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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Also called confectionery

In the USA it's candy, a word I could never accept; here in the UK, sweets. News, updates, views.

Toffees (unqualified).
Small rectangular blocks, wrapped in Cellophane before entirely cool. Distorted shape hinders unwrapping. Possibly obs.

Chocolate éclairs. Toffee shell, milk chocolate interior. Mustn’t suck. Designed for extreme dento-tactile sensation when crushed by teeth.

Aniseed balls.
Disappointing concept. Red/brown outer colour has strong flavour but is quickly sucked away; remainder (white) is duller. Choking hazard; ball could break teeth. Sucking mandatory.

Licorice allsorts.
Continuing favourite but causes adult doubts ("Are they for children?") Some multi-layered designs include dark brown layer; taste redolent of compost.

Sherbet lemon. Hard, lemon-flavoured, crystalline shell containing "fizzy" sherbet powder. As if to justify creation of a new word, "lessish", an antonym to "moreish".

Quality Street. Mixture of toffee, toffee/chocolate, chocolate/fudge, chocolate/fruit "jam", chocolate/nut, etc, designs. Presumably aimed at wide preferences but certain formats (eg, chocolate/fruit "jam") are always consumed last.

Jelly babies.
Popular if almost flavourless. Moral worry to parents who read The Guardian (ie, Cannibalism?)

Fruit gums. Two types: flexible with sugar coating; much harder discs with impressed "chequerboard" pattern. Time-taken-to-consume ratio: five to one.

Humbugs. Once toffees with adult levels of mint flavour, now less mint and sweeter. Consistency changed from firm to pulpy.

Acid drops.
Phased out because of DEA pressure?

Mints. Huge range: from powdery discs resembling medication to elegant mini-loaf shape in transparent material (Cleverly named: glacier mint.)

Chocolate bars.
Elaboration almost always fails: eg, Aero (bubbled interior), Fry’s “Sandwich”? (Milk chocolate “bread”, dark chocolate “meat”)

Note: Dark chocolate morally superior to milk chocolate.

Note: French sweets - many detail differences vs. UK brands, almost always for the worse.


  1. Jelly babies are favoured specifically by the fell running fraternity. Fell running is a very British and individualistic activity, and I may do a post on the subject. I think it is believed that jelly babies, which are mostly sugar are easily absorbed giving a quick energy boost. The myth of their properties has filtered down to outdoories in general and we often here about them from our friends The Two Blondes. Perhaps they are the power behind many Duke of Edinburgh gold awards.

  2. Professional Bleeder, uncertain that Blogger accepted links, sent the following via a trained (and paid-for) Ethopian runner equipped with a forked twig.

    Chocolate USA, woefully inferior to all UK chocolate being somewhat greasy, conjoined with peanut butter

    Cadbury's creme eggs - best spat out of the window of a moving lime green Ford Fiesta. (A father-daughter joke.).

    Re. link below - not for faint-hearted sweet eater. PB adds:
    Jelly babies, fit only for this:



    PS from Dad: PB is apparenently unaware that Cadbury is now owned by US giant, Kraft.

  3. ! Every year, my Scottish aunts sent boxes upon cartons of rock candy. I can't imagine the kind of lunatic who dreamed that stuff up. Alluringly pretty pastel colours and so shrilly sweet I wondered if it actually was meant for writing on a blackboard or other non-consumable purpose.

  4. Simple rock candy is just a giant sugar crystal. Ethiopian smiles are a symptom of sugar deprivation. Oh, and I fixed the bum thing over on mine. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Imagine growing up in Germany, land of tasty Bonbons and chocolates, and landing in Candyland. I must admit, I stopped eating sweets when we moved to the States. Good for my teeth, no doubt. But oh how I miss Gummibärchen, Mohrenkopf (now known as Schokokuß), Marzipankartoffeln, and Katzenzungen!

  6. Wow! I can't believe how much energy there is in a jelly baby (you tube video). It's a wonder they aren't a banned substance at the Olympics or on the Tour.

  7. Biscuits do not I think pass muster on the far side of the Atlantic. Cookies make little sense with me. I've never used the word. We of course have to differentiate between sweet and dry biscuits.

  8. I think we are all being taken for a ride here;

    Wine Gums - no wine
    Jelly Babies - no babies
    Chocolate Fish (NZ) - no fish
    Polos - no jumpers or necks
    Extra Strong Mints - break very easily
    Love Hearts - round
    Smarties - don't improve dress sense

    According to one "Pommie Shop" owner in NZ, Galaxy Chocolate is the most sought after of all UK confectionary.

  9. All: Most unlike me - I neglected the following comments, thinking that the list above would only make sense to a Brit. But no, foreigners also took up the sweeties cause, proving what a sophisticated lot you all are.

    Stella: I needed to peel back the sheets of memory with regard to your comment. Say "rock" (we don't of course append the suffix "candy" in GB) in a sweeties context in the GB and most would envisage a harder, stickier, thicker, mint-flavoured cylinder than the one you cite; distinguished by lettering running the length of the cylinder and identifying the source. The source is often a seaside resort and occasionally the sweetmeat is referred to generically as Blackpool Rock, Blackpool - as you will remember - being a coarse, north-western resort on the Lancashire coast suitable only for Northerners with a limited expectation of what a holiday should consist of.

    What you refer to is known as Edinburgh Rock which I haven't thought about for at least fifty years. The texture is more friable, the taste slightly more adult, with the rest as you correctly identify. Congratulations for prising open a long locked-down cavity in my memory banks and for being unafraid of the dust that must have ensued.

    MikeM: I had the feeling that the US equivalent of Blackpool Rock (see my response to Stella, above) was available at, say, Coney Island, and other plebeian holiday places.

    Bums. I was being a bit harsh. In a poetic or semi-poetic context it is possible to use clothing and the part of the body the clothing covers interchangeably. Thus bum can be the equivalent of jeans and vice versa. I regretted being smart-arse and hereby announce to the world I have no intention of crimping your style.

    Thank you for your poignant comment on my last short story - a week or so after the posting. I have left a (very discursive) re-comment in response. It is hardly likely to contribute to the comity of nations.

    RW (zS): Last night you could have sat in - feeling very smug indeed - on our family discussion about Christmas markets where the smell of bonbons is an essential element. Occasional Speeder was staying the night and it was widely conceded that no nation does such markets better than the one you were born to. Terribly sad that living where you do forces you to obey an unofficial law which equates bad orthodontics with spitting on Old Glory. Or evidence that such people come from Europe.

    B2: We are indeed being taken for a ride. In another form this ride consists of a wicked nudge-nudge invitation to sacrifice our teeth in exchange for giving in to a very minor indulgence. (I exclude the Blondes here, since their sweeties do play an important role which the whole nation appreciates: ensuring the Blondes' survival on Dartmoor) As I compiled my list I did briefly consider including Wine Gums but dropped them fearing the concept would enrage my US friends.