February 28th: Hershey Kit Kat (US)
If you are one of my dedicated readers you will be aware that I really enjoy looking at how one bar of chocolate can differ from country-to-country. Down the years I have done this with the likes of the Snickers bar, ongoingly with Cadbury Dairy Milk and of course with the renowned Nestle Kit Kat.
Having picked up on my fondest for country-on-country comparisons, ChocolateMission reader Paul sent me these Kit Kats that he sourced from the US. Before sampling them, I couldn't help myself but look at what other chocolate bloggers had said about the US Kit Kat - no surprises that Cybele's review over at CandyBlog (See HERE) was the most thorough and insightful ;) No doubt some of you may have been confused by the title of the post what with the 'Hershey' branding replacing the more commonly seen 'Nestle'. Well to clear this up in the most succinct manner let me hand over to Wikipedia ...
'Kit Kat bars in the United States are produced under licence by The Hershey Company, a Nestlé competitor, due to a prior licensing agreement with Rowntree.'
As of time of writing (February 2011), the US range currently consists of a Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Extra Crispy (Chunky) aswell as several seasonal lines. Being the generous chap he is, Paul sent me a one of each of the different bars.
As you can see by the photos the first noticeable difference from the UK bars was of course the wrappers (you can click in to the photos today to make them a little bigger!!). Aesthetically I thought they were pretty cool and I happened to think they conveyed a fresher, more modern look for the brand. Unzipped from their foil confines, both finger and chunky formats looked no different to their UK counterparts - you wouldn't have been able to tell one apart from the other.
So the taste test - how did they all fair!??
Well, unlike the UK bars where I genuinely cant pick a favourite between the Chunky & Finger format, I actually had greater fondness for the Hershey's Extra Crispy variety compared to it's finger equivalent. The main reason for this was because of the chocolate coating, as I found it was more reliant on it's sugar based flavours and wasn't as creamy as any of it's Nestle equivalents (UK, Japan, Australasia ... you name it!). Unfortunately this was something that only seemed to be more noticeable with the White Chocolate variant. Although the taste of the white chocolate had a stronger creamier taste initially, the sugar based flavours came with greater intensity as the chocolate melted. For my taste the white chocolate bar was too sweet, and not totally consumable in the one sitting without getting that throat scorching sensation. Ending on a more positive note, the Extra Crispy had a firmer, larger and ultimately more flavoursome wafer at it's heart - this format did prove to be my preferred one of them all.
Overall whilst must be stressed that Hershey have by no means taken the Kit Kat and done anything wrong with it whatsoever, I personally thought they weren't quite as their Nestle comparators. Stick the two bars in front of your average person and it is likely they wouldn't be able to tell them apart, as ultimately the differences between the two are pretty subtle. Speaking as a bit of a Kit Kat fanatic myself though, I couldn't help but pick up on the things I have gone into detail about above. To put it in to context it wouldn't be worth an American importing a UK Kit Kat based on a recommendation of superior taste, nor would make sense at all for a UK citizen to avoid these American versions because they aren't as good. Fundamentally they both provide that terrific Kit Kat experience.
Hershey Kit Kat Milk Chocolate - 42.0g
Kcal 210 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 27.0g
7.5 out of 10
Hershey Kit Kat White Chocolate - 42.0g
Kcal 220 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 27.0g
6.8 out of 10
Hershey Kit Kat Extra Crispy - 45.0g
Kcal 220 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 8.0g Carbs 29.0g
8.0 out of 10