Friday, September 9, 2005

Head-to-Head KitKat vs KitKat!

I know it seems strange to do a head-to-head tasting of the same candy bar, but there are rather interesting differences between the KitKat sold in the United States and the one sold in the rest of the world.

A little history: KitKat was first introduced in 1935 by London candymaker Rowntree under the name Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. A couple of years later they settled on the name KitKat Chocolate Crisp. The bar has always been the familiar four finger design and was an immediate big-seller for the company. It was briefly produced as a dark chocolate bar during the war because of dairy shortages, but returned to its familiar sweet milk chocolate recipe in 1947. In 1969 the American owned Hershey Corp bought the rights to manufacture and sell KitKat bars in the United States. I don’t think you will find American KitKats sold anywhere else in the world, probably part of the agreement. Rowntree was later purchased by Nestle in 1988 but the KitKat remains the same. The KitKat bar is pretty much the best-selling bar in the world.

(more info here from Nestle and here from Hershey’s)

Just as most folks have a preference for one chocolate brand over another, the differences between the Canadian KitKat (CKK) and the American KitKat (AKK) are pretty noticeable. First, the CKK is larger. Weighing in at a hefty 50 grams (1.75 oz), it beats the AKK which is a dinky 42 grams (1.5 oz). The CKK packs those extra grams into a longer bar. The AKK has a more pyramid shaped finger, with more of an angle to the sides, which means, oddly enough, less crisp because there’s less room for them though it is slightly higher. You can see that in this photo:


The color of the bars is virtually the same, with the CKK slightly darker. As I opened the package, the AKK smelled sweet and chocolatey with a little tint of vanilla. The CKK had an overwhelmingly graham cracker smell, kind of like the Wonka Bar (also made by Nestle). After the graham smell dissipates, there’s far more chocolate smell to the CKK.

It’s been a few months since I’ve had a KitKat, so I tried to experience it fresh. The first one I tried was the AKK. It was immediately sweet but had a good crisp. My usual way of eating a KitKat is to eat off both ends of a finger, then pry off the top layer of crisp & chocolate with my teeth in a single plank, then continue eating the finger from the top down. For this experiment, I’m eating them straight on in order to fully experience the crisp to chocolate ratio (okay, after two fingers of each, I ended up eating the rest of them after the tasting in my normal manner). The AKK was crispy and solid, with perhaps a little more chocolate than I’d like, but it’s the most popular bar in the world, so who am I to tinker with perfection?

The CKK has a lighter crisp. A little foamier, a little airier. It dissipates quickly so that the melting chocolate takes over. The chocolate on the CKK is not quite like a European Nestle nor like the AKK. It’s milky, like a Cadbury, with a very distinct powdered milk taste to it. It’s a taste that took me some years to get used to, but now I rather enjoy it as a contrast to the slightly yogurt notes of a Hershey’s Kiss.

Though the Trolli vs Haribo head-to-head had a winner, I can’t quite say that one of these bars is better than the other. I like the heft and vanilla notes to the CKK, but I also enjoy the dense crunch of the AKK.

All I know is that after eating two KitKat bars for breakfast, I need a cup of coffee.

Ratings - Canadian KitKat - 8 out of 10
American KitKat - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:13 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewHershey'sNestleChocolateCookieKitKat8-TastyCanadaUnited StatesHead to Head

  1. am eating a mint kit kat right now! there’s an ebay seller who offers lots of the int’l kit kats. unfortunately, they’re sometimes dated. have you tried the green tea one yet? it’s weird but cool. i wasn’t surprised to see the kit kat ltd-ed coffee (i’ve been trying to find it for weeks); there’ve been “cafe latte” versions abroad for a while, and also some kit-kat coffee sample bars in generic wrappers, i suspect for testing (i’ve bought those on ebay too).
    i’d heard that hershey was originally reluctant to muddy the waters with knockoff flavors but they seem to be finally getting a CLUE. one thing i’ve learned in posting kit kat items is that the kk community is fervent…

    Comment by TG on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  2. p.s. nice photo!

    Comment by TG on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    You’re the second person to mention the green tea KitKat and I’m eager to find one (though I probably won’t get it on eBay).

    I wonder if Hershey was prevented from tinkering with other KitKat bars because of their licensing agreement with Nestle?

    Comment by Cybele on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  4. i tracked down that-there coffee. twas YUM

    Comment by TG on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  5. After reading about mint and green tea KitKats this is probably a blah note but I really like the limited edition “extra creamy” KitKats that have been around recently.  I bought a few at the SavOn on Cahuenga and Yucca.

    Comment by Michelle on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    TG - I saw your post about the coffee KitKat! I’m so jealous. I’ll be stopping at a couple of places on the way home in search of it tommorrow.

    Michelle - I have to pick up the extra creamy, I think I’d enjoy it. In fact, walking home from dinner tonight I stopped at a new liquor store in hopes that they’d have something interesting and all I came away with were some chicklets.

    I’ll keep looking!

    Comment by Cybele on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  7. a commenter asked for a taste test between the KK coffee and coffee crisp. but i’m no cybele!
    i’m probably just dizzy over the coffee KKs right now but - i think i like them better than regular.
    help clear away the fog!

    Comment by TG on 12/31/69 at 4:00 pm #
  8. I have been having a discussion with a co-worker about KitKats and he insists that they use to have 5 bars per package.  I can only remember them having 4.  Can anyone shed some light onto this subject, thanks.

    Comment by Greg on 3/25/06 at 6:42 am #
  9. Omg, last time I ate a kitkat it was discusting the flavor was really off and I dont plan on eating 1 ever again! Blahhh

    Comment by Emily on 2/07/09 at 7:07 am #
  10. Just FYI they sell KitKats in Holland (and probably the rest of Western Europe). And they are 45g here. Lekker!

    Comment by Whit on 4/21/09 at 10:52 pm #
  11. @ Greg, I do believe there used to be 5 in our Canadian packaging.

    I’ve tried both.  I find the AKK much too sweet and sugary in comparison to the CKK.  I miss living an hour from the border!  It was so easy to compare different candies.

    I would love to see a compare/contrast on the UK mars and the American Mars.

    Comment by Alyssa on 12/15/09 at 11:55 am #
  12. Would Kit Kat be the same candy bar we Americans know even if Hershey’s voluntarily gives Kit Kat back to Nestle?

    Like I was wanting a Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter! Here in the US!

    Comment by Harvey on 1/12/10 at 4:51 pm #
  13. I used to eat Kit Kat by the truck load when I lived in the UK then the taste changed I try one every now and again still shit so is the Aero

    Comment by Tom on 12/28/13 at 5:55 am #
  14. Here in the USA we need to stop havin KitKat & Rolo made under licence by Hershey’s. I think Nestle needs more candy bars here.

    And I’d like to see Aero bars become as common as Butterfinger & Crunch.

    Comment by Harvey on 12/03/14 at 1:47 pm #
  15. I just found your blog and must tell you that I love how you describe the eating experience. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Comment by Steve on 2/05/15 at 1:20 pm #
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