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Kit Kat and Cadbury

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


My favorite treat in my childhood was a Kit Kat bar. Thank god for Rowntree’s. Indeed, it’s the Kit Kat that introduced me to the city of York, which I made it a point to visit on the first Saturday of my five-week stay in Leeds in the summer of 1977. (Well, okay, not because of Rowntree’s, which by then was Rowntree Mackintosh, but because York is such a beautiful, historic city, with its Roman and Viking heritage.)

Calamity struck in 1969, when Rowntree licensed Hershey to produce Kit Kat bars in the US. Sigh. They’re okay, but the chocolate simply isn’t as good. When Nestlé bought Rowntree in 1988, they were stuck with the licensing agreement — see the wikipedia article on Kit Kat and its references — so here in the US we continue to be consigned to a life with mediocre Kit Kat bars.

Yet, there is an alternative. We need only drive over the border to Canada. Or bring some back if we find ourselves in the UK. We have yet to make a special trip just for this purpose, but if we find ourselves abroad, we don’t pass up the opportunity. Indeed, last April, on Gail’s return from Scotland, she bought me some Kit Kats at Heathrow. Bless her.

And then there’s Cadbury chocolate, another sad story, and one that just happens to be in the news in the wake of Kraft’s failed bid last week to take Cadbury over. Once again, Hershey is the culprit. The Wall Street Journal’s front page feature article on Monday told the sad story of Cadbury chocolate lovers forced to subsist here in the US on Hershey’s bland substitute for the real thing. “Hershey has been making Cadbury bars in the U.S. for 21 years. Under a 1988 agreement, the company has the rights to manufacture and distribute Cadbury brands including Dairy Milk, Fruit & Nut and Caramello in the U.S.”

I love the Dairy Milk. The woman described in the opening of the WSJ feature aptly captures my own feelings.

When Gayle Green has a craving for chocolate, she piles her two children into her car and drives 45 minutes to the British Pantry store in Aldie, Va., where she stocks up on Cadbury chocolates imported from the U.K.

“I know — it’s sick, right?” says the 40-year-old social media director for a wedding Web site.

Ms. Greene could buy American-made Cadbury bars at a grocery store just a few minutes from her house in Woodbridge, Va. But since getting her first taste of British chocolate on a high-school trip to the U.K., she wants nothing to do with the stuff made in the U.S. “Oh, it’s so yuck,” she says. “You might as well eat a Hershey bar.”

But my deepest Cadbury love is Cadbury Fingers. They are so small and light, one can easily eat a whole package without even realizing it. A few years ago our friend Cynthia returned from Vancouver with two packages of them just for me. The only problem was, Gail and I had just started phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, to last for two weeks. No cookies or chocolate. Absolutely none. What to do? I decided I would allow myself two fingers a day. Not a whole package. Not three. Just two. No point letting them get old. And that’s what I did. I remain proud of the discipline that I displayed, and I still lost weight.

I believe Cadbury Fingers would be an excellent addition to the South Beach Diet. If only we had ready access to them.

Categories: Business, Food
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