Everything about Creighton's Rhubarb & Custard White Chocolate bar screams nostalgia. The pastel coloured sleeve, the ornate waxed paper wrapper, and the classic British flavour combination.
Having heard of the Creighton's brand previously but never having the opportunity to try their products, I picked up the most interesting flavoured bar I found in Harvey Nichols on a trip to London.
Rhubarb is as divisive a flavour as Marmite - either you love it or hate it. I'm a huge fan of the vegetable and always look forward cooking with it. Hot rhubarb crumble with fresh custard, anyone?
Leighton Buzzard's Creighton's has taken this nostalgic flavour combination and transformed it into their Rhubarb and Custard White Chocolate bar.
In an age when plastic and foil packaging reins supreme, it's refreshing to come across paper packaging. Here a pastel pink-toned glossy paper sleeve wraps around a neatly folded waxed paper wrapper.
The outer band simply contains the Creighton's branding on the front together with the 'rhubarb and custard' flavour text, and the reverse contains a potted history about the company, a snippet about the bar itself, and then the ingredients list and nutritional information.
Creighton's Rhubarb & Custard White Chocolate ingredients
White chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, dried whole milk, soya lecithin emulsifier, natural vanilla flavour), flavouring, colouring (E129).
Sugars make up 55% of the nutritional makeup of this bar, and E129 (red food dye Allura Red AC) may cause hyperactivity in children according to the NHS.
Beneath the sleeve is a white waxed paper which neatly wraps the bar of chocolate itself. The paper is decorated with line drawings of hearts, petals, and the 'C' emblem representing the Creighton's brand.
The almost-yellow chocolate bar follows a traditional shape and design, with the red food dye used in around half the bar to create a two-tone wave effect.
It's easy to portion this bar, and while Creighton's doesn't make any portion recommendation on the packaging, I'd suggest around four segments feels about right, meaning you can get around six servings out of this bar if you are careful.
Open the paper wrapper and you're greeted with that unmistakable aroma of rhubarb and custard boiled sweets°. It's a sweet smell, verging on the artificial. The creamy aroma of the white chocolate only serves to intensify the sweet smell.
The snap is muffled and the bar broadly breaks up into the rectangular portions defined by the mould.
The two-tone colour effect isn't just for show as I initially suspected. The pink area has been flavoured as rhubarb while the yellow area appears to be unflavoured white chocolate.
In terms of taste, the almost-synthetic taste of rhubarb and custard dominates the pink areas. It completely masks any flavour of white chocolate. There's an astringency that comes through as the aftertaste but even at the very end, the white chocolate fails to make any impact.
By contrast, the yellow area is all about the white chocolate. Having shared a wrapper with such a powerful scent, it takes on some of the rhubarb and custard flavour, and that's what I picked up initially upon tasting it. However, the creaminess and the fattiness of the vanilla white chocolate comes through clearly around half way through chewing, leading the way into the aftertaste, where rhubarb and custard is but a distant memory.
Surprisingly, the sweetness isn't too domineering. Yes, it's a sweet bar, but not overly so, and the flavours work well with this sweetness.
I know what you're thinking - what happens if you eat a piece of pink and a piece of yellow chocolate at the same time? Well that's a great question and one I had to test! The result is that the rhubarb and custard flavour is tamed to a level I'm more comfortable with. It becomes muted, allowing the white chocolate flavour, with its creamy and vanilla properties, to come through towards the end and into the aftertaste. Lesson learned, this is how I chomped my way through the remainder of the bar.
I had big expectations for this chocolate bar as I do love a nostalgic trip down memory lane. This bar is unmistakeably flavoured of rhubarb and custard, but not in the way I would prefer to see. Successfully using rhubarb in chocolate while retaining it's taste characteristics is a formidable task. I was disappointed by the rhubarb flavouring in this particular bar, as I felt it verged too close to being synthetic.
Kids will love this bar, as will anyone who loves the rhubarb and custard boiled sweets from childhood, and it's very easy to polish off in front of the television. But if you are hoping to find a modern interpretation of rhubarb and custard in the medium of white chocolate, this is not it. It's all about nostalgia and enjoying a trip back down memory lane.
Fancy trying this one yourself? I can't find Creighton's Rhubarb & Custard bar online at Creighton's Chocolaterie, but it is available at Harvey Nichols, Utility Design, and Rock Pop Candy for around £4 for a 100g bar.
What do you think about the rhubarb and custard combination - a must buy or one to avoid? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Disclosure: I purchased a 100g bar of Creighton's Rhubarb & Custard White Chocolate from Harvey Nichols in London for £3.95. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.