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Proper Sweets

June 26, 2013

A hot topic at the moment, with “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” the talk of London. My expansion on this topic (the one with a hazelnut in every slice of course – a slogan ruined when Ben Elton pointed out that that applies equally to squirrel droppings) is more to do with the fact they are constantly shrinking in both size and flavour.

Some, I’m not particularly nostalgic about. Bringing back “Texan” a few years ago reminded me that I liked it more because it lasted literally for hours than for the taste (the chocolate coating was nice, but that chewy mallow got boring after the first 90 minutes).

On the other hand, I’d like “Ice Breaker” back, and some of the dropped sweets in the “Black Magic” box and “Quality Street” tin, but what I’d like most is the original, proper taste of Mars Bar. Those who didn’t eat them before the formula changed in 1995 don’t know what they are missing – that soft caramel and thick chocolate…

What also hacks me off is the size of them. Now, I know that because when we are small, things look bigger (insert your own joke here if you must, then go read some other blog, you smutty lot); but lately I’ve found myself doing one of two things (see line before semi-colon… and that’s not a double-entendre either before you start).. and that is either eating two bars, or making my own.

Yes, I’ve found that chocolate bars are now so bl**dy small it takes two to provide the portion that one used to. It may just be me, but I need material for my blog, and I’m finding that anyway.

The other option is “turning Wonka” (see two paragraphs earlier, again… you…), and making my own. No kidding, I’ve found it’s the only way to come up with something that isn’t gone in a single bite. It’s quite relaxing too, pondering the combination of mint and 85% dark chocolate, or whether large crystal brown sugar provides more of a fun crunch in a fudge – or indeed whether you can incorporate a solid disc of chocolate into the middle of a chocolate cake.

You can also produce stuff you can’t get in shops. My personal favourite is sticking a layer of marzipan to a layer of white icing and coating 3cm squares in dark chocolate.* The only place I ever bought something similar was a sweet shop on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and then it was cut from a long log by the slice – rather than individual sweets as I make.

The point is, though, that they are not gone in a single bite – and that’s the thing. Chocolate is about stretching a nice moment, and from manufacturers, that moment for me is getting too short. That’s all.


*Won’t bore you with the full recipe, this isn’t “Blue Peter.”

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