Taste wars: Canada and America tee off in caramel test

Some things are just different down here.

I hope I’m not different.

When last I left you, my garden was starting to grow and I was still waiting for my Green Card. Today, I have zucchini growing to sizes I didn’t know zucchini could be, and I have my Green Card. Not only that, but I’ve legally changed my name to My American’s surname (it’s a total feminist move, shut up) and I have a job (it’s in retail, it’s no big deal).

There’s also One Tired Puppy, but you should go over there and read all about it.

When my Green Card arrived, I was allowed to leave the United States. Yes, that’s right … confined to life below the 49th parallel, setting no foot on Canadian soil since I left on January 26.

It’s been torture.

My American agreed to a day trip. We drove up to Nelson, B.C. (more on that later on OurGreatEscape.ca), spent a few hours strolling around with Bella and picked up some treasured Canadian somethings that I can’t get down here.

More than just the air up there

Yep, life is tough as a Canamerican.

There are no:

  • Aero bars
  • Ketchup chips
  • All-dressed chips
  • Kraft peanut butter
  • Mackintosh toffee
  • Caramilk bars
  • Red Rose tea

Only available in Canada, you say? Pity.

Look, it’s tough enough getting used to people calling chocolate bars “candy bars,” let alone getting used to not having some of my lifetime favourites available.

(See how I’m holding onto the U in some words? When I start getting paid to drop that sucker, I will.)

I really didn’t think I would miss some things as much as I do. And now that I look back at the list, none of it is good for me, except maybe the tea.

Caramilk vs. Caramello

Sometimes, you can find a product that’s rebranded.

Lo and behold, My American searched for Aero bars (he’s hooked, too) and found them on Amazon.com and Ebay. The price point isn’t too bad but it’s the shipping that’ll kill your credit card. You can’t tell me some people aren’t suckers, or totally desperate because they don’t live a three-hour drive from home.

At the same time, he learned Caramello is the American version.

caramello candy bar

See? The Americans like to copy us sometimes, too!

It’s true. Hersey holds a licence to produce Cadbury products in the U.S.

Caramilk is the Canadian original. If you’re Canadian, you know the Caramilk Secret is tightly guarded. NO ONE knows how Cadbury gets that awesome, gooey caramel inside the chocolate bubbles.

Honestly, it defies science! (Because we know dinosaurs and evolution don’t. Right, Idaho Bible belt?)

If you’re my age (not necessarily a tightly guarded secret but let’s just not talk about it), you remember this TV commercial:

Side note: That ad, produced by Gary Prouk is the only Canadian creative inducted into the Clio Hall of Fame (1980), according to the 2008 YouTube notes. It also won a Lion at Cannes, a medal at a NYAD show and many other awards.

The Caramilk truth be told

Ermagherd, NO, I don’t have the Caramilk secret!

And even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you. People die for letting smaller secrets go. Although I have to admit, it would probably only take a few beers to find out …

When I learned there was an evil U.S. twin, I had to pick up a couple of samples. Sure, Caramello — and any candychocolate bar — is less expensive down here.

But it just isn’t the same.

caramilk chocolate bar

Problem No. 1: It’s a different shape. Caramilk is a 3×6 formation, making for an easy crack to split between two people. Caramello is a 1×6 grid. Still an easy split but the squares are bigger so …
Problem No. 2: The Caramello chocolate is thicker. Yeah, who doesn’t love good, thick chocolate but its denseness takes away from the awesome, gooey caramel. And part of the fun of Caramilk is pushing your thumb into a square and pulling out caramel.
Problem No. 3: The ads suck.

Oh sure, most ads from the 1980s sucked, even if the music didn’t. (Hellooooooo, Debbie Gibson …). Likely, there’s a Star Wars-themed ad out there that nobody needs to see. Ever.

However, the mastery achieved by the Caramilk Secret theme is incomparable.

Maybe it is the mystery of the Caramilk Secret.

Maybe it’s the allure of something oh-so Canadian. (Aero bars and all-dressed chips are another story for another time, by the way.)

No matter the maybe, Canadian land is but a few hours north from my new home in Spokane. And if that seems impossible, I have friends who can be blackmailedconvinced to trade favours for a box of chocolate bars.

canadian border

Have Escape, will travel!

1 comment

  1. Hello from another Canamerican. Another candy bar for your list is BIG TURK. I buy a box of them for my husband every time I return to Vancouver for a visit. (I can’t stand them myself.) Then there are Smarties ! I like those. Cheers.

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