Nothing beats a classic 99 Flake (apart from a Solero, perhaps. In fact, definitely).
Although, as we tuck into that soft-serve ice cream, its packaging provides us with an irritating reminder that once upon a time, these ice creams cost a mere 99p – because that’s why they’re named what they are, right?
Wrong. According to Cadbury itself, the name was actually inspired by Italian royalty.
The confectionery giant has explained that in the 1920s, Italian soft ice cream makers in County Durham decided to stick a Flake into their ice creams, thus making history.
The treat was such a hit that they decided to name it something (other than ‘ice cream with flake’ presumably), and turned to the Italian monarchy for inspiration.
“In the days of the monarchy in Italy the King has a specifically chosen guard consisting of 99 men, and subsequently anything really special or first class was known as ’99’ – and that is how ’99’ Flake came by its name,” Cadbury writes on its website.
There are, however, other theories.
The Acari family claims it sold 99s long before Cadbury did, as ice cream seller Stephen Acari reportedly opened a shop on 99 Portobello High Street in 1922.
His granddaughter, Tanya Acari, told The Scotsman: “It has been a family legend for as long as I can remember that my grandad invented the 99, but the problem is, we have no proof.
“My dad always said that my grandad broke a Flake in half – that was before the short, 99 Flakes were manufactured – and stuck it in an ice cream.
“People liked it, so he kept selling it. He called it a 99 because his shop was at 99 Portobello High Street.
“We’re not sure of the exact date he did that, but it was not long after he opened the shop in 1922, so is definitely long before the dates the dictionary gives as the first printed quote mentioning it.”
Tanya has plans to write to the Oxford English Dictionary to settle matters.
Apparently, the Oxford English Dictionary also states that Cadbury’s explanation – the one relating to the Italian monarchy – “appears to be without foundation”.
So the Acaris’ explanation could answer the mystery.
Or was it just that they used to be 99p after all?
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