Smarties in America are tootsie roll shaped rolls of candy. Foreign Smarties are like MnMs made with incredibly fine chocolate and an exquisite candy coating. The Foreign version is one of the godcandies.

"American" Smarties seem like sugar-powder smashed into solid form.

Note that it is not a good idea to eat two scoops of these things in one sitting. (Trust me on this, ugh...)

The most important thing to remember about Proper English Smarties is that the orange ones are best. Not only are they a pleasingly virulent colour, but they contain orange flavoured chocolate.

And this is why you must always save them till last.

Only Smarties have the answer!

Smarties first appeared in England in 1937, under the unassuming name of Chocolate Beans: it wasn't until the following year that they were renamed Smarties by their manufacturers Rowntree's of York. At the same time as coining the now-familiar brand name, Rowntree's repackaged their chocolate beans in cardboard tubes – eventually giving primary school teachers nationwide something better to use to demonstrate the shape of a cylinder than the inside of a loo roll. Their usefulness to teachers is, in fact, twofold: the plastic lid of each tube (previously either red, yellow or green, but now exclusively orange) has a letter of the alphabet embossed on its underside in lower-case, and it's common to find people collecting these handy alphabet counters for use in decoration and play.

According to the tube, Smarties are 'milk chocolate in a crisp sugar shell'. They come in eight colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, lilac (Nestlé call it 'mauve', or sometimes 'violet') and brown (my mother spent years trying to convince me it was 'burgundy'); each Smartie is, for want of a more accessible comparison, approximately the size of one's iris. Originally, light brown Smarties were made in lieu of blue ones; the latter were introduced in 1989 to mark the 50th anniversary of the brand. It's true that orange Smarties are flavoured orange, but they're not the only ones to be singled out: until 1958, dark brown Smarties were made with plain chocolate, and light brown ones with a coffee flavouring.

There have been a number of limited production runs of 'special' Smarties since the original blue Smarties promotion, including white chocolate Smarties (which I remembered vividly as having existed in the late '80s or early '90s, but never managed to convince anyone of this), 'Cool Dude' Smarties (in which each lilac Smartie was printed with a 'cool' face, complete with sunglasses), Cola-flavoured Smarties (vile), and, so Nestlé tell me, 'Gruesome Greenies' and 'Zappy Orange' Smarties. Now, you can find Smarties in king-size tubes and boxes, chocolate bars, ice-cream (and McFlurries), and many places selling cookies make 'rainbow' cookies with Smarties baked in them. There are Mini Smarties, Giant Smarties and Smarties Mini Eggs. They make good buttons for gingerbread men, too.

At the time of (re)writing, a normal-sized tube of Smarties should cost you around 35p – not quite the 2d the original Chocolate Beans sold for.

'Smarties' is a registered trademark of Societé des Produits Nestlé S.A. – except in the United States of America, where Nestlé sold the name to Ce De Candy, who produce the (apparently far inferior) American candy of the same name. Their website is at

and an email from Nestlé Customer Services assuring me that white chocolate Smarties did, in fact, exist, as well as giving me a short (unrequested) history of the product.

Smarties, in addition to being a well-known confection owned by Nestle (Societe des Produits Nestle SA) are also another confection: "mini smarties in milk chocolate" as it says on the side of the packet. What you get is a 45g (less than the weight you expect, by 15-20g) bar composed mainly of chocolate, but also of "Crisp sugar shell". The chocolate contains minimum 25% cocoa solids, minimum 15% milk solids.

The product also comes in a white chocolate variety (23% mini smarties), but the mini-smarties are still milk chocolate!!!!!!! The pacakging is on a cream field rather than blue.

The product is wrapped in blue plastic, with the smarties logo prominently displyed, and pictures of pieces of the bar (PACKED with smarties) and smarties flying all over the place. The bright colours spell "fun" in the minds of the poor, confused consumer. "Fun" compels him to buy. Money goes to Nestle. Nestle syndics spend money on sucking wealth and health of world. Nestle syndics get money...

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