Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Episode 7,219 - the Walnut Whip
August 20, 2017 3:56 AM   Subscribe

The Walnut Whip is a volcano of chocolate encasing allegedly fondant and topped with a walnut, with spectacular variations. In further evidence of the decline of Britain, Nestlé have removed the Walnut, making it just a Whip and relaunching it in three so-called "flavours". This in addition to previous size reductions (shrinkflation) and the loss of the hidden second Walnut. Over a century old, the Walnut Whip is allegedly eaten every two seconds (not by the same person) and three constitute a luncheon. A rise in walnut costs is being blamed by some, and a poor harvest by others, while six packs with walnut will be allegedly available at Christmas. The Twitter has been unsurprisingly outraged, though you can make your own or even the coffee version.
posted by Wordshore (45 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Who are all these people eating Walnut Whips? I had literally never heard of or seen one until this outrage happened, yet apparently they're being consumed every 2 seconds? Is this a very regional thing? Is it something that only people of a limited age range consume? Is it a class thing? How has the existence of something that clearly matters so much to so many people completely passed me by?

I grew up in Scotland and have lived in Yorkshire, Hampshire, Bristol and London. In 27 years I'm pretty sure I've never seen a walnut whip. Am I just not paying attention?
posted by leo_r at 4:03 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Is it a class thing?

I've heard them described some years back as "Ferrero Rocher for the aspirational working class".
posted by Wordshore at 4:13 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Wait, so Ferrero Rocher is *not* for the aspirational working class? My smugness is shattered forever.
posted by merlynkline at 4:15 AM on August 20 [15 favorites]


Nobody ever liked the walnuts. My coevals would typically pull off the top one and fling it at somebody.

I do think they should continue to call it 'Walnut Whip', though. Like Taggart.
posted by Segundus at 5:42 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


“These new products will offer consumers more choice enabling them to share their favourite products with their family and friends.”
Notice how the two parts of this vacuous statement are not really connected to each other in any logical sense - it's just two clunky pieces of generic corporatespeak joined together by the nebulous action of "enabling".

If we're really discussing the decline and fall, it looks like lack of walnuts should be pretty low in the list of priorities.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:55 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Seize the means of walnut whip production.
posted by duffell at 6:10 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


John Lanchester in the LRB in 2010, when the prospect of the sale of Cadbury's first appeared:
"Second, and more interestingly, there’s something about sweets and chocolates which taps deep into people’s psyches. Our feelings about them are often intertwined with memories of childhood, especially memories of treats and comfort and carefully weighed decisions about pocket money. The whole modern emphasis on branding is depressing, but chocolates are one of its benign manifestations, because they are so humble, so daily, because people don’t use them as a form of self-definition, and because the differences between them are real: a Crunchie is not just a differently packaged Mars bar – it’s a genuinely different thing. Consumers will have sincerely held differing opinions about their merits."
And here's James Meek from last April going through the inevitable consequences of that sale - with cutbacks and redundancies and the relocation of factories to cheaper locations destroying the last of a 150 year old tradition of Quaker benevolent paternalism:
But for decades the Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree families seemed to achieve a particularly successful synthesis of profitable capitalism and private, paternalistic welfare. At Haxby Road, Bournville and later Somerdale, there was subsidised housing, healthcare and sports facilities. George Cadbury partly disinherited his children to build a garden village around the chocolate factory; Joseph Rowntree built the model village of New Earswick, and was an early adopter of pensions for his workers. The Quaker chocolate magnates wanted their factories to be handsome as well as functional. They wanted them to be surrounded by green spaces. They cared how their works appeared to God, their workers, their peers and their neighbours. Their ideology of practical, aesthetic social justice, formed at the confluence of fundamentalist Protestantism, capitalism, socialism and the Victorian fascination with an idealised medieval England, was both contradictory and, to many contemporaries, inspiring.
Changing the recipe for a sweet might seem like no big deal, but it's both screwing with people's childhood memories and emblematic of a deregulated zero-hour, payday-loan, offshore-tax-haven, gambling-company-sponsored national race to the bottom.
posted by kersplunk at 6:30 AM on August 20 [31 favorites]


I had also never heard of these before, but they look really gross and I am surprised that people are eating them in such vast quantities.

The smallification ("shrinkflation") of food and household items really irks me. I get that it is smart business because people are much more sensitive to a rise in price than a shrinkage in size, and that it is totally legal (assuming companies follow standard rules about labeling). But it still feels dishonest, and it is occasionally inconvenient, as when you are accustomed to making a recipe using one package as a unit (eg, a can of tuna).
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Previously on Metafilter: The wailing and gnashing of teeth that resulted from Creme Egg corner cutting (although darkly impressive that you can cut corners on something egg-shaped).
posted by kersplunk at 6:47 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of the Marmite bottle changing from glass to plastic kerfuffle
posted by infini at 6:53 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


1, The Walnut Whip originated in Beaverhall Road, Edinburgh.
2. Devonian family legend relates that Great-Aunt May bit into a Walnut Whip in the 1930s and discovered a maggot within.
3. Nonetheless, Walnut Whips persisted as a Christmas treat until the last of the great-aunts passed away in the 1980s. (Said clan were certainly aspirational working-class, from the East End.)
4. I have not eaten one since, nor do I wish to, with or without walnuts and/or larvae, and regardless of my personal boycott of all things Nestle.
5. Nestle is evil, but l'affaire Whip is a big fat nutting.

This is all I have to say on the matter.
posted by Devonian at 7:08 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


So is the fondant in a Walnut Whip like the fondant in a Cadbury Egg?

When I was a small US person, I used to look forward to Cadbury Eggs every year. Even unto my adulthood, I'd always buy a few every Easter. Now the chocolate is different and they're gross and I don't.

Indeed, the general quality of UK sweets seems to have gone down in the past ten years. It always used to be a big deal to find something here that is, I assume, perfectly ordinary and boring in the actual UK, but it seems like the chocolate is a lot worse now and I rarely try things even if I see them. (Don't take this as an elevation of American candy, though - the whole point was that the UK ones were better.)

Hobnobs are still pretty good, but I'm sure they'll ruin those too.

Also, you can't get peach ice cream anywhere anymore, and basically the entire landscape of sweet things is just terrible now.
posted by Frowner at 7:28 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


So is the fondant in a Walnut Whip like the fondant in a Cadbury Egg?
It's more like greasy cotton wool as opposed to the Egg's goo.
posted by hawthorne at 7:34 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


There's a fish and chip shop in Cardiff which sells Deep Fried Walnut Whips. What are they going to do if supplies dry up? Will no-one think of the children?!
posted by Wordshore at 7:34 AM on August 20


The fondant in a WW is not at all like that in a crème egg. It is lighter and fluffier. It is also available in different flavours.

I will add them to the list of things that might be made available for quonsmas if I get the right recipient.
posted by biffa at 7:38 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Indeed, the general quality of UK sweets seems to have gone down in the past ten years.

Yes, ever since the oompa-loompas killed and ate Willy Wonka and Charlie. Tragic.
posted by mikelieman at 7:44 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile European chocolate only gets more and more delicious.
posted by srboisvert at 8:02 AM on August 20


Nestlé is evil and everything associated with their malignant touch is tainted with doom and ruination.
posted by sonascope at 8:35 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


In related news, the Whizzo Confectionery Company has announced that the Crunchy Frog choccy will no longer have actual frog, but will feature tiny garden toads instead, reducing the net manufacturing cost per piece by 0.027p without sacrificing the crunchiness that generations of Britons have loved.
posted by briank at 8:56 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


FUCK WHIZZO
posted by Wordshore at 9:09 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


The entire concept of whipped confectionary is a huge scam. YOU'RE BUYING AIR. Same reason chocolate bars have deep ridges and stuff: So they can fill a larger package with less product and charge you more for it.

Yes, ever since the oompa-loompas killed and ate Willy Wonka and Charlie.

If only. The cocoa industry is still chock full o' slavery.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:21 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I liked the walnuts it meant walnut whips had 3 textures. Haven't had one for years and now two reasons (Nestlé and no walnut) not to have another. I'll be surprised if this is successful though.

@Sys Rq, we have a chocolate bar called Aero (also Nestlé) in which the selling point is ... air bubbles.
posted by epo at 9:25 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: I think you missed the point of that statement, which was not to celebrate the throwing off of chains but rather to denigrate the quality of the post-revolutionary chocolate product. mikelieman is essentially Fox News in this thread.
posted by biffa at 9:36 AM on August 20


I got the point just fine, thanks. Yours, on the other hand...???
posted by Sys Rq at 9:49 AM on August 20


I would ask brother of scruss about this, for he was well acquainted to the WW of the 1970s, but alas he's pulling an all-weekender SAP integration for a dairy multinational and will likely be incoherent with fatigue. Brother's perfect start to a weekend (c. 1978) would be a copy of Shoot! magazine and a Walnut Whip. Levering the walnut off the top of the WW as a prelude, he'd settle on the sofa to read features like “At Home with Johan Cruijff”.

Brother's fondness for WWs backfired, however, the year he let it be known to The Aunties that he liked that particular confection. The Aunties, a very proper cabal of my dad's maternal siblings, were a bulk provider of gifts at all events. Come Christmas Day, my brother was inundated with Walnut Whips of all flavours. He got somewhere north of three dozen. He struggled valiantly through most of them, but soon even the idea of a WW made him go green and retch quietly. He never had another, and given the change in their composition, will never be able to have another again. Like a faded poster of Cruijff's mint-green Citroën SM on the brother's wall, it's a thing of the past.
posted by scruss at 10:13 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


My impression is that Walnut Whips reached the peak of their fame and popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, when I seem to recall they were quite extensively advertised on British TV. And, yes, all right-thinking people immediately threw the walnut away.

The remaining cone's main appeal, from what I can recall, was that the chocolate exterior was quite thick, and so very satisfying to bite through. The stuff inside - again, as far as I can recall - was lighter, less sticky and less revoltingly sweet than the Creme Egg's equivalent. Oh look: here's Danny Baker eating a giant one.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:13 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Do they not have chocolate Easter Bunnies in the UK? I'm confused by the significance of this particular shape of chocolate shell.
posted by rhizome at 11:23 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


(Erratum: author now reports he does have more to say on the subject of Walnut Whips. Please amend your copy appropriately.)

6. A Walnut Whip without a walnut is the edible embodiment of the Poop Emoji.
posted by Devonian at 11:36 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


I assumed this was a tasty nut-festooned ice cream cone thing akin to a cornetto but I am shocked to behold that it is instead some sort of bizarre chocolate abomination resembling a petrified turd.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:13 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


were i presented with one at christmas instead of a chocolate orange our nations would once again be at war
posted by poffin boffin at 12:14 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Soooooooo, I've just spoken to my ex-housemate who has an ... interesting ... social life and I mentioned Walnut Whips and he told me a graphically vivid story about a Grindr hookup and forgetting to take an agreed buttplug and something about a 24 hour petrol station shop nearby that sold walnut whips and you can fill in the gaps yourself because I'm eating my dinner while I type this.
posted by Wordshore at 12:31 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Wordshore: and you can fill in the gaps yourself because I'm eating my dinner while I type this.

But you've left out the most crucial part of the story! Did they take the walnut off or not?
posted by clawsoon at 12:58 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Did they take the walnut off or not?

Not only that, but after several months of practicing with Walnut Whips, they were able to open beer bottles by the same method!
posted by Paul Slade at 1:32 PM on August 20


But you've left out the most crucial part of the story! Did they take the walnut off or not?

Sorry; MetaFilter is a family website.
posted by Wordshore at 1:48 PM on August 20


This story deserves all the publicity necessary to ensure that no one ever eats a walnut whip again. (With apologies to the edible buttplug community.)
posted by alloneword at 2:15 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Why are you saying it like that?
posted by Splunge at 4:52 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


So much hate! I loooove Walnut Whips - especially the walnut! It's the bitter pill you swallow first to maximise the dizzying sweetness of the confection itself. And the juxtaposed textures are what make them so very satisfying so I will be DEVASTED if this travesty comes to pass.
posted by freya_lamb at 4:53 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


With apologies to the edible buttplug community.

Kickstarter here I come!
posted by Literaryhero at 5:42 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Is there anybody here who's tried both Walnut Whips and Mallo Cups and could provide a comparison of the two?
posted by needled at 6:04 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I loooove Walnut Whips - especially the walnut! It's the bitter pill you swallow first to maximise the dizzying sweetness of the confection itself

In the UK are walnuts considered a foreign delicacy of questionable flavor, an undesirable nut akin to trash fish?
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Well, they are, so I would certainly hope so.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:05 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


he Walnut Whip is allegedly eaten every two seconds (not by the same person)


Well, not entirely- but it's mostly Walnuts Georg.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:35 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure Marks and Spencer still have walnuts on their own version of the walnut whip, so crisis averted.

(I also reckon the M&S one tastes better anyway).
posted by jonnyploy at 1:56 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Why do people throw away the walnuts? Are they stale or rancid or something? Walnuts are good.
posted by GuyZero at 3:48 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Walnuts taste like tree bark impregnated with paraffin wax.

Toasted walnuts taste okay, but literally any other nut would still be preferable.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:53 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


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