From Jelly Babies to Fruit Gums: The 15 sweet treats that Yorkshire gave the world

Yorkshire is known throughout the world for many different reasons, whether it be sporting champions, Yorkshire Tea or renowned actors, but one of the things many people know it by is for its significant contribution to the world of confectionery.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 30th April 2018, 1:03 pm
Updated Monday, 30th April 2018, 1:06 pm
Yorkshire is known for its significant contribution to the world of confectionery.
Yorkshire is known for its significant contribution to the world of confectionery.

From chocolate to sweets to mints, Yorkshire has invented and manufactured some of not only the nation's, but the world’s best loved sweets and chocolate, with many calling it the confectionery capital of the world. So, did you know that these popular sweet treats hail from the white rose county?

Party Rings

Although the humble part ring made peak fashion in the 80s, it is still going to this very day and is a particular staple of children’s birthday parties.

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These delicious chocolate mint slices were originally manufactured at Rowntree's York factory, but today they are made in Halifax

They were introduced by Batley based Fox’s Biscuits in 1983 after the Fox family founded the beloved confectionery company from a terrace house in Whitaker Street in 1853.

This company is also the creator of many of the nation’s favourite biscuits such as Rocky Bars, Sports biscuits and Crunch Creams.

Jelly Babies

Produced by Sheffield-founded confectionery company Bassetts, baby-shaped confectionery was first in production from the mid 1860’s, but the iconic Jelly Babies we all know and love were originally produced by Bassetts in 1918. They were originally named ‘Peace Babies’ in commemoration of the end of the First World War.

These delicious chocolate mint slices were originally manufactured at Rowntree's York factory, but today they are made in Halifax

Liquorice Allsorts

Liquorice Allsorts, whose mascot is the iconic Bertie Bassett, also hail from Yorkshire and the Basset company, which was founded in Sheffield in 1853 by George Bassett.


Smarties were first created in York in 1882 and went through a transition from the beginning. Originally known as ‘Chocolate Beans’, before becoming ‘Smarties Chocolate Beans’, before finally becoming just Smarties.

They were originally sold in a cylinder tube with a letter of the alphabet on the lid in order to be a useful learning tool for young children.

Although they are no longer made in York and are produced in Germany, they still hail from the white rose country.


The beloved kit-kat was first launched on August 29, 1935 and was originally called Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp, before becoming a Kit-Kat in 1937. They first appeared after a man at Rowntree's York factory suggested a four-finger chocolate bar and over 1 billion Kit-Kats are made every year.

Polo mints

The renowned polo mint is another Rowntree creation and one of Britain’s biggest selling mints. They were first manufactured in York at the Rowntree's Factory in 1948 and have the long-standing, but recognisable slogan of ‘the mint with the hole’.

Terry's Chocolate Orange

Invented by Terry's in York in the 1930s this tasty orange-tasting chocolate is still one of the nation’s favourite treats, especially at Christmas.

A Chocolate Apple and a Chocolate Lemon were also tried out, but they didn’t quite make the cut. However, the Chocolate Orange has stood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by many to this very day.

Quality Street

Invented in Halifax in 1936, Quality Street is one of the nation’s favourite assorted chocolate brands and proves a popular choice with families at times of celebration.

After John Mackintosh opened a shop in Halifax in 1890, he created a new sweet which mixed hard toffee with runny caramel, making Halifax the home of the world's first toffee factory.

After Eights

This beloved after dinner mint has its roots firmly stuck in Yorkshire. These delicious chocolate mint slices were originally manufactured at Rowntree's York factory, before production was then moved to Castleford, but today they are made in Halifax.

Fruit Gums

Fruit Gums were one of Rowntree's earliest creations, invented in 1893 and originally named 'Clear Gums' before being renamed.

They are not to be confused with Fruit Pastilles, which are also another Rowntree creation, but which were originally made in Tyneside, not Yorkshire.


This confectionery is either loved or hated, but either way, Yorkshire has its claim on the production of this traditional sweet.

Cravons, based in Pontefract, claims to be the original manufacturer of liquorice, founding its factory there in 1884, and this market town even holds a liquorice festival every year.

Pontefract cakes

Pontefract cakes are a type of small, roughly circular black sweet measuring approximately 2 cm in diameter and 4 mm thick, made of liquorice, originally manufactured in the Yorkshire town of Pontefract, England.


Also invented in York by Rowntree's, this bubbly chocolate is a firm favourite amongst many.

Originally introduced in the North of England, by the end of 1935, it had become so popular with customers that it began to be sold throughout the UK.

However, it was only introduced in its minty flavour and the milk chocolate version didn't come until the 1970s.

Jelly Tots

Jelly Tots are soft, chewy fruit-flavoured sweets, which were invented by Dr Brian Boffey of Horsforth, Leeds, when he was working for Rowntree's. They were launched in 1965 and quickly became a firm favourite amongst children.

Whitaker’s Chocolate

First founded in 1903, the company moved to Skipton high street in 1929 and during the 1960s, it opened its first chocolate factory in the town.

Today it turns over around £11m and during its peak periods the company employs around 150 staff.