/ Food & Drink

Do novelties get the better of us?

Colin the Caterpillar cake

From 23 February, wedding-planning fans of M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar cake will be able to buy Colin and his wife, Connie, for their big day. But at £100 for the pair, is it madness to pay a premium for such novelties?

As a child of the 1990s, Colin the Caterpillar was the staple cake for nearly every children’s birthday party I attended.

Indeed, the M&S chocolate sponge roll, filled with buttercream and covered in milk chocolate with its white-chocolate face and feet does hold a certain nostalgia factor for me, remembering how the birthday boy or girl always got first dibs on the face.

Although I’ve been known to pick up a £7.50 Colin for a friend’s twenty-something birthday, I’m not sure I’d be willing to shell out £50 for him and another £50 for his missus, even if they are ten times the size of the original and, combined, can feed up to 80 people.

Colin the Caterpillar

Now, I’ll admit that I know little of what’s a reasonable price to pay for a wedding cake.

But I was a little surprised when my Facebook feed was instantly filled by excited brides-to-be claiming that this new novelty cake would be making an appearance at their weddings.

After quizzing one of them, I’ve since discovered that traditional tiered cakes, designed to stuff your guests with after a day of eating and drinking, can come with a fairly high price tag.

And I’ve been reliably informed that that price is dependent on who makes it (a professional baker or a supermarket) and what type of cake it is.

So, it turns out that Colin and Connie would be a budget option, but when you consider you can buy a giant normal Colin for £35, £50 still seems steep just because he’s wearing a chocolate top-hat..

At least, it seems that way to me.

Novelty factor

I had a similar feeling when I visited the Making of Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros Studios.

I grew up reading all about the exploits of the boy wizard at Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, so I naturally wanted to sample the infamous ‘Butterbeer’ halfway through the tour.

An ordinary glass of it wasn’t cheap (a couple of quid, if I remember rightly), but when you bought the special stein to drink it from, it came to something like a tenner.

And from what I could see, this was the default choice for near enough every attendee. Plus, it was so sickly sweet that barely any of them could finish it!

Now you could argue that such novelties make a nice souvenir for your visit or even that the Colin and Connie wedding cake reflects your ‘young-at-heart’ relationship, but to me it just feels that we end up paying a premium for what is a novelty.

Do you think novelties, such as Colin and Connie, get the better of us? Or do you see them as a bit of fun and the price tag shouldn’t matter?

Comments
Member

Is that a picture of your 4th birthday cake Lauren?

Member

I wish! A stroke of luck really that we found an image with my name on – although, I would never turn down a Colin the Caterpillar birthday cake. But I would draw the line at a wedding cake 😒

Member

Are M & S aware that they may be traumatising, or at least confusing, many youngsters by implying that caterpillars mate? Who is this ‘Connie’? Is M&S encouraging child marriage, then? What is happening?

Concerned of Little Puddleton

Member

I’m also mildly concerned by the age of these caterpillars… I’m not sure how old these larvae are, but surely too young to be getting married 😧

Member

You could leave one to see if it pupates and emerges as a butterfly bun.

Member

It’s nothing short of larval abuse, I tell you…

Member

There was a time when if you were unable to attend a friend or relative’s wedding they would send you a piece of the cake as a souvenir in a little cardboard box. Does this pleasant custom still occur? It’s a long time since we received any such morsels but then all our friends and relatives are either already married or never will get married.

I think “Connie” is an appropriate name for such a rip-off. Colin looks like he’s made up of two different diameters of Swiss roll under a thin layer of chocolate and a handful of Smarties.

Member

🙂 ‘Connie’ is indeed an appropriate name for this caterpillar cake.