Product: Cocoa Farm Shiraz Infused Wine Chocolate Barrels

For the first time I have been offered a free sample of something. You'll notice one or two other local sites will also be writing about this. Rather than taking the approach of simply offering the product for review, an incentive was added, in the form of a prize for the 'best' review. What a great way to ensure that the odds of a negative review are reduced. Such is marketing…

UPDATE: And it's been drawn to my attention that some people didn't feel the need to disclose the freebie or incentive. Hmmmm.

The Cocoa Farm brand will be known to some for their colourful packaging and presence in some organic food retail shelves. Cocoa Farm is owned by Farm by Nature, a small Melbourne company. The product received for review was small barrel-shaped chocolates with pieces of currant 'bathed' in shiraz. Well, most people know that I'm fairly clear about what I think about food, so here we go…

These chocolates are fairly pleasant, but nothing to rush out for. I don't know the price point, so can't comment on their quality:cost relationship. The chocolate is 36% cocoa solids and 11% milk solids, with a strong, very pleasantly fruity aroma from the wine and fruit. The chocolate has a coarse snap, with a very dry texture and it is slow to melt, resulting in a thick pastiness, reminiscent of Cadbury Dairy Milk at best. The few pieces of currant are small, fairly dry pieces with pleasant acidic and fruity notes from the wine.

I guess they would make an okay gift for some audiences. The flavour profile is quite acceptable and many will enjoy it (though I doubt anyone would really say 'oh, shiraz' if they hadn't seen the wrapper), but the texture is poor — no aspiration to much quality evident there.

In the UK, sending product to bloggers seems to have been a successful strategy for Hotel Chocolat. But they haven't used quid-pro-quo incentives (as far as I know) and, to be frank, their product is light-years better. Although Farm by Nature can be congratulated for being ahead of many companies by thinking of harnessing the power of bloggers, you'd probably want to be careful about the quality of the product you want to promote.

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13 responses to “Product: Cocoa Farm Shiraz Infused Wine Chocolate Barrels”

  1. elra

    I don't know why, but I never fond of chocolate milk. So, even if I see this in the store, most likely I will not buy it. Thanks for the review, Duncan.

  2. Manggy

    I see you're not really reaching for that prize! Lol. Ooh, look at that lovely streaked surface. :P I would've thought that a bittersweet would have been better paired with wine.

  3. Ed

    Thanks for the honest review with disclosure. I've seen their bars around for a while and wondered what they would be like but was suspicious because it all seemed a bit elaborate.

  4. dick

    Well I have to disagree with the various comments about Cocoa Farm chocolates.
    I'm hooked and have been for some time! (and I like good chocolate, I don't see the average block in a milk bar and think it's the pinnacle).
    Guess we all have different taste buds.

  5. Amelita (Squishy)

    I love your honesty.

  6. Little Red Dot

    No more freebies for you.


  7. Y

    I haven't seen any other "reviews" for their product.. just wondering how many other people decided to write up about it. I've tried the chocolate before – they were handing out samples at Macro – but didn't really feel compelled to buy any after tasting.

  8. nzm

    Laughing out loud at your review, Duncan: a fine mix of tact, diplomacy and understatement with an essence of not selling out!

    These product review incentive prizes were hot on the Dubai PR/newspaper scene a couple of years ago. Luckily, they didn't catch on, after being trashed by creditable journos who wouldn't sell their souls, nor tarnish their reps.

    Let the products speak for themselves. Sure, send out freebies, but don't "incentivise" by trying to buy positive reviews.

  9. Thanh

    Well I really like Cocoa Farm Shiraz chocolates too and have been addicted to it for years…..

    Nah, just kidding!

    I've never heard of the stuff. However, I was intrigued with shiraz chocolates at some of the wineries and fine foods stores over in South Australia. They were really expensive so I didn't buy them. I thought I can just eat a piece of good chocolate and drink my shiraz at the same time.

  10. Lorraine E

    Haha that's great that you were honest. I got the email from them but the "offer" didn't appeal to me at all.

    I think their marketing people, whilst it's good that they're thinking of talking to bloggers, just have it all wrong. Send it to us and if we like it we can talk about it but entering a comp if we write the most gushing review about it is just wrong. Just my 2c of course :)

  11. So this marketing company sent me some free juice and all they got was this lousy blog post — Progressive Dinner Party

    [...] obvious when a dozen blogs all review/have giveaways of the same product within a couple of weeks, as Duncan from Syrup and Tang pointed out when the gauche marketers for shiraz chocolates offered a prize for the “best review” of their [...]



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