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5 Classic British Sweets All Visitors Must Try

  • What's On -01-Jul-2019

5 Classic British Candies You Must Try

If you're visiting the UK, you simply can't leave until you've tried these classic British candies…

1. Jelly Babies

Favoured by Doctor Who and diabetics who go hypo, Jelly Babies are a classic British sweet. Created way back in 1864, the story of the jelly baby is surprisingly dark.

So the story goes, a worker at the Fryer’s sweet factory in Lancashire made a mould for a new range of jelly sweets. He was trying to make jelly bears (like the Gummi Bears of today). But when the results appeared more human than bear-like, he dubbed them Unclaimed Babies, after the foundlings left on church steps.

"Delicious Unclaimed Babies!" – doesn't have a very appealing ring to it today, does it?

In 1953, they were relaunched as Jelly Babies and have been a huge hit ever since. They join the pantheon of people-shaped sweets that always reveal the creepiness in people. Everyone knows someone who likes to take their time with a Jelly Baby, eating one jelly limb at a time. Weird!

2. Stick of Rock

That's right, a stick of rock. A name devised by someone looking out of a window during a slow marketing meeting? No! It's a stick of rock candy. Rock-hard candy at that.

The earliest form of rock is believed to have sold at fairgrounds, named Fair Rock. It was not brightly coloured or lettered in those days but it was of similar shape and size as it is today.

This popular seaside confection is made from granulated sugar and glucose syrup. They often have the name of a seaside town magically written through the middle of them. Seaside rock is so hard to make that technology simply can't master it. Every stick of rock is crafted by hand.

Just how do they get the name running through the middle? The question still fascinates people more than a century later.

3. Kit Kat

Another classic British sweet with a classically British origin. The idea for the Kit Kat came from a note left in the suggestion box at the Rowntree's Factory in York back in the 1930s. The note said "a snack that a man could take to work in his pack".

It was originally called Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp but was renamed Kit Kat in 1937. At the same time, they incorporated the classic "Have a break…" motto in their advertising. A call back to the Kit Kat's original purpose.

Over the years, Kit Kat has found more and more creative ways to take something as simple as taking a break and turn it into some funny and iconic ads.

4. Liquorice Allsorts

Bassett's Allsorts, a classic mix of sweets made of liquorice, sugar, coconut, aniseed jelly, fruit flavourings, and gelatine were first produced in Sheffield, by Bassett & Co Ltd.

Bassett made a name for himself and his company in 1856 after he baked a giant cake to mark the end of the Crimean War. But the credit for the Allsorts goes to a clumsy salesman called Charlie Thompson.

In 1899, Thompson was showing off Bassett’s wares to a prospective buyer when he knocked his trays full of samples on the floor, mixing up all the sweets. Mortified, he started picking them up, but the buyer was so delighted by the effect that he commissioned an identical mix on the spot.

The blunder was the making of the firm. Today, Bassett’s produces tens of millions of sweets and sends them all over the world.

5. Pear Drops

Alongside the Black Jack, the Pear Drop is probably the weirdest tasting British sweet on our list. An authority on weird sweets, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author, Roald Dahl described them best:

"Pear drops were exciting because they had a dangerous taste. They smelled of nail varnish and they froze the back of your throat."

Not a winning combination to be sure, but there's something indefinable about the Pear Drop that makes it… well, not tasty, but appealing. You have to try one to understand.

Spun Candy

Spun Candy produces marvellous, handmade hard rock candy and confectionery that tantalise the taste buds of anyone with a sweet tooth.

From a unique pick and mix, bespoke corporate candy, an unusual thank you gift to personalised wedding favours the opportunities for originality and creativity are endless.

We've teamed up with Spun Candy to give you the chance to make your own crazy candy! Check out our Facebook page for more information!

5 Sweet Candy Facts

1. Lollipops are named after a horse

The Lollipop was trademarked in 1931 by George Smith, who named his hard rock candy on a stick after Lolly Pop, a racehorse. Snickers were also named after a horse!

2. The largest lollipop is over 15ft tall

It weighed 3,167.5kg, was chocolate flavoured and (unsurprisingly) was made in America.

3. Candy floss was invented by a dentist

In 1897, dentist William Morrison partnered with confectioner John C. Wharton to create a machine that turned sugar into cotton-like strands. They called their creation "Fairy Floss", but it was renamed in the 1920s.

4. The word Candy comes from India

The people of India have been enjoying candy since the 4th century BCE. Pieces of sugar produced by boiling sugarcane juice were called Khanda, the word from which we get Candy.

5. Skittles makes 200,000,000 (that's 200 million) sweets a day!

In a year, enough Skittles are made to make a trail all the way to the Moon!

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