A trip to the elusive memories of traditional British sweets


7th Sep 2021 Life

A trip to the elusive memories of traditional British sweets

Traditional British sweets are basically any type of confections food that has the main ingredient of sugar or a sugar substitute.

The candy making process has not changed much, but items have been introduced throughout history that makes the process easier and more accurate. Old style types of candy can be produced in any kitchen and can still have the old-time favorites taste.

Boiled sweets

When thinking of traditional candy most people think of boiled treats. These types are made by heating up a sugary syrup and adding flavors such as fruit, herbs, or licorice. There were many ways to check to see when to remove the mixture from the heat. Watching as it is mixed for it to raise, and then lower, and then placing a small sample in cold water. If it balls up and hardens it is done. If not, cook longer. Guessing was also a popular way to judge when the candy was ready. The more that the candy was made, the more accurate this method was. Today the best way is to use a candy thermometer and molds to pour the syrup into.

Some of the most common boiled treats can be found or made very easily. You can buy sweet hampers candies easily online in small amounts, or even in baskets. Army & Navy Sweets were one of the most popular choices. They became well known back in World War II when they were given to the soldiers to curb the sweet cravings. Barley sugars are another popular treat that has traditional beginnings. It is a mixture of barley and sugar and has a flavor that is either enjoyed or despised. There are many more types and combinations but the final one discussed here are the Apple Drops. As you would expect these are soft but have a sour flavor.

Aniseed treats

Aniseed candy is something that is hard to describe the taste of. It closely resembles licorice with a slight difference in flavor. Aniseed Balls and Twists are two of the most common. The Balls are hard on the outside with an Aniseed middle. The Twists are hard boiled instead of soft as one would guess. Many flavors and variations are added to make mixed textures and tastes.

Common sweets

This section of traditional British covers a large variety of different candies. They are called common in this article, but most of them are still made and eaten daily. Even though they are traditional candies, they also bring back nostalgic memories from childhood.

Fudge may be the most popular. It can be made in various flavors, such as chocolate, fruit, mint, or rum and raisin. Butterscotch and Toffee fall in this category because they have been on the market a long time and will continue to be popular. Pink shrimp also finds its way on this list. It is a foamy type of candy that has a subtle hint of flavor.


There are many different types and flavors that can be added to the above listed sweets. Elusive memories of traditional British sweets come down to individual taste and past encounters. One person may consider fudge to be traditional because they grew up eating it, while others may consider it new and modern. Either way sweets are around today that were popular decades ago.

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