Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Does Britain have a sweet tooth?

Sweet tooth video
This week, we’re talking about special occasions and how we celebrate them in the UK with special food. But before we get to that, we need to talk about something really important. Sweet things. People in the UK love puddings or desserts, cakes, and biscuits. Listen to the people we interviewed talking about their favourite sweet food. Which one sounds best to you?
No, I can’t answer that. There are so many. Right, sweet tooth, what do I like? Everything. There is not a sweet thing I will not have. So, I like fruitcake, I like a nice Genoa cake, I like your big, fat, Christmas really rich, I like biscuits. My biscuits, I like Garibaldis, I like bourbons, political ones obviously. Fig rolls I could eat by the dozen. Biscuit. Yeah, I do have a sweet tooth. And it’s actually more my family kind of insist on having something sweet after a meal, so if I cook a meal and there’s no pudding at the end of it, I do get complaints. So yes.
We usually have something sweet after the meal, ice cream or a steamed pudding or rice pudding. Or tonight I’m making clafoutis which I think is actually a French pudding with eggs and flour and sugar and prunes soaked in brandy.
Biscuits, cakes, baklava I like, in India we like gulab jamun I like lassi, rasmalai.
Yes, we do. We often have stewed fruit which we have gathered in the correct season, like picking blackberries or elderberries and then cooking them and freezing them. So over the winter we can just collect them out of the freezer and then put some breadcrumbs or crushed biscuits on the top so that you have a fruit crumble. And so we often have that after a meal. I like for Christmas. What else do we like? We like Christmas cakes, yule logs. When I was in Slovakia going over to Vienna, sachertorte. There is not– a torta della nonna, a plum tarte aux prunes is absolutely gorgeous.
So again, if I’m home, I almost inhabit this more kind of Indian lifestyle where we will go to town and we’ll definitely have something sweet. My family have a huge sweet tooth. And yeah, that can be things like gulab jamun, which is these kind of like dough balls that are soaked in sugar and my granddad loves making them. So there’s always some of those. Or it might be, my dad likes making this dish called semiya that he knows I love and he’ll make it especially when I’m home. Which is to do with milk and like these vermicelli noodles that you like cook in milk for a long time with cardamom and things.
Bread and butter pudding, rice pudding. There is not a thing I will not eat. I love sweet things, so yeah. And savoury. A cheese board, a wonderful cheese board to finish off with.

Watch Claire introducing the final week of the course, and listen to people talking about the sweet things they enjoy.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

If you have a ‘sweet tooth’ it means you enjoy sweet things – and a lot of people in the UK do. As you saw in the video, people often eat something sweet after a meal. It could be something small, like a biscuit or it could be something cooked or prepared.

Dessert – or pudding?

In the video you heard several different words to talk about sweet things. A sweet dish, served after a meal, has different names. In restaurants, you’ll see ‘dessert’, and you might be asked ‘Would you like to see the dessert menu?’ However, when eating at home, people might say ‘pudding’, ‘sweet’ or ‘afters’.

To make things even more confusing, ‘pudding’ has several meanings. It can be sweet (like sticky toffee pudding or rice pudding) or savoury (like Yorkshire pudding or even black pudding).

Britain’s favourite desserts

Take a look at the top 10 most popular desserts in the UK – results of research done by Breville in 2019. There’s also a map of the UK showing the most popular desserts in each region – according to the research.

Over to you

  • Have you tried any British desserts – what did you think?
  • What is the most popular dessert in your country? Do people have a sweet tooth?
This article is from the free online

Exploring English: Food and Culture

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now