Whilst I am a child of the 70's it is the 1980's that I'll always remember fondest as the golden age of candy, or 'sweets' as we called them before the power of American advertising campaigns began to alter our vocabulary. With 'Dip Dabs', 'Jazzies', 'Cola Cubes, and 'Sherbet Fountains' the 1980's were a great time to be a kid or teenager in England, and the bounty of sugary treats made available to us during these good days seemed without end, and limitless in its variety.
1980s Retro Sweets and Candy
Somewhere in a factory staffed by Oompa Loompas it seemed twisted British sweet makers and confectioners were mixing and tasting and churning, and releasing their creations upon the hungry children of a nation, and we couldn't get enough.
Cars were washed and dogs were walked and pocket money was given and not saved long, handed over in exchange for small white paper bags full with such things as tiny jelly bears, 2 for a penny, squidgy pink shrimps, a penny a piece, a chocolate hammer or saw for two pence, and a packet of cigarette like candy sticks at ten pence a pack.
Black Jacks and Fruit Salads
Personally I was a Fruit Salad man not being a big fan of aniseed, but the two kind of went hand-in-hand, Black Jacks and Fruit Salads, a penny a piece, and the base element around which any good 'mix-up' was formed. Because even though I favored Fruit Salads for their taste, Black Jacks came with a novelty value that elevated them into more than just a sweet, and well worth a penny, even if they weren't to your taste. Because Black Jacks could turn your mouth black, and to a child in the 80's that was just about as awesome as anything could possibly get. .
Love Heart Sweets
Another 80's retro sweet that became worth more than its net sugary value was 'Love Heart Sweets', small hard circular tablets embossed with heart and romantic message upon their surface. Love Heart Sweets came in seven different colors, and I have only recently learnt that each color has its own distinct flavor, as they all seemed to share the same chalky sherberty taste to me.
Featuring such messages as "Call Me", "Heart Throb", and "I'm Shy" Love Heart Sweets became the currency of those with secret crushes, given shyly like love letters in the hope of winning the hearts of school yard desires. Somewhere out there right now, sits a couple in love sat watching the TV and eating their dinner, who would never have been were it not for the sharing of a Love Heart Sweet embossed with the innocent promise; 'For Ever'.
If Love Hearts were for lovers and Black Jacks were like a joke sweet that you didn't get into trouble for eating then Flying Saucers were like an early form of self-torture, of the strangely pleasurable kind. Multi-colored sugar paper in the shape of a U.F.O. Flying Saucers contained the most powerfully twinge creating sour sherbet ever dreamt up. It was a brave man who bit right in without feeling tentatively first with tongue to try and gauge the size of the sherbet pocket contained within, before manning up and biting through the sugar paper, to release an explosion upon the taste buds, and a slightly pained expression, upon the face.
So it goes without saying that with this much kick hidden within that Flying Saucers became a tool of dares, with children crowding, and forming a circle around the child in the center who is giggling a little to himself as he stuffs the last of an entire bag of flying saucers into his mouth, and waits for the signal to bite down.
British Retro Sweets
Other 1980's British Retro Sweet Favorites Include: Fried Eggs, Parma Violets, Chocolate Limes, Cola Bottles (Fizzy or standard), Gob Stoppers, Flumps, Pink Mushrooms, Milk Bottles, Refresher Chews, Candy Shrimps, Dolly Beads, Candy Whistles, Jelly Rings, Nerds, Pineapple Chunks, Highland Toffee, Acid Drops, Double Lollies, Dolly Mixtures, Drumstick Lollies, Wham Bars, Vimto Bars, Anglo Bubbly, and Double Dips.
Which was your favourite?