On March 24th of 2006 I learned about the Cadbury Flake… I must admit that it wasn’t easy to learn that the strange chocolate bar from that far away land of milk and honey wasn’t all that unique.
Not only that, but as I started asking people about it, those who were aware of the existence of both candies always had strong feelings about which one is better. Puzzled, I discovered that this was not only an issue of chocolate, but of deeply entrenched national pride. It was too much fun to pass on. I had to hold a head to head contest.
After a seemingly eternal wait, a shipment of Cadbury Flake chocolate (actually, only three bars) arrived from Dubai, UAE. I had some Elite Mekupelet in my personal stash… so it’s time to decide once and for all:
(Click on any of the pictures to see a full size version)
First, allow me to introduce our panel of expert judges:
From left to right:
- Vince Shouba, professional wine taster, spends 4 months per year in the French Riviera working for several wine makers.
- Eric Hartner, surprise judge, did not quite understand what the hell we were doing. And I don’t blame him.
- Drew Creel, former Master Cheff of the italian bistro La Panini del Generatori de Signali Arbitrari in Milan, Italy.
- Nisha Ganwani, avid chocolate enthusiast and cocoa addict. She has been eating chocolate for over 25 years. Nonstop.
- Karmin Mauritz, heir to the Hershey’s Chocolate empire.
- Marcos Kirsch, guy with way too much free time in his hands. At least enough to make up all of this.
One of the most important aspects of any modern candy is the packaging. Let’s take a look at the contestants as they are found in stores:
Both chocolates are of roughly the same size. The Mekupelet uses transparent plastic, maybe to show the tasty chocolate under the wrapper.
The Flake, in stark contrast, leaves everything to the imagination, displaying only an artist’s rendering of what the actual product looks like. If you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s and have compared the pictures in the menus to the way the food actually looks, an alarm will go off in your head immediately. Advantage: Mekupelet… however
The Mekupelet wrapper has the uninspired phrase written on it : “Piece of milk chocolate” (in hebrew).
The caption on the Flake wrapper says: “The Crumbliest Flakiest Milk Chocolate”. Interestingly, that’s also what people at work keep saying about the code I write. It must be a good thing.
Winner: Cadbury Flake.
Both the Mekupelet and the Flake are famous for the crumbliness inherent with their form. But which one wins? Here’s a bird’s-eye-view of the Flake and the Mekupelet. No wrapper this time. Call it chocolate porn if you will. As pointed out by the wrapper, the Flake proved to be crumbliest. Just look at the mess it left behind! I mean, both chocolates survived the trip from the Middle East, yet the Mekupelet held together much better.
Is being the crumbliest a good thing or a bad thing?
After the chocolate was consumed by the judges, lots of crumbles were left behind by the Flake. Being as cheap as I am, I rolled up the sheet of paper on which the bars were placed, put it over my mouth and tilted my head back so that the crumbles would fall into my mouth. While this sounds like a foolproof plan, it turned out not to be. The crumbles are not perfectly round, so their behavior while rolling down paper is unpredictable. A small crumble bounced into my eye causing temporary discomfort. I bet you’ve never had chocolate in your eye and I don’t care if the Cadbury marketing drones spin this crumbliness as a good thing. It’s a freaking hazard.
Winner: Elite Mekupelet
Flakiness is the other main feature of these bars. In the side-view photograph presented below you can actually compare the thickness of the chocolate flakes.
The flakes on the Mekupelet are thinner. This is probably caused by its higher milk content which makes the melted chocolate have a lower viscosity. Click here for a larger view since you can’t tell in this small photo below. So who wins? What’s better? Thick or thin? I have no idea.
Judge #1 Vince Shouba spent considerable amount of time sniffing the chocolates. Too bad for him, because while he was sniffing, the rest of the judges were eating. He didn’t get to eat that much chocolate… only the pieces he sniffed, mostly because none of the other judges wanted them anymore.
Vince thought the Cadbury Flake had a stronger, chocolatier smell. As they say, everything smells stronger in the U.K. Never heard it? Maybe you need more culture. Or maybe I just made it up to seem like a cultured guy. Either way, the joke’s on you.
Winner: Cadbury Flake
In order to decide which chocolate wins in the texture department, we concocted a fairly sophisticated test:
Each judge puts a whole bar in his/her mouth, and we time the time between the insertion of the chocolate bar into the mouth until the time the judge is able to whistle the first verse of Hava Nagila. Messy, yet a fair assessment of texture.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much chocolate to perform this test in a satisfactory fashion, and getting more Flake was a slow and expensive option. So I’ll just say this: the Flake has a rough texture and feels dry to the mouth. Like chewing gravel. Except this is very tasty gravel.
The Mekupelet is smooth and creamy. Since I’m the author, I say (and most self-respecting 5 year old kids will agree with me):
Winner: Elite Mekupelet
Or should I say flavour? hahaha.
Let’s see what the judges had to say in the blind tasting test:
Flake – Smells good. It’s better. Really soft. Stronger flavor.
Mekupelet – Smells good too, but not the same. a Little harder.
Flake – Crumbles a lot more. Hmmm… creamy.
Mekupelet – pretty much the same
Flake – Very strong cocoa smell, stronger flavor.
Mekupelet – Creamier.
Flake – More caramelly (sic), crumbly. Higher melting temperature.
Mekupelet – More refined, more milky taste, smoother. I like it better.
Flake – 2006 was an excelent year for chocolate.
Mekupelet – Sweeter. I prefer bitterness.
Flake – Stronger flavor. Slightly more acidic too. Grainy texture.
Mekupelet – Smooth creamy texture. Milky. Gotta love those hormone pumped israeli cows.
It was a really tight contest and to be frank I don’t feel like scrolling up and counting how many points each one had. So the debate remains unsettled.
As crucial as chocolate is in the world, there are other more pressing matters troubling this planet. With this in mind, I hope you stay tuned for our next, much more important debate: Can anyone beat the israelis at this?.
[UPDATE 5/10/2006] As astute reade Jodi Braham pointed out, it’s L.A.M.E. to leave this matter unsettled. Today at work, the last bar of Flake and the last bar of Mekupelet were sitting in front of me at my desk. Staring at both of them, a strong urge to eat chocolate took over me. I ate the Cadbury Flake. We have a winner!