Jelly Babies are a staple sweetmeat in Great Britain (and Ireland, to a lesser extent).
You (the dirty foreigner) may have encountered them in Doctor Who, where the Doctor (as portrayed by Tom Baker) carried a seemingly endless supply of them in a little paper bag, to be offered to any sentient being within arm's reach.
To the uninformed, they are simply anthropomorphic jelly beans, but there are subtle differences in the composition.
While the jelly bean has a hardened, shiny carapace and a granular interior, ranging from chewy to semi-soft in consistency, the jelly baby has a soft, easily fractured exterior (usually dusted with icing sugar) formed as the jelly exposed to the air dries out and sets. The centre is smooth jelly, ranging from extremely soft to surprisingly rubbery (though not as much so as the cheap varieties of jelly beans).
There are three basic varieties of jelly baby generally available in the British Isles: Bassett's and the two I hereby dub "Nameless Chubby" and "Nameless Skinny".
Bassett's Jelly Babies are the accepted standard, originally conceived as Peace Babies to celebrate the end of the first world war. They are distinct from the others in three ways:
Flavour: They have the richest flavour of the varieties tested, and include raspberry flavour babies, which I have not seen in the generic types.
Consistency: They are the softest of all types in my independent study. Whether this is a point in their favour is for the reader to decide. The consistency is also more, ahem, consistent than the others.
Character: Again, a point with debatable virtues. Since 1989, each flavour of jelly baby is a different character, though few care to identify the babies as they eat.
Nameless Chubby are the most commonly sighted generic jelly babies and are very similar in appearance to the Bassett's standard. However, the Raspberry flavour is missing, the babies are all the same shape, the flavours are not so distinct and the jelly is extremely variable softness, though always somewhat rubbery.
Nameless Skinny jelly babies have been largely culled in Ireland, as they were formerly a penny sweet mainstay. They can still be found in far-flung pick-and-mix racks, however. They stand out from their peers in that they are shaped more like jelly adolescents, being longer and thinner than most. The smaller cross section means that they have a thicker skin than the other brands, which some prefer. They have otherwise much the same composition as the Nameless Chubby type.
The following information stripped from a packet of Bassett's Jelly Babies:
Colours (E150d, E120, E132, E104)
Nutritional Information (all values per 100g)
Energy: 1424 kJ / 335 kcal
Jelly babies are recommended to anyone seeking vast amounts of sugar, and should be loved as the treasure that they are.
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This has been a public service announcement, but it isn't any more.