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Even if your summer hasn’t involved any sun, sea, or sand this year, you’ve surely found time to enjoy an ice cream or two. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular varieties of ice cream and ice lolly – that’s the British English term for popsicle – that you’ll find in the U.K during the warmer months. Warning: this post almost certainly will make your mouth water.

1. Twister

First sold in 1982, the Twister has become such an iconic British ice cream that West Midland Safari Park even has a rollercoaster which imitates its swirling design. Flavor-wise, it’s a fruity triple whammy: lime sorbet mingles with pineapple ice cream over a strawberry sorbet center.

2. Fruit Pastilles Lolly

This lolly is a spin-off from Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles candy, which were first produced in northern England way back in 1881. Like the candy, the lolly features five fruit flavors (pineapple, orange, lemon, raspberry, blackcurrant), which means it’s definitely one to cool down with on a humid day.

3. Mini Milk

There’s nothing misleading about the name of this enduringly popular ice lolly: it’s quite little, and made mainly from milk. It comes in three reassuringly old-school flavors (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla), and is a strong option if you fancy a late-afternoon sweet treat but don’t want to spoil your appetite.

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4. Feast

But if you’re feeling hungrier, you might prefer to try the aptly-named Feast. On the outside you’ll find light chocolate ice cream studded with “biscuit bits” – that’s the manufacturers’ technical term, by the way. Then on the inside, there’s a solid chocolate core that makes a satisfying snap when you bite into it. It’s truly a treat of two halves.

5. Mr Whippy

Mr Whippy is the U.K.’s most famous brand of soft serve ice cream served from a van, which is what Brits tend to call an ice cream truck. It was founded in 1958 by British businessman Dominic Facchino after he was impressed by the Mister Softee franchise during a trip to the States. Today, the Mr Whippy name retains a strong nostalgic appeal – Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint even owns a vintage 1974 Mr Whippy van!

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6. 99

If you order a “99” from a British ice cream van, you’ll get a soft serve cone with a Cadbury Flake chocolate bar nestled in it. There are various competing theories as to why it’s called a “99,” but perhaps the most charming is that the idea of popping a Cadbury Flake into an ice cream cone was devised in 1922 by Scottish ice-cream maker Stephen Arcari, who ran a parlor at 99 Portobello High Street in Edinburgh.

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7. Fab

It’s now made by Nestlé, but the Fab was created in 1967 by British brand J. Lyons and Co. to capitalize on the popularity of the Thunderbirds TV show. “F-A-B” was a catchphrase used in the show as an equivalent term for “roger that,” and the original packaging featured a picture of Thunderbirds‘ heroine Lady Penelope and her driver Parker. The basic recipe hasn’t really changed since then: it’s part strawberry sorbet, part vanilla ice cream, with a top layer dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sugar strands. Fab indeed.

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8. Solero

The Solero ice cream brand isn’t unique to the U.K. – in summer months you’ll spot it all over Europe, though different countries have different flavored varieties. Brits get to choose between the Solero “exotic,” which coats vanilla ice cream which a crispy shell comprising peach, passion fruit, pineapple, and mango flavors, and Solero “red berries,” which has strawberry and raspberry flavors in its shell. Both make for a refreshing and rather more grown-up sweet treat.

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9. Cornetto

Cornetto means “little horn” in Italian, and sure enough, this frozen dessert cone has its origins in Naples. But over the years, it’s become such a beloved dessert in the U.K. that Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright named a film trilogy after it: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End each features a glimpse of a Cornetto cone. Made in the U.K. by Wall’s – though produced all over Europe by different local manufacturers – Cornetto is available in various flavors, each with a delicious hunk of pure chocolate bottom waiting for you at the bottom of the cone.

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10. Calippo

The U.K.’s best known “freezie” is available in two main flavors – orange and lemon-lime – though other varieties can be found elsewhere in Europe. Part of the fun is letting the last part of the lolly melt so you can drink it like an ice-cold (and definitely non-alcoholic) shot.

Which is your favorite British ice cream?

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Filed Under: British Food
By Nick Levine