It should come as no surprise to regular Candy Addict readers that there are some real die-hard fans out there who will search far and wide for specific candy. Candy Addicts seek out the candy of their youth, the candy of their home country, or the candy they remember eating only once (in 1967, at a convenience store which has since gone out of business). According to an article in The New York Times, the debate over British versus American chocolate has reached religious zealot stage, with several British themed stores selling their wares all over the country.
If you can get past the scary picture of the girl at the top of the article, you’ll be amused to see just how far people take this comparison. One gentleman vehemently declares that “Hershey’s tastes like ear wax” while another finds himself “outraged” that his “British” Dairy Milk bar is actually a Hershey’s product. So is this really more a debate about Hershey’s versus Cadbury, or are we really talking about an all-country Candy War?
As someone who grew up in the US happily eating Hershey’s, and then moved to Australia and happily eats Cadburys (of both UK and Australian varieties), I have to agree that chocolate in different places tastes different. Partially it’s due to cultural tastes – the American palette is more used to a sweeter bar, and those produced there often have more stabilizers and preservatives to account for a longer shelf life. British bars, on the other hand, are often not quite as sweet and often have a shorter shelf life.
While many of the products can be similar (M&Ms versus Smarties, Crunchie versus Butterfinger and so on) there are often differences not only in flavor but also in textures, colors, smell and size. Smarties are, in my opinion, a completely different eating experience to M&Ms, so I see no real point in comparing them too closely.
As for novelty value, I adore that the American confectionery world has a million uses for peanut butter, while the British confectioners have a thing for odd-shaped bars (Curly Wurlys) and novelty concepts without adding novelty ingredients (like in a Flake). As a true Candy Addict, there really is no simple answer to this, other than to keep enjoying chocolate on different sides of the Atlantic. Of course, I might also be “forced” to write a few “head to head” articles for Candy Addict, which would not only allow me to directly compare but would also allow me to eat more chocolate. Hmmm… I guess this is one debate which leaves a sweet taste in my mouth!