The world may be celebrating Easter but this is one chocolate you don’t want to find in your basket. The National Trust has reported finding a 121-year-old chocolate bar in the attic of Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.
The rare choc was discovered in the helmet case of Sir Henry Edward Paston-Bedingfield, who fought in the Second Boer War from 1899-1902. It was found in the attic of Oxburgh Hall amongst the belongings of his daughter which were being catalogued following her death.
According to the National Trust, the chocolate was part of a batch commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1900. More than 100,000 tins were produced and sent to soldiers in South Africa to help boost morale.
Each soldier would receive a specially made tin with the inscriptions “South Africa 1900” and “I wish you a happy New Year” written in the Queen’s handwriting.
Found in a Boer War helmet, the chocolate was commissioned by Queen Victoria and issued to troops to boost morale. pic.twitter.com/GpcSkSDRNH
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) March 31, 2021
What sort of chocolate survives 121 years?
Of course, the most important question is what sort of chocolate is this?
Each tin included half a pound (just over 200g) of plain chocolate. The Queen recruited Britain’s primary chocolate makers, Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree for the job.
As opposers of the war, the brands originally sent the tins unmarked. However, the Queen wanted the soldiers to know they were receiving British made chocolate so, eventually, the company’s relented and marked some of the bars.
The chocolate from Oxburgh Hall was found uneaten and still in its original wrapper. Although, after years of degradation, it’s unclear which chocolate manufacturer made the bar in this tin.
Being a gift from the Queen, many soldiers chose to mail their tins back home for safekeeping. Clearly, this tin kept the chocolate a bit too safe.
The National Trust said that it was incredibly rare to find a tin that could be traced back to the original recipient. It’s even rarer to find one with the chocolate still inside.
So what does one do with a 121-year-old chocolate bar?
Oxburgh Hall’s curator, Lynsey Coombs, told CNN that they have wrapped the chocolate in acid-free wrapping and stored it at a stable temperature and humidity in hopes that it will last another 100 years.