British chocolate will go on sale across Europe after a 27-year battle between the UK and its EU partners is finally resolved.
European MPs have voted to allow chocolate made with up to 5% vegetable fats or up to 20% milk content to be sold in all 15 member states.
- BBC News website, article dated 15 March 2000
Twenty-seven years. The European Union argued about what is and is not chocolate since 1973, the year that saw the end of the Vietnam war, the Nixon presidency, and the global energy crisis. Apparently, eight European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece and Holland), who ban the use of vegetable oils in their domestic chocolate, wanted to exclude imported brands that violated those rules. Failing exclusion, they wanted it labelled as vegelate or industrial chocolate. In the end, all parties settled on the term family milk chocolate, which is the label that British (and Irish) chocolate must bear on the Continent.
My British friends, unable to buy Cadbury's while abroad, used to mutter about bloody foreigners, who didn't know "proper chocolate" when they saw it. These same people then sneered at my cravings for Hershey's chocolate, which requires great effort to find in the UK. Even now, the Hershey's kisses that I import from my native California for Christmas (since you can't have a "proper" Christmas without kisses in the stocking) are tactfully left aside by my Scottish in-laws.
Discussions of chocolate can take on all the rage and fury of a religious war. Each culture insists that its is the One True Chocolate, and that anything else is evil. But there's no need for it to be this way.
Here is the true definition of the One True Chocolate. Listen up. I'm only saying it once.
The One True Chocolate is whatever you ate as a child.
Nothing else will ever have that magical taste, that heavenly texture, that indescribable nostalgia that is the essence of chocolate.
Now put your swords away and let's go down to the sweet shop.