There’s been a bit of chatter about Cadbury over the past few months. First, Cadbury is going Fair Trade with their most popular product, the Dairy Milk bar. Since the bar is the United Kingdom’s #1 selling bar with $852 million in sales buying only fair trade cocoa will make a huge difference for cocoa growing regions. (It’s also #1 in Australia and India. ) The second bit of news is that Kraft, the global food powerhouse that owns not only a large corner of the cheese food world but also Toblerone, Terry’s Chocolate and Cote d’Or, made a bid for Cadbury.
Cadbury has chocolate factories all over the world and each one has slightly different local takes on the product. Here in the United States the Cadbury Dairy Milk products aren’t even made by Cadbury, they’re made by Hershey’s under a licensing agreement. (But it’s not like Hershey’s even makes it from scratch, the major raw material of the chocolate crumb – a mixture of dried milk and chocolate – is shipped to Hershey, Pennsylvania to be combined on site with sugar and other ingredients to form the end product.
) I thought it was high time to compare these two different recipes. So I found the closest products I could to compare.
I found a nice single serve block of Cadbury Dairy Milk from the UK. It was in marvelous condition and looked like it had been stored well at the India Sweets & Spices where I shop – it’s kept at the end of the produce section in the refrigerated area – so it’s climate controlled. I also picked up a few of the super cute Dairy Milk Buttons, which are little chocolate disks. For the American version I found a nice back of Dairy Milk Miniatures from Hershey’s Signatures line. It’s apparent when putting them side by side like this that the American made (on the left) is darker than the UK made one (on the right).
What I liked about these two products is that they single pieces of each were similar shapes & thickness. Both have a nice sheen and are well molded. The UK Dairy Milk Bar features a lovely matte purple wrapper. It’s easy to open, though not easy to close. I liked the deeply segmented bar that broke easily into pieces. Each is beveled, so it’s easy to snap off and easy to bite. The bar smells sweet and rather cheesy, like cottage cheese or maybe yogurt. The cocoa notes are sweet, more like chocolate cake than cocoa. In fact, but those together and the closest I can get is this smells like a rich chocolate cheesecake.
The melt is thick and sticky; it’s sweet at first but then gives way to some deep toffee and caramel sugar notes. Then it gets sweet again … a bit too sweet for me. After two pieces my throat was burning and I had to drink some water and eat some plain crackers. The melt is consistent. Quite smooth but not silky or buttery. It didn’t feel fatty, it felt fudgy – like the sugar wasn’t quite integrated with the cocoa. The dairy notes were decent, a little thick in the back of my throat but not as powdery tasting as some other European style milk chocolates. Overall I would have preferred a much smoother & more chocolatey punch.
However, that’s not what the Dairy Milk bar is about, it’s about the milk component as much as the chocolate, since there are near equal proportions. Milk solids clock in at 23% and cocoa solids are 20%. There are also about 5% vegetable fats in there taking the place of cocoa butter. This is why the front of a Dairy Milk bar doesn’t even say chocolate – they’d have to put the vegetable statement on the front along with it by their current labeling standards. I wanted to be as thorough as I could, so I also tasted a package of Dairy Milk Buttons which are kind of like Hershey’s Kisses in that they’re little nibbles of chocolate.
They’re about the diameter as pennies (though some were dime or nickel sized). The bottom has a little embossed Cadbury logo. Each little piece is rather thin, so melts quickly on the tongue. They release the flavors quicker and taste more milky to me. There’s also a slight cool effect on the tongue. I liked them, and the little shapes are probably very easy to combine with other items like nuts, popcorn or candies for a more varied mix of textures. The American has a sweet, slightly tangy milk scent with a hint of toasted cocoa. The bit is soft but has a good snap to it.
The melt is a bit on the sticky side but not overly sweet. It has a bit of a fudgy flavor and texture, though much creamier. I wouldn’t go so far to call it silky, in fact parts of it were downright gritty. It had a good toasted & smoked taste to it, much darker in taste than the traditional Hershey’s or Mars. The overt flavors are definitely of the dairy products, not of the chocolate. It is Kosher … the UK bar has no Kosher mark. Okay, so they’re similar but not quite the same. I did some investigating on the labels: First, it’s the ingredients. Cadbury Dairy Milk from Bournville, UK.
Milk, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fat, emulsifiers, flavorings. 49 gram bar – Expiration: 11-2009 Cadbury Dairy Milk from Hershey, USA Sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, natural and artificial flavor. 8. 5 ounce miniatures package – Expiration: 12-2009 Since the portions & packages were so different, I did a little Excel magic on them and standardized it to compare: From what I can tell, there is a just a smidge less fat in the American but slightly more sugar … now these are tiny, tiny amounts. Not enough, as far as I know, to account for the color difference.
Also, the UK labels are more precise – American standards allow rounding, UK measures in tenths. I have no preference, except to say that I don’t care much for plain Dairy Milk. I prefer it with nuts in it and they do have an ample variety of bars that have nuts. It’s just too sweet and doesn’t have enough of a cocoa punch. I’ve become spoiled by the high cocoa content of products like Scharffen Berger and Amano when it comes to just eating by the piece. For those in the United States, the British made bars can be found at import shops and places like Cost Plus World Market.
For those in the UK, I’m sure it’s near impossible and pointless to get the American made stuff. So it all comes down to personal preference. There are lots of folks who prefer the American made because it’s what they’ve grown up on. It’s a little bit firmer because of the all-cocoa-butter content but not quite as milky as the classic British made bars. Have you had both? Which do you prefer? Related Candies Amano Milk Chocolate Ocumare Cadbury Dairy Milk Snack Scharffen Berger Milk Nibby Bar Cadbury Canadian Creme Eggs Cadbury Mini Eggs Dairy Milk Bubbly.
He left a little pad with candy recipes that were tentatively going to be made. Cadbury bought Peter Paul out. My entire family (except for myself and a cousin) were all employed at PP at one time or another. How sad to see Peter Paul empty on my last visit to Naugatuck,Conn. Comment by Mary Ann Altiere on 9/21/09 at 2:34 pm # english. i refer the melt and milky hot cocoa quality. Comment by vampiress on 9/21/09 at 3:58 pm # Awesome that they’re making it fair trade, do you know if it will be their choc from all over the world or only in the UK?
Comment by Leigh on 9/21/09 at 11:46 pm # The UK bar is certainly much better looking; I think it’s definitely sweeter than the US version, too, but I don’t mind at all. I hate “strong” chocolate—more than 30% or so cocoa solids and the bar is too bitter for me. What can I say, I have the taste buds of a five-year-old! Comment by Alix on 9/22/09 at 2:01 am # I always say that finding out US and UK chocolate is different is like finding out the Beatles albums were different in the US and UK! Comment by the surfing pizza on 9/22/09 at 4:51 am #.
I moved next door to a British import shop as I started high school, and was thrilled to discover the UK Cadbury’s. I find them much superior and enjoy the slightly milkier flavor and creamier texture. I’m not a huge fan of their darker chocolates, but for milk UK Cadbury’s wins my mainstream vote. Comment by Mori-neko on 9/22/09 at 5:27 am # I much prefer the UK version. Right now my favourite mix is the white chocolate buttons, dried sour cherries and salted cashews! Comment by Heather on 9/22/09 at 6:58 am # I live in the US but holiday in the UK most years. I much much much prefer
the UK version. Hershey chocolate (and, by extension, US Cadburys) always tastes slightly off to me. The Cadbury version is sweeter, yes, but it’s got a cleaner, fresher taste to me. I agree that plain Cadbury’s is a bit much – I prefer it nonplain. But the buttons are perfect! Comment by Dragon on 9/22/09 at 6:58 am # As a Brit I have never tried the US version but I always remember a friend bringing a bag of Hershey’s Kisses into college one day. It’s plain that us Brits prefer our chocolate sweeter – not one person liked the Hershey’s Kisses! Comment by Nikki on 9/22/09 at 8:44 am #.
I agree with your assessment. I’ve always found Cadbury’s Dairy Milk to be much too sweet to eat on its own. There are English chocolates that I enjoy. I think that the dark Terry’s Orange is near perfect. The only UK chocolate product that I really want to try is a Curly-Wurly. Comment by Dave on 9/22/09 at 7:39 pm # @ Dragon, I think American chocolate is made with a different process from European chocolate which gives it that sour milk taste which can be a little offputting if you haven’t grown up with it. I’m not sure if repeated exposure helps with that though as I’ve never grown to like it.
Comment by Leigh on 9/23/09 at 12:24 am # Leigh, I think that most American chocolate is made with condensed liquid milk and most European milk chocolate is made with powdered milk. That probably makes a difference in the taste of the ingredients, but also in how the chocolate has to be processed before making it a bar (temp and time). I didn’t use to like Hershey’s because of its twang, but I kind of do now. Repeated exposure can make it better. Comment by Dave on 9/23/09 at 12:55 am # US chocolate especially Hershey (which makes Cadbury in the US) has a burnt milk flavor to it by design.
While english chocolate does not in most cases. This helps contribute to the full creamy flavor too. Personally – I think the difference in quality between UK and US bars is undeniably in favor of the UK. The sheer richness in the chocolate as it melts in your mouth is without match. Comment by Kirk on 9/23/09 at 2:02 am # I live in the UK and Cadbury’s always been my favourite chocolate. This was really interesting to read – I never knew it was so different. I’m going to find a Hersheys-Cadburys chocolate bar methinks. Maybe I have some willing over-sea friends?
Comment by Jeanette Nam on 9/23/09 at 4:49 am # For the record, I am a born-and-bred American. I just am a severe Anglophile Jeanette – if you send me UK chocolate, I’ll be thrilled to send you US chocolate! Comment by Dragon on 9/23/09 at 5:38 am # Hey Dragon! I’d be up for that. You can contact me at [email protected] com. Comment by Jeanette Nam on 9/24/09 at 7:53 am # Dave, it’s actually partly the opposite way round lol much European chocolate is made with powdered milk, but Cadbury’s in the UK is made with pure fresh liquid milk whereas the Hershey Cadbury is made with powdered.
Comment by alan on 9/24/09 at 10:37 am # Alan – “chocolate crumb” is not the same thing as powdered milk. It’s the base from which all Cadbury chocolate (and all milk chocolate) is made. It’s simply the combination of the chocolate mass & milk products … from whatever origin they were. Whether the milk starts in liquid form or not, most of the water is removed from it using whatever proprietary means in their given process – basically oil & water don’t mix and that means milk & cocoa butter don’t get along too well either.
Milk solids & cocoa butter … well, they play really nicely. Comment by Cybele on 9/24/09 at 10:42 am # I think the comments above prove fairly conclusively that the UK chocolate is better Comment by alan on 9/24/09 at 11:06 am # Alan – define better? With more artery clogging palm oil? Yay! You win! There is no better, only preferred. (That must be said in a Yoda voice. ) I’m not sure why you have this need for one to be better than the other … they’re both Cadbury. One is made on Hershey’s premises. Cadbury has lots of factories all over the planet.
They don’t make identical chocolate everywhere. But they’re really clever to have made your favorite. Comment by Cybele on 9/24/09 at 11:13 am # By better I mean generally better quality and taste, and generally speaking UK European and UK chocolate tends to be considered better quality. Like I say UK Cadbury themselves have always made apoint of refering to using fresh liquid milk rather than powdered, despite the processes they go through (which may be similar technically)there is a big difference in the end result.
I don’t so much have a need for one to be better than the other (anymore than the next person) but I much prefer UK chocolate to US chocolate so would be pretty horrified if Cadbury was merged/taken over etc by Hershey as it would no doubt lead to fundamental changes in the chocolate (which doesn’t sit well with british tastes) production, loss of heritage etc etc etc. Comment by alan on 9/24/09 at 11:21 am # Alan – I still don’t know how you can say that the quality is measurably different. UK DM is diluted with vegetable oils. US DM is diluted with lactose. Why is one better? It just is. You can want to eat one more and I grant you that.
I don’t know why you keep mentioning the fresh milk issue … If you want to say that UK or European chocolate is better quality (or perhaps uses better ingredients), then you’re going to have to have eaten something other than Hershey’s or Mars, as that’s not the only chocolate in the States. Dove (Mars), Guittard, Scharffen Berger (Hershey’s), Ghirardelli, Amano, Askinosie, Peter’s, Wilbur and Theo are a good place to start. As I mentioned before, Hershey’s is not your threat, it’s Kraft and though they’re an American company they own huge holdings in Europe, including Terry’s Chocolate, Toblerone & Cote d’Or.
I don’t wish to see Cadbury scooped up (though a Hershey’s merger would probably be just that – the companies are more comparably sized and hold different markets so there wouldn’t be so much competition within the company, more complements). But Cadbury probably needs to hear that from you, not me. Comment by Cybele on 9/24/09 at 12:03 pm # Couldn’t ever stand Cadbury. Except at Easter and Christmas – the eggs and Terry’s Orange (does that even count? ) But even then when I’m done I feel like I have to rinse and brush my teeth for an hour or they’ll all fall out from the sugar.
It’s just too sweet! I’m in love with Meiji chocolate at the moment. Mmmmmmm. Chocolatey, not too sweet. My other love, of course, is still Hershey’s (comes with the territory, I guess. ) Comment by Tindy on 9/24/09 at 12:41 pm # I have to say, being Australian, that nothing beats the classic, original Australian Cadbury. Now I am yet to try the British Cadbury, so cannot judge on that, but I have to say that the Cadbury I tried in America was just plain awful. It tasted like a cheap and nasty imitation of the Australian version.
I have also tried Cadbury in South East Asia – its made in Malaysia, i think and it was even worse than the American. In my opinion, nothing beats Australian Cadbury, although I did stumble across an article recently from New Zealand, where they have recently replaced the New Zealand made Cadbury with blocks imported from Australia and the New Zealanders are not happy! So perhaps the New Zealand Cadbury is even better than the Australia, however I believe that it is probably a case of liking the chocolate you grew up with best of all, which in my case is pure Australian Cadbury from the factory in Tasmania.
Comment by Mel on 9/24/09 at 7:45 pm # I brought back 20 Cadbury bars back from the Uk 2 days ago and my kids and their friends have devored them all. Kids know best. UK Cadbury is the best. Comment by gc on 9/26/09 at 5:09 am # There are a lot of comments re “European” Chocolate. Please remember British chocolate is different to contiental chocolate. I am sat here with some Hersheys after coming back from the US. I have to amid I prefer Cadburys by a long way. I do however find it sad that Chocolates in the US are americanised so that general US public don’t get the chnace to try flavours from around the world.
Comment by JB on 9/29/09 at 7:58 am # Alan (21) I don’t think you really have to worry about Cadburys being bought out. Certainly not by Hersheys, which is half the size. It is just more dominant in the USA. Have you ever seen hersheys on sale in a high street shop in the UK? or in wider Europe? Remember Caburys doesn’t just do “Cadbury” branded products. It is also the worlds no 2 in chewing gum with brands such as trident etc. Comment by JB on 9/29/09 at 8:10 am # Cadbury? Differs from country to country manufacturers.
I have had an Australian “choco-holic” test out my taste that there are differences. She said that the bars made in Australia are smoother and richer tasting then European and American versions. She hates the taste of the American made bars! Not comparable in quality or taste to what is sold by See’s Candies! Comment by Tom on 10/07/09 at 5:49 am # I? ve spent a great deal of time in the US and have to say I never realised there was a difference between the US and UK version of Dairy Milk though I have never tried the US DM!
Although I do like both the UK Dairy Milk and Hersheys, I agree they do have slightly different tastes but I? m not sure if I would choose one over the other. However I would be disappointed to see either replaced by either in their respective countries. Now, if we could figure out how to get Utz to sell their potato chips in the UK, life would be so much better. For the Brits out there that haven? t tried them and are old enough to remember I would say remember Tudor! Before they were brought and closed by Walkers (Lays).