Climatic conditions in Woolangong and Woking are different, and chocolate bars must reflect this fact

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I long ago came to the conclusion that this newspaper really is the best newspaper that money can buy; it's full of fascinating articles about all kinds of stuff. This impression was confirmed only the other week when there was a big piece about my favourite chocolate bar, the Kit Kat. I found this article especially absorbing because that particular square of foil-wrapped, chocolate-covered wafer has played a pivotal part in my life.

I read the item enthralled - it began with an in-depth history of the genesis of the Kit Kat, followed by some awesome statistics relating to the consumption of this king of the confectionery world. The story concluded with the fact that 47 Kit Kats are eaten every second, somewhere in the world.

But it is at this point in the narrative that I must disagree with this otherwise excellent and informative piece. I can state from deep, and painful, personal experience that 47 Kit Kats are not eaten every second around the world - only 47 things that pretend to be Kit Kats, 47 frauds who say to you, "Hello, big boy, I'm your favourite chocolate bar, bite into me and we'll have a good time together". But they're lying. Let me explain what I'm going on about before you turn ... crossing an inch perfect pass from the left leaving Fowler the simple task of heading home ... to the sports pages.

About five years ago I spent three fairly terrible months stuck in a dreary seaside town in northern New South Wales, Australia, working on a film that was beset with troubles, as many films are. Sad and homesick, I would haunt the local newsagents waiting for the weekly Daily Express News Digest, which is produced for ex-pat fascists and was the only news from Britain that was available in that benighted place.

Then one day I saw among the Australian confectionery selection - chocolate kangaroos, jelly koala bears, meringue Sydney Opera Houses - the familiar bright red wrapping of a Kit Kat bar. Fumbling with my change I bought what I thought was four fingers of foil-wrapped, chocolate-covered home. But when I bit into this so-called Kit Kat, disaster! Confusion! Anger! It tasted nothing like a Kit Kat. In fact, it tasted horrible, but that's beside the point. There was absolutely no similarity in taste or texture between this wafer bar that I had just bitten into and what I thought of as a Kit Kat.

In a second my whole world tilted and changed in such a profound way that I have never been able to tilt it back again, because it was then that the thought struck me with brutal force: "If you can't trust a Kit Kat, what can you trust?" And the answer came back as sharp as a knife in the soul: "Nothing."

If you think I'm exaggerating, remember that confectionery has always played a large part in philosophical thought. After all, it was that taste of a Madeleine (a nut and nougat choc bar in the shape of a famous cartoon bear of the 1890s called Madeleine) that caused Proust to recall his childhood instantly. Plato's musings on the nature of change in the world were caused by his finishing a particularly delicious Twix bar, which prompted the chain of thoughts that stimulated his attempts to reconcile the one and the many, which eventually led to him becoming the father of philosophy as we understand it today.

In response to my anguished letters, the people at Nestle, creators of Kit Kat, say that their chocolate bars have to be different for different markets - that the climatic conditions in a sweet shop in Woolangong and one in Woking are totally different and the chocolate bars have to reflect this fact. The melting point of chocolate, for example - and therefore the chocolate itself - has to be different, and also local tastes have to be taken into account. Australians, apparently, like their choc bars to taste of sump oil.

I can accept all this, but why then do they call these things by the same name all over the world when they are not the same at all? Do they not realise the damage they are doing? Or is that their covert purpose? Perhaps these philosopher food scientists are saying to us: "Put your faith in nothing - there are no constants. You live in a world of illusion. Whatever you think is happening, isn't."

From the moment I bit into that faux Kit Kat I knew many things - that Michael Howard is not entirely trustworthy, that Zig and Zag are only glove puppets, that Windows 95 isn't all it's cracked up to be. So though it was painful - thank you Kit Kat.

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