Yester-egg clocks up 60 years


‘‘I’ve been this way since 1956’’ – a line from 1959 song Love Po­tion

Num­ber 9 – still rings true for Laura Mills. Or rather for the hol­low choco­late Ca­ley’s Easter egg Laura has kept in­tact and un­eaten for 60 years. Talk about an Easter relic. The egg – not Laura.

Laura’s fi­ance Jim Rush bought her the large Dunedin-made kiwi-sized egg in March 1956 from the Broad­way Milk­bar, which was be­tween Ran­gi­tikei St and Cole­man Pl on The Square.

‘‘An egg that size then was a big deal...Don’t ask me how much it cost, I don’t know,’’ Laura shakes her head.

‘‘We got mar­ried in April. I was 24 then – I’m 84 now. When I got given it, I said ‘I’ll keep this – I won’t eat it, I might not get an­other one’.’’

And keep it she did, un­in­ten­tion­ally for six decades, even after Jim died.

‘‘I didn’t ex­pect to keep it this long. That was quite some­thing for some­one who likes choco­late as much as I do. It just goes to show you can keep to a thing if you want to.

‘‘But if I say I’ve got an egg I’ve had since 1956, they’ll think I’m mad... Per­haps I am,’’ Laura laughs.

‘‘It didn’t get eaten when my kids were lit­tle be­cause those were the days when kids did as they were told.’’

She de­cided that be­cause Easter 2016 marked a good round-fig­ure an­niver­sary, the foil-cov­ered egg, still in its orig­i­nal Ca­ley’s card­board ‘cas­ket’, de­served to be shown off.

Ca­ley’s Choco­late was an English firm from Nor­wich that ob­vi­ously had a Dunedin fac­tory. The firm had been mak­ing choco­late since 1883, and was known for its WWI ‘March­ing Choco­late’, ac­quir­ing a Royal War­rant in 1932. It was even­tu­ally sub­sumed into the Nes­tle con­glom­er­ate dur­ing the 1980s and the English fac­tory was closed in 1994. The brand was ac­quired, re­vi­talised and re­turned to Nor­wich in 1996 by a pri­vate con­sor­tium.

Laura’s egg has never been re­frig­er­ated and its cas­ket is now kept in a side­board cup­board in her lounge, where it’s likely to stay. Even for a choco­late fancier, the thought of crack­ing open the 60-year-old yester-egg is any­thing but ap­petis­ing.

‘‘I don’t think it would taste very good,’’ she says.

‘‘But if I say I’ve got an egg I’ve had since 1956, they’ll think I’m mad...’’

– Laura Mills


Happy Easter. Laura Mills still has the hol­low choco­late Easter egg her fi­ance pre­sented to her for Easter, 1956.

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