Quality Street: British chocolates available in the USA
Quality Street chocolates
I would be perfectly willing to lay down a pretty good bet than ninety percent of British families have Quality Street chocolates in their homes at least once a year - or more. This fine chocolate selection is almost the default and ideal British gift. Don't know what to get as a gift for granddad? These will do the trick. A leaving gift for a work colleague? You can't go wrong with Quality Street.
The holidays, birthdays ... an anytime gift
The ultimate treat is a lovely tin of these delicious chocolates. Many of us remember fighting our siblings over 'the purple ones' and the golden toffee pennies. Those were the favorites in our family with all the kids anyway; Mum preferred the coffee creams. Dad just enjoyed them all.
The bright, jewel-colored wrappers simply added to our pleasure and we'd idly make rings and bracelets to wear whilst we chomped the choccy treats. And the tins ... actually I prefer the old-fashioned tins that showed a fine lady in a crinoline along with (presumably) her beau, a handsome, smart soldier in full dress uniform. These tins are quite collectible today, and yet at one time, everyone's granny used a Quality Street tin as a button box.
I'm waxing lyrical about the packaging and forgetting to tell you about the chocolate and toffee. Now I'm not going to pretend that these can be called a health food no matter how far you stretch your imagination. Although they have no artificial flavors or colors. Plus a few years ago the foil wrappers were replaced with a similar-looking, but bio-degradable material. But they are scrumptious, chocolatey treats and are great for sharing with the family. What's more, they are made in Yorkshire (like me) and have been since the 1930s. Until they arrived on the scene, luxury boxes of chocolates were really only for the wealthier classes; Quality Street made these treats available to all.
When I lived in England, the useful tins were always kept and re-purposed. They might be used as a button tin, to store precious photographs, as paperwork storage or, very often, to keep home baked goods fresh.
The trouble was that if you looked through the button tin trying to match up a lost button from your blouse, you'd immediately get a faint whiff of the previous contents - the chocolate. Cravings would set in.
It seems that some people like these iconic treats so much that they make videos in their honor....
Made to share
One of the reasons for the popularity of Quality Street chocolates is that there's something for everyone. The tin of chocolates can be passed round and (once the purple ones have gone) anyone can choose their favourites. Absolutely perfect.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson