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Violet Crumble is an Australian chocolate bar manufactured in Campbellfield near Melbourne, Australia, by Nestlé. Violet Crumble is also common in Hawaii and is available in other places, including Hong Kong.
The slogan for the chocolate bar was "It's the way it shatters that matters" (replacing the previous slogan, "Nothing else matters").
Abel Hoadley (born 10 September 1844, died 12 May 1918) opened a jam factory in South Melbourne, Victoria, in 1889, trading as A. Hoadley & Company. By 1895, business had expanded rapidly and Hoadley built a five-storey premises, the Rising Sun Preserving Works. He produced jams, jellies, preserved fruits, candied peels, sauces, and confectionery and employed a workforce as large as 200. By 1901, there were four preserving factories and a large confectionery works. Hoadley had acquired the firm of Dillon, Burrows & Co. and extended his products to vinegar, cocoa, and chocolate. In 1910, the jam business was sold to Henry Jones Co-operative Ltd. and in 1913, Hoadley's Chocolates Ltd was formed.
The same year, Hoadley produced his first chocolate assortment and packed them in a purple box decorated with violets. The packaging was in tribute to his wife's favorite colour (purple) and favorite flower (violets). Within the box assortment was a piece of honeycomb that became so popular that Hoadley decided to produce an individual honeycomb bar.
This proved trickier than first thought, because as the pieces of honeycomb cooled, they absorbed moisture and started sticking together. This hygroscopic nature of honeycomb led Hoadley to eventually dip his bars in chocolate, to keep the honeycomb dry and crunchy. It is likely that the honeycomb is coated in flour to keep them dry between creating the honeycomb and being coated in chocolate. Thus, in 1913, the Violet Crumble bar was created.
Hoadley wanted to call his new bar just Crumble, but learned that it was not possible to protect the name with a trademark. He thought of his wife (Susannah Ann née Barrett) and her favourite flower, the violet, and registered the name Violet Crumble, using a purple wrapper with a small flower logo. It was an instant success.
Violet Crumbles are crispier in texture than Crunchie bars, with a slightly more marshmallow taste.
The hygroscopic nature of the honeycomb centre continued to be problematic. Competitors tried to prove the bars weren't fresh by squeezing them. Hoadley responded by instituting a strict coding system to keep track of the shelf life (12 months) and ensure that only the freshest bars were sold. In addition, he searched worldwide for a new type of airtight wrapper that would keep the bar fresh. Eventually, a French company, La Cellophane, invented a metallised cellophane especially for Violet Crumble.
Now one of the best selling bars in Australia, Violet Crumble still requires great skill and experience in its production. The carefully formulated honeycomb is produced and conveyed into a specially constructed air-conditioned area where it is cut into bars. Then it goes through chocolate coating machines, especially designed for Violet Crumble. The bars are double coated to seal the honeycomb from the air. Special cooling tunnels take the bars to the automatic wrapping machines, designed in Switzerland. The metallised wrapper is highly moisture proof and special shippers give the product extra protection in shipping.
- Hoadley's Chocolates made the first Violet Crumble bar in Melbourne in 1913.
- In 1972, Hoadley's Chocolates was acquired by Rowntree Company and became known as Rowntree Hoadley Ltd.
- In 1989, Nestlé acquired Rowntree Company. The Rowntree chocolate brands were initially branded as Nestlé-Rowntree, until Nestlé dropped the Rowntree altogether.
- In 2009, Nestlé changed the shape of the Violet Crumble to a wider, flatter bar. The honeycomb formulation was also changed to make it shatter into small pieces when bitten into.
- In 2010, Nestlé included Violet Crumble bags on their list of deleted products
- In 2012, An Attempt at regaining name and recipe rights for the Violet Crumble is made young entrepreneur Bryan Hoadley, a descendant of Abel Hoadley.
Violet Crumble in Australian culture
- Bertie Beetles, sold at royal shows around Australia, were invented to use up broken pieces of Violet Crumble.
- The colours of the Melbourne Wesley College uniform (purple and yellow), has led to students occasionally being called, perhaps derogatorily, Violet Crumbles.
- In the novella Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice, Kellyanne's two imaginary friends eat nothing but Violet Crumbles, Cherry Ripes and lollies.
- Violet Crumbles were sold for a brief period during the late 1980s in New Zealand, but are no longer available there.
- Sydney Kings, whose primary colours are purple and yellow, were often referred to as the "Violet Crumbles" during the 1990s for their constant underperformance in the NBL.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography - Abel Hoadley entry