Monday, 5 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Cadbury's Halloween Chocolate 2015

I’m going to talk about - and try - all the Cadbury’s Halloween sweets I could find in Romford, but I will need help (because I took pictures of the Sceme Egg and it looked pants on its own) so I’ve enlisted a small wind-up ghost I just happened to have lying around because I just happen to have wind-up ghosts lying around all year round (really), everyone say hi to Ooky:

"Hi Ooky!"

John Cadbury began selling drinking chocolate in Birmingham in 1824, he began producing it in 1831 and in 1847 he and his brother formed Cadbury Brothers, the original Cadbury’s. in 1878 John Cadbury’s sons bought up some land and renamed it Bournville because, and I’m not kidding, French chocolate was in at the time and the ‘ville’ might convince people their chocolate was French, and thus better quality. In 1905 they released a new, purple wrapped, milk chocolate bard Dairy Milk, it was a runaway hit and Cadbury’s were in fact the first British company to mass-produce milk chocolate (they were also the royal chocolatiers to Queen Victoria), the following year they introduced the Bournville dark chocolate bar and in 1910 the Cadbury’s Milk Tray selection box – all three are still on sale to this today and Dairy Milk remains their biggest line. As the producers of Crunchie, Roses, Flake, Crème Egg, Wispa, Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Fudge, Curley Wirly, Dairy Milk Buttons, Wholenut, Fruit & Nut, Cadbury’s Caramel, Snack, Animals, Fredo, Time Out and Twirl they have rotted a lot of teeth and made a lot of childhoods that little bit better in their years and to me there’s few things more British than a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, seeing them on sale in the airport when I get  back from abroad is the little comfort, the little sign that I’m back home again that a miserable bastard like me needs. Yes they haven’t been owned by a British firm since ’69 (they were bought by Australians though, so not far off ;)) and are now owned by that awful soulless American food giant Kraft (well technically Mondelēz International) but they’ll always be ‘Our Boys’ to me.  

More importantly than all this though – is that for a good few years Cadbury’s has been joining in with the Americans and rebranding some of their lines, and even produced some special sweets, just for Halloween, and again I know this is almost certainly because they’re owned by an American corporation and doing this is pretty normal for Kraft foods but it’s really great to see ‘one of ours’ doing this. It’s taken a long time for Halloween to be excepted in the UK (even though it comes from over here) and something like Cadbury’s spending money on special sweets and packaging – knowing full well that none of it will be sold in America – makes me feel like it has finally been considered the norm, far more than the local clubs throwing Dress As Something Slutty And Risk Rohypnol For Halloween nights (They’d throw a night like that for Hitler’s Birthday if they could get away it.). With it now being October I went on a hunt to see what they were doing for the season – and it was good, two old favourites and three that if they’re not new, I haven’t seen them before.

Screme Egg!
How do I eat mine? Not at all because I fucking hate Crème Eggs, I know there’s a LOT of Crème Egg lovers out there but none of you will be reading this piece of shit so bite me. What IS nice though is that Cadbury’s have been rebranding their Crème Eggs for so many Halloweens now that they actually count as an ‘old favourite’ (I’m pretty sure this is the first big Halloween rebranding they did), we have an ‘old favourite’ Halloween rebranding, I feel so swanky and proud of my country (sad isn’t it?). The Sceme Egg is pretty much the regular Crème Egg, a thumb-sized chocolate egg made of thick, THICK chocolate but instead of what Wikipedia calls “a white and yellow fondant filling which mimics the albumen and yolk of a chicken egg” and what I call “scratchy goop that puts my teeth on edge” they have a pale green ‘gross’ fondant filling. I bothered to taste it, it’s minty and I think slightly thicker than regular Crème Egg fondant. I then threw it in the bin, called it a list of swear words and had some lemonade, I fucking hate Crème Eggs.

Note: There’s sometimes Mini-Screme Eggs, bags of thumbnail sized versions akin to a big bag of Malteasers or Hershey Kisses, but I couldn’t find any this year, maybe they just didn’t have them in stock?

Crunchy Spiders!
Aaah! I love these,  Cadbury’s have been putting these out for a few years too (though not as many as Screme Eggs), they’re the company’s official ‘Halloween season only’ chocolate bar and I think they come in different sizes, these are the real big ‘uns. Why do I love these so? Well for starters they actually taste nice, they’re a big dome of Dairy Milk chocolate filled with rice crispies, not just any rice crispies – spooky green rice crispies! Is green really that spooky? I guess it’s eerie? Gross maybe? It’s Halloweeny without being threatening - like red or black – maybe that’s why Cadbury’s like so much, don’t believe me? You will see a LOT of green in this post. The rice crispies (pieces?) are very small though, closer to the size of popping candy, in fact I thought it was some kind of little candy pieces for a while, so they don’t taste like rice crispy cakes. But there’s also the packaging, they come stuck to cardboard legs and wrapped in a foil wrapper with adorable little spider faces on them, adorable yet somehow still creepy, the one of the right freaks me out, it looks like it’s about to eat ME and be ever so cute while doing it (also seriously Cadbury’s, you made a ‘girl’s version?’ they’re Halloween chocolates – I hate this demographic splitting bullshit, there’s boys and girls Kinder Eggs now, if cute chocolate spiders aren’t unisex nothing is – and apparently nothing is).

Screme Egg Biscuits!
THESE are brand new, and I got quite excited in the shop (people stared). Cadbury’s have been putting this new biscuit range out for well over a year, it’s very much their big new thing, they’re medallions of chocolate biscuit that taste like bourbons when they’re fresh out the packet (y’know, before they almost instantly go soft and chewy?) with a dome of chocolate and in that dome a classic Cabury’s filling – they’ve done Caramel ones, Crème Egg ones and the Wispa ones are FUCKING SEX.  For Halloween 2015 they’ve rebranded the Crème Egg ones as Screme Egg ones, all very sensible (and possibly why I couldn’t find any Mini Screme Eggs). They’re actually a LOT nicer than Crème Eggs, the fondant filling feels nowhere near as horrendous in my mouth when it’s in the smaller quantities used here and attached to the harder, crunchier biscuit rather than an inch-thick block of melting Dairy Milk, I didn’t eat too many though because well…these biscuits are already sweet without filling them full of fondant so the Crème Egg ones – green insides or no – really push it over the edge of my sweet tooth. Something particularly nice about these, so particularly nice that I took extra pictures just to show it off, is how much they look like their promotional pictures – anyone who’s ever eaten in a McDonalds knows that promotional pictures are bullshit right? Not so with Screme Egg Biscuits:

Mini-Animals Halloweenies!
I don’t think these are new, but they are rocking new packing this year and are part of a big push from Cadbury’s, with special stands for supermarkets and an inclusion in the same Hotel Transylvania 21 competition the Sceme Egg Biscuits are part of. Ok so in the UK Animal Crackers are called Animals and they have chocolate on the bottom – suck it America – these are bog standard Animals, they taste the exactly same*,  and that’s fine because Animals are one of my favourite snack foods (I can eat them like skittles, so I probably really shouldn’t have bought a bag of fun-size packs when no-one but me is in),  love how the smooth biscuit top and the bumpy chocolate bottom feel on my tongue, and I like that they include biscuit, chocolate and a funny cartoon animal all in one place, and that they’re cheap but still Cadbury’s chocolate.  My bag had four different packaging types: a ridiculously nervy skull-spider, a ridiculously derpy cat, a ridiculously high snake and a ridiculously nonchalant frog, he’s my favourite (despite my crippling phobia of frogs) he just does not give a fuck, he looks like he spends his days on the lily pad in front of TV with a can of pond water and a fly gut, surrounded by his own fart gas. Inside we get six exclusive biscuit shapes – a frog, a cat, a rat (it took me forever to figure out what that was), a snake and a bat, all very much halloweeny and all very much animals so I don’t think we can argue that they should be in Animals Halloweenies packs. The rat is crap, it looks more like a dinosaur and seems to be the most prone to coming out misshapen, the spider is weirdly all-knowing and it looks like it should be carved into the stand of an ancient jewel and the frog is sad – so it should be for scaring the crap out of me all the time, fucking cry frog, cry. The bat’s adorable and I have nothing to say about the snake or cat, they’re fine.

Mini Fingers!
Cadbury’s has also given their fun-size bags of Cadbury’s Fingers – Mini Fingers – a halloweeny packaging this year and are pushing them alongside the Halloweenies, the implication being “these are good to get rid of those poxy trick or treating little shitbags that knock on your door, don’t you hate all that American bullshit? If you don’t they’re also great for Halloween parties!” (I should write TV ads). Other than the packaging there’s nothing new about them so I didn’t buy any, I know what Fingers taste like, I’ll be eating them all Christmas season, I didn’t need ‘em and I was bit disappointed they didn’t put more effort in, couldn’t they have given them green or orange coatings instead of the standard chocolate? Or red biscuit inside and brown and/or white chocolate outside (they already do white chocolate Fingers for Christmastime) to make them look like actual fingers? Disappointing Cadbury’s.  

Trick or Treat Biscuits
The apex of the biscuit push this season are these , frankly awesome, jumbo boxes of all three Cadbury’s fun-size biscuits – fifteen bags of Halloweenies, Mini Fingers and Animals Dinosaurs because y’know, they’re sort of like monsters. Again I didn’t buy any because they’re really not that special outside the packaging they come in but what packaging, those cartoon monster graphics rock my socks, or would if I was wearing any (my feet get hot), Wilkinsons only had the two in the photo – the maniacally happy, shouting, invading-your-personal-space-on-a-train-to-tell-you-how-great-Cadbury’s-Animals-are orange Muppet and coy Frankenstein’s Monster (he has so do something naughty, I wouldn’t eat from his box, he’s probably scarfed all the biscuits and replaced them with cat turds, look at him, he’s up to some shit) but they’re both great, I particularly like the Muppet for reminding me of the graphics Cadbury’s used in the 90’s (rather than the modern ‘blocky’ Cadbury’s Buttons style of Franky).

And that is all the chocolate I have to talk about today. Parting advice: don’t put a whole fun size bag of Animals in your mouth at once because you’re home alone and bored, it really dries your mouth out.

1 Did Hotel Transylvania really need a sequel? Not that I mind spending another hour or so ogling Mavis, who is just so attractive in every way possible, but the film was shit and everyone I know thought it was shit, did it do that well with the kids? All the ones I know though it was just ‘alright’… or is it just owned by Dreamworks?

2 in fact they seem a little smaller but I don’t normally buy the fun-size bags, I usually buy them in the cookie boxes, so I don’t know if regular fun-size bags use smaller Animals? I mean it would make sense as most fun-size options use smaller versions but Animals are pretty small to begin with.  

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