Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thanks a Million (Calories)

So KT and I are walking more, watching less TV, and biking again for the first time in a long time. But that merely helps us survive all the food festivals, sausage and mash, beers at the pubs and...British sweets. When in a new country one must try its candy and other desserts, of course. And I have, far too often. Brits seems to love dense chocolate and caramel covered shortbread cookie-cakes called Millionaires (updated recipe link here--scroll down) . They are at all the delis where one gets lunch--perhaps the equivalent of the American classic chocolate chip cookie. There's lot of tasty variations I've discovered (one pictured below).

The New York Times also recently had an interesting article relating that many people prefer British chocolate bars to American ones (The World's Best Candy Bars? English, of Course) . It describes people bringing back suitcases full of candy bars from England. Here's an excerpt:

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.''
Cadbury Dairy Milk is the iconic British candy bar, the one most likely to be tucked into the suitcase of a Yankee tourist looking for an inexpensive souvenir. Versions are filled with caramel, whipped fondant, whole nuts or pellets of shortbread cookie.

It's a different bar from the Cadbury bar available in the United States. According to the label, a British Cadbury Dairy Milk bar contains milk, sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, vegetable fat and emulsifiers. The version made by the Hershey Company, which holds the license from Cadbury-Schweppes to produce the candy in the United States under the British company's direction, starts its ingredient list with sugar. It lists lactose and the emulsifier soy lecithin, which keeps the cocoa butter from separating from the cocoa. The American product also lists ''natural and artificial flavorings.''

Tony Bilsborough, a spokesman for Cadbury-Schweppes in Britain, said his company ships its specially formulated chocolate crumb -- a mash of dried milk and chocolate to which cocoa butter will be added later -- to Hershey, Pa. What happens next accounts for the differences.
''I imagine it's down to the final processing and the blending,'' he said. After consulting with chocolate manufacturers in each country, Cadbury tries to replicate the taste people grew up with, he said. In the United States, that means a bar that is more akin to a Hershey bar, which to many British palates tastes sour.

Hmm, maybe I'll take the long walk to work today....jt


Stephanie said...

Thanks for the recipe link. I have to go to a function this weekend and am going to try making these Millionaire things. Just for the record, on that same link they give a recipie for butter tart sqaures. I learned all about butter tarts in Canada. I think eating them in a square might be illegal... then it's not really a tart.

Karen said...

Oh my goodness, those recipes look fantastic. yum yum yum!