Picking up from where we left off at Hamburg, Germany, we cross the waters to embark on a new journey in the United Kingdom.
Some facts about the UK
- Capital: London
- Famous for: football clubs, pubs, cheese, Royal Family, Shakespeare, prestigious universities
- As the greatest overall consumer of toffees, candies, chocolates, the British sweet tooth has sunk deep into the economy – over £3000 million is spent on these indulgences every year.
- Fun fact that we have no means of proving: Queen Elizabeth's teeth are said to have been blackened by over-consumption of sugar (The Guardian). Looks like this liking for sweet delights runs deep and wide in their history and culture.
Previously we have been featuring mainly chocolates, waffles, and cookies, so now that we're in the UK, it's time for other sweet specialities to shine! We love ourselves some UK toffees, traditional boiled sweets, and wafers, and by saying so, we can be sure that some of you equally crazy confectionery lovers out there might have already gotten the hint about the brands going to be featured. Let's see if you're right.
Walkers Nonsuch Toffees
Representing England’s finest and oldest makers of traditional toffee, Walkers Nonsuch have been specialising in only toffee since the 19th Century, hailing from the Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent. There are so many flavours available that we become spoilt for choice, but we enjoy the interesting process of trying each one and finding out the flavours we like. What we love most about their toffees is that no matter which one in the product line that you happen to pick up, your taste buds will be exposed to the smooth and soft texture of quality caramelized butter. Raved by some as "a bit of Heaven in a foil wrapper", these sticky bits of pleasure melt tenderly in your mouth as you savour the natural goodness of the English delight. Definitely a classic.
Simpkins Travel Sweets
Marketed as the World's Original English travel Sweets, crafted in Sheffield since 1921, Simpkins has been using only the finest all natural ingredients, colours and flavours and by the original method of slow boiling in copper pans, to ensure the finest taste and texture possible.
Did you know that Simpkins sweets were one of the first English confectionery products to be sold in Japan? Aided by the natural origins of the product, conforming to the strict Japanese regulations, Japan also loved the tin itself as a kind of status symbol, despite it’s affordable price, popular especially with the younger generation. Maybe most of us in Singapore might not have the practice/habit of bringing a pack of travel sweets with us on our wanderlust, but here's what it aids to make your getaway a better one. Travel sweets are particularly useful to have on hand while flying or while driving through mountainous terrains, as sucking on hard sweets can prevent ears from popping, or at least, reduce the physical discomfort. Try putting it on the to-buy list for your next trip and see if it works! (Because it sure does for us!)
One of our all-time favourites, 4,000,000 of these are made and sold every week.. which is really quite a lot of caramel and chocolate goodness. Originated in Scotland, these wafers evokes fond childhood reminiscence in many locals, and naturally the top local choice for a gift of the Scottish representative.
As one of Scotland's most famous home-grown brands, Tunnock's has stayed true to its roots since 1890, and continues to prove itself as the creator of some of the country's most iconic products. Let the locals tell you themselves:
There is something inherently Scottish about Tunnocks. No matter, where you are in the world, one bite of their famous caramel wafers brings you right back to your gran's living room, cup of hot tea by your side. -- Paul C.
I was brought up on Tunnock's Wafers as my Grandpa used to buy them by the bucket load -- Eleanor M.
Comprising 5 layers of wafer, 4 layers of chocolate cream, fully coated in real milk chocolate, it comes as a surprise that the texture and taste are not alike the usual wafers due to the layers of creamy milk chocolate that makes this an easily more likeable treat for people who aren't fans of dry wafers that chips off everywhere. Not mentioning how the Tunnock's wrappers gives us a retro throwback with its era-iconic design, we found that the wrappers have been widely used for handicraft and a variety of creative work!
Has the delights intrigued you to know more about their places of origin yet? We sure hope it did, because we're now going to start on exploring the UK proper!
Gladstone Pottery Museum
Hailing from Stoke on Trent (home to Walkers' Toffees), this is a working museum of a medium sized pottery, located in a Victorian museum. It offers a fascinating insight into the history of Stoke on Trent, globally famous for the quality of its pottery. It also provides a glimpse of local working conditions of men, women and children in The Potteries a good 100 years ago, an enriching lesson for tourists and locals alike of the ageing industry and the English society. On a less historical note, you could speak to the potters at work, watch them in demonstration and even have a go at it yourself!
Many have also raved about the gift shop and the tearoom that comes with the museum. You can enjoy a peaceful afternoon sipping tea in the tearoom, and spending time handpicking exquisite souvenirs for your loved ones, giving them (literally) a piece of Stoke on Trent, while supporting the diminishing art of pottery.
Besides a living history textbook and a must-visit of the city, it is increasingly known for being a paranormal site, readers to explore it at your own risk.. we'll just visit it in the daylight for its intended purpose.
Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre
UK provides a totally different type of charm, leaving behind fond memories of the artistry in Stoke on Trent, and moving on to Sheffield, home to the Simpkins Travel Sweets and the wild and exotic Tropical Butterfly House.
It houses many species, including free-flying butterflies and birds, farm animals, meerkats, lemurs, exotic snakes and creepy crawlies, marmoset monkeys, lorikeets and predator birds like hawks and eagles. While researching, we found many awesome photos of the attraction and its animals but we were really to share all, it will probably take up the whole page. But just a few to induce some awws and wows:
For Scotland, where the famous Tunnock's brand orignated, it is really tempting to feature the Edinburg Castle and throw in a few jawdropping shots of the Scottish landmark. However Arthur's Seat, as one of the four hill forts in Holyrood Park, is one of the places we've read excellent reviews about, which really sparked our curiosity about this place. You may be wondering, what's so good about climbing all the way up to the summit just for a 360-degree bird's eye view of Edinburg? It's clearly not JUST a 360-degree view of the city.
Here's what's good:
You could either walk or drive up to the summit, but either way, the breathtaking view on top is totally worth your time and effort. We wouldn't mind waking a bit early for a morning exercise up the summit if it means enjoying and taking tons of panorama shots of this, enjoying fresh air for a great morning in town. (Apparently the sunset shots are also equally beautiful but sunrise hike sounds really positive, hopeful and somewhat romantic to spend the start of a day with your loved ones... or is it just me? Right. )
Thankfully Arthur's Seat is not that far from the city centre, so you'd probably not be required to prepare for the walk at unearthly times. Hiking fans would be pleased to know that there are several hiking routes for your pick, each of them equally pleasing and satisfactory as the end destination -- you know, as they say the process is more important than the result -- and non-hiking fans will be equally happy to know that there are more scenic walking paths that are easier for the travel photographer. Either way it means sweating a bit, which can prove to be a great workout after all that Tunnock's wafers we most probably will be bingeing on all week.
But for now, being yet there, 'guess all we can do now to experience the UK, is to consume the tasty English delights while being here in Singapore - a less physically-draining alternative we believe all will gladly welcome! These three brands featured in this post are just a scrape of the iceberg of the many English brands available at our favourite candy store, Candy Empire. Explore them on your own at the nearest outlet to you, let us know so that we can try and feature it too!