If you asked me what my favourite item of outdoor clothing is, I would answer, without hesitation, ‘my Chocolate Fish merino baselayer’. I actually have two – my first one suffered an accident with a dodgy washing machine and was badly ripped in several places… but I still wear it… (albeit in the privacy of my bed and much to the disgust of my partner!). I even contributed towards one for my brother, who wears baselayers throughout all of winter. My experience of other makes is, I admit, ultimately quite limited – I had an Icebreaker, which shrank after the first few washes and did not seem to regulate temperature evenly, and then I discovered Chocolate Fish – soft to wear, a good fit (long torso length), kept an even temperature and never shrunk in the wash. It looked like my search for the perfect baselayer had come to a quick end! So it was with some sadness that I received an email from Chocolate Fish that they are discontinuing their baselayers.
The reasons seem to be due to supply problems – Amanda at Chocolate Fish has often spoken online about the issues of poor quality Chinese-made merino fabric (not to mention the environmental and human rights problems) so, as more companies outsource their production, I can only assume that it has become harder and harder for Chocolate Fish to guarantee New Zealand ‘grown’ and spun fabric.
The short term good news is that there does appear to still be a few colours and sizes still available on their website: http://www.chocolatefishmerino.co.uk/
Andy Howell has written a much more technical review of Chocolate Fish base layers over on his blog – Must Be This Way
The other good news is that Chocolate Fish will be continuing with their Chocolate Possum knitwear over at http://www.chocolatepossum.com/ – I am very fond of my Possum Merino Beanie I bought before Christmas (I did have a double-layered one which I left on a train – I was lovely but too warm for me!)
[For transparency I should declare that I received my second Chocolate baselayer at no cost, however I am under no obligation to Chocolate Fish. I have and would again happily spend money on their products and recommend them to friends and family]