When my husband Rob and I were living in England we used to buy boxes of special fudge, made by The Toffee Shop at Penrith, in the Lake District. We actually bought it at Fortnum and Mason in London. It was packaged for a charity The Princes Trust (as in Prince Charles). I could justify eating a lot of it because it was helping young people. It’s just delicious, sort of dry and crumbly rather than gluggy.
The fudge is a bit like Scottish Tablet, which originated in the 18thC and is sometimes flavoured with whisky. I once had a Glasgow born New Zealand boyfriend who used to make this for me, it was the best thing about him really (sorry Jim).
Since publishing this piece, I have been asked to add a recipe for Tablet. I suspect Jim used condensed milk, but here is a more traditional version;
Marrons glace. Yes, I know there should be an accent over the ‘e’ , but I don’t know how to do it….OK? These are candied, glazed chestnuts, popular in France and Northern Italy. The taste is a little unusual for confectionary. In fact, I was a bit unsure about the first couple I tried, but with the third….oh my word, I was completely addicted. There is a long history associated with marrons glace, dating back to the sixteen century.
Here is some confectionary from the southern states of America, with a name as special as the candy itself……Divinity. Topped with a pecan nut to cut through the sweetness of the nougat/meringue base. I remember these sweets with such affection. Maybe I was just under the spell of the Deep South, I need to go back one day and check.
Hershey kisses take me back to my childhood. I so loved American comic books and Hershey chocolate was part of that magical land where every kid drank root beer and bounced down to the drug store on a pogo stick. Pulling the little tag to unwrap the sweets is part of the joy. Fortunately I can buy them here in the Blue Mountains at the Candy Shop in Leura.
The Italian nougat in the following photo has real berries on top, The nougat itself tastes as though someone has added champagne to the mix, or maybe sherbet. Oddly enough Rob buys this from our nearest Coles supermarket. We try not to eat the whole block in one go, but well, we almost always do!
By the way, chocolate is noticeably absent from this article. A friend told me to buy violet creams from Fortnum and Mason, but they were so expensive I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I certainly love sweets, but there’s a limit.
THE AUSSIE HERO
I really think number one in Australian sweets has to be……ROCKLEA ROAD, invented by the Sydney company Darrell Lea. It is different to Rocky Road, which began in the US, because it contains coconut as a main ingredient.
Does Rocklea Road deserve a place among my world’s best? I truly think it does; such a decadent combination, with that special crunch of peanut to balance the soft, sweet marshmallow.
Not quite the same thing, but here are a few favourite goodies from the old school tuck shop days.