| Maybe you're getting old and your taster is shot...they taste the same as
always to me. Palmer chocolate tastes like wax and lard, on the other hand.
I don't mean that I think Hersheys has downgraded
their chocolate. I just think it never was much good.
Even the mediocre Lindt at least has about 50% cocoa
solids. I don't think Hersheys even lists that on their
labels. Once I got used to dark chocolate from Whole
Foods or Trader Joes, the Hershey's seemed very bland.
(Maybe someone used to Hersheys might think 70%
cocoa solids organic chocolate tastes like bitter baking
I've never heard of Palmers. Maybe that's local?
It's an interesting issue in general. As a baby boomer,
my parents grew up with little processed food. I grew up
at a time when foods were inventions. Marshmallow
fluff, Kool-aid, oreos, fish sticks, lucky charms cereal....
I thought sugary grain flakes were breakfast. For lunch
I thought it was normal to eat tasteless, industrial
white bread slathered with something called Skippys.
Skippys consisted of old peanuts combined with lots
of sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil. I thought
coffee was a powder, like Kool-aid. I also thought
salad dressing was a powder, to be mixed with tasteless
oil and tasteless vinegar. (We didn't have herbs and
spices. We had garlic salt, onion salt, powdered thyme,
etc.) I thought Coke and Pepsi were normal, delicious
Things got so extreme that we needed the hippie
era and the natural foods fad to reassess and figure
out what food should be. Even that movement was
a bit naive. What's granola, after all, but sugary oat
candy? (And to this day, people who work out in
gyms are eating sugary candybars, with a bit of oat,
and believe them to be nutritious "energy bars".)
Now I eat mainly unprocessed
foods, like my grandparents would have had, except
that it's still hard to get nonindustrial food. I'm sure
my grandparents didn't have trouble finding apples
that didn't taste like cardboard, or oranges with juice.
And the only organic bread I can find is Whole Foods,
which they make in their factory and then heat up in
their stores, pretending to bake it! Post-modern bread. :)
I thought Bud was delicious when I was 20. I thought
Coors was even better. Then at one point I tried homebrew,
prohibition-style. It was made of supermarket malt syrup
with bakers yeast and yarrow stalks. The bottles that
didn't blow up were then drunk. It was delicious! For many
years after that I brewed my own beer, using fresh-frozen
hop flowers, malt syrup made for brewing, and variously
toasted, malted barley grains. Most of America
doesn't even know what real beer tastes like. They drink a
watered-down, slightly sour brew that's made with large
amounts of sugar, to cut the malt taste. Bud uses about
30% rice. Miller doesn't even use real hops. They use a
chemical extract. Real beer would skunk (hop oils going
rancid) in those clear bottles due to light exposure.
I think that trend applies across the spectrum. Food
production became so industrialized that in just 1 or 2
generations we acclimated to eating things that are
barely food at all, then it takes some effort to discover
and acclimate to quality food.
.... Just my opinion. You could be right, after all. Maybe
I'm just getting old and need bitter chocolate to get any
taste at all. :)