My shopping sessions seem to always be filled with little adventures, especially when it comes to anything that I can munch on. This impromptu experience was no exception. As soon as I popped into the sweet snacks section in a local shop here in the Lion City for a peek at all the goodies, my eyes detected a stack of chocolate bars that certainly screamed ‘The tropics!’
While Cadbury’s chocolates are much-loved (my personal favorite is the classic Dairy Milk), the pandan and toasted coconut take on their Dairy Milk chocolate isn’t something that’s typically seen on the chocolate shelves here. This meant that I simply couldn’t leave the shop without bringing it home. Hence, I grabbed a shopping basket and added this fascinating find to my basket in a heartbeat!
It turns out that Cadbury’s pandan and coconut chocolate has been in existence for some time now. Launched in Malaysia in 2021, this chocolate concoction is inspired by local sweet eats in the region. Pandan and coconut are integral in the world of traditional Malaysian (and Southeast Asian) desserts. Depending on the country, this dessert classification is called either ‘kuih’, ‘kueh’ or ‘kue’– I tend to refer to these eats as kuih.
A Bit About Pandan
To me, pandan is a flavor that brings almost the same warmth that comes from a hug, but in a nice sweet bite. This deliciousness is derived from the pandan leaf (fun fact: the leaves are available in supermarkets here on the island – particularly in the ‘vegetables’ area). Although the pandan leaf itself is inedible, it infuses its flavorful soul during the cooking process – kind of like how an ingredient such as a stalk of lemongrass adds a layer of flavor to dishes. While pandan does appear in some savory dishes as it balances other bold flavors that join the plate, its presence is integral in many traditional desserts.
The pandan-chocolate combo is a somewhat new-ish addition to the dessert and baking worlds, but the traditional pandan-coconut combination have won the hearts and stomachs of sweet tooths across generations in this part of the world. I adore this heavenly combination too… it’s simply (one of) the best! One of my ultimate favorites from local dessert shops is kuih dadar, which is essentially soft, green-colored folded pandan crepes with a shredded coconut and gula melaka (palm sugar) filling.
The chocolate-coconut duo is definitely an iconic pair that most chocoholics are acquainted with. Pandan’s part in the ‘milk chocolate + pandan + coconut’ flavor equation, however, was a mystery to me. As pandan and chocolate make a great team in the ‘neutral’ sweet tooth territory (i.e. cakes), it had me wondering: would pandan and milk chocolate work well together in a chocolate bar? Will the two worlds collide, or is this an epic collab? Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Upon unwrapping the chocolate bar, a blissful scent with primary notes of coconut and chocolate arose for a preview of the flavors I was about to experience. Solely from its aroma, sweet tooths would be tempted to have a taste!
In my introductory bite, I realized that the taste delightfully matches this chocolate concoction’s name to a T as the flavor layers of Dairy Milk, pandan and coconut greeted my taste buds in unison. They work nicely together, which is exciting to learn for anyone who hasn’t thought of mixing these three flavors together.
The toasted coconut fills the chocolate bar evenly for a touch of crunch in every bite for a textural contrast to the chocolate’s creaminess. Flavor-wise, the coconut definitely complements the chocolate. Alongside pandan, the coconut adds to the tropical vibes.
The pandan’s flavor is detected in the chocolate itself, which results in a pandan twist to Cadbury’s signature Dairy Milk chocolate. To me, pandan and milk chocolate interestingly showcase a blend of their signature flavor notes without overshadowing or clashing with each other. To answer the million-dollar question: no, they aren’t contenders for a solo place in the spotlight. Instead, they are more so collaborators who deliver a pleasant and balanced experience for my taste buds.
All in all, I enjoyed munching on this chocolate bar. It has the right amount of quirkiness and creativity to make the treat deliciously special. It does remind me of the tastes of pandan and coconut desserts, with milk chocolate as an additional flavor element. I award it a thumbs up!