The chocolate dollar in Australia spans a great divide: on one side, a price war dominates at the supermarket checkout. On the other, a world of high-end, artisanal chocolate, where quality trumps price.

Darrell Lea, which was placed into administration last week, sits somewhere in the middle.

Internationally, chocolate is worth more than $3 billion annually, an industry growing 2.2 per cent a year. The new vogue with discerning Australian customers is quality, with nuanced and novel flavours. Think dark chocolate with rose and black pepper, milk chocolate with caramel, pine nuts and sea salt, and 99 per cent cocoa mass chocolate bars from Peruvian beans.

The flavours also tell a story of state rivalry. Lindt says it sells more dark chocolate in Sydney than Melbourne. At Haigh’s, dark chocolate almonds are the Sydney favourite. In Melbourne, the peppermint frogs are most popular. And while chocolate-covered apricot pieces are among Haigh’s best sellers in South Australia, no one buys them in Sydney.

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