Every night after dinner, Roald Dahl would offer his fellow diners a chocolate from this little red box. Whether he was dining alone with his family or hosting a dinner party for friends, the red chocolate box invariably made an appearance after every meal.
As Roald’s wife Liccy Dahl says in the introduction to The Roald Dahl Cookbook:
“With the coffee he would place on the table a grubby plastic box crammed with chocolate goodies, irresistible to dogs, children and adults alike.”
This is that box. Once full of Smarties (which were the favourite of his dog, Chopper), Mars Bars, Milky Ways, Maltesers, Kit Kats and much more, it has been cleaned up and is now kept carefully in the Roald Dahl Museum archives.
After all, Roald took his chocolate very seriously indeed – just take a look at his proposed History of Chocolate…
Roald Dahl – History Of Chocolate
Roald Dahl was such a fan of chocolate that he devoted a whole chapter to it in The Roald Dahl Cookbook. He begins by saying:
“My passion for chocolate did not really begin until I was fourteen or fifteen years old…”
In the chapter he goes on to explain that, as a boy, there was not enough choice by way of chocolate bars to tempt him and so it was sweets that were his downfall – as Mrs Pratchett in Boy: Tales of Childhood came to know only too well.
From these humble beginnings, The Roald Dahl Cookbook charts Roald’s growing love of chocolate. This chapter also features his infamous History of Chocolate – a list of the most important dates from what Roald called the “seven glorious years, between 1930 and 1937.”
The images above show extracts from a speech during which Roald also spoke about the significance of these dates to an audience full of school children. Among them were:
“Cadburys made Dairy Milk in 1905
Cadburys made Bourneville Bar in 1910
Cadburys made Fruit and Nut in 1921…
1930 the Crunchie, the Whole Nut Bar
’32 Mars (600 million a year)”
’33 Black Magic
’34 Tiffin, Caramello
’36 Maltesers… Quality Street
’37 Another great year, Kit Kat, Rollo [sic], Smarties…”
He ended by saying:
“Don’t bother with the Kings and Queens of England. All of you should learn these dates instead. Perhaps the Headmistress will see from now on that it becomes part of the major teaching in this school.”