Across the world, and especially in the US, Britain is known for its brilliant array of snacks and sweet treats. We probably all know someone who has been abroad and has ended up craving their favourite biscuits, a chocolate bar or a nice cup of tea. It happens to the best of us. But what can we do for those friends abroad who have never tried our wide array of British snacks? Should we let them just continue to carry on, never knowing what they might have missed out on? For shame.
We take a look at four great snacks you should share with your friends worldwide. Just remember to package your gifts securely in strong cardboard tubes to ensure they survive the journey over the pond!
- The Chocolate Bar
As you come to see American chocolate styles in gimmick shops available in the UK, so our own British chocolate bars have become something of a delicacy in other countries. Every country has their own unique way of making and packaging sweets and chocolates in order to make them appeal to the children of that country, so it is a nice way of showing the culture of a country; to look at the design used on a chocolate bar. Like we would look through the ‘world foods’ aisle in supermarkets for Hershey’s bars or Pocky, so other people search for that elusive Kinder egg not normally sold in their country.
One of the most coveted British snacks is the naughty treat of a chocolate bar. Nobody is quite sure why, but British chocolate has something really unique about it. It’s milky and easy to eat and lacks the sickly richness and grittiness found in some American chocolate. Cadbury’s is a true British institution, and whenever I send a parcel to my relatives in the US they always beg me to include a few of these bars. Wispas, Double Deckers, Time Outs… they’ll take the lot.
While not exactly a snack, a good old English tea is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating aspects of life in the UK. Tea is hardly unusual across the world, but few countries have the same love affair with a brew as the Brits. A tea bag or loose leaves dunked in hot water, with a splash of milk, this often seems mystifying to anyone visiting the country. Considering so much of the world is fuelled by coffee, tea seems like an oddly genteel drink in comparison, however it is so traditionally British that no article such as this would be complete without it.
Your classical ‘English Breakfast’ tea is one that most brits would consider staple to their everyday diet, however there is a wide range of fruit and herbal teas you can enjoy. Green tea and oolong tea benefits your health more, but they are generally considered exotic rather than British. Both are equally good and who knows, you might even develop a deep love for them.
- Scones and Biscuits
The concept of afternoon tea raises a whole new cluster of traditional English nibbles. Scones are found almost exclusively in the UK, smothered in jam and cream… and let’s not get started on whether jam or cream comes first. Finger sandwiches with the crusts removed must look bizarre to those from other countries used to the globalisation of the fast food sub sandwich, and the crumpet, in all its sponge-resembling glory, is a firm favourite of those visiting the UK who crave a teatime snack.
The humble British biscuit also seems to be relatively unique in the culinary world. There is the US cookie, and there are cakes found in most cultures, but the hard baked biscuit appears to be a bit of an oddity. The satisfying snap and the crumble of crumbs is strangely satisfying, and people from other countries often struggle to get hold of them outside the UK. A McVities Digestive? Forget it. Custard creams? Wouldn’t count on it.
An odd little concoction made from yeast extract, marmite is often found as a topping for toast, bread and sandwiches and can occasionally be eaten with crackers. More recently it has found its way in cooked chicken recipes, as a flavour of crisps and even mixed in with the British chocolate bar. Marmite is globally famous for also coining the phrase “You hate it or you love it”, meaning simply that Marmite isn’t for everyone. It is certainly something that everyone should try at least once though.
With a sharp and savoury taste, you might feel like marmite has no place being spread on toast, and would instead be used to thicken up a broth or stew. But the British love spreading it on toast, baguettes, crackers or combining it with cheese for a variety of different styles and flavours. It is not something you can really describe and instead is something you should experience for yourself. Definitely a British classic!
It’s safe to say that the UK has some strange eating habits and some interesting contributions to the gourmet world. But in today’s ever-changing world of differences and similarities, standing out from the crowd is what gets you noticed and remembered and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is also important to remember that if you plan on sending any British snacks abroad, that you do your research into the local customs policies. While many British snacks should have no trouble passing border control, some countries have somewhat unorthodox lists of restricted items, so it is better to check before you send it off to avoid paying a penalty. If everything is in the clear, you should have no issue with sending your relatives and friends aboard all the British sweets and snacks they desire!
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with market leading parcel broker Rand Logistics, who were consulted over this post.