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Ferrero Rocher

Just by writing the words ‘Ferrero Rocher’ I am able to exhibit my astonishing mind-control powers. I can guarantee that by now the phrase ‘Ambassador, with these Rocher you are really spoiling us’ is now sashaying through your brain on a permanent loop, and you are visualising a huge pyramid of knobbly round chocolates wrapped in gold balanced on a tray. Aren’t you?

No other chocolate symbolises the 1980s as much as Ferrero Rocher (except perhaps After Eights – how many other bits of confectionary come in their own sleeping bag?); if the Ambassador, no less, had them at his reception, then surely they were something we should all have been coveting?

So they looked a bit flashy on the outside: the golden foil covers and the little brown paper cases, not to mention the rectangular, double layered plastic box they came in, all yelled ‘are you sure your little social gathering deserves me?’ at you in a superior tone. Nestled on the shelf, they stood out next to the other chocolates considered indulgent in that decade (Rowntree’s Black Magic and Terry’s All Gold for example) and for a while were considered to be the sweet to offer your guests at parties. 

So that was their exterior….but what about the important bit? The edible bit that actually mattered? 

There were two ways to eat them, and the overall taste satisfaction depended on which one you chose. If you popped the misshapen little sphere into your mouth and crunched it up then they were pretty delicious; the milk chocolate shell - studded with hazelnut pieces - gave way to a layer of wafer, before you broke through to the creamy filling inside, complete with a whole roasted hazelnut. This was by the far the best way to eat them; all the flavours and textures at once combined to great effect in your mouth. 

The other way to eat them of course was the ‘make it last’ technique: this meant that you got to enjoy the treat for longer, but also that each layer felt a little bit lacking something when it was on its own. How was it done? You would use your teeth to carefully peel the outer chocolate off so you were left with a wafer orb (if you’d done it cleverly enough the sphere would be completely clean, with no toothy scrape marks. Not always possible – particularly if you were eating them in a warm, melty environment – but very satisfying if you achieved it). We all know that wafer isn’t the most exciting texture on offer in the sugary world (apart from those pink wafers that used to come in biscuit variety packs when you were little – how exciting was it when you got to pick one of those?) but now you were near your goal….you then carefully bit off the top half and bingo! You could now happily scoop the chocolate goo out with your tongue. Glorious. 

I am talking about them in the past tense, but Ferrero Rocher are still around today. Not quite as revered as they once were - and in fact they are often used for parodies of the rich and famous - but they are nevertheless hugely popular. First conceived in 1982 by Italian chocolatiers Ferrero SpA (who are also responsible for making spreading chocolate directly on to bread popular via another successful product, Nutella) their early advertising campaign is both loved and derided in equal measure. Dubbed (not hugely convincingly if I’m honest) from the original Italian, it features a soft-focus sweep around a glamorous party (i.e. all big hair and shiny fabrics) with the opening line ‘The Ambassador’s receptions are noted in society for their host’s exquisite taste…’ before a smug butler glides in with an unfeasible, gravity-defyingly high pile of the little shimmering morsels. They were voiced by English actor Jonathan Kydd, who has done lots of other things since the ad but probably spends a lot of time smiling politely as yet another person grins and says ‘Excellente!’ at him. (That was in the advert too, you see.)

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Do You Remember Ferrero Rocher?

Do You Remember Ferrero Rocher?