Why Creme Egg, Britain’s iconic Easter contribution, retains a loyal fan following in the Middle East

Special Chocolate lovers scramble to get their hands on the tiny delight of a Creme Egg, a staple of every English Easter table, and popular in the Middle East. (Reuters/File Photo)
Chocolate lovers scramble to get their hands on the tiny delight of a Creme Egg, a staple of every English Easter table, and popular in the Middle East. (Reuters/File Photo)
Short Url
Updated 09 April 2023
Follow

Why Creme Egg, Britain’s iconic Easter contribution, retains a loyal fan following in the Middle East

Why Creme Egg, Britain’s iconic Easter contribution, retains a loyal fan following in the Middle East
  • Creme Egg made its debut in 1971, but it all began in 1824 when John Cadbury opened a shop in Birmingham
  • Creme Egg is available in supermarkets such as Tamimi Markets and Carrefour in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

LONDON: It’s about the size of a modest hen’s egg, but it weighs in at 40g and delivers a hefty 177 kilocalories — more than in an actual egg and, comprised almost entirely of fats and sugars, an altogether less healthy option.

Meet the Creme Egg, the iconic product of the British-based global Cadbury chocolate company, which in 2010 was bought by US food and drinks giant Mondelez International for $19.5 billion.

With a thick milk chocolate shell stuffed with gooey white fondant and yellow “yolk,” the foil-wrapped egg is a “Marmite” product — with the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar in every egg, you either find it too sickly-sweet to stomach or you’re addicted to the massive chocolate-clad calorie hit it delivers.

Either way, in Christian countries the Creme Egg comes into its own at Easter, but it also has a loyal following of fans around the world, including in the Middle East.

It is available in supermarkets such as Tamimi Markets and Carrefour in countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where it is especially popular as a sweet treat during Ramadan, which this year happens to coincide with Easter.

In the UK, Easter is silly season for a media obsessed with all things “eggcellent,” and it is a mark of the fondness for the fondant-filled Creme Egg that it is frequently the star of many articles at this time of year.

Take the following headlines, from the past week alone:

“Police crack case of 200,000 stolen Creme Eggs.”

“I cooked a Cadbury’s Creme Egg in an air fryer and it was the best Easter recipe I’ve tried.”

“An East London cocktail bar is dipping French fries into a Cadbury Creme Egg.”

And, “Man accidentally eats Cadbury Creme Egg worth £10,000.”

That last one deserves an “eggsplanation.”




Its story began in 1824, when John Cadbury, the son of a wealthy Quaker family, opened a grocery shop in Birmingham and started selling cocoa and drinking chocolate. (Supplied)

As part of an Easter promotion that runs until April 9, Cadbury has planted 280 limited-edition, half-white, half-milk chocolate eggs in stores across the UK. With the slogan “Cadbury Creme Egg — How Do You Not Eat Yours?” the winning eggs must remain uneaten for the buyer to win the prize.

Unfortunately, YouTuber Adam Davis, broadcasting on his channel Adz Ventures, unwittingly wolfed one down live on camera before viewers pointed out his expensive mistake.

One could be forgiven for suspecting that any one of these stories — or, indeed, all of them, and many more besides, at this time of year — might well have originated in Cadbury’s PR department.

But even if they did, the willingness of mainstream media to swallow them whole is a measure of the affection felt for a confection that has been a bestseller in the UK for more than half a century.

The Cadbury Creme Egg made its debut in 1971, but its story began in 1824, when John Cadbury, the son of a wealthy Quaker family, opened a grocery shop in Birmingham and started selling cocoa and drinking chocolate.

From the outset, the company’s values reflected Cadbury’s convictions as a member of the Quakers, a Christian sect founded on the belief that “each individual can experience inner light, or the voice of God, without needing a priest, or the Bible.”




 In 1985, Cadbury launched a successful ad campaign, “How do you eat yours?” and the eggs have only achieved more fame as a result. (Supplied)

The Quakers frowned on the use of tobacco and alcohol — as they still do today — and the Cadbury company says its founder’s products “weren’t just inspired by his tastes, they were driven by his beliefs. Tea, coffee, cocoa and drinking chocolate were seen as healthy, delicious alternatives to alcohol, which Quakers deemed bad for society.”

There are two ironies here.

The first is that sugar and sugar-based products, such as chocolate, are now also considered to be bad for people’s health. In a bid to reduce children’s sugar intake as part of a drive to tackle Britain’s growing obesity problem, the UK government is expected this year to introduce plans to restrict the advertising of foods high in sugar, while the positioning of sweets and chocolates at check-outs has already been banned.

The other irony is that whereas Quakers such as John Cadbury preached that there was “no need for churches, rituals, holy days, or sacraments, to practice religion,” the Creme Egg his company created is today linked inextricably with Easter, one of the principal festivals of the Christian church.

For those confused by the association of chocolate eggs and the attendant Easter imagery of chicks and rabbits with the holiday, there is rather more to it than the cynical commercial exploitation of a Christian festival marking the rebirth of Christ.

In fact, the association of eggs, chicks and bunnies with the pagan forerunner of Easter predates the Christian era.

For the Christian church, Easter Day, which this year falls on Sunday, April 9, marks the beginning of 50 days of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the very word “Easter” reflects the influence of pre-Christian paganistic beliefs and practices on the Christian religious calendar.

Academics and theologians continue to debate the precise origin of the word. But many argue that it is derived from “Eostre,” the name of a fertility goddess worshipped in Britain by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons and, under various similar names, by Germanic pagans across northern Europe.

The Christian festival of Easter, goes the argument, was originally a pagan celebration of the return of spring, co-opted as a compromise by an early Christian church keen to win over converts from the old ways.




The Cadbury factory in Bournville model village, founded on Quaker values, has produced chocolates since the late 1800s. (Getty/Cadbury)

This association was first made in the eighth century by the English monk known as the Venerable Bede. In his treatise “The Reckoning of Time” he described some of the calendars of the ancient world, including that used by the Anglo-Saxons, for whom the month of “Eosturmonath,” corresponding to April, was named for the pagan goddess.

As for the Church of England today, it quietly acknowledges that “the eggs we give and receive at Easter have many different symbols attached to them.” At the very least, it adds, “they represent new life.”

John Cadbury retired in 1861, handing over the running of the company to his two sons, Richard and George. In 1878, inspired by their family’s Quaker principles and social conscience, they began building a new factory, out in the country and far from the squalid surroundings of its original plant in central Birmingham.

They named it Bournville, a model “factory in a garden,” complete with housing for the workers. “No man,” said George Cadbury, “ought to be condemned to live in a place where a rose cannot grow.”

Today the Bournville factory is still in operation, churning out an average of 1.5 million Creme Eggs — every single day.

The Cadbury Creme Egg was first marketed in 1963 as Fry’s Creme Egg, branded under the name of another British company, J.S. Fry & Sons of Bristol, which merged with Cadbury in 1919. In 1971 it was rebranded as Cadbury Creme Egg.

Another product, Fry’s Turkish Delight, which was launched in 1914, has retained its original name, but thankfully Cadbury long ago dropped the offensive advertising for the brand.

In one commercial shown on British TV in the ’60s, a turbaned “sheikh,” attended in his tent by black slaves, is presented with the gift of a slave girl, wrapped in a carpet. He frees her from her chains when she offers him a bar of Fry’s Turkish Delight, “Exotic, delicious, full of eastern promise.”

The company is famous for other brands that are still big sellers today — Bournville Chocolate, launched in 1908, Fry’s Turkish Delight (1914), Milk Tray (1915), Cadbury’s Flake (1920).

But it’s the Creme Egg, wrapped in its blue, red and yellow foil, that has won the hearts of Britain’s chocoholics — and quite possibly has pushed more than a few of them on the road to diabetes.




Today, the Cadbury factory makes 1.5 million Creme Eggs every day. (Getty/Cadbury)

The UK’s National Health Service recommends that adults should consume no more than 30g of free sugars a day, which is equivalent to about seven teaspoons of sugar — about the same amount found in every single Creme Egg.

And in case that is not sickly enough for your tastes, according to Guinness World Records there is even a record for the most Creme Eggs eaten in one minute.

Reflecting the product’s international appeal, it’s held by Canadian Pete Czerwinski, aka “Furious Pete,” a “competitive eater” who on April 11, 2014, stuffed down six of the things in 60 seconds.

It gets worse.

RecordSetter is a US site dedicated to “raising the bar of human achievement” in a range of fields, but we’re not talking medical breakthroughs or rocket science here.

An inventory of hundreds of dubious records includes “Longest wall sit while holding a 10-pound weight at shoulder height” (3 minutes, 16 seconds), “Most balloon bounces on alternate sides of a table tennis paddle in one minute while balancing a book on head” (170) and “Most toothpicks stuck in a grape in 30 seconds” (38).

And it also has an entire section dedicated to record attempts involving Creme Eggs.

In one particularly disturbing video filmed in Las Vegas in March 2013 and posted on the site, American competitive eater Miki Sudo (who also holds the women’s record for hot dogs, eating 40 at Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island in 2022) can be seen consuming 50 Cadbury Creme Eggs in 6 minutes, 15 seconds.

This particular record comes with a health warning from RecordSetter: “Speed eating can be extremely dangerous. Please do not attempt this record unless you are above the age of 18 and trained as a professional eater.”

Most definitely, do not try this at home. You are likely to be “eggstremely” ill.

 


Trump is disqualified from Illinois ballot, judge rules

Trump is disqualified from Illinois ballot, judge rules
Updated 24 sec ago
Follow

Trump is disqualified from Illinois ballot, judge rules

Trump is disqualified from Illinois ballot, judge rules
  • Judge said the former president should be disqualified from the ballot for violating the anti-insurrection clause of the US constitution
  • Colorado and Maine earlier removed Trump from their state ballots, but both decisions are on hold while Trump appeals

An Illinois state judge on Wednesday barred Donald Trump from appearing on the Illinois’ Republican presidential primary ballot because of his role in the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but she delayed her ruling from taking effect in light of an expected appeal by the former US president.

Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie Porter sided with Illinois voters who argued that the former president should be disqualified from the state’s March 19 primary ballot and its Nov. 5 general election ballot for violating the anti-insurrection clause of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
The final outcome of the Illinois case and similar challenges will likely be decided by the US Supreme Court, which heard arguments related to Trump’s ballot eligibility on Feb. 8.
Porter said she was staying her decision because she expected his appeal to Illinois’ appellate courts, and a potential ruling from the US Supreme Court.
The advocacy group Free Speech For People, which spearheaded the Illinois disqualification effort, praised the ruling as a “historic victory” in a statement.
A campaign spokesperson for Trump, the national frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, said in a statement this “is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal.”
Colorado and Maine earlier removed Trump from their state ballots after determining he is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Both decisions are on hold while Trump appeals.
Section 3 bars from public office anyone who took an oath to support the US Constitution and then has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, attacked police and swarmed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Trump gave an incendiary speech to supporters beforehand, telling them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” He then for hours did not act on requests that he urge the mob to stop.
The Supreme Court is currently weighing Trump’s challenge to his Colorado disqualification. The justices in Washington appeared skeptical of the decision during oral arguments in the case, expressing concerns about states taking sweeping actions that could affect the national election.


Chad says opposition group attacked security agency in capital, a day after election date was set

Chad says opposition group attacked security agency in capital, a day after election date was set
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

Chad says opposition group attacked security agency in capital, a day after election date was set

Chad says opposition group attacked security agency in capital, a day after election date was set
  • Govt blames attack on opposition group led by Yaya Dillo, cousin of interim President Mahamat Deby Itno and a strong contender in the upcoming election
  • The government announced earlier that the presidential election would be held on May 6

N’DJAMENA, Chad: Several people were killed in an attack on the national security agency in Chad’s capital, officials said on Wednesday.

Opposition group The Socialist Party Without Borders attacked The agency, known as ANSE, D’jamena, government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah in a statement. The group is led by Yaya Dillo, the current president’s cousin and a strong contender in the upcoming election.
Koulamallah said, “the situation is now totally under control” but did not reveal the exact number of people killed. He said some were arrested and others were being pursued.
In the same statement, the government said that earlier the party’s finance secretary tried to assassinate the president of the supreme court, which led to his arrest.
Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Deby Itno, seized power after his father who ran the country for more than three decades was killed fighting rebels in 2021. Last year, the government announced it was extending the 18-month transition for two more years, which led to protests across the country.
On Tuesday, the government announced that presidential election would be held on May 6.
On Wednesday afternoon the Internet was cut in the capital and tensions remained high.


US Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump presidential immunity claim

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump presidential immunity claim
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump presidential immunity claim

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump presidential immunity claim
  • Trump’s claim to be immune from criminal liability for actions he took while in the White House is “unsupported by precedent, history

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to hear Donald Trump’s claim that as a former president he enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution, as the 2024 White House candidate faces dozens of state and federal charges.
The court scheduled arguments in the high-stakes case for the week of April 22 and said Trump’s trial on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election would remain on hold for now.
Trump had been scheduled to go on trial for election interference on March 4 but the proceedings have been frozen as his presidential immunity claim wound its way through the courts.
The Supreme Court said it would address the question of “whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”
It will be among the most consequential election law cases to reach the court since it halted the Florida vote recount in 2000 with Republican George W. Bush narrowly leading Democrat Al Gore.
A three-judge appeals court panel ruled earlier this month that the 77-year-old Trump has no immunity from prosecution as a former president.
Trump’s claim to be immune from criminal liability for actions he took while in the White House is “unsupported by precedent, history or the text and structure of the Constitution,” the judges said in a unanimous opinion.
“We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter,” they said.
The ruling was a major legal setback for Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and the first ex-president to be criminally indicted.
The appeals court put the immunity ruling on hold to give Trump the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Special Counsel Jack Smith filed the election conspiracy case against Trump in August and had been pushing hard for the March start date for his trial.
Lawyers for the former president have sought repeatedly to delay the trial until after the November election, when Trump could potentially have all of the federal cases against him dropped if he wins the White House again.
Trump also faces 2020 election interference charges in Georgia, and has been indicted in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified information.
He was impeached twice by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives while in office — once for inciting an insurrection — but acquitted both times by the Senate.
The immunity case is one of two election-related cases before the Supreme Court.
The Colorado Supreme Court barred Trump in December from appearing on the Republican presidential primary ballot in the state because of his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Trump appealed the Colorado ruling and the conservative-majority Supreme Court heard arguments in the case in early February.
Both conservative and liberal justices expressed concern during arguments about having individual states decide which candidates can be on the presidential ballot this November.


UK police ‘assessing’ alleged Islamophobic hate speech by MP Lee Anderson

UK police ‘assessing’ alleged Islamophobic hate speech by MP Lee Anderson
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

UK police ‘assessing’ alleged Islamophobic hate speech by MP Lee Anderson

UK police ‘assessing’ alleged Islamophobic hate speech by MP Lee Anderson
  • He was suspended by the Conservative Party after refusing to apologize for suggesting ‘Islamists’ have taken control of London and the city’s mayor
  • Several government ministers, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have described Anderson’s remarks as “wrong” but stopped short of labeling them Islamophobic

LONDON: Police in the UK are “assessing” hate speech allegations made against MP Lee Anderson, after he suggested that “Islamists” had taken control of London and the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, Sky News reported on Wednesday.

Anderson was suspended by the ruling Conservative Party on Saturday after he refused to apologize for the remarks, which were branded racist by Khan and others.

Anderson defended himself again on Wednesday in an article for the Daily Express, in which he accused Khan of “playing the race card” and said the mayor had accused him of racism to gain “political advantage.” However, he admitted the words he used were “clumsy.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that they have received a complaint about alleged hate speech by an MP. “A report was made to police on Saturday, Feb. 24. Officers are assessing this report,” a spokesperson told Sky News.

While several government ministers, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have described Anderson’s remarks as “wrong,” they have stopped short of labeling them Islamophobic.

On Tuesday, Downing Street said that Sunak does not believe Anderson is racist but that “the language he used was wrong and it’s obviously unacceptable to conflate all Muslims with Islamist extremism or the extreme ideology of Islamism.”

The spokesperson told Sky News that ministers had not been instructed to avoid using the term “Islamophobia,” which “conflates race with religion, does not address sectarianism within Islam and may inadvertently undermine freedom of speech. Anti-Muslim hatred is the more precise term, which better reflects UK hate-crime legislation.”

Anderson did not rule out the possibility that he might join rival political party Reform, which was founded by Nigel Farage.


Brazil urges ‘new globalization’ at G20 meet overshadowed by Ukraine

Brazil urges ‘new globalization’ at G20 meet overshadowed by Ukraine
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

Brazil urges ‘new globalization’ at G20 meet overshadowed by Ukraine

Brazil urges ‘new globalization’ at G20 meet overshadowed by Ukraine
  • FM Haddad: We need to create incentives to ensure international capital flows are no longer decided by immediate profit but by social and environmental principles
  • Founded in 1999, the G20 accounts for more than 80 percent of global GDP, three-quarters of world trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population

SAO PAULO: Brazil called for a “new globalization” to address poverty and climate change as finance ministers from the world’s top economies met Wednesday, but the Ukraine and Gaza wars risked overshadowing the plea.

“It is time to redefine globalization,” Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad told his counterparts from the Group of 20 leading economies, opening their first meeting of the year in Sao Paulo.
“We need to create incentives to ensure international capital flows are no longer decided by immediate profit but by social and environmental principles,” said Haddad, who gave his speech remotely after coming down with Covid-19.
The meeting, which follows one by foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro last week, will lay the economic policy groundwork for the annual G20 leaders’ summit, to be held in Rio in November.
Brazilian officials said they were working on a compact final statement that would steer clear of divisive issues such as the Ukraine and Gaza wars.
“We know the world is going through a tense geopolitical moment,” said finance ministry executive secretary Dario Durigan.
But “there’s consensus on the economic issues,” he told journalists. “The whole world speaks the same economic language.”

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wants to use the rotating G20 presidency this year to push issues like the fights against poverty and climate change, reducing the crushing debt burdens of low-income nations, and giving developing countries more say at institutions like the United Nations.
International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva called for bolder climate action, urging countries to accelerate emissions cuts, end fossil fuel subsidies — which reached an estimated $1.3 trillion worldwide last year — and massively mobilize climate financing.
“The climate crisis is already upon us, and we have to admit we have been a bit slow to address it,” she said at a panel discussion on the sidelines of the meeting.
Also on the agenda: increasing taxes on corporations and the super-rich.
“We need to ensure the billionaires of the world pay their fair share of taxes,” said Haddad.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire backed that call, telling journalists that Paris is pushing to “accelerate” international negotiations on a minimum tax on the ultra-wealthy.
However, Durigan said the issue was unlikely to make it into the final statement.

Even before the meeting opened, the conflict in Ukraine took center stage.
The Group of Seven countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union — held their own meeting on the sidelines to discuss shoring up Western support for Kyiv.
Officials said the meeting — attended remotely by Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko — focused on proposals to seize an estimated $397 billion in Russian assets frozen by the West.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday the issue was “urgent.”
But there were divisions among G7 members.
“I want to be very clear: We don’t have the legal basis for seizing the Russian assets now. We need to work further... The G7 must act abiding by the rule of law,” said France’s Le Maire.
Ukraine has warned it is in dire need of more military and financial assistance, with a fresh $60 billion US package stalled in Congress.
The war in Gaza was also a recurring theme, amid fears Israel’s offensive against Palestinian militant group Hamas could spiral into a wider war, with potentially catastrophic effects for the global economy.
Both conflicts could overshadow Brazil’s bid to use the G20 to amplify the voice of the global south.
“It’s a very tricky global context at the moment,” said Julia Thomson, an analyst at Eurasia Group.
“The international agenda will probably hinder part of Brazil’s ability to advance on some of the broader themes” of its G20 presidency, she told AFP.
Founded in 1999, the G20 accounts for more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), three-quarters of world trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.
It has 21 members: 19 of the world’s biggest economies, plus the EU and, participating as a member for the first time this year, the African Union.