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Retro Candy and Sweets: Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Paul lives in Wales, where he mitigates his sweet tooth by writing about candy rather than eating it.

How many of these sweets do you remember?

How many of these sweets do you remember?

Remembering Retro Candy

All of my favourite sweets and candy from the past often creep their way into my head, immediately causing a huge craving for the sweet flavours of my childhood. After mentioning this to a couple of others, I discovered lots of people have the same type of feeling—which has ultimately led me to write this article.

Thinking back to the days when I would go down to the local sweet shop and stare at the range of sweets stacked up around the store gets my sweet tooth going. Choosing sweets and having them weighed on a big metal scale pan and then put into those white paper bags brings back memories.

While I hadn’t indulged in these classic and retro sweets in a long time, after a few evenings of browsing online shops, eBay stores and even checking out my local town shop directory, I discovered that our old favourite classic sweets are still readily available online.

I am going to detail some of the retro sweets we all know and love, as well as provide a more detailed write-up and review of a few of my top 5 personal favourites.

Bonbons are a favourite old snack.

Bonbons are a favourite old snack.

1. Bonbons

These sweet and round sweets have to be a classic favourite for many. The outer shell is usually a hard coating that contrasts the soft and chewy inside, which is of course, sweet and flavoursome the whole way through.

Bon, in French, means 'good'. It is used in famous phrases such as "bon appétit" and "bon voyage". So bonbon technically translates to 'good-good'—which I can totally understand, as these sweets are, in my mind, some of the best.

These sweets were classically available in a range of flavours, with types of fruit being of large popularity. You could (and can) find chocolate-covered bonbons, which are also delightful, while a personal favourite of mine is, undoubtedly, the Vimto bonbon.

Colorful flying saucers

Colorful flying saucers

2. Flying Saucers

An iconic sweet that is still very much popular in the UK, flying saucers are easily identifiable through their distinct appearance—they quite literally look like flying saucers.

These are colourful discs that are made from rice paper and filled with that sweet sherbet we all know and love. These sweets were introduced as far back as the 1960s and were named the most popular sweet ever in a 2004 survey.

These are a must-try if you are reminiscing old favourites—and they’re always a big hit at parties, gatherings and children’s birthdays.

Kola Kubes

Kola Kubes

3. Kola Kubes

A real classic is the famed Kola Kube. They are delicious, sugar-coated, boiled sweet cubes with a chewy, cola-flavoured centre. When these sweets are sucked, they last a very long time. They were generally purchased from jars—you know, the ones that are stacked behind the counter in and around the sweet shop!

These Kola Kubes can most definitely be classified as one of those ‘more-ish’ sweets where you might feel that you simply can’t have enough of them.


Flavoured Pencils

Flavoured Pencils

4. Flavoured Pencils

These classic candies are so popular that the supermarkets have kept them in mainstream consumption through many of their own home brands.

I’ve never met somebody that doesn’t like these flavoured pencil retro sweets before, since they are available in a large range of flavours. My personal favourite was always the apple flavour. As a youngster, I would devour a bag of several pencils in just a few minutes!

Upon recently rediscovering these pencils, I found that the blue blackcurrant flavour has equalled, if not beaten, the flavour of apple pencils. Well worth a try!

Chupa Chups Lollipops

Chupa Chups Lollipops

5. Chupa Chups Lollipops

Chupa Chups is a Spanish company that has spread its lovely lollipops worldwide through its iconic branding and wonderful-tasting lollipop. When I was younger, I loved me a chocolate-and-vanilla-flavoured Chupa Chup!

This lollipop brand somewhat reinvented the way that sweets were sold, as they decided to place the lollipops on the front counter where kids could easily see and reach them, rather than behind the counter stored away from reach! I suppose that would put pressure on the parents to buy them once their child had managed to grab one.

These lollipops come in a wide range of flavours. The top five most popular flavours are as follows: Strawberry ice cream, strawberry, watermelon, Cola, and chocolate vanilla. There are a bunch of other flavours that we all know and love.

Other Retro Classics

While the 5 favourites I have detailed above are an absolute pleasure to indulge in, my favourites in no way cover all of the wonderful offerings that classic and retro sweets shops can offer you. This list above is going to refresh your mind with a

Favourite Candy& Sweets

Cola Bottles

Aniseed Balls

Double Dip

Liquorice Sticks

Fruit Fizzlers

Peanut Brittle

Candy Necklace


Parma Violets

Sherbet Lemons

Double Lollies

Pear Drops

Drumstick Lollies

Mint Humbugs

Rainbow Drops

Milk Bottles

Black Jacks

Jelly Beans

Fruit Salad

Coconut Mushrooms

Wham Bar

Rhubarb and Custard



Hubba Bubba




Fun Facts About Sweets and Candy!

  1. The man who invented cotton candy, William James Morrison, was a dentist.
  2. Snickers, one of the most popular candy bars today, was named after a horse.
  3. Germans consume twice the amount of candy as Americans.
  4. M&M’s candies are named after the creators, Forest Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie, as are Reese’s cups which were named for Harry Burnett Reese.
  5. Most traditionally flavored bubble gum is pink because that was the only color dye available when it was invented.
  6. Soldiers were given Tootsie Rolls during WWII as part of their rations because they held up well over time and in different kinds of weather.
  7. Easter is one of the big candy holidays, and each year, candy companies make more than 90 million Easter bunnies and 16 billion jelly beans just for the one-day holiday.
  8. In order to create enough marshmallow chicks and bunnies (like Peeps) for Easter, companies make 5 million every single day throughout the year.
  9. Almost everyone eats the ears off of their chocolate Easter bunnies before they eat anything else.
  10. Across the world, red jelly beans are most commonly chosen as the favorite among children.
  11. Halloween, which was traditionally a celebration associated with the fall harvest, is one the second biggest American holiday and the holiday most closely associated with candy.
  12. Almost every child in America will go trick or treating this year (93%).
  13. If you laid out all the candy corn produced in a year from end to end, you could circle the Earth more than 4 times.
  14. More than 75% of the candy given out during trick or treating is bite-size chocolate bars.
  15. More than half of all children prefer chocolate treats in their trick-or-treat buckets.
  16. 90% of parents will sneak a few treats from their children’s trick-or-treat haul.
  17. At Christmas, almost 2 billion candy canes will be made for sale.
  18. Each candy cane has only 55 calories and no fat.
  19. Despite the close association between candy and Halloween, Christmas is actually the biggest candy sales season of the year.

Inspired by Mental Floss and Fill Your Plate.