Chocolate Dreams

It's surprising how often Europeans comment on the relative awfulness of American chocolate.  They are, of course, entirely correct.  My personal favorite is Belgian chocolate, but almost any European chocolate is better than the waxy substance available here.  When I was at the Economist, my trips to Britain always meant I'd be eating at least one Cadbury's candy bar a day.

So it's a little amusing to see that Cadbury may be running from Kraft's takeover bid into the arms of . . . Hershey, the most quintissentially American of the American chocolate companies.

Any port in a storm, I suppose, and at least if they ruin the brand they'll do it by importing American chocolate-making techniques, rather than the strategic thinking and know-how behind Velveeta.  Hershey and Cadbury already cross-distribute each other's products, as I understand it, so at least there's some relationship there.

But boy, does a Cadbury/Hershey deal seem unlikely.  Cadbury is more than twice the size of Hershey, and the Hershey board is said to be split, with some of the directors concerned about the implications of the debt they'd need to take on.  As well they should be.  Taking on big debt to buy another company is risky in the best of times, and these are not the best of times.  Though perhaps candy bars are countercyclical, as the world rushes to drown its sorrows in chocolate.