The 10 best chocolate bars

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Scrivens sat at the end of an elongated red brick shoebox row of shops. There was a hardware store, a greengrocers, a hairdressers, a rather strange woman’s clothes shop – which for some reason sold toys – and finally Scrivens, a strange L-shaped grocery cum newsagents. It was here where you spent your pocket money. You’d lean your bike against the window and head in, straight to the angled display of chocolate bars. A sensory overload of colours, shapes and tastes. There are so many memories tied up with the first thrill of autonomy, to hold in your hand that coin which is yours, to do with what you want. What do you spend your money on? Sweets obviously!

They claim that 70% of chocolate bar purchases are impulse driven but there’s so much more to confectionery than the confectionery itself. Often those decisions are based just as much on what happened years ago, as it is on what is in the present. The texture and luxurious taste are only one small part of the nostalgic feeling that one associates with that indulgence.

Despite manufacturers constantly rebranding and repackaging trusted franchises, people have grown up with them and they are an integral part of peoples lives. You can’t underestimate the joy of running ones fingernail along the foil covered crevices of a four bar KitKat. The disappointment of getting the letter p, again, on your Smarties lid. The thrill of a free piece of cardboard with a Bounty or the anticipation of laying your Mars Bar on its front and disrobing it, revealing bit by bit your opulent quarry.

Whilst I have become a self-confessed chocolate snob, I acknowledge and appreciate the role that these bars have had in my life. So in a tribute to the everyday enemy foot solider in the battle of obesity, I decided to find the best ten chocolate bars of Britain. Obviously there has to be criteria. Without rules we’d be looking at confectionery chaos.

No solid chocolate bars – Dairy Milk, Yorkies and Buttons are all out.

It has to cost under a pound – so no fancy continental creation, or family sized treats.

No seasonal products – Cream Eggs a no go, despite being an annual event these bad boys are only (supposedly) available between Boxing Day and Easter.

Has to be currently available – No place for Drifters, Spiras or Treets.

Most importantly it has to be chocolate based – Jelly Tots, Tooty Frooties and Haribo are all firm favourites, but no chocolate, so no place on the list.

This is my top ten

Mars Bar

Invented in 1937 in Slough, it’s hard not to include this as the first entry on the list, it feels like the ultimate indulgence. I have spent many hours refining the best way to devour one. First chill the bar for 30 minutes in the fridge. Cut off the ends of the bar with a sharp knife, then lay the unwrapped bar on it’s top and make two incisions, where the sides meet the bottom layer of chocolate, along the length of the bar. Carefully chisel out the nougat section, so you’re left with the top, caramel and sides in a U-shape. Eat the nougat, fold in the sides and enjoy.

Fry’s Chocolate Cream

It’s the confectionery equivalent to a PG Wodehouse story. Each of its seven sections of fondant filling are enrobed in a crisp dark chocolate, reminiscent of when sartorial elegance was part of everyday life. It actually feels like you’re waiting with your Man at the railway station, ready for a spot of shooting in the country. It’s one of the few chocolate bars which carries in its taste, the heritage the brand has.

Galaxy Ripple

The brouhaha that went with the launch of Cadbury’s Twirl was simply a waste of time. There was already an incumbent on the coated rippled chocolate throne. It cost more than a Flake and tasted so much more like luxury, despite being made of Galaxy chocolate – which some have described as waxy, oily and cheap.

Double Decker

Overly sweet without any feelings of decadence, this nougat-biscuit combination has unique properties. If you feel like a Double Decker, there is nothing similar with which to replace it, should you not have one to hand. There are memories of raisins lurking in the biscuit base, but I’m not sure whether they were meant to be there.

Smarties

Whilst other pocket money treats came in flimsy paper wrapper, Smarties lived in a sturdy cardboard tube. With its alphabet-embossed coloured plastic lid and beautiful smooth rounded edges, it was the perfect diameter for little hands. Now in a flimsier hexagonal tube, with more colours, the wonder of having that many sweets in one packet is undiminished.

Crunchie

Never has a snack item got the balance of chocolate to interior more correct than the Crunchie. From the golden wrapper to the rich golden interior – it’s a party in a bar. Due to its composition it’s impossible to eat without chipping the chocolate from the honeycomb for at least a part of the experience. There is something pleasingly gender neutral about the Crunchie.

Cadbury’s Caramel

Recently bought into the Dairy Milk stable, this was always sold as a seductive luxury item. Sensuous and seductive, from the gentle curves of the bar (which, for some reason, always reminded me of a Ford Sierra) to the unctuous caramel interior. Like all good treats, the Caramel shares the feeling that even though you’ve finished, there should be another piece left

Maltesers

Targeted at women and sold as a lighter option to the more substantial bars on the market, this is a mistake. Although these crisp malt and chocolate spheres are lightweight, it’s the sheer quantity that give them their gravitas. With so many in a bag, a good rhythm can be established. I did go through a phase – which lasted about 10 years – of counting the amount in every bag I ate, 13 was a bad day, 20 a very good one, normally it was 16-17.

Twix

Surprisingly high in calories and remarkably bland in chocolate satisfaction. None the less there is something very alluring about the twin bars of a Twix, least of all the ways in which to eat them. Do you bite off the caramel first, or the biscuit? Nibble or bite? It is always more satisfying than you think and whilst a lot of confectionary doesn’t quite live up to there billing, the Twix does.

Munchies

Munchies are what Rolos want to be when they grow up. Carrying a premium price, each gold-tipped tube contains chocolate cubes filled with caramel AND biscuit! I always feel a touch nauseous after eating a whole pack, but take this as a sign of value for money.

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37 comments on “The 10 best chocolate bars”

  1. Charlotte's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 10:02 am

    You can still get Drifters. I’ve got one in my bag right now.

  2. Charlotte's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Oh and I’ve just remembered that Treets are back! They’ve got them in those big pouches in Sainsbury’s that Revels and Maltesers come in…

  3. benD's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Charlotte you are spot on – you can still get Drifters, although as typically with Nestlé, they aren’t even mentioned on their website! Obviously the confectionery cousin they are ashamed of!
    As for Treets, Mars are bringing them back for a ‘short period’ to cash in on the retro market, much as they did with Opal Fruits (which were available for ONE month in Asda only!). But as I never l liked them, they wouldn’t ever make it onto the list!

  4. Georgia's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    What a list and so many favourites among them. Keep ‘em coming Ben – great blog!

  5. Cliff's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Where the heck is Snickers (or the Marathon bar, as it’s still known in the trade)? I never feel short-changed when I munch one of these, unlike a Crunchie or Fry’s Chocolate Creme (just so you know, the latter is best eaten when wearing a velvet smoking jacket).

  6. StevieR's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    What happened to the humble Kit-Kat? The nation’s most popular chocolate bar? Terrible oversight…

    And, yes, you can still get Treets – I saw them in Sainsbury’s the other day and was a bit weirded out to see them!

  7. StevieR's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Oh, and Minstrels – for that afternoon cinema treat…

  8. benD's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Sorry to let you down Steve but according to Britain’s biggest selling daily paper the KitKat is no longer Britain’s most popular bar! It makes no sense to me either.
    Minstrels just don’t offer the value for money any more – too few in a bag for the list, I’m afraid!

  9. Stuart's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I saw some two-finger orangey Kit-Kats at an infant’s buffet last week. I didn’t indulge. Spiras were something I ate a lot of at the beginning of the 90s. The shoe-gazing art student’s favourite afternoon snack, they were.

  10. MissAbs's comment - added on 3rd of August, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Oh come ON!! If Drifters are still available, they belong on the list.

    How Galaxy even qualifies as chocolate is beyond me. It’s like chewing semi-solid vegetable oil mixed with cocoa butter.

    Curly Wurly’s are special, in my opinion!

  11. Tom Eagle's comment - added on 18th of August, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    well done StevieR – no Kit Kat; no Minstrels; (and no Bounty). I declare this list null and void.

  12. Andrea Trower's comment - added on 1st of September, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Great idea having a vote-off! I take it Dairy Milk doesn’t count? Wonder how ice-cream chocolate bars would fair in comparison… Would they correlate?

  13. benD's comment - added on 1st of September, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Sadly Andrea, the list has to adhere to the same rules as my list – so no solid choc (Dairy Milk) and Ice cream bars are def for another day!! Ice cream is on the to do list!!

  14. richard's comment - added on 11th of January, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    what about yorkies?

  15. immabeyou's comment - added on 4th of March, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I love curly wurlys. They just melt in your mouth. loveeee the caramel part, delicious! (lars says hi to all)

  16. Bernt's comment - added on 18th of October, 2010 at 4:23 am

    I’m on a quest to find the world’s best chocolate bar! So far a few Norwegian and Swedish milk chocolates are my favorites.

  17. pinkrose's comment - added on 11th of November, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    mars 3

  18. Mike's comment - added on 13th of January, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Richard, I think the “No solid chocolate bars” ruling means plain Yorkies are out of contention, but if you mean Raisin & Biscuit then I’m with you brother.

  19. Carol's comment - added on 2nd of May, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Were is Turkish Delight??

  20. tj's comment - added on 10th of June, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    snickers is the best out of all of them my favourite

  21. Saira's comment - added on 26th of June, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    What happened to coconut boost and most importantly CABANA. .it was coconut and cherry or strawberry inside chocolate..it was heaven…then it disappeared…also the nutty bar…it was yum…why do all the good chocs disappear…

    As for choc bars..the best is the lindtt bar…trust me…nothing better

    As for small chocs….absolutely out of this world is the cote d’or bouchée ..it’s a small bar or huge sweet wrapper type chocolate in the shape of a little elephant with a heavenly praline inside…you can buy it in singles from self ridges for about 75p each or online from amazon in big boxes…it’s so yum.

  22. Edward Critchfield's comment - added on 14th of July, 2012 at 8:48 am

    ha ha I am amused.

    Well done.

  23. Edward Critchfield's comment - added on 14th of July, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Kit Kat used to be my favorite but no longer!

    Why?

    I can’t get it out of the wrapper. I used to run my nail down the groove between chocolate fingers, now can’t.
    If they don’t understand that. I am gone.

    Edward

  24. Jeremy's comment - added on 19th of July, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    How about the original (anyone remember?) Duncan’s Walnut Whip. Now belongs to Nestle I think – like the whole world these days. I can never forgive them for the mayhem they have wrought on the Mint Aero. If we’d wanted it ‘creamier’ i.e. less like choclolate – surely we’d have asked for it?

  25. alasdair's comment - added on 22nd of July, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    what about toblerone.

  26. elia's comment - added on 14th of October, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    BOUNTYYYYYYYY AND SNICKERS MMMMMMMMMMM TWIXAND CADBURY WISPA D UNKNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW MOIST PPL

  27. 12458466's comment - added on 8th of November, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    MALTESE’S FOR THE WIN YUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. sean bonney's comment - added on 25th of November, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    what about lindor it’s not solid chocolate and what about cadbury oreo

  29. Ruth's comment - added on 29th of November, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Wispa Gold all the way.

  30. Tyla scales's comment - added on 22nd of January, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    i ave looked at your website and you have hellped me finish my work

  31. Jane's comment - added on 29th of May, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I’ve just been sent an assortment of chocolates from my family in UK to me in Australia. They don’t taste as good as I remember. Too sweet? Wrong kind of milk? I dunno. Yummy but could be better. Lion and Double Decker my favourite Brit bars though.

  32. alanah's comment - added on 26th of July, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    i think all chocolate are good as ilong as they dont have raisins!!!!

  33. Da Boss Dam's comment - added on 14th of October, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Wispa Gold all da way! Wispa was so soft and nice but yet still thick but with the caramel in the middle it’s just the perfect combination! It didn’t have it on there so I voted for Wispa Twix and Aero :3

  34. JT89's comment - added on 15th of December, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Terrys Chocolate Orange bars are missed out!

  35. Bridget Watts's comment - added on 18th of December, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    What of the magnificent TEXAN bar ????
    I think Chomp is meant to be a sort of copy – but if nothing like as good.My chocolate heaven was Mars in a paper wrapper – wrapped like a parcel that my Grandad would carefully unwrap and thinly slice for us to share – WOW !
    x

  36. YOLO's comment - added on 31st of January, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Lindors yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!

  37. Peanut's comment - added on 22nd of February, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I love the Mars bars but the thing is they make your mouth burn for water, so usually I like to buy a drink too!

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