For more years than I care to remember, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs have been part of my Easter. Yet for many of those years there has been a little nagging feeling at the back of mind. They reminded me of another product from my youth but one I couldn’t ever quite put my finger on it. that’s is until now when I decided to research the origins of the Cadbury’s Creme Egg and then all was revealed.
How do you brand yours?
In 1875, Cadbury made their first Easter eggs. They were made with dark chocolate and had a smooth, plain surface. They were filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops known as ‘dragees’. Later they made Easter eggs that were decorated and had their plain shells enhanced with chocolate piping and marzipan flowers.
However the ‘Easter’ eggs Cadbury are most famous for weren’t launched until 1971 and even then the Cadbury Crème Egg wasn’t an immediate success. Sales really took off in 1975, following the success of a heavyweight advertising campaign. Ten years later in 1985, another memorable ad campaign was launched around the theme of “How do your eat yours?”
Nowadays Cadbury’s Crème Eggs are delivered to the shops between January and Easter and over 200 million of them are sold in the UK every year
They are made by pouring liquid chocolate into a half-egg shaped mold, which is then filled with white fondant and a dab of yellow fondant. Because the fondant has a greater density than chocolate, the two don’t mix together and the fondant pushes the chocolate outwards. The two halves are then quickly closed and cooled to allow the chocolate to set.
Yet they aren’t the original cream egg and they owe their origins and fondant to another brand – Fry’s Chocolate Cream.
Joseph Storrs Fry was a revolutionary in the chocolate world, when in 1847 through his addition of cocoa butter to a mix of cocoa powder and sugar and the use of a Watt’s steam engine he created a bar that could be moulded and mass-produced.
Joseph’s firm, J.S. Fry & Son, began producing the Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar in 1866. It consisted of a white creamy fondant centre enrobed in dark chocolate. It was extremely successful, spawning a variety of flavours including Fry’s Orange Cream and Fry’s Peppermint Cream.
Nearly a hundred years later they decided to adapt the Chocolate Cream bar for Easter and in 1963 they launched the Fry’s Cream Egg with moderate success
Now comes the twist.
Cadbury and Fry had been part of the same holding company, the British Cocoa and Chocolate Company, since 1919, but in 1971 Cadbury completed a take-over.
One of the ensuing changes was the rebranding and relaunch of the Fry’s Cream Eggs …as Cadbury’s Cream Eggs.
Footnote 1: The world’s only surviving original Fry’s Creme Egg was discovered in 2013 and put on display in an exhibition called Chocolate! at the M Shed museum in Bristol. Graham Tratt, the archivist at Bristol Records Office said: “This is the original, it is how the Cadbury Creme Egg started. We don’t know what it tastes like because we don’t want to unwrap it and spoil it”
Footnote 2: A recent Cadbury survey claims 53 percent of people bite off the top, lick out the cream, then eat the chocolate, 20 percent just bite straight through and 6 percent use their finger to scoop out the cream.