Lately, we’ve been obsessed with all things royal. The queen just celebrated her birthday, Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, just welcomed their third child and soon Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be tying the knot. That’s a lot of royal milestones! With Great Britain on the brain, we’ve been whipping up our favorite English puddings and seeking out all the fun British products we can—which, as foodies and sweets-lovers, means diving into the world of British candy.
Sure, the Brits have some of the same candy classics like us Americans—think Twix, Kit-Kat and gummy bears (psst… did you know Prince Harry is a big fan?)—but there’s still a whole world of unknown English treats out there. So I hit up my local World Market—a must for candy shopping of any kind—and grabbed all the UK candy I could find. I couldn’t try these all on my own, though, so I recruited some pals to give these treats a try with me. Find out what we thought!
British candy must-haves
Tasting 10 different kinds of candy, we identified a few that we just couldn’t get enough of! These treats make a trip across the pond seem pretty appealing.
We love a good foodie mashup around here—this weirdly wonderful taco-croissant comes to mind—so when we realized that the Lion bar was essentially a combination of two of our favorite American candy bars, we were sold. From the outside, the Lion looks a lot like a 100 Grand: chocolate-coated puffed rice cereal with some caramel for good measure. But cutting through all the way, we found a pleasant surprise: a wafer cookie! Turns out the Lion bar is a lot like a cross between that 100 Grand bar and a Kit-Kat. We absolutely loved the extra crunch from both the cereal and the wafer, but we loved how the caramel was layered throughout for extra chew. We definitely went back for a few bites.
When it comes to candy bars, I’ll say that plain chocolate bars aren’t too thrilling. Don’t get me wrong—I love a good Hershey bar on occasion (though the Hershey’s Gold is exceptional), but it’s not the most exciting option out there. So when I saw that the Aero bar was just plain chocolate, I was a bit skeptical. But then I saw the inside. The plain Jane Aero bar has an exciting secret: it’s packed full of bubbles! This aerated chocolate just melted in our mouths. It made eating the candy so much fun. The chocolate wasn’t our favorite (these are our favorite chocolates), but the experience made it worth going in bite after bite.
OK, I’ll say it: The name Squashies didn’t quite have us excited to try this funny treat. Once we broke into the bag, though, we changed our minds. This British candy has a texture somewhere between a gummy bear and a marshmallow. It also has a two-tone flavor: raspberry and cream. Simply put: we could not get enough of these fruit chews. They had a great sweet taste and addicting texture that we couldn’t bring ourselves to stop eating until the bag was all gone.
Wrapped in smiley face packaging, Tunnock’s Snowballs looked like another silly snack. Once we tasted these snowballs, though, we realized the flavor was no joke. Super sticky, sweet marshmallow wrapped in coconut—it was the perfect pairing. This was probably our messiest candy, but the great crispy coconut flavor made the mess worthwhile. One tester commented that this candy reminded her a lot of the coconut Girl Scout cookies—always a good thing! You can get your Girl Scout cookie fix with these copycats.
Malt is one of those love-it-or-hate-it flavors. If you’re a fan, you’re going to want to pick up a bag of these malted snacks. Looking at the package, we were expecting a Whoppers-style malted milk ball. What we got, though, was entirely different. Rather than being dense and ultra-crunchy, the Maltesers were almost rice crispy-like inside but with some great, authentic malt flavor. I think they tasted a lot like a cross between a classic malted milk ball and Crispy M&M’s. While the malt flavor was really good here, that crisp inside is what really sold us on these.
Our top pick
Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bar
Coming in at the top of every tester’s list was this salted caramel honeycomb bar. Americans might know honeycomb as sponge candy, fairy food or angel food (and it’s easy to make at home, too). But for most of us, sponge candy isn’t something we come across often. Lucky Brits, however, can grab a Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bar and enjoy this sweet whenever they please. The inside of this candy bar tasted much like a good homemade fairy food, but with just a hint of salt. That salt paired so well with the chocolate giving us that sweet-salty combo that most of us live for. If you decide to grab a single candy from this list, make it this irresistibly crunchy option.
Sweets worth a try
While we absolutely loved a few of these British sweets, we had mixed opinions on a few candies. That being said, they were really fun to try, and I’d recommend grabbing a few options if you’re hosting a royal wedding viewing party. Guests will love to debate these more polarizing treats.
Walker’s Nonsuch Assorted Toffees
A bag of assorted candies can be a gamble. Will only a few flavors be palatable? Will they all be so good that you squabble over the last one with your BFF? In the case of Walker’s Nonsuch toffees, we found this variety pack fell somewhat in between. My colleagues and I really enjoyed these sweet chewy candies in all their varietes—milk chocolate, dark chocolate, English toffee and banana split to name a few. However, we didn’t really get toffee from these candies. When we think of toffy, we think of that sweet, brittle treat, but what we got from Walker’s Nonsuch was more of an extra firm caramel. Read up on the difference between the two.
When it comes to fruit chews like Starbursts, it’s pretty safe to say that the strawberry flavor is universally beloved. So when we saw that Refreshers fruit chews were just one big roll of strawberry candy, we were pretty excited. However, these just didn’t have the same appeal. The Refreshers were a bit too sticky for our liking and they tasted a lot like strawberry Jell-O powder. They were OK to try, but we wouldn’t buy another roll.
Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles
We also tried another fruity treat, this time in pastille form—something totally new to us all. Unwrapping these candies, we saw they looked a lot like coin-shaped gumdrops. They ended up tasting much the same. The fruit flavors here were hit and miss, and the texture made us worry we might lose a filling. If you’re a gumdrop fan, though, you might want to stock up.
Fry’s Turkish Delight
Probably the biggest miss of this test was Fry’s Turkish Delight. Unlike the other British sweets, we had no idea what to expect with this one. Opening it up, we saw what looked like a small chocolate bar—seemed OK to us. But inside we did not find common fillings like nuts or caramel. Instead, this candy bar was a slice of rose-flavored Turkish delight. Maybe it was our American palates, but we just couldn’t get over the floral flavor combined with chocolate. That being said, this was our most talked about treat. My advice: Buy one to split and have a cup of tea ready in case you’re not a fan.
After testing all these unique sweets, we’re all on board for a trip to the UK. We’re sure there are a few more delicious British treats in store.