Thursday, November 05, 2015

Sultanas Are Not Raisins

Author's Note:
Yeah, it is a first world problem. Next.

There's one more thing to add to the list of beloved products ruined by American corporations-Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bar is the latest victim. My husband will be destroyed when he finds out-he practically survived on those through his teens and twenties.

The choice to use sultanas as a cost saving measure strikes me as odd since sultanas are more expensive than raisins in the US. In fact, they're getting difficult to find at all in my part of the country. I had to go to several stores before securing a few boxes to bake my Christmas cakes.

I do not believe for a moment that consumers, "Couldn't tell the difference." That's absurd. Sultanas are tart, raisins are not. they're larger, and the texture is harder. I don't know who these taste-bud-lacking consumers are, but surely they aren't lifelong lovers of the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bar. I mean, they screwed with the creme egg, and now they've set their sights on the Fruit and Nut. As almonds were a nut I could eat as a child (my allergies were confined to cashews and pistachios), I consumed a fair number of those bars (the obscenely large ones that were intended for whole families but I wasn't a kid that liked to share). Obviously, my almond-consuming days are long over (we don't bring them in the house) but I still feel for generations of people that knew and loved the iconic sweet. You don't mess around with chocolate, and you certainly don't swap out sultanas for raisins. Shame, Cadbury (Kraft). Shame.

Cadbury was always a bit more expensive in the US, but it was worth it. Anyone that's ever bit into a Hershey Bar and got that awful sensation where it feels like your brain is constricting from the chalky chocolate and overdose of sugar can tell you that the Cadbury bars were worth the extra 15 cents, even on a child's allowance. Cadbury chocolate didn't taste like a combination of burnt powdered milk, and soured cheese. I had a friend from South Africa that took her first bite of a Hershey Bar, and spat it out thinking we were pulling a cruel schoolyard prank on her. In fact, I've only known two people that actually liked the Hershey bars-my husband's grandmother because she lived in Harrisburg PA and it was kind of the "local" brand they grew up with, and my dad because he washed it down with a cold bottle of Coca Cola. Miraculously, he never developed diabetes after indulging in this mid-day pick-me-up for over 75 years. Everyone else though, they know enough to steer clear of the stuff.

Kraft has long since stopped being solely a cheese manufacturer, and like many large corporations has branched out into other areas. I am not a fan of processed cheese, but I can't hold that against Kraft. They do make some very good cheese that isn't individually wrapped in cellophane.They also manufacture excellent marshmallows (harder than it sounds) and boxes of macaroni cheese that provided many a midnight snack whilst I was pregnant. I suppose that's why it is so disappointing that they took control of such a well loved company, and proceeded to change what people loved about it. Just as I happily handed over the extra fifteen cents as a youngster for a better product, I really believe that Cadbury consumers would rather pay a bit more for an unchanged, quality product than these sad substitutions being passed off on the public under the same name. The Creme Eggs are Easter for many people, just as consuming a gigantic Fruit and Nut bar in your formative years when the calories don't count is a rite of passage. Once those days are over, and the sweets become a rare treat, you don't want to take a bite and find a sultana where a raisin ought to be.

Yes, you can make a very good version of Fruit and Nut bars at home with quality chocolate, raisins, and nuts-but who wants to do that? Furthermore, who plans ahead for a chocolate bar, the very definition of an, "impulse buy?"

Just to be fair, I did a simple home-test to see if I could tell the difference between a raisin and a sultana. I'm sure you already know how it turned out. I can tell the difference between red and white wine as well. Go figure.

Since no one else will do it, I'll go ahead and apologise (apologize) on behalf of America for ruining the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bar.  Look at it this way, altering the chocolate was a mild version of what typically happens when Americans show up to change things. Just be glad we didn't try bringing you freedom and democracy.


Bibi Maizoon said...

Sultanas are called green raisins or 'hari kishmish' in India & Nepal.
True raisins (the dark ones that were grown in California- possibly on one of my uncles' farms in the San Joaquin valley) are rarely found here on the 'subcontinent'.
Cadbury chocolate here in India is owned by Kraft too. The Cadbury chocolate bars made in India have a bit of an unusual flavor, not bad but odd.
Don't you go knocking Hershey bars too much, missy.
I'll have you know that Hershey Company, based in Pennsylvania, manufactures & distributes Cadbury-branded chocolate (but not its other confectionery) in the United States & has been reported to share Cadbury's "ethos". So there.
Milton Hershey was a Swiss Mennonite (which judging by all the inbreedng that goes on in the Mennonite community probably means I'm somehow related to him).
Kraft split into 2 companies beginning on 1 October 2012. The confectionery business of Kraft became 'Mondel─ôz International', of which Cadbury is a subsidiary.
The famed Swiss chocolatier Toblerone was bought out by Kraft too & the more recent Toblerone bars now bear the 'Mondel─ôz International' insignia now.
Buying chocolate in a hot & humid climate like India & Nepal is a risky business. Do not bother buying chocolate May through September as it most likely rode on an unrefrigerated & HOT truck to get to the shop were you bought it & will be a chalky & split, or melted mess.
And to those fancy schmantz gourmet types who say not to store your chocolate in the fridge- PFFFFFFTT!!! If you don't store your chocolate in the fridge here on the 'subcontinent' your chocolate will be a puddle. So into the fridge it goes sealed into one of my treasured airtight 'Lock 'N' Lock containers so it won't taste like curry & yak cheese..

Mim said...

To be honest, the worst thing Kraft did was all the factory closures :-(

My friend who married an American sent her brothers some American chocolate. They were convinced it was dog chocolate! Though you did give the world Peanut Butter Cups, which are fantastic.

I try not to eat too much chocolate, so when I do get it, I splash out. Hotel Chocolat does amazing flavours...

Goody said...


Ah, I wasn't aware of the Kraft split-it explains a lot. I've always kept chocolate in the fridge in warm months-I never knew it was frowned on.

Sigh, that's always the first thing multinationals do when they take over a company is close factories. Might be more efficient producing things where labour is cheap, but wrong in every other way.

Beth Waltz said...

Nor did I realize storing my Toblerone chocolate orange in the fruit drawer of the 'fridge was not a done thing. It tastes better with hot black coffee when chilled, especially if one eats it with a real mini orange taken from the same drawer.

Sultanas mean holiday cooking time! Now, I'll have to scoot over to the dried fruits section and take inventory. (Mutters to herself...) And while we're on the subject of the deteriorating quality of ingredients, has anyone else noticed the prevalence of rancid nuts? Back in the day, when working in a health food store/restaurant, I was instructed to keep my nose on full alert because rancid nuts are not only not good for you, they're actually very bad for you!