For people who care about their food

Cadbury Creme Eggs

Half a Cadbury Creme Egg next to an unwrapped one

Cadbury Gifts DirectNow that Easter is almost upon us, we thought it would be fun to taste a few Easter eggs – any excuse to eat more chocolate!  Perhaps the good old fashioned chocolate egg familiar to so many of us since childhood – the Cadbury Creme Egg – would be a good place to start.  But wait.

Earlier this year there was anguish over changes to the famous Cadbury Creme Egg, a much loved favourite since its launch in its current form in 1963, although Cadbury had been making filled chocolate eggs since 1923. It’s no longer the same egg that so many of us will remember. On Monday 12 January 2015, Cadbury announced that the eggs were no longer made with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate.

What’s in a Cadbury Creme Egg and why the hullabaloo about the changes?

The eggs used to be made from Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate filled with fondant, ie just sugar and colouring. Now they’re using a different type of chocolate. Some would describe it as inferior, and it’s thought to suit the American palate and its penchant for a sweeter chocolate, since Cadbury was taken over by Kraft Foods (now Mondelēz) in 2010.

Is the chocolate now inferior?

The chocolate that’s now being used for the Creme Egg apparently contains a lot more butyric acid and it’s this different chocolate which is the focus of much of the distaste about the new recipe.

People think it’s because it’s sweeter, and it is, but it’s because they use a different milk powder that it tastes different. Theirs contains a lot of butyric acid, which is the main smell of human vomit.
(The Guardian, 18 March 2015: Who needs Creme Eggs when you can make your own Creem Eggs?)

Some of the reaction is good old-fashioned kneejerk, an instinctive rejection of a big bad US-owned conglomerate tampering with a British childhood icon. Several of the more heavyweight newspapers ran articles expressing tongue-in-cheek outrage at the change. One contained this gem: “Without the Dairy Milk shell – and I say this without having tried the new product, obviously – we are left with nothing less than an abomination.”

So, can they really be so bad? We decided to try.

The tasting

In the event it turned out to be fairly ordinary chocolate filled with liquid sugar. OK for a sweet fix for the undiscerning, such as children who’ve yet to develop a more sophisticated palate. I personally found it teeth-curlingly sweet, but did not notice any smell of human vomit. Perhaps the extract of paprika (listed in the ingredients) disguised that. Really, I found nothing wrong with it, if you like that kind of thing. For me, there was nothing particularly right with it either.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of Cadbury’s products which I do like, such as their Fruit & Nut bar. And I also enjoy a bit of nostalgia. I like a Flake in my ice cream sometimes and am also rather partial to a Crunchie. Not so long ago our taste team likened Magnum’s Crème Brûlée edition to a Crunchie and, dare I say it, in some ways preferred the taste of the latter.

Overall, most of what Cadbury produces is at the high end of the mass market and deservedly popular. I just didn’t love their Creme Eggs. And no wonder, when you compare them with affordable luxury such as the Crème de la Crème eggs produced by Artisan du Chocolat, which I tried next. To be fair, the Cadbury eggs are only 50p each, whilst the upmarket Artisan du Chocolat eggs work out at £1.50 each.

3 Responses to “Cadbury Creme Eggs”

  1. Mr Not Delia

    I have to confess that I was one of the kneejerkers. I was bitterly disappointed when Cadbury’s were taken over by Kraft, and predicted that the company would go downhill rapidly. The change of the Creme Egg seemed likely to be part of that decline.

    I also have to confess that when I came to taste one of the new abominations, I couldn’t actually taste much difference. But on the other hand (a) I don’t eat a lot of chocolate these days, and (b) what I do eat tends to be better quality. I loved Cadbury’s as a kid, but when you’ve had chocolate with 70%-plus cocoa solids, then you start to understand why the rest of the EU won’t label Cadbury’s and Galaxy as chocolate.

  2. Robert Stevens

    Cadburys chocolate is a British institution. I would advise anyone to leave it alone. The American company who now owns Cadburys should cater primarily for the British market. It will be a marketing disaster. I personally will not now buy Cadburys chocolate in any form as a matter of principle (silly as that may sound) But as soon as someone tries to impose changes that I do not like I make a stand.

    Hands off our heritage !!

    Robert Stevens

  3. Not Delia

    Thanks for your comment, Robert. I think it’s quite natural to be resistant to change – I am too, even though I like to try new things. It’s more a case of “don’t fix what ain’t broke” – that’s the message I would give them.

    Cadbury’s chocolate has a long history and many admirers. If they change what it is, they’ll lose its essence and loyal customer base. It’ll become just an another also-ran chocolate bar.

    As someone who’s spent many years overseas, it can be quite delightful to unexpectedly discover an old favourite in a supermarket in some country where you least expect it. But if the item doesn’t deliver on the expectation, then that’s a customer lost.

    I feel a bit like that about Cadbury’s products. And it’s not the only brand I’ve experienced this with. But, after all, those companies are in business to make money, and if they’re going for a bigger market than those faithful old fans, then they’ll probably continue.

    When I feel let down by this, my solution is to try to recreate my own recipe to replicate the old favourite. This often/(usually!) doesn’t work. I spent ages trying to create home-made Twiglets, with little success.

    Chocolate, on the other hand, can often be replaced by another brand who’s doing it better. In any case, your palate may have changed over the years and you might like to buy a bit less quantity of something of better quality. (I mean move upmarket rather than “new” recipes of what you liked as a youngster.)

    Good luck with your quest for eating traditional (or better) British chocolate.

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