So, imagine my sadistic glee at the recent news that Cadbury (in NZ, at least) was replacing the already minute quality of cocoa butter in its chocolate with palm oil, that scourge of Indonesia that is not produced sustainably and that threatens the livelihood of the very cute orangutans.
The bulk of the "chocolate" products you buy from your supermarket are not chocolate, but rather should be regarded as confectionary.
Pure chocolate contains more than 65% cacao. The only ingredients in a good bar of chocolate are cacao paste and cocoa butter.
Cacao paste is the gooey mass made from crushing, heating and conching the roasted beans. This makes up 45-70% (but usually just above 50%) of the bar, and is called many things, such as cacao liquor, cacao mass and cacao paste.
Cocoa butter (which is NOT dairy butter!) is a flavourless fat that is squeezed out during "Dutch processing", which creates powdered cocoa. Extra cocoa butter is added to create the texture of the bars, and is used to adjust the texture and flavour. More cocoa butter means a smoother, creamer, less bitter bar that melts beautifully. Less cocoa butter means a sharper, dryer, more powdery, and some would argue more flavourful bar. Notice that this means that cocoa powder is a by-product of making chocolate bars, not the other way around!
Sugar - the less, the better otherwise it interferes with the cacao. Enough said.
I was going to outrage you, dear reader, by listing the ingredients on a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk. But decided against it. What's the point? Regardless of what's in the product, it does not taste like, and is not, chocolate.
The only explanation I have for the continued existence of such companies is that its products cater to those with tastebuds damaged by years of processed food consumption. There are plenty of quality chocolates on the market that are affordable (see Whittakers), and that look and taste like chocolate should. The fact that people don't wake up to this, and don't treat chocolate with the respect it deserves, pains me.
Placing a square of rich, dark chocolate on your tongue is a thoroughly erotic experience. The temperature of your mouth is enough to melt the chocolate into decadent, pleasurable hedonism. It is not something that needs to be munched, chewed, 'eaten', masticated. If that is what is required to explode the flavours on your tastebuds, then it's nothing more than grease/fat/lard. How sexy is that? How can you do that to yourself?
We have demeaned the value of chocolate. We treat truffles with reverence. Why not start doing the same with chocolate? I normally rage against regulation, but if we are going to control how food is labelled to ensure it accurately reflects the item to be consumed, we must be consistent and differentiate between chocolates and confectionary.
Their confectionary is already nauseating, but now Cadbury's is trying to pander to the naive and gullible with FairTrade branding.
Liberty Scott succinctly explains why this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick http://libertyscott.blogspot.com/2009/08/another-reason-to-avoid-cadbury.html#links
I knew the FairTrade brand was suspect, but Liberty Scott's background on it is enlightening and articulate. I urge you to read it!