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“If you come back and live in my factory, you can have all the Cacao Beans you want!
April 23, 2007 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Europeans love to bash American chocolate - especially Hershey's - almost as much as the like to bash, erm, America in general (apparently, it tastes like doggie treats). Recently, Big Chocolate have asked the FDA if they can stop using real cocoa butter in the chocolate-making process, which can only make it taste even worse. I often wonder how many so-called chocoholics know that most of the chocolate they eat was probably picked by slave labour in West Africa. Child slaves, even. Meh, they probably don't care: research indicates that chocolate is 'four times better than kissing'. Never trust a junkie.
posted by chuckdarwin (128 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Chocolate has been discussed on MeFi several times before. I don't like the stuff much, personally, but I know that there are connoiseurs out there who take it way too seriously. Also, please don't start arguing about how the word 'cacao' is meant to be pronounced.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:24 AM on April 23, 2007


...Big Chocolate have asked the FDA if they can stop making chocolate without using cocoa butter...

So, they want to stop not using cocoa butter? Whaaa?
posted by Mister_A at 8:27 AM on April 23, 2007


Or is "using cocoa butter" a usual prerequisite to the act of desisting from making chocolate, and they want a waiver so they can just stop making chocolate, cocoa butter be damned?
posted by Mister_A at 8:28 AM on April 23, 2007


That's meant to be Big Chocolate have asked the FDA if they can stop using real cocoa butter in the chocolate-making process...

Damn. I'm 3 for 3 :-(
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:29 AM on April 23, 2007


Did you write this properly:

Recently, Big Chocolate have asked the FDA if they can stop making chocolate without using cocoa butter, which can only make it taste even worse.

If they can stop making it without, meaning can they start making it with cocoa butter? Seems like you got that backwards.
posted by delmoi at 8:31 AM on April 23, 2007


Mister_A - I was channeling Clinton there for a minute. It depends on what the definition of IS is.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:31 AM on April 23, 2007


OK, just teasing chuck d!
posted by Mister_A at 8:32 AM on April 23, 2007


Europeans love to bash American chocolate - especially Hershey's - almost as much as the like to bash, erm, America in general

And you base this on what? One comment in a blog from someone in the UK? I've lived in different places across Europe for the last dozen years or so and I've never heard any European slag Hersheys. On the other hand, Americans who have become acquainted with Lindt and Marabou seem very vocal about how "bad" American chocolate is.
posted by three blind mice at 8:33 AM on April 23, 2007


It's 16:31 - let's see how long it takes jessamyn to fix my latest fuckup. Start NOW.

If I do it one more time, y'all are probably going to put me through the MeFi spanking machine... or - even worse - make me sit though Rich Little's entire set from correspondent's dinner.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:34 AM on April 23, 2007


Really they should just change the name of "American" chocolate to "brown lard" and be done with it.

This post needs more love for the French, who have been fighting wars to keep chocolate cheap for decades...
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on April 23, 2007


three blind mice - Personal experience, I'm afraid! I'm an American living in the UK... I've heard a lot of people moan about it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:37 AM on April 23, 2007




They want to be able to label it as chocolate even when it's made with the usual fatty substitutes instead of cocoa butter; presumably something like hydrogenated cottonseed oil or something equally cheap and nasty. Right now this kind of thing has to labeled something like "chocolaty bar".

As for the other links, I wouldn't take one comment on yahoo answers as authoritative on what a given group of people think (or anything else). Yahoo answers is pretty well named, as in "answers from a bunch of yahoos."

As for the taste of U.S. chocolate, Hershey's has sour milk notes that were apparently deliberate. They no longer use sour milk but use flavorings to produce the same result. People who grew up on it don't notice but it tastes nasty to anyone who didn't.

I don't know where this business of "chocolate dog treats" comes from. Not a very good idea: google results for chocolate+dogs.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:37 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Artw - The French need all the love they can get!
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:39 AM on April 23, 2007


Man, those Ask Yahoo! people are idiots. How come none of them asked the asker why in the hell she's feeding her dog treats that are poisonous to it? There's probably no damn chocolate in those treats. (Yeah, I know, that only makes the asker's point more emphatic.)

I'm on a fixed and very, very, very tiny income and I spent $60 last month on some of these and these from Leonidas Belgian Chocolates (via Amazon). I was actually slightly disappointed. That's only because my expectations were possibly too high.

One should never apologize for spending money on chocolate.

I don't eat plain ole American milk chocolate. But I do enjoy some of the more, um, upmarket stuff that Hershey makes. You know, for what it is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:41 AM on April 23, 2007


chunking express - I missed that one out on my little shout-out because you don't have it tagged with chocolate - or because I didn't search for tags on westafrica; sorry.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:42 AM on April 23, 2007


The worst chocolate I ever had was in Mexico City. I'm not talking about Mexican Chocolate ("Mexican chocolate in unique in its flavor and culinary use. It is made by grinding cacao beans and flavoring them with cinnamon, almonds and vanilla, giving it a more grainer texture than other chocolates."), I'm talking about mass-market packaged 'chocolate' candy that you buy at a corner store. I can't remember what brands I tried but it was all crumbly, chalky and tasted nothing like chocolate.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:44 AM on April 23, 2007


So I assume the international chocolate quality ranking looks something like:
American < British < Continental European?

There is a distinct quality gap between standard British chocolate and the continental stuff. I've never had American chocolate inflicted on me as far as I know
posted by knapah at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2007


Typical American business plan...race for the bottom.
And, yeah, most American chocolate pretty much tastes like...well...they don't call it the Hershey Highway for nothing.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Valrhona has a US operation, Lindt too -- I'm surprised Hershey's still in business.
posted by matteo at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2007


Dr Lewis said: "There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz.

There's the mistake--kissing hands down is no fun at all.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:49 AM on April 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


Wow that was fast. Your mods are pretty f*cking good.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:49 AM on April 23, 2007


Yea, Lindt is good stuff! I'm sure someone will call me a philistine BFA for saying that, but hey, your favorite chocolate sucks.
posted by Mister_A at 8:50 AM on April 23, 2007


Metafilter: they don't call it the Hershey Highway for nothing.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:50 AM on April 23, 2007


Fuzzy Monster - Mexicans have the distinction of being related to the folks who INVENTED the stuff, so they should (in a perfect, fair universe) still make the 'best' chocolate. Not that I'd know the difference.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:52 AM on April 23, 2007


and speaking of chocolatey deliciousness, Torrefazione Artigiana Trinci of Cascine di Buti, not far from Pisa, markets a (very hard to come by, and as addictive as heroin) concoction -- coffee beans covered by a thin layer of almost pure chocolate. it's the concept of M&M's, basically, with coffee beans instead of nuts
posted by matteo at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2007


delmoi - sorry I missed your question upthread because I was so irritated by my inability to post here without doing something really ham-fisted. I'm spoilt by using livejournal and semagic - it's so easy to edit things that my quality control is rubbish.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2007


MeFites who live in Canada or near the border in the US can get PC Bittersweet Rich Dark Chocolate bars at Loblaws - a huge slab of very delicious imported French chocolate for 4 or 5 bucks. I'm not sure who makes it. Maybe it's one of those couvertures that chocolatiers make into finished products.

Hershey chocolate is awful, just awful. It has a weird musky pong almost like a wet animal odor. Hershey kisses? More like a St. Bernard licking your face.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2007


George_Spiggott reckons that Hershey's chocolate takes like shit on purpose.

Thanks for clearing that up!
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:56 AM on April 23, 2007


Reese's Peanut Butter Cups grgughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
posted by evilelvis at 8:58 AM on April 23, 2007


So I assume the international chocolate quality ranking looks something like:
American < british continental european? that's about the size of cuisine in general, if you look at the distribution of a href="http://www.michelinrestaurantsguide.com/michelin-restaurants-star-guide.asp">Michelin Stars. Not that the fine folks at Michelin are BIASED, or anything.

Me, I wish I were able to afford to eat at The Fat Duck.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:04 AM on April 23, 2007


Hershey's has started selling 65% cocoa chocolate. It's pretty good. There are US brands of south american sourced 70% cocoa chocolate bars in the stores here (suburban DC) for $2/60 gm. Domestic chocolate has gotten much better here in the last year. Is there any product imported from a poor country where the workers are treated well?
posted by lw at 9:06 AM on April 23, 2007


What the hell is with this Hershey's bashing? First of all, Lindt tastes like chalk. Second, a lot of the chocolates bandied about here are dark chocolates.

Lindt and Marabou taste like dioxin flavored coffee chalk. Ghirardelli is okay, I guess. Nothing beats a Hershey's bar on an freezing day.

If you want to bash Hershey's bash them for changing the wonderful brown-paper-around-foil package with the mylar whatever the hell it is. It makes a Hershey's bar look like any other candy bar, instead of an ingot from Heaven forged by angels happy to do the work they love.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:07 AM on April 23, 2007


EDIT:

I think the 'greater than' signs made my HTML wonky.

knapah - If you look at the distribution of Michelin Stars, you'll see that your order of magnitude is generally correct. Not that the fine folks at Michelin are BIASED, or anything.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:08 AM on April 23, 2007


Fuzzy Monster - Mexicans have the distinction of being related to the folks who INVENTED the stuff, so they should (in a perfect, fair universe) still make the 'best' chocolate.

The chocolates I ate were super low quality mass-market corner-store candies. It's entirely possible there's some kick-ass top-of-the-shelf Mexican Chocolates I know nothing about.

Talking about the origin of Chocolate makes me think of this. "And they didn't eat it, they smoked it!"
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:10 AM on April 23, 2007


I love America. I want this on the records. I was born here. I'll croak here. But I've been to France, I've been to Belgium, and yes, American chocolate tastes like doggy treats... waxy doggy treats.

Forget Hershey, which isn't really chocolate from the European perspective... American Godiva doesn't even cut it. It isn’t as good as European Godiva. Real chocolates must be fresh… if you buy it and don’t eat it for a week or two, then you are starting to loose the chocolate edge.

Corne Port Royal. Better than Neuhause, better than Leonidas.

When I was in Brussels, I lived on chocolate for several days. Those days in Brussels were some of the best days of my life. Looking back on those days I often think, "Those days in Brussels were some of the best days of my life..."
posted by ewkpates at 9:13 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


lw asks is there any product imported from a poor country where the workers are treated well?

Yes, I would say that Fair Trade chocolate is a much safer bet. Chocolate is one of those things (like coffee) which most First World consumers cannot buy from local sources. IMO, these consumers have a responsibility in such cases to try and purchase these goods in an ethical way. The world's richest people have an obligation to lead by example.

Flame away.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:14 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


ewkplates, who apparently loves America a helluva lot more than I do, said "Those days in Brussels were some of the best days of my life..."

I understand that the food there is very good - especially the mussels...

*plans trip to Belgium*
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:18 AM on April 23, 2007


American < british continental european?/i>

This is equivalent to stating that you tried a Budweiser, thus, all American beer sucks.

Hershey sucks. Scharffen Berger does not.

posted by eriko at 9:19 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Big Chocolate is just about the funkiest cabal name I have ever heard.

Here in England, Cadbury is just about to be charged with regard to shipping a little something extra with the chocolate.

What is that waxy taste in North Am chocolate?

The French need all the love they can get!

The French get all the love they need. I have seen the lingerie.
posted by srboisvert at 9:20 AM on April 23, 2007


very hard to come by, and as addictive as heroin

Uh, what? You can get chocolate-covered espresso beans anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. The health food store down the street from me has 'em. Tasty, yes, but hardly hard to come by.

Also, doesn't the UK already have a law like this where you can call it chocolate even if there's no cocoa butter?

And the reason a lot of "chocolate" tastes like crap is that if many "chocolate" bars have as little as 2% cocoa in them. They don't taste like chocolate bars any more than they taste like salt bars because there's probably equal amounts of each.
posted by GuyZero at 9:20 AM on April 23, 2007


I was so irritated by my inability to post here without doing something really ham-fisted.

Ehh. We all make typos. Your mistake was making typos at the same time you were trying to look down your nose at several groups of people (Europeans, chocoholics, and connoisseurs of pronunciation). Lose the spin and nobody would notice the errors.

First of all, Lindt tastes like chalk.

And the Rolling Stones were never any good.

Second, a lot of the chocolates bandied about here are dark chocolates.

That's a fair point. It is kinda dumb to compare a Hershey bar to, say, a Scharffen Berger Limited Series bar, which is often what happens during these chocolate threads. They're trying to be different things, and it's quite possible to enjoy both — just as it's possible to enjoy both Ligeti and Jurassic 5.
posted by cribcage at 9:22 AM on April 23, 2007


Man, those Ask Yahoo! people are idiots

So can we get an order of magnitude on this?

YouTube comment < Ask Yahoo! comment < Fark comment
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:28 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


And you base this on what? One comment in a blog from someone in the UK? I've lived in different places across Europe for the last dozen years or so and I've never heard any European slag Hersheys.

It seems like a very common attitude for Brits, in my personal experience. Not even necessarily based on them tasting it.
posted by smackfu at 9:31 AM on April 23, 2007


smackfu wrote It seems like a very common attitude for Brits, in my personal experience. Not even necessarily based on them tasting it.

Budwieser and Hershey's take a lot of shit here.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2007


Belgian chocolate > everything else.

The cheap brand (Cote d'Or) of chocolate commonly found in Belgian grocery stores is far superior to the supposed "Premium" brands made in the US. Every time I go to Brussels (once a year or so) I bring back as much as I can stand to carry - it's just awesome stuff, and it works out to about 5EUR/kg.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:38 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm a usian and I think our mass produced chocolate and beer is shit. This post has nothing to do with Europeans and everything to do with american companies shoveling out garbage and ignorant dickheads lapping it up.
posted by 2sheets at 9:38 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


So wasn't the chocolate industry supposed to have addressed the slavery issue by now? This Salon article suggests that little or no progress had been made by 2003.
posted by bad with titles at 9:38 AM on April 23, 2007


I love choc'l't!
posted by breezeway at 9:41 AM on April 23, 2007


There's gotta be someone left over from the coffee thread who wants to come in here and tell us how chocolate is just chocolate and anyone who thinks they can tell the difference between different chocolates is just a toolbox seduced by marketing. Can we get something like that in here just to round out the experience?
posted by spicynuts at 9:42 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


They want to be able to label it as chocolate even when it's made with the usual fatty substitutes instead of cocoa butter; presumably something like hydrogenated cottonseed oil or something equally cheap and nasty. Right now this kind of thing has to labeled something like "chocolaty bar".

That would explain the horrendous "chocolate flavored candy rabbit" someone gave my wife for Easter.


Hershey sucks. Scharffen Berger does not.

Hershey bought Scharffen Berger last year.

Hershey's new dark chocolate lines are pretty good, really... though nothing stands up to Cluziel Noir Infini 99%. :)
posted by Foosnark at 9:43 AM on April 23, 2007


Hershey bought Scharffen Berger last year.

I remember when Chrysler bought Lamborghini. Ever compare a Countach to a Caravan?
posted by cribcage at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2007


Can we get something like that in here just to round out the experience?

I’ll give it a shot. I’ll be sincere, too.

I won’t say that there’s not a difference between chocolates or coffee. But I will say that people are entitled to not have premium taste in every goddam thing they consume or enjoy or what-the-hell-ever. In that vein:

This post has nothing to do with Europeans and everything to do with american companies shoveling out garbage and ignorant dickheads lapping it up.

...it seems to me that it’s most likely that every country is (mostly) the same with regard to having good taste in some things, not-so-good-taste in others. I’ve not traveled abroad so I’m not really aware of the various things that Americans have good taste/high standard for that many/most other countries don’t. But I’m sure they exist.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:51 AM on April 23, 2007


I'm suddenly reminded of Snackspot.org.uk - Premier snack reviews portal for the UK.

Personally, I really can't resist Cadbury Flakes, but I don't like any Cadbury product with the "made by Hershey's" small print - it just tastes "grainy" for lack of a better word - like there are undissolved sugar crystals in there. Luckily there seem to be quite a few supermarkets in the US (well SF/Bay Area anyway...) that have a "UK" section in them with Flakes, Hob-Nobs, Moro Bars etc. Also, for SF/Bay Area locals, the Aussie Shop in San Jose has real New Zealand/Australian chocolate (and sausage rolls!). Oh and chocolate Tim Tams.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:58 AM on April 23, 2007


Chocolate is just chocolate and anyone who thinks they can tell the difference between different chocolates is just a toolbox seduced by marketing. In fact, everyone reading this comment is my sworn enemy.

Did that help, spicynuts? I'm not familiar with the coffee thread, though, so I had to reference a different one.
posted by bad with titles at 10:00 AM on April 23, 2007


three blind mice writes 'I've lived in different places across Europe for the last dozen years or so and I've never heard any European slag Hersheys. On the other hand, Americans who have become acquainted with Lindt and Marabou seem very vocal about how "bad" American chocolate is.'

Well, let me bust your cherry in this respect.

Hershey's chocolate is vile stuff. I wanted to like it, I really did. Those Hershey Kisses and Hershey Hugs are a fabulous concept and would be great if it weren't for the fact that the stuff that they are made out of tastes like vile, gritty, brown-coloured wax.

And I know that US chocophiles are extremely proud of Giardhellis (sp?), but that left me hugely underwhelmed as well. While it's definitely better than the low-end stuff, I found it overly sweet and cloying. Again, with the chocolate squares, nice concept, poorly executed.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2007


They sell Ghirardelli at Walmart now, which gives me pause.
posted by smackfu at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2007


That's a fair point. It is kinda dumb to compare a Hershey bar to, say, a Scharffen Berger Limited Series bar, which is often what happens during these chocolate threads. They're trying to be different things

True, but in my experience, the cheap candy bar in other countries (Milka, Cadbury Milk, Ritter Sport, etc) is typically better than Hershey's. Even when you're comparing apples to apples, Hershey's is just plain waxy -- the low quality of the ingredients is very obvious once you've had chocolates from elsewhere. I practically lived on cup-of-tea-and-a-chocolate-bar for lunch in Ireland... there's no way I'd ever want to do that with any of the typical store chocolates in the US.
posted by vorfeed at 10:20 AM on April 23, 2007


I’ve not traveled abroad so I’m not really aware of the various things that Americans have good taste/high standard for that many/most other countries don’t. But I’m sure they exist.

I've never been to the US but, on personal experience, jelly beans. Don't let anybody ever tell you you're not the jelly bean kings and queens.
posted by vbfg at 10:22 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Add to the list: Mexican food (which is actually largely American). BBQ. American breakfasts.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on April 23, 2007


as an american who absolutely adores lindt chocolates, and cadbury's flakes, I would like to say that I make no sweeping statements about american chocolate. that said, I fucking hate hershey's chocolate, now. I used to love it. I even made an askme post about it when, after not having eaten a hershey bar in years, I discovered that they'd been made into these papery thin pieces of nasty shit in a foil wrapper. I'm not a huge chocolate freak or anything, but i seriously cannot stand hershey's. if they want to make chocolate without any actual chocolate in it, let them. where I'm concerned they haven't made real chocolate in years anyway.
posted by shmegegge at 10:28 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


And I know that US chocophiles are extremely proud of Giardhellis

Not really. Ghirardelli was good chocolate back when you couldn't easily get really good chocolate. Kind of like Dunkin' Donuts coffee was good back when most coffee was watery Folgers or Farmer Bros pee.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:30 AM on April 23, 2007


President's Choice in Canada is pretty good chocolate. I've recently become addicted to the 99% stuff, truffles no less. My supplier.
posted by substrate at 10:31 AM on April 23, 2007


For those who want a thorough history of chocolate, from Mayan culture to Modern day, from pod to bar, with a particular focus on the rivalry between Mars and Hershey, I highly recommend "The Emperors of Chocolate" by Joël Glenn Brenner.
posted by tempestuoso at 10:38 AM on April 23, 2007


I don't see any mention of Japanese chocolate. Mmm, Pocky.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2007


Artw is right: MEXICAN/TEX-MEX CUISINE. I reallllly miss it. I've gotten so good at cooking it for myself that I could open a texmex gastropub.

Ben&Jerry's... Snapple...
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:45 AM on April 23, 2007


Just last month when Hershey's announced that they were moving production to India, I was in the North of England where none of my friends or people I'd met even had heard of Hershey's, much less be able to say if it was good or bad.

Hershey's sales till date are 90% from the United States and their 10% 'international sales' are from Mexico and Canada.

Their sales have been stagnant for the past year or longer, leading to their efforts to spread out globally - believe they've also signed up to enter China.

They're shutting down their canadian plant amidst much protests from the town their located in and moving that production to a remote part of India under their recent 51% of Godrej foods & beverages.

I simply ask: Will this be fair trade chocolate? And do people who need drinking water and healthcare and food, need another candy bar?
posted by infini at 10:46 AM on April 23, 2007


George_Spiggott - Not really. Ghirardelli was good chocolate back when you couldn't easily get really good chocolate. Kind of like Dunkin' Donuts coffee was good back when most coffee was watery Folgers or Farmer Bros pee.

The coffee here is SHIT. Most brits drink INSTANT. I don't even drink coffee and I hate it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:46 AM on April 23, 2007


Check out E. Guittard for another quality U.S. chocolate maker. Made here in the SF bay area.

Given the news about Hershey's moving production overseas, the push to loosen the labeling requirements is probably meant so they can produce a product that is more stable during shipping. You have to keep real chocolate below about 90 degrees F, or it will loose its temper and you won't get that 'snap' when you bite into it.
posted by mach at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


cribcage wrote:

Ehh. We all make typos. Your mistake was making typos at the same time you were trying to look down your nose at several groups of people (Europeans, chocoholics, and connoisseurs of pronunciation). Lose the spin and nobody would notice the errors.

Mister_A would beg to differ, as my original post was hard to read.

Also, I was looking down my nose at Americans. Pay attention ;-)

Is this some sort of 'spin free zone'? I hadn't noticed.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:51 AM on April 23, 2007


This reminds me of when I was so poor I was eating "Chocolate-flavored chip" cookies for lunch because they came sizable packages for 50 cents.
posted by yeloson at 10:53 AM on April 23, 2007


mach: that explanation for the deregulation of chocolate content makes sense. Would hershey's kisses still taste as sweet if they were made in India?

;p
posted by infini at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2007


The coffee here is SHIT. Most brits drink INSTANT. I don't even drink coffee and I hate it.

To be fair, Nescafe Gold is an order of magnitude better than instant coffee in the US, which many Americans gladly drink. That still doesn't mean it's any good, though.

On the topic of chocolate, I can't understand when anyone -- and there are lots of people here -- honestly prefers American milk chocolate (that is, Hershey's) to, say, Cadbury Dairy Milk. They're different takes on the same concept, and Cadbury just does it better. (Talking of beer, though, Americans get it right. I'll take an American Pale Ale over an English one any day.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:02 AM on April 23, 2007


Chocolate is just chocolate and anyone who thinks they can tell the difference between different chocolates is just a toolbox seduced by marketing. In fact, everyone reading this comment is my sworn enemy.

That's ridiculous.

Hershey's chocolate is vile stuff. I wanted to like it, I really did. Those Hershey Kisses and Hershey Hugs are a fabulous concept and would be great if it weren't for the fact that the stuff that they are made out of tastes like vile, gritty, brown-coloured wax.

So is that. Perhaps some people just prefer dark chocolate. Hershy's is not that great but it dosn't taste awful either.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on April 23, 2007


Oh, and...chocolate is four times better than kissing? Either that's sooooooome chocolate, or somebody just plain doesn't know how to kiss properly.
posted by pax digita at 11:14 AM on April 23, 2007


bad with tittles you will rue this day... if I had a list of sworn enemies, you would be on there, near the top... say the upper third... I would be starting the list from scratch you understand... you are less than dead to me.

I now consider you "non-chocoate chocolate flavoring".

For the rest of you, consider this: Fresh squeezed orange juice, "not from concentrate", and concentrate... if you can't tell the difference, then you know why Hershey is still in business.
posted by ewkpates at 11:15 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


But I will say that people are entitled to not have premium taste in every goddam thing they consume

This is absolutely true and I agree. I don't want to be a 'maximizer' in everything I do. However, I also think it's ludicrous to insist that distinctions in quality on consumables is always an artificial construct of marketing. I've had hand made chocolates from an award winning French dude who works out of a little shop underneath the Manhattan Bridge and while I will never pay what I did for those chocolates again, they were worlds above anything I'd ever had before and redefined what I understand as 'good chocolate'.
posted by spicynuts at 11:17 AM on April 23, 2007


Chocolate is just chocolate and anyone who thinks they can tell the difference between different chocolates is just a toolbox seduced by marketing. In fact, everyone reading this comment is my sworn enemy.



delmoi I think you missed the point that the poster was using my dismissal of this argument to be sarcastic.
posted by spicynuts at 11:21 AM on April 23, 2007


"PC Bittersweet Rich Dark Chocolate bars at Loblaws" and someone else mentioned President's Choice, which I think is what PC refers to. In the west, we don't have Loblaws, but Extra Foods is part of the same company and has PC . . . I think. IOW I like bittersweet and I wanna try this.

All chocolate products should be labelled with the percentage of chocolate solids. Or maybe a lower threshold like "less than 10%" or something for the "chocolatey flavoured" products. Not that quantity=quality, but it's an objective guide to what you're getting. I like the 99% chocolate solids stuff sometimes, but I doubt it's going to replace the sweeter 60-80% stuff and the much sweeter more popular stuff.
posted by Listener at 11:22 AM on April 23, 2007


yeloson sez This reminds me of when I was so poor I was eating "Chocolate-flavored chip" cookies for lunch because they came sizable packages for 50 cents.

"Chocolate-flavored chip" cookies are made of PEOPLE!
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:22 AM on April 23, 2007


uncleozzy sez - I'll take an American Pale Ale over an English one any day)

There are some American microbrews and Mexican beers that I really miss... anchor steam... negro modelo
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:30 AM on April 23, 2007


Gourmet food of any description is a path to madness. Refining your palate means you get picky about what you eat, intolerant of mild defects, gouged by premium brand prices, and personally offended by produce that now "tastes like shit". Seeking out exotic delicacies and new heights of gastronomic discrimination is the behaviour of an addict who can no longer get a buzz from the ordinary. If you seriously think your coffee or chocolate or anything literally tastes like shit, you've gone too far. Enjoying food isn't about competing to see who can demand the highest standards; it's about eating slop and liking it.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 11:34 AM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Obligatory link to the Nōka chocolate debunking thread
posted by nielm at 11:49 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


The one good reason to never purchase drug-store chocolate bars:

It directly supports child slavery.

Moral: Don't be an asshole. Quit eating crappy chocolate bars.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2007


This thread needs less chuckdarwin...
posted by wfrgms at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2007


cribcage wrote "just as it's possible to enjoy both Ligeti and Jurassic 5."

I like Hershey's when I'm making s'mores, but other than that I buy fair trade organic, 70% or better. So yeah, I'll agree with you there on the Hershey's vs. high-end (and I like me some J5, but what the hell is a Ligeti?)

Also, the best chocolate in the world - no matter who sells it - comes from Venezuelan beans. My friend (a Venezuelan herself, although her parents are Italian) told me so. What reason do I have to argue with her? She used to supply me with high-end chocolate of Venezuelan origin, and I sure as hell didn't turn it down...
posted by caution live frogs at 11:57 AM on April 23, 2007


I'm a Brit and I've tasted Hershey's and it does taste like doggy treats - doggy treats with a hint of vomit. Belgian chocolates on the other hand, are the dog's bollocks.

I vaguely remember those dastardly Europeans wanted to force British chocolate to be called vegelate or something equally daft because it has too much vegetable oil in it or something...
posted by ComfySofa at 12:02 PM on April 23, 2007


All chocolate products should be labelled with the percentage of chocolate solids. Or maybe a lower threshold like "less than 10%"

I should think it would be more appropriate if the box bore a large red label reading "WARNING: LARK'S VOMIT"
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:07 PM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


But their sales would plummet!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:09 PM on April 23, 2007


I often wonder how many so-called chocoholics know that most of the chocolate they eat was probably picked by slave labour in West Africa. Child slaves, even.

Of course, European chocolate is picked by unionized workers who make 40 Euro an hour, with 30 hour workweeks and eight weeks paid vacation. Only the evil AmeriKKKIans use slave labor in picking the chocolate consumed by their wealthy soccer moms.

(Yes, I'm liberal, but really, I'm growing tired of the "Everything in the US is worse than it is in Europe" statements.)
posted by elmwood at 12:11 PM on April 23, 2007


Perhaps, but gourmet chocolat means one or two small pieces satisfies better than a whole bar of cheap chocolate. Less calories, more enjoyment. Can't beat that.
posted by caddis at 12:14 PM on April 23, 2007


hmm, I guess I had this open for awhile. My last comment was in response to hoverboard's comments about gourmet food being the path to madness.
posted by caddis at 12:17 PM on April 23, 2007


I like Hershey's with almonds. Yummy.
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:19 PM on April 23, 2007


MetaFilter: It's about eating slop and liking it.
posted by everichon at 12:31 PM on April 23, 2007




nielm, thanks! I was just thinking about linking to that.

There's another site from a while back (linked to from MeFi? I don't remember) that went into detail about what really makes good chocolate good, that it wasn't about % of cacao solids at all. (Maybe I saw it on 2Boing?)
posted by JHarris at 12:34 PM on April 23, 2007


I like Hershey's with bits of child's bone ground into it. Yummy slaves!

It flabbergasts me that there are people who, even after having read the FPP links, will continue eating crappy slavery-farmed chocolate.

How the fuck can one consider oneself an even remotely "good" person if one is consciously deciding to support slavery chocolate? Sure, there are tons of things one can do to right the wrongs in this world... but surely to god, giving up crappy waxy chocolate must surely be one of the least-sacrificial ways one can contribute.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:35 PM on April 23, 2007


Smarties are the apex of candy.

Deal with it.
posted by The Power Nap at 12:53 PM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


chuckdarwin: They're both available mail order though - e.g. from here - but it's not a bargain. UtoBeer at Borough Market in London has them both, if that's any use.
posted by patricio at 12:53 PM on April 23, 2007


ThePowerNap writes: Smarties are the apex of candy.

In the anglosphere, Smarties are vaguely M&M style chocolates with hard shell. In the U.S., Smarties are tiny tart sugary things. Which does The Power Nap mean? I'd ask him but he's nodded off again.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:58 PM on April 23, 2007


This thread needs less chuckdarwin...

That's a fair point, wfrgms. I'm still new enough to be really enjoying this. Don't worry; I'll soon get so jaded that I never answer comments.

Of course, European chocolate is picked by unionized workers who make 40 Euro an hour, with 30 hour workweeks and eight weeks paid vacation. Only the evil AmeriKKKIans use slave labor in picking the chocolate consumed by their wealthy soccer moms.

(Yes, I'm liberal, but really, I'm growing tired of the "Everything in the US is worse than it is in Europe" statements.)


I really don't see how my statement could be construed in that way at all! I meant chocoholics EVERYWHERE.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2007


To those who thought I was serious when saying "chocolate is chocolate," I was just trying to playfully respond to spicynuts comment. In fact, the words are his, not mine. And I thought the reference to the Toyama Koichi thread would have made it quite clear that I wasn't serious.

Ah, well, my attempt at playfulness was clearly artless. My apologies.

posted by bad with titles at 1:14 PM on April 23, 2007


Thanks patricio! I'll get some proper beer as a birthday present to myself. London is too far away...
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2007


Ah, well, my attempt at playfulness was clearly artless. My apologies.

It's alright, BWT, I understood you. Plus, it was worth it to see someone misspell your handle as Bad With Tittles
posted by spicynuts at 1:24 PM on April 23, 2007


As a continental european i'd like to thank you anglo-saxons for making me appreciate what I take for granted: general availability of good quality chocolate.

To repay you I hereby lament the quality of guns I'm able to get here.
Count your blessings.
posted by jouke at 2:07 PM on April 23, 2007


Somebody either must not be kissing the right person or has been partaking of chocolate covered crack.
posted by 3.2.3 at 2:10 PM on April 23, 2007


How the fuck can one consider oneself an even remotely "good" person if one is consciously deciding to support slavery chocolate?

While I agree with your sentiment, I think this might be one of those moments where someone conflates their feelings with fact. Good people do, at times, do bad things. And bad things can seem, at times, to be not so bad. Additionally, sometimes not so bad things can seem, at times, to be horrible.

Do I think this is one of those times? Not really, no. But I also acknowledge that what I think is not the yard stick by which anything is measured.
posted by shmegegge at 2:10 PM on April 23, 2007


oh man, I just skimmed that link about the slave trade workers.

damn you cadbury! do you have ANY idea how much I love flakes?! don't make me stop eating them forever, i beg you!
posted by shmegegge at 2:13 PM on April 23, 2007


Cadbury is also produced by Hershey here in the US.
posted by amberglow at 2:29 PM on April 23, 2007


There's the mistake--kissing hands down is no fun at all.

I would think that depends on what exactly your hands are down. The back of a couch made of leeches - sure. Somebody of your preferred gender's shirt, not so much.

Still, it's gratifying to know that there exists BigChocolate, because sometimes a little chocolate isn't quite enough.
posted by Sparx at 2:30 PM on April 23, 2007


I like chocolate from all parts of the "quality" spectrum. (Except those crappy cheap off-brand chocolates that CVS pimps during various holidays.) However, for health reasons, I was forced to find chocolate that is made without soy lecithin as an emulsifier. Two good ones: Art Bars, made by Ithaca Fine Chocolates, and Elite chocolate bars, made in Israel (and available at my local Wegmans during Passover).
posted by candyland at 2:48 PM on April 23, 2007


Lakrits the licorice m&m.
posted by hortense at 3:02 PM on April 23, 2007


Cadbury is also produced by Hershey here in the US.

I remember when Cadbury-branded products first started showing up in this area about 20 years ago. They used to be kind of nice. Nowadays, not so much.
posted by gimonca at 4:00 PM on April 23, 2007


(Not chocolate...but I do have to follow up with a mention of Tropen-Lakrits as well. Much better than it sounds.)
posted by gimonca at 4:02 PM on April 23, 2007


And, I cannot say enough good things about these.
posted by gimonca at 4:02 PM on April 23, 2007


Those chocolate-making countries in Old Europe know how to make good chocolate? What amazing revelation will follow? That kissing with chocolate is four times better than chocolate?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on April 23, 2007


That kissing with chocolate is four times better than chocolate?

Not kissing, silly--sex! : >
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on April 23, 2007


...who the hell are these people kissing?

The farm situation in Africa, et. al. is pretty rough. A lot of people can grow their own food but they’re forced to grow commodities instead.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:33 PM on April 23, 2007


Cadbury is also produced by Hershey here in the US.

yes, but flakes are not produced in the US. you can only get them here if your store imports chocolate from england. some stop and shops do, and there are specialty chocolate shops.
posted by shmegegge at 5:48 PM on April 23, 2007


Not kissing, silly--sex! : >

OK, then. Silly-sex with chocolate is four times better than kissing with chocolate, which is four times better than chocolate alone, which is four times better than kissing. Happy now?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:08 PM on April 23, 2007


Lindt tastes like chalk...Lindt ...taste like dioxin flavored coffee chalk

I would emphatically disagree. Lindt, especially Lindor Balls, are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulouso. I eat one, and I'm sated for chocolate for weeks. Alternately, where are you getting your flavoured chalks from, because they sound like some goooood eating.

Good chocolate, really good chocolate, should purr in the mouth, slink down the throat and curl up in a warm swirl in the belly, content to melt gently into your blood. It shouldn't taste of sour milk, burnination and a total lack of cocoa butter. I am much happier with my single bite serving of premium chocolates (whether it's the aforementioned Lindt, or pralines from the chocolatier in the town where I live) than a crate of waxy, snappish "chocolate-flavoured" sweets.

That is the joy of food - being able to take a great pleasure from a simple mouthful. If you can get that from an euphemistically-named mass of chemical by-products, then that's fine too. But I'm going to stick to the genesis of the genre, and you can do what you like with more derivitive product.
posted by Jilder at 6:37 PM on April 23, 2007


The mass-produced chocoin Japan is similar to American chocolate, but I think better. One brand has differing percentages of cocoa, one at I think 90%. I loves me some bitter chocolate, milk chocolate not so much, but 90% is darn near impossible to eat. It's used for putting in coffee that has a lot of sugar, etc.
posted by zardoz at 6:51 PM on April 23, 2007


What the hell is with this Hershey's bashing?

It's the sour milk thing: for those not raised on the stuff, it really does fire off the taste receptors attuned to vomit.

But the British confectioners don't come out well either: they've been switching out cocoa butter for other fats in low-priced bars, and won an EU battle to keep using the word 'chocolate' as long as the switcheroo is limited to 5 per cent. The continental makers (oh, Amedei) generally don't engage in such practices.
posted by holgate at 11:22 PM on April 23, 2007


Cadbury's in trouble for salmonella in the UK--Cadbury, the confectionery giant, was accused yesterday of a six-month failure to tell food safety watchdogs that it was selling chocolate it knew could be contaminated with salmonella. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:36 AM on April 24, 2007


Wait, Mars and Snickers... are they American? Damn, I think I've been supporting the wrong team!
posted by the cydonian at 8:38 AM on April 24, 2007


If you like chocolate you might like to sprinkle it on your bread for breakfast.

When I was a child my mother offered these for breakfast because she was worried I did not eat enough...
Oh man, europe is so much better than the US.
posted by jouke at 11:05 PM on April 24, 2007


Nutella!
posted by infini at 11:29 PM on April 24, 2007


There are some really great chocolate makers in the US, but you can't buy their products in most supermarket chains. Just a month or two ago I had some delicious dark chocolate that was somehow rose flavored... amazing. (It was made by some regional organic chocolate company.)

Mass market US chocolate != US chocolate. We can (and do) make decent chocolate, you just have to look past the stuff made by the big companies.
posted by mazatec at 11:53 AM on April 28, 2007


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