Posted by jarlath cunningham on June 03, 2009 at 15:54:10:
In Reply to: Re: 99's posted by Brian Hoban on June 03, 2009 at 08:40:46:
A 99 Flake (now Flake99) can refer to an ice cream cone with a Cadbury Flake chocolate bar inserted in it; a specially produced Flake bar for this purpose; or a wrapped ice cream cone product marketed by Cadbury. It was originally designed to be a cuboid, and fit into a wafer. It was later adapted for a cone.
There are many references to 99s in British pop culture. Notably, the pop-electronica duo The KLF used ice cream van iconography and included the phrase "Make mine a 99" in their 1991 single version of Justified and Ancient. An Eastenders episode in March 2008 also saw one of the major characters scream "get off my 99, you flake stealing nonce!".
For a long period of time in the 1990s, many ice cream stands sold Flake 99s for the appropriate sum of 99 pence.
The ice cream vans often play lively music, attracting children in the area. Many vans are found with "mind the children" signs on the back to minimise accidents.
Another possibility is that it was named by Italian ice-cream sellers (many of whom hailed from mountainous areas in the Veneto, Trentino, Bellunese and Friuli) in honour of the final wave of conscripts from the First World War, born in 1899 and referred to as "i Ragazzi del 99" - the Boys of '99. They were held in such high esteem that some streets in Italy were named in honour of them. The chocolate flake may have reminded them of the Alpine Regiment's hat, with a long dark feather cocked at an angle.
Another suggestion is that the initials of "Ice Cream", IC, form the Roman numerals for 99 (being 100 - 1). In practice, the number 99 is not written like this but as XCIX. It could be that the name was coined by someone who either did not know this or ignored it.
One more explanation suggests that the original length of the flake chocolate bar was 99mm, but this is an unlikely explanation as the chocolate bar preceded the introduction of the metric system to the UK.
The ice cream manufacturer Askey's first established a cone called "99". As people ordered this, "99 with a flake" would have been shortened over the years to "99 flake".
It has also been suggested that a Chinese ice-cream seller in the 1920s was approached by a group of British Deaf, who asked for extra chocolate with a doubled sign of a hooked finger. The Chinese seller, not certain what to call the chocolate flake, interpreted this sign as the number 99.
The Cadbury's website says that the reason behind the Flake being called a 99 has been "lost in the mists of time".
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