I’ve confessed my love for all things USA on several occasions. What I haven’t mentioned before is my love for everything British, which goes back to my early teens when I insisted on learning British English and Harry Potter (the series, not the boy) was my one true love. Today I’m going to let two confectionery giants fight it out – the American Hershey’s vs British Cadbury!
A bit of history
John Cadbury started selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in Birmingham, 1824. From 1831 he started producing cocoa, and after his brother Benjamin became his business partner, their company became known as Cadbury Brothers. In 1854, the Cadbury Brothers received the Royal Warrant as manufacturers of cocoa and chocolate to Queen Victoria – as it still says on the packaging. John’s sons Richard and George took over the company in 1861, when business was in decline. This next generation of Cadbury Brothers started producing chocolate confectioneries in the 1880’s, years after they introduced improved cocoa into Britain.
Cadbury’s iconic Dairy Milk bar with its purple wrapper (a tribute to Queen Victoria) was introduced in 1905. By 1914, it became Cadbury’s best selling product. Living up to its name, Dairy Milk has a higher proportion of milk than previous chocolate bars. The bar I bought states on the back: The equivalent of 426 ml of fresh liquid milk in every 227 grams of chocolate. Now, Cadbury Dairy Milk bar is steadily one of the best (if not the best) selling chocolate in the UK.
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The Hershey Company
Milton S. Hershey opened a candy shop in Philadelphia in 1873. The shop was unsuccessful, but he would get his big break later after learning how to make caramel. His wildly successful Lancaster Caramel Company was sold for $1,000,000 ($28,788,000 in today’s money), after which he shifted his focus to chocolate. Hershey developed the Hershey process in 1899, which uses fresh milk from local farms. In 1900, the famous Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar was born.
The Hershey process is a trade secret, but according to experts the milk is processed in such a way that butyric acid is produced, after which the milk is pasteurised and stabilised. The butyric acid gives the chocolate a distinctive taste.
Cadbury in the US
In 1988, The Hershey company got the rights to manufacture and sell Cadbury-branded products in the US. So if you’re American, it’s possible that you’ve never had the real Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. Same goes for Nestlé’s KitKat and Rolo, which Hershey’s are also licensed to produce for the American market. I highly recommend Americans to try these brands in Europe, because the recipes of the European-made chocolates are very different – and I daresay much better.
In recent years, The Hershey Company angered British expats by banning the import of British-made Cadbury chocolate. As expat Sarah Ivens says:
How can a homesick Brit remedy his or her heartache with confectionery that tastes like watery sour milk and looks like dried mud?
But they’ve underestimated the British and their love of chocolate, who are still loyally munching on the beloved purple Dairy Milk bar manufactured in the land of afternoon tea, spotted dick and bacon floddies.
Hershey’s vs Cadbury taste test – the battle is ON!
Time to try the two iconic bars! Both have a rich history, both are much loved in their home countries. I’ve had both before, but never side by side.
Cadbury Dairy Milk
This bar looks like a triple butt. It’s plump and round and despite looking much smaller than the Hershey’s bar, it’s actually slightly heavier (two grams more chocolate! SCORE). It smells chocolatey. It’s creamy and very smooth. A bit too sugary for my taste, but all in all a worthy opponent in any chocolate battle in this price range.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar
At first sight, the bar is thin and light and it looks exactly the way I imagine a classic chocolate bar should look. I really like that classic design. But… this is where my love ends.
The first time I had a piece of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate was when Frank brought back a piece for me to try. He was travelling through the US with a friend, who bought it as a road trip snack. The first thing Frank did after taking a bite was check the expiration date, which should tell you enough about the taste. So how can chocolate taste bad?
Remember when I said that the Hershey process produced butyric acid, which gives the chocolate a distinctive taste? Butyric acid is also the main distinctive smell of…
Hershey’s chocolate literally tastes like vomit.
And I don’t mean literally like “oh my gawwwd, like I saw this like adoorable kitten and I just like literally dieeed”. No. Hershey’s distinctive flavour is that of the taste in your mouth after you puke your guts out (not literally puke your guts out, that would be deeply unsettling).
And Americans like this chocolate so much, other manufacturers add butyric acid to their chocolate to simulate the taste. WTF, Americans?!
In all fairness: I have no beef with Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme. But the classic Milk Chocolate Bar is a disgrace to chocolate.