Celebrating my birthday with a Malteser…or two. What’s a Malteser?

My American friends may not be familiar with Maltesers. I wasn’t either, until I started reading, The Laughing Housewife. 

Tilly writes from the UK. I’d tell you her real name but you need to read her awhile before you get that introduction. She’s very funny and oh-so-clever. And although her family faces some significant challenges, I’d read her blog for several months before I really picked up on that part of her life–she mostly shares a daily joke or stories that showcase her great sense of humor– and she LOVES Maltesers.

But before I tell you more…

I was performing a little spring cleaning and found this newspaper clipping from my childhood.

Scotland Phone Call

It tells the story of when I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade, chosen to be part of Pacific Telephone’s “Hello Around the World” demonstration, intended to show students how the phone company handled calls “around the world with modern technology and cables that stretch across the ocean.”

My paternal grandmother was born in Scotland and came with her family to California when she was in her teens. But her brother-in-law’s mother was still living in Aberdeen, so I was  to call and talk to her.

My Uncle Andy also came to the assembly to assist in the conversation. His mother didn’t know the call was to be placed, we had never met, and there was some concern that I wouldn’t understand her strong Scottish brogue.

I don’t remember too much about the conversation, but the reporter wrote,

“They didn’t talk about Vietnam or the Common Market or other matters of international importance. By the time her uncle, aunt and Miss Davis got through acknowledging the wellbeing of a host of mutual relatives both at home and abroad, the 17-minute, but free, conversation was over.”

I know the call was amplified on a speaker, but this couldn’t have been too interesting to the other 7th and 8th grade students, do you think?

On the other hand, it made the paper! I suppose I don’t fully comprehend what a “miracle of technology” this was.

We couldn’t have imagined the Internet. Impossible!

Remembering this occasion made me think about my grandmother.

I also think of her when I go into a local small grocery.

British supermarket giant Tesco opened Fresh & Easy stores, and this is one of my favorite sections.

The labels have changed, but some of these canned goods send wafts of nostalgia as I remember walking through a few import shops with her while she recalled favorite foods she rarely purchased.

When my sister-in-law, Heather, and I spent the day on the Queen Mary we made a stop in the Scottish Heritage Shop and I had to make just a few purchases.

Scottish Oat Cakes

The tea canister was an absolute necessity. And I love oat cakes. That was one “treat from home” my grandmother indulged in, although she’d be shocked to learn that I paid $6.95 for that little cardboard box! I recall how much it amused her that I enjoyed them as much as I did do.

But the real surprise, the sight that caused me to squeal out loud in front of the very quiet and rather somber Scottish proprietor was…


Ta Da! Maltesers! Tilly isn’t shy about her love of Maltesers. You can read some of her praise by clicking HERE.

And until now I haven’t had any idea what she was talking about. I’ve searched for them in the imported candy section at the World Market  and asked and wondered, even scouring the Internet for a hint of where to find them, so when these magically appeared I bought two packets…at $2.50 a piece. Imported candy isn’t cheap!

So today is my birthday, and tonight when I’m with my family we will break out the Maltesers and conduct our own taste test.

Happy Birthday Maltesers

I’m quite the party girl, aren’t I?

My celebratory requirements are very modest. I’ll have to let you know how we enjoy the candy…but if it isn’t a home run, I don’t dare tell Tilly!  They mean so much to her!

Do you have a favorite candy? Why don’t you have a piece today as part of your midweek exhale. Celebrate with me!

80 thoughts on “Celebrating my birthday with a Malteser…or two. What’s a Malteser?

  1. Happy Birthday! I’m 50% Scottish and love Scones, Shortbread, and . . . . Oatcakes (with Tattie Soup). I don’t care for Malted Moth Balls (a/k/a Malteasers) ~ anything malted turns me off. But I shall take your advice and enjoy a piece of chocolate at part of my midweek exhale. Have a GRAND Birthday!

    1. I think malt is one of those “you like or don’t” taste…I do, but your moth ball comment made me laugh. I need to look up Tattie Soup! My grandmother made some lovely soups, but I’ve never actually heard that name. Fun! I hope you had some good chocolate. Looking at the time you’ve probably had dinner or close to it, so it’s dessert time, not that anyone should need an excuse for a nice piece of chocolate! Thanks for the birthday wishes. I’ve enjoyed the day very much, and sharing it with my blogging friends has been so nice for me!

        1. These descriptions are wonderful and making me hungry…although I had all that chocolate tonight and shouldn’t eat for a few days. LOL! Thanks so much for the links. I’m going to try them. The griddle oatcakes are a whole other obsession. I’ll check out a recipe for those! 🙂

  2. Dawnriser

    Omigod, you’ve never tasted Maltesers???? They are wonderful! You will really enjoy. Your post reminded me of the old days when we couldn’t get Reese’s peanut butter cups. Friends travelling to the States had to be inveigled to procure. Now they’re everywhere here and I rarely eat them, but Maltesers (!) – they never fade. They are my favourite too (as well as crunchies, walnut whips, dairy milk, twirl, creme eggs – happy hunting in that new store!)

    Happy birthday too!

    1. No, this is my first opportunity with Maltesers, and because of the expense, I guess I need to hope I don’t find them too unique? Chocolate and malt is a wonderful combination. And now you’re mentioning more candies I don’t know! LOL! The creme eggs, yes. Every Easter we buy them up. They are my son’s favorites, and although he’s in his 30s I make sure to give him an Easter basket with Cadbury Creme Eggs! I’m chuckling thinking of the underground secret smuggling of chocolate across borders! If you didn’t already have access to Reese’s peanut butter cups we could have established an exchange system. LOL! Thanks for the birthday wishes. This has been a very fun day sharing about candy…makes me feel younger. 🙂

  3. Many Happy Returns, Debra, I trust you enjoy your Maltesers! When I was yang they were marketed as the sweet treat with the ‘non~fattening centre’ ~ nowadays they have to be more honest and tell us the calorific value. We’d pay about half of what you did, for a packet that size ~ but I’m truly shocked at the cost of the oatcakes ~ here they are less than £1. What what an interesting story abut your transatlantic telephone call ~ who could have guesses where that leap in technology would lead. My 2 year old granddaughter can Skype me on the iPad by herself and we often comment how much she takes this miraculous way of communicating for granted ~ I wonder how people will be contacting each other when she reaches my age!! Thanks for a great article, giving me plenty to ponder on! Jacqueline x

    1. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, Jacqueline. I think I’ve determined the Maltesers are very close to what we call “Whoppers.” This has been so much fun for me. There’s nothing like a lot of talk about candy and sweets to make me feel younger! Chocolate and malt are a wonderful combination no matter how they’re shaped. 🙂 Shipping costs are undoubtedly at the heart of why some of these imports are so expensive. A few years ago I made an Ebay purchase from Great Britain and the seller contacted me to “warn me” how expensive shipping was going to be. I hadn’t paid any attention to the conversion, and so he wanted to work with me to make sure I wasn’t too upset. Up until then I hadn’t considered it much! How fun to Skype with your granddaughter, and I do wonder what’s coming next. At some point we’ll probably be able to just think our thoughts and they’ll go to a computer screen. Although, I might not like that! 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday Debra. Here’s a Maltesers Challenge for your day.

    … and yes … most of the school was bored at your conversation … but it is a good story looking back!

    1. Thank you for the birthday present of the Malteser Challenge, Frank. This was the funniest video! With my luck I’d try and end up choking on a Malteser! I loved his comment “try this next time you have friends in and you’re bored…” Oh to be that young again! LOL!

  5. Kathy

    Happy Birthday, Debra. I wish we were there with you to help celebrate and taste test the Maltesers. I don’t think they are here in Northern California!!! Miss ya and Love ya!!

    1. I wish you were here, too, Kathy. I’m still so bummed you guys aren’t going to be able to come to the Reunion. I have a feeling when a certain young man gets established down here we may see you more often. LOL! Thanks for the birthday wishes. It’s been a lovely day. Love you, too! D

  6. Happy Birthday! And what a treat!

    As you eat the Maltesers, you have to decide if you are a cruncher or a sucker. I’m a sucker. I gently suck the chocolate off the outside and then suck the malt. Yummy. I wish they would bring out a bag of malt balls without chocolate (as an alternative, of course; not instead of).

    Don’t worry if you don’t like them – it just leaves more for me.

    I did laugh at you squealing in the store!

    1. I really did, Linda. It was hilarious! Prior to the little import shop I was just sure that somehow in this big Los Angeles marketplace someone would have them. But I couldn’t find them anywhere, so in this tiny little shop with only a very few candies, here they were. I have had several people mention they are like American “Whoppers” and I can see that. I think they’re slightly smaller, but the ingredients must be similar. I’m going to my brothers house later tonight and we’ll enjoy! I’m usually a cruncher because once I get started I tend to inhale sweets…one reason I don’t buy them very often, but I’ll try to savor them! I’ll let you know! 🙂 And thank you for the birthday wishes. I kind of shared the day with you, so that was special! 🙂

  7. How funny! I lived in England for years as a young girl and teenager. I was addicted to Maltesers! When I lived there I missed American food terribly and now, I kind of miss some of the English fare. Go figure.
    Happy birthday to you. Wishing you endless happiness and health. xo

    1. OK, Eva! There must be something really special about Maltesers! Maybe there’s a secret addictive ingredient? LOL! Food and taste is so tied to our memories, isn’t it? We do at least now live at a time when imported ingredients aren’t too hard to find. In our area there are several British pubs operated by Brits trying to authenticate the tastes of home. All the talk today has me really in the mood for visiting one soon. Although I have never really had much truly British cooking, I’m still feeling nostalgic somehow. LOL! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I’ve had a very lovely day. 😉

  8. I wrote a long comment about my time in London, eating Maltersers, now replaced by Whoppers, and feeling nostalgic at that shelf above containing the Marmite and Colman’s Mustard. Then I lost it, so I don’t know if you got it or not. This is a shorter version: Happy Birthday, dear Debra, I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy your Maltersers. Oh, I also mentioned that I see your birthday is on the first day of Spring; mine is on the first day of Summer, usually anyway. Have a great day!

    1. I’m so sorry that your long message got lost, Inger. I’ve had that happen before also, and it is frustrating. I wondered if Maltesers were very similar to Whoppers. I am going to my brother’s house tonight for a little gathering and the two little bags are going with me! I have never had Marmite, but I think that’s going to be next on my list to try. We have our comfort foods from childhood and then the comfort foods we collect along the way as we grow up, and sometimes just seeing a label or even an advertisement can trigger fond memories. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I have had a very nice day, and appreciate messages from my blogging friends. Very special!

  9. Happy happy birthday, dear Debra! Happy birthday to you! Party on with those imported candies! I’ll have some yogurt covered raisins in your honor today! 😀

    1. I hope you had your yogurt covered raisins, Natalie. I could do some serious caloric damage with those things. I do very well with not overdoing it with sweets–as long as there aren’t any around! 🙂 Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I’ve felt very special today, and that’s a lovely birthday gift!

  10. Happy birthday! Maltesers?! They’re the lighter way to enjoy chocolate you know, or so the advert tells us! Kind of depends on how many bags of them you eat really! Love the photos, Marmite is my new love and in less than a week a very lovely friend of mine is bringing a huge jar out to me 🙂 Oh yes, and shredded suet. And Colman’s mustard powder. And mixed spice. And HP sauce. I’ll shut up, but you get the idea, I miss English food! Good luck with the malteser challenge! 🙂

    1. Ok, Eleenie, I was right there with you until you mentioned shredded suet! That might be a very big stretch for me. LOL! I have never had Marmite, but so many people comment about it I think I need to try some. I do understand for those who love it that a gift of large jar would be very welcome. I think that for those of you who have lived outside the country of your birth the one thing that must really be a challenge is finding the comfort foods of home. You can probably get just about anything, but at what cost? And I did think about “portion control” on the Maltesers. That’s probably why I was so willing to share for our taste test. 🙂

    1. I haven’t been sure, Janine, but I thought they must be like Whoppers, too. I like anything malted, so I’m sure I’m in for a treat! The Fresh & Easy on Citrus in Azusa is the one I go to because it’s close to work. I don’t know if others have the same merchandising, but I’m supposing they do. I understand the chain isn’t doing too well…you’d better stock up! The prices were really good, too. 🙂 Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. It has been fun sharing.

  11. Happy birthday Debra! I hope that you are having a marvelous day and enjoy those Maltesers! Loved the story and the old news clipping. Here’s to a fabulous year for you. 🙂

    1. I appreciate the birthday wishes, Kristy. I have had a lovely day…plenty of attention! LOL! And we still plan to have our Maltesers tonight at my brother’s house. I’m so amused with these little candies. I’m so glad to hear from you today. 🙂

  12. I do, and I did; a Three Musketeers Bar. It jumped into my hands as I was buying a bouquet of roses. Don’t know why, but, well, i have the chocolate spot on my slacks to name me as the guilty party. I’ve seen Maltesers somewhere, recently. I’ll have to think on that – and then try some. Let us know how they are.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEBRA! I’m sure you enjoyed your day, and the time difference says you should be winding your way home soon. Enjoy!

      1. Guess what I found at the grocer’s this afternoon? Maltesers! One of the local chains, Dominick’s, put in an international section, much to my delight, last fall. I get my English tea there. Right below were the Maltesers. The little red bag is sitting here on my desk, waiting to become a treat very soon.

        1. I found BIG bags of Malteasers if I want to go through Amazon, Penny. I’m thinking of it! 🙂 I hope you enjoy your bag, too. I thought they were quite good. I can’t buy them too often, though, as they are the candy I would eat one bite at a time until the whole bag was gone!

  13. We have Maltesers in Australia too. I love them. I like to hold them in my mouth and just let them melt. Yum!
    Happy Birthday Debra, I hope you had a wonderful day. Big birthday hug.
    In Australia we call ‘candy’ lollies.
    There is a shop about 15 minutes drive from my home that sells some American produce. My son loved the spray type cans of Cheese Whiz, he loved to just sit and squirt cheese? into his mouth. My indulgence was Boston Clam Chowder.
    One more birthday hug
    Tricia xo

    1. I did have a wonderful birthday, Tricia. Thank you so much. Cheese Whiz! Isn’t that funny! I think so many of these “non-real-food” items link to memories of fun times as children and then are so full of fat and salt that we really do feel like we can’t quite get enough. And if we’re willing to pay the price, we can almost always have these items delivered right to our doors.

      I love the word “lollies” and think I’m going to introduce my granddaughters to that term! Thank you again for the birthday wishes, and I’ll report back later on how I like some of my new UK/Australian treats! 🙂 oxo Debra

    1. The Cadbury Eggs are deadly! LOL! I’m so glad they aren’t in the stores year-round. You’ve been so good with your cleanse, and I’m very impressed. I think you’d better start with a Hershey’s Kiss…a whole Cadbury Egg might be overwhelming to your system. 🙂

    1. You are so incredible, John! I usually check Amazon for everything, and I never once thought to go to them for my candy search. After our taste test tonight we all determined the Maltesers were very, very good, and preferred them to the only other chocolate and malted candy we could think of, Whoppers. Apparently I am really not “up” on my candy. I didn’t realize Mars Bars aren’t sold in the United States any more, either. Ordinarily I’m not a big candy eater, but somehow finding that old familiars aren’t available and then learning that a British household candy is quite good but not sold here, has created a desire for a big secret candy stash! I’m so glad you sent the link, but if I gain ten pounds practically over night I won’t be quite as excited! LOL! I did have a happy birthday. Thank you so much for the best wishes. I have every reason to anticipate another good year. 🙂

  14. Debra, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Yum, candy is my downfall! Especially chocolate and malted balls. Did these taste anything like the malted milk chocolate balls we get in USA? What do you compare these too? This brings back memories to the penny candy back in the day, that now are like $1.00! Hope you enjoyed your special day. Hugs, Edie

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Edie. I have had a lovely day, although beginning tomorrow I must wean myself from all the sugar I’ve had today! And yes, the Malteser tasted a lot like our Whoppers, but it was a bit smaller, not quite as crunchy, and I think the Malteser was quite superior. Maybe I’d given it so much thought, however, that I elevated its quality with so much attention. I do think any chocolate and malt ball is going to be a winner! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by tonight, Edie. I hope you’re doing well. oxo

  15. Happy Birthday, Debra. I hope this day ushers in the best year of your life yet. Maltesers will certainly help. 🙂

    I am partial to shortbread. Very partial. I used to keep huge tins of it in the house, but that had to stop with our new way of eating.

    1. I know what you mean about shortbread. I make my great-grandmothers original recipe every Christmas, we eat until we feel like we can’t possibly eat any more, and then don’t touch it again until the following year. It goes down just a little too easily! Thanks for the beautiful birthday wishes. It has been a very nice day. I just got back from my brother’s and we had our Malteser taste test. I must admit we liked them a lot. It’s probably good they aren’t too accessible! 🙂

  16. Happy Birthday! We used to have Malteasers down here and they had very clever advertisments. I think they are malted milk balls. We get a lot of other English “delicacies’ as well. Did your Scottish ancestors ever tell you about Haggis?

    1. Ha! Yes, I’ve heard the Haggis stories. LOL! My dad tried it when he visited Scotland several years ago…I don’t think I’ll be too interested! Thanks for the birthday wishes. We had our Maltesers and I thought they were indeed very good. Much better than the Whoppers. It’s been a fun day to chat about candy. Thanks for coming by tonight!

  17. Happy Birthday, Debra!!! I thought I had no idea what a Malteser was but after seeing the picture, I realize I used to eat them as a child! I didn’t connect to the name because at the time I was still learning to speak English and just thought of them yummy chocolates. 🙂 Hope your day was great! Hugs, xoxoxoxo

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Marie. I’m so glad you didn’t miss this post! Isn’t that funny that you didn’t remember the name of the candy, but you sure do remember eating them! They probably were wonderfully tasting as a child, and a little comforting to you while you were acclimating to a new home and a new language! I did have a lovely day, but I think it’s good we only celebrate our birthdays one day a year. I ate too much and I’m looking forward to a day a little less celebratory tomorrow! But it was nice today! 🙂 oxo

  18. BTW, how cool to have been in the paper for the phone test. 😀 I was part of a TV educational English program during the 5th grade. The students that were selected had to enjoy the subject and have good grades. I had to write an essay and read it to a studio audience. I was very nervous. LOL

      1. Sally i’m a vegemite girl. When I was little we had a vegemite song in Australia – We’re happy little vegemites as bright as bright can be. We all enjoy our vegemite for breafast, lunch and tea. We love our vegemite, we all adore our vegemite, it puts a rose in every cheek.
        I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.:)

        1. I love the vegemite song, Tricia! That’s a great little jingle. I had to google vegemite/marmite because I was getting confused. I’m going to get both and do a taste test. In reading about it I had to laugh, however, as about.com credits vegemite with everything from combating Cancer to curing baldness. How can you resist a product that does all that, no matter how it tastes! LOL! I can’t wait to give them both a try. 🙂

  19. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Debra (pause), happy birthday to you! I’m sure you will enjoy the Maltesers but I am quite shocked at the price you had to pay for them – outrageous! Yes, gingerfightback, marmite, definitely an acquired taste! Hope you are having a lovely day Debra

    1. Thank you, Sally! I have had a lovely birthday and now I’m on to the adventure of trying more food taste tests. Marmite and Vegemite–the comparison and my first tastes. Stay tuned for the results! 🙂

  20. wishing you a very happy birthday, Debra and hooping the Maltesers lived up to the build-up. 🙂 It’s ages since I had one, but i used to enjoy them when i was a child.

    I love the story of that intercontinental phone call and can imagine how exciting it was to be part of it and then read the coverage in the paper. We see “British shelves” in the French supermarkets where we shop in summer, busy catering for the fairly large number of expats in the area.

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Perpetua. I felt very blessed by family and friends yesterday. I also ate more chocolate and goodies than I’m accustomed to, and need to turn off the sugar influx. I don’t crave sugar until I start eating it, and then that sweet tooth comes alive. 🙂 My little gathering all agreed that we like Maltesers better than the American so-called counterpart. Another blogging friend shared the Amazon link so I can now get them more easily. The price was also good…so is this a good thing or not? We’ll have to see! Now there’s a group calling for me to try Marmite. The possibilities are endless! Hahaha!

  21. Aw shucks I’m late to the party! How embarrassing…but lucky me I’ll get to wish you personally 😀 What a fun birthday post Debra. Did you have trouble understanding the Scottish accent on the long distance call? I remember the feverish excitement in the house when my brother phoned from England in the 1960’s!
    Sounds as though you had the grand sweet birthday celebration, including this wonderful gathering of on-line friends!

    I know Maltesers but do not particularly like them.
    Frank’s birthday video is brilliant. I don’t know about you but I now want to go buy a packet of maltesers and try the challenge…

  22. Dear Debra, happy belated birthday! Mine is coming up in a little over a week and I got my first card today. It’s so wonderful to be remembered by friends. As to a favorite candy–my two favorites, which I no longer eat because chocolate is a trigger for Meniere’s headaches are the following: Heath bars and Valomelts. I think that’s the name of the latter. They were very popular when I was in school in the 40s. They were a thick pie shape of chocolate and within was a syrupy white marchmellow-like substance. All of us would bit the edge off the pie shape and then use our index fingers to scoop out the white stuff! Yum! Yum! I hope the next year is filled with wonderful possibilities for growth in the human spirit–and enough new adventures to satisfy your active curiosity and sense of wonder. Peace.

  23. The white choc Maltesers are nice, but the normal are better!

    I’m glad you enjoyed them.

    The ad for Marmite here is that you either love it or hate it – I’m a hater. I’ll be interested to see how you find it.

  24. I love Marmite or Vegemite. I don’t like chocolate that’s too sweet. I love best the chocolate that is 85% cocoa and tastes very bitter!
    Dear Debra, I am very late, but I still want to wish you many Happy Returns of your Birthday! And I hope you’re going to have a lovely Easter with heaps of chocolate eggs!

    1. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. Belated is never a bad thing! 🙂 I am still planning to have a Marmite and Vegemite taste test before long. I’m very curious! I also like bitter chocolate. I have a feeling I’ll probably overindulge a little bit on Sunday. I hope you, too, have a lovely weekend, Uta. ox

    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca. I did have a very nice birthday, and the Malteasers were such a fun component. I, too, loved the comments! 🙂 Blessings to you and your family this Easter, my friend. I do trust the Easter message brings hope to your weary heart! oxo

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