The results are in for what is arguably the most important UNILAD poll of Christmas 2020, and our wise audience have chosen well. I always had faith in you lot.
Yup. The zesty, fragrant Terry’s Chocolate Orange has been voted as the best-ever Christmas chocolate, chomping up a very tasty 44.2% of the final vote. And it’s so easy to see why.
Terry’s Chocolate Orange was followed in the polls by two very worthy festive contenders, with Ferrero Rocher coming in at second place (34.7%) and your good old fashioned tub of Celebrations coming in at third place (21.1%).
Other strong contenders in the early polls were After Eights and Lindt Reindeer, with foil wraped chocolate coins, Matchsticks and Cadbury Magical Elves lagging behind a bit.
In all honesty, I will be sampling all these chocolates – and plenty more besides – over the Christmas period, and will be adhering to the notion that chocolate is a perfectly acceptable breakfast starter until at least after my New Year’s Eve hangover passes.
However, no other Christmas chocolate even comes close to Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which looks, feels, smells and tastes exactly how a God tier level Christmas treat should.
This is a chocolate made for nibbling while thumbing through the Radio Times, fairylights twinkling and gifts wrapped beautifully – or at least successfully – beneath the tree.
The iconic Chocolate Orange first went on sale in 1931, invented by York-based family firm Joseph Terry’s and Sons. Interestingly, the citrusy treat was preceded by the now long forgotten Terry’s Chocolate Apple, which I’m honestly very up for seeing revived.
The orb like nature of the wrapped Chocolate Orange is very pleasing to the eye. As noted by environmental psychologist and Terry’s fan Lee Chambers, ‘it’s shaped like a bauble and wrapped in a metallic foil, so unwrapping it feels like a present’.
Lee also remarked that part of Terry’s charm is that it’s actually ‘anti-christmas, like a disruptive elf’:
Blue and orange are nowhere to be seen at Christmas, it’s all white, silver, gold, green and red. So it actually stands out from the crowd in a novel way, it’s Christmas without shouting about it.
Of course, like any good Christmas present from our childhoods, the advertising is all part and parcel of the build up.
Many of us who are now in our late twenties and thirties can perfectly recall Dawn French’s classic ’90s catchphrase, ‘it’s not Terry’s, it’s mine!’, as the famed chocoholic twinkled out at us from her cosy, tinselly living room.
‘Two words’, PR professional Lauren told UNILAD, ‘Dawn French’, echoing the thoughts of so many of us who grew up thinking French was actually a vicar or some sort of Christmas angel.
Gemma, from Yorkshire, said:
I think the fact it comes in pretty wrapping paper makes it Christmas. Plus, always reminds me of good old Dawn French. You feel her festive cheer when you eat one!
You can revisit one of French’s classic festive Terry’s ads for yourself below:
For me, Terry’s Chocolate Orange is wrapped up with so much delicious festive nostalgia, from feeling its boxy bump in the toe of my stocking, to bashing it so ferociously against a table that I ended up getting told off a bit. And I’m certainly not alone in such fond reminiscences.
Nat, from Brighton, quite rightly believes it to be ‘the perfect stocking filler’, and one which holds ‘so many memories’ for her:
I’m now vegan and although we don’t have vegan ones here, you can get one from Trader Joe’s in the US. So instead I just eat loads of orange flavoured chocolate, so good!
The ritual of cracking open a Terry’s at Christmas has been passed down for generations now, being just as much of a tradition as telling cracker jokes or warming up a pan of mulled wine.
Stacey from London has ‘always had a chocolate orange for Christmas’, a tradition she believes stems from the fact that her grandmother used to pop a satsuma in her dad’s stocking when he was a kid. Her mum has since continued the seasonal gift as a family joke.
Dad would get a satsuma and us kids got the much superior Chocolate Orange. I remember Terry’s used to bring out special editions around Christmas time and my two sisters and I would always get a different one.
I vaguely remember a white chocolate popping candy edition not going down too well and we’ve reverted to the original ever since. I’m 23 now and know I’ll be getting a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for Christmas!
Many of us who are now all grown up will still expect a Terry’s from our parents at this time of year, steadily working our way through each segment when we return ‘home home’ for the holiday season.
Jack, who is originally from the UK but now lives in Australia, describes Terry’s as being ‘that present you get from your relatives and in Christmas Day stockings and never complain’.
As Jack is currently stuck in Perth, he’s asked his mum to make ‘a special delivery of Chocolate Orange’ which will include the absolutely dreamy white chocolate one plus the lesser know Cadbury’s Twirl edition. Absolutely fantastic choices all round.
With many people having very different Christmasses this year – perhaps, like Jack, celebrating a long way away from loved ones – something as emotive as Terry’s can bring our respective Christmasses pasts rushing to the present, as effective as whacking Wizzard on Spotify.
Of course, for many people, Christmas can be a difficult and ultimately quite costly celebration, and something as simple as a Terry’s can offer a little piece of joy and luxury during times of hardship.
For happiness and mindset specialist Natalia, the Chocolate Orange brings back memories of growing up with her single parent mother, who had to stick to a a tight budget to get by:
Christmas was very difficult, and she always put us first when it came to mealtimes and Christmas celebrations. No matter what, we always received a Chocolate Orange in our stocking, as well as a satsuma.
Natalia is now over 40, but still receives a chocolate orange ever year, even though she admits she ‘doesn’t like them that much’:
My other half loves them and even last night handed me some, and I don’t have the heart to tell me I don’t really like them, so I just let him keep buying them.
Orange flavoured chocolate has proven to be a signficant trend in 2020, with everyone from alcohol companies to ice cream manufacturers rushing to perfect this gorgeous pairing.
This was the year that Domino’s launched its chocolate orange cookie, while Costa Coffee introduced a Terry’s Chocolate Orange hot chocolate to its festive drinks menu.
According to Google Search data provided by creative SEO agency Rise at Seven, interest in chocolate orange flavours has soared by 50% in 2020 compared with 2019.
Interest spikes each December, but this year marketeers found interest to be almost at the highest point in five years. Furthermore, out of the 62.9k social media reactions to chocolate orange this year, the top reaction was ‘love’ which made up 66% of the total reactions.
In a time when so many of us are seeking warmth, gentleness and comfort, it’s perhaps unsurprising that we would turn to the nostalgic, jolly tastes of celebrations gone by. All while looking forward to times when we can share segments out without vast quantities of hand sanitiser.
Campaign strategist Iona, who has ran various successful chocolate orange related PR campaigns, has declared chocolate orange to be ‘the mood of 2020’, noting that ‘chocolate orange sums up Christmas perfectly’.
Iona, fondly known as ‘the Queen of Chocolate Orange’ to her colleagues, said:
It’s the end of a terrible year, and what can bring us a smidge of joy? A Chocolate Orange. The one thing you hope you’ll find in your stocking and the one thing that without fail is always there. It’s reliable, tasty, and brings us joy in an otherwise dark world.
The other reason we love it is because it polatises the nation. You either love it or hate it, there’s no inbetween. No one thinks oh I kind of like chocolate orange, but not that much.
Either you have a passion for it which burns intensely as the sun, or you hate it with all of your being. Either way, it sums up Britain pretty well. We’re not a nation of umms and ahhs. We’ve got opinions and if there’s one thing that brings that to light more than anything, it’s chocolate orange.
Now, more than ever before, the nation needs to hear that satisfying crack of hard chocolate against a kitchen work surface. To bask for a moment in the fresh yet decadent aroma which – let’s face it – is honestly nicer than any fancy winter candle.
Have yourself a merry, and hopefully very chocolately, Christmas this year.