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Canfield’s Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda Leads Sporkful Listener on Mystical Journey

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Sep 26, 2010

We received this email, complete with pictures, from Joel in Tucson, AZ. It describes a pretty epic journey in pursuit of a pretty unknown soda. I actually remember trying this soda as a child. I've slightly edited Joel's email for length, and I put my recollection of the soda after the jump...

I have long wanted to share a food experience of mine with you guys, but could not think of anything worthy of your time until today when I had a great discovery in my local supermarket.  I recently graduated from law school and last semester I read a case about two competing soda companies, one arguing that it had the exclusive right to label its soda "diet chocolate fudge soda" and the other arguing that it had the right to use that label since there is no better way to describe a soda flavored the way their soda was flavored. (It was the fascinating case of A.J. Canfield Co. v. Honickman, 808 F.2d 291. You might remember some of the following from that case: (1) The Primary Significance Test, (2) the Test of Consumer Understanding, (3) competitor need, etc. All right, I promise that is all I will say about the case.)

We found out that somewhere out there someone actually manufactures Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda.  Namely, Canfield manufactures this soda. Now, note that it is isn't chocolate soda, or even diet chocolate soda, but rather it is diet chocolate FUDGE soda. The distinction was the centerpiece of the litigation.  Some of you probably think this sounds absolutely disgusting, while others will share my thought, "I have to try this stuff."
So I decided to put some energy, not a lot but more than most would, into seeking out this carbonated candy. I searched the internet. I searched grocery stores. I called numbers. It appeared that Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda had gone the way of the majestic dodo bird. 

That is, until September 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM MST. As it often goes you don't find something until you have stopped looking for it.  I was walking down the aisles of the Fry's Market location at 2480 N. Swan Road, Tucson, AZ, doing a little grocery shopping.  I found myself in the biscuit/pancake mix aisle (of all places) when suddenly I saw a six-pack of cans on the bottom shelf that resembled an image that Professor Schechter so kindly included with the case in our textbook.  I almost dismissed it, but alas I could not.  I bent over, picked up the six-pack and read "Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canfield's_Diet_Chocolate_Fudge).  I actually looked around and over my shoulder, waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out at me, but then I thought, "Is that show even on anymore?  I'm pretty sure it's not."

Needless to say, I placed the six-pack in my basket.  Then I briskly walked to the checkout.  I didn't even bother finishing my grocery shopping. I needed to go home and try this elusive libation and share my findings.

I first took some photographs of my trophy (one with me in it so that you skeptics wouldn't say I downloaded the images), which are attached to this email, and then I popped open the can.  First I smelled it and was actually surprised at how much the bouquet reminded me of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate. I thought to myself, "By George, this might actually taste like chocolate fudge!"  Then I proceeded to pour the contents of the can into a glass so that I could appreciate the color and texture of the liquid.  It's a rich brown that foams very quickly, much like root beer, but the head dissipated just as quickly as it formed.  I then took a sip.  I was surprised that it is not overwhelmingly sweet and actually is kind of refreshing.  If any of you have had the pleasure of eating at 2nd Ave Deli in New York City, you will know what I mean when I say it tastes a lot like the small chocolate soda shots they bring you after the meal.  The difference is that Canfield's has zero calories.

My final verdict is that as novelty item, the soda is quite good, but I don't see myself becoming a regular customer.  If I ever bought it again, it would be to share it with my friends and tell them this, my very long-winded story. If you made it this far in the email, thank you for reading.  If you didn't, well, you wouldn't be reading this sentence, so really for whose benefit am I typing it. 

Thanks Joel, for your efforts on behalf of diet chocolate fudge soda researchers everywhere. I do have a vague recollection that I think my mom got this soda for us a few times when we were kids. I too remember it being not exceptionally sweet, almost more of a dark chocolate soda, as I recall. In the end, I tend to agree that I'd rather keep my soda and my fudge separate. But I do think the existence of this product makes a positive statement about humanity. /dan

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