Curlywurly – Britain’s Answer to the Beloved Marathon Bar?

If I could, I'd enrobe MYSELF in caramel and chocolate.

Reviewed by Jonny

September 29, 2009


Did you ever wake up one morning with the feeling that someone had knitted a carpet over your tongue while simultaneously pouring a pint of lye down your throat?

No, I don’t have the Swine Flu, I’m just hung over.  Really hung over.  Day 3 of hung over.


Why does this matter to you?  It doesn’t, I just wanted to preface this review honestly, so you’d know why it’s unusually crappy.  Don’t blame me, blame the fine people of Kentucky for exporting so much delicious Bourbon.

Let’s jump in the “way-back” machine.  Kid style.  The Marathon bar was a classic candy bar, seemingly everywhere when I was a kid.  It consisted of braided caramel–pretty decently thick caramel–covered in milk chocolate.  Nuthin’ fancy, and nuthin’ to mess up.

This candy bar was at the top of my list, being the caramel whore that I was and am.  Of course though, like many things I’ve loved  (Wacky Wafers, why did thou forsake me??!?!), they discontinued the product in 1981.  So right about the time I was rockin’ the quarters on “Ms. Pac Man”, “Dragons Lair” and “Spy Hunter”, I was forced to move on to Nerds, Sweet Tarts,  et al.  No more Marathon for you!


And that was that.  No more thoughts about the Marathon Bar.  Aside from the VERY occasional reminiscing sesh, Marathon Bars have been dead to me for almost 30 years.

Then…everything changed.






Yes, it’s the British remarkably too-cute yet potentially cleverly  named “Curlywurly Bar”.  What’s it made of?  Well, milk chocolate covered braided caramel, of course!



I discovered this gem while perusing the shelves of Roxie’s Market, on Kirkham St. in SF with my boys Scotty & Matty.  Let me tell ya, that place has an impressive stockpile of British and Irish foods and candies.  Good times.


Take a look at the guts:


These are very, VERY similar to Marathon Bars.  the big difference is the thickness of the caramel.  The Marathon bar definitely beats the Curlywurly in that area-meaning, the Curlywurly is just a bit thin feeling.  Easier on the waistline  (or if you’re me, your backfat), but not quite as amazingly pleasing in the mouth.

Overall though, you couldn’t ask for a more similar Marathon clone.  The flavor is delicious-creamy, salty caramel, coated with quality milk chocolate.  Needless to say, because this thing is a bit dainty, you can down a whole bar pretty quickly.


I just discovered that these are sold at the Cost Plus World Market in Larkspur, CA, which I think means that many of the Cost Plus stores carry it.  If you ever were a Marathon Bar fan, or have any affinity to caramel, grab a few of these and don’t share them with your friends.  Your friends don’t love you the way caramel does.


You know I’m right, right?




Zolli Candy


  1. Beth Hentges

    I an so happy! I just ordered some. I wish my dad were still alive. He and I have been asking “What happened to Marathon Bars?” since 1981.

    No, if I could only figure out the brand of black licorice he used to buy in a box about the size of a cigarette pack-a little narrower. Maybe from Great Brittain, 1970s. The pieces were little rectangular solids.

  2. Laura M

    Everyone here is awesome! It’s great meeting “old time candy” lovers. Now if I can get my hands on marathon bar, and bag of molasses puffs, things will be dandy.

  3. Cyrus

    Being English I grew up with ‘Curly Whirlies back since the mid 70’s and i can tell you back in those days they were 4 times the size of the modern day ones! and no i’m not imagining them as larger cuz i was a kid! lol Also marathon bars being snickers bars that transition was hard to ‘swallow’ if you’ll pardon the pun. Again marathon bars (Snickers) were twice the size. I guess we are used to our candies and snacks being ‘downsized’ whilst the price stays the same or is slightly increased. Oh well I am glad i found your site. Good times.

    • mattycandy

      glad you found it too. this review is super old by the by

    • jonnyguru

      Thanks Cyrus, and welcome! I had such amazing memories of the Marathon Bar, that’s tumbling across the Curly Wurly’s in World Market was a revelation. Did you guys have a version of the 100 Grand bar as a kid? I’m re-obsessed with those now, and will review soon.

  4. c. connie sewer

    yo what up fellow candy connissuers!! this blog is too fresh with it’s whickety whack candy reviews and general habbidnashery! can’t wait to check back and snake a reading sesh with you, dawg!

    check ya later!

  5. Lumpy

    These are available online too, just google em… They are the shiznit me thinks..

  6. Matty

    The name is lame. It’s not accurate. How about Twisty Wistys? or .. Braidy Laidies? But I love these enough that I’d eat them if they were called shitty ditties too.

  7. CandyProfessor

    Oh, I forgot to mention, about that ruler. So does anybody want to go there?

  8. CandyProfessor

    RE: 100K, Yes, sort of a nestle crunch wrapped around a caramel bar. I think at some point they changed it to the “Million Dollar Bar” (makes me think of that Austin Powers scene). So do you remember the jingle?
    Carmel. Chewy Chewy Caramel. Extra rich in Caramel. Nestle’s Hundred Thousand Dollar Bar.
    OK, doesn’t seem like much, but the “ba-da”s won’t get out of my head now!

  9. Jonny

    Lol! Curly Worly Squirleys = BEST NAME EVER.

    Candyprofessor- Not sure about my memory of the caramel thickness at this point. But as for the 100K bar- LOVED those too, but I forget exactly what they were…..was it caramel and chocolate and rice crisps?

    -Jonny Guru

  10. Patti

    Yeah, but Curly Wurleys don’t have the cool ruler printed on the package like Marathon bars did. CW’s also come in bite-sized; they’re called Curly Wurley Squirleys.

  11. CandyProfessor

    Yeah, the candy/price ratio on the Marathon made it one of my top picks too, back in the “15 cents for Sunday candy” days. Now are you sure you aren’t recalling the thickness of the caramel in the Marathon through the murky haze of a child-size mouth? Because if you were smaller then, that would make the caramel relatively thicker in relation to the buccal orafice. But from your pic, the strands do seem a little skinnier than my child-size memory of Marathon…

    So, as a fellow caramel lover of similar vintage (I’m assuming), what is your view on Marathon vs. $100,000 Bar?



  1. stuff this! « broke 207 - [...] curly wurly: my personal favorite of the british candy bars, this is a twisted caramelly affair… not elaborate, just…

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