When I was growing up After Eight mints were always considered a rather “posh” chocolate. They came in packaging which just made them feel a little luxurious, what with the dark green colour of the box, the overly fancy carriage clock motif picked out in gold, and the fact that each chocolate was individual wrapped in a dainty little paper pouch.
The TV advertising campaign reinforced this image too, as it usually involved a bunch of well-to-do looking people sat around an enormous dinner table passing a box of the chocolates round after having finished their main meal. It was the kind of dinner party that you imagine the characters in a game of Cluedo would have enjoyed before discovered Dr. Black had been murdered.
The chocolates themselves were pretty tasty too, which helped with their popularity. Consisting of a gooey mint flavoured fondant coated in a thin layer of plain chocolate, they were extremely tasty, and given how sugar laden the fondant probably was it was a good idea to make them so thin.
Despite the fact that they were easily available all year round, there were only two times of the year that our household ever consumed After Eight mints. One was at Christmas, when along with the annual big tin of Quality Street, the jelly Orange and Lemon slices and the bag of mixed nuts (sorry, you can keep those thanks) we would also give my Mum a packet of After Eight mints as a little stocking filler present.
The other time of the year was my Mum’s birthday. Basically, my Mum like mint flavoured sweets, so it was one of those things that we just always bought for her. Funnily enough, now we’re all grown up I can’t remember the last time we got her a box…
Anyway, we always shared sweets round in our house, and my sister and I always looked forward to my Mum opening up her box of After Eights, not just because we enjoyed eating them, but because we loved the way they came in those little paper pouches. There was only one problem with the pouches. If somebody took just the chocolate, and left the pouch, everybody would think there were far more mints left in the box than there actually were.
After Eight mints enjoyed being the de facto posh after dinner mint for many years, although in the late Eighties that crown ended up being stolen somewhat by newcomer the Ferrero Rocher. Much as I like both chocolates, I do feel the After Eight is actually the better after meal finisher, simply because it’s minty taste leaves your mouth feeling fresher, whereas the Ferrero Rocher tends to leave you with bits of hazlenut stuck in your molars…