POPSUGAR Celebrity

Sweets Fit For the Queen: Tasting Britain's Biggest Treats

Aug 28 2012 - 1:06pm

Curious to find out if British drugstore sweet treats had much to boast beyond their novelty factor, we set out to sample nearly two dozen varieties. While some were doozies — one candy prompted the exclamation that "it tastes like I licked an old lady" — we found some delightful new favorites and a few improved versions of American analogues. Find out what we'll be buying in bulk.

Fry's Turkish Delight

Our feelings were universally negative toward this chocolate-covered rose jelly candy; tasters exclaimed that "it tastes like I licked an old lady" and "if I wanted to eat soap, I'd just chug my body wash." While we applaud the novelty of this creation, in practice most found it utterly unpalatable, and we'll be sticking to the traditional powdered-sugar-coated confection instead.


While we appreciated the novelty of this flaked chocolate candy bar, tasters "wished it were made of better quality chocolate" and found the crumbly texture impractical and "far too messy to eat in public." We'd consider repurchasing, if and only if it were repurposed as an ice cream topping.

Mint Aero

Most tasters enjoyed the "pleasing minty flavor," and one likened this aerated mint chocolate bar to "a fluffy Andes" or Mint Meltaway; others panned its "funny aftertaste," found it "sickly sweet," and wished that the mint filling was balanced by higher-quality chocolate. We also lamented that the spongy and dry texture wasn't more mousselike.


While we appreciated the subtle, natural colors on the candy shells, the texture came off as chalky, and tasters thought they were dominated by a "gross processed chocolate flavor" and an "artificial aftertaste." Ultimately, we'd only repurchase this as a cake decoration; otherwise, based off of flavor alone, we'd choose M&M's.

Double Decker

While we felt that the "marshmallowy nougat" and crunchy cereal had potential and enjoyed the "textural interplay" between the different components, the "weird coffee aftertaste" and "perfumey" artificial notes killed it. A side note — our bar seemed to have leaked much of its nougat in transit (as is clear from the picture), though we doubt it would have earned higher marks intact.


"Where's the malt?" tasters asked. They felt that the "milky and way-too-sweet" chocolate coating both overwhelmed the crunchy center and tasted like fake chocolate or "mockolate."

Lee's Jaffa Bar

We couldn't wait to unwrap this chocolate-covered orange fondant treat, since there's really no mass-market analogue in the US. Some tasters loved the "strong orange flavors," and one even gushed that it was "the most delicious orange chocolate ever." Others couldn't get past the saccharine sweetness. While this was a polarizing treat to say the least, we'd recommend it to orange-chocolate lovers as well as peppermint patty fans, since the two candies have a very similar texture due to their fondant base and thin chocolate shell.


While we admired the appearance of this beautifully tempered, aerated chocolate bar, sadly, it fell a bit short once bitten into. One taster summed it up perfectly: "No, no, no! [It] looks soft, whipped, airy, and mousse-like, [but] tastes nothing of the sort." "Mushy texture" aside, the Aero bar disappointed in the flavor department as well, and commenters thought it tasted like "fake chocolate" with a "weird coffee aftertaste."


While our Scottish contingency enjoyed this treat for its nostalgia factor, and one taster enjoyed its "honey undertones" and found it "fun to eat," others wished it was less sticky and had a deeper caramel flavor. We'd recommend this for anyone lamenting the loss of the discontinued Marathon bar [1], as it's very similar in concept and flavor, or looking for a "better version of Milk Duds."

Sherbet Lemons

These hard candies were polarizing, to put it mildly. Some raved about this fizzy lemon drop being "almost too cute to eat" (one taster even proclaimed it the favorite treat of the bunch), while others found its lemon flavor "really off-putting" and "reminiscent of toilet bowl cleaner." That said, most enjoyed the novelty of the sour fizz center that reminded one taster of soda.


Neither crave-worthy nor particularly offensive, this peanut, raisin and puffed-rice bar tastes like "trail mix disguised as a candy bar" or, less optimistically, "like someone swept the floor [of a trail mix factory] and used the contents of the dustpan" to fabricate the bar.


While the tagline for this milk chocolate bar proclaims that "it's not for girls," [2] our predominantly female tasters tend to disagree. While "not amazing" and perhaps "boring," we appreciated that this "very simple" bar actually "taste[s] like real chocolate" and is a touch less sweet than most American drugstore candy (we're looking at you, Hershey's).

Lion White

This white-chocolate confection reminded us of a Kit Kat-100 Grand-Twix fusion bar of sorts. That said, tasters were split; some felt it was "sweet perfection" and enjoyed the "white chocolate and slight crunch," while others were thrown off by the unexpected coconut flavor and found it to be too sweet.

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Tasters raved about the smooth melt and creamy consistency of this milk chocolate bar. We also appreciated that this candy bar "actually tastes like chocolate," a virtue that is lacking in the majority of drugstore chocolates. That said, many felt it was "crazy sweet," to the point of excess.


Tasters found the Mars bar to be a solid choice and enjoyed the "perfect proportions" of chocolate, caramel, and nougat. We also found this iconic British treat to be similar to an American Milky Way or "a pack of Rolos that you don't have to share." Sadly, we wished the "crummy chocolate" was replaced with a higher-quality version.

Rhubarb Custard

Tasters applauded the "interesting combo" of flavors in this sanded lozenge and its smooth and slow melt on the tongue. We'd give this top marks if it had a "touch more acidity" and a slightly more pronounced rhubarb flavor to counterbalance the sweet custard notes.

Toffee Crisp

Most enjoyed the well-balanced texture and flavor provided by the layers of soft and slightly salty caramel and "malty" crispy cereal. Some lamented that this sweet treat wasn't "toffee-y enough," but most felt that it was similar to (and in fact an upgrade upon) the American 100 Grand bar. One taster even proclaimed that "if hungry, [he could eat] six!"

McVitie's Digestive Milk Chocolate Flavor

We enjoyed the nice texture of these "cozy" chocolate-covered biscuits and enjoyed their "toasty and nutty" notes. That said, some tasters found that these chocolate-covered biscuits were too sweet but agreed that a cup of Earl Grey tea would cut through the sugary chocolate layer.

Cadbury Buttons

While none of our taste testers are British and likely didn't eat these as children, we nonetheless found Cadbury Buttons to be "classically yummy" and a great throwback nibble. We also loved that their petite "size is [perfect] to let them melt in the mouth." Detractors wished that they had a less-sticky texture and lamented their "chalky, weird powdered milk aftertaste." Overall, the thoughts were mostly positive toward these milk chocolate discs, despite their humble flavor profile.


We loved the Lion bar's "balance of crunch and caramel softness" and likened it to a "malty, delicious 100 Grand Bar." However, we wished it were coated in higher-quality chocolate or had more salt to balance the sweetness. That said, we'd absolutely repurchase this candy bar and imagine that we could devour two in one sitting, stomachache be damned.


Most tasters enjoyed this milk-chocolate-enrobed coconut treat; its soft consistency and balanced sweetness helped it edge out Mounds, its closest American analogue. One taster even proclaimed it to be one of the "better of the British candies we've eaten." Detractors found it to be bland and "artificial, like the coconut was grown in a lab."

McVitie's Digestive Biscuits

A resounding favorite, one taster "could eat loads" of this hearty "less sweet, thicker graham cracker" with "oaty, buttery flavor" to spare. Many would pair this with tea or include a stack on a cheese plate to contrast with salty sharp cheeses. McVitie's hit "a perfect [balance] of sweet and savory" flavors.


Near-universally adored by our tasters, this sponge candy's "authentic honey flavor" and airy texture earned top marks. We enjoyed that it can "either be nibbled on in crunchy bites" or allowed to slowly "melt in your mouth" and lamented the lack of an American counterpart. One taster even found it so good that it warranted seconds.

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