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Coming from German, we have two words for "chocolate bars": The Schokoriegel which is a candy bar containing chocolate, and the Schokoladentafel, a large (often 100g) and flat slab (usually divided into pieces) of either pure chocolate or chocolate with some other ingredients. Many other languages share this distinction (eg. French tablette de chocolat vs barre chocolatée) In English, "chocolate bar" may refer to either of these, though some call the former "candy bar" instead.

How can I specifically refer to the latter kind of chocolate bars in English to avoid confusion?

People I talked to have suggested "bar of chocolate", as this implies the bar is primarily made of chocolate, but this term doesn't seem to be well accepted by internet resources. Some consider it fully synonymous with "chocolate bar"1 2, others don't recognise it at all3 4 5. From those I've seen, only Wiktionary seems to accept it with this specific meaning6.

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    Do you want U.S. English or U.K. English? Jun 22 '20 at 10:54
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    No real preference. If there is a significant difference, I'd like to know the difference.
    – Sinthorion
    Jun 22 '20 at 10:58
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    Relatively speaking, candy bar isn't very common in the UK. Jun 22 '20 at 11:09
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    In British English "candy" is very rarely used; instead "sweets" is used as a generic. "Bar of chocolate" is good - although it gets few hits on the internet (a) not many people require the absolute distinction (b) few people write about chocolate.in general, (c) frequency of use is not a guide to "correct" or "precise" use. ++ That said Chocolate Bar = noun1+noun2. This pattern is common and means noun2 associated with noun1 - the association is given by the context. "Chocolate bar" can thus be a bar made only of chocolate or one whose ingredients are covered in chocolate.
    – Greybeard
    Jun 22 '20 at 11:16
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    @CarstenS In German, yes, whenever referring to a Mars/Twix/whatever without wanting to specify the brand (eg. "Ich habe ein paar Schokoriegel dabei"). I guess I wouldn't say "Schokoladentafel" casually, but rather "eine Tafel Schokolade" or just "Schokolade".
    – Sinthorion
    Jun 23 '20 at 9:31
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As a British-English speaker I would instinctively say bar of chocolate for Schokoladentafel. I might even say chocolate bar for Schokoriegel, but it could be misunderstood.

'Your dictionary' seems to agree.

bar of chocolate

A flat slab of chocolate, usually oblong in shape, which can be broken into smaller segments when being eaten. Not the same as a chocolate bar.

If I wanted a Schokoriegel, I might say to a friend going into the shops 'Could you get me a chocolate bar (please)?' But realizing that it was potentially ambiguous, I'd probably run after them and specify: I mean a Mars bar/Twix/Crunchie.

As I see it, it's the Schokoriegel which doesn't have an unambiguous English word and the brand probably needs specifying.

US speakers might have a different perspective. (As I understand it, a candy bar in US English may have a chocolate coating or partially contain chocolate, but it doesn't have to.)

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    I think you're right that there's no British equivalent for the generic Schokoriegel. However, If I wanted a chocolate covered bar like a Mars, Lion or Crunchie I don't think I'd ever call it a "chocolate bar". The only sort of confection that isn't solid chocolate but is called a "chocolate bar" would be a fruit and nut or whole nut bar with other products embedded in chocolate.
    – BoldBen
    Jun 22 '20 at 11:23
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    I (BrE speaker) probably would use the term "chocolate bar" if I didn't care which of Milky Way/Crunchie/etc. I ended up (although I'd be even more likely to specify which I wanted). As a (minor) point of reference, Wikipedia pretty-consistently uses the term "(chocolate bar)" to disambiguate the confections from things with the same/similar name – see these search results.
    – TripeHound
    Jun 22 '20 at 16:57
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    American speaking here: Chocolate bar to me unequivocally refers to a slab made of chocolate, pure or with some add-ins. Candy bar encompasses slabs of chocolate, like Hershey’s, as well as candy that is made with some chocolate and lots of other ingredients, like Twix. If someone called a Twix a “chocolate bar” though, I would not tell him he’s wrong; if however he asked me to buy him a chocolate bar, I would get something pure. Jun 23 '20 at 0:26
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    Another native AmE speaker here, I absolutely agree with @gen-zreadytoperish on this, with one caveat: I almost never hear people younger than about 40-50 use the term 'chocolate bar' or 'candy bar', they almost always name a specific branded variety of chocolate bar or candy bar (for example "Hershey's Bar" for Hershey's chocolate, or Snickers for one of the more popular examples of a candy bar), albeit sometimes using the brand name as a generic (just like is often done with 'Kleenex' around here when referring to facial tissue). Jun 23 '20 at 1:59
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    It's interesting, I (non-English speaker) always thought of a "bar" as a long cuboid with a more or less square cross-section. So the kind of Bounty, MilkyWay, Lion,... would match, but not the Schokoladentafel one (or tablette de chocolat for me).
    – WoJ
    Jun 23 '20 at 6:27
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Here in Australian English, the ambiguity seems to have been somewhat resolved, at least relative to what these answers from other dialects suggest: a Schokoriegel is a chocolate bar, whereas a Schokoladentafel is a block of chocolate.

Finding dictionary-style references for this was a little difficult, but in terms of evidence, consider this webpage from the largest chocolate manufacturer in Australia versus this webpage from the same site. Furthermore, this forum thread features a number of self-described (from their profile information under their respective avatars) Australian and New Zealand English speakers elucidating the distinction.

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    And in AusEng, "candy" does not include chocolate but just hard candy. We know what "candy bar" means, but would never say it ourselves Jun 23 '20 at 12:15
  • They're actually seperated into these categories on Cadbury's AU website, i.e. cadbury.com.au/Products/Cadbury-Dairy-Milk-Blocks.aspx and cadbury.com.au/Products/Chocolate-Bars.aspx Jun 24 '20 at 0:07
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    AusEng here: I would never use "chocolate bar" as a generic for a Mars/Cruchie etc (or at any time). I would either use the exact bar name, or perhaps a "chocolate coated bar" as a generic, but I can't recall having heard any generic used for that kind of confectioonary.
    – Bohemian
    Jun 24 '20 at 7:07
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    I'll certainly agree that it's much more common to just refer to the brand name in specific, but in cases where one must describe the category as a whole, 'chocolate bar' would be my go-to. There's a chance it's a regional difference, I guess?
    – Blargant
    Jun 24 '20 at 23:21
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In the US, a "candy bar" is a piece of candy which is designed to be held in your hand while eaten, with pieces bitten off as you eat. It would generally be 1-3 oz in weight. The term normally implies something that is reasonably soft (vs, say, "peanut brittle"). Chocolate may or may not be present, and, if present, it may or may not be the principal ingredient.

A "chocolate bar" is a bar-shaped piece of (mostly) chocolate candy (it may, eg, include nuts or grains), usually (but not always) designed to be eaten like a candy bar. Sometimes large chocolate bars are designed to be broken/sliced into segments so that several people can enjoy them, or so that the bar can be eaten in several separate sessions.

There is no hard-and-fast division between the two terms.

(Note that in the US "candy" is pretty much anything sweet that is designed to be eaten using your hand to hold it.)

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    Your definition of "candy bar" as a "piece of candy" is only helpful if we know what you mean by "candy". In the UK, the word "candy" is used only to refer to hard rock candy, as in "candy cane". Other confectionery is called "sweets". Wheras in the USA, you use "candy" to mean all other types of confectionery, including chocolate. In BrE, chocolate is not candy. Jun 24 '20 at 16:00
  • @ChrisMelville - Yep, in the US "candy" is pretty much anything sweet that is designed to be eaten using your hand to hold it.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 24 '20 at 16:11
  • Yup. I know that, but non-English speakers won't necessarily know it, hence the reason for stating it :) Jun 24 '20 at 16:16
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    Would be better if your intro clarified that - e.g. "is a piece of confectionary which is". You're immediately assuming the reader is familiar with your definition of the word "candy".
    – Rich
    Jun 24 '20 at 21:27
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    @Rich - In the US, a "piece of confectionery" is a candy you eat with your pinky finger extended.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 25 '20 at 0:29
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In American English, a chocolate bar for baking is called

Baking chocolate

and "also referred to as bitter chocolate, cooking chocolate and unsweetened chocolate." (Wikipedia)

If you called it baking chocolate, there would be little doubt in the reader's mind that you are not seeking a candy bar. In American grocery stores, the chocolate candy bars are found in one aisle (with perhaps gummy bears) and the baking chocolate is found in another aisle (probably close to the flour and baking powder). (Note that baking chocolate also comes in small, drop shapes and are called chocolate chips.)

(edit: Adding picture of baking chocolate, along with more information.) Hershey's Baking Chocolate I hope the picture is clear enough, but this is a flat slab of chocolate (113g) and breaks off into equally-sized squares. It can be found with other baking items. The one pictured is semi-sweet, but baking chocolate also comes in a bittersweet form. The difference:

By U.S. government standards, bittersweet chocolate must contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor; semisweet can contain between 15 and 35 percent, according to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.

(source)

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    It's also possible to buy sweetened baking chocolate.
    – The Photon
    Jun 22 '20 at 14:06
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    I'm talking about flat bars of chocolate divided into segments/pieces for direct consumption, not as ingredient.
    – Sinthorion
    Jun 22 '20 at 14:28
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    Out of interest do you have chocolate shaped like "baking chocolate" but intended primarily to be broken up and eaten one piece at a time. As a Br Eng speaker that's what I think of as a "chocolate bar".
    – BoldBen
    Jun 22 '20 at 23:04
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    But you also have non-baking chocolate that comes in the same sorts of bars. Really the only distinction I can think of in chocolate bars is the cacao content. Typical "Hershey bar" chocolate might be 10-20% (though curiously I can't find the exact percentage), while good gourmet chocolate will be around 65-85% cacao.
    – jamesqf
    Jun 23 '20 at 0:54
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    @rajah9, in U.S.A., "Chocolate" is a substance whose primary ingredients are cocoa powder and cocoa butter. It may also contain other ingredients, especially sugar, but "Baking chocolate" contains nothing else—just cocoa powder and cocoa butter. I don't see where the OP is asking about names for chocolate with different amounts of sugar. The OP's question seems to be about the distinction between chocolate, and other products in which sugar (not cocoa powder) is the primary ingredient. Jun 23 '20 at 15:18
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I'm a Brit living in the USA: my personal experience is that language of food is one of the most different areas between these two variants of English. That's partly just linguistic, but I think it's important to note that it's also because the range and styles of foods on offer is inherently different between the two nations. There are cultural differences in the expectation of chocolate, that might not perfectly map to your Germanic or more generally European expectations.

That all said, three prominent manufacturers in the USA all refer to slab-type products as "Chocolate Bars":

So I think "Chocolate Bar" is probably the best US English translation for Schokoladentafel.

Whereas brands like Snickers are described clearly as "Candy Bars". This, in US English, seems like the best translation of Schokoriegel.

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    This is confusing to me (an American living in the USA): how is a Hershey Bar unlike a Lindt bar? Are you talking about Hershey's Nuggets?
    – Juhasz
    Jun 22 '20 at 21:31
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    @Juhasz I've edited my answer to simplify and remove the comparison, since on reflection it doesn't really affect the answer. Jun 22 '20 at 23:48
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    As a native AmE speaker, this sounds more or less right to me. I would say that a "chocolate bar" is made of primarily chocolate, but might have inclusions like nuts. If you asked someone to buy you a chocolate bar not-otherwise-specified, you would probably expect plain chocolate. A "candy bar" would be anything that's got a lot of non-chocolate in it / where non-chocolate is the primary flavor. If you would give it out on Halloween, or a child would whine for it, it's probably a candy bar. (But you would probably ask someone to buy you a specific brand by name, if you wanted one.) Jun 23 '20 at 3:14
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    Funny that you list Hersey's considering that it's not even chocolate! Jun 23 '20 at 12:06
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    The three different textures of chocolate are in order of consumability, 1. butter Belgian, German, Swiss; 2. wax British; and 3. cheese American. I forget where I read that but they didn't despise Hershey's nearly enough.
    – Rich
    Jun 24 '20 at 21:34
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One option I am not seeing in the other answers. If I wanted to ask someone to get me Schokoladentafel, I would just say "get me some chocolate" and not quantify it as a bar or block, the assumption being that what I want is mostly chocolate with the possibility of some additions (nuts, dried fruit etc). Although I would understand someone asking for "A bar of chocolate" to mean the same thing.
"A chocolate bar" would most likely be Schokoriegel (Twix / Milky Way etc) but I would probably ask for clarification to be sure.
"A block of chocolate" would make me think of chocolate for cooking or baking, as I've seen that in much thicker slabs.

However, to add to the confusion, there is a Yorkie bar. It is solid chocolate with possibility of a few additions (biscuits & fruits etc) but it is sized, packaged and sold as a chocolate bar. Wikipedia is even specific about that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorkie_(chocolate_bar)

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  • Hate to confuse you even more but there are also Dairy Milk, Fruit & Nut; Aero, Wispa, Flake... small Toblerones, and Terry's Chocolate Oranges which aren't even bar-shaped; except for the bar-shaped ones.
    – Rich
    Jun 24 '20 at 21:36
  • As a British person, I agree. Was about to add a similar answer then I saw yours. A "chocolate bar" is a branded mix of confection coated in chocolate. A slab of chocolate, whether divided into pieces or not is just "chocolate".
    – Bob Tway
    Jun 25 '20 at 14:30
  • @Rich. Yes - I was just pointing out the possibility of confusion, not listing all of the edge cases. After all, how would you classify a Creme Egg?
    – Dragonel
    Jun 25 '20 at 15:16
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For your purpose of direct comparison between English and German, and if you are seeking general simplicity rather than firm rules: the Schokoriegel is a chocolate bar, and the Schokoladentafel, is a bar of chocolate. To exemplify this: Cadbury Dairy Milk is a solid bar of chocolate; Cadbury Caramel is chocolate bar with a smooth, creamy caramel filling.

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    What's a Wispa?
    – Rich
    Jun 24 '20 at 21:36
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In UK English, chocolate bar generically refers to both types, and distinction is often made through a preceding descriptor, which is usually more nuanced, either indicating flavour or shape. Flavour typically implies contents.

For a 'slab of chocolate' in sections:

  • Solid chocolate
  • Pure chocolate
  • Plain chocolate (a flavour, but being plain implying it contains nothing else)
  • Milk chocolate (flavour containing milk, it's implication is it's plain)
  • Dark chocolate (also a flavour, without milk, but also implying it's plain)

For chocolate bars that also contain non-chocolate, you'd typically describe it's specific contents:

  • Fruit & nut chocolate Bar
  • Chocolate wafer bar/Wafer chocolate bar
  • Caramel chocolate bar
  • Hazelnut chocolate bar

There is, to my knowledge, no generic term for a chocolate bar containing sweets or wafers. You could call it a non-solid chocolate bar, as an inversion, but it'd be an unusual application.

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  • Unless I was trying to describe a particular product to someone who'd never tasted one, I can't imagine using the phrase "caramel chocolate bar"; I'd just say "Cadbury's Caramel", "Galaxy Caramel", or whatever.
    – IMSoP
    Jun 23 '20 at 21:37

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