When I was in elementary school my family took a trip to London. We toured historic buildings, strolled charming alleys and discovered all sorts of cultural happenings. I could say a lot of deep and meaningful things about this trip- but let’s save that for another day. Today, I want to focus on the ‘sweetest’ part of the trip: the chocolate bars.
I’ve always considered it my cultural duty to sample foreign sweets. During our trip to London we tried many new kinds of chocolate, from Aeros to Crunchies. Smarties were undeniably our favorites (or should I say ‘favourites?’). No, not the chalky, pastel Smarties you used to get at Halloween. The British version involves chocolate centers with a candy coating- sort of like M&Ms but with a distinctly different taste. My brother and I were thrilled with all the new finds, but it boggled our mind to see so many new brands- especially because we also saw the American brands we were used to back home. We just couldn’t understand the gap: clearly American candies were being exported across the pond to Britain. Why weren’t British candies getting exported in the other direction? Why did they get to have Snickers, but we couldn’t have Flakes? After that trip, it became a bit of a game for us to hunt for the chocolates we had tried on vacation. We found them at specialty stores from time to time, but never at a mainstream outlet. And whenever we DID find them- you can bet we snapped them up!
Fast forward to 2010, when I spent several months working in Canada. My first foray into a Toronto convenience store revealed an exciting truth: Canada had access to British candy bars! Right in front of me were Crunchies and Aeros and Twirls. I obviously bought several, and bragged to my family about the find. But then I started to notice a trend back at home: bit by bit, the British candy bars were coming. First I saw Crunchies pop up at my local grocery store. Then I saw Twirls at a corner store. And pretty soon, I started to see a whole collection of British candy at checkout. These days, it’s pretty easy to find a Crunchie- all I have to do is walk 10 minutes to Walgreens. Does it take away some of the allure? Certainly. But I think this candy revolution is a win for both sides. In this case, at least, I think the British presence is much to our advantage.
Now we just need Australian candies to follow suit. Feel free to invade our shelves, Australian candymakers. I’m talking to you, Cherry Ripe!