US Candy
There are many candy brands that are known and loved around the world. And then there’s American candy. While there are many things to appreciate about the US, many outsiders feel that the candy that Americans are so fond of is not one of them. In fact, there are many popular types and trends in US candy that are shocking to the rest of the world, and we’re going to look at some of them here like dagashi candy, candy corn, Twizzlers and caramel apples.

But first, in the interests of fairness, we should mention that one of the most surprising candy trends in recent times, Ruby Chocolate , is not an American invention at all but was developed in Switzerland after years of research and testing. It’s pink, it doesn’t taste like chocolate and has a flavor that’s described as ‘intriguing’. Needless to add, it’s become very popular in the US.

Why is US Candy So Different?

It’s difficult to answer that question without going into a lot of history, culture and politics, but it can be summed up by saying that America is a very large country. Most Americans don’t travel beyond their borders, and there are many types of American candies that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. And candy from other parts of the world isn’t easy to find in the US, or it costs a good bit more.

This means that candy tastes and trends have developed in a kind of isolation from the rest of the world, and it shows. Many of the top favorite types of American candies, like Hershey’s chocolate bars, candy corn, Twizzlers, etc. are certainly acquired tastes. Foreigners find them baffling and tend to steer clear after a first disastrous encounter.

For one thing, American candy and snacks in general have very loud, intense flavors compared to say their counterparts from England or Germany or Japan. Another reason is that the ingredients can be very different, especially in the case of Hershey’s chocolate bars. American candy is also much sweeter, which is shocking to people who are not accustomed to the taste.

Why Do Hershey’s Bars Taste So Strange?

Most tastes are acquired ones and the foods and snacks we like are a matter of habit and of liking things to which we’re accustomed. This is certainly true of Hershey’s bars, which are appreciated only by those who have grown up eating them, or who have learned to like them. Anyone from outside the US tasting a Hershey chocolate bar will have wondered if there was something wrong with their taste buds or with the so-called chocolate bar they’re holding in their hands.

Hershey’s bars taste nothing like chocolate bars anywhere else in the world, and not in a good way. But there’s a reason for this, and it lies in the history of this candy. In the early years of production, the Hershey’s chocolate factory would get milk from the suppliers that was slightly curdled. This gave the chocolate a strange taste, but the founder of the company, Milton Hershey, didn’t want to waste the milk.

The solution was to dehydrate the slightly curdled milk and use it in making chocolate. American consumers loved the taste, so much so that even when the milk was no longer curdled, butyric acid was added to recreate the taste. That’s not the only difference between Hershey’s and other chocolate bars from beyond the US. Cadbury’s chocolate from the UK, for example, has more milk and less sugar, giving it a creamier taste. Cadbury’s also has more cocoa, as do European chocolates in general.

These differences explain why many forefingers don’t think of Hershey’s bars chocolate. It is an acquired taste, and long residence in the US will help develop a liking and even craving for these candy bars which are easy to find at every checkout.

Candy Corn, Twizzlers and Caramel Apples

Blame it on the advertising, but people have high expectations when they finally get to try some American candy favorites like candy corn, Twizzlers and caramel apples. Their hopes of a tasty treat are soon dashed, however, as the taste of sugar drowns out everything else. Candy corn is one the most popular and mystifying types of American candy. To foreigners, it tastes sugary and waxy and then turns into mush.

Twizzlers look cool but when you bite into them, there’s no taste at all, and certainly no hint of the licorice flavor that one expects. Caramel apples are another of things that look so tempting when you see them on sale in stores or at a party. They also smell wonderful, but the actual taste is sugary and forgettable. Also in the category of “tried once and then never again” are toffee made from goat milk or maple syrup. In fact, you could even put them in the category of “tried once and then gave the bag away to an unsuspecting American acquaintance”.

But in the end, it’s all a matter of taste and what you’re used to. In fact, once you get used to the taste of Hershey’s bars, you may come to like it and associate them, as Americans do, with comfort and a sense of home.