Sweet dreams are made of this
IT WAS a furious debate that ignited regularly across the nation's playgrounds. More important than Grange Hill and more intractable than a Rubik's Cube. But now, it seems, we have an answer to what is the country's favourite chocolate bar.
More surprising than the fact that the ubiquitous Dairy Milk secured the No1 spot in a poll of more than 5,000 chocolate fans, is that the ugly duckling of the chocolate world, the humble Curly Wurly, came second.
Beating big-hitters such as Mars and Snickers, the misshapen favourite proves that, despite its rough and ready appearance, looks aren't everything; it is charm that counts, even in the fickle world of chocolate.
The survey was undertaken by global research site Onepoll. com, which yesterday published a definitive top 20 of the nation's Top of the Chocs.
The chewy, chocolate-coated caramel - which resembles a skewed, twig-like ladder - was a massive seller when launched in 1970. Despite weighing only 26 grams - a Snickers weighs in at 62.5g - it remains one of the lengthiest sweets on the shopkeeper's shelf.
A Cadbury spokesman said: "Curly Wurly is an iconic brand because many adults remember the famous adverts from the 1970s. It's still a popular brand today and is worth more than 5 million."
The poll is a virtual roll call of the popular brands of the Seventies and Eighties. Recent entrants to the market, such as Green & Blacks, Chocolate Heaven or Lindor, are not to be seen.
Carina Norris, research nutritionist at Queen Margaret University, believes that nostalgia, rather than quality, is dictating the choice. She said: "There is much better, classier chocolate available now and almost all of the manufacturers are taking trans fats out of chocolates."
Ms Norris says memories of childhood will override logical choice, based on cocoa content or quality. "We still have this hankering over our childhood. We associate these things with warm, happy memories, which is why there is always going to be a market for those things."
Taste of nostalgia in Wispa campaign
ONE much-missed favourite that failed to make the top 20 is the now-defunct Wispa.
Like many contemporary bars, the Wispa appeared in various guises, including a Gold version with caramel filling, a biscuit filled one called Bite, and the brightly named Wispaccino coffee variant.
The Wispa was phased out in 2003, reappearing in altered form as Cadbury's "Dairy Milk Bubbles", as part of a wider strategy to rebrand the maker's chocolate under the Dairy Milk banner.
The move has seen variants of Diary Milk, such as Turkish Delight and Mint Chip, sold in similar-sized formats alongside the original bar.
There are at least three separate online campaigns demanding that Cadbury's reinstate the original Wispa bar, the latest of which has attracted 275 signatures.
In 2005, a poll of 40,000 sweet fans led to a temporary relaunch of that survey's winning lost choice, the Texan Bar.
Cary Cooper, the professor of psychology and health at Lancaster University, said nostalgia for defunct chocolate bars was symptomatic of a wider malaise, as people took comfort in the pleasures of their youth.
"We live in a disposable society," he said. "People are nostalgic for a less frenetic life, being a part of a community, a life that doesn't exist any more."
He added: "Nostalgia for chocolate is people trying to go back to a period that was a bit more stable that people knew and understood."
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