From the moment I saw the packaging on Instagram, I knew I *had* to have “The Great War” bar from Wellington Chocolate Factory! The flavor didn’t matter to me since the hand-painted illustration of the soldier eating a chocolate bar from his ration pack while hunkered down in the trenches with his buddy and some animal friends had captured my heart.
Thanks to Josh Rubin from Chocexchange in Canada for being the intermediary between New Zealand and Southern California to make my dream a reality! [Originally I was going to feature this bar during “round 1” of the Eating the Chocolate Alphabet blog during “W” week, which would have coincided closely with Canadian Remembrance day in November; however, fate intervened so that I could instead showcase it as a bonus “A” bar for “round 2” of the blog!]
The top surface of the outer paper wrapper must somehow be lightly coated because the informational label & Cuisine Artisan Award Winner sticker were easily removed to reveal a ~200mm x ~250mm image.
Each time I look at the artwork by Auckland-based Misery (aka Tanja Jade), I see some new detail that I had previously overlooked: the mountain in the distance that is crying, the birds wearing tiny helmets dodging cannon fire to carry ration packs to the soldiers on the front lines, the serene faces in the poppies. Despite the folds and creases, this will soon be framed and displayed proudly in my home!
On the 25th of April each year, Anzac Day commemorates the anniversary of the 1915 landing at the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, where thousands of Australian and New Zealander soldiers fought and died during World War I. In case you’re unfamiliar, Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Like Veterans’ Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada, Anzac Day honors past and present AUS & NZ servicemen and women from all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Though some believe that Anzac biscuits were sent to the soldiers on the front lines in Europe, the truth is that Anzac cakes were sold at the “homefront” to raise money for the war effort. Anzac biscuits are traditionally made with rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water and (optionally) desiccated coconut. The “Anzac crunch” used for this bar was inspired by those ingredients, with some modern-day updates.
The “back” of the bar is completely covered in crispy, crunchy, toasted rolled oats and coconut chips that it’s easy to forget that there is a smooth and creamy 52% coconut milk chocolate hiding underneath.
This bar, made from a house blend of Criollo and Trinitario beans, is as delicious as it is photogenic. Modernizing the traditional recipe, coconut flour and coconut sugar were used (though raw sugar and golden syrup still added to the sweetness of the bar). There is an unusual, almost sour, tang to the chocolate itself. I assume this is from the golden syrup since I just now tasted coconut flour and coconut sugar from my kitchen pantry and the flavor note does not seem to originate from those ingredients. Upon research, I discovered that golden syrup is an acidic sugar solution that adds a smoky warmth. I was also fascinated to learn that golden syrup was used as a “binder” (getting ingredients to stick together) when there was a shortage of eggs during wartime.
Honestly, it was impossible not to “chomp” this bar and quickly has become one of my new favorites. As I sit here with only a few morsels left, a trip to New Zealand to get more in person (and avoid winter) seems like a perfectly reasonable solution! 😉
From the label: A portion of the profit from this bar of chocolate will be donated to the Great War Exhibition to assist with making the compelling history of the First World War available to all.
To learn more about their entire line of organic ethically traded bean-to-bar chocolates, check out: http://www.wcf.co.nz/