The story of chocolate is still being written
April 4, 2015 3:16 PM   Subscribe

 
My taste buds approve of this post.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:18 PM on April 4, 2015


For a really far look back, here's a catalog of chocolate and cocoa products from Hershey, from the 191?.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:19 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peak Chocolate!!!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Wait, this post talks about "chocolate," but then I see "Hershey." I am confused.
posted by nevercalm at 3:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [32 favorites]


Fun fact: non-Americans find that Hershey's chocolate tastes of puke.


If I type "Hershey's tastes like" into Google, the autocomplete suggestions are "like sick", "like vomit", and "like cheese".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:40 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


How much of the cost of "chocolate" is actually cacao? Like, 10%? 25% max?
posted by BungaDunga at 3:41 PM on April 4, 2015


How much of the cost of "chocolate" is actually cacao? Like, 10%? 25% max?

But then you have cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. Non-chocolate solids are usually <50% depending on the type.
posted by Talez at 3:46 PM on April 4, 2015


Previous: Do you have a little chocolate craving. Link rot has killed some of the links so here is a new one
Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry.
Now where is that 75% cacau chocolate bar I bought this morning?
posted by adamvasco at 3:53 PM on April 4, 2015


So what they're saying is, some day slogans like this could become obsolete?

Are barley and hops dependent on bees? If so, changing it to use beer instead could be useless as well...
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:55 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


So...what's the shelf life of chocolate that's been vacuum-packed, sealed in a helium atmosphere at constant temperature, and guarded jealously with a shotgun in my basement while I mumble "my precious, my precious?"
posted by sexyrobot at 4:00 PM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I am confused.

As a bit of eye bleach, here's a less scary, easter-related "how it's made" video: Mein Name ist Hase -- Gold-Hase.

(well, less scary for humans, at least. chocolate bunnies may object to the nudity and there are also brief moments of chocolate bunny cruelty.)

(I seriously contemplated getting the 1 kg bunny earlier today, but the kid persuaded me to skip that. Silly kid.)
posted by effbot at 4:01 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not how chocolate bunnies are made! Lindt / the chocolate bunny industrial complex is lying to us! THIS is how chocolate bunnies are made!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Easter 2015 may be remembered as the end of the cheap chocolate era: cocoa prices are expected to double by 2020 as the world’s cocoa supplies run low.

...or so Big Carob would have you believe...
posted by not_on_display at 4:16 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


In general, I'm not always a huge fan of the "maybe we should consume less but consume higher quality" school of thought, because it tends to screw over poor people, but I think I'm all for it here. I would much rather have really good chocolate once a month and have chocolate-growers make a living wage than have cheap Hershey's crap every day. I'm not sure I think the rising price of chocolate is such a disaster.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:18 PM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yes, it's going to be more expensive as the major firms finally move away from slavery.

Good.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:43 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


Hershey's definitely tastes like puke. I've only eaten it a handful of times - first when I was eight or so and it was genuinely hard to get here (UK), and my great aunt brought some back from a trip to Florida.

Now you can buy it in various different stores, but why would you? I can make my mouth taste like puke all by myself.
posted by terretu at 4:47 PM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am reminded of the Maria Bamford routine about the game her family plays called"Joy Whack-a-Mole." Paraphrasing here:
"Look at this top! I bought it for $3! How do they make this so cheap?"
"Slavery. They pass the savings on to you!"

(Side note, go watch her special, The Special Special Special, it is brilliant.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:48 PM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I do not think this is true. Chocolate is cheap in England. I pay 40p for a Snickers but what do Americans pay? 70 cents? Today they were selling Lindt easter eggs in front of a bank in the high street of Dudley for £1.50 a go. That's about $2 at the moment.

Chocolate is truly a unique item although I have not eaten it in many years I am surprised to see people falling for this propaganda. It's strange now. When I was little chocolate was the ingredient, now it is the coating on almost everything. So candy makers fight back by putting more chocolate into everything, driving up use. The margins on candy must be incredible, considering the high class we expect of confectioners and sweet makers around the world.

Chocolate is no longer dominant because young people demand texture and the presence of salt. Salt is too expensive for candy makers to experiment with because it cannot always taste the same unless produced in-house at high start-up costs. So instead they give people peanuts, raisins, and caramel and hope you'll just like it and not the limited edition hazelnut or more-caramel bar which they are selling at a smaller margin just to remain n the radar.
posted by parmanparman at 4:53 PM on April 4, 2015


Man, I guess I should feel like a loser for not thinking Hershey's tastes like puke.

Also, just once I'd like to have something I enjoy not turn out to be made by slave labor. I hope the major firms actually will move away from slave labor, but so far I'm not seeing anything that makes it look like they actually will.
posted by teponaztli at 5:00 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I do not think this is true. Chocolate is cheap in England. I pay 40p for a Snickers but what do Americans pay? 70 cents? Today they were selling Lindt easter eggs in front of a bank in the high street of Dudley for £1.50 a go. That's about $2 at the moment.

Why would you declare the post to be untrue based off of the price of chocolate today, when the entire post is about prices potentially doubling in five years?
posted by Karaage at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


The vomit taste is butyric acid.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:11 PM on April 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


If prices rising means workers will earn a living wage, I am fully in support. I probably eat chocolate twice a year (well, plus a few cups of hot chocolate) so higher prices won't impact my consumption at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:12 PM on April 4, 2015


Theo is an option that supports fair trade and some other stuff. I'm a happy customer and neighbor -- I live close enough that I can tell when they're roasting and such.
posted by bonje at 5:56 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


For a nostalgic look at Hershey's long-form self-promotion, enjoy The Great American Chocolate Factory

You're right about the nostalgia part of it. My parents' home town was like 30 minutes away from Hershey, PA, and I grew up just about an hour away, so the family made frequent trips to Hershey to visit the theme park there (my parents had actually had their first date at Hershey Park).

Right at the entrance to the theme park was an attraction called Chocolate World, an Omnimover-style animatronic ride Hershey came up with in the 70s as a replacement for their factory tour. Here's a video of how it looked in 1991 but my memories from my visits in the 80s were very similar. I'm told that there have been much more drastic revisions in recent years, much of the ride now featuring talking cows.

Watching that Great American Chocolate Factory film, I was struck with the sense that this was exactly what they had patterned the ride after, but near the end, the film invites the viewer to visit Chocolate World, so I would guess they were developed in parallel. Also, upon watching the video of the ride, it appears that key scenes from the Chocolate Factory video were looped onto TV screens as part of the ride.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:56 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally I wish Hershey's had not moved away from the "MORE SUSTAINING THAN MEAT" slogan from filthy light thief's archival link, but that's just me.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:03 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chocolate is the missionary position of dessert foods.
posted by sonascope at 6:45 PM on April 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Me: HONEY! We've got to start hoarding chocolate!
Wife: Ok dear.
(1 hour later)
Me: HONEY we have to start hoarding chocolate tomorrow I ate it all.
Wife: God****it
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:08 PM on April 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


My advisor and some of our Ivorian colleagues just published a paper showing that protected areas - forests and reserves - around Cote d'Ivoire have primarily been converted to illegal cocoa plantations, which is having a seriously negative effect on wildlife like primates (as you might expect). Might I suggest you transition to fair trade, single origin chocolate?
posted by ChuraChura at 7:41 PM on April 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Chocolate is the missionary position of dessert foods.

Your argument is invalid; that would be vanilla, which is often a component of chocolate confections and is actually used to describe missionary-every-time sex.
posted by aydeejones at 7:47 PM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Our neighbor's granddaughter convinced her parents to buy my youngest daughter that 35-ounce Lindt rabbit today. I don't think I have ever possesses anything that feels so decadent -- like, shamefully so. It's going to be an awesome centerpiece tomorrow and then we will devour it!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:24 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your argument is invalid; that would be vanilla,

I am anaphylactically allergic to vanilla, and nothing pisses me off more than putting the death bean in an otherwise good chocolate bar. Love yourself, chocolate, you are beautiful on your own.
posted by Ruki at 8:44 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


the end of the cheap chocolate era

Thanks a lot Obama!
posted by yoink at 9:17 PM on April 4, 2015


> Our neighbor's granddaughter convinced her parents to buy my youngest daughter that 35-ounce Lindt rabbit today.

I'd love to think more about the chocolate rabbit, but I'm stuck on drawing genealogy charts to figure out all people involved in that sentence. I figure there's at least six of 'em explicitly or implicitly mentioned. And the Anthro 101 class I took has conditioned me to start a page-long essay on reciprocity and kinship relationships in your village.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


Wait, this post talks about "chocolate," but then I see "Hershey." I am confused.

Complaining about Hershey is the dessert version of "is this something for which I need a TV to understand?".
posted by sideshow at 10:24 PM on April 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


I think some people's vomit must taste different than mine.
I grew up near Hershey, and taking the factory tour (around 1958) was quite a memorable experience- light years better than the insipid Chocolate World. There was the chocolate, of course, but the coolest thing to me was watching the packaging machines. Machines can make boxes! And fill them with wrapped candy bars! I think it lead me to a career fixing machines.
15-20 years later I found myself occasionally fixing IBM machines in the factory complex, where there was free, all-you-can-eat chocolate available. One day I overdid, and I never felt the same way about the stuff. (But it still doesn't taste like vomit. In fact I just had a little Krackle bar just an hour ago)
posted by MtDewd at 11:53 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I never noticed the vomit thing either until I went abroad for a long while. When I took my kid trick or treating in October she got a bunch of Hersheys minis, and I wasn't even sure when the last time I'd had one was. First bite and those funky, cheesy, and yes, vomity notes came out. Bleeeergh.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:10 AM on April 5, 2015


Complaining about Hershey is the dessert version of "is this something for which I need a TV to understand?".

You are assuming an exclusively US audience. A lot of the worldwide cocoa production is consumed by people for whom it is not obvious that the category ‘chocolate’ can include a confectionery that literally tastes of vomit. Many of them are on Metafilter!

I for instance grew up in Switzerland, which makes the world's best industrial-scale milk chocolate and consumes more chocolate per capita than anywhere else. When we were children, our very international residential neighbourhood organised a Hallowe'en trick-or-treat, and my brothers, who participated, each brought home a bar of Hershey's chocolate. Presumably, it had been given out by a family of American expatriates keen to let the local children experience this American holiday in the most authentic way. The thing was so revolting that we couldn't believe our tastebuds. We had to throw away most of the small bar. It was so obviously inferior to any other chocolate we'd ever tasted, anywhere in the world, that we struggled to understand the thought process of the people who had gone to such lengths to procure some to give out on Hallowe'en in Switzerland, of all places.*

All these years later, I see (e.g. in the linked Wikipedia article) that it is actually a well-known phenomenon that people who have grown up with Hershey bars are desensitised to this particular aspect of their taste. I only wish I lived in a world where the bar we tasted had simply spoiled in transit, rather than the one in which millions of children are taught to happily scarf down a terrifying parody of chocolate for no other reason than that a canny manufacturer found it convenient to make before the advent of modern supply chains (and product labelling laws).

I understand why, if you are American, you would react defensively on seeing a compatriot making it clear that they have escaped being habituated to butyric acid in chocolate, and it's your prerogative to suspect that person of snobbery. (And I say this as someone extremely apprehensive about having a TV in the house!) But in this case you should recognise that unlike with TV, a lot of people who are on the internet have grown up insulated from Hershey's chocolate through geography alone.

* We had a similarly memorable adventure opening a gift box of Fortnum and Mason's best British chocolates, for different reasons: the chocolate itself was unremarkable, but the fillings included such enticing flavours as violet-and-rose hand soap, mummified ginger, and a cherry preserved in formaldehyde. The Monty Python sketch seemed hardly an exaggeration.
posted by ormon nekas at 3:19 AM on April 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


And now this thread has made me regret skipping the chocolate rabbits this Easter.
posted by ormon nekas at 3:20 AM on April 5, 2015


now I'm feeling guilty for not buying fair trade, though chocolate is expensive enough to have stressed my grocery bill this holiday.

it didn't help that I had to buy more after finding out that the dark, baking chocolate I had bought had milk ingredients for no good reason. I was cooking for people who couldn't have milk, and had to go on Good Friday searching for dairy-free chocolate.

Manufacturers: how about not throwing in random stuff for no good reason?
posted by jb at 3:35 AM on April 5, 2015


Your argument is invalid; that would be vanilla, which is often a component of chocolate confections and is actually used to describe missionary-every-time sex.

People who describe missionary-every-time sex as "vanilla" are usually in congruence with people who think the bitter bean of slavery is rich, mysterious, and exotic instead of just brown in a sort of foodie orientalism. When chocolate is the mainstream default candy base, anything not-chocolate pretty much defines the notion of not-the-same-old-thing.

To each their own, though.
posted by sonascope at 4:37 AM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went on the original Hershey factory tour. I was just a kid. Most vivid memory: being in the conching room where chocolate was being textured in huge vats. The very atmosphere was loaded with chocolate. Don't recall any vomit notes, but I do recall the faces of the other people on the tour. Some stood silently, smiling faintly, eyes closed, mouths open, just inhaling the air. It was divine.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:34 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an American who mostly eats better (or at least higher percentage) chocolate, I'll have you know that vomit is the flavor of nostalgia. Terrible yes, but in a very comforting way.
posted by wotsac at 7:22 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The vomit taste is really just bile squeezed out of my liver and rising through my stomach and esophagus to choke me to death before I manage to swallow any Hershey chocolate.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:32 AM on April 5, 2015


I just discovered that cocoa trees can grow in greenhouses!!!!
posted by xarnop at 7:59 AM on April 5, 2015


You are assuming an exclusively US TV-owning audience. A lot of the worldwide cocoa TV production is consumed by people for whom it is not obvious that the category ‘chocolateTV’ can include a confectionery that literally tastes of vomit involves "reality TV" which serves solely to appall our allegedly middle-class sensibilities by mocking marginalized segments of the popluation. Many of them are on Metafilter!

I for instance grew up in Switzerland Inner Mongolia, which makes the world's best industrial-scale milk chocolate throat singing and consumes more chocolate live folk entertainment per capita than anywhere else. When we were children, our very international residential neighbourhood organised a Hallowe'en trick-or-treat, and my brothers, who participated, each brought home a bar of Hershey's chocolate VHS tape of "COPS". Presumably, it had been given out by a family of American expatriates keen to let the local children experience this American holiday horror in the most authentic way. The thing was so revolting that we couldn't believe our tastebuds eyes. We had to throw away most of the small bar episode. It was so obviously inferior to any other chocolate entertainment we'd ever tasted, anywhere in the world, that we struggled to understand the thought process of the people who had gone to such lengths to procure some to give out on Hallowe'en in Switzerland Inner Mongolia, of all places.*

All these years later, I see (e.g. in the linked Wikipedia article) that it is actually a well-known phenomenon that people who have grown up with Hershey bars reality TV are desensitised to this particular aspect of their taste. I only wish I lived in a world where the bar we tasted had simply spoiled in transit civilized countries banded together to jam US broadcast TV signals at the border, rather than the one in which millions of children are taught to happily scarf down a terrifying parody of chocolate for no other reason than that a canny manufacturer found it convenient to make before the advent of modern supply chains (and product labelling laws) TV by foreign networks' desire to syndicate shitty American shows.

I understand why, if you are American, you would react defensively on seeing a compatriot making it clear that they have escaped being habituated to butyric acid in chocolate utter schlock on the boob tube, and it's your prerogative to suspect that person of snobbery. But in this case you should recognise that unlike with TV Hershey's chocolate, a lot of people who are on the internet have grown up insulated from Hershey's chocolate through geography alone what they consider to be inferior entertainment, yet we still justly criticize them when they feel the need to inform us of their superior upbringing and taste in any thread that is even tangentially related.
posted by dendrochronologizer at 8:10 AM on April 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


/thunderous applause
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:55 AM on April 5, 2015


To make my point clearer, people don't say, "is this something for which..." to actually question the need of that specific entertainment device in order to comprehend the context of the ongoing conversion. The one goal is to garner praise for being too smart and educated to be enjoy television like the rest the poors.

The "chocolate" discussion is the same shit.
posted by sideshow at 10:58 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a kid in South Central PA Hershey and some other local places were where we got chocolate. I remember being 8 or 10 and someone giving me some Godiva at Christmas and I thought it was the grossest thing ever. However I can certainly appreciate the difference now. I still don't especially like Godiva but having grown up on super sugary chocolate, I can see how someone growing up on Swiss chocolate or anything European at all would find Hershey and most American chocolate appalling. It probably tastes like even grosser fondant to them.
posted by sio42 at 11:56 AM on April 5, 2015


No, it really is just a foreigners and their confusing ways thing. I have witnessed with my own peepers the intense disappointment of an Englishwoman tasting her first Hershey bar.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:03 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The "chocolate" discussion is the same shit.

I think it's mainly just that we are stunned that the US, which leads the world in delicious shit that's bad for you (with the possible exception of Belgium but probably not), can have allowed Hershey's to infiltrate its orgy of gluttonous delight.

Imagine discovering that the most popular thing for Russians to do when they want to get really wasted is drink loads of 4% ABV beer. You'd be disappointed and amused. That's the rest of the world trying Hershey's.
posted by howfar at 1:04 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chocolate is cheap in England. I pay 40p for a Snickers but what do Americans pay? 70 cents?

A-HA-HA! 70 cents? Maybe 20 years ago. More like 130 cents (87p today).

On the other hand, you have a lot more cameras watching you EAT those cheap chockies!
posted by Twang at 2:12 PM on April 5, 2015


Chocolate is cheap in England. I pay 40p for a Snickers but what do Americans pay? 70 cents?
A-HA-HA! 70 cents? Maybe 20 years ago. More like 130 cents (87p today).


I also don't believe he's getting it for 40p. Maybe if he's down the corner shop in 1992. 60p seems to be the bargain-basement price for a Snickers these days, more like 80p in most places.

(That 1992 bar would also have had way more chocolate in it than it does today. I'm still miffed that Yorkies have gone down to less than half their true size)
posted by bonaldi at 4:13 PM on April 5, 2015


The American bar's taste profile was not as popular with the Canadian public, leading Hershey to introduce a reformulated Canadian bar in 1983. The company describes the revised Canadian formulation as a "creamier, smoother, lighter coloured and milder flavoured product more suitable to Canadian taste".

Interesting! I've always loathed Canadian Hershey's bars (so sweet! waxy texture!) and used to really love the American Hershey bars my grandma used to bring home from Michigan. That's when they used to be wrapped in white waxed paper with the brown paper sleeve (They taste different to me now--has the formula changed?). The texture used to remind me of another American favourite: Velveeta. Yeah, sure, they're both a little gross, but in a way I occasionally find myself nostalgic for.
posted by looli at 6:29 PM on April 5, 2015


(They taste different to me now--has the formula changed?)

Either my tastes changed remarkably, or they did change the formula a couple decades ago. It now tastes quite waxy and distasteful to me, in a way that it didn't use to.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:42 PM on April 5, 2015


dendrochronologizer: I gather that my attempt at illustrating culture shock with a subjective anecdote went over badly and I should have narrated it with more distance, and maybe not at all. My unstated framework was an indirect encounter between people of equal station and worth (obviously) whose tastes differ in one particular point related to country of upbringing. I was trying to convey, hyperbole and all, the perspective of someone in the region of the world in which I existed, and I regret it deeply if I gave the impression that I was claiming any kind of superiority for myself, which I categorically do not.

I wrote down my experience because I believe it is similar to that of millions of people across the parts of the world where chocolate is a commonplace commodity, only thrown into further relief by the happenstance of taking place in a country where the basic mass-market chocolate is widely agreed to be of high quality. Chocolate is part of the basic basket of goods there (so incidentally, the subjective standard of living of ordinary Swiss people stands to be materially affected by a doubling of cocoa prices), and I am not talking about premium products. The standard brand of milk chocolate at the co-operative supermarket sells for less than CHF 2 per 100 g bar, which works out to $9 per US lb. at the market exchange rate, less than that at PPP. The same amount of no-brand chocolate goes for CHF 0.50 or $2.40/lb.

My point was how ordinary and unremarkable it is, in the grand scheme of things, not to understand the palatability of a Hershey bar. More generally and as you may have guessed, I'm afraid I am confused by the point made by your détournement of my comment. TV, garbage TV, and even reality TV specifically are pretty universal, unlike chocolate with butyric acid inside, which is popular in about as many countries as throat singing. And I note that countries with ‘inferior’ TV get no mercy from US contributors to discussions here. TV derail aside, the elements you changed are not obviously (to me, in my tired state) parallel to mine and the relationships between elements are different too, so I am somewhat at a loss as to the implied argument (it may well be obvious to other participants).

I will just restate my intention in a more neutral way. Considering that Hershey's-type, by virtue of its chemical composition, is noticeably different from the rest of the universe of chocolate products, I think it is to be expected that people for whom this difference has not been neutralised by habit will point it out when Hershey's is mentioned as an instance of chocolate in the context of a general discussion, because that is the default position (not some mark of personal distinction!) in most of the chocolate-consuming world. That is the extent of what I wanted to say.
posted by ormon nekas at 7:00 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me that Americans could start making a thing out of Hershey's 'complex, evocative overtones' and tell people taking the piss to fuck off because it's a delicacy. After all, people eat (and prize) hakarl in Iceland and say they like it, despite its strong aroma of stale piss. Possibly the problem Hershey's has is not that it smells of vomit, just that it doesn't smell of vomit enough.

More seriously, of course it's possible to adapt to and actively enjoy flavours that would seem odd or unpleasant to some other people. I've never been able to enjoy the cold, wobbly fatty duck dishes I've received in some Dim Sum restaurants, but it's clear that other people do. If you like it, you like it.
posted by howfar at 5:26 AM on April 6, 2015


It's interesting that people outside the US want to take swings at Hershey's chocolate (which I'm similarly not a big fan of compared to so many others) when at the same time the standards for calling something chocolate in the US are better than much of the rest of the world. Here you don't get to just flavor something up and pass it off as being actual chocolate. You might have better odds of getting something good when you pick up an unadorned bar, but on a lot of other confections there's a lot of really repulsive chocolate-flavored things with vegetable oil and other adulterants subbing in for cacao oils.
posted by phearlez at 9:22 AM on April 6, 2015


at the same time the standards for calling something chocolate in the US are better than much of the rest of the world

For milk chocolate, US requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor (the US name for cacao mass), EU requires a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. Solids = (mass + extra butter) so I think these end up being roughly the same.

EU does allow for a small amount of vegetable fats since 2000, though, which US doesn't (despite lobbying by Hershey's and others, since it 1) is cheaper, 2) is cheaper, 3) is cheaper, and 4) has some technical advantages such as making chocolate more heat-resistant) and there are also some exceptions for UK manufacturers for "high milk content" milk chocolate.
posted by effbot at 11:29 AM on April 6, 2015


It occurs to me that Americans could start making a thing out of Hershey's 'complex, evocative overtones' and tell people taking the piss to fuck off because it's a delicacy.

I'm American and I'm happy to throw Hershey under the bus and then back the bus over it again and then spin the back wheels over Hershey's mangled body until it stops screaming. And then eat better chocolate.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on April 6, 2015


solids = (mass + extra butter)

Eh, I'm confused -- mass/liquor is butter + solids, so looks like the EU minimum is higher than the US.

(Also, it should be mentioned that while EU permits some amount of vegetable fats, it's strictly regulated what fats you can use; the regulation lists five specific "cocoa butter equivalents" and their presence must be clearly spelled out on the packaging. And the minimum level of solids still apply, you cannot do a Hershey and replace the cocoa butter with "high-quality oils [...] which are equal to or better than cocoa butter in taste, nutrition, texture and function, and are preferred by consumers.")
posted by effbot at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2015


And now this thread has made me regret skipping the chocolate rabbits this Easter.

Oh, don't regret it, revel in getting discount chocolates and Easter candies! Now you can also try fancier chocolates at a discount, like all the Merci German* chocolates that were stacked up ahead of Easter, which I bought in bulk, and I now realize much mass-produced US chocolate is quite waxy and "off," if not exactly bringing to mind bile.

* Yes, the German company named themselves with the French word for "thank you," perhaps because "Danke" doesn't have the same international sway and understanding, though US stoners would buy up anything labeled as such in a wasted heartbeat.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2015


Yes, the German company named themselves with the French word for "thank you"

To nitpick a bit, the company is called August Storck and Merci is just one of their brands. And you'll actually find "merci" in German dictionaries, but that's mostly because that's how you say "thank you" in Swiss German. The Swiss, in the meantime, has a chocolate brand named "Hello" (but that's made by Lindt, so has probably already made it to the US).
posted by effbot at 12:42 PM on April 6, 2015


PLANET MONEY: The Chocolate Curse
The world is running out of chocolate.

Cocoa is in short supply. Demand is way up, thanks to China and India developing a taste for the sweet stuff. Producing more cocoa isn't so easy. Cocoa is a fussy plant. It doesn't grow in very many places and it gets diseases really easily.

Today on the show, we learn about one man in Ecuador who came up with an answer to the global cocoa shortage. A warning here; if you're a die-hard chocolate lover, you might not like it
.
(Transcript)
posted by oakroom at 12:50 PM on April 6, 2015


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