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Cadbury deal could leave bitter taste for chocolate lovers

Britain and America's so-called "special relationship" stops short of the nations' tastes for chocolate.

And the multi-billion pound takeover of Cadbury by US firm Kraft has left UK chocolate lovers pondering the same question: Will it leave a bitter taste in the mouth?

While Britons champion the creamy textures of Dairy Milk and Flake, Americans cherish the likes of Hershey - bemoaned this side of the Atlantic for its "sourness" and "gritty texture".

Bob Eagle, a retired confectionery worker from Maidenhead who represented the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance, said Kraft would be "crazy" to alter Cadbury products in line with the American market.

He said: "Chocolate tastes are developed through generations and nothing illustrates this more than the difference between the American and British market.

"Cadbury is a taste we have all grown up with and, if anything, it is still growing as a brand.

"Yet in America they have not taken to any of the products.

"One thing is for sure, if Kraft tried to align the tastes, consumers would turn away from both markets."

As far as the UK's sweet tooth is concerned, the countries remain poles apart.

Keep Cadbury British campaigns have sprung up on the internet and in the newspapers, not only to save the thousands of jobs at factories in the UK.

"There is a huge affinity with the flavour for Britons," said Mr Eagle. "It has become a symbol of Britishness."

One reason for the taste divide on either side of the Atlantic is the demand for cocoa solids in products. In the UK, chocolate must contain at least 20 per cent, while In the US cocoa solids need only make up 10%.

A Dairy Milk bar reportedly contains an average of 23 per cent cocoa solids, while a Hershey bar is believed to contain 11 per cent. Many European chocolatiers make chocolate with upwards of 40 per cent cocoa solids.

The chocolate making process also differs from the grinding of the first bean. Though confectioners keep their recipes a firm secret, it is believed that American chocolate typically uses South American beans, whilst British makers favour West African cocoa.

There are also variations on the type of powdered milk used, which can impact the flavour.

A typical Hershey bar also has more sugar than a bar of Dairy Milk, and, crucially perhaps, its ingredients list contains the additive PGPR, which can act in place of the more expensive cocoa butter.

American "candy bars" are also typically cheaper than in Britain.

The Italian traveller Antonio Carletti discovered chocolate in Spain in 1606 and took it to other parts of Europe. Yet it was 1765 before it made its way to America, according to www.chocolateexpert.co.uk.