The Best… Christmas Selection Sharing Tubs?

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Good tidings I bring to you all, upon my writing of this EXTREMELY important, possibly MOST IMPORTANT festive (or should that be Bestive?) edition of this feature. With just three days to go until the big day, it’s prime time now to grab a few festive bargains, especially with retailers slashing prices to sell out all the excess and bloated stock they have bought. It’s the season to be jolly, and what could be more jolly than stuffing your face with cheap confectionery? But which bars, box or tub gets best value for money overall? It’s time to investigate.

N.B. I am referring to prices from ASDA and Sainsburys during the article.

I’ll be ranking my choices based on variety, price, taste and quantity, and each option will be marked out of five. Overall, they can score a maximum of twenty points. And please, remember this is just my opinion. For example, Mint Matchmakers won’t feature because they are evil and vile because I couldn’t survey every chocolate without making my New Year’s Resolution to be finally going to the gym every week, but if you love them, best of luck to you.

Firstly, we have the seemingly omnipresent Quality Street. I am convinced by the conspiracy theory that Quality Streets only exist for a three-month window between November and January, and then they hibernate for the rest of the year like bears. This year has seen mass change, with tubs getting smaller (boo!) but the Toffee Deluxe (That brown one that always got rooted over while you looked for Strawberry Delight) has been replaced by the Honeycomb Crunch, which are very nice, and a potential new favourite. The weight of 724g seems pretty poor when you think back (I remember the good old days of 1kg tubs), but Christmas means Quality Street and the selection, with 12 different varieties in total: a spread of mint chocolates, toffee and fudge chews and block chocolate, as well as fruit favourites is pretty good. You can taste all the different flavours too, and their fondant filling is particularly good. Toffees do still seem to rule the roost in terms of variety, making up a good half of the box, but I got at least 5 of everything, to facilitate easy sharing. And at £4.00 from ASDA, it’s certainly worth considering right now. The chocolates inspired by JM Barrie score 5/5 for variety, 4/5 for value, 4/5 for taste and 3/5 for quantity. A solid start.

Up next, Celebrations. I will always harbour a deep grudge against Mars for removing Galaxy Truffle from their box (and discontinuing them), but I’ll let that slide for now. The box is 750g, which is slightly larger than it’s purple rival, but weighing the actual chocolates, the difference was only 15g anyway. Big props to them for adding Malteaser teasers, which are arguably the most popular in the box, and the solid Galaxy and hollow Galaxy Caramel are both big favourites to the hungry consumer. Eight different brands cover a good spread- biscuit, caramel, nougat, nut, and malt are all complementary flavours. However, the in-box variety is disappointing. Mars, Milky Way, and Bounty make up 75% of the box, with the proportions significantly higher for these chocs compared to the arguably more popular Malteaser and Galaxy options. It’s also one pound more expensive at ASDA and Sainsburys for £5.00. Mars offering scores 2/5 for variety, 3/5 for value, 4/5 for taste and 3.5/5 for quantity. Disappointed.

Moving swiftly on to Cadbury Roses. These boxes often get overlooked, because there is a certain snobbery around them. The proletariat buy ‘Heroes’ but the Bourgeois buy ‘Roses’. Of course, this is complete nonsense and usually it is down to personal taste. Eleven different chocolates feature in the box all with unnecessary adjectives coating them to make them sound more luxurious. Having said that, the Golden Barrel, Signature Truffle and Strawberry Dream used to be a cut above taste-wise compared to everything else, as well as having exciting shiny gloss wrappers to add to the jazziness. Sadly, the sparkle has gone this year, with bland cheap chocolate and flavourless fillings, which was very disappointing. 730g seems to be around the norm for all the tubs this year, but the old days of a ‘big tin of Roses as a Christmas treat’ are well and truly gone. The ‘posh’ option scores  4/5 for variety, but 2/5 for value and 2/5 taste (considering it marks itself as being “premium”) and 3/5 for quantity. A poor show.

We come onto the Cadbury Heroes, which tend to be the popular choice at this time of year. They have diversified in the last few years adding new flavours like Creme Egg Twisted, and Wispa, but they have come at the expense of classics like Bourneville. A criticism of every one of these boxes is no white chocolate (I will always cherish the memories of Cadbury Dream Bar), and the main criticism for Heroes is the shrinking box. It’s 695g with wrappers, and only around 650g of actual chocolate. The actual chocolates themselves have also magically ‘shrunk’ this year, at the expense of more empty space in the tub. The selection is good on paper and broad: fudgy, crunchy, caramel, solid choc and fondant, but again the selection suffers from being almost 60% Cadbury Éclair and Fudge. If you don’t like chewy options, I sympathise. However, it’s still very disappointing overall. I’m scoring it a 2.5/5 for variety, 3/5 for taste, 3/5 for price and 2/5 for quantity.

As such, we come down to our final evaluation. It’s generally another pretty poor show all round, with much lamenting at how much weight has decreased overall. But if we have to rank them, then Quality Street quite easily pulls ahead. A score of 16/20 isn’t a bad total. 12.5/20 for Celebrations and just behind that, Roses with 11/20. Finally, Cadbury Heroes with a not-so-heroic 10.5/20. Generally, a disappointing show all round. Made even worse by the guilt I now feel for looking at the GDAs on each box and realising how far I have gone over guidelines for daily amounts.

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