It’s World Nutella Day. Yes, really. (It’s all over Twitter, so it must be true.) I don’t know who comes up with these days marking things, or why hazelnut chocolate spread is deserving of commemoration, but there you go.
I first encountered Nutella at Bryanston Primary in the 1980s, when the tuck-shop sold little plastic bakkies of the stuff, complete with tiny plastic trowel. My mother would never dream of buying a jar — such extravagance! — so we made do with these little tastes of heaven.
The fact that French children eat Nutella for breakfast is about the clearest evidence I can cite for the decadence of modern Europe.
What other brands should get their own day? Marmite, Black Cat Peanut Butter, NyQuil and Milo were all suggestions when I asked the question on Twitter. I got to thinking about which truly iconic South African products deserve their own day, and came up with this list:
Oros. I can’t speak from personal experience, because as a child, one sip was enough to trigger an asthma attack severe enough to send me to the emergency room. (The sulphur dioxide used as a preservative in Oros is very dangerous for asthmatics.)
Rusks. Not a brand, but I firmly believe that rusks deserve their own day. There’s nothing more South African than a rusk, not even a braai, and that gets its own day so it’s hardly fair. Who among us has not suffered a third-degree finger burn from losing a rusk in hot coffee and trying to fish it out? Biscotti are just rusks with ideas above their station.
Marie biscuits. Ditto — not a brand, but an institution.
Mrs Ball’s Chutney. Obviously. Tiger Brands love Mrs Balls so much they paid R475 million for the brand late last year.
Ultra Mel. Another brand I grew up with. Ultra Mel and tinned peaches were happiness personified when I was six years old. The izikhothane would approve.
Aromat. An import, but South Africa has made it our own. Not eating Aromat because it’s bad for you is a vile white practice.
Ace Mealie Meal. Apparently eating pap is a suitable expression of one’s Africanness, even though maize is an import via Mexico.
Amarula. Now here’s one South African brand that could get a world day before long. It’s the seventh most requested liqueur worldwide and continues to show double-digit growth.
If you could vote, which brand would get its own completely meaningless day?