English Sweets

There’s no question that candy is great the whole world over, and that every culture has added its own unique and wonderful twists to the confectionery that we all enjoy. One of the best things about today’s global world is that we get to share these delights with each other, swapping, exploring, and sometimes feeling bemused by what other cultures eat. One thing’s for absolutely certain; traditional English sweets have added a massive amount to the global candy market, and we have some real gems which have become famous across the world.
 
Old English sweets are immensely popular in their own country and abroad. We are particularly well known for our pick and mix options, which have been loved by kids throughout the ages. Getting to mix and match all your top favourites in a wonderful myriad of colours, smells, and flavours – what could be better? Jelly sweets are especially popular, and come in an unbelievable range. You can have Harbio Fruit Frogs, Yellow Bellies, Tasty Turtles, Scary Spiders, Gummy Starfish, Gold Bears, Baby Dolphins – essentially, you can tip the whole animal kingdom into your pick and mix tub! These things share a wonderful gummy chewiness that’s weird and satisfying, and kids and adults love! English candy is definitely not boring.
 
If the animals don’t do much to light your fire, there’s an equally wide array of “bottles” in the gummy sweet section! Milk Gums, Beer Bottles, smooth Cola Bottles, Cherry Cola Bottles, Fizzy Cola Bottles – you can even get Gin & Tonic Gummy Bottles! No actual alcohol (hey, they are kid-friendly), but wow, what a plethora of options there are. None of those doing it? How about Haribo’s Friendship Ring? Now, if you weren’t exchanging these with your childhood crush or your best friend, what were you doing? Stacking up piles of these, along with Candy Necklaces, was the perfect royalty costume, and the real queen doesn’t get to eat her accessories!
 
Foam sweets are another bizarre but beautiful one of the traditional UK English sweets. If you’ve never tried foam sweets, you might find these pretty strange to start out. They aren’t really like any other candy, but there are enough options to prove just how popular they were and still are! Strawberry Foam Mushrooms are a great starting point; there’s something particularly satisfying about their shape, though we have to admit it only bears vague resemblance to an actual mushroom. You can also get Blue Bubblegum Mushrooms if the pink isn’t taking your fancy!
 
Animal shapes are popular in foam sweets too; Pink Shrimp Sweets might be one of the most well-remembered of all the foam sweets. They are wonderfully moreish, with a delicious raspberry flavour (are you relieved to hear that they don’t taste like actual shrimp?). You can also get Jelly Foam Penguins, and Jelly Foam Unicorns – mixing the best of both worlds with jelly and foam textures combined. The Yellow Bellies we mentioned earlier do this too, and you can also get Jelly Filled Brains. These are particularly suitable for Halloween, of course, but they taste so good, you can get away with them all year round. How many people do you know who can say they’ve eaten a brain?
 
Fried Eggs are another of the popular foam sweets – and yes, they’re a sweet, not the sort of fried eggs you might have with your breakfast. We never claimed old English sweets were “normal!” These were always the most popular in the Haribo mixed bags because they were so delightful to chomp at with their funny, rubbery texture. In an ironic twist, foam sweets also include Foam Teeth and Foam Toothbrushes! Was some manufacturer trying to hint that their sweets were healthy, or were they trying to remind their clientele of the importance of dental hygiene? Either way, these are great, if a little peculiar to look at. Going back to the gummy sweets briefly, there are also Vampire Teeth and Fizzy Vampire Teeth – are we getting a little obsessed? Well, maybe, but it’s justifiable because these treats are all so delicious.
 
How about good old chocolate? Lots of places do chocolate, of course, and everyone brings their own twist to it, but we still thing English sweets have a lot to offer in this area too. Where else would you see Porky Pigs? Some of these strawberry-flavoured chocolate chunks have a great piggy smile, while others don’t seem quite so happy about being eaten. Regardless, they’re delicious – sorry, piggies! White and Pink Mice are another popular one, and there’s something that sounds so cute and romantic about these things, though why, we can’t imagine! You wouldn’t want to munch on a real mouse.
 
Perhaps the pinnacle of England’s weird-shaped chocolate: White Chocolate Fish and Chips. Now, it cannot get more British than that! These little things look fantastic, with cute smiling fish and crinkle-cut chips, and they even used to come wrapped in paper, like actual fish and chips! We wonder which is the healthier option…
 
There are some wonderful chocolate bars too. Curly Wurly bars are one which many people will remember fondly, and perhaps with some frustration too. Delicious chewy toffee in the middle, wrapped in a thin layer of milk chocolate, they are notoriously tricky to eat, but last well and are definitely one of the most “fun” bars out there! Their twisting and twining sets them apart from pretty much every other chocolate bar, but they weren’t the only British chocolate to distinguish themselves by shape. Chocolate Coins and Casino Chips are much-loved by kids (and adults, let’s be honest) everywhere, and they’re so much fun. You can “pay” your children for chores with them, or create sunken treasure for a pirate ship cake, a dragon’s hoard, or a gold mine. You can fill a cauldron with gold for Saint Patrick’s day, or use them as edible medals – the possibilities are limitless. Add Mini Chocolate Banknotes, and your kids can feel truly rich.
 
Typical English sweets also definitely include liquorice, which our country seems to have quite a love affair with. Again, the amount of choice is staggering. Do you want a Catherine Wheel? A Fruit Flower? A Liquorice Torpedo? A Liquorice Toffee? It’s a mark of how thoroughly loved liquorice is that there are so many flavours and shapes and options. You might go for unadulterated Liquorice Root, which is 100% just yummy liquorice. Alternatively, who can resist Liquorice Allsorts? With their extraordinary bright colours setting off the rich black of the liquorice, and a wonderful selection of tastes and textures, these have been one of the most popular English sweets for years.
 
For a last lick, how about lollies? Again, you’ve got all the possibilities and choices here. The bright rainbow Disco Pop Swirl Lollies are probably one of the most popular with kids, because those vibrant colours are impossible to resist. However, there are also Traffic Light Lollies, Double Lollies, Tongue Painters (it’s in the name!), Vimto Lollies, and Fruity Lollies. What a selection! Honestly, the hardest thing to stomach about British sweets is that we can’t buy and eat all of them at once.
 
Traditional English sweets have brought so much to the world, and it’s thrilling to know how popular they are everywhere. While many differences divide us in this world, sweets are something that help bring us together, because who can fight over a stick of sugar – well, except siblings who think their brother or sister has the bigger piece. English sweets are a wonderful showcase of creativity, imagination, and sugary goodness rolled up into some of the most bizarre and best shapes ever invented.
 

What Do Your Fellow Retro Sweet Lovers Say?
 
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