21˚C (68.9˚F) in the middle of summer and 13˚C (55.4˚F) right now, a cup of Joe (and hot chocolate or hot tea) will keep everyone feeling toasty. To come to think of it, a cup of peppermint hot chocolate would be splendid there. Melt some chocolate and mix it with hot milk, and voila!