These little beauties have been around for a few months now, although there has not been much media on them as I would have expected.
The Cherry Ripe is one of Cadbury's most popular chocolate bars, and it is fairly unique in the Australian confectionery market. An original Cherry Ripe consists of a moist cherry-flavoured coconut centre, spotted with glace cherries, and enrobed with Cadbury's Old Gold dark (45%) chocolate.
It's been around since 1924, when it was originally made by Australian company MacRobertson's, and was acquired by Cadbury in 1967. Officially it is Australia's oldest chocolate bar, and is one of the most popular bars in the country.
The new Dark Cherry version of Cherry Ripe is similar to the original only in some ways. Instead of the metallic firetruck red packaging of the original, it sports a warm maroon and gold-themed wrapper, and is easy to spot on the shelf. Unlike many brand variations, the Dark Cherry version is the same size as the original, weighing in at 52g. It also comes in a twin pack (king size) version, which weighs 80g.
What sets the Dark Cherry apart from its relative is not immediately clear. The package indicates the bar is made up of "ripe juicy dark cherries and coconut in Old Gold rich dark chocolate." I'm not entirely sure what dark cherries are in this context (the ingredients list refers to them as 'dark glace cherries', consisting of cherries, sugar, glucose syrup, fruit juice, natural colours (extracted from fruits and vegetables, acidity regular (330), flavour, preservative (220)) and they don't sound hugely different to the glace cherries found in the original Cherry Ripe.
The outer Old Gold chocolate is rich by Cadbury's standards, and has a nice warm scent to it. There's a little bit of al alcoholic note in there too, although the bar contains no liqueur. It reminds me a little of black forest cake. It's coated thickly over the coconut centre and has five neat straight lines on the top, along the length of the bar. For its size, the bar is quite solid and heavy.
Inside, the coconut mixture is darker than the original Cherry Ripe, and is slightly wine coloured. It matches well with the packaging. The chocolate scent mixes well and I get a little whiff of a dark red wine in there too.
Coconut is not my favourite thing in the world to eat (I hate the flakey texture), but the outer chocolate helps to keep it together in the mouth. The chocolate overpowers the cherry flavouring - a thinner coating might help here - but the studs of the glace cherries do help to bring the cherry flavour back into focus, if only momentarily. I can't taste any coconut flavour by itself, and that's where Cadbury have done an excellent job - the inner centre is well combined and the coconut carries the flavour well. The taste lingers for a few moments after the bite, although it is of mostly chocolate.
I can see this bar appealing to an older audience. It definitely strikes me as a winter treat, and I would not be surprised to see sales fall as we go into the warmer months.