Are you looking for retro novelty sweets? Where to get the most curious, quirky and controversial retro sweets?
Sweets have an enduring power over us. Even as adults sweets still hold the power to transport us back to a more innocent and arguably more flavourful time. J K Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter Book series, for example wrote in-depth about the sweets creating her own shop, Honeydukes, within her books and exploring the power sweets have to enchant, comfort and excite people of all ages. Quite simply, sweets are an example of real magic.
A large part of the power sweets have over us and which often extends long into adulthood is due to how sensual sweets are. Another well loved author, Roald Dahl knew this well. Having, as a boy and school student, been a ‘chocolate taster’ for Cadbury’s, Roald Dahl instantly fell in love with all things candy. Hence, years later Dahl would write the story known now by children all over the world as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
While Dahl’s story is primarily about the plight of its young protagonist, Charlie, it is also a celebration of life through sweets because sweets, like life, tantalise not just our taste buds, but comes in such vivid, exciting and diverse ranges of colours, textures and forms and features scents and tastes that are equally unique and hold the power to inform, influence and conjur memories, emotions and quite simply joy.
With that in mind, here is a list of the Nation’s all time favourite penny, novelty and sweet treats from years gone by. This list is by no means definitive, but celebrates some of the most curious, quirky and controversial retro sweets out there. For a more comprehensive list and means of buying some of the sweets listed and many others, there are numerous online sweet suppliers out there, such as Ashby Treats.
A truly controversial ‘old skool’ candy, chocolate cigarettes used to be widely available in sweet shops and newsagents in the UK. If you don’t remember stopping by your local newsagents on your way to school to pick up a copy of The Beano and a deck of chocolate smokes, you probably weren’t born in the 80s or 90s when the only confusion us kids felt over chocolate cigarettes was less moral in nature and more the simple matter of whether we were supposed to eat the fine paper encasing the cigarettes.
Voted Britain’s All Time Favourite Penny Sweet back in 2004, what could be lovelier than biting through dry tasteless sugar paper to then inhale a throat full of fizzing sherbet?
Flying saucers (of the candy variety) hit the headlines back in 2006 when Ryan Jarman, lead singer of the band The Cribs, was rushed from the annual NME Awards and hospitalised, having smashed and impaled himself on a jar of flying saucers, as reported by The Yorkshire Post.
Fruit Salads and Black Jacks
Fruit Salads and Black Jacks almost always sat side-by-side on the penny chew shelves of UK sweet shops, as if to introduce unsuspecting children to the reality that life has its ups and downs.
Whilst Fruit Salads were orangey-pink coloured and had a distinct but altogether yummy, fruity taste, the Fruit Salads evil twin, the aniseed flavoured Black Jack lurked close by – ready to blacken the tongues and turn the stomachs of its unsuspecting victims.
Perhaps because kids are known for enjoying eating or at least sucking on inanimate objects and products, SwizzelsMatlow devised Palma Violets. Palma Violets are violet flavoured disc candies that came in slim cellophane rolls and left a distinctly soapy or perfume like taste in the mouth and were, hence, best avoided by those with traumatic memories ofhaving their mouths washed out with soap.
For those with fond memories of Palma Violet sweets meanwhile, Monin do a deliciously adult version of this retro sweet in the form of a Creme de Violette liqueur, purchasable via the Amazon website.
For a small portion of UK kids candy necklaces provided the perfect combination of candy and colourful chic accessory. For far more British kids, candy necklaces provided the perfect combination of candy and weaponry.
A pastel coloured string of edible beads threaded onto an elastic necklace, candy necklaces when bitten in halves made the perfect bullets and the elastic the perfect catapult. If you missed out on this trick – it is never too late.