The Cadbury Challenge: Flake versus Twirl

When it comes to Cadbury’s chocolate, I have long held the view that the Cadbury’s Twirl is my favourite chocolate bar:

When I’m doing my ‘proper’ job at sea, there are teams of cooks who look after all the catering during the voyage. No unauthorised personnel are permitted to cook on the boat and so what we eat is determined largely by the cooks onboard. Being a reasonably health-conscious* vegaquarian, this is not the ideal situation for me, because meals are largely meat-based and there can be a lot of fried food. There are certain foods I miss at sea: my breakfast bagel, scones, cakes, and various veggie food I enjoy cooking at home, and although I would like to take more of my own food with me, there simply isn’t the luggage space. However, one thing I do always make room for in my luggage is a big bag of Twirls.

The Twirl first burst onto the scenes in the 1980s, and is now Cadbury’s best-selling chocolate bar. Hardly surprising, when you eat one and realise the absolute genius of the product.

It is based on the concept of the Cadbury’s Flake, which has been around since the 1920s:

The Twirl, in its standard form (there are several deviations available), consists of two bars of Flake, each coated in a thin layer of chocolate. The Flake is a single bar, slightly longer than the Twirl, and exists without the extra chocolate coating:

Even if you’re not familiar with Cadbury, you may well have seen a Flake, or something like it, sticking out of an ice cream, for the Flake has been a popular addition to ice cream cones throughout the decades, in the form of the ‘99‘ (there are suggestions about the derivation of the name on Wikipedia, which can be viewed by clicking on ’99’ above).

The Flake came into existence, the way many great inventions do, as a by-product of something else. In the 1920s some eagle-eyed employee of Cadbury’s noticed that when excess chocolate dribbled over the moulds used to create other bars, it fell off in folds leading to the trademark flakiness so central to both the Flake and the Twirl:

I do remember having a passion for Flakes pre-Twirl, but since I was born in 1972 I didn’t have much opportunity to establish them in my diet before Twirls came muscling in and stole my heart. The question that has been troubling me is this: is the Twirl really better than the Flake?

Today, I set out to find the answer. In order to start my investigation, I had to obtain both a Flake and a Twirl, which was an extremely easy task as my local shop very handily stocks both in profusion. Β I got them home, opened them up and, as you can see, took some photographs of them, before diving in for the taste test. As shown below, the Flake (on the right) is slightly larger in perimeter than the Twirl:

The outside edges of the Flake are heavily textured with lots of visible folds, while the Twirl is encased in a smooth outer shell that barely suggests the interesting structure beneath:

According to the ingredients and nutrition information on the packaging, the two products are almost identical. They only differ in tiny ways in terms of typical values per 100g. The Flake apparently contains very slightly fewer calories, a bit more protein, a little less carboyhdrate and just 0.1g of a difference in fat, fibre and sodium than the Twirl. Why these differences should exist at all, I really can’t tell but perhaps one of my intelligent readers could enlighten me.

So, down to the important bit of all this: eating them. I started with a bite of the Twirl, which was quite a clean and neat operation:

And then, carefully because I know what sort of crumb trouble can ensue with this manoeuvre, bit into the Flake:

As you can see, eating a Flake is a messier procedure than eating a Twirl, which is the major thing against the Flake, in my opinion. On the up side, if you eat it carefully enough and manage to save all the crumbs (particularly if you catch them in the wrapper and make a chute out of it, down which the crumbs can slide straight into your mouth) there is the enjoyable prospect of the ‘extra’ bits at the end when you’ve finished the main body of the confection.

But what of the taste? Well, at first I really didn’t detect any difference in taste, but the more I went on with it the more I became convinced that the Flake tasted slightly creamier. However, I’m a bit suspicious that this could actually be down to the texture rather than the taste. Since it doesn’t have the outer coating to break through, the Flake melts immediately in the mouth whereas the Twirl takes a bit longer to disappear on the tongue. Could this result in a creamier tasting Flake? I don’t honestly know. I think I will have to try and induce some volunteers to test this out in a blind tasting.

So, what is the result of this investigation? Well, based on this one trial I think that if I had to choose a favourite taste and texture combination, I would – surprisingly to me – choose the Flake. On the other hand, in terms of portability and ease of scoffing, I would opt for the Twirl. I should imagine that this means I will continue to take Twirls offshore with me, but perhaps when I’m at home I’ll veer more towards the Flake.

Welcome back old chum!

* you may take issue with this, given the number of cakes I devour, not to mention bars of chocolate


50 thoughts on “The Cadbury Challenge: Flake versus Twirl

  1. How interesting! A first grade teacher I worked with last fall told me I should try the Flake, her favorite candy bar. I’d never heard of it, but her family’s from GB. I haven’t tasted either yet, but after reading your review, I can’t wait! I think she said they could be found at World Market.

        • How awful, perhaps they’ve got the wrong phone number. This is the general enquiries number: +44 (0) 121 458 2000 and I’m sure they could pass World Market on to the correct person, job done! Really, it can’t be any more complicated than that, can it?

        • I don’t know if you’ll see this, but as another Cadbury UK fan that lives in the US, I thought I’d leave a reply. After waiting all year for World Market to resolve their issues with Cadbury, I finally was told by a manager at one of the stores here in Florida that the problem is actually an issue of corporate greed. Hershey does not want to allow Cadbury from the UK to be sold at World Market because they feel it takes away business from their American Cadbury chocolates. This is so upsetting! I can order online from other sites, but only once the weather turns cooler here. I can’t imagine that UK Cadbury lovers would settle for the Hershey/US version of Cadbury. Knowing that Hershey has done this, I will not even buy any of their products to give out on Halloween.

          • How interesting, thank you for leaving your comment. It suggests that Hersheys are a bit intimidated by Cadbury’s, if they think UK Cadbury would out sell their own products. There’s room in this world for loads of different chocolates, I think it’s a shame that they take that attitude.

  2. Like you, I enjoy both but agree that the portability of the Twirl makes for convenience, particularly if you don’t want to end up with chocolate on your clothing.

  3. I think that further testing is most definitely required. Do you think you are up to the task? I have to say, the idea of the Flake is very appealing – I guess it’s the texture that sounds so nice. But both being of chocolate, one can’t go too far wrong.

    • I like to think I’m willing to step up to the mark when duty calls. You’re right, it’s no great problem to have a Twirl instead of a Flake or the other way round, either way it’s a winner.

  4. I didn’t know you could write so much about a Twirl. I like a bit of fruit and nut myself. Something to break up the chocolate. What I really hanker after though is a Texan bar from the 1980s. Remember, a man’s gotta chew what a man’s gotta chew. My grandma used to treat me to them. I get the feeling thought that if I were to eat one now I would be disappointed. Perhaps it’s something best left as a sweet memory.

    • I like a bit of fruit and nut too, I might have to feature a Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut some time. I remember the Texan bar! I fear you may be right about the memory though, these things tend to get better in the mind over time. What I remember about Texans is that they got stuck in my teeth. These days they’d probably wrench my fillings out.

  5. For me it has always been Flake!
    …These days I’ve been having a Time Out every morning over a cuppa though:-)
    Have you tried Tim Tam? It was just divine. I could eat the whole packet.

    Yum yum !

    • Ooh, Time Outs are wonderful! I wasn’t aware they still existed, but I went through a phase of munching them regularly years ago. They have the perfect chocolate-to-wafer ratio and the chocolate, being Cadbury’s, is much nicer than the stuff you get on a Kit-Kat. I’ve had several Kit-Kat experiences with solid chocolate and I can tell you that after the inital novelty had worn off, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. If that happened with a Time Out it’d be like eating Dairy Milk. Thank you for bringing them to my attention again, I must try and find one…

      I have tried Tim Tams, they’re like Penguin biscuits aren’t they? I remember learning the ‘Tim Tam Slam’ in New Zealand, where you dunk the biscuit half way down in a cup of tea, it soaks up the tea and then before it all falls apart you shove the whole melting caboodle into your mouth. Rather nice, I must admit.

      • Absolutely! I was having one over my breakfast tea while I was reading your cooment. It’s just sooooo nice a day kicker.

        I don’t like KitKats at all. They are way to solid and unkind to my liking. I only ever eat KitKats if there’s nothing else available and I’ve got intolerable desire to eat something sweet. πŸ™‚

        For me TimTams are much better than Penguins. Maybe it’s not readily available here either.
        Have a very sweet day!!! x

  6. You know your chocolate. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of one of these delights.

    My favorite chocolate ever was bought from Hallmark in the form of a milk chocolate Polar Express candy bar.

  7. How interesting. I dare not show this to my daughter! I hadn’t really been aware of the existence of Twirls but now I will have to try one. I think you should put a “Warning: Enabling Post!” sign up!

    • I would love to know what you think of Twirls if you try them. I did almost put a warning at the top because I was thinking that the pictures of chocolate might induce cravings. Pictures of chocolate do have that effect on me.

  8. love twirls and flakes, i think twirls are one of the few chocolate bars made by cadbury’s that do not include soya as an ingredients (can’t remember what the other bar is), it’s amazing what you can find out on the internet! if I’m in need of a real chocolate fix and sugar high twirls always hit the spot πŸ™‚

  9. Ah cadbury, they took a hit in the NZ when they changed the recipe to add in more palm oil.
    Our other big brand Whittakers made fun of them in an ad.
    Whittakers dark chocolate is sublime!

    I have to agree with you, def. flake over twirl.
    I’m more of a picnic person in the long haul.

    • Is Whittakers a kiwi make? I’ve seen their boxes of chocolates but I haven’t seen any bars here. I’m shocked to hear about Cadbury and the palm oil, what were they thinking? It’s years since I’ve had a picnic bar…

      • It is! Dark Ghana, berry and biscuit and creamy caramel are all amazing.
        They call their bars ‘slabs’. Peanut slab being the most popular.
        Apparently they weren’t thinking. The NZ public raised such an outcry that they changed the recipe back to the original one.
        The cheeky buggers downsized the chocolate block instead but still kept the same price tag.

        • Very cheeky! Thank you for the Whittakers info, a slab of dark ghana chocolate sounds wonderful, as do the others. I must keep an eye out for these slabs but I’m pretty sure they haven’t reached our shops yet, at least not where I live.

  10. Interesting experiment. I always tended to think a twirl was two slightly smaller flakes covered in chocolate making it easier to eat, therefore the outright winner? I think the flake is probably more glamorous though (remember those eating-flake-in-a-bubble-bath adverts? Wouldn’t look as good with a twirl!) I’m happy they still make both plus they brought back the wispa πŸ™‚

    • Very nicely summed up! I do remember those adverts and I think you’re right, the Flake is the Twirl’s glamorous elder sister. I used to love Wispas in the 1980s, I’m sure I owe some fillings to them, but I’m not so keen on them now. Do you think they’re the same?

      • I know what you mean, somehow they don’t seem the same anymore, they taste slightly different I’m sure so they probably changed the recipe. I also think they are a lot smaller and quite expensive for what you get! I’m more of a green and blacks maya gold girl these days but would always make room for a twirl on a long journey lol! πŸ™‚

  11. I reckon G+B chocolate is THE best. Have you tried the minty one? Or the ginger one? Or the dark blue milk one (as opposed to the light blue milk one, which isn’t quite as satisfying), Or the dark one? Or the darkER one? A small piece of the dark ones go really well with a full bodied red like a merlot, or a…

    I think I need to go and open a bottle.

    • Ha ha, I can see you are a Green and Black’s connoisseur! I haven’t tried them all but funnily enough the minty one caught my eye in Tesco yesterday and I did waver beside it, but restrained myself. I can see that this whole G+B business requires considerable and urgent research.

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