2014-02-26 / Editorials

Other Voices

A chocolate expert
Mitch Clarke

In this week’s issue, Time magazine, that fount of American journalistic might, has named the 13 most influential candy bars in the world. The magazine placed the Kit Kat bar at the top of its list.

I’m assuming that if you want to read about the goings-on this week in the Ukraine, you’ll need to pick up a copy of Confectioners Weekly.

Anyway, Time developed its list by interviewing candy experts and historians. I was surprised to see that historians were involved because in my experience studying history, we never talked about chocolate. Instead, we spent a lot of time talking about things like the Punic Wars.

I have to admit that I don’t remember why the Punics were mad at each other, much less why they went to war.

But I am something of an expert on chocolate, as I’ve been eating it as long as I can remember. I take exception to Time magazine’s collection of experts and historians because the Kit Kat bar should not be at the top of the list. I’m not even sure it should be on the list.

My preferences are Hershey’s bars and Snickers bars, which are both as close to chocolate perfection as you can get. Trying to pick a favorite of these two, however, is virtually impossible. I’ve been trying to decide most of my life, and I’ve found the one I choose at any given time depends on my mood.

A Hershey’s bar is a chocolate lover’s delight, 100 percent pure milk chocolate and nothing more (although I do confess that I often pick the Hershey’s bar with almonds as a nice change of pace.)

A Snickers bar, on the other hand, just happens to be the best selling candy bar in the world. It has been described as the holy trinity of confection – nougat, caramel and peanuts, covered in chocolate. For the record, I’m not certain what nougat is, but it sure makes a candy bar taste good.

If one of these isn’t available, I’m more than happy to eat other candy bars. But it doesn’t have to be a candy bar. I like chocolate cakes, chocolate pies and chocolate chip cookies. A few weeks ago, I tried a slice of chocolate pecan pie, which may have been the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten.

I’m always happy when I read studies that say chocolate is good for our health. Over the last few years, there have been studies that say chocolate reduces the risk of stroke and strengthens your brain. It even helps you live longer, which given the amount of chocolate I’ve eaten, means I’ll live to be 135 years old.

I always like to rationalize that chocolate is actually a vegetable. After all, it is derived from cocoa beans and everybody knows that beans are vegetables. Not to mention that milk chocolate is dairy, which means if you eat a Hershey’s bar, you’ve knocked off two food groups right there and are well on your way to a balanced diet.

Time said one of the reasons it put Kit Kat first, right behind Hershey’s in second place, is because the Kit Kat was designed to be shared. What? You’ve never broken a Hershey’s bar in half to share with a friend?

I disagree with Time’s assessment of the Kit Kat bar. Yet I can’t decide between the Snickers bar and the Hershey’s bar. So now that I’m done with this column, I’m going to make a quick trip down to the convenience store.

It’s time to settle this once and for all.

Mitch Clarke is a native of Blakely, Ga. He can be reached at mitch.clarke@charter.net

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