I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Whilst my sister will happily munch away on bag after bag of cheese and onion crisps and bits of toast and marmite, I’m happier with a packet of hobnobs or a bar of fruit and nut.
I was the same as a child. I’m not good at remembering key events from my childhood, but one thing that does stand out for me is the garage that me and my Dad used to stop at on the way home from school when I was about seven years old. They had that classic 1980s pick and mix set up, where you helped yourself to a tiny paper bag and chose your sweets to make your own 10p mix up; foamy bananas, black jacks, fruit salads – you know the drill.
In my mind of course it all looks totally natural, as though I was stepping into the garage in 2014, but I’m sure it wouldn’t look like that really. I’d love to go back 30 years and see it again.
In fact, I found a little video montage of 1970s and 80s sweets in case you want to swoon over the retro packaging and see how many of your childhood favourites you can spot:
*sighs heavily for the days when you could buy a packet of Opal Fruits for 3p*
In this spirit of reminiscence, (it is nearly Christmas after all), I spent a happy hour or so ‘at work’ this morning browsing the retro sweets section on the Keep it Sweet website. Keep it Sweet do all manner of sugary deliciousness, including party bags and sweets for weddings and corporate events, but the retro sweet section was really where it was at for me.
Here are some of my favourites:
Fish and chip sweets
Do you remember these? Sometimes they were 2p instead of 1p and you then had the dilemma of whether to include a fish or a chip, or whether to blow 4p of your budget in one go and get both.
Candy sticks and candy lipsticks
Sure, they may be called ‘candy sticks’ nowadays, but when I was young I called them ‘sweet cigarettes’ and would pretend to smoke them in the back of the car, whilst applying my candy lipstick, to impress passers by. (I was a strange child.) I think they even had pink ends to make it look like they were lit.
They were simpler times weren’t they, when kids just pretended to smoke and drink and no one batted an eyelid? The beer sweets I liked came in the shape of pints and tasted of beer. Sometimes I would eat them slowly, nibbling the foamy top bit off and tipping my head back, pretending to drink them. (See brackets above.)
This one always had a danger element to it – sure, you got value for money as it lasted a long time and it was delicious, but there was always the risk you’d break a tooth. Exciting times.
I loved black jacks, purely for the whole ‘turn your tongue black’ element, rather than the flavour. If anything, I never felt they turned my tongue quite black enough. Do you know what I mean? I wanted a little bit more drama.
What are your favourite retro sweets?