Sunday, July 10, 2005

Chocolates - Back Then

If you were a kid in the seventies you definitely remember biting into a Cadbury's Eclair. Not today's Dairy Milk Eclair but the one that had an orange and brown wrapper and gold-coloured foil inside. The one that had a core of real milk chocolate that oozed deliciously into your mouth when you bit it.

It was a treat eating those éclairs. They were, if I remember right, the most expensive toffees at that time--about 25p each when others cost 5p (the standard Nutrine green-wrapper one with the brown hard sweet inside), 10p, 12p (the pastel-coloured egg-shaped sweets you could suck on for an hour--three for 12p). Still, the éclairs were affordable enough, as treats. I remember feeling rich when I had 4-5 éclairs in my pocket.

Why did this wonderful toffee disappear? What was Cadbury's thinking? Products ought to improve with time, right? In an ideal world. Have you eaten a Cadbury's Dairy Milk Eclair recently? It's nothing but sticky throughout. Sticky is nice to an extent, but this one can be used to quieten the chatterboxes of the class. At least ten minutes of peace while they try to get their teeth unstuck.

Then there was Relish. A square plump chocolatey toffee wrapped in shiny purple and twisted at the ends. I used to love this 'chocolate' as we kids used to call everything sweet wrapped like this. Do you remember Relish? I would love to hear from anyone who does.

It wasn't a common sweet--it was also more expensive than the usual toffees. I don't remember other neighbourhood children having it, but it was available in the pharmacy near where I used to stay; the paper shop didn't sell it.

[It was the 'paper shop' that we bought everything from--comics, chocolate, chalk, balpam, erasers, pencils (Natraj, Flora, Apsara Black Beauty). It was called the paper shop because this shop distributed newspapers to that area.]

In chocolate bars, I loved Krisp and Double Decker. Krisp, I think, had a wafer base but it was chocolatey enough for me. And Double Decker, ooh, it was something to eye every time you went to the paper shop, specially enclosed among other real chocolates behind a glass door. Quickly your eyes would leap and search the shelves and then rest on the dark-wrappered Double Decker longingly. Of course, I ate several bars of them, I was a lucky kid.

I wish we could get back these old chocolates now. At least a few just in an exhibition or something.

Back then Amul was the Chocolate Queen. Milk chocolate was Amul Milk Chocolate--that was a single word for us, kids. That's how we differentiated between chocolate and toffees:

'What are you eating?'
'Chocolate!'
'Chocolate or Amulmilkchocolate?'
'Chocklet!'

The Amul Milk Chocolate was a slab of 3x9 or so pieces, alternately marked with the Amul logo and the word 'Amul', wrapped in red and gold checks paper.

Cadbury's was not so popular then. But slowly it began to dominate with its Fruit & Nut chocolate. Amul introduced cardboard box packs of different flavours - milk, fruit & nut, orange... But these were somehow not as hip or interesting as Cadbury's. The red and gold Amul was a topper, the original grand treat.

Today how many people buy Amul chocolate when there's Cadbury's available? the big shark has controlled the waters. For now. Who knows, a smart woman at Amul might be able to revive the brand and push muscled shoulders against Cadbury's some day.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Hash,

It's really nice that you thought of writing this article..am sure these thoughts occur to people - of chocolates back then..and how nice it would be to have them once again..or even just 'once' again..but they are left unspoken.

Yeah, reading what you wrote reminded me how much i liked the double decker too! and the lil green paper wrapped parle toffees, and ofcourse the sticky toffees and so on we could get from a local vendor at school.

Wish these companies would bring out a batch of these old time favourites once in a way.. just for old times' sake.. :)

Percy said...

I just remembered that "chocolate oozing out when you bite into it" part and now my mouth's watering. I want the old eclairs back.

We used to eat chocolates in our hostel days too. My favourite was Lacto King, hard, hard chocolate that you just rolled around in your mouth. Coffee Bite was quite popular with everyone.

Now-a-days, I pop in a small Alpenliebe after a meal. Old habits and all that.

silverhippo said...

Hi,

Cadburys still do the double decker, though how much it has changed form the original I am not sure.

http://www.cadbury.co.uk/EN/CTB2003/about_chocolate/brand_stories/double_decker.htm

Hasmita said...

Hi, silverhippo,

Thanks for the link!

I checked the site you referred to--that's in the UK, so Double Decker (and several other delicious-sounding chocolate bars) were listed on the British Cadbury site. In India, though, we have no Double Decker now.

RBan said...

Hi, Hash,

Scrumptious piece on chocolates! Loved reading it. Lots of nostalgia and flavour of the past.

I am a fan of those eclairs too.I stay in UK and yes, we do get the double decker here but alas, its not the same.

A favourite chocolate bar for me in those days ,along with Krisp, was Plus.It had a jelly filling inside. We get similar types here ,called Turkish delights.

Very good blog,BTW.

Roopa Banerjee
PS You know me from our writing India group.

Hasmita said...

Thanks for your comments, Roopa. I'll keep an eye open for Turkish delights! :)