An illustration showing five Quality Street sweets - the Toffee Finger, the Green Triangle, The Purple One, a Strawberry Creme and the Caramel Swirl, as "people" reading books. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

What you should read, based on your favourite Quality Street

Choose your favourite chocolate from the famous purple tin, and we'll recommend a book or two we think you'll love.

A tub of Quality Street is as much a signifier of the festive season as tinsel, arguments about what the best element of Christmas dinner is, and the John Lewis ad.

There’s so much that’s appealing about Quality Street: the jewel tones of the wrappers, the variety of flavours and the fight for The Purple One (okay, that’s not appealing, but it is kind of fun).

Everyone has a favourite Quality Street chocolate. And we think your choice of sweet not only says something about your taste in confectionary, but also something about your taste in books. So here, for your perusing pleasure, is our guide to the types of books you’ll like based on your Quality Street choc of choice.

An illustration of The Purple One from Quality Street as a person with the sweet as its head, reading Zadie Smith's Grand Union.
For lovers of The Purple One, we recommend trying some short story collections. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

The Purple One

The Purple One is undoubtedly cited most often by people asked what their favourite Quality Street is. Its rareness likely has something to do with that (if the makers of Quality Street are reading, this is a direct appeal: please put more Purple Ones into your boxes). And of course, its layers, textures and flavours are also a big reason for its popularity. If you love The Purple One, then try a short story collection like Kristen Roupenian’s You Know You Want This, Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ Heads of the Colored People or Zadie Smith’s Grand Union. Each story is delicious on its own, but like the combination of flavours in The Purple One, they all work together even better.


Has the Quality Street Fudge ever done anyone wrong? This simple and underrated sweet is much like a classic crime novel: it has depth and character, will surprise you with its simplicity yet leave you feeling satisfied. For lovers of this sweet, we recommend Agatha Christie (of course) or Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike series (detective Daisy and Hazel enjoy some delicious fudge at the beginning of their Orient Express adventure in Cream Buns and Crime, a short story collection).

An illustration of the Strawberry Delight chocolate from Quality Street as a person with the sweet as its head, reading Sophia Kinsella's Shopaholic. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin
The Strawberry Delight is all about romance. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Strawberry Delight

The Strawberry Delight has much in common with romance novels, and it’s not just because it’s wrapped into that glorious red foil. This sweet is unassuming, it’s got a sweet and soft centre, and it can be sneered at. But fans of the Strawberry Delight, much like fans of romance, know its true worth. If this Quality Street sweet is your favourite, then try out Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, which is fun and full of heart, Jojo Moyes’ moving Me Before You (you’ll need the comfort chocolate brings for this one) or one of these best romance books.  

Orange Creme

After much research, there’s a clear consensus about the Orange Creme: it is absolutely no one’s favourite. We love books too much to ever compare them to an Orange Creme, and therefore, we have no recommendations.

Orange Crunch

The Orange Crunch is both full of surprises and has some bite to it, thanks those little nuggets of almost-honeycomb like orange. And so we recommend fans of Orange Crunch head to the YA shelves, where you'll find fiction with a razor sharp edge, like Karen McManus’ One of Us is Lying, a dark and fun whodunnit that also takes a look at the effects of social media and shaming on teenagers. Or try Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series, a nuanced and unflinching look at racism and prejudice.

Toffee Penny

This circle of toffee is the Quality Street that takes the most commitment and time to consume. For lovers of the Toffee Penny – who have proved their dedication and persistence – we recommend a book that is nothing short of epic, in all senses. Go for a long read like George Elliot’s Middlemarch, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy or Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Like the Toffee Penny, they’ll stay with you long after you’ve finished them (although unlike the Toffee Penny, they won’t be removed by a thorough teeth brushing).

An illustration of the Toffee Finger from Quality Street as a person with the sweet as its head, reading Lee Child's Blue Moon. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin
Lovers of the Toffee Finger are all about no-nonsense characters. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Toffee Finger

The Toffee Finger is a no nonsense sweet. There are no fancy shapes or ingredients here, it’s a straightforward rectangle of toffee covered in chocolate. So it stands to reason that lovers of Toffee Fingers would love a character who is similarly straightforward, like Lee Child’s iconic creation Jack Reacher. With 33 books in the series, there are as many books to keep you occupied as there are Quality Street sweets in a tin.

Coconut Eclair

There’s something about coconut that just whisks you away to another place, somewhere a little bit different and a bit more exciting to your everyday. Literature in translation does the same, taking us to exciting literary worlds. Try Yoko Ogawa’s dystopian novel The Memory Police, translated by Stephen Snyder, or Bae Suah’s Untold Night and Day, translated by Deborah Smith.

An illustration of the Green Triangle chocolate from Quality Street as a person with the sweet as its head, reading Carmen Callil's Oh Happy Day. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin
If you love the Green Triangle, try a memoir. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

The Green Triangle

Yes, The Green Triangle is just chocolate (ok, and a bit of praline), but something about its solidity strikes us as quite serious, while its shape implies something individual. And so, for fans of The Green Triangle, we recommend memoirs: they’re serious and about life lessons, but can also contain a lightness and plenty of originality. Start with Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, but also take in Mohsin Zaidi’s A Dutiful Boy and Carmen Callil’s Oh Happy Day.

Milk Choc Block

If we had to choose just one word to describe the Milk Choc Block, it would be “classic”. And so, for fans of this chocolate, we of course recommend delving into the classics. You can choose from a huge variety of books, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Richard Wright’s Native Son and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Like a block of milk chocolate, reading the classics is a great basis for everything that came after.

An illustration of the Caramel Swirl chocolate from Quality Street as a person with the sweet as its head, reading Nigella Lawson's Cook, Eat, Repeat. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin
The Caramel Swirl is all about luxury. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Caramel Swirl

Silky smooth, gooey caramel covered in a thick-but-not-too-thick layer of chocolate, and wrapped in gold foil, the Caramel Swirl is all about indulgence. It’s for people who savour their food, and savour their books, and so for you, we recommend cookbooks. Not necessarily to cook from (although props to you if you do make something from them) but to read and bask in their unabashed love of good food. Of course, lovers of Caramel Swirl should start with Nigella Lawson’s Cook, Eat, Repeat, a book that revels in the joy and luxury of the simplest ingredients. We also recommend taking a look at Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage’s Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, and Nadiya Hussain’s Nadiya Bakes, which features truly delicious desserts. 

Chocolate Caramel Brownie

Taking a popular dessert and putting it into a bite-size sweet, the Chocolate Caramel Brownie successfully experiments with form. And so, for fans of this sweet, we recommend trying out some poetry collections that push boundaries and do something new. We love Caleb Femi’s Poor, which combines verse with original photography, as well as Nikita Gill’s The Girl and the Goddess, which navigates various cultures, religions and identities to create a poetic coming-of-age story, and Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ The Lost Spells, which pairs “spells” about nature with gorgeous illustrations.

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