English candy bars – a quick translation

Posted on October 31, 2012 by yankeebean

With Halloween upon us, there’s fancy-dress, ghosts and candy everywhere.  Maybe it’s just me, but I find myself having familiar conversations about what candy is like in the US verse the UK.  Questions like, “Do you have _________ in America?”, “Is __________ the same in America?”, “What’s your favo(u)rite American candy?  And your favo(u)rite English candy?”

So let’s take some time to look at English candy because ALL HELL can break loose if you’re an American living in England and you don’t know what you’re doing.  Some candies look similar, but underneath that layer of familiarity lurks a world of confusion.  Some candy bars have the same name, but don’t have the same sweet shenanigans inside.

So here’s a list of some of the candy that drops into my expat conversations the most often:


Closest US equivalent:

M&M’s (although they have M&M’s in the UK, too)

How are they different?:

They’re brighter colours, each colour is a different flavour (they’re different flavours for realsies, though – I know some of you M&M enthusiasts insist that all M&M’s don’t  taste the same, but I refuse to believe it) .  Also, they’re colouring is all-natural and doesn’t contain any of those frisky E-numbers – and they come in a cardboard tube (which I think is awesome).

The verdict:

I come down hard in favour of M&M’s because I don’t actually like the flavours that Smarties use. It’s a shame though, cos I love that they don’t use E-nums.

Milky Way (UK)

Closest US Equivalent:

Three Musketeers

How are they different?

The UK Milky Way is teeny tiny (about a third of the size of an American 3 Musketeers) and it has a thinner layer of milk chocolate than the 3 Musketeers does.

Everybody stay calm – there’s a candy bar called Milky Way in the States and it has nougat, CARAMEL and milk chocolate. So don’t lose your rag if you buy a Milky Way over here and it seems suspicious.  They’re not discriminating against you because you’re American by shrinking your choccy bar and witholding your caramel.

The verdict:

My Lord, I LOVE the UK Milky Way. It’s the right size, the right amount of sweetness, and it’s a bit lower calorie than your average candy bar which can never hurt. My loyalties lie with the UK version.

Mars (UK)

Closest US Equivalent:

Milky Way  (I know, I know – I’m confused, too)

How are they different?

These are super super similar – I crave them interchangeably.

The verdict:

The US version of the Milky Way was a major fave when I was a kid, so I’d vote for it just for ol’ times sake.

Horrifying yet amazing fact:

They deep fry Mars bars in Scottish chip shops.


Closest US Equivalent:


How are they different?

Bounty has coconut in the middle and MILK CHOCOLATE on the outside.  Mounds has the same type of coconut, but DARK CHOCOLATE on the outside.

The verdict:

Since coconut was invented by God to be paired with dark chocolate – I’ve gotta go Mounds on this one.

This post is starting to make me feel like all I do is eat chocolate.  Or maybe it’s making me WISH that all I do is eat chocolate.

Actually, as I’m typing this there’s a Halloween candy bowl in front of me filled with mini UK Milky Ways and Mars bars.


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What Others Are Saying

  1. Burt Racoon December 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I really like the idea of Bounty with dark chocolate.

    But I would be too embarrassed ask a shop assistant to see her ‘mounds’.

    • yankeebean December 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      HA! I think most English ladies would like it. People are generally pro-cheeky-comment here (to make a broad sweeping generalisation.)

    • Zestos January 13, 2013 at 6:19 am

      They do Bounty with dark chocolate here. It’s in a dark red wrapper, just like the Mounds. And yes… It tastes way better than the boring old milk choc Bounty!

  2. Christiana November 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    My (english) husband and I are now living in the US again and for halloween we had a bag that included milky ways and three musketeers. Consider his mind blown. He kept saying, “so milky way is a mars, but a mars is a three musketeers?!?!?”

    • Christiana November 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      uhg, consider that “a three musketeers is a milky way.” Even I’m confused!!!

    • yankeebean November 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      I’m STILL confused and at this point, I’m pretty sure I always will be!

      I’d actually finished writing this post and Photoshopped all the pictures before I realised that I’d paired up all the wrong candy bars with the wrong wrappers. Had to do it all from scratch.

      I blame my expat brain and the glass of wine that I was sipping at the time.

  3. brynzapoppin November 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    This is interesting as a Canadian Brit, since Smarties and Mars are essentially the same in both my countries, and most of the chocolate bars I (used to) miss from home don’t have an equivalent over here. I have to rely on the overpriced Cyber Candy shop whenever I have a craving.

    Do people actually use the word candy in Yorkshire? It’s pretty much unheard of in London.

    Also, did you know there’s a dark chocolate variety of Bounty?

    • yankeebean November 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      I totes didn’t know there was a dark chocolate Bounty! But now it’s Sunday and it’s too late for me to go and get one. *shakes fist*.

  4. Peacefulyorkshire November 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Oh but aren’t the kitkats over here in the UK just oh so much more delicious… nestle makes them here and they just taste- well, better. They are my PMS food of choice. Amen to that.

    • yankeebean November 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Bizarrely, I didn’t even like KitKats when I lived in the States. It took moving to England to get me into it. I blame the fact that I lived 10 minutes away from the Nestle factory for so long when I still lived in York :)

      Remember when they used to have candy bar production days and the WHOLE of York smelled like chocolate? BEST. EVER.

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