In case you weren’t aware, the Brits love their sweets. Just one look at the amazing desserts (or should we say “pudding”?) being whipped up on the Great British Bake-Off is enough to tell you that.
But as usual, the focus of this blog won’t be pastries or cakes but good old-fashioned candy. In the second part of our World’s Best Candies series, we’re taking a (virtual) candy tour through the British Isles to highlight the most popular British candy of all time.
There are a LOT of opinions out there on this subject. So instead of risking controversy with a ranked list, we’ll include a mix of beloved favorites and more polarizing classics.
The Most Popular British Candy
Nestle’s Lion bar is worshipped for its complex texture and flavors. This chocolate bar has chewy caramel spread between layers of crunchy cookie (whoops, “biscuit”) inside, with an outer shell of chocolate-covered puffed rice. Sure enough, Taste of Home calls the Lion a mix between a 100 Grand and a Kit Kat. We’d say the caramel adds a Twix-like twist, too.
This fan-favorite gets consistent praise from taste tests of British chocolate bars. Made from crispy cereal and nougatine, it’s crunchy AND marshmallow-y – basically, texture heaven. That plus the name (based on the double-decker buses famous in London and elsewhere in the UK) makes this candy bar an English national treasure.
You can’t really have a list of popular British candy without talking about Cadbury Dairy Milk. A simple treat, this won’t necessarily blast you off into a wonderland of texture and flavor, but it is a solid British classic (and one of the oldest chocolate bars in the region). You can think of it as the British equivalent of a Hershey bar – no-frills, just neat squares of smooth, rich milk chocolate.
Described by the folks at Huffington Post as “carbonated chocolate,” the Aero bar is another British household name. The light texture of this chocolate bar comes from the tiny bubbles of air puffed throughout the candy. Whether or not you love it, it’s worth trying this unique treat.
Like any good candy bar, you can find out almost everything you need to know about Flake just by the name. A narrow chocolate bar consisting of thin, rough layers of chocolate that “flake” off when you bite into it, Cadbury Flake has been around since the 1920s and is often used as a topping for ice cream. For those who love interesting textures in their candy, Flake is a perfect choice.
Most Americans expect Maltesers to simply taste like Whoppers. The British malt balls come in similar spherical shapes and can easily be eaten by the handful, just like the American malted milk treat. But Americans tend to find Maltesers a little tastier than Whoppers. If you’re not a fan of the malted flavor, this popular British candy probably isn’t for you, but they are an English classic.
There’s not one, but at least TWO brands of honeycomb toffee chocolate bars that should make the Brits proud: Cadbury’s Crunchie and the Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bar. Maybe it’s the fact that honeycomb toffee is so rare in the United States – it’s associated most strongly with Buffalo, NY, where it’s called “sponge candy” – that makes this treat so popular with Americans. Either way, brace yourself (and your teeth) for a seriously crunchy block of golden-brown “honeycombed” sugar covered in chocolate.
If you love Cadbury Crème Eggs, you’ll love Twisted, which is basically the same thing but in chocolate bar form. While not as universally loved as some of the others on this list, this popular British candy is “highly recommended” by Huffington Post.
You’ve had gummy bears. You’ve had Sour Patch kids. But have you had Jelly Babies? Dr. Who fans will already be familiar with this one, most often offered to strangers or carried around in a white paper bag by several Doctors over the years.
While other baby-themed sweets have been common in the UK, Bassett’s Jelly Babies have lasted through the years and into the 21st century. The soft, sugar-dusted candies are known for their super condensed jelly texture, and each color corresponds to a different flavor – including blackcurrant, a unique UK staple.
Described by Huffington Post taste testers as an “English Caramello” – which is incidentally made by Cadbury, but sold in the US and Canada – this simple milk chocolate bar is filled with the ultimate sweet tooth’s dream: smooth, gooey caramel.
These chewy sweets are a truly unique British confection. They look a little like rectangular Starburst with a cloudy pink-and-white coloring and are loved for their semi-marshmallow-y texture. But what makes Squashies truly special (besides the adorable name) is the “raspberry & milk” flavor, though they come in other flavors too.
If you like coconut and marshmallows, Tunnock’s Snowballs were made for you. These soft, pillow-y marshmallow balls covered in coconut shavings make for a messy treat that’s super fun to bite into. Nothing like a snowball-themed candy to bring the kid in all of us!
No, unfortunately, for us grownups, there isn’t any actual wine in wine gums. Much like classic gummy bears but without the bear shape, these fruit gummies just have names based on wine, like port, sherry, and champagne. A must-try of classic and popular British candies!
TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK
If you like raisins in your chocolate bars, by all means, you might love the Yorkie. However, many Americans find the combination a little stuffy and off-putting.
Fry’s Chocolate Cream
Nowadays, most people only encounter fondant in one of two ways – in fancy wedding cakes or while cry-laughing at the baking fails on Netflix’s Nailed It! Maybe that’s why the fondant-filled Fry’s Chocolate Cream isn’t so popular with American candy eaters.
No, not the traditional Turkish gelatinous candy that comes in a variety of shapes and flavors, though that is the inspiration for this controversial British treat. Fry’s Turkish Delight makes the interesting choice to cover floral-flavored jelly candy with chocolate. Does it work? You’ll have to be the judge…
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