WHEN I THINK about Christmas confectionery, Quality Street comes to mind. Now, I know these days the plastic tubs seem more popular, but visually these don’t cut the mustard. In my retro mindset there’s only one Quality Street format suitable for Christmas: the tin tub. For me it’s the original and best. The icing on the cake would be if it still had the Mackintosh’s branding and traditional artwork, then the retro styling would be complete.
For the last few years I’d purchased the plastic tubs but this year I splashed out on a traditional tin tub. How much has the look changed over the years? I began casting my critical retro eye over it…
First retro examination: composition. I started off by drumming (with my hands) the top, sides and bottom. I was a bit suspicious of there being a mixture of materials and not 100% tin. I can confirm that after pretending to be a military drummer, the tub is tin.
Second retro examination: size. The tin looked a bit on the small side for my liking, but understand that I’m comparing using my photographic memory from the 70s. Everything looked much bigger when I was between four and nine years old… Wagon Wheels were on par with the size of my face, a Big Mac was a Massive Mac and my dad was a giant standing at five feet six inches tall. All I have to say is let the Quality Street sizing debate begin… hopefully it won’t end in a severe Quality Street stoning consisting of Toffee Pennys and Green Triangles!
Third retro examination: imagery. Now, onto the design imagery on the lid, my most concerning feature. The tin tub from the yester-years had a lady and gentleman dressed in fine clothing. I even vividly remember a seeing a street and the design yelled out Quality Street. Unfortunately, with my 2022 version, the only street that the imagery conjures up for me is Unknown Street. Whilst the gold font in the central octagon has a touch of quality, beyond that I can’t make out if it’s a star, a spectrum or a mish-mash of colours representing the wrappers of the different chocolates. The Street has disappeared. As I looked closer at the top image, I spotted the lady and gentleman dressed in fine clothing – they have shrunk and now play a minor role in this years Quality Street production.
Final retro examination: shape. The retro tins were mostly round and now they octagonal. I say mostly because I somehow remember some tins (pre-1990) having an octagonal shape. Years ago, the empty round tins were used for storing buttons and even as a cake baking tin. Why the octagonal shape? To stand out from the round tubs of Roses and Heroes? Or maybe octagonal cakes look more striking…
The final thoughts after my retro examination is that the 2022 version has not faired too badly… not great but not bad either. I would score it a 5/10. I don’t really have an issue with the shape but the question of size and imagery doesn’t rest well with my retro mindset.
What about the chocolates inside the tin? We’ll be diving into them around the 24th December, so expect me to cast my critical retro eye over them too! I’m looking forward to hogging the tin and chomping my way through the soft centred ones and leaving the harder jaw-tiring ones to other family members, so my retro review of the chocolate will be limited. Now go and select your three favourite Quality Street chocolates by scrolling to the end of this post.