British Food & Gift Shop

Month: March 2013

Jelly Babies: From World War I and Doctor Who fame to American contraband?

photo-17Jelly Babies have long been a favorite sweet in households in the United Kingdom. Even though they have been compared to gummy bears and jellybeans, there is really nothing quite like them. They are unique in shape (think about it, you’re eating babies) and history, and due to their role in the popular Doctor Who TV series they have become better known in the United States.

Jelly Babies date back to World War I when they were originally called “Peace Babies” to mark the end of the war. Production was halted during World War II due to wartime shortages, but in 1953 Bassett re-launched the product as “Jelly Babies.”

Each jelly baby has a name and a specific flavor (for example, Bubbles tastes of lemon), and as of 2007, Jelly Babies changed to include only natural ingredients. While they can be considered gummy sweets, their texture is rather unique. The outside of a jelly baby is hard, but the inside is soft (not rubbery). Jelly Babies are also traditionally packaged while still dusted in starch left from the manufacturing process.

In popular culture, Jelly Babies have been linked to both The Beatles and Doctor Who.

After it was reported that George Harrison liked Jelly Babies, fans of the Beatles pelted the band with the sweets at concerts. Jelly Babies became associated with Doctor Who due to their frequent appearance with the show’s fourth doctor, Tom Baker, in the 1970s. They continue to be mentioned on the show to this day.

Although they have risen in popularity in the US due to Doctor Who, Bassett Jelly Babies have also become increasingly harder to import. Luckily, The British Connection has a stash ready for you Jelly Baby fans, so get them before they’re gone!

Have your Guinness and eat it too

photo-16Guinness is not just for drinking. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching rapidly, why not experiment with both savory and sweet dishes that use Guinness as an ingredient?

If you look for recipes online, you could actually plan a three course St. Patty’s Day party feast. Here are a few ideas if you are having guests over to celebrate:

1) Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue: Fondue is a great appetizer to share at parties. Once you’ve made your cheese fondue, set it up on a table along with a selection of bread and veggies for dipping and let your guests serve themselves! This particular recipe calls for a few ingredients sold by The British Connection: Aged cheddar (we carry Kerrygold Irish cheddar, which has a great bite to it), Guinness, and Worcestershire sauce. And don’t worry if you don’t own a fondue pot, you can also use a medium sized saucepan.

2) Beef stew with Guinness: A stew makes for an easy party meal if you’re having friends and family over to celebrate St. Patty’s because you can prepare the stew before your guests arrive. Get all the dirty work out of the way before your party starts then let the stew simmer while you join in on the fun. Simply serve up when it’s ready!

3) Guinness brownies: No dinner party would be complete without dessert, so for St. Patty’s Day try combining Guinness and chocolate. Guinness brownies give an ordinary dessert a St. Patrick’s Day edge, but they will also be quite rich. You may want to cut them into mini brownies and let your guests snack on as little/as much as they can handle. Once again, perfect party food!

4) Irish Manhattans and Guinness Cream Soda: If you really want to go all out and include Irish themed drinks on your party menu, Irish Manhattans and Guinness Cream Soda make a fun alternative to drinking straight Guinness. These drinks will certainly have a kick to them!

Gig Harbor’s The British Connection also sells St. Patrick’s Day themed necklaces, bracelets, and hats, along with Irish soda bread mix, scone mix, tea towels, flags, bags, chocolate, and more! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!