Britain’s chocolate industry has undergone a revolution. Not long ago we were the laughing stock of Europe with our chocolate’s high milk and vegetable fat content. Our idea of pushing the boat out was a box of Milk Tray or After Eights. The only bastion of quality chocolate I can remember from my youth is Thorntons. Its shops, packed to the rafters in the run-up to Easter and Christmas, always felt a cut above, and its staff always seemed passionate and knowledgeable. Today specialist manufacturers and shops have opened all over the place, so Thorntons must fight for its share in an increasingly competitive landscape. To see how it has adapted, I thought I’d compare our flagship chocolate brand – the largest independent confectionery company in Britain – with France’s equivalent, La Maison du Chocolat, which conveniently have shops within skipping distance of each other.