I recently had a friend in the US send me one of Pralus’ infamous Vanuatu bars (which isn’t sold in Australia). While he was at it, I asked him to throw in a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar, too.
Australia is very much a “Cadbury Dairy Milk” country. You can’t buy Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars here (or at least, I’ve never seen one). Nevertheless, we Aussies tend to learn about Hershey’s chocolate through American popular culture. For instance, I distinctly remember the very first time that I became aware of the name Hershey, courtesy of the 1986 movie “Stand By Me”, which I watched as an impressionable and slightly baffled 12 year old:
Vern: “I wasn’t that scared. I wasn’t. Sincerely.”
Gordie: “Okay then you won’t mind if we check the seat of your jockies for Hershey squirts, will you?”
So, finally, 20 years later, I have obtained a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar … and it tastes like … vomit. Very, very sweet vomit. But distinctly, undoubtedly vomit. In a word, I found Hershey’s chocolate disgusting.
Coincidentally, a few days ago I read an article in the newspaper about a woman who was working with butyric acid. The article explained that butyric acid smells like vomit. On a hunch, I Googled “butyric acid + Hershey’s”, and discovered this gem of a page, called [url="http://www.rps.psu.edu/0009/chocolate.html"]“Finding the Flavor of Chocolate”[/url], which includes the following quote:
“Butyric acid comes from the milk fats in the chocolate. In a process called lipolysis, the fatty acids in the milk decompose, resulting in a rancid, or “goaty” taste. Hershey’s purposefully puts their chocolate through controlled lipolysis, giving it that unique flavor. Because of this, most Europeans don’t like Hershey’s chocolate — but Americans do.”
So, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate really does taste like vomit … and, incredibly, there are millions of people in the world who actually enjoy eating it!
I don’t expect anyone on seventypercent to say that Hershey makes great chocolate, but the fact that Hershey’s is, on average, as palatable to Americans as Cadbury is to Australians is pretty amazing to me, and is a very powerful illustration of how strongly conditioned our palates are!