Happy Milk Chocolate Day! What’s not to like about today unless you’ve run short of your supply of milk chocolate? Note, this is not simply chocolate day, today is devoted only to the recognition of the contributions and happiness that milk chocolate has brought to humanity.
I’ve never been able to figure out why a day in the middle of the heat of summertime would be devoted to milk chocolate in that the yummy treat tends to melt to a semi-liquid state at slightly warmer than standard room temperature. You certainly don’t want to be walking around outdoors in the summer sunshine with a milk chocolate bar in your shirt pocket. Don’t even think of keeping a bar in the car on a summer day!
I don’t think that chocolate ice cream strictly qualifies as milk chocolate unless it is streaked through with a milk chocolate syrup or possibly contains milk chocolate chips or chunks. Still, I think I’ll be lenient in my definition and allow chocolate ice cream, simply because it contains both dairy and chocolate liquor ingredients.
There are various grades of milk chocolate and preferences. In America, milk chocolate must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor plus the chocolate solids like cocoa butter. In Europe, the percentage of chocolate solids must be around 25%. So, if you try different milk chocolate bars, you’ll notice each has a unique mouth feel and flavor sensation. As far as the milk ingredients, either condensed milk or evaporated powdered milk is used. It all depends upon the candy maker’s recipe.
About preferences, many chocolate fans practice strong brand loyalty. My English friends prefer Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars. I must agree that they are very rich and have a smooth mouth feel. I’d never turn down the offer of one of those treats. One of my pals in Canada swears by Godiva chocolate. I must agree that these Belgian chocolates are among the best I’ve ever sampled. They’re priced for the upscale market at around $30 per pound so I usually reserve Godiva bars for gift giving.
If you want something a little more pedestrian that you can pick up at the supermarket, you might enjoy Dove Milk Chocolate bars. The price is somewhat lower, and the quality doesn’t suffer at all. My personal favorite is Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate candy in all of its incarnations. You haven’t lived unless you’ve indulged in Ghirardelli ice cream. In the wintertime, I prepare hot cocoa from scratch using the Ghirardelli unsweetened powder, whole milk and honey. You could use rice or soy milk in the hot cocoa, but I’m writing about milk chocolate today and that means dairy milk.
Regardless of brand loyalty, mouth feel preferences or place of origin, milk chocolate is possibly the most asked for treat anywhere on the planet. Chocoholic or not, milk chocolate is a great way to bridge any friendship gaps. The Toronto baseball club has its mascot hand out free milk chocolate bars during home games. Talk about building team loyalty, this is certainly one of the best ways of doing so.
Whether you’re going to have a Kit Kat or Nestle’s Krunch or one of the upscale bars. I hope you have a joyful Milk Chocolate Day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes M&Ms, they melt in his beak not in his claws.