Summer is upon us in the Lion City, and I am ready to welcome all the vibrant eats that will grace my snack stash this season! My first summery pick combines two of my flavorful friends: chocolate and coconut. It’s time to say kia ora to the latest member of my snack stash: Whittaker’s Mini Coconut Slabs. Hailing from Porirua in New Zealand’s North Island, Whittaker’s is a Kiwi classic in the chocolate realm with its incredible selections and flavors. As a fan of coconut, I couldn’t resist adding their coconut-filled chocolates into my shopping basket!
Coconut Desserts in New Zealand
My curiosity about the Kiwis’ connection with coconuts in desserts was awakened when I spotted these coconut-filled chocolates. Coconut desserts often represent summery days, especially in the tropics’ signature warm climate. Being away from the equator and below the Tropic of Capricorn, New Zealand’s climate is on the cooler side. The North Island is roughly between the sub-tropic and temperate zones, while the South Island is completely in the temperate zone. Even though the sun’s heat effect is mild in New Zealand, the nation is home to a variety of mouth-watering coconut-based bakes and confections. My sleuthing boots led me to a few of them!
One of the desserts that includes coconut is the indulgent 3-layered Louise Cake, which comprises of a shortbread base, berry jam in the middle, and coconut meringue on top. Polynesian eats from the region contributes to the nation’s collective coconut bakes too. One of these delights is the Samoan Pani Popo, or coconut buns. Coated in a decadent sweet coconut sauce on the outside, Pani Popo is fluffy on the inside. Thinking about these coconut-laden bakes makes me want to take a bite of the mini slabs!
Hello, Coconut Chocolate Slabs!
12 pieces of chocolate sit inside the large package, wrapped in dark green foil wrappers with a retro-looking design that has Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes. While unwrapping my first slab, I realized that the rectangular mini slabs kind of look like tiny gold bars in the form of chocolate! Little peeks of coconut are present in each chocolate slab, which is a preview of the medley of flavors that I was about to experience.
Connecting the foodie dots from reading the list of ingredients and by scrutinizing my first mini slab, I realized that the chocolate sounds and looks like a spin on coconut roughs, which is a beloved dessert in both New Zealand and Australia. These sweet treats are some of my favorite bakes from the region.
Coconut roughs are essentially chocolate and coconut biscuits. There are multiple recipes to create coconut roughs, and the simplest version only comprises of chocolate and toasted shredded coconut. Toss the two ingredients into a bowl, mix them well, shape them into biscuits, and voila! Coconut roughs prove that classic and simple flavors continue to win the hearts of foodies, because most sweet tooths tend to gravitate towards them when they make an appearance!
Since my coconut rough experiences have primarily been in Australia and with Australian chocolate (especially in tropical Queensland), I was excited to taste this chocolate from New Zealand. The idea of translating coconut roughs into chocolate bars – or lovingly referred to as ‘slabs’ by Whittaker’s – sounds like what sweet foodie dreams are made of.
The Taste Test
Whittaker’s 33% chocolate is exquisite, with beautiful notes of cocoa that pleases anyone who adores milk chocolates. Cocoa’s richness in the well-balanced chocolate slab is refined by milk. Milk chocolate is the perfect canvas to feature toasted coconut, because its gentle flavor doesn’t overshadow the toasted coconut’s touch. Toasted coconut, meanwhile, doesn’t snatch the spotlight from milk chocolate. It shares the stage with milk chocolate as they deliver a harmonious taste together. These slabs do taste like coconut roughs, in the form of fun-sized chocolate bars!
The chocolate-to-coconut ratio is perfect as well. The finely-shredded toasted coconut, which is listed at ‘18%’, is distributed evenly in each slab, therefore, both elements are present in every bite. Toasted coconut’s lightly-sweet and somewhat nutty profile adds a lovely depth of flavor that brings a sense of warmth, especially for anyone who loves coconut to bits or lives in a tropical climate.
If you’re in a hotter climate, I highly suggest refrigerating the chocolates first, followed by leaving them in room temperature for a little while before eating them, because it elevates the chocolate slabs’ pleasant coconut rough-ish consistency. Texture-wise, these mini slabs are crunchy yet fudgy and smooth at the same time, which are testaments to the two primary ingredients’ distinctive textures.
All in all, I reckon that coconut rough fans would enjoy the chocolate slabs. And if you’ve not tasted coconut roughs, this chocolate is a lovely introduction to the awesome treat!