It’s Christmas Day and dinner is done.
Dad is sat there snoozing with his mouth ajar, a glass of red wine hanging loosely between his fingers. Mum is tapping away on her phone, probably doing some intel as to how her gifts went down with relatives. An aunt, uncle and or grandparent is propped up in the corner, frowning in confusion at the “rubbish” playing on the television.
The rest of you are eyeing up the purple tub of chocolates sitting on the dining room table. Dad’s spilled drink will wake him up at any moment. Mum has nearly finished finding out if her pressies were a success. And the aunt/uncle/grandparent will soon want a distraction from that “stupid” programme they can’t understand.
Someone is about to lift the lid off the Quality Street, and then it’s game time. With a belly already fit to burst, you need to choose wisely. Not all of these chocolates are created equal, after all.
For 85 years, ranking Quality Street has proven more problematic than naming a round piece of bread (is it a barm, bap, bun, breadcake cob, roll? One problem at a time…), but we reckon we’ve cracked it.
Here’s a definitive list that ought to put you in pole position during the annual Christmas Day race for the best chocolates in the tub.
11. Toffee Penny
Chowing down on a Toffee Penny is like listening to an elderly family member trying to read aloud a long joke from a Christmas cracker.
On and on it goes, getting more tedious and uncomfortable by the second, and just as you think it’s all over, you realise it’s only getting started.
Chewy, sickly and sticky, Toffee Pennies are always among the last choccies remaining in any depleted Quality Street box. And that’s no coincidence.
10. Toffee Finger
A little less chewy and a bit more flavoursome than the Penny, the Toffee Finger is a familiar and distinctive Quality Street staple… but it’s still not something to get particularly excited about.
Maybe one is fine when it’s getting late, the layers are thinning out and you’re left staring into that abyss of scrunched-up wrappers, but otherwise, you can do far better.
This is one of the few instances in life where you should not go for gold.
9. Coconut Eclair
It’s funny how some flavours have an incredible ability to get people riled up to the point of boiling hot anger. Take coriander, for instance – a herb despised so much that someone actually made a Facebook account titled ‘I Hate Coriander’ that has since grown into a community of a quarter of a million members. The page even sells merch nowadays.
Coconut is another ingredient that seems to stir up similar sensations in certain members of the population, and a lot of people find Quality Street’s blue-wrapped choccies borderline offensive as a result (the coconutty Bounty gets the same treatment when the Celebrations come out).
Indeed, in one YouGov poll, the Coconut Eclair ranked as the least popular variety of all.
As coconut fans, we’re actually ok with it, but we appreciate there’s no way to talk anyone into giving the Eclair a second chance. The hostility towards coconut is just too strong. The people who hate it, really hate it.
Fudge’s are fine. Absolutely fine. It’s just that over the years, we might have had way too many of them.
Consumer group Which? conducted research into chocolate tubs that found that Fudges are the most common flavour in any typical Quality Street box – with an average of nine appearing amongst the multicoloured rubble.
That’s a lot of fudges. And whilst they might be pretty decent, it’s just like anything else: Too much of the same and it gets a bit… meh.
7. Orange Crunch
The Orange Crunch boasts a nice blend of textures and to be fair, it’s pretty damn good.
It’s got zest, it’s got bite, and it’s got a few very, very loyal fans – some of whom will shamelessly bat away the hands of others to snap up all the little orange hexagons from the moment the Quality Street is opened.
If there’s one going spare, it’s worth grabbing. Just make sure you don’t have any die-hard Orange Crunch fans in the house. Otherwise, Christmas could get ugly.
6. Milk Choc Block
The chocolate box equivalent of a Yorkie bar, the Milk Choc Block requires a bit of effort to actually eat – so it may not be the wisest choice immediately after a gluttonous Christmas dinner. But when things have settled and you’re finally sensing a bit of wiggle room, it’s worth plucking one of these dark green wrappers from the tub and getting stuck in.
These beasty blocks are a cracking accompaniment for your afternoon/evening cuppa, and whilst they can take a while to break down, they won’t lose their flavour.
A perfect option when you’re not feeling too adventurous.
5/4 Strawberry Delight / Orange Creme
We’re into the upper echelons of the Quality Street rankings now, and whilst some will be loathed to admit it, the fruit cremes definitely belong towards the top end of the table.
Eating Strawberry Delights or Orange Cremes is like sipping a strong, exotic cocktail. The distinct flavour and strange texture takes you by surprise at first, and you can embrace or reject it. We recommend the former. Once you’ve had one or two and you’re on board, there’s no going back. You’ll realise just how good these things are.
We’re cheating here and ranking these two choccies side-by-side. They’re just too tough to set apart.
3. Caramel Swirl
Caramel Swirls feel like the desserts of the aristocracy. The wrappers have the shimmering, royal quality of a Ferrero Roche – except the choccies have got a gooey, gold, rich, creamy centre to match.
Understandably, the Caramel Swirl can be a bit too much for some. But on a day when you want to indulge – there are few desserts more fitting.
Take a couple and treat yourself. You got through 2021, for God’s sake. You’ve earned it.
2. Green Triangle
The Green Triangle is the Tom Hanks of box chocolates: It’s been around forever and no matter what the setting, it will never let you down.
It’s reassuring, solid and reliable. It’s easy to love. And it makes ordinary movies more enjoyable than they should be.
Good old Green Triangle. Never change.
1. The Purple One
All hail The Purple One. God tier chocolate. The biggest, most beloved, and indisputably the best.
With handsome wrapping and delicious contents of milk chocolate, runny caramel and a crunchy hazelnut at its core, The Purple One appears on top of user polls time and time again. Because class is permanent.
As soon as you open that Quality Street box on Christmas Day, get looking immediately for that purple wrapper. They won’t last long.
Happy scoffing, folks.
Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons