Kit Kat Dark and Kit Kat White

Kit Kat Dark and Kit Kat White

I was thinking the other day about how rare it is for an actual, honest to goodness new candy bar to hit the store shelves.  I literally can't remember the last time I saw a real new thing.  Instead, manufacturers just fiddle with existing lines, turning out a thousand different Skittles variations.

I understand, don't get me wrong.  If I was a candy company, I'd be a lot more secure about producing a new Skittles flavor than re-tooling the line for an entirely new candy.  You've got the marketing, the branding, the packaging, and then who knows if anyone's going to like it?

There's just not as much risk if you produce a new flavor of an old standard.  If it doesn't take off, then you just stop making it.  And you get to capitalize on your existing brand name.

Add to this the way that the buying public, as much as we demand plenty of options, we are not very experimental.  We want movie trailers that tell us everything that happens in the movie.  We want the same cheeseburger and latte to follow us always, everywhere, no matter where we go.  We like things that are the same, in other words.  Maybe just a little bit different, if we're feeling adventurous.

Turning your regular chocolate into white chocolate or dark chocolate is a standard way to spruce things up a little.  You don't have to risk trying a flavor (like mint or coconut) that people may not like.  Both dark chocolate and white chocolate are known quantities.  Just looking at the package, you pretty much know what to expect.

Consumers like this: knowing what to expect.  Particularly for candy bars, which people form a real attachment to, born partly out of a long history with the brand.  Ask me how I feel about Nerds some time.

And so we have two very unadventurous candy bars.  The white chocolate has a powerful "white chocolate" smell to it, more powerful than most white chocolate bars.  I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.  I can literally smell the empty wrapper as I sit here typing this, and the wrapper is at least two feet away from my face.

The thing I like best about the white chocolate Kit Kat is that it's really pretty.  That wonderful ivory color, the shape of the bar casting graceful shadows in the valley between each bar.  It's gorgeous.

The taste is sweet without much flavor, and the chocolate is waxy.  Something of a disappointment.

The dark chocolate Kit Kat has a wonderful temper, a nice snap, and a good semi-gloss finish.  The cocoa smell is apparent only if you really put the thing to your face and huff it.  It's like the white chocolate bar got all the smell molecules.

The dark chocolate is much more firm than you're used to, and it gives the bar a good crunch and heft.  The bittersweet taste overwhelms the taste of the cookies inside, but they are there in texture.  It's tasty enough, I suppose, but not interesting enough to be worth the combination.

Good thing they didn't risk making a new candy, I guess.