In a world tumbling fast toward chaos, there is no better harbinger of the end times than the Cadbury Creme Egg—a once near-perfect, cheap, seasonal import that corporate interests have spent the last decade turning into a succubus of fun and money, so a line on a chart in a boardroom can resemble an errant firework that never came back down.
First, Cadbury made the eggs smaller and lied about it. Then they gave you one fewer egg in a package. But now, according to a New York City candy importer, they’ve gone too far. Now, they’re changing the recipe.
You don’t mess with Cadbury’s Creme Eggs: originally created in 1963, an “egg” consists of a really gorgeous milk chocolate shell, which yields chunkily to your teeth, than out slurps the gloopy fondant-filling, colored white and then yellow in the middle. It is pure confectionery joy only the most uncivilized barbarian would seek to adapt.
Cadbury is quietly swapping its dairy milk chocolate to “standard cocoa mix chocolate,” but the stateside distributor says Americans shouldn’t worry: It’s not changing the United States’ already bad recipe. And that’s just the point: For American importers, it was never about the worse American version. That’s why their shops are around in the first place.
For Nicky Perry of the West Village’s Tea & Sympathy shop and café, which sells British food and comestibles, the recipe change is a declaration of war.
“Everybody has to boycott. We’re not buying them. We want them as they are,” said Perry, who owns the shop. “We’ll be throwing the eggs in the Hudson River. We’ll stage our own Boston Tea Party. I might buy a load and—when I go back (to the U.K)—I’ll throw them at whoever’s head did this. What’s going on? The world’s in total disaster and now we can’t have chocolate because some rich guy wants to make a dollar?”
Perry says she was threatened by Cadbury lawyers in the past for selling the better stuff out of her shop for years. It should also be noted that in the UK, you can buy Cadbury’s Creme Eggs all the time—they are not an Easter treat, but a gooey, anytime bulbous indulgence. Their TV adverts are brilliant.
“I did get a letter years ago from some big, expensive law firm telling me to stop selling the real Cadbury chocolates,” says Perry. “I told them, I wouldn’t serve this [the American version] to a dog I hated. I said, Let me know if I’m getting arrested because I’ll call the press.”
Perry said she won’t be ordering her yearly 60-case shipment of the eggs now, and she’ll direct customers to Galaxy Chocolate Caramel Filled Eggs instead.
“I have to buy cases because they only make them six months of the year. People go crazy when we don’t have them,” said Perry. “It has to be because of the money. We’re all gonna eat shit chocolate because of somebody else’s bottom line.”
Perry is speaking from experience. There has never been a beloved candy, or maybe product, more ritually fucked with than the Cadbury Creme Egg.
The changes—that we know of—started in 2007, when hoarder and actor B.J. Novak conducted an investigative report on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, showing an egg five grams lighter and noticeably slighter than the year before. He pointed to an official Cadbury website FAQ that was riddled with lies that included this untrue series of sentences:
Why has the size of the egg changed? It hasn’t—you’ve just grown up!
That was a real sentence on Cadbury’s website in 2007.
The duplicity continued last year when, in a cost-cutting measure, Cadbury cut the number of eggs from a sensible, round half-dozen to an inexplicable five, without adjusting the price.
But this? Messing with the formula?
“I am disgusted. I am appalled,” said Perry. “What stupid moron’s idea is that? Let’s see your face!”
Yes, just so we can smear it with the innards of six, not five, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.