December 10, 2005
South African Chocolate Bars
I don't know why, but candy bars in other countries hold a particular fascination for me. It started in England, where I discovered all sorts of variations not found in the States (and I typically don't buy much chocolate at home). Magical Cadbury vending machines are found in lots of locations, filled with bars offering combinations of caramel, nuget, marshmallow, and, of course, chocolate. While some people may concentrate on the type of chocolate or its percentage of cacao, it's the combinations that appeal to me.
I've been discovering this same "foreignness" here in South Africa. Standing at the candy aisle of a 1-Stop petrol station in Pongola, I scan the slightly more limited - but equally intriguing - Cadbury bars: Dairy Milk with Caramel, Dairy Milk with Crisps, and a curiosity called Dairy Milk with Turkish. No noun after "Turkish," and nothing visually to indicate what it is except for a reddish-pinkish center on the packaging. The color makes me suspect it's some generic red-berry flavor (as I've been trained in the U.S.), but other berry varieties appear elsewhere on the shelf. I know I should pick it up, embrace my position as temporary world traveler, and investigate this new option. But, at R5 70 per bar (that's 5 rand 70 cents), and only R7 in my pocket, I succumb to an old favorite, caramel.
A few days later, with the caramel long gone, guilt overwhelms me and I buy a Dairy Milk with Turkish, along with an Aero bar, which is just a chocolate bar with a light bubbly center. (I'm sure that at some point, someone realized they could save on chocolate costs by injecting air bubbles into it before it cooled, then packaged it as the Aero... same price, less chocolate!) Breaking off the end of the Turkish, I'm surprised to find that the center is more like a berry jelly than a smooth sweet filling. I'm guessing this is related somehow to Turkish Delight, a gelatinous dessert I've never tasted, but which appears to be the only likely relation.
When I bite into it, it does indeed taste like jelly, a dark raspberry flavor with a spicy aftertaste. It's not bad, but it's not necessarily good, either. Rather, it's a bland disappointment, given that I had built it up as a taste adventure for myself.
A better discovery is the P.S. I Love You bar, another Cadbury concoction. It's main appeal seems to be the message on the front; you have to look at the side to tell what the bar is: "Layers of wafer and caramel flavoured cream LOVINGLY smothered in Caramilk Chocolate" (capitalization theirs; another bar, with a dark blue packaging, has a different message, but I haven't bought one and can't remember the wording). Being a big fan of caramel, I can't resist this one, and I'm not disappointed. It's light and airy, imparting the caramel as a creamy afterthought more than as a direct sensation. A few of these might have to find their way into my carry-on bag when I'm at the airport headed home.
Finally, I'm intrigued by a line of bars, also Cadbury I believe, with even more messages on the packaging. The bars themselves are simple choclate bars, but designed as two pieces: Yes and No. The idea, it appears, is to walk up to someone with a bar that says, "Want to sleep over?" or "Can I buy you a drink?" and the other person responds by breaking off the appropriate answer. I'm a bit let down, however, to see that no bar reads, "Do you want some chocolate?"
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sounds delicious. when i was in india, i found lifesavers candy, that are "musk" flavored. never had the nerve to try them though (still sit in my desk).
Posted by: brent | Dec 11, 2005 7:58:21 AM
As an ex-pat South African, let me tell you that you haven't tasted South African chocolate until you've had an Inside Story bar made by Beacon. Then again, you might not like it because it has no caramel.
Posted by: Gil | Jan 4, 2006 11:39:08 PM
Inside Story -- I don't remember seeing that. What is it? Do tell!
Posted by: Jeff Carlson | Jan 5, 2006 10:06:27 AM
Inside Story is absolutely THE BEST!! I sampled lots of chocolate bars while in South Africa for a month and the Inside Story with a hazelnut creme filling was stunning! I was actually trying to find someone who sells them in the States when I came across your blog.
Posted by: Elizabeth | Mar 9, 2006 9:19:33 PM
Hi Jeff! Like Elizabeth, I too was trying to find some South African chocolate products with which to tempt my American friends. I, too, am a South African expat. Turkish Delight seems to be a required taste. Once one is used to the product, one does hanker after it from time to time! South Africa has OODLES of delicious chocolate. Triple Whammy from Beacon comes to mind. It has a soft marshmallow centre coated in crunchy nuts and crispy rice smothered in creamy milk chocolate. Inside Story really *is* delicious! I still remember (and hanker after) the Milky Bar Croquettes. They were round discs of double milk chocolate, individually wrapped in silver foil and encased in a hexagonally shaped tube! I LOVED those and haven't seen them for MANY a day. You just HAVE to taste Sally Williams' fine honey Nougat! It's the BEST nougat I have EVER tasted! She's on the web. If you love caramel, Caramello Bears are delish! South Africa has many of the British choccies. One of my favourites are the chocolate marshmallow easter eggs which one cannot get here in the US apparently. The marshmallow in the centre is white and yellow like a fried egg! :) I hope I've given you more food for thought! I could go on all day about South African chocolate, but I think this post is quite long enough for now.
Posted by: Sue-Lynn | May 9, 2006 6:19:27 AM
guys this is not a south african tasting trip. u have been deceived. the company that manufactures these chocolates is cadbury which is an australian and new zealand chocolate company.. NOT south african
aero and turkish delight are our favourites and nut break is VERY good too!
go the aussies!!
Posted by: jamie | Jun 4, 2006 1:58:10 AM
Actually Cadbury is a british company (part of Cadbury Scweppes) that has manufacturing plants in various countries including SA, Australia, NZ and of course England. Interestingly though the taste of the same chocolates is actually different in the different countries. eg a Kit Kat in Aus is not as sweet and creamy as those made in SA or the UK. That is why in Sydney eg you can find imported SA Kit Kats even though you can buy locally produced Kit Kats. Same with Aero, although peppermint aero are not made in Aus/NZ so they are all imported from the UK.
Posted by: bobby | Jun 28, 2006 7:03:39 PM
Although I have a Canadian e-mail address, that's just because I have the use of my good friend's (unused by her) e-mail address, dating back to when I spent a holiday there. I am born and bred and totally South African.
Actually you're all wrong. Cadbury started off as an Irish company.I am a Cadbury devotee. Have you tasted Cadbury Whispers? (similar to British Maltesers). YUM!
Cadbury South Africa makes their chocolate bars (slabs) particularly to suit South African preference. It is not as sweet as that in other countries.
Kitkat and Aero, by the way, are Nestle, not Cadbury, chocolates.
There's a shop in the USA that will mail South African food products to you. My daughter who is in the USA at present has used it. The site is lekker.safeshopper.com
By South African standards, the products are expensive, but it's still cheaper than getting it posted from SA, which costs a fortune, and you can get stuff like biltong, which is usually confiscated by USA customs.
Posted by: bill | Jul 7, 2006 12:34:04 AM
Hi, I chanced upon your entry while Googling for Turkish Delight recipes. I believe Turkish Delight isn't berry-flavoured, but rather, rose-flavoured.
I too am a huge fan of candy and am blessed with a high energy level and exceptional metabolic rate, so I can eat all I want and it never shows.
My favourite sweets are Turkish Delights, licorice allsorts and Bounty bars.
In Malaysia (where I am from), we can also get traditional Indian sweets, made daily, sans packaging, like Gulab Jamun and Paal Gova. These are made with buffalo milk, sugar and spices (like cardamom and aniseed) and is an aquired taste.
It's good to read the views of other sweet-lovers.
Have a good week.
Posted by: Ee Lynn | Feb 13, 2007 12:51:35 AM
My mum sent me a box of Beacon chocolate marshmellow easter eggs with yolk, because Woolworths and Priceline have stopped importing this product to Australia. I have been looking forward to demoloshing this box for years, but Australian customs has confiscated my box because of the ingredient egg albumin in it. Doe any one have a similar experience with these eggs. It is advertised on several online shops, but what is the point if you know it will be confiscated?
Posted by: Michelle | May 2, 2007 6:33:57 PM
That's right,Turkish delight is rose flavoured,unfortunately the texture of Cadbury Turkish have disappointed lately,it used to be much softer and smoother.Something that was the most delectable and delicious chocolate was Cadbury seasons about 9 years ago.It was 6 different flavours,malt,coffee,chocolate truffle and 3 fruit flavours,I'm not exactly sure what they were.These chocolates was absolutely divine,but for some obscure reason they stopped making them.I wonder WHY?!
Posted by: Carmen | Jun 29, 2007 1:59:15 AM
Another chocolate that was manufactured in South Africa for years was Nestle Caravan,it was layers of wafer,icing and thick toffee caramel covered in a thin layer of chocolate,this chocolate bar was popular for decades,but alas,yet again they stopped making them which makes me wonder who decides this and on what grounds.
Posted by: Carmen | Jun 29, 2007 2:06:50 AM
Cadbury Whispers is very delicious indeed.About Maltesers,I might be wrong,but I don't think it' malt,it tastes more like shortbread but I will be sure to check it out.
Posted by: Carmen | Jun 29, 2007 2:14:49 AM
Now now - here's a wee list of my favorites:
- Sevens Bar - Cadbury's and bloody amazing!
- Picnic Bar - can't remember who makes these...
- Chocolate Log - lovely when it starts to melt. It's a marshmallow and chocolate dream come true
- Anything made by Beacon containing nuts!
Oh, and you've probably never had any South African Easter chocolate. Beacon does these marshmallow Easter eggs (very good) and someone makes these chocolate eggs covered in hard white candy coating (bloody hard to bite through - but satisfying and delicious when you do 'crack' them open.
Posted by: Kirk | Apr 30, 2008 7:19:15 PM
i was wondering if you have a site that i can purchase some beacon chocolates from south africa
Posted by: anne koehler | Aug 10, 2008 10:32:09 AM
Carravans were the best bars by far,soft and juisy mmmmmmmmmmmm
Posted by: leonard | Sep 1, 2008 8:48:07 AM
Anyone know where I can get Beacon Nut Puffs in Australia???
Posted by: Jenny | Jan 1, 2009 5:43:29 PM
I am from Cape Town - emigrated to USA over 20 years ago - and still love the chocolates from S.A. Give me a Top Deck, Peppermint Crisp, Flake, Aero any day of the week - hmmm.Do you remember "Sweety Pies" - they were the best!
Posted by: Rochelle | Feb 17, 2009 7:04:16 PM
Where the fuck do you buy these in the god damn states motherfuckers?
Posted by: Ben | Mar 17, 2009 6:12:39 PM
Caravans were the absolute best! Remember Tempo? Those were also quite cool. Rochelle - you still get Sweetie Pies is SA! Heavenly little things aren't they?
Posted by: Anon | May 7, 2009 6:10:18 AM
I need to buy chocolates for my son who has a South Africa
address. can anyone tell me an online site that I can order chocolates for him????
Posted by: zoe | Nov 3, 2009 5:27:20 PM
I'm surprised to find that the center is more like a berry jelly than a smooth sweet filling
Posted by: Nursing apparel | May 18, 2010 10:07:38 PM
I want the nestle caravan chocolate to be back on shelves... it was the best chocolate ever
Posted by: Marie | Apr 20, 2012 1:49:04 PM
Where can I buy Caravan Bars?
Posted by: Michael | Aug 1, 2012 6:45:15 PM
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