Detective Mask (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 02/14/13 | Reply
Italian chocolates aren't that sweet? Interesting. For some reason, I've associated Italian chocolates with sweetness, though I'm not if I've actually eaten one before. But if I do, I'll try to keep this comment in mind.
And "candy bars"? That's an intriguing and plausible argument. I mean, we don't call our chocolates as "candy bars". Heck, the idea that chocolate would be called as a candy boggles my mind sometimes.
Thanks for your comment!
It's really wonderful to hear from someone with a diverse background in chocolate. And I have to say that I've learned a lot from your comment, especially the part on how Denmark prohibits certain US chocolates because of the corn syrup content.
90%+ chocolate, huh? That's a very interesting choice. Like I said in a previous comment, I ate a chocolate bar with 72% cocoa, and even back then I thought it was bitter. But the more I hear about people like you who actually prefer this kind of chocolate, the better my perspective is on how people beyond my society and my ethnicity prefer their chocolate. It makes me understand that although some people make the chocolate is "not tasty" because of the cocoa content, there are those who actually love that same taste.
And I have to say, your comment, along with the other comments, has eventually motivated me to buy my own Endangered Species chocolate bar to test it for myself.
Thanks once again for your comment, and I'm happy to know that you enjoyed this post.
Otaku Summoner (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 02/13/13 | Reply
Yeah, most American chocolates are relatively sweeter than those from other countries... I had the chance to taste some that came from Italy, and they weren't that sweet...
Could it be because they are called "candy bars" in the US?
Otakuite+ | Posted 02/12/13 | Reply
Wow, I'm happy to have found this most interesting post ^^
I'm very much a chocolate-lover and I have quite good experiences with international chocolate too.
Now, let me start by outlining what I personally like in chocolate: very dark (90%+ is my favorite), flavorful, low-sugar, sustainably made, packaged in solid bars. Now obviously some of these aren't just about the taste of the chocolate, but I thought about it and they really are important factors when I judge a chocolate.
I grew up in a diplomatic family, which explains part of why I have such diverse experiences with chocolates. The availability of chocolate in Denmark is very much determined by it's content. Many American products are banned there because they contain High-Fructose Corn Syrup (which is worse for your health than regular cane/beet sugar), and therefore the chocolate that is available is a lot less sweet, and usually a lot healthier too. Naturally, chocolatey things such as Nutella and Ferrero-Roche are both available in Denmark-and besides Ritter Sport and Tomblerone are the most popular.
Moving to Canada at the age of 4, I found my favorite chocolate to be M&Ms and homemade mousse from the local chocolatier in Ottawa. At this point my taste was rather unrefined and anything sweet was considered edible.
However, at the age of 7 I moved back to Denmark and by the time I was 13 I'd taken a preference to very dark, bitter chocolate.
But, as I mentioned earlier, I live in a diplomatic family so... we went to live in Washington DC for four years (where I am now). The food-culture shock was significant. Everything was a lot sweeter (since it uses corn syrup which is a lot sweeter than sugar) and that ruled out a lot of chocolates-even ones of THE SAME BRANDS that I used to eat (for example, Snickers).
So to answer the question: Are American Chocolates really too sweet?
In my opinion, well, it depends on the kind of American chocolate. The Rainforest Certified brands (endangered species chocolate) and local "gourmet" chocolatiers (I've been to every state and only found an abundance of these in Hawaii, New York, Michigan and the New England area) are the best you could call American. I much prefer dark chocolate, so if we generalize and take all the top brands into account, the chocolate over here is too sweet.
Thanks for starting such an interesting and unusual conversation ^^
Detective Mask (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 02/10/13 | Reply
Thanks for your comment.
When I ate the chocolate (in particular the the Nestle Milk Chocolate, the Crunch chocolate, and the Turkish chocolates) it felt quite smooth in my mouth. I can't really say the same thing for the other chocolates I mentioned in my post, since they're not purely chocolate.
However, I'll try to observe that grainy texture later on to check if that really is the case.
And I'm happy to know that you enjoyed reading this post. Good day!
Senior Otaku++ | Posted 02/09/13 | Reply
hmmm... i wouldn't say that all American chocolate are sweet. It kinda depends on the brands and the manufactures that make them. the nestle chocolates you've mention for sure are sweet. Even though in the ingredients they all say that they contain chocolate, I don't really consider them as real chocolate, because I think they are too processed. Also when you ate the chocolate, do you notice how grainy in the texture is? kinda like cocoa paste?
every so often I would eat them, but they aren't satisfying. So I would go to Hershey's chocolate, but those too are not satisfying, though better in taste and texture when compared to nestle's. Sorry for blabbering -__-
So most of the time I would go with a chocolate bar that are not well known brands, less advertise, or that they are help funding for causes(like the endangered species bars that Hisaishi mentioned)or are organic ^^
those really satisfy my craving for good chocolate^^
Interesting post by the way ^^ I enjoyed it :)
I'm glad that you posted on the highlight ^^
see you around ^^
Otaku Colonel (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 02/08/13 | Reply
It was actually the first time I'd ever seen it!
Well, I wouldn't mind participating in a chocolate comparison test :P
I hope you find the perfect chocolate!
Detective Mask (Otaku Eternal) | Posted 02/08/13 | Reply
Is that the Kinder Bueno? I've regularly seen that chocolate in groceries, but I didn't really get too enticed to buy it. I think the price was the key factor in it.
The last time I remember eating it, it does seem to have that hazelnut cream. And it's true, it probably isn't a good example to compare it with Crunch chocolate. I think that what makes my own comparison a bit invalid. It's like comparing M&M's to a Hershey's bar. You can compare which is sweeter, but then again you know they are two different types of chocolates.
Here in America, when I eat chocolate, it's always delicious on that first bite, and then it all blends together... and I'm sorry I didn't save any for a later first bite.
I think chocolate is a very "big" thing, culturally speaking. People who say they don't like it get weird stares like they said they don't like dessert. Chocolate chip cookies and milk, triple chocolate cake, jumbo size Halloween candy....
With Valentines day coming up, it's just assumed that everyone likes chocolate and it's a safe gift.
I just visited Cost Plus World Market the other day and my friend
bought so much chocolate- she obviously knows what she wants and where to get it. I was surprised by all the Kit Kat flavors, including mint and hazel nut. She also bought this chocolate bar called Bueno that has hazel nut in it... this doesn't seem to be a very popular trend in America, and I'm not sure how it will taste...
huh, made in Poland!
I'm gonna eat it right now :P It meet's the requirement, only 18 grams of sugar..
I wish I had a crunch bar near by to compare it too, but I want to say the chocolate tastes less sweet, but the hazelnut actually overpowers it, so maybe this isn't the best example!
This was actually a very interesting read, Hisaishi. And I think I might consider your suggestions.
These days, I'm becoming more discerning with my chocolate. I tend to buy chocolate only if it contains less than 20 grams of sugar. That automatically disqualifies a lot of American chocolates (especially that oh-too-sweet Snickers).
I think I've seen that Endangered Species brand somewhere here in a health shop. It's really good to see a product like chocolate being used for a good cause.
The dark chocolate suggestion is interesting but I don't think it would work well with me. I ate something similar to it (Whittaker's Dark Ghana, which contains 72% cocoa), and I found it a bit too bitter for my taste. But hey, that's just me.
Personally, I would suggest Whittaker's Peanut Slab. It combines two of my favorite foods: milk chocolate and whole roasted peanuts. The chocolate is relatively small and kinda resembles a small gold bar. But with 18g of sugar, it's just perfect for my taste.
Otaku Legend | Posted 02/07/13 | Reply
American, reporting for duty!
I'll admit, our most popular chocolate products are sickly sweet. For example, eating a pack of classic M&Ms by yourself is alright, if you pace yourself. Noshing the whole thing in a short amount of time is quite possibly the stupidest thing you could do. There is a reason those candies are not bars. They were meant to be shared or consumed over long periods. On average, if I'm eating M&Ms, it's at a theater and the whole thing could tide me over until about the third act.
It's not just M&Ms, though. I live just over an hour and forty-five minutes away from the chocolate capital of not just America, but quite possibly the world. I am talking about Hershey, PA. There, you can find quite possibly the sweetest chocolate I've ever tasted, the classic Hershey Bar. The only reason I would ever touch a Hershey Bar is through S'mores making or if someone gave it to me for free. I taste the cane sugar more than actual chocolate. That's also the point.
I did a project back in fifth grade and the history behind the bar was a trip to Europe in which Milton Hershey, inventor and entrepreneur, noticed the only chocolates available were cordials (which are nasty). Children at parties would take cordials from the table, go outside, and eat the chocolate only while refusing the syrup or spitting out the almond inside. So he created the world's first solid chocolate bar. The bar was meant to appeal to children and it does. But when I went to Hershey a few years back for vacation, I found a better bar called the Symphony. White chocolate, almond and toffee combo, two of my favorites. Of course, you can never find anywhere within spitting distance of my town, but that's my luck. I go to an awesome place with great food and I can never find it afterwards. REALLY AMERICA. WHY DO YOU NOT IMPORT IRN BRU? IT'S SCOTTISH SODA THAT KICK ARSE!
*ahem* rant over
It may be my refined, organic tastes, but I prefer international chocolates. I discovered the Italian made Nutella hazelnut spread during a trip to Germany and man, that is addictive. There's also the France-based Scharffen Berger chocolate line which I've have a few times and it's pretty good.
Don't count the Americans out, though. There's TCHO, a California based luxury company that develops chocolates with different taste bud reactions (nutty chocolate, fruity chocolate), taking local products and shipping to a factory on the docks. Then there's Asher's, whose headquarters is not fifteen minutes away from where I live. While not entirely perfect, their extensive catalogue gives enough options to make educated decisions. Even brands like Nestle and Hershey make dark chocolate versions of their best treats.
My personal choice for a good solid bar is the brand Endangered Species, my favorite chocolate of all time. The best chocolate bar is the Panther, which ramps up the cacao level to 88%, qualifying it as Special Dark chocolate, which is near baking bar levels of quality. In addition, they have several varieties including cranberry, blueberry, cacao nibs, and varying levels of cacao. Plus, 10% of net profits of every bar are donated to save a certain species of endangered wildlife, so bonus!
In short as possible, popular brands from Hershey, Mars, and Nestle are good in small quantities. After a while, the discerning or unintroduced palette will grow sick of it. Best go with lesser known brands that are rarer to find or out of country.
(also, if this seemed long winded, we Irish-blooded Pennsylvanians take food VERY seriously)