Posted by: christinelaennec | July 17, 2013

The latest craze: American candy

During the last year, a very strange craze has hit Britain:  the American “Candy” shop.  Even the word “candy” isn’t one that I’ve heard or seen in a long time.  Having raised two children in Scotland, the word “sweetie” is firmly lodged in my brain.  So it was weird to see “candy” again.  Around Christmastime there were several of these “pop-up shops” in Aberdeen:

American Candy store, Aberdeen, December 2012

American Candy store, Aberdeen, December 2012

Now, I’ve posted before about my delight at finding Heath bars and Reece’s Peanut Butter cups.  But since these entire shops started appearing, I’ve resisted setting foot in them.  Do I really need to add Twinkies, Cap’n Crunch (clearly a candy and not a cereal), Butterfingers, Hot Tamales and Mountain Dew to my life?  Oh yes, I remember all those from my American childhood.  Not that we ever ate such things at our house, I hasten to add.  Candy was deliciously illicit!  All the more reason for me never to go into an American candy emporium.  Who knows what might happen?!

I’ve limited myself to the few favourites that are a very special treat, which I get from the Mains of Drum garden centre.  They have had a small collection of American imports for a few years now, as the Dafter encouraged me to show you:

Imported American (candy), Mains of Drum garden centre, Aberdeenshire, March 2013.

Imported American (candy), Mains of Drum garden centre, Aberdeenshire, March 2013.

When I happened upon their “candy” shelves a few years ago, I presumed it was because there is a small community of Americans in and around Aberdeen, mostly here working in the oil industry.  But perhaps they were just very prescient in anticipating the next trend?

I will admit to one other American import that I allow myself to indulge in:  root beer.  Most of my British friends say that it tastes like toothpaste.  I can sort of see their point, but I’m very happy to keep it all to myself.  Can anything beat a root beer float on a summer’s day?  Possibly only cranachan cake!



  1. I must confess to being partial to a few American “sweeties” – particularly any involving peanut butter – when they’re brought back by holidaying folks, but I absolutely refuse to pay the kind of prices charged in these shops. We even have one here in Peterhead and I just can’t understand how people have the kind of money to pay £6.50 for a box of Poptarts or £5 for a bag of M&Ms?!


  2. I am fortunate that the only American candy I like is the occasional three musketeers bar. I prefer Canadian and British candy.

  3. Maybe it is part of the same syndrome which causes the local yoof to speak in American accents, with a question mark on the end of every sentence?
    If you watch back-to-back episodes of The Simpsons for the first 13 years of your life it is bound to have an influence!

  4. I’ve never had cranachan cake, but I know I’d like it! On the other hand . . . “a root beer float”? I had to google it to find out what’s in it, and now I’m not sure that I want to even try one, even if the “float” part was a vegetarian soy ice-cream. All that talk about carcinogens scares me! It’s interesting and perhaps significant that this drink doesn’t seem to have spread much beyond the 50 states.

  5. Recently some friends of ours came back from a trip to Scotland with a gift of Gardiners Butter Scotch and Edinburgh Rock candy. Mmmmm! We also had a wonderful gift of ‘Whiskey Fudge’. They were in beautiful octogonal plaid tins. My favorite American candy is ‘Almond Joy’ and ‘Hershey’s Kisses’. You will love them! xo

  6. There’s a shop a bit like this in Brighton but I’ve not been in for a while – the prices were quite high last time I took the boys in so have avoided it thereafter. Have you ever tried a nice, cold glass of Dandelion and Burdock? That’s a very British drink similar in its esoteric appeal to root beer. Judy.

  7. As I live on the other side of the Pond, I am finding this post ironically humorous. We Americans love our candy, yet we have to import all of the cocoa to make the chocolate part and the sugar is the most controversial subsidy of our farm program. I guess to us candy is big business, no wonder it is so expensive there.

  8. If I were in your situation I think I could go quite mad in that candy store, but I’m sorry to say that I’ve yet to try an American sweet that hits the spot. I suppose it’s a case of what you’re used to and being brought up on Cadbury’s has made me predisposed to liking British chocolate. Having said that, if I’m ever passing a shop like this one I will want to go in and have a mooch round the wares. I do like the attitude Americans have to peanut butter, regarding it as a sweet rather than the savoury that I think of it as. The names that you listed, e.g. hot tamales and butterfingers made me think of Harry Potter. I think you could be right that American candy stores are the next big thing, I’ll be watching to see…

  9. There was one in Edinburgh just off Princes Street – as much retro British sweets as American, but it has closed down.

  10. I have never seen this shop on my travels in the rest of the UK it looks delicious but we do have Old English Sweet Shoppes, all looks great sherbet lemons flying saucers and humbugs all a great trip down memory lane


  11. I am hopelessly addicted to candy, Christine – American or otherwise. It is my Achilles heel. ❤

  12. Root beer float — I’ll take a root beer float before candy — Oh wow — kind-a cool to see that — Imported sign..

  13. Oh my an A&W Root beer float is the bomb. Your friends think root beer taste like toothpaste, I think Irn Bru taste like bubble gum which I don’t like. Interesting how taste are geographical.
    Twinkies went away for a few months but are now back with an even LONGER shelf life. That’s just scary.

  14. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I’m glad my North American readers were amused by this. And yes, there are some lovely Scottish and English sweeties to be had.

    Laura – I agree, those prices are outrageous!

    Ruth – As you say, the candy is far too recent a phenomenon to account for the American accents. I remember in 2002, wondering why so many of the teenagers on my new bus route were American. I thought for a while that perhaps they went to the American school in Cults. But then I realised that they were just all watching Friends!

    oldblack – a root beer float needn’t be full of nasty carcinogens. It can be made with true root beer and organic ice cream if you can find both. I think the main ingredient of root beer was sarsaparilla. There are some places in the States where you can get beautiful root beer, like ginger beer, made naturally.

    Judy – I have tried burdock and dandelion, but it doesn’t have that same “bringing-back-childhood” power for me!

    Lucinda – that’s very interesting, about the subsidies. I’d never thought of that.

    Lorna – In my mind, peanut butter isn’t usually a sweet. We often had peanut butter sandwiches to take to school, or peanut butter spread down a stick of celery for a healthy snack. As with root beer, you can get natural peanut butter that has a lot of protein. I was very angry when a teacher at my son’s school told him off for having “unhealthy” peanut butter sandwiches. They were made from organic peanut butter and far less bad for you than the packets of crisps that all the other kids ate daily. He refused ever to have one at school after that.

  15. That is too funny!!!!! I was planning to pack a bunch of twizzlers because friends are always asking for them. Maybe you can actually buy them in Scotland now!! ha ha ha! Well, Americans can have their root beer and Scots can have their Irn Bru!!

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