/ Food & Drink

Which retro treats do you miss?

Quality Street

The news that Nestlé is scrapping the old-favourite Toffee Deluxe from its Quality Street selection and replacing it with a new sweet – the Honeycomb Crunch – was met with widespread outrage last week.

Apparently the decision was made because customers had complained that there were too many toffees in the tin and so poor old Toffee Deluxe was the one Nestlé chose for the chop.

The fact it picked a veteran (it’s been around since the First World War and is said to have been included in the first ever tins of Quality Street, which came into being in 1936) led to a bit of a meltdown on social media.

In fact, many incensed fans lamented that Christmas would never be the same again, and some even set up a petition to demand its reinstatement.

Discontinued treats

The furore reminded me of the time, back in 1999, when Heinz announced it was ceasing production of its salad cream. Upon hearing the news, I immediately rushed to Safeway to stock up, thinking that if I didn’t, I’d never get to savour its divine taste ever again.

Much like the demise of the Toffee Deluxe, the matter caused a national outcry and was even discussed in the House of Commons (yes, really). Heinz eventually relented, ploughed £10m into an ad campaign and increased the price by 40p, saving the ‘pourable sunshine’ for another generation.

Of course, food manufacturers withdrawing products from their range is nothing new – tastes and therefore demand change; and occasionally items are removed or reformulated on health grounds (who remembers the original Sunny Delight, forced to rebrand in 2003 and now made to a different recipe, reportedly turning kids orange).

But with public demand and social media campaigns successfully getting glorious treats like Cadbury’s Wispa (withdrawn from sale in 2003 and resurrected five years later in 2008), Burton’s Daily Fish ‘n’ Chips (died early 1990s, reborn 2014) and, rejoice, Trio (2003; 2016) – back on our shop shelves, I’m wondering if it’s worth petitioning for the return of some of my old favourites that have fallen by the wayside?

Reinstating retro treats

Top of my list would be Pacers. Similar to Starburst (or Opal Fruits, as I one knew them), only minty and with green and white stripes, a packet of these wouldn’t last five seconds in my company when I was a kid in the early 1980s.

Next would be a toss-up between Toffo and Cadbury’s Fuse. Then it would be tomato-flavoured Snaps (or do they still make them?). Oh, and let’s not forget Panda Pops…

Who’s with me then? Is there a discontinued brand item you’d like to see bought back?


When Cadbury’s Milk Tray dropped their Lime flavour we were devastated. Well, not quite, but it was the most delightful sweet in the box. Since the US company takeover,. however, even the chocolate itself seems to have changed flavour. And as for Crunchies – why aren’t they for sale anywhere except the UK?

The other thing Christmas always heralded was the arrival of the big tins of sweets. They don’t seem to make them anymore, and the flat tins and plastic boxes have been shrinking year on year.

Yes – I still have an octagonal plastic container of Nestle’s ‘Quality Street’ from Xmas 2015. It has 795g net 820g inc. wraps. I use those large Quality Street tins (as illustrated) to keep Xmas decorations and tree lights in! Can’t do that with the flimsy plastic containers!

I have just been given one of these octagonal Quality Street plastic containers, marked 726g and 750g including wraps. I ask friends to keep tins and boxes for me to store stuff in the garage. Maybe the octagonal boxes used to be square but Nestle has been cutting corners.

I’m dreaming of a sweet Christmas
Stuffed to the gills with sweets I like.
When the sweet lime barrels that J. G. Farrel
So loved, are missing – that’s not right!

I’m thinking that the whole inkling
I’ve had for years is coming true.
That our well-loved sweeties have gone
And we’re stuck with plastic and glue.

Glad you liked it. Christmas does it for me every year 🙂

Thorntons Individual Hazelnut Cake Bars are a treat I miss. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Being individually wrapped they lasted a while and I was devastated when they stopped making them. I think they replaced them with toffee or honeycomb cake bars, yuk. 🙁 🙁 🙁

“Who’s with me then? Is there a discontinued brand item you’d like to see bought back?”

Sweets and chocolates I can still find in abundance. Also many brands have just become labels for generic products. As noted above, for Cadbury’s Chocolate, it’s a shame that only the name remains the same.

Cadbury’s, Thorntons, and probably many more have had their quality and size reduced to such an extent that they are not treats any more.

Thorntons Continental chocolates used to be my real treats and friends and family knew they couldn’t go wrong if they bought me a box. But they have reduced the quality so much I now tell people not to bother with them. Thorntons brought out a more superior range, but I just didn’t really like them, the taste just doesn’t live up to the looks or the cost. Simple products made well can be so much nicer.

I miss those ice lollies that contained an inner core of ice cream; they really were a treat. There was Lyons Maid’s ‘Mivvi’ and Wall’s ‘Split’. I think today’s grandchildren would love them as much as we did, although they seem content with something called a ‘Swizzel’. Sums it up really, doesn’t it?

I wish Cadbury’s had not stopped production of the packs of Bourneville chocolate that contained twenty miniature bars, all individually wrapped. ‘Murray Mints’ is also a fond memory from childhood.

Thank goodness Nestlé have removed the caramel and toffee ‘Toffee De Luxe’ from Quality Street. There’s a few more I would drop so that we’re left with just the purple one, the green triangle, the strawberry lump and the blue and orange ones. The gooseberry cream [long gone] was an acquired taste.

I find the modern boxed chocolates far too sickly sweet and gooey. As Alfa says, they are no longer a mouthful either.

Count Dracula ice lollies for me

I miss Cadbury’s Bournville with roasted almonds and Fry’s Five Flavour bar – I’m told they were strawberry, lime, pineapple, orange and raspberry.

On a non-sweet front (surely we should be supporting the banning of anything containing sugar 🙂 ) can you still get Heinz Sandwich Spread or Tomato Flavoured Sausage?

I bet that the thought is better than the reality, such is nostalgia.

We all need a treat now and again. Last week, I was bought a Magnum Double Peanut Butter bar with layers of chunky peanut butter and salted caramel and it is still waiting for when I feel like a treat. Never seen one before and it sounds right up my street but it is a very small treat at 3″/8cm long !!!

Our butchers make good meaty sausages with various herbs and spices. Last week we had Thai, very yummy and far superior to supermarket bangers.

Stevie says:
1 October 2016

Sandwich spread is still in the shops, saw it in Asda last week.

Thanks Stevie. 🙂

To the melody of Good King Wenceslas…

Alfa likes his Cadbury’s, John just misses Lollies.
Derek likes his sweets in tons, Malcolm just feels sorry.
John feels Mivvi’s loss was hard, Alfa’s Continental
Is still missed, but Magnum waits while Ian’s just sentimental.

Have you tried looking for Clarnico ‘Mint Creams’ in the shops? Please, Please bring them back!

No, but we’ve got some in the back of the cupboard. How many would you like, Michael?

Ian the Scot
Likes lime a lot
He misses his sweeties
But beware – diabetes
You’ll be getting obase (sic)
Sweetie McSweetface

I’ve been waiting for the first Christmassy topic so I could let fly with poetry – albeit somewhat trite 🙂 I’ve decided I’ll do a new one each twenty postings.

I’m waiting for Easter Eggs to appear on the shelves. Won’t be long now.

Heinz sponge pudding used to be my goto dessert but not anymore 🙁

Duncan,s hazelnut chocolate bars , Fry,s mint cream bars .black striped balls, sixpenny Walls chocolate ice cream bars bought during the interval in cinemas from the lady with the tray ,sticks of rock with the place name inside them bought on holiday , Wrigley’s chewing gum bought from dispensers in the street put there for American troops originally , gobstoppers watched one child nearly choke to death on one at school. mint humbugs. The original snowballs (not the modern version ) variety of nuts when I went guising . Cooking potatoes on the annual bonfire the kid downstairs and I built for the street. Rolling painted boiled eggs down a park hill at Easter (more when I think of them ) . Orange Maid ice lolly also bought at cinemas.

James says:
1 October 2016

Nestle Texan bar…..although revived in 2005 it was cruelly removed from sale shortly afterwards……

I was bemoaning the disappearance of Aniseed Fisherman’s Friends, but I’ve found a local shop that stocks them. 🙂

As I live in a fishing village Wavechange I tried the normal Fisherman,s Friend ,too strong for me I am afraid.

I was amazed to see in a programme about Lofthouse as a £40 million company that exports Fisherman’s friend in 7 flavours – including aniseed – all over the world. A great British success story, like Swizzels.

I must find some of those – I like aniseed.

I enjoyed standard Fisherman’s Friends for years but far prefer the aniseed variety. I can now continue to support the Lofthouse company, which makes the fiends – as I refer to these strongly flavoured sweets. They are made in Fleetwood and you can have a ride on a Blackpool tram to get there.

Maybe I should buy a box of aniseed fiends in case the local source dries up.

I want Cheese and Tomato crisps!

And Cadbury’s chocolate that tastes like Cadbury’s chocolate not the bland muck they do now.

I want Smith’s Crisps with the twist of salt . . . . AND please, somebody, make ‘bacon crackers’ as well as ‘prawn crackers’

I have seen crisps packets with a sachet of salt inside but I can’t remember the make or brand. And I think M&S do some ‘bacon’ things that might be what you are looking for.

I think Michael is referring to the twists of blue paper containing salt. No doubt the intention was to put one in each pack but sometimes there was none and sometimes several of them. They were reintroduced with small sachets under some name such as ‘salt & shake’ but each pack contained one sachet – which removes the fun.

Just remembered sherbert fountain , I remember it as a hollow liquorice stick which is in a paper covered tubular cardboard container . You bit the end off the liquorice tube and sucked the liquorice through it , I remember it was a bit noisy. Also original bubble gum , I think it was pink, you chewed it and then tried to make the biggest bubble , usually bursting on your face.

I presume that the noise was Duncan choking when he accidentally inhaled the sherbet. Been there, done that – when I was young.

How did you know Wavechange ? I think it brought tears to my eyes. And last of all cinnamon sticks you lit the end “kidded on” you were an adult and smoked them , well I tried but again too strong for me.

I preferred cinnamon sticks to sherbet fountains, though mine were the unsmoked variety.

It looks as if Bassetts Sherbet Fountains have disappeared, and I won’t shed any tears about that. Maybe someone did a risk assessment when the company was taken over.

Yes ,I just read the ingredients Wavechange , they varied but I think a bit “iffy “

It’s probably OK as long as you don’t inhale. 🙂 It looks as if the brand was Barratt’s rather than Bassett’s, the manufacturer of liquorice allsorts etc.

Some long time ago Barratt’s, who specialised in children’s sweets, merged with Bassets of Liquorice Allsorts fame and then with Wilkinson’s, who so far as I can recall were noted for Pontefract Cakes [small discs of liquorice with a relief of Pontefract Castle stamped on them]. At some point that eludes me Bassetts [as BBW had become] and Trebor amalgamated to become Trebor Bassett. A sweet combination.

I might look out for Pontefract Cakes because I do like liquorice. I don’t know why some insist in pronouncing it ‘likerish’.

when you’ve got a mouthful of Pontefract cakes, that’s how the word comes out wavechange. You can still get P cakes but I like the Australian soft likorish. Also like the liquorice catherine wheels – unwind the thin strip and get to the aniseed jelly covered in little balls in the middle.

Duncan – you sucked the sherbert through the liquorice tube. I believe these are still available?

Trebor was Robert backwards.

When indulging in Liquorice it is ideal to listen to Donald Swann singing his setting of John Betjemin’s “The Liqourice Fields of Pontefract” Very yummy!

Your right Michael, many a time as a child, but if it got up your nose it could bring tears to your eyes . A company called CandyLand, I think supply it –but its not the original taste , its a shame as young people try the modern versions of old products and say- hmmmm, not up to much and I dont blame them .There were lot less chemicals in my day , sweets were a lot stronger and made to the original recipe

Fisherman’s Friend reminds me of Little Imps – small concentrated liquorice sweets about half the size of a little finger nail that came in tins. Very strong (sweets, not the tins – well they were as well). I don’t know whether the ones on the web – Nipits – are the same.

Thanks for remembering that malcolm I remember them and also very small highly perfumed sweets but I forget the name. Oh ! and “Love Hearts ” with messages on them when you passed them to a girl–or she to you.

duncan, if you want to revive the Loveheart tradition they are still available, like Parma Violets, Gobstoppers, and so on made by Swizzels – but a good deal more expensive than when I bought them as penny sweets.

Didnt know that malcolm but I am “exiled ” to a small, village .

Sandra Brown says:
22 October 2016

The scented sweets you were trying to remember are parma violets, these were lavender colored . Used to eat these in the early seventies my local chemist used to sell these.

Since the Cadbury takeover, all their chocolate is CRAP… haven’t bought any since….

It tastes like chemical to me e but I remember what it tasted like in the 50,s . To me a very good chocolate is one that doesnt leave a sharp taste in my mouth , German chocolate sold in Germany, for example, has to have a high milk content . EU regulations require a minimum of 25 % cocoa solids , but guess what ? the UK/Ireland and Malta managed to wriggle out of it and they were allowed 20 % -called “milk chocolate ” as opposed to “family milk chocolate ” . MY wife who lived in America always said Hershey bars were very good .

I was introduced to Victory V lozenges as a teenager. At the time, the ingredients included ether and chloroform and I was intrigued to know why these volatile chemicals did not just disappear. When I learned that it might not be a good idea to eat anything containing chloroform, I decided to avoid them in future. I see that Victory V’s are still on sale but don’t contain either chloroform or ether.

No wonder I didnt like them Wavechange .

I did not think much of them either, but they intrigued me for the reason I explained. Victory V’s are still available and contain ‘flavourings’. I think all ingredients should be declared.

I think I remember being given Victory V lozenges when I had a cold as a child. Didn’t they numb your mouth?

To the melody of ‘Hark, the Herald Angels sing’

When we reached the twenty posts I
Said I’d do another verse.
Well, it’s happened, here I give you
This, and hope it isn’t worse.


Malcolm’s after Easter goodies
William likes his go-to puddies
Duncan’s after Hazelnuts
Fry’s mint cream bars sold in huts.
James likes Texans (just the bars),
Wavechange: fishies, sucked in cars.

Ian the Scot
Has lost the plot
He can’t converse
Just dish out verse
With a little rhyme here
And a little rhyme there
Here a rhyme there a rhyme
Every twenty a rhyme rhyme
Ian the Scot
Has lost the plot

Sorry Ian, it just came to me. Look forward to the next one 🙂 🙂 🙂

LOL! But at least I’m keeping on Christmas 🙂

Haha I go away for one second and everything turns to rhyme 😀 And Christmas in October!? ಠ_ಠ

I’m enjoying trying different treats over in Australia* – they swear by their TimTams, but they’re Penguins with a different name as far as I’m concerned. Without the jokes.

*I’m in Australia working as a consultant at Choice. But I’ll be back before Christmas. If you have any questions about Aussie treats let me know.

I’m sure I saw Creme Eggs in Tesco the other day, but maybe like fruit & veg they are no longer seasonal.

Perhaps you could push for more international cooperation between consumers associations, Patrick. That could includes sweeties but I’m thinking of more serious issues. Have fun out there.

It’s on the agenda Wave. That and TimTams 🙂

Remember these?

Never liked them 🙂

I only liked the orange one .

I remember them but the price used to stick in my throat. I think Polo’s were 2d.

Mandy says:
13 October 2016

Old English Spangles … Mmmmmmmmmmm

And these…

Courtesy of Nicolawatkiss

Liked the Smarties , Bounty Bar ,Munchies , never heard of Parker+Dobson Television Selection , maybe that was because we couldnt afford a TV till the 60,s . As kids we went to a Mrs Wilkinson who took in all the local kids to watch Children,s Hour at 5 o,clock ,I remember “the Secret Garden ” / Bill+Ben /Muffin the Mule, the only problem was she had several cats and fed them boiled fish ,the smell was pretty powerful.

Smarties! Wasn’t the light green one milk chocolate and the red one dark chocolate?