Last night I got into a discussion with some friends about the benefits of living abroad, even for a short period of time, compared to an otherwise homogeneous American experience. The conversation followed a predictable path, and my experiences in downtown London didn’t exactly trigger life-changing culture shock, but it was well-timed given this morning’s top emailed New York Time piece on The World’s Best Candy Bars.
Babel it isn’t, but there are plenty of good nuggets in this article. I never get cavities, but eating a Cadbury’s every time I rode the Tube sent me home to a painful dental visit (I suppose the cider may have also had something to do with it). It was worth it though. I’ve been in love with the Crunchie since my friend came home with them from Ireland in third grade:
With its crisp honeycomb interior, it’s what a Butterfinger might be if it went to finishing school and married up.
There are a lot of things you miss about America when you go to Europe. Water pressure and peanut butter come quickly to mind. But the selection, price, and quality of candy bars in the UK easily surpasses our crop, even if they only sell Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in ex-pat shops.
And when I got home, I soon realized that buying the overpriced Cadbury bar from the grocery store wasn’t going to do it: Hershey just licensed the name to charge a premium on their bland attempt at chocolate.
Mr. Smart, who has lived in the United States for 25 years, learned early on in his life here that British and American chocolate bars are different, even if they share a name and a look.
“One day I was eating a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk and I thought, this has absolutely no flavor,” he said. “I looked at the label and saw it was made by Hershey. I was outraged.”
They’re cheap, too. You would think American candy companies would have realized the competitive advantages of subsidizing candy bars by now. I’m generally a pretty nutritionally-minded eater, but I felt nothing but awe when my friend bought 100 (British) Milky Ways for 17 pounds.
Anyway, if you find yourself in the UK or Ireland any time soon, I’ll pay you back the 50p.
Although I’ll probably crack and order some here.