After Eight is one of Nestlé's brand-name products. Mint, the original flavouring was designed and advertised as an after-dinner mint. They were originally created in 1962 by the Rowntree family business, who were Quakers, which included Joseph Rowntree. Nestlé bought Rowntree plc in 1988, since then After Eight has been a Nestlé product.
Nestlé, one of the worlds largest food and beverage companies, has its roots, foundations and main headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. There are branches of Nestle in various different countries; including the UK, USA and Germany.
In 1993, Ann Reid, York's Lord Mayor Councillor, opened Nestlé's York £18 million chocolate producing factory. The factory, where After Eight's are produced, it is capable of producing four tonnes of chocolate per hour.
In 1994 Nestlé UK Ltd won the 'Queen's Award for Export Achievement' (now known as the 'Queen's Award for Enterprise'), of which 28% of their export was their various confectionery products, it was the first time Nestle had won this award. The After Eight brand products are exported to more than 60 countries. However, not all the products are available in all the countries.
After Eight chocolate mint thins are 4cm (1½ inch) squares of wafer-thin dark chocolate, with a peppermint-flavoured fondant centre. Each mint thin is encased in a small black square individual envelope, inside their long slender dark-green box. There are 24 mint thins in the 200g box, other sizes are available including 300g and 400g box and a mini box containing just five.
Their launch as an after-dinner item in newspaper and magazine adverts portrayed higher social class well-dressed women, who were excellent at organising dinner parties, including the After Eight Mints. One advert claimed 'After Eight can turn any evening into an occasion'. However, these same women were shown to be inept in other areas; such as managing the home's account or political issues. This same theme was later continued to the television adverts.
London Sights: Also in the original mint and marketed as a London souvenir gift with pictures on the top of the box of seven popular London tourist attractions including: Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament), London Eye (also known as The Millennium Wheel) and the White Tower - the central part of the Tower of London this large box contains approximately 100 After Eight mints.
To enable people of orthodox Jewish beliefs to consume After Eights as they were intended; after an evening meal with friends, some products are produced as Kosher, that is prepared without meat, milk, or their derivatives and therefore permissible to be eaten according to dietary laws such as:
One must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ, and vary from three to six hours. This is because fatty residues and meat particles tend to cling to the mouth. From dairy to meat, however, one need only rinse one's mouth and eat a neutral solid like bread, unless the dairy product in question is also of a type that tends to stick in the mouth.
In the US After Eight products endorsed as Kosher are said to have an OU emblem on the packaging identifying them. In the UK it is suggested that products with York address on the packaging are endorsed as Kosher. However, some shops sell imported After Eight products such as those from Germany, which contain butterfat, and therefore are not approved as Kosher.
Various different flavoured fondants have been used over the years for the centre of the After Eights, using the same dark chocolate covering. The exceptions are the white After Eights; which are white chocolate with a mint fondant centre, and the milk chocolate mint thin, which is produced in a dark-blue box.
With these different flavours came different packaging; brightly coloured orange boxes, and coordinating orange envelopes encasing the orange flavoured thins. Some of the additions to the After Eight range are only available around seasonal times, such as: Christmas, Easter or Valentines Day. The following are just some of the products available in the After Eight range.
In late 1998, in time for the Christmas market, Nestle launched After Eight White. The same mint fondant centre as the original After Eight, but covered by white chocolate.
The size, 300g box containing 35 white chocolate thins, and most aspects of the packaging, such as the After Eight labelling and logo remain the same. However, the colour of the box, and the internal envelopes, which hold the chocolate thins are a creamy-white. For the diet conscious there are 36 calories per thin
Other flavours in the After Eight selection which include Orange, Lemon Sorbet and Irish Cream are marketed for the Christmas market, and are available approximately from July through to January.
The ingredients are labelled the same on the box of each flavour, with the flavouring being part of the flavouring section of the ingredients. Where they do differ is the colouring of their boxes, and the interior envelopes which hold the chocolate thins.
After Eight mint straws are available in a stylish silver coloured tube. Inside the approximately five½ inch 90g tube are 20 five-inch straw-like dark-chocolate covered mints. The mint straws fan out when the top of the tube is removed, leaving around three inches for the straws to stand in. It is advisable to keep the straws refrigerated to prevent them bending once the tube is opened.
For the diet-conscious there are 25 calories per straw, and they may contain traces of peanut or other nuts. The straws are not endorsed as being Kosher.
Ice Cream Cones
These come in boxes of four individually wrapped cone shaped wafer biscuity type, with mint-flavoured ice cream, with a chocolate ripple and topped with pieces of plain chocolate.
For the diet conscious there are 174 calories per cone, and they may contain nut traces.
Ice Cream Bar
The eight inch long, by three inch wide wrapper of the After Eight ice cream holds a bar dark chocolate with a cool mint flavoured ice cream centre on a stick. The chocolate ice cream bar itself is approximately four inches long, two inches wide; at it widest part and has a depth of ¾ of an inch.
These are also available in a box of three individually wrapped ice cream bars. In July 2006, these boxes were a promotional offer of £1 per box; the same price as buying one individual After Eight ice cream bar. The only difference was the wrapper, instead of the ingredients and other details they have the words - Multipack Product Must Not Be Sold Separately
For the diet-conscious there are 279 calories per bar. The bars are suitable for vegetarians, but may contain nut traces. There is also a warning that the product may stain.
Differing slightly from seasonal thins; the limited products are not identical each year, and are produced for a shorter time period, then removed from shop shelves once the particular days they were intended for have passed.
St Valentines Day
The boxed After Eight Collection marketed for St Valentines Day in 2005, consisted of a 200g box of After Eight mints and a CD of romantic songs, also called The After Eight Collection.
After Eight Logo
The logo which consists of the image of an Ormolu Mantle Clock, similar to the antique French Louis XVth style. The time is set at just after eight o'clock, and there is a shadow of a number eight behind the clock. The logo is embossed on the exterior of the boxes and tins of After Eight brand products, and printed on the internal envelopes which contain the thins, and printed on the wrappers of unboxed products.
After Eight Etiquette
The Envelope Dilemma
There appears to be some confusion surrounding the small envelopes the mints and various flavoured thins come packaged in. The following are the views of researchers regarding the envelope dilemma.
The act of leaving the empty wrapper in the box may be seen as part of the excitement of getting an After Eight offered.
'am I gonna get one?' or 'am I not?'
As a person who leaves the wrapper in the box i just thought i would try to defend myself and others like me.
Why do people always put the empty envelopes back in the box? So disappointing when you realise that there are none left!
Perhaps putting the empty covers back in the box does away with the difficult etiquette moment 'Who's going to have that last one?' or being able to pinpoint who DID have the last one.
I have been corrected on the 'Take the chocolate from the envelope and then return the envelope to the box'.
It appears that the person being offered the After-Eight mint is even lazier than that, and just takes the mint, leaving the envelope behind. This causes the person who is offering the box to have to decide if there are actually any mints left!!!!
Most people place the empty envelope back in the box, which I think is the height of rudeness. Ideally they should be passed around on a flat tray/platter so that the empty envelopes can be spotted.
The Meaning of Liff
In 1983 Douglas Adams and John Lloyd wrote the book The Meaning of Liff. It was written in dictionary style, using place names to invent meanings for them. One they used was Cannock Chase.
CANNOCK CHASE (n.)
In any box of After Eight Mints, there is always a large number of empty envelopes and no more that four or five actual mints. The cannock chase is the process by which, no matter which part of the box you insert your fingers into, or how often, you will always extract most of the empty sachets before pinning down an actual mint, or 'cannock'. The cannock chase also occurs with people who put their dead matches back in the matchbox, and then embarrass themselves at parties trying to light cigarettes with three quarters of an inch of charcoal.
Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
In 1990 The Deeper Meaning of Liff was published, with an extra sentence added to the end of Cannock Chase:
The term is also used to describe futile attempts to pursue unscrupulous advertising agencies who nick your ideas to sell chocolates with.
It is thought this may have been added after Rowntree/Nestle ran a newspaper/magazine advert for After Eight mints. The advert, which was a sort of paper-chase involving finding the remaining mint amongst the empty envelopes showed a spoof dictionary entry for 'Cannock Chase' - a place in the UK as the search for the last envelope to actually contain a mint.
The Meaning of Life
Mr Creosote, played by Terry Jones, said to be the fattest man in the world, is dining at a French restaurant, the waiter is played by John Cleese. After first vomiting, Mr Creosote orders just about everything on the menu; to be mixed up in a bucket and served with plenty of drink, including champagne, and six crates of brown ale to wash it down with. After consuming the astronomical meal, with some dribbled down his front, the waiter offers Mr Creosote a waffer thin mint, at first Mr Creosote, refuses the offer saying 'I couldn’t eat another thing. I'm absolutely stuffed.' He is then is persuaded to have just one. As the waiter puts the waffer thin mint into Mr Creosote's mouth, he runs for cover, as Mr Creosote first expands, then explodes.
After Eight Trivia
Ross Burden, from Ready Steady Cook, has created a recipe that includes After Eight chocolate mints.
If you like to experiment with cake baking, you could try melted After Eight mints as a top covering for a chocolate cake, or to add extra taste and texture to any other cake or even biscuit.
If you want something more substantial than the After Eight mint thins, you could try making this Giant After Eight mint.
The weights and quantities were correct at the time of writing; summer 2006. However, in an unstable market these could change, either by down-sizing and decreasing or by increasing, temporary or permanently, due to promotional offers on products.