Re: Hershey's chocolate
I saw in interesting documentary on Hershey that claimed the reason why American chocolate is so nasty is historical.
In the 19th century, Europe had a Chocolate fad. East coast America picked this up as Europe was trendy to Americans who lacked a long history, and looked across the Atlantic for trends and fashions. East Coast America is fairly cool and the major cities were fairly close together, so chocolate could be made and moved quite easily,
When the frontiers started getting civilised (mainly with the railroads), high quality goods from the east coast were sent around the country because those people wanted to be seen a sophisticated, and chocolate was a small luxury that could be afforded in small quantities. Unfortunately, America is a big place, and often quite hot.
This meant that chocolate arriving on the West coast or the South was often in box cars for days in hot conditions, and quite naturally went off. The milk in the chocolate became rancid. The people receiving such luxury items did not know that it was off because they did not have anything to compare it to, only knowing that it was the trendy thing to eat and just accepted that this was how it should taste, and got used to it.
When Hershey, Pa (aka Chocolatetown, USA) was built, and they commissioned refrigerated box cars on the railways to distribute the product in ideal conditions, the outcry about the change of taste from the rest of the US was so great that Hershey changed the process to re-create the taste of gone-off chocolate that Americans now favoured. And the rest is history.
Mind you, I understand that Americans now go wild about the taste of Cadbury's chocolate (and buying the company, unfortunately), so maybe they are beginning to see sense. Having said that, I guess that people from places like Belgium and France probably throw their hands up in the air at British chocolate, which substitutes vegetable fat for milk fat.
But I prefer it that way, and that's what matters to me.