For years, Americans have traveled abroad to discover the exotic and adventurous cuisine of other cultures; fine food prepared by the country’s most renowned chefs. And, many of these same American travelers are keen to explore the wide variety of candy flavors their country’s most enlightened taste bud experts haven’t even thought to experiment with. Welcome again to our continuing series of 10 Candy Bars America wished they had.
10. Cadbury Wunderbar in Canada
Cadbury has long been the second-largest confectionery producer globally, starting in London and spreading throughout the UK, Canada and finally the United States. One would expect trade between Canada and the U.S. to be relatively fluid save for the odd outrageous tariff here and there. But the Wunderbar is only available to U.S. neighbors to the North. From the German for marvelous, the Wunderbar has been hailed by some to be the greatest candy bar ever created. That’s high praise for what is essentially the Canadian version of the Butterfinger. But it’s no secret to anyone who has tasted the simple but perfect milk chocolate poured over rich peanut butter, the sweetest caramel and rice crisps lighter than air. Consumers have claimed they found the chocolate sweeter and the peanut butter much richer. It’s bright, orange center can confirm the authenticity of the ingredients. When Hershey’s considers you tough competition, you know you’ve got a product that both Canucks and Americans alike would find common ground to love.
9. Kinder Choco-Bons in the UK
Canada may also get some of the nicer Kinder imports from the UK, especially around Easter, but even their citizens are denied access to the glorious Choco-Bon. A trademark of Italian confectionary company Ferrrero, their variety of kid-friendly chocolate surprises have long been a tradition around the time to search for rabbit eggs. Oddly, though, it seems America doesn’t trust its kids with chocolate containing plastic prizes, making the chocolate eggs and their bounty illegal as choking hazards or potential weapons. Perhaps due to this ban, the U.S. apparently opted not to carry any Kinder products, meaning the only way one could get them is through the internet or a specialty candy shop. Alas, this is America’s loss, particularly with the Choco-Bon. These soft, milk chocolate balls are a delightful addition to some of the softest, finest blend of chocolate ever put on the market, all poured over a crunchy hazelnut core. So we implore all American children: don’t play with your food, it might actually lead to better candy.
8. Nestle Violet Crumble in Australia
The history of the Nestle Violet Crumble is a long and storied one that has largely gone unknown outside of Australia, but some histories are best left local. For though Nestle has long been associated with chocolate bars, they’ve never specifically identified with a country so patriotically. But for those outside of Australia, the Violet Crumble has a long reputation of being something fiercely Australian – something so very local its almost indigenous to the citizens. It’s best described as a more extreme version of a Cadbury Crunchie chocolate bar. The Crumble is a thick, hard honeycomb covered in chocolate. It’s the honeycomb that makes the Crumble entirely up to matter of taste. While some have found joy in eating the honeycomb based treat, others have found it to be a bit of a challenge to chomp down on, it’s definitely for the more adventurous chocolate aficionado. Nevertheless, it has been a staple of Australian life since its invention by English migrant Abel Hoadley in Melbourne. The Swiss-based Nestle did not acquire Hoadley’s bar until 1989, when the Crumble stopped being produced locally in Australia. That is, until two years ago, when the family-owned Robern Menz confectionary company struck a deal with Nestle to return production to their Adelaide-based operations. Proud to once again be in the hands of natives, it’s high time we all got the chance to dig into this curious confection.
7. Cadbury Twirl in the UK
Here’s an interesting bit of news for America: YOUR CHOCOLATE IS LYING TO YOU. While it’s true one can get products labeled “Cadbury” in the U.S., evoking that famous white bunny sitting next to a giant, chocolate egg wrapped in foil, but Hershey’s banned the import of the actual chocolate. So while the wrapper says one thing, the chocolate is essentially a Hershey bar in Cadbury clothing. As a result, there’s a long list of other specific Cadbury products unavailable in the United States, but perhaps most egregiously left off the import list is the Cadbury Twirl. The Twirl itself started out as a lie, released as just a single bar in the early 1970s. But Cadbury soon realized their mistake and repackaged the bars as twins in 1984. It’s long-rumored this was a happy accident that stemmed from an over-spill flaw in the process of designing single Flake bars. So while English Cadbury bars finally found their true nature, they’re sadly still fledgling to find themselves in the new country. One day, perhaps, Hershey’s and Cadbury will find some common ground, giving rise to a new kind of candy bar.
6. Túró Rudi in Hungary
Granted, Hungary’s favorite candy bars literal translation doesn’t sound all that appetizing. Something about the words “Curd Rod” or “Curd Bar” just don’t set the appetite afire. But make no mistake, cheese curds are rightfully popular outside of the U.S. Just North, there’s a fairly well-known dish called Poutine that will clear up any doubts Americans have about curds. Or they can just try a Turo Rudi, or curd rod, in Hungary. It comes in a variety of different flavors and sizes, but the dependable natural or “natur”, a simple, 30-gram milk chocolate bar of curd is a favorite. So well-known in its native land is the Rudi that it has even been spotted in local films. The different flavors come from a variety of jams mixed in with the curd, including old standards like strawberry as well as more exotic flavors such as apricot. No matter the flavor, the bar retains the reliably pleasing aromas of coconut and vanilla. It truly stands out as an example of ingredients seemingly foreign to many until they’ve tried them and realize they’re just like a taste of home.
5. Nestle Caramac in the UK
Venture with us back in the early days of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. The smokestacks rise high over the streets of West Yorkshire where John MacIntosh is hard at work blending the hard, traditional English Toffee with the soft, richness of American Caramel. It would become known as MacIntosh Celebrated Toffee and would lead the inventor and his creation to fame. George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle” off The White Album is nothing but a list of flavors both real and imagined, in a box of MacIntosh chocolates. The MacIntosh company was also responsible for creating the similar in taste but different in concept Caramac. The caramel-flavored bar is of a light brown tint, shaped much like a Kit Kat. The name, however, is one that honors that longstanding tradition of great English chocolate: It’s a combination of Caramel and MacIntosh. Nestle may now own the bar, but it kept its history.
4. Cadbury 5 Star in Brazil
We’ve yet to visit South America, which has its own brand of exotic, fascinating flavors of Chocolate Bars completely independent of their European counterparts. The caramel and nougat Cadbury 5 Star may have started in India in 1969, but it’s since spread into Brazil under its sister company Lacta. The Brazillian version of the candy bar retains the original, classic golden wrapper covered in gold stars. The look and general feel one gets from the 5 Star packaging is one of empowerment and achievement. It’s certainly what their Facebook page is aiming for, boasting 5 Star’s ability to be used as an ingredient in any number of recipes including pecan pies, apple loaf and brownies. And given Brazil’s long association with soccer, Cadbury often launches competitions for consumers to win a chance to witness a championship game live. Their marketing tends to be geared towards a younger demographic, making special note to mention that the delicious bar is surprisingly easy on the wallet.
3. Fry’s Turkish Delight in the UK
So much of C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia has been adopted by Americana, but perhaps the most elusive pleasure from the novels remains a mystery to even the most traveled reader. In the books, a Turkish Delight was the ultimate in temptation, driving characters to sell their entire families for a simple box of candy. Whatever the case, Turkish Delight never quite made it over the border. It’s a shame, too, because Fry’s rose-flavored chocolate bar is the kind of exotic sweet that Americans tend to go for while traveling, or at least order online. Most U.K. citizens will instantly be familiar with the 1950s slogan that Cadbury still employs, “Full of Eastern Promise” as being spoken by 60s icon June Lumb. Lumb appeared uncredited in A Hard Day’s Night and Goldfinger, but she was best known as a model in the swinging 60s. She would advertise for the candy while she gallivanted around the U.K with the rest of the British invasion. Americans, however, are largely out of the loop when it comes to floral-flavored candy, a fact a wise entrepreneur may want to make note of for future ventures. Which makes sense, given that floral flavors are much more indigenous to India and European countries. Maybe it’s high time America adopt this Euro-trend and pay the same attention to their candy flavors as they do their wine.
2. Nestle Rolo In Canada
Yet another product marred by a lack of proper distribution. The Rolo may well be seen in the U.S., but it’s under the Hershey company name. And because of this, Americans will also forever miss out on Britain’s ingenious, much-loved ad campaign, “Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?” There’s something downright malicious about that question, almost as though the company was daring one into a Saw-like scenario. Naturally, it’s meant to be entirely harmless, but it does demonstrate a major disconnect between how products are advertised in America and other countries. Fortunately, Americans don’t have to travel far to get an authentic Rolo, the chewy caramel delights that you can pop like Mentos. The very nature of their shape makes them easy to pluck from their tower, almost ensuring one will grow addicted to popping them out and into the mouth. There’s really little more satisfying. They’re caramel center explodes within the mouth after the first bite. Rolo also holds the distinction of being the only candy on this list, or any, to win a major film festival award. Yes, their 1996 short ad film “Elephant”, in which a young boy fools an elephant only for the animal to take revenge years later. Given that the award won the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, we’re going to assume the trick in question was fairly innocent and involved Rolos, as was the revenge.
1. Cadbury Flake in the UK
The Cadbury Flake, like many of the best candies, was discovered by accident by a factory employee in 1920 who just happened to notice thin streams of excess chocolate from the molds that cooled into Flaky ripples. Ten years later, the U.K was inserting Flake bars into vanilla soft serve ice cream cones and British citizens never looked back. This ice cream combination, also known as a Mr. Whippy, has been a favorite of English schoolchildren since its inception. The very concept of the Flake feels borne of early working-class England, where every last scrap counted. And rightfully, the Cadbury Flake bar has been in every corner store in the UK since. But it’s branched out to other countries as well including New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. However, the Flake bar has long been the subject of controversy in its native land, with a long-running ad campaign that some have labeled as overtly sensual. The ads, almost always featuring a woman, portray the candy as a secret pleasure, some guilty treat even the finest looking celebrities are sneaking to enjoy during leisurely activities. While the “Flake Girl” campaign has undergone fire, it’s also been almost impossible to completely eradicate. Attempts have been made in 2004 to cancel the ad campaign and 2010 to alter it so that the “Flake Girl” is anonymous, but it appears the general thematic trend of the ad has some staying power. After many years, the cold war between Hershey’s and Cadbury ended in a stalemate in January 2015, with Hershey taking over production rights from the latter in the U.S. To most, it was like any other January, but to U.K. ex-pats in the U.S. it was crisis time. One such former subject of the crown told the Telegraph at the time that his family was stockpiling Flakes. And while relations between the two countries never reached Boston Tea Party levels of rebellion, it must have been a major hit to the candy industry. Alas, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The very same year Hershey’s dropped the candy bomb, candy shop owners were searching for loopholes. While authentic Cadbury products have been banned in the U.S., it’s less effective than it sounds. Smaller importers do manage to sneak in Cadbury products under the radar. Next time you pick up a Cadbury egg or bar or some kind, take care to read where it was manufactured. Shopping at specific candy stores will improve your odds at finding a legitimate English chocolate sweet. If the wrapping doesn’t tell you, the taste will. And while this is positive news on the war front, it doesn’t necessarily answer whether or not Americans will one day see authentic Flake Bars in grocery stores. For ex-pat’s sake, here’s hoping for a peace treaty.