Past Sins

This one will resonate especially with my Brit and Colonial Readers.

It appears that the Rowntree company has discovered that O Woe their company depended on The Evil Slavery back in the days before steamships were built, and therefore they are prostrating themselves before the Gods Of Wokedom, rending their clothes, wearing hairshirts and putting out their corporate eyes in orgies of  self-abasement and atonement [some slight hyperbole there] :

Trusts created by British chocolate maker Rowntree have apologised after research into its own history revealed ‘shameful’ links to the slave trade.
The investigation into the company’s history was party prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement and revealed evidence that the famously philanthropic family business may have profited from the slave trade.

But it gets worse:

Research by the Rowntree Society, which promotes the history of the company, also uncovered allegations of racial discrimination and anti-union tactics at the firm’s South African subsidiary Wilson Rowntree during the apartheid era as recently as the early 1980s.

O noes!  Not the Evil Boers! 

Now I don’t wanna sound all uncaring and indifferent and stuff, but lest we forget, said horrors also enabled the following items of pure deliciousness to tickle our palates.

An aside:  alert Readers will note that many of the items below are labeled “Nestlé” because yea did Rowntree sell their chocolate business to the foul Swiss;  but thankfully, the cuckoo clockmakers have never used their own disgusting chocolate recipe, but stuck to the original Rowntree formulation (much like Hershey has done with Cadbury products Over Here).

Here they are:

Still one of the nicest chocolate bars ever made, the “bubbly” Aero is an automatic basket-filler when I go to World Market.

This is a staple in 7-11 and other convenience stores, and for good reason.  (The white-chocolate KitKat is even better.)

Beloved by small children (and by their parents, as bribe material), the tiny sugar-coated gelatin pellets are not only delicious, but addictive.  Not as addictive, however, as Rowntree’s

The Son&Heir is not a big candy consumer;  he doesn’t eat chocolate and hardly ever uses sugar with anything.  However, give him a tube (or large bag, it doesn’t seem to matter) of Fruit Pastilles when he comes a-calling, and the delicious things will have disappeared before he gets home.

These chocolate-filled sugar candies are what M&Ms are supposed to taste like, but don’t.  Unlike said Hershey horribles, Smarties give you a choice in the eating thereof:  you can crunch them up in your mouth and chew the thin candy slivers with the chocolate, or you can do what I do:  suck them slowly until the candy disintegrates, then be left with warm, melted chocolate that will coat the inside of your mouth with absolute indulgent pleasure.  (Yes, they do melt in your pocket;  which is why Smarties are typically sold in stiff cardboard tubes [see pic] so that they don’t.)

And then we come to the piéce-de-resistance (brace yourselves, this is going to cause mass convulsions among the Wokistas):

This cornucopia of delight was a staple among young men of my generation, serving as a fail-safe present for Mom on Mother’s Day / her birthday, and Valentine’s Day for the beloved girlfriend / wife.  (Yes, children, back in the day women actually ate chocolate without suffering agonies of conscience, and giving chocolate as a present did not engender [sic]  howls of accusation.)  You can get an idea from this wonderful launch ad:

Even better was that the inside of the lid gave a map to the contents:

Now I know that calling it “Black Magic” would nowadays be considered the Ultimate Rayyycism, but in those days — and yes, this is going to sound weird to the Youngins — black packaging gave products an air of class (see:  limousine colors, tuxedo suits, “black tie” dress etc.), so the brand name was that, and also gave the product a slightly “wicked” feel.  Because even back then, we knew that chocolate was an indulgence, and fattening, and so on.  (I know, I know:  we Whiteys appropriated Black people’s skin color for our own ends.  Talk about wicked.)


So, to return to my original thesis (after wiping the drool from my chin):  yes, the Rowntree company has behaved abominably in the past, etc. etc.

But I think I can safely say that out of the suffering of slaves did come some of the greatest snack candies of all time, and that should count for something.

Afterthought:  it’s probably a good thing I don’t do social media, as one can hardly imagine the response to a humorous post like the above on Twatter or Faecesbook.


  1. You forgot the Wilson’s toffees of yore. Jawbreaking squares of hard cola flavoured toffee.

    Rumour has it these were made from melted down factory floor sweepings.

  2. The irony is that the Rowntrees and the Bournevilles, being good Christians (Quakers IIRC) did a lot for their workers in regards to working conditions and education.

  3. So…..if “Black Magic” is verboten in the candy & sweets world, what about American Express’s Black Card? When will cars painted black be condemned? And, wasn’t there a Rolling Stone song titled “Paint it, Black”? Is Mick Jagger on the doxxing list now?

  4. I thought “Smarties” were M&M’s.
    I read once that Smarties were invented so World War 2 air crew could have chocolate snacks while flying

    1. that’s because Smarties disappeared (or all but) from store shelves almost at exactly the same time as M&Ms appeared.
      Made it seem to many people that one was replaced by the other.

      Smarties are quite a bit larger than M&Ms, and the hard candy coating has actual flavour to it.

  5. Kim,
    You left out a goodly part of the abomination. It is not only Black Magic but Black Magic Casket. Raycess.

  6. Whining about Suffering of Slaves being all Whitey’s fault again? Hmmf.
    I guess we won’t hear much about the Asante tribe’s part in African the slave trade, nor Shaka Zulu’s swath of conquest, war and assassinations in southern Africa, and nary a peep about North American natives raiding other tribes for slaves, sex and plunder.
    Christ’s admonition “Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone,” sure hasn’t reached the burners and brickers in this country. It looks like their militant self-righteousness is more about free stuff and power than actually solving the race problem.
    Would you pass me the chocolates, please? I don’t do guilt.

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