I loved Gold Bars, back when I was still wearing sparkly aquamarine batwing jumpers from C&A and listening to The Housemartins (circa 1985, roughly). They were the Caramac of the biscuit world*: creamy, caramelly chocolate without, in the symbolic bullion shape with the world “GOLD” stamped on the top, in case you were in any doubt, then a perfectly crisp and plain biscuit within. Do not, however, call this outer coating white chocolate: it has its own distinct personality which has been compared to solid custard.
At the time the political significance of the Gold Bar wasn’t considered – it was a post-tea treat to be enjoyed while sitting on the brown velour sofa watching the terrifying Chocky (anyone remember that?). But, with the benefit of hindsight, it is my thesis that the McVities Gold Bar is the emodiment of 1980s Thatcherism. Think about it: one is being asked to consume gold.
I haven’t eaten a Gold Bar since circa 1990 and I don’t intend to. It’s not just the jarring undertones of consumerism gone mad that it imparts, it’s the fear that it won’t live up to my memories. I tried a Wagon Wheel recently and the scales fell from my eyes: the giant, delicious biscuit of my youth had been transformed into a sickly circle of hell. So I’ll stick with my happy thoughts of gnawing off the outside of a Gold Bar then nibbling on its innards. Heaven.
*Don’t start arguing about whether it is or isn’t a biscuit. It clearly is, along with Penguins and Clubs. See this discussion for more confirmation