Why does Hershey's chocolate taste so bloody horrible?

A taste made not for British tongues.

Chocolate candy bar

One of the many, many things that British people struggle with in America is the difference in our chocolate. We can look past the squabbling over guns, abortion and gay rights - it's only been two hundred-odd years, by all means take your time - but the chocolate it something we can't get over.

America is supposed to be the king of candy, and though some of their gastronomic monstrosities are certainly sugarific, chocolate is something they don't seem to have nailed en masse.

We Brits are used to the rich, creamy, smooth silk that is Cadbury (even though Kraft seem hellbent on ruining it for all of us), whereas Americans have Hershey's - a name no doubt familiar to your ear.

Given that all American culture eventually ends up being global cultural, it was no surprise to see bars of Hershey's start creeping their way into our quaint little supermarchés. What was a surprise, however, was the discovery that America's favourite chocolate bar tastes rather like one imagines dog treats coated in vomit to taste.

America, what's going on? Why does your chocolate taste like unadulterated crap?

Source: Let Ideas Compete

The answer is, unsurprisingly, in the ingredients: specifically the milk and the cocoa.

The milk used in Hershey's Milk Chocolate is treated to make it last longer; the actual process is a trade secret but speculators think that the milk is intentionally soured to promote longevity. A process called lipolysis releases butyric acid, which stabilises the milk against further fermentation, and also makes it taste like dick cheese.

Additionally we have to consider the amount of cocoa present in the chocolate. The EU requires that milk chocolate contain at least 30% cocoa, whereas in the US only 10% cocoa is needed to qualify as chocolate.

However these numbers are deceptive, as the definition of 'cocoa' differs between the two markets. In the US this refers to non-fat cocoa powder, whereas in the EU it refers to both cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Hershey also sources and processes its cocoa differently, so that will factor into the difference in flavour.

So there you have it, it's the difference in milk and cocoa that make Hershey's so god awful and Cadbury's so brilliant. But how can Americans tolerate the sick-smelling sweets? It's often the only chocolate they've ever known and have come to expect that tangy, acidic taste. So don't rage at our cross-Atlantic cousins.

Pity them.