Toffee wars

I like chocolate.  A lot. So much, in fact, that I have at times deeply regretted quitting my job at Godiva Chocolatier to attend college.  While there, I was forced to sample every single piece of chocolate in the display case, so that I could answer truthfully and in an educated manner when a customer pointed and asked the inevitable, “What does that taste like?”

Over the course of my employment at that fine establishment (which has since deteriorated in appearance, along with the rest of Christiana Mall), I developed a taste for one piece in particular.  This was a small, cubical piece of milk chocolate which engulfed a thin piece of crunchy toffee that sat upon a dollop of hazelnut praliné.  That piece of chocolate was simply the most divine confection ever to pass my lips.  Unfortunately, Godiva has not made this piece for a number of years, which has compelled me to find a replacement for my new-found favorite chocolate combination.

Hershey’s Foods Corporation distributes two chocolate-covered toffee bars: Skor and Heath.  Believe it or not, I didn’t realize until relatively recently that both of these candy bars were toffee inside of chocolate.  This occurred on a day when my craving for chocolate and toffee became so strong that I had to drop everything and race to the nearest convenience store to satisfy my craving.  Much to my surprise, I found two seemingly identical candy bars sitting next to each other on the shelf.  After purchasing both of them, I decided to do a little scientific comparison.

The comparison began by examining the physical characteristics of both bars. Interestingly, the design on the top of each bar, made by lightly dragging something across the still-wet chocolate during production, was virtually identical. Their dimensions and weight were identical as well, measuring in at 12.34 centimeters by 3 centimeters, and weighing in at precisely 1.4 ounces (the weight as marked on the wrapper, which was confirmed with a small scale).  The durability of the bars were then tested by snapping them both in half.  Due to a harder texture throughout, Skor snapped a bit more easily than the Heath bar, whose slightly softer chocolate caused the bar to bend in the slightest before finally snapping.  Finally, the color of each bar was examined.  As they are both chocolate-covered toffee, there were two distinct regions to examine.  Skor was darker in color all around, with a rich, caramel-colored toffee center surrounded by a milk chocolate with a slightly darker hue.  The toffee in the center of the Heath bar, on the other hand, was lighter and creamier in color, as if milk had been added to the toffee.  Likewise, the milk chocolate of the Heath bar reflected the lighter quality.

Next, the nutritional qualities of each bar were examined.  Like the physical characteristics, they seemed to be virtually identical, with only small, almost unnoticeable differences.  The levels of total fat (12 grams), carbohydrates (24 grams), proteins (1 gram) and fat calories (110) were the same in each bar.  Even the number of total calories (210) were identical.  The discrepencies between the other nutritional elements were minor: Skor had 2 grams more saturated fat, 5 grams more cholesterol, and 1 gram more sugars.  Heath not only surpassed Skor with 15 grams more sodium, but also boasted extra ingredients that were not included in Skor: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, soy lecithin and artificial flavor.

Finally, a taste test was conducted.  The taste test was three-pronged, in that the texture, taste and after-taste were compared. In terms of texture, the center of Skor was quite crunchy, and the chocolate, which melted once in the mouth, made for a delightful contrast.  The Heath bar was softer, providing less of a crunch, and therefore less of a contrast between toffee and chocolate.  In terms of taste, Skor was well-balanced, with a caramel-tasting toffee that was well-complemented by the not too-sweet chocolate.  The chocolate in the Heath bar was overpowered by the extremely nutty taste of the toffee.  The after-taste test was the most telling.  The taste of the Skor lingered delightfully on the tongue for a relatively short period of time, as it should.  However, the taste of the Heath bar deteriorated into what can only be described as “funky,” and attached itself to the taste buds for much longer than desired; so much longer, in fact, that a Dr. Pepper was utilized to contend with the after-taste.

In conclusion, this temporary and makeshift scientist deduced that on the whole, Skor was better tasting, and, lacking the partially hydrogenated soybean oil, healthier.  It is shocking that two seemingly similar candy bars can taste so drastically different.  I will be sending my findings to Hershey’s Food Corporation post haste, recommending that they remove Heath bars from the market and replace them with more Skors.

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