A year of Chocablogging, and we’ve somehow managed to avoid reviewing the granddaddy of all chocolate bars – Mars. Well, today I’m going to rectify that.
First off, I do need to explain to our American readers that what you know as a Mars Bar and what the rest of the world knows as a Mars Bar. This (proper!) Mars Bar is similar to – but not exactly the same as – what you know as Milky Way in the U.S. And what the rest of the world knows as a Milky Way is more like your 3 Musketeers bar… which in turn, is quite like our Mars Flyte.
And now my head hurts. It’s all just too complicated for me – but luckily (!) someone has made a web site devoted to showing the differences: The Visible Mars Bar Project
With that out of the way, we should talk a little about the history of the Mars Bar. According to Wikipedia, the Mars Bar was invented in Britain (Slough, of all places) by an American – Forrest Mars – in 1932. Historical documents show that it is the only interesting thing ever to have happened in Slough.
For the first few years of production, Mars apparently bought in chocolate from Cadbury for the Mars Bar because they weren’t able to produce mass produce enough chocolate. Personally, I think it would be fun if this partnership had continued… just think of the possibilities… Mars Bar with Creme Egg filling anyone?
Anyway, the basic design of the Mars Bar hasn’t changed much over the years: Malt nougat, topped with caramel and coated in milk chocolate. And there really isn’t any need to change it, because frankly, it’s perfect for what it is.
A Mars Bar is what you buy when you want a quick snack on the move or an energy boost for those long afternoons in the office. Sure, there are hundreds of similar chocolate bars in the shops, but none do the trick quite like a Mars Bar. It’s chewy, filling and very sweet.
Which brings me on to the advertising… or more precisely, the old advertising slogan: “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”. Genius. That’s exactly what Mars does, and you have to wonder why they changed it for a series of wishy-washy meaningless slogans. I couldn’t even tell you what the current slogan-du-jour is. And I don’t really care.
1986 Mars commercial
You see, “Work, rest and play” perfectly describes a Mars Bar for me. It’s a quick, tasty unpretentious snack. It’s most definitely not the kind of chocolate you’d buy your girlfriend for her birthday (unless you enjoy being slapped in the face and having a Mars Bar inserted somewhere painful).
But the Mars Bar along with Cadbury Dairy Milk are the very essence of every day British chocolate. Even if it was invented by an American. In Slough.