Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The All American Chocolate Bunny Battle

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss BunniesThe cornerstone of an Easter Basket is the chocolate bunny. There are many to choose from and most often it’s about how it looks. I picked up three foil wrapped milk chocolate rabbits of similar size for a little comparison.

All were about the same price, between $3.99 and $4.49 (though prices vary from store to store, I picked all mine up at Target before the good sales started). All are American made, all are milk chocolate and all are Kosher. In the running are: Cadbury Dairy Milk Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny, Hershey’s Bliss Hollow Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate Bunny and Dove Fairy Bunny Silky Smooth Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny.

Dove - Cadbury - Bliss Bunnies

Each is similar in size, thought the Cadbury bunny is solid so weighs a little more. Though they come in boxes, I’m not sure they’d go into the Easter basket that way. So here they are out of their boxes. I found all of them to be overpackaged, especially considering how many chocolate rabbits (Lindt is most notable) that are sold simply wrapped in foil without a box or plastic form shield.

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss Bunnies

Side by side it’s easy to see how the different milk chocolates are vastly different colors. Cadbury is the lightest and has an orange hue. Hershey’s Bliss is the darkest and from my reading of the ingredients and nutrition label it has the least fat (more milk solids and sugar).

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss Bunnies

They’re all three dimensional bunnies with nice molds. They were all pretty much flawless out of their wrappers as well.

Cadbury Solid BunnyThe Cadbury Dairy Milk Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny is made in the United States by Hershey’s from imported “chocolate crumb” from Cadbury’s facilities in the UK (at least that’s what I learned via the NYTimes in 2007).

The ingredients are different than the UK Cadbury Dairy Milk. There is no additional vegetable fat in there, but it does contain PGPR, an additional emulsifier often used in less expensive chocolate. (If you’re curious about the differences between the UK and US Dairy Milk, check out this head to head comparison.)

Sugar, milk chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, natural and artificial flavor

They all came with a crazy amount of packaging, the Cadbury bunny’s box was more than two inches taller than the rabbit inside. But it’s a generous size, a full six ounces which at the selling price of $4.49 it was the best value of the bunch.

Cadbury Solid Bunny

The rabbit is a rather realistic representation, no anthropomorphism by the designers. It’s a classic sitting rabbit with high ears. The foil is great, the only one of the bunch that has a design on both sides. (The wrapping style is kind of like a chocolate coin, the two sides are a heavy printed foil and have a seam all the way around.) The fact that he could be seated facing either way was a great feature, especially if you’re designing an Easter basket for a particular tableau.

Cadbury Solid Bunny

My Cadbury bunny was soft, even though my house was a cool 68 degrees. Biting off the ears was pretty easy, but after that I had to take a knife to him and give him a few quick jabs to break him up.

The chocolate has strong caramelized sugar and yogurty dairy notes. The texture is sticky as it melts though not as sweet as I expected at first. The cocoa is mild and woodsy ... it’s the classic dairy milk chocolate I think most people are familiar with. It’s a little grainy and gritty.

I was a little irritated at how hard it was to eat, requiring a knife or the unsanitary gnawing. But he was lovely. Here are some more shots I took if you want to see some other views:

Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny

Hershey's Bliss Hollow BunnyThe Hershey’s Bliss Hollow Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate Bunny was a little confusing. There were two products on the shelves at Target from Hershey’s (here’s where I picked all of these up). There was this Bliss bunny, which I thought was a good comparison to the Dove one, and then an identically molded one that was just “Hershey’s” but with a blue bow instead of a lavender one (I photographed the back of the package for later comparison).

The Hershey’s Bliss one has no PGPR like the Cadbury or classic Hershey’s recipe, but of course a price tag to match (in this case a dollar more).

The Bliss bunny wins for the least amount of packaging, if you can call this winning. Inside the box was a formed plastic piece that went over the front-facing side of the bunny but like the others, there was a lot of empty space in that box.

Hershey's Bliss Hollow BunnyBliss is a relatively new chocolate line from Hershey’s, it was introduced barely two years ago with a parallel line of products and pricing structure to the Dove line. The packaging and foil wrapping doesn’t quite rise to the level of elegance or chic sophistication that Lindt, Godiva and Dove have been perfecting for so long. But it’s what’s inside that matters ... well, in the case of hollow chocolate bunnies, it’s what’s inside the foil that matters, the really inside is nothingness.

Bliss was the lightest bunny in the bunch at only 4 ounces.

The shape is of a bunny on its hind legs, front legs kind of up in a begging position. She’s not carrying a basket or anything. The molding is nice, the details are pretty good, especially on the ears. I don’t care much for the design of it but the shape is good. It feels substantial, which is important to kids. It’s not easy to put a thumb through the side or anything.

The Bliss bunny had an excellent sheen. It broke nicely and wasn’t too soft. The bunny itself had thick sides, but not too thick that breaking it was difficult. (I actually like hollow bunnies more as I get older - I like the illusion or size but the ease of portioning.)

Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny

The chocolate was smooth and creamy, with a rich milky flavor with a little Hershey’s twang, but not too much. It’s sweet but not throat-searing and not at all gritty or grainy. I liked it much better than the Hershey’s rabbit I had last year and better than the Bliss foil wrapped pieces.

Here are more photos to give you a sense of the scale, wrapping and molding:

Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny  Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny

Dove Fairy Hollow BunnyThe final rabbit is the Dove Fairy Bunny Silky Smooth Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny. This one diverges from the classic rabbit shape and goes a little into the weird territory. This bunny has fat, fat butterfly wings (I don’t know how some conservative folks feel about mixing fairies with Easter).

The box has the most packaging, a clamshell formed clear plastic piece that protects the bunny and holds it in place. It did its job well, as my bunny looked great in and out of the foil. The back of the box has a poem about the Fairy Bunny, a poem that tells the story of this magical Easter bunny who has a product placement deal with Dove.

This ingredients looked okay, there’s PGPR in there but it comes after the flavorings. (I’ve been told that PGPR is great for manufacturers because it makes molding easier.)

Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

The Dove bunny is by far the best looking one in and out of the foil, but definitely on the feminine side with its lavender wing accents and luscious eyelashes. (Even the whiskers look feline-sexy.)

It’s a squat bunny, so it doesn’t feel quite as decadent as the Bliss one, even though it weighs a half an ounce more at 4.5 ounces.

Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

The walls of the chocolate were inconsistent. Some spots were thick and beefy, others, like the sides and bottom away from the edges were quite thin.

The bunny has a soft milky and woodsy scent, not too sweet. The texture of the chocolate is creamy and smooth. As I had my bunny open for tasting for a couple of weeks, I noticed that the flavor profile changed. I’ve noticed this with molded items that have a lot of surface area, and especially with chocolate that has PGPR. The flavor gets a little rancid ... not full on “my goodness, this is spoiled” but a subtle “this was better last week”. So I found myself gravitating, much to my surprise, to the Bliss bunny.

This bunny still wins for its looks, here are some more glamor shots:

Dove Fairy Hollow Bunny Dove Fairy Hollow Bunny Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

On the whole, all three are good quality. They’re expensive by the ounce when you compare it to other chocolate like little foil wrapped pieces or big bars. But they’re also a special item for an Easter basket, gifting or just using as a decorative item. I suggest going for the chocolate you like ... but sometimes aesthetics trumps taste. Don’t forget to check out your local chocolate shop though - there’s something special about buying local from a company that molds their bunnies on site.

Related Candies

  1. Lake Champlain & See’s Bunny Battle
  2. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  3. Palmer Hollow Chocolate Flavored Bunny
  4. Russell Stover Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny
  5. Lindt Chocolate Bunnies (Dark & Milk)
Name: Cadbury, Bliss & Dove Milk Chocolate Bunnies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury (Hershey's), Bliss (Hershey's) & Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: Target
Price: $4.49, $4.49 & $3.99
Size: 6 ounces, 4 ounces & 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148, 142 & 152
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Mars, Hershey's, Cadbury, Kosher, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:33 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Love the idea of a kosher Easter bunny!

    Comment by Stephanie on 3/24/10 at 11:51 am #
  2. That is a lot of chocolate!  I love the title.  I imagined chocolate bunnies in a cage match like Ultimate Fighter and with the ears gone, I imagined MIke Tyson.  Great pictures, great review.  I used to dip my chocolate easter bunny in peanut butter when my parents weren’t looking, I still look forward to Easter every year because of that memory.

    Comment by Mark D. on 3/24/10 at 6:30 pm #
  3. i love all of them all though the hersheys one made me feel sick i will have to go for cadburys

    Comment by jacob on 3/30/10 at 10:15 am #
  4. I just got the dove Fairy It was amazing and delicious! I will never ever get another choco bunny besides this one…. Dove has amazing silky smooth chcolate and Im so glad to recieve this bunny smile Happy easter

    <3 Jordan!:P

    Comment by Jordan on 4/25/11 at 6:50 pm #

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