Perhaps considered the king of puddings amongst children of the 1970s (that may have been contested by Arctic Roll of course) there was always that frisson of excitement when the kitchen cupboard was opened after your tea and an Angel Delight packet was taken out – in fact it was hard not to get up off your chair and whoop with joy. I particularly liked the surprise element: my mum would never tell me which flavour we were having so the anticipation as she whisked away was immense.
On paper the idea of a load of offputtingly bright coloured powder which needed to be whisked up with milk to make a pudding doesn’t sound particularly inviting but Angel Delight was (and still is) scrummy. It was a light and frothy mousse that was so delicious you always ended up eating it really fast and then wishing you had more once it was all gone.
First introduced to the market in 1967 by food giant Bird’s (who were owned by General Foods at this time) the initial flavour that people could buy was strawberries and cream (despite the ingredients not including either of those). There was a big media campaign for this new product; one television advert from the decade played on the word ‘delight’ with a singing accompaniment of phrases like ‘It’s de-lovely’ and ‘It’s de-smoothest’. Hmmm. It worked however: the market for instant desserts increased twofold during the 1970s.
Angel Delight became a household name, with children and adults alike enjoying the pudding, but sales began to drop off in the 1980s.
In 1999 Bird’s brought in two much-loved characters to help them give the brand a much-needed boost: Wallace & Gromit. The cheese-loving inventor and his canine sidekick brought attention back to the creamy treat and by 2006 Angel Delight was back to being the UK’s number one cold instant dessert.
There are currently five flavours on offer: strawberry, raspberry, chocolate, banana and butterscotch (that last one was a particular favourite of mine). You can also get strawberry, butterscotch and chocolate in a ‘no added sugar’ variety too; perfect if you find it hard to resist (*hides whisk behind back…*). Bird’s website also suggests using Angel Delight to make frozen lollies or an ice cream milkshake and there are loads more ‘people with too much time on their hands’ recipes on the internet for turning it into other yummy creations.
Angel Delight powder + milk x a good whisking = a surprisingly tasty pudding. Just don’t confuse it with the 1971 Fairport Convention album ‘Angel Delight’ – that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good.