The familiar, butterfly-inducing nostalgic sound of the ice cream van jingle echoing through the neighbourhood is a big sign that summer is well and truly on its way.
But there has been some concern recently that the classic soft-served ice cream may be at risk this summer, with Cadbury confirming that supplies of the crumbly sweet chocolate Flake may be slim due to an increase in demand.
So while Cadbury sorts out its supply issue and you nab the classic from your nearest ice cream van before they run out, have you ever wondered why 99s are called 99s?
You’d think it’s because they used to cost a mere 99p back in the day, but that would be wrong. The name actually comes from the flake, rather than the ice cream itself.
To confuse matters, the popular ice cream did actually cost 99p at one stage, however, inflation has pushed the price up in many areas considerably. You’d be lucky to buy a 99 for anything less than £1.50 nowadays.
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The theories and the first 99 Flake
There are many theories floating about as to the origin of the name. Cadbury says the treat was created 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 making 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.
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.
And further, Dunkerleys of Gorton, Manchester claims to have created the Flake at their shop 99 Wellington Street.