Colin the Caterpillar: No copy-cat(erpillar) allowed

Image description: Chocolate log cake with smarties on top and a cute white-chocolate face, surrounded by miniature versions

It makes sense as a student to shop off-brand: saving your student loan to spend in pubs, bars and balls is of paramount importance, and with off-brand food, you can rarely Taste the Difference. However, in my opinion, there is one food item for which no alternative can suffice…

Marks and Spencer’s Colin the Caterpillar cake.

How could I not give the humble Colin the ode it deserves? I for one have many happy childhood memories of the Hunger Games-style duelling with my siblings for the white chocolate face and feet of Colin – frankly, it’s a British rite of passage to eat a Colin the Caterpillar on your birthday, at friend’s parties, and supposedly at work parties too.

For those confused as to what on earth I’m banging on about, I thought I would provide a short description from the creator’s themselves, M&S:

This caterpillar-shaped creamy chocolate sponge roll is filled with smooth chocolate buttercream and is covered in a milk chocolate shell. It has a decorative face and feet of white chocolate with sugar-coated milk chocolate beans all over its back.”

Yes, you’ve heard that right; not only is it a chocolate cake, but it’s caterpillar-shaped and it’s called Colin. What more can you ask for in a birthday cake?

Clearly for most of the UK – nothing; whilst researching the long and illustrious history of the Colin the Caterpillar cake, I discovered that the Colin the Caterpillar has actually been a national treasure for about 30 years (it was first sold in 1990), much longer than I have been alive, and 15 million have been sold. There are also now spin-offs including packets of the white chocolate faces (an end to familial strife?!), a massive version of the cake, Mini Colin the Caterpillar bites and Colin’s girlfriend: Connie the Caterpillar. Most importantly, I was reliably informed that David Cameron, Dame Judi Dench, Liam Gallagher, Taylor Swift and David Beckham are all fans of the cake.

In fact, Colin the Caterpillar is actually so popular that other supermarkets have created their own version. I present to you: Tesco’s Curly the Caterpillar, Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar, the Co-op’s Charlie the Caterpillar, Waitrose’s Cecil the Caterpillar, Asda’s Clyde the Caterpillar and worst of all: Sainsbury’s Wiggles the Caterpillar.

For the Oxford student, proud Tesco’s club card wielder, the Tesco’s copy-cat, or rather copy-caterpillar does seem all-too tempting. However, M&S’ original, whose brand these rivals poorly emulate, remains triumphant. After all, one blind test undertaken by the Huffington Post said the Tesco caterpillar was so bad it was a cake to “save for when a colleague you don’t like is leaving”. Ouch.

In this case, it seems our loan is just going to have to take the £1 blow – the OG is the OG for a reason.

Image credit: Sophie via Flickr