In 1915 a potter named Edward Joseph Walker decided to open a sweet shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. He had a dream, a dream to make the best toffee ever. It was a dream that he made come true and a dream that his family proudly continues to this day.
Walkers Nonsuch is one of England’s oldest and finest makers of traditional toffee. So named because there is ‘nonsuch’ like it, the family business use only ‘good wholesome ingredients’. How good and wholesome toffee can be is a matter for debate, but by that they mean they only use whole milk, butter, and Belgian chocolate.
You can pick up a 150g bag for about £1 from a number of different stockists, and can be bought either in assortments or individual flavours. Walkers make a whole range of different toffees, such as Nutty Brazils, Mint, Treacle, Banana Split, and Liquorice, but here @ChocolateMission, we will be looking at– surprise surprise – ones of the chocolatey variety. Each type of toffee comes with its own distinctive wrapper. The wrappers do have a nostalgic traditional aesthetic to them, but lack finesse and a professional finish. There is no uniformity, with text spilling over the edges and getting wrinkled; instead of being smart and smooth you can visibly see the bumpy surface of the toffee underneath. In hot weather, I can imagine the toffee getting stuck to the wrapper and murder to peel off.
Although not a thing of beauty, it suggests to me that they have all been hand-wrapped, which I think adds to the sense of love gone into making them, which you don’t get from mass market companies.
Kcal 502 Fat 24.5g Fat (Sats) 15.4g Carbs 67.5g (per 100g)
1. Plain Chocolate
The outer dark chocolate shell has a matte appearance with several cracks, indicating that the chocolate coating is very thin and brittle. It has a mildly bitter taste before you reaching the sweet sticky toffee. As hard as you try just to suck, your will power will eventually break. The inevitable chew might mean toffee stuck between the teeth, but it is worth when to release that gorgeous juicy centre.
Kcal 499 Fat 22.3g Fat (Sats) 14.1g Carbs 71.5g (per 100g)
2. Milk Chocolate
The difference between the milk chocolate and plain chocolate toffees are pretty negligible; unless comparing the two next to one another, it is quite difficult to tell which one is which. The chocolate coating is a bit creamier and slightly sweeter, but because toffee is so sweet to begin with, it is hardly noticeable. Unlike the plain, which had a mild chocolate smell, this one is absent of scent all together. I do find it quite hard to believe that this is Belgian chocolate, as the quality we associate with it just isn’t there.
Kcal 480 Fat 20.4g Fat (Sats) 12.9g Carbs 72.1g (per 100g)
3. English Creamy
I’m breaking the rules a bit here by introducing the English Creamy toffee, as it does not actually have any chocolate in it. Still, it felt a bit unfair to leave it out as it came in part of my assortment. I can’t say it is particularly any creamier than the other toffees but, with its strong vanilla flavour, it makes a much greater impact than the below par chocolate cousins.
Kcal 506 Fat 23.4g Fat (Sats) 14.8g Carbs 70.9g (per 100g)
4. Chocolate Éclair
If you have trouble distinguishing between the plain and milk chocolate toffees, you’ll find it almost impossible with the English Creamy and Chocolate Éclair. The latter is an ever so slightly darker shade, but you might need a magnifying glass to see it. The main difference is what lies beneath, as the eclair contains a milky sweet chocolate centre.
Walkers are telling the truth when they say they make England’s finest toffee, what they are not so good at, however, is chocolate. While their éclairs are certainly a winner, the plain and milk chocolate coatings do not add anything to the experience. At the same time they do not take away any of the enjoyment either, so there is nothing lost by giving these a try.