Why Does American Chocolate Taste Bad?
Why Does American Chocolate Taste Bad?

Chocolate is one of America’s favorite desserts with 90% of people claiming to love this sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet treat. You eat it in candy bars, cakes, and muffins, and even mix it with your milk, coffee, and liquor. At this point, chocolate should be one of the major food groups!

Since Americans consume an average of 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, it’s probably worth learning a little more about the nation’s selection.

The taste of American chocolate is a common misconception. Americans have long wondered why their chocolate tastes so bad. In their own words, it tastes like cilantro.

Who invented chocolate?

Chocolate’s 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present-day Mexico. It’s here that the first cacao plants were found. The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, was the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine.

Centuries later, the Mayans praised chocolate as the drink of the gods. Mayan chocolate was a revered brew made of roasted and ground cacao seeds mixed with chilies, water and cornmeal. Mayans poured this mixture from one pot to another, creating a thick foamy beverage called “xocolatl”, meaning “bitter water.”

By the 15th century, the Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. They believed that chocolate was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl, and drank it as a refreshing beverage, an aphrodisiac, and even to prepare for war.

Why Does American Chocolate Taste Bad?

American chocolate is notorious for its slightly sour or tangy flavor. It has this characteristic because of the stabilization process used to make Hershey’s. The production of this acid is standard in fermented foods, including certain cheeses, booze, and pickled products. Butyric acid is a substance that has a pungent smell, and the taste of American chocolate can’t compete with the same bitterness of European treats.

It could be that the cacao content of the candy is too high. That’s one reason why the American version tastes sour, but it’s not the only reason why American-produced candy bars are so bland. There are several other reasons why American chocolate tastes bad, though. If you wonder why it tastes so bad, read on to find out what the culprit is. You might be surprised!

In a nutshell, American chocolate tastes terrible because of the butyric acid in the chocolate. It is, in fact, more acidic than its European counterpart. It also contains higher levels of sugar than other chocolates, leading to a sour taste. Butyric acid also contributes to the unpleasant taste of Hershey’s candy, making it taste funny. But, it does not mean that all Hershey’s chocolate is terrible. Instead, it is simply a case of preference.

The taste of American chocolate is a result of acidity. Hershey’s chocolate, for example, has a very unique flavor. In fact, it is a myth that American chocolate tastes terrible. This is not the case. In fact, sour and bitter American chocolate is much like the chocolate of other nations. They have similar flavors. But they differ from each other. In America, it is a matter of preference. If you’re not sure, try a chocolate bar from Europe.

Why Europeans Hate the Taste of American Chocolate

Photo: heyexplorer
Photo: heyexplorer

Milton Hershey started his chocolate business in 1894, and it boomed for nearly 35 years when he decided to make a change to the ingredients as competition ramped up through the early 20th century. Instead of going for products that would boost the quality of the chocolate, which would ultimately raise overhead costs, Hershey went for longer preservation.

In 1930, the Hershey factory began introducing a process to the milk used in its chocolate that would extend the shelf life. Known as lipolysis, enzymes are mixed into milk to help break down fats and lipids. In order to get the process going, butyric acid must first be added to the mixture.

The acid is naturally occurring in rancid butter, spoiled milk, animal fats — and even human vomit. All things that don’t smell the very best, have a very distinct taste, and likely behind why Europeans tend not to dabble in American-made chocolate.

With Hershey’s new process, chocolate could live on shelves for up to a year. Cadbury had a similar shelf life — but its steps to extend it didn’t include revamping the recipe with partially sour milk.

For Americans, and the Defense Department, in particular, the new recipe was a hit. The company scored a contract with the Army during World War II to produce D-rations, which were emergency meal replacements. In 1945, the last year of the war, the company was producing upwards of 24 million chocolate bars per week.

That same year, the Hershey Chocolate Corp. received its fifth Army-Navy E Award for its contributions to the war. As a result of its new method, other American chocolatiers began to implement the process that not only preserved chocolate but gave it that distinct taste.

Why Does American Chocolate Have Such A Waxy Texture?

Because the United States is often warmer than the United Kingdom, Hershey's chocolate sold in the United States contains wax to prevent it from melting. This, predictably, makes it waxy.

Butyric acid (which can also be found in puke) is to blame. According to the Daily Mail story, the presence of butyric acid in Hershey’s chocolate (among others) is to blame. Butyric acid can also be found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and vomit.

Chocolate with a grainy or waxy feel is usually of lesser grade. Quality chocolate melts fast in the mouth or in the palm of your hand because cocoa butter melts at or just below body temperature. Allow a small piece of chocolate to melt on your tongue when tasting it to get the full flavor.

The difference between British and American chocolate

The cocoa solids percentage

To be classed as chocolate in Britain, it must contain a minimum of 20% cocoa solids, whereas American chocolate only needs to contain 10%. This accounts for much of the differences in taste. Most other places in Europe prefer an even higher ratio of cocoa solids.

Some American chocolate confectionery such as candy melts or candy melts substitutes don’t even contain cocoa solids. However, cocoa content isn’t the only difference.

While the debate continues, it is important to point out that it is a matter of taste; deciding which chocolate is better is entirely subjective. It comes down to a taste preference. That being said, there are three significant distinctions in ingredients between British and American chocolate.

First is the cocoa content, as mentioned above. For example, a Cadburys bar contains 23% cocoa to a Hershey bars 11%, this obviously significantly impacts the taste and even the colour of the bars themselves.

The sugar amount

The second major difference is the sugar content. To account for the lesser cocoa content, American-made chocolate has more sugar in it.

This continues the tradition of sometimes excessively sugary food for America. Although, by comparison, Americans consider British chocolate to be more bitter because there is less sugar in British chocolate because the cocoa levels are higher, it isn’t necessary.

Salt content

To counteract the sweetness of chocolate, the USA chocolate manufacturers also use slightly more salt in chocolate than UK chocolate makers.

Quite often the salt is masking the inferior quality of the chocolate and the higher amount of sugar. To an ordinary customer, the chocolate might taste fine, but they will be probably eating more salt than their recommended daily intake.

The fat–butter amount

Then there is the fat content. American and British chocolate has different levels of cocoa butter and cream in their chocolates.

British chocolates obviously use British butter and cream, which in itself has a higher fat content; this gives British chocolate its smoother, richer flavor. This is an easy way to distinguish between the different countries' production processes.

The taste & flavor difference

In terms of which chocolate tastes better, it really comes down to preference. American chocolate is sweeter and uses a smaller variety of added extra ingredients such as nuts and caramels.

British chocolate is smoother and richer and has far more potential added extras. If you want to decide for yourself, why not try both. The Sweet Hamper Company has both British and American chocolate hampers; you can order both and decide for yourself.

You’ll find that the American version of other traditional sweets such as toffee often includes nuts, peanuts, or praline, whereas the British version is usually plain.

What’s The Difference Between European And American Chocolate?

Photo: history
Photo: history

There’s a lot of dispute about whether European or American chocolate is superior. There is, however, no disagreement. It’s impossible to say whether European or American chocolate is superior; it’s all a matter of personal preference.

There are four critical variations between American and European chocolates that you will notice, and the cocoa content is one of them. In the United States, chocolate must include a lower amount of cacao, ten percent to be exact, whereas in Europe, anything labeled “chocolate” must contain twenty percent or more. If you compare a Hershey bar made in America to a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar created in Europe, for example, you’ll notice a considerable variation in taste. That’s because Cadbury milk bars contain 23 percent cacao, compared to only 11 percent cacao in American-made Hershey bars, resulting in a significantly darker, richer flavor in the Cadbury bar.

The sugar content is the second key distinction. Because American-made chocolate contains a lower percentage of cacao, it has a higher sugar level. As a result of the low sugar concentration, Americans are recognized for their lighter, sweeter milk chocolates, whereas Europeans consider their chocolates to be practically bitter.

Another difference between American and European chocolates is their fat content. Americans and Europeans use different amounts and fat content of cocoa butter and cream in their chocolates. European chocolates have a smoother, richer flavor due to the higher fat content of European butter and cream. Europe adds extra cocoa butter to emphasize the smoothness of the chocolates, emphasizing the taste difference even more.

Finally, there is a distinction in the sources of cocoa beans in Europe and America. Chocolate makers in the United States prefer to utilize beans from South America. Still, chocolatiers in Europe, such as those in the United Kingdom, prefer to use beans from West Africa. Because different beans produce varied flavors, one type of bean may taste better than another, depending on your palate.

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