Vintage and Retro Sweets – The Best of!

Traditional sweet shops are a fantastic childhood dream, inspired by films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that feature the most amazing old fashioned sweet shops, all oozing character and charm. These sweet shops hold a special place in the memory of many people, especially those within York due to its rich and opulent sweet (and chocolate) past! As we are based in York it was only time until we blogged about lovely sweeties (what with the Nestle factory being just down the road). So drum roll folks…let us introduce to you this week’s guest blogger, David Frederik of Sweet & Nostalgic! David is going to take you on a trip down memory lane as he lists his three favourite sweets from each era (our favourites have to be the 1960s white mice!) …. Here goes!

Sweet Shop

Bringing back that quintessential British sweet counter!

The 1940s

Aniseed Balls
Aniseed balls are a small dark brown sweet with a very similar texture and consistency as gobstoppers. These sweets are flavoured by aniseed oil and feature a very prominent aniseed flavour. They last an absolute eternity in the mouth before dissolving. In the centre of aniseed balls you will normally find a rapeseed, these are used as a base to form layers of sugar around.

Pontefract Cakes
Hailing from a town in Yorkshire called Pontefract, these sweets are small, moreish, and made up of liquorice. On each Pontefract Cake you will notice a small embossed stamp: a stylised image of Pontefract castle.


Go on, hands up – who’s got a tin like this stashed away at home? We do!

Catherine Wheel
These are a fantastic sweet with a gruesome past. As you will probably know, ‘Catherine Wheel’ is an old term for a cartwheel, but it was also the torture device used to execute St Catherine of Alexandria. Putting its history  aside, these delicious sweets are liquorice strips wrapped around a nonpareil liquorice button.

How To Make Pontefract Cakes

All done by hand in the good old days!

The 1950s

Pear Drops
Is there anything more British than a pear drop? These are hard boiled sweet that consist of pear flavourings and sugar. The traditional pear drop is a combination of half yellow and half pink in the shape of a pear about the same size as a thumbnail.

Coconut Mushrooms
A very common childhood favourite, Coconut Mushrooms are very unique in that the taste is instantly recognisable. These sweets consist of a chewy cap that is sprinkled in desiccated coconut. These sweets are juicy, tasty and feature a very prominent coconut taste. Yummy!

Sherbet Fountains
One of the most popular old fashioned sweets, Sherbet Fountains consist of very sweet white sherbet and a stick of liquorice that is commonly used for sucking or dipping in the sherbet. Traditionally these sweets were wrapped in paper with the liquorice sticking out.


That’s one pretty cool advert!

The 1960s

Dolly Mixture
A firm favourite of mine, Dolly Mixtures consist of various multicoloured shapes such as cylinders and cubes, with very subtle hints of flavourings. This famous British mixture consists of sugar coated jellies and small soft sweets.

Anglo Bubbly
Known by many people as the king of bubble gum, Anglo Bubbly is a truly classic sweet. This is a sweet that reminds many people of filling up their little white bags during the 1960’s. These sweets are still a retro pink colour and have retained their distinctive pear taste over the years.

White Mice
White mice were the sweet of choice for many young Brits during the 1960’s. These nostalgic sweets consist of creamy, solid white chocolate and boast a very unique taste. If a person was to eat a White Mice while blindfolded, they would instantly recognise the taste.

Vintage Sweets Typewriter

Mmmmmm we spy pear drops!

For more vintage sweet deliciousness, visit David at Sweet & Nostalgic, a vintage online sweet shop that specialises in Retro Sweets. (But you’ll have to get in line as we have a feeling we may become David’s best customers, after all – what’s an office without a bag of yummy white mice and pear drops!)

Now if you don’t mind, we have some serious sweet tooth issues to be attending to…

We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x

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