Today’s guest-post focuses on a multi-country comparison of the same food… or what should be the same food – specifically, Snickers candy bars!
I gave up on eating American Snickers bars years ago when suddenly they just seemed too cloyingly sweet. However, I studied abroad for 8 months in Italy the year before last and while I was there I discovered something amazing… the European Snickers bars!
I know, I know, how was this a discovery?
We have Snickers bars all over the place in the US… but they are not the same. Once I found the wonderfullness that is European Snickers bars, my roommate and I quickly became addicted. In fact, I’m not sure I would have survived my finals without them (and multiple pots of Illy coffee of course). For some reason, European Snickers bars are just more peanutty tasting, and more chocolaty tasting, and even the caramel is just better caramely tasting!
When I got back to the US, I was craving a Snickers and finally gave in and bought one. I seriously had to throw most of it away. It wasn’t at all the same. To me it seemed much, much sweeter and the chocolate flavor seemed barely there at all. There also seemed to be a lot more nougat. So when the plans for my visit to England were finalized, I decided I had to take the opportunity to actually compare them side by side.
Alice, her hubby, and all of my poor Facebook friends and associates have been hearing me whine about how much I missed European Snickers bars for over a year now, so I don’t think the household was very surprised when I asked them to be guinea pigs for my Snickers taste-test.
First I compared the general statistics on the wrapper, such as weight and nutritional information. The American Snickers bar was a little bit heavier, but not by much (+ 0.7g if you really want to know). The UK bar was higher in calories (+ 16cal) and fat (+ 2.4g), but had way less sodium (only 0.25g vs. 140g!) and a bit less sugar (around 4g less). This didn’t really explain to me why the American bar seemed so much sweeter though.
Helpfully, the UK bar broke down the general components by percentage, but since the American bar didn’t, it wasn’t very useful for my comparison. I decided to cut the bars up to visually compare them.
To me, it looks like the American bar on the right has more nougat than the UK bar on the left. It also looks like the UK bar has more peanuts, but it’s sort of hard to tell. Finally I made everyone (except Mei of course!) do a blind taste-test. Alice’s husband and I both preferred the UK one, but Alice preferred the US one because she thought it tasted more nougatty.
So apparently, 2 out of 3 “random” Americans prefer the UK Snickers. It’s irrelevant I suppose, but my point was proven that they really do taste different and I’m not crazy! Ok, I might be crazy, but they still really do taste different.