British Chocolate

Were you guys aware that British chocolate bars are different from the ones we eat in the US? Different candy bars, yes, but even the ones that are ostensibly the same (like Cadbury milk chocolate bars) are made using different formulations and different ingredients. I only vaguely knew any of this, but as I was perusing the NY Times Dining section a little while back I came across this interesting article about how the Hershey’s corporation has taken action to block the import of British chocolate bars into the United States (a previously routine practice). They had various reasons, some having to do with the similar packaging and names potentially confusing consumers who, for example, might not be able to discern the difference between a Yorkie bar and a York Peppermint Patty, since they both have the word “York” in them (insert “really?” face).

On a personal level, I find this news a bit disappointing as I only recently discovered the delicious wonder that is British chocolate, and now I can’t get it anymore (probably a good thing for my waistline, but whatever). Expats from the UK have long been relying on places like Tea and Sympathy to provide them with their chocolate fix from across the pond, because, as many quoted in the article said, American chocolate = gross, British chocolate = yummy. After sampling such British treats as Flake bars (yum), and Toffee Crisp (double yum), I can see where they’re coming from.

On a larger level, I find it a bit unreasonable that Hershey’s is blocking people from eating something based on what, personally, I think are rather silly reasons (Hershey’s doesn’t think that consumers are savvy enough to tell the difference between a Reese’s and a Toffee Crisp since both packages are orange with yellow writing. My take on that: presumably, most consumers know how to read). Having never been a fan of Hershey’s or American Cadbury chocolate anyway, I can understand why there’s a large faction of people who are upset about this new development… especially those who depend upon selling British chocolate for a large fraction of their income (such as the proprietress at Tea and Sympathy, who had some rather, shall we say, strong opinions about the situation).

As you can see, I stocked up on some candy bars at Carry On Tea and Sympathy (I mean, I had to, as research for this post ;). Stores are allowed to sell off their current inventory in the US, but not import any more, so if you want these chocolate bars, you better hurry up! For anyone who’s interested, I also happened upon a website called Jolly Goods that will ship British chocolate all over the world. So if you happen to fall in love with Flake bars or Toffee Crisps, and a trip across the pond doesn’t lie in your near future, you can always resort to the good old Internet! Might make a fun gift for a chocolate lover as well.

Any opinions on the whole British vs. American chocolate debate? What do you guys think of the Hershey’s corporation’s actions? Voice your opinion in the comments!

photos by me

Leave a Comment

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    While I will miss some of Cadbury's candies, I think we should support American companies like Hershey! Hershey's chocolate is delicious! We will still be able to get Cadbury Creme Eggs (my fave), it will just be the Hershey recipe which is fine with me.

    Published 2.17.15 · Reply
    • I definitely agree with supporting certain American companies, like Everlane, but not so much with the Hershey's chocolate…I don't trust our food industry very much, and the more reading I do, the more I see how bad the industry is in the US versus other countries!

      Published 2.19.15 · Reply
  2. Sofie wrote:

    Yes! I 100% agree. I was ranting to a friend about this just last night. Every time I leave Ireland or the UK, I buy loads of Cadbury chocolate so I don't have to eat the horrid American equivalent when I get home. In the past, I would settle for Hershey's for seasonal things like Valentine's Day chocolate, but no longer. When I read that article a few weeks back it convinced me to completely avoid their products in the future. While I know it won't make a difference to the industry at all, it does make me feel better. Now I'm constantly texting my dad asking him to send chocolate from Ireland. I'm also on the lookout for quality local chocolatiers, which I suppose is a good thing. The quality of mass-produced chocolate in the States is just so poor!

    Published 2.17.15 · Reply
    • I agree! Never was a fan of their chocolate to begin with but their actions here make me feel that I'm going to boycott them completely which won't be too difficult. Always better to find small batch chocolates…I need to try Mast Brothers!

      Published 2.19.15 · Reply
  3. it really is a sad news that Hershey's is trying to block the import of British chocolate bars into US. I think they see the brit corporation as their mega huge competitor 🙁 anyway as you've mentioned we can always resort to the good old Internet!
    great post! love it, very informative

    Published 2.17.15 · Reply
  4. Marine wrote:

    Hmmm… Here in Europe the British chocolate is said to be the worst – especially in Belgium, home for chocolate. The problem is that Brits don't put cocoa butter in their chocolate but soy lecithin! And tons of sugar. So… that brings to the UK-US dilemma!!!
    A challenge for you would be to try to find a taste real chocolate ! I'm pretty sure that Ladurée sells some nice things. Another spot could be Le Pain Quotidien, it's a Belgian brand…

    Published 2.17.15 · Reply
    • What an interesting point! I didn't even think of that. Every time I go to Ladurée I always just make a beeline for the macarons, but next time I stop in I'm going to pick up a few pieces of chocolate for sure. I'm very curious now! I'm a fan of Le Pain Quotidien as well, so perhaps will give their chocolate a try too. Thanks for leaving such an interesting comment!

      Published 2.19.15 · Reply
    • Marine wrote:

      You're welcome! Let me know and have a nice day!!!

      Published 2.19.15 · Reply
  5. It seems very strange to me that time is spent restricting the import of chocolate. Aren't there bigger issues that should be the focus?! And I'm with you – I don't trust the US food system. I recently finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and it was eye opening.

    Published 2.20.15 · Reply
  6. So happy somebody else noticed! I only like to eat imported Cadbury chocolate. Flake is my favorite and always buy it in the corner delis in the city. They have a large selection of imported chocolates. I hope they dont banned them from the US!

    Published 2.21.15 · Reply
    • Good point! I recently found that my corner bodega stocks a good selection of these chocolates, which I didn't realize before. They are being banned from the US though, so you better stock up now!

      Published 2.22.15 · Reply