With the hot days of summer here at last ice cream sales are booming – and there is nothing better than whipped ice cream in a cone served with a chocolate flake.
The vanilla-flavoured soft-serve treat has been a staple of the summer months for years, but many may not know why it is called a 99.
The treat was created thanks to chocolate heroes Cadbury which developed the Flake bar in 1920 after an employee saw excess chocolate pouring off the line and forming ripples as it set.
The first 99 Flake Cadbury produced was a chocolate bar in ice cream between two wafer biscuits.
Then in 1930 Cadbury started producing a smaller Flake bar specifically for sticking into soft ice cream – with the bars sold as 99 Flakes in boxes, unwrapped.
But the name has caused some confusion over the years, with a number of theories as to how it came about.
Cadbury have their own official version, but that hasn’t stopped people coming up with theories.
Some say it was coined by Stefano Arcari who sold ice cream from his shop at 99 Portobello High Street in Scotland.
After he started breaking Flakes in half and naming them for his address, the idea was – apparently – taken back to the Cadbury factory.
Others say it was named for the Boys of 99 – honoured Italian heroes of the First World War who had been born in 1899. The shape of the Flake is said to have reminded Italian ice cream sellers in Britain of the feather the Boys of 99 wore in their caps.
Dunkerleys of Gorton, Manchester claims to have created the Flake at their shop 99 Wellington Street.
But Cadbury says that, while the origin may be unclear, the name was created to appeal to Italian vendors.
On the Cadbury website, a spokesperson explains: “An ice cream served in a cone with a Flake 99 is the UK’s favourite ice cream.
“In the days of the monarchy in Italy the King had an elite guard consisting of 99 soldiers.
“Subsequently anything really special or first class was known as ’99’.
“When Cadbury launched its small Flake for ice creams in 1930, the UK ice cream industry was dominated by ex-pat Italians.
“So, to appeal to Italians we called our superb Flake a ’99’.”
So now you know – and if you wanted to know more, if you add two flakes to an ice cream it is called Bunny Ears, while a Flake with strawberry sauce is known as Monkey’s Blood.