Home > Bitching, Disgusting, Food, Nostalgia, Things I Actually Like > The Time I Ate English Candy

The Time I Ate English Candy

Here’s the thing – I pretty much like candy in ALL its forms. There are very few that I won’t eat (liquorice comes to mind, and Good and Plenty), but I’m one of those weird kids that would actually eat EVERYTHING in her pillowcase after Halloween. Even those nasty peanut butter taffy things that came in the black and orange paper wrappers? Yeah, I ate those, too. Or circus peanuts, which are probably one of the worst candies every created.

So when I came across a sweet shop in London in April, I ended up trying a ton of things. I felt like I was in Harry Potter with all the sugar mice laying around, though I have to say the mice looked better than they tasted. I ended up buying a “Jolly Mixture” bag from Hope and Greenwood Splendid Confectionary in Covent Garden, but only now finally ate all the goodies within. So join me as a bunch of Americans and one English ex-pat review traditional British candies. I had them all pick pseudonyms for themselves, so no, I don’t actually work with Anderson Cooper.

Sherbet Fountain (Barratt)

Me: The powder looks a lot like cocaine, or powdered sugar if you’re being PC. I normally hate liquorice, but I actually don’t mind it much here. When you lick the powder off of it, you get just a hint of the anise flavor, which helps to offset the lemony sweetness of the candy. But I certainly won’t eat the liquorice at the end.

Kate Middleton (from SE London, been living in the US since 1992, but plans on moving back to London soon): These were fun when you were little since the powder would foam up in your mouth, and you could pretend you were rabid. It scared parents when you started drooling foam. But the liquorice was crap. British children like liquorice a lot more than American kids, for some reason. Maybe parents are trying to teach their children bitterness or something. Also, this powder doesn’t seem as fizzy as I remember – did they change the recipe?

The Silver Fox: Citrusy and limey. I like Fun Dip better.

Fizz Wiz

All: Just like Pop Rocks. Nothing to see here.

Parma Violets (Swizzels Matlow)

Me: I actually kind of like these? They sort of taste like perfume in candy form. But where did the name “Parma” come from?

Kate Middleton: Ugh, these taste like soap.

Hermione: Nice little soaps! They’re kind of like what I imagine a bath bomb would taste like. I’d maybe eat these again, but I’m not sure.

The Silver Fox: Very bland and chalky. Bleagh.

Refreshers (Swizzels Matlow)

Me: Tasty, but as tough on your teeth as Laffy Taffy. At least there aren’t any jokes on the wrapper.

Kate Middleton: I can’t eat these, they’ll pull out all my fillings.

Hermione: These taste like Lemon Verbena. But are also sort of grassy? I like them!

The Silver Fox: I’m not a taffy fan, the texture is all wrong, and they’re terrible for fillings.

Fizzers (Swizzels Matlow)

Hermione: These are like Smarties (the American kind), but more gross. These taste like chewable grape Tylenol or those chewable vitamins. Ew. And they don’t even fizz! False advertising!

Love Hearts (Swizzels Matlow)

Me: These are better than American conversation hearts, but not by much. It’s like a SweeTart gone wrong. A really medicinal aftertaste.

Hermione: I’m really annoyed that the hearts are printed at right angles to each other. The one on the front of each candy is upright, and the one on the back is on its side! They taste like chalk at first, then get a little better like a SweeTart, then back to chalk. Not tempting or appealing.

The Silver Fox: Terrible! Terrible! (He then spat it out into a trashcan.)

So these last three, I ate before I even left London.

Rainbow Drops

Me: This has got to be the worst idea for candy ever. It’s like a really crappy, stale cereal that has been barely frosted.

Flying Saucers

Me: I liked these quite a bit! The rice paper stuff dissolves, then you get all this fizzy sherbet. I ate them all by myself since I’m a greedy bastard.

Candy Whistle

Me: This was pretty terrible, and the whistle didn’t even work. The “candy” here is more bland SweeTart-esque sugar that tastes more like chalk than anything.

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  1. July 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I would love to try all of those — those Rainbow Drops remind me of Catholic communion hosts — just…colorful! I can’t lie, I would’ve eaten a whole bowl full of those hosts when I was a kid going to religious ed if I could’ve gotten my hands on them.

    • July 19, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Really? I’ve had communion a few time (accidentally, as I later learned), and I didn’t much care for them. Sort of stale-ish tasting, no?

  2. normalfornorfolk
    July 19, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Haha! interesting reivew of the sweets I used to eat as a child. They were great at the time, although I totally agree when you eat them as an adult, they are pretty disgusting! Makes you wonder how Britain manages to have such a problem with child obesity!! I still love Parma Violets though. Yes, they taste like soap, but the memorys they bring back make the dodgy taste worth it! x

    • July 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Dodgy indeed, I feel like I’m being punished a bit when I eat those, and yet I ate the whole roll! Maybe I’m a masochist.

      • normalfornorfolk
        July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

        They have that effect on you, don’t they? May be worth checking if they have a high MSG content! lol. I think in the old days, sweets were such a luxury that manufacturers could get away with any old crap & these days, it’s the nostalga element that keeps them popular.

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