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The Emperors of Chocolate
Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars
Nothing else has universal appeal of milk chocolate. It is a favorite of Malaysians, Mexicans and Americans cuisine, which is surprising if you think about the differences in the rest of their cuisine.
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Yet milk and chocolate natural enemies. Milk is 89% water, chocolate is 80% fat (cocoa butter). And milk contains a lot of butter fat, which tends to turn chocolate rancid. Because their molecular structures are quite different, the mixture tends to be lumpy rather than smooth. Seems simple, but good milk chocolate only invented after the telegraph, the camera and the machine gun. Throughout most of history, what was called chocolate was just a drink made of ground up cocoa beans and spices - what we would regard as a bitter hot cocoa.
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Swiss chemist Henri Nestle who succeeded by using condensed milk, which reduced the problem of combining water and chocolate fat. There are now several different methods, but they all depend on drying the mixture, and each produces a different taste. Your preference depends on where you grew up. British prefer caramel flavor of Cadbury's, Swiss like milky Toblerone and Italians like creamy Baci.
Milton Hershey set up a school and orphanage for orphans. At age of 60, he donated everything he owned to the Hershey Trust for the benefit of the school. At the time that gift was worth $60 million; today it is $5 billion, making the school one of richest in the world. It is home for 1000 boys and girls, mainly from poor homes, not necessarily orphans. The endowment provides $35,000 a year per child, so even things like dental braces are paid for. The children are boarded on farms around the town. Although they no longer have to milk the cows twice a day, they still have to do farm chores.
The Trust that runs the school is Hershey's biggest shareholder, and has voting control over the company, so it tends to be run more like a private than a public company. Because it it highly unlikely that the Trust would ever sell their shares, it is safe from a takeover, and so all the shares ar greatly undervalued.
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