It's about time the Chocolate
Republic got an Israeli chocolate in the database. By
now, critics could be calling me anti-semitic for not
listing an Israeli chocolate.
Well ... if the Israelis were
known for chocolate.
I am sure somewhere in Israel
someone is making ultra high quality chocolates. Too
bad it ain't Elite.
Disclaimer: I tried
Elite chocolate decades and decades ago, both in the US and
in Israel. As my taste buds have matured since then, I
was able to completely disregard any former opinion I had
about Elite (which was so unremarkable as to be nonexistent)
to form a brand new option (which is so unremarkable as to be
nonexistent, except I have to now print my opinion here).
Elite is manufactured by the
Strauss Group, a 2004 merger between the two companies
Strauss and Elite. Strauss was founded in the 1930's
as a commercial dairy by German Jewish immigrants.
Elite's history is as a candy company, founded in 1918, by
Elite and Strauss had one
thing in common. They were both branded monopolies by
the Israel AntiTrust Authority. Monopolies in a key
commodity market (i.e. chocolate) usually don't mean
orgasmic quality. And in the case of this company, Israelis
were in an uproar that some of this
company's chocolates were available
cheaper in shops in England and New
Jersey than in its native land.
Elite is what I call
Nostalgia Chocolate. Israelis will swear by it because it
evokes childhood memories of snacking on a milk chocolate
bar while bombs were dropped on the deserts nearby. This is
no different than Swedes standing by Marabou, their
country's mediocre flagship brand now owned by Kraft.
(Swedes like to forget that last bit). Americans would
probably go to war and sacrifice their lives if Hershey were
at stake. In all these cases and in cases not
mentioned, the brands are catering to the lowest common
I'll give some credit to Elite. Back in 1985, when I first ate
an Elite bar in Israel, carob bars would probably rank as better tasting. I had just come
from Holland and the Droste chocolates there wiped the Elite chocolates across the floor, the wall, and the toilet bowl.
Today, Elite actually enters my digestive tract without causing me to regurgitate.
Strip away the cultural connection (if you have any), and this is average chocolate produced by
another conglomerate which likely hinders the distribution of chocolate that industrious Israelis could probably produce if a) they wanted to
b) anyone cared c) they weren't mouthing patriotic praises to Elite.
Want to join the ranks of the elite? Don't eat Elite.