When we think back to our childhood and our early adolescence there are those certain simple things which define the whole experience in ways that mere words can never hope to. And what more defining experience could there be than a chocolate or candy bar, so luscious that we can almost taste it today?
We knew how to do sweets and snacks back in the 1970s. Let’s pay due tribute to the memory of a golden age of chocolate snacks by unveiling our very own roll of honour, in alphabetical order…
A mixture of milk and plain chocolate, the Cadbury’s Amazin’ bar nevertheless majored on its fruity filling which was dunked in rum and encased in a generous wrapping of nougatine and caramel. If raisins were your thing, Amazin’ really was the snack for you. “It’s amazin’ what raisins can do, full of goodness and it’s all for you,” ran the catchy TV ditty. The wrapper featured a mound of purple raisins against a backdrop of the rays of the sun.
A chocolate-covered feast of caramel and nougat served in a regal dark purple wrapper, Cadbury’s actually launched Aztec in 1967 as a rival to the long-established Mars bar, but it enjoyed its heyday during the early to mid seventies. It was quite a class act but ultimately it lost the battle against the old favourite and was formally withdrawn from the fray in 1978.
3. Bar Six
Another big ‘70s favourite by Cadbury’s, the Bar Six was a modest offering of six fingers comprised of hazelnut cream and wafer in milk chocolate. Good for sharing, it stood out on the shelves due to its bright, if rather plain orange wrapper. Sadly this iconic product seemed to quietly disappear from view sometime during the 1980s.
This golden, sugary caramel bar was actually launched in 1959 by Mackintosh’s (hence the name), although manufacturing later transferred to Nestlé. It was made from condensed milk and, despite the fact that it is still in production today, it enjoyed its greatest popularity amongst sweet-toothed 1970s youngsters who were able to enjoy it before tooth-decay became recognised as an actual thing.
5. Country Style
Empty Country Style wrappers sell today for £20 on eBay, and the reason for this is that they were a highly creative, imaginative design of interwoven red-pink stripes on a real gingham-style white background which gave the product a very authentic “country” feel. The product itself, made by Cadbury’s, comprised a generous portion of raisin and broken biscuit embedded into a standard-sized milk chocolate bar. Conservative and yet delicious.
6. Curly Wurly
This innovative, uniquely-shaped and chewy 1970 behemoth of the confectionery counter is still with us today, one presumes because none would ever tolerate its demise. The engaging chocolate-coated caramel bar comes in a long white wrapper with multi-coloured writing. Catching the flakes of chocolate which liberally crumbled when the toffee centre beneath was stretched with a view to breaking was a national sport back in the day.
7. Fry’s 5 Centre/Five Centres
Gooey fruit-flavoured cremes in plain or milk chocolate (take your pick), this was definitely an acquired taste. If you liked you fruit bitter, sugary and a little synthetic, this was the product for you. It didn’t really acquire cult status like some other chocolate bars because it was a tad, well, specialist – but it most certainly was unique and boasted a quiet but not inconsequential fan base.
8. Golden Cup
Mackintosh’s Golden Cup – “Milk chocolate with a soft toffee centre”. An arch-shaped bar which was light on the chocolate to give full power to the toffee within. Bits of it remained in your mouth long after the substantive item had been devoured, for possible later consumption. A product launched in the 1960s but which, like so many others, was at apogee during the decade that followed.
9. Ice Breaker
This was a very interesting and unusual departure by Cadbury’s, trading cleverly on the “coolness” of its minty taste. Launched in 1975 the cold, shiny blue wrapper encased a discreet blend of plain and milk chocolate populated with crunchy pieces of mint. This was never going to be forever, but if you were a mint person it was without equal or serious imitation.
There had already been a chocolate bar called Nutty on the other side of the pond, but this absolute powerhouse of a peanut bar by Rowntree’s was a most popular favourite. The tell-tale brown wrapper with orange lettering concealed a long, slim stick of fudge very generously encrusted with salted peanuts. Its rugged shape made inevitable the time-honoured pastime of picking at it nut by nut. Is it much missed? Well, not many candy bars that have been extinct for over thirty years can boast their own Facebook page.
11. Old Jamaica
Not just Cadbury’s but “Cadbury’s Classic Selection”, for many seventies’ kids this was to be their first introduction to liquor. Not that it contained real alcohol, but its “special blend of milk and plain chocolate with rum flavour raisins” certainly opened a few dark doors, even if I can’t realistically blame a chocolate bar for my subsequent rapid descent to a dark place. At 9p a shot it was a prince amongst confectionery items, but if you liked it you liked it – and a lot of us did.
Another rum-flavoured offering by Cadbury’s, Rumba was targetted at the more “budget” end of the market. More fudge than chocolate, it came in two sticks in a similar manner to a Twix. Like Old Jamaica, the Rumba was popular with a 1970s clientele but met its demise sometime later on. Certainly though a classic offering in its own right.
A hugely popular nougat and chewy candy bar by Nestlé thinly covered with milk chocolate, the Texan (“Sure is a mighty chew!”) was amongst other things an efficient device for extracting teeth. Its orange wrapper served as a backdrop for the proud logo featuring the Stars and Stripes of the US flag, which served it particularly well in 1976 during the US Bicentennial. Withdrawn for no obvious reason in 1984, the product was overwhelmingly voted the best sweet of all time in a 2004 survey of sweet shop users, and was temporarily relaunched as a limited edition product for the following year only.
Originally made by Rowntree’s, this was the definitive 1976 chocolate bar as featured in the heavily-plugged “trucker”’ advert on British television (a good piece of marketing in the midst of the CB radio craze). Basically a chunkier version of the unadorned Dairy Milk of Cadbury’s fame, the “good, rich and thick milk chocolate brick” enjoyed something of a cult following back in that year. And it is still going strong today, although now manufactured by Nestlé.