Monday, October 4, 2010

canadian sugar

Sometimes I need a little sweetness to overcome the more bitter aspects of reality. The result of our recent change of planetary address and circumstance has generally been very good but, contrary to any impressions of transitional ease I may have fostered, there have been a couple of stumbling blocks along the way. One of these days I'll get around to writing and drawing some new Adventures about a couple of incidents, admitting outright the details of just how dumb and naive a reasonably intelligent woman can be. It turns out I can on occasion be hilariously idiotic when stressed but, happily,  not fatally so. In fact, the mistakes likely saved us from potentially much worse results had they not been made.

While undergoing emotional changes, it became necessary to check on how much of the candy I remembered from my youth was still available in Canada and this little store was a good place to begin the investigation:

Mackintosh Toffee - This is a unique Canadian treat that starts out hard and becomes creamy soft as you chew. My having enjoyed a lot of it pre-fluoride may well have contributed to the long hours spent in dental office chairs later in life.

Bassetts Licorice Allsorts - The original Allsorts Licorice is an assortment of black licorice cuts, straws, sandwiches and buttons which turn my teeth temporarily black and are an excellent cure for constipation.

Coffee Crisp - Canadians typically will consume this chocolate coffee treat in layers, eating each layer separately, enjoying a unique taste with each layer. Yes, Canadians are weird too.

Smarties - Similar to M&M's but not quite. The words for the Canadian advertising jingle were:
"When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?
Do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast?
Eat those candy-coated chocolates, but tell me when I ask,
When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?"
I used to like using the red ones as lipstick in the days before girls were given make-up kits at the age of 7.

Skor Toffee Crunch - Buttery toffee crunch wrapped in milk chocolate. I actually preferred sucking the chocolate off these and throwing away the toffee.

Ste Julie Cream Fudge - Cream fudge maple syrup candy. This was a delicacy I learned to appreciate as a grown-up along with the amazing maple sugar pie that apparently you can only buy in Quebec.

McCormick's Marshmallow Bananas or Strawberries - Dried out marshmallows not suitable for roasting. I may have seen something similar in the US but I wouldn't buy them there either.

Purity Candies - Purity is the famous candy company in Newfoundland whose specialty is Peppermint Nobs and Candy Kisses. Newfoundland is still on my list of places to go when the weather warms again and I may buy my first Nob when I get there. Considering ferry costs a Nob may be all I can afford.. or a beer.

Chris and Larry's Clodhoppers - Fudge covered graham wafer clusters that come in two mouth-watering flavours -  "Vanilla Fudge" or the original "Chocolate Fudge". I've never eaten either but I like the name.

Wine Gums - In unique and strange flavors wine gums (or winegums) are chewy, firm sweets similar to gumdrops, except they aren't sugar-coated. I once ate a pound of them on a childhood plane ride to England and threw up the whole lot when we hit air turbulence.

As with so many other things, many of the candies I remembered have been discontinued as the companies that made them were subjected to the type of corporate takeovers that have been the ruin of small businesses everywhere these past few decades. Black Magic Chocolates were my very favorite for years but Rowntree was bought by Cadbury who now produce fancy chocolates that taste of chemical additives and nobody likes that.

I wonder if there are sweet shops and candies you remember that can no longer be found?


  1. Ah Smarties are far better than M&Ms! I can't say I was ever taken by American sweets. Hershey bars are just vile!

  2. I ate this post up.

    Sorry for the bad pun. I still miss Marathon Bars. I think they're like the Curly Wurly made by Cadbury for the British and European markets.

    I had a Marathon Bar and a Dr. Pepper for lunch almost every day when I was in the 6th grade.

  3. Probably many, but this post reminded me of a few of my favorites. Smarties, being one. Now I want to go to the car and get the sweet tarts out of the glove compartment. One of those treats only for traveling. Too bad candy is not on the recommended daily foods list. Seriously.

  4. Hubby got me a box of caramels covered in pecans and then smothered in chocolate. I ate several more than I needed to ;~)

  5. Heh, this tweaked a few memories from a sweet toothy past, especially Smarties and Coffee Crisp, which I only a few years ago learned are not available in the US. I don't know all the candies you mention. My tastes have matured and I rarely have candy but do indulge occasionally on good dark chocolate, preferably European less sweet kinds.

  6. Candy makes you randy? Naughty Canucks. I know we toss HFCS in everything sweet, do they put Canadian Bacon and/or Molson in their treats?

  7. jams - Smarties Rule :-)

    lisa - I'm sure you were always the sweetest girl in class :-)

    nancy - There are some days when candy has to be at the top of that list :-)

    liberality - Some days are special and must be celebrated how you like :-)

    marja-leena - I've been a fan of dark European choc for many years too but nougat is excellent too :-)

    randal - if I find any I'll send you a box of each :-)

  8. lord, what i wouldn't do for a peanut butter cup..since going gluten free, i can't indulge in fantasies of youth in the form of candy but need to know every micron of stuff in there, which is pretty ridiculous in itself, let alone actually finding out....can't wait to hear this story of yours, miss cool, calm and collected.♥

  9. You, my friend, are a sweetheart in every way, shape and form, and need nothing to enhance that fact.
    I have found a website that sells older brand name candies, the kinds we remember.

    Many other brands, like many of the ones you mention, are strictly Canadian. When I have traveled Up North, like I did in the old days when I traded in the stores and shops of Thunder Bay, ON, all thew candy and manynmother products were "new" to me, even though the brand was old as the hills in Canada.

    Glad you found a place to get these sweet treats.


  10. linda - It's funny you should mention them since even though I always hated peanut butter I grew to love peanut butter cups. I'm so sorry you can't enjoy any of those things :-(

    The story will come and a few more when I can finally stop fidgeting enough to sit at my drawing table longer than 10 minutes at a time.

    spadoman - How very kind of you to say so, you dear man.

    Another place in the US that sells old-style candy is the Vermont Country Store. It's a very cool site but ordering from them can really add up. Mostly I joke about candy since sweets are one of those things I outgrew - but not before the dental damage was done :-)

  11. Smartie red lipstick!!! it used to drive my grandma crazy.... not at all proper for a young girl - and it usually ended up all over my face and clothes. the pink just didn't work at all. i had a girlfriend in high school who would only eat the purple smarties, so i got all the rest when she bought a box.

    i'm still a cheezie addict.... think i'll just trot down to the kitchen for that leftover bag of them i spotted in the cupboard....

  12. When I was a child in Portugal, there were these little chocolate umbrellas in all the cafes. It was a cone shaped solid chunk of crap milk chocolate wrapped in pretty foils in pink, green and blue prints and with a plastic umbrella handle in the middle of it and a little ribbon around the handle. I LOVED these.

    Today they're hard to find due to the opening up of trade among the EU countries and the availability of better quality chocolates from Belgium and Switzerland. But none of them have the charm of those umbrellas, as far as I'm concerned. :-)

  13. gfid - It used to drive my mother crazy for the same reason :-) My favorites to eat were the brown ones - maybe I thought they were more chocolaty. I wonder if the purple ones would have made good eyeshadow?

    Cheezies are still on my list too.

    pagan sphinx - I always loved things that were beautifully wrapped too and it seems that was often done with candy. KitKat bars were wrapped in a square of foil that was perfectly folded and now that they come in a little plastic sack they don't taste as good.

    I think there's something inside us that longs for the unique aspects of our own childhoods. Better is not always best :-)

  14. i have a (till this moment) secret memory of trying the purple smarties for eyeshadow and gluing my eyelids open.