Revels - Chocolates That Surprise Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Revels - Chocolates That Surprise

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There are not many chocolate sweets that can be meaningfully compared to the 'game' of Russian Roulette1, but Revels are supposedly one, particularly if the packet you are consuming contains a variety you particularly dislike. In the United Kingdom, the orange, brown and yellow striped bag, tub or tube of Revels contains six different flavours of chocolate, these being:

  • Orange - Soft-centred orange-flavoured balls with a milk chocolate coating.
  • Raisin - Just that: a raisin covered in milk chocolate, defined by an often rough and ridged elliptical shape. This variety has replaced the older peanut sort.
  • Maltesers - Almost identical in size, shape and taste to the Malteser chocolate2, best left to slowly dissolve on the tongue.
  • Coffee - Soft-centred coffee-flavoured balls with a milk chocolate coating, coffee Revels are the same size and shape as the orange flavoured Revels - thus a source of some consternation with orange lovers who aren't that keen on coffee (and the reverse).
  • Caramel Toffee - Milk chocolate-coated chunks of hard caramel-flavoured toffee, the same size and shape as the chocolate-coated raisins in the packet, though they are significantly heavier. Again, they can cause some confusion for those that don't like toffee much - and can cause severe dental pain when mistaken for a raisin in the dark.
  • Chocolate - Easily definable, this button-like chocolate is a soft milk chocolate with a crisp chocolate shell.

It is thus with the utmost trepidation that you might delve into the bag and produce a chocolate to eat, unsure of what taste to expect - especially when you're at the cinema, the surroundings are dark and your eyes are glued to the action on the big screen.

It is inadvisable to take Revels into the cinema with a date; your potential sweetheart may assume you are trying to poison her with some weird-tasting chocolates. It is best to err on the side of caution in the murky arena of romance and purchase general run-of-the-mill cinema fare such as popcorn.


Revels originated in the town of Bradford in the UK, around about 1967. Mars Confectionery (Masterfoods Inc) soon obtained the rights to the chocolates that surprise, and the idea was released in the United States with a slightly different assortment of chocolates within a slightly different assortment of packaging - attuned to American tastes.

Keep Them Guessing

Over the years, Revels have altered in their make up. At times there were milk chocolate-coated peanuts and small desiccated coconut-filled varieties, but due to increased concern over nut allergies, these have disappeared, much to the chagrin of their fans3.

Revel Games

The suspenseful thrill inherent in reaching into a bag of Revels means they can form the basis of a series of games. One television advertisement for the chocolates has a typically British man competing in a test of wills against an Asian opponent, reminiscent of an illegal martial arts match, where spectators gamble on who will lose out first - in this case, who will get an unfavourable Revel chocolate4.

The British man pops an orange-flavoured one into his mouth, tilts his head to one side and questions the taste in his mouth. The spectators scream with delight as they assume he has picked poorly; however, he utters meekly, 'But, I like orange.'

His foe then takes a Revel from the packet, puts it into his mouth and cries, banging his fist on the table - he has selected a coffee Revel - and so has lost the competition. This kind of game can be replicated, perhaps not to the extent of the advertisement, but bets can be placed on two Revel eaters competing over which flavour Revel they will get out of the pack next.

More Fun Activities

Another game is known as 'Rainbow'; this involves taking three or more Revels from a pack and eating them at once, unknowingly creating either a wonderful-tasting sensation, or something that makes you pucker up your mouth and gag.

You can also try using a packet of Revels as a random decision-making machine. For example, if you get an orange one you have to do the dishes; if you get toffee, clean your room. This method relies on either the participants being very honest, or opening their mouths to reveal a half-chewed mess for further inspection, which can prove a little unsettling. If brave, however, judges can either take a whiff of the breath of the eater - coffee and orange have particularly strong aromas - or examine the chewing motions while the chocolates are being masticated - toffee is a definite give away compared to raisin.

Besides these, there are many other variations of Revel 'luck' games, but all are really just a poor excuse to eat chocolate. Not that there needs to be an excuse of course.

1This entertainment involves a six-shooter that has a single bullet in a random chamber. You spin the chamber, place the gun to your head and then hope to - well whatever it is you hope to - that the bullet doesn't exit out the other side of your brainpan when you press the trigger.2But not quite; possibly these are the 'mutant' Maltesers that didn't quite make the grade. Maltesers are honeycomb malt biscuit-balls lightly coated in chocolate.3But with a collective sigh of relief from allergy-prone Revel eaters who occasionally impersonated gasping, red, spotty, asphyxiating puffer fish after munching on the chocolate treats.4Perhaps a nod to a similar scene in the film, The Deer Hunter.

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