5 mouth-watering retro sweets – which are your favourites?

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.

fish and chip sweets

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.

Beer sweets

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.)

Highland Toffee

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.

Black Jacks

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.

black jacks

What are your favourite retro sweets?

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  1. 16 December, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    I swear they still sell those beer sweets? I’m thinking that I saw them the other day but it was probably actually like 10 years ago.

    • Jo Middleton
      16 December, 2014 / 1:25 pm

      They do! In fact, you can still get ALL of the sweets I mentioned at Keep it Sweet ;-)

    • Jo Middleton
      16 December, 2014 / 2:01 pm

      Well now you know where to go for them!

  2. 16 December, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    Oh boy this takes me back! I loved the candy lipstick and clearly remember pretending it was real lipstick on more than one occasion. The Hubby still loves Black Jacks, a couple of years ago we bought giant jars filled with Black Jacks and Fruit Salads!

    Ah yes, sweet cigarettes, sweet beers… simpler times. :)

  3. 16 December, 2014 / 11:14 pm

    I didn’t grow up with many of these but swoon over the packaging I have!

  4. 17 December, 2014 / 12:41 am

    I used to LOVE candy sticks and black jacks, actually i swear sweets were a lot more fun when I was a kid compared to nowadays. Saying that since I had F i’ve lost my sweet tooth and now i’m more of a savoury girl. x

  5. 20 December, 2014 / 12:15 am

    Oh Black Jacks I remember those -t he funny thing is growing up in South Africa my childhood memories are a bit different but still remind me of home every time I stumble across one

    Laura x

  6. 21 December, 2014 / 9:14 pm

    I used to love midget gems and apple bonbons – I used to sneak them into my pencil case and share them out during lessons!

  7. 22 December, 2014 / 10:09 pm

    hahah candy lippstick! i’d totally forgotten about those. i loved black jacks too, and fruit salads. and those sherbet flying saucer things ..and just every sweet, haha!

  8. 23 December, 2014 / 8:45 pm

    Definitely black Jacks from the list. Only downside is them getting stuck in your teeth. Upside, a black tongue!

  9. 8 January, 2015 / 9:52 am

    I love your style, great posts but your top 5 sweets list is incomplete… no mention of rhubarb and custard. I’m highly qualified to talk about sweets as I no longer have a sweet tooth but sweet fillings!

  10. 12 January, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    It’s always going to be the black jacks for me!

    How good are they?

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