If you’re a chocolate lover, read this as Kraft’s bid for Cadbury has got Britons’ knickers in a twist. It’s as though someone from their side of the pond had decided to re-make KFC or New York bagels or whatever beloved, all-American food icon works best for you. Chocolate, for many Britons, is one of the major food groups.
Sure, you can take refuge here in pricey choices like Godiva, but Americans still eat only half the amount of chocolate — about 12 pounds a year — as Britons. If you’ve ever lived in Britain, or traveled there and eaten some of its candy bars, you understand. What Hershey calls chocolate is an abomination. So says the mayor of London, Boris Johnson (and I agree):
But for many Brits, the business impact is beside the point. The prospect of Americans taking over production of their beloved Dairy Milk and Flake bars has sent the country into an emotional tailspin.
“When it comes to protecting our chocolate — the taste of British childhood — then we turn and fight,” wrote Mayor Boris Johnson of London in The Telegraph this month.
“We face an appalling choice of succumbing either to Kraft, makers of the plastic flaps of orange cheese, or to Hershey, whose Hershey bars have been likened in flavor — by independent experts — to a mixture of soap powder and baby vomit.”
Whenever I go home to Canada, I stock up on the candy bars of my youth, made with a British version of chocolate, both tangier and smoother than anything I’ve ever eaten made by a mass-market American manufacturer. I just don’t eat American chocolate.
Instead, the treasures I stockpile there and keep safely hidden at the back of the fridge are Big Turk, Crunchie, Aero Bars, Crispy Crunch. I can barely explain the allure of the first two brands as their contents, sponge toffee and Turkish delight, are also little-known to most Americans as well. On my worst days, a bite of Big Turk, with its chewy, sweet, translucent reddish center, can soothe just about anything.
Try them once, and you’ll understand too.