Readnponder's Reviews > Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers

Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury
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's review
Nov 28, 11

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Lovers of chocolate--give heed. This is a history of the big manufacturers of chocolate from the mid-1800s to present, focusing esp on the British company Cadbury. The reader will learn about the difficulties in developing chocolate (separating the fat from the cocoa bean; working with a perishable ingredient like milk), as well as the economics of the industry.

I was most amazed by the three Quaker-owned British chocolate makers. They took such a unique and humane approach to business. They moved their factories to the countryside so workers wouldn't have to live in slums. They offered employees home-ownership with low interest loans. They instituted sick leave and pensions and paid women the same as men. (Yes, this is back in the 19th century.) They offered literacy classes on Saturday. Their Quaker faith discouraged the accumulation of wealth, so they spread it around to their employees as well as set up charitable trusts. Later, Milton Hershey would see how Cadbury operated and attempt to implement some of those ideas at his factory.

A few years ago, Cadbury was taken over by Kraft and now the company is no longer governed by Quaker values.

After finishing this book, I went to the local gourmet store and purchased 5 different brands of chocolate bars. (I was disappointed that I couldn't find Cadbury anywhere in my town.) My husband and I did our own chocolate-tasting afternoon. One thing we discovered as we ranked the samples: I go for strength of cocoa flavor; he gives priority to a smooth texture.

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