Friday, July 10, 2009

Essential Retro Sweets You Must Stock In Your Traditional Sweetshop

It was my love of old fashioned sweets that inspired me to open my very own sweetshop. It was always my childhood dream... after all they always talk about being as ‘happy as a child in a sweetshop’.

I remember, with great fondness, stopping off at our local sweetshop on the way to school. I spent many a happy hour deciding which sweets would find their way into my little white paper bag. The choice seemed almost endless... from pear drops to kali, sherbet lemons to strawberry bootlaces.

And there can be no doubt that, in the same way that fashions from the 1970s and 1980s keep coming back, there is currently resurgence in the love of nostalgic sweets.

People even ask me if the stock in my shop is left over from these decades... and if so, can the sweets still be eaten!

I give a wry smile. Although the massive majority of sweets that we sell aren’t generally available these days, the manufacturers still make many of the old favorites. Finding them though has been very difficult - that is until the advent of the Internet.

I’m often asked, by people who are thinking of opening a quaint little village sweetshop or a stall on a market, which of the old classics they should be stocking. So here is the list, I have come up with, of the top 5 sweets that no self-respecting old-fashioned sweetshop should be without (I’ve assumed that everyone would include classics like Flying Saucers, Sherbet Lemons, Aniseed Balls, Shrimps and Blackjacks - these are some old favorites that you might have forgotten):

Space Dust

Remember Space Dust? It was around initially in the late 1970s I think. It came in a sachet and when you poured it onto your tongue it started to fizz, pop and explode. And you spent the next few minutes with mouth open so that everyone around could ‘enjoy’ the crackling. Believe it or not, it is still being made and is now very trendy, used by famous chefs, such as Heston Blumenthal, in their desserts.


They seemed huge and lasted for ages. I used to keep taking mine out of my mouth so I could see what colour it had turned in to. It was always a great disappointment if had gone white but I suppose there had to be the boring while layer between the reds, yellows and, my personal favourite, the blues. And right in the very centre there was that little seed. If I wanted a sweet to make my pocket money last as long as possible, I went for a gobstopper every time!

Sugar Mice

Now these are really old school - I think it is the string tail that really does it for me, it’s just so nostalgic. After all, you hardly see string around these days anymore. And as long as you didn’t crunch, you could make them last for absolutely ages - they were second on my ‘minutes of enjoyment per penny’ list, just behind the gobstoppers.

Sweet Tobacco

It used to come in pouches, just like real tobacco, and it was known as Spanish Gold. It looked a lot like real tobacco too - shredded coconut dipped in chocolate powder. It was one of those sweets which divided people. Which was the tastier part? Was it the coconut tobacco? Or was i the lovely chocolaty powder that was left when the tobacco had all been devoured?

Sherbet Fountains

Everyone remembers the sweet... a tube of fizzy sherbet with a liquorice stick poking out of the top. But no-one can remember the name. Everyone seems to think of them as sherbet dips. But they truly are a retro sweet classic. Even people who don’t like liquorice seem to like Sherbet Fountains!


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