The obesity epidemic in America clearly cannot be attributed to American Chocolate. Why? Have you tasted it? Hershey’s, quite frankly, does not make the cut. That’s saying something from a foreigner who openly supports Pennsylvania to unsympathetic Americans (whose only reason for hating the state seems to be the Steelers suck and the Amish are creepy. Go to Michigan and you’ll find out what creepy means. Even people who live in Michigan hate Michigan.) I don’t care if you live next to the Hershey’s factory, it is a family tradition to tour the place annually or you in fact own the factory. Hershey’s, and I am sorry to say, most American chocolate is sub par. It lacks richness, a density and silky quality found in many other chocolates. Russian chocolate was surprisingly good, French, Belgium and even German chocolate is to die for. So what’s wrong here in America? I sent a box of American chocolate home to my family (in Australia) and they took one bite out of it and threw it away. (Regardless of the fact it cost $30 to send it to them.) I believe my dear father’s exact reaction was, “What was that sh*t? Don’t send anymore. It’s rubbish.” Which was quickly interrupted by one of my brothers saying poetically, “That was the worst sh*t I’ve ever tasted. What part of your a** did you pull that from?” The worst to a foreign palette? Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Seriously.
Enter Fuzziwigs. I found this cute little candy and chocolate shop along Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The first thing that drew me in the fact it is a visual circus. I literally did not know where to look. The second thing was the lady behind the counter gave me a free bar of fudge as she had broken it trying to wrap it and couldn’t sell it. The third was they sell Bounty and Crunchies – decent chocolate available in the UK and Australia.
After wandering around the store for an hour trying to decide what to buy and squealing with delight that they sold orange chocolate, marvelling at the extra-large gummy bears that were, without exaggeration, in excess of 10cm tall, I bought some things to try out so I could review the chocolate and hopefully change my mind that American chocolate lacks a certain something. I am now looking towards specialty boutiques and family owned chocolate factories to find the best American chocolate in the country.
The caramel bar, I was told = DELICIOUS. It was in fact too dense, overly salted and lacked a depth or richness. The two petites were OK but again lacked a certain density in flavour. What saved the afternoon were the truffles. The champagne truffle was dense, rich and sweet but had a tender bitterness to it. The champagne truffle is the white one above. When you bite into the hard white chocolate shell, there was a ball of milk chocolate with an often missing cocoa content. It was dense and rich but overpriced. It still wasn’t the best chocolate I have had in the country but it gave me hope. One day I may find a blissful truffle of goodness.
I ended the afternoon going back to my American favourites which aren’t American at all – Lindt truffles and Double Milk Chocolate, and Ferrero Roche. If you are planning on buying me chocolate this Valentines Day, please do not stray too far from these.
What chocolates would you recommend to a foreigner like me? What’s your favourite American chocolate?