It’s no secret that we’re fascinated with all things food – even more so when chocolate is involved. And for far too long our team has debated the pros and cons of American chocolate bars, praising or scathing their obsession with peanut butter and comparing their shiny packaged offerings with our own local varieties.
In order to settle the score once and for all, we put some of America’s favourite candy bars to the test in what was probably the best way to spend a Thursday afternoon. The following are the fruits of our test-tasting labour in order to help you decide what to eat on your next USA holiday.
Snickers Almond Description: Milk chocolate, almonds, caramel, nougat.
Our thoughts: This bar somewhat divided our focus group. Some were fond of the salty, sweet, nougat concoction, while others found it a little lacklustre. If you find yourself struggling to down a normal Australian Snickers, then the slightly more manageable American almond counterpart may be your answer.
Australian equivalent: The sickly sweet, if not slightly boring, love child of the classic Snickers and Picnic bar.
3 Musketeers Description: Whipped up, fluffy, chocolate-on-chocolate taste.
Our thoughts: Whipped fluffy deliciousness indeed. While we love the super sweet whipped filling on the inside, on the outside it’s a different somewhat bitter chocolate story.
Australian equivalent: Exactly like a Milkyway only a bit bitter. Rating: 7/10.
Oh Henry Description: 2 peanutty, caramel, fudge bars in milk chocolate.
Our thoughts: Chewy, dense and nutty, this nutty caramel fudge bar was well received. While we loved the flavours, the texture was a little gritty for some us.
Australian equivalent: A poor man’s Snickers Rating: 6/10.
Butterfinger Description: Crispety, crunchety, peanut-butter!
Our thoughts: For the most part, this bar was hit (except for one of our taste-testers who couldn't spit it out and say ‘yuk’ fast enough). Don’t let the BUTTER part in Butterfinger fool you – this ain’t no creamy-buttery bar. The texture is crunchy, crumbly and almost chalky – much like the consistency of a Crunchie. If you’re not totally taken aback by the texture, keep chewing. Like one of our participants puts it, ‘it initially tasted ashy but it grew on me.’
Australian equivalent: Like a peanut butter flavoured Crunchie.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Description: Milk chocolate since 1894.
Our thoughts: When it came to Hershey’s, our group was unanimous in our distaste for it. Bitter, gritty and just generally gross, if this is what Americans think is good ‘milk’ chocolate, they are seriously missing out. As one of us put it: ‘thank god for Cadbury.’
Australian equivalent: Like a cheap Easter egg that’s gone off.
Peanut Twix Description: Peanut butter and milk chocolate cookie bars.
Our thoughts: It might have been of the Twix variety, but this form was very different to the classic one that has come to be an Australian vending machine favourite. Not only was the caramel filling replaced with peanut butter, but the biscuit bottom was a chocolate biscuit instead of plain shortbread. For some of us, these two ingredients combined was a little too rich, while for others the peanut butter was a little bit bland. All round though, it was quite enjoyable, especially for the peanut butter fans amongst us.
Australian equivalent: The only thing we can compare it to is if you smeared peanut butter on a chocolate shortbread – because you do that all the time right?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Description: 2 peanut butter cups.
Our thoughts: Most Aussies will be all too aware about the sickly sweet but oh so delicious peanut butter cups. For those of you haven’t, you’re missing out. Granted it’s creamy texture and rich flavour isn’t for everyone, but for those who are true chocolate and peanut butter lovers, this version is the purest form.
Australian equivalent: Like a dollop of Craft peanut butter dipped in chocolate (we’ve all done that right?).
Baby Ruth Description: Bursting with peanuts, rich caramel and chewy nougat.
Our thoughts: Don’t let the name fool you, Baby Ruth has nothing to do with neither babies nor the iconic baseball player. The legendary name is actually said to be named after Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland. Names aside, Baby Ruth is a bar with a lot going on inside; peanuts, caramel, nougat and chocolate. As much as we loved it, it was quite the mouthful, which is why it lost some marks.
Australian equivalent: Like a Picnic and Mars bar combined.
Milkyway Description: Real milk chocolate surrounding nothing but rich delicious caramel.
Our thoughts: If you are of the opinion of there never being such thing as too much caramel, then the American Milkyway is for you. Conversely, if the thought of biting into a bar of just gooey caramel akes you a little queasy, then run for your life. Yes it’s messy eat and could potentially kill you with its caramel content, but then again if a supersized Caramello Koala sounds like your idea of fun, then you’re going to love this gooey chunk of chocolate.
Australian equivalent: Like a Caramello Koala but in bar form Rating: 6.5/10.
Take 5 Description: Made with chocolate, pretzels, peanut butter, caramel and peanuts.
Our thoughts: None of us had ever heard of Take 5 (it was only released by Hershey in 2004), but the unknown red-wrapped bar ended up being the dark horse of the lot. Featuring salty, crunchy pretzels and peanuts teamed with sweet and soft peanut butter and caramel, we think Take 5’s contrasting combination is a winner. While it’s hard to imagine this bar getting better, Take 5 has a number of variations including chocolate cookie, white chocolate and peanut butter coated.
Australian equivalent: Sadly, we have no equivalent.