FruChocs, for the uninitiated, are choc-covered apricot balls produced by Adelaide manufacturer Menz, part of the Robern Menz company. While FruChocs have their own standing, as I’ll go on to explain, Robern Menz is a local powerhouse in confectionery. They are responsible for bringing the Violet Crumble back to our shelves after buying the recipe off Nestle, and have secured a deal to bring back the favourite of the parent generation – the Polly Waffle.
FruChocs are something special though. In 1948 they began production, when other local confectioners like Haigh’s Chocolates had already been selling choc-fruit balls. Using dried apricot and peaches left over from unwanted fresh produce in South Australia’s Riverland region (three hours north of Adelaide), the chocolate covering is thick to compliment the chewiness of the fruit inside.
Can you tell I’m eating them as I write this? I’m trying really hard not to eat the whole packet, but it’s proving difficult.
Anyway, some 60 million FruChocs are produced yearly – we love the things! There are a multitude of flavours past the traditional fruits these days (including cherry), and now the dark chocolate variety come as vegan friendly to cater to a growing minority. The FruChocs train just keeps chugging away.
It’s hard to say just how FruChocs have come to be such an excellent and well-loved local chocolate. They’ve existed all our lives. They’ve always been there as something we can take for granted. There are dedicated suburban shops, souvenirs of a plush Mr FruChoc available and mashups with other Adelaide companies (hello Nippy’s FruChocs milk).
These days, the FruChoc love has just reached another level. There is now the FruChocs Appreciation Society, where part of the oath goes as follows: “As a member of the FruChocs Appreciation Society, I hereby solemnly pledge to enjoy the amazing taste of FruChocs at every opportunity: at the movies, the footy, a BBQ with friends or even just a sneaky few on the couch at home.”. All you need to do is sign up on their website to get discounts and special offers year-round!
From this, FruChocs Appreciation Day was born. On the last Friday in August, the day is a celebration of the sweet’s greatness. Mr FruChoc is definitely there, they hold kid-friendly events, and of course there are prizes to win along the way. This is usually held in Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s major shopping strip.
It’s fast becoming an Adelaide tradition to celebrate the day – whether it’s attending the event, making foods using FruChocs, or just stuffing yourself stupid with them. Adelaideans are proud of anything to come from their city (myself included), so it’s only natural we go all out in celebration. And there’s no signs of it slowing down as Robern Menz stays in the minds of not only Adelaide residents, but all South Australians.
Because I grew up eating Fruchocs, I had to offer them on Flamboyance Tours’ Adelaide food walking tour The F Factor! Being proud of all our local foods, this Adelaide food tour is a compilation of tastings and food history as you walk across the city centre. It’s a tour I’m really proud to give to any curious foodie. Book with us online here.
*The 2019 Appreciation Day on August 23 is a week earlier than usual because of the dates for the Royal Adelaide Show*
Missed last week’s post? Adelaide has a Free Hugs guy and a Free Smiles guy. Read about them here.