Regulation

A Right to the Joy of Chocolate

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Mort Rosenblum, author of Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light, is outraged that candy makers want the FDA to let them replace cocoa butter in chocolate with other vegetable fats:

The proposal would widen the gap between good and awful. Industrial food companies could sell their waxy cocholat for less. But purveyors of the real thing have no corners to cut. While discerning chocoholics will fork over whatever it takes, those who can't pay will never know chocolate….

Too much of what we eat is already ersatz-virtual, like "farm-fresh" Frankenstein produce or "home-baked" chemical cookies. No one who has savored real chocolate can be eager to see our beloved Theobroma cacao, the elixir of the gods, suffer this fate.

To sum up, the vast majority of consumers are perfectly happy to eat any old crap labeled "chocolate," but they don't know what they're missing because real chocolate, the kind "discerning chocoholics" like, is too expensive. And if chocolate makers save money by using cheaper substitutes instead of cocoa butter, will that make the good stuff any less affordable? Rather than demanding that the FDA keep chocolate real (a battle that surely was lost with the acceptance of "white chocolate," if not with the introduction of milk chocolate, the kind most people seem to prefer), shouldn't Rosenblum be calling for a chocolate subsidy program to uplift  the taste buds of the masses? After all, as he puts it, "everyone has a right to the joy of chocolate." And if it turns out that most people still prefer Hershey bars, Snickers, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Rosenblum will just have to face the hard truth that only especially sensitive people like him (along with the gods, presumably) can discern the superiority of the real thing.

Clarification: The "ersatz-virtual" chocolate that Rosenblum decries would still be made with cocoa mass for the flavor, but the fat, which provides texture, would be different.