November 6, 2003

Things I thought about while I was in London:

1. Their chocolate is much better than ours. Of course, I’ve known this for years and years, but when you’re completely surrounded by good chocolate, you can hardly be expected not to think about it.

A very clear explanation for the superiority of English (and, for that matter, continental) chocolate can be found in The Emperors of Chocolate. I haven’t read it in years, but, if memory serves, the story goes something like this: Milton Hershey was an early corporate spy in chocolate factories in Switzerland

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8 Responses to Things I thought about while

  1. matt says:


  2. elisabeth says:

    Too right about the street signs – I still haven’t figured out why they only put the name of the street at both ends, especially when it’s a long street. I miss Toronto’s big, lovely street signs at every intersection, with street numbers (e.g. 700 – 823) as well…

  3. Wayne says:

    May I have a bar of Spoiled Milk Candy please.

    Thank you.

    *gains weight*

    Hrm, I wanna read the Moby Dick Part II….

  4. Convivia says:

    Not only is the chocolate infinitely better, but you can buy it in the subway. That is the most civilized thing in the world.

    Thank Baal I don’t live in England because I would be an enormous sphere, rolling slowly from one side of the Tube platform to the other.

  5. Well, technically you can buy it in the subway. In actuality, every time I’ve tried, the machine has taken my money and refused to give me any chocolate in return. I suspect a conspiracy, but then that’s par for the course.

  6. max says:

    I have to take exception both on the chocolate and the street signs.

    British chocolate is awful, cut with hydrogenated vegetable fats rather than cocoa butter. In fact, according to a NYT article of several weeks ago, one of the UK’s demands on entering the EEC (now EU) in the early 70s was to be allowed to use vegetable fats in their chocolate.

    But you’ll get no argument from me that American chocolate is execrable. Simply inedible.

    But then, I’m a huge chocolate snob. I feel that most people don’t actually like chocolate per se, but just chocolate-flavored candy. Me, I like the stuff that’s mostly cocoa and a little sugar, and little else. And for the quality versions of that, you need to go to France, Spain, or Switzerland. (Or an import shop.)

    On the street signs, most of the US is indeed better than the UK for signage. However, you obviously have never been to Boston, where the logic is “if you don’t know the name of this street, what the hell are you doing here?”; consequently, main streets are almost never marked. It’s freaking infuriating.

  7. Max, in my heart of hearts I am with you when it comes to the matter of chocolate preferences. However, as I don’t live a lifestyle that allows me to hop over to Switzerland when the craving comes upon me, I have to make do.

    And Boston, where I lived for six years, isn’t technically part of the United States. Actually, Boston isn’t technically part of earth. It exists in its own dimension, where everyone knows the names of all the streets.

  8. sasoozie says:

    As a brit I have to disagree with with Max.. European chocolate has hydrogenated fat, but Cadbury’s Dairy milk has whole milk and is seriously the best chocolate in the world…. bar none.

    As for the street signs having travelled in both Canada and the US, the sign placement bemused the bejebbers out of me. Why on earth would I want to know the name of the road I am crossing rather than the road I am on !!?? I guess with a grid system like you late-comers designed, it is easier, but with the non linear design (loosely used) of UK streets our method makes sense. so there !


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