Food & Drink

Where to find retro sweets

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Know where to find retro sweets to satisfy your nostalgia for childhood candies

Most of our childhood memories focus on our favorite things: a favorite toy, a favorite song, a favorite teacher and, of course, a favorite candy. The nice thing about favorite candies is that many of them, like a Snickers or a Hershey Bar, are still available in stores.

The ones you can't find, if they were popular, are often still being made in small supplies. Specialty candy stores and web sites distribute these so-called retro candies, often grouping them into the decades they were best-sellers. Want to know where to find retro sweets to satisfy your need for nostalgia?

To cater to their primary buyers - kids who love candy but don't have much money to spend - candy makers offered their products in small individually-wrapped pieces that could be sold for the smallest coin around ... hence the name "penny candy." One that's still popular today is Bit-o-Honey, a honey-flavored taffy with tiny pieces of almonds. Another is the Tootsie Roll, the original chocolate candy that won't melt in your hand, which dates back to 1896.

A favorite in both candy counters and candy machines is bubble gum, invented in 1928 by the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, sold under the name Double Bubble and dyed pink because that was the only color they had. Many small candies eventually moved from the counter to little boxes and bags, like Red Hots and Milk Duds.  

One feature that keeps a lot of old-fashioned retro candy popular to this day is novelty. A good example is candy dots, the little colored sugar buttons that come lined up in rows on strips of paper and could be bought by the dozens for a penny. 
Waxy and chewy, red candy Wax Lips were fun for girls (and boys!) to wear to look like a movie star, then eat for a treat. Also in the waxy category were the Nik-L-Nips, which most kids called wax bottles. These were filled with a sweet colored liquid which you drank after biting off the top of the bottle, then chewed the bottle and repeated until they were all gone and your lips and tongue were a rainbow hue. 

While the Surgeon General has cut into the sale of real cigarettes, Candy Cigarettes with their chalky red-tipped sticks in realistic flip-top boxes are still a retro favorite.

Fans of retro chocolate and candy bars are in luck because, while the original companies that made many of their old favorites are gone, the candies are still being made today by the major candy firms. In retro candy stores, online and even in some big supermarkets you can find old standards like Mallo Cups, Bun Bars, Zagnuts, Abba-Zabas, Slo Pokes, Chuckles, Goo Goo Clusters and Charleston Chews. And you can be both retro and modern by treating yourself to some candy bars that have been around for years and are still popular today, like Kit-Kats, Chunkies, Rolos, Clark Bars and the classic Hershey Bar.

Whether online or on foot, it's easy to treat your sweet tooth to these top retro candies. Take a couple to your dentist and he might go easy on you next time.

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