Monday, May 02, 2005

Sugar and Mice and Everything Nice

photograph picture of hand made english sweets from the cheddar sweet shop in somerset, England

Brits over a certain age, like to reminisce about the sweet shops they used to visit when they were children. Today, almost everything is pre-packaged, but back then, a weekly treat was a visit to the local Sweet Shop, where, if you were lucky, your mother might let you choose a quarter of sweets from one of the jars lined up on shelves behind the counter. Pineapple cubes, lemon sherberts, pear drops and rhubarb & custards were some of my favourites. And of course, the pink sugar mice. No wonder the British have a reputation for bad teeth!

These days, old fashioned sweet shops are few and far between. My mother actually grew up in the sweet shop my grandmother owned in a little West Country village called Berkeley (that's pronounced Bar-klee, not Burr-Klee as people round here would probably try to call it). When I was a little girl we went back and visited the shop that had once been their home and I was allowed to buy sweets there. But business must have been slow. The cute shop, with its quirky bow-windowed front door was eventually closed down and is now just another house on the street.

Recently, on a trip to the tourist destination of Cheddar famous for it's caves and its cheese, we found a little Sweet Kitchen where they still make candies by hand and invite customers to come in and watch.

photograph picture  cheddar sweet kitchen shop in somerset, England

photograph picture  cheddar sweet kitchen shop in somerset, England

photograph picture  cheddar sweet kitchen shop in somerset, England

photograph picture  cheddar sweet kitchen shop in somerset, England

The little pink mouse is living in my fridge (safely hidden away from where ants might sniff him out). Cute as he is, I just can't bring myself to eat him...

photograph picture of hand made english sweets from the cheddar sweet shop in somerset, England



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Sugar and Mice and Everything Nice

14 Comments:

  • At 2/5/05 08:37, Blogger Barbara Fisher said…

    Oh, I love the mouse!

    Here in the US sweet shops with homemade candy are few and far between. There are some, but not very darned many, and most of them make either fudge or salt water taffy.

    Not sugar mice. Which are superior in every way, near as I can tell.

     
  • At 2/5/05 10:15, Blogger Stephanie said…

    Brtis aren't the only ones fondly recalling childhood sweets. We do it all the time here!

    And fortunately, there are places like www.hometownfavorites.com to bring some of those goodies back...

    The mouse is too cute.

     
  • At 2/5/05 15:46, Blogger Nancyrowina said…

    We have 2 sweet shops in Ryde (Isle Of Wight), where you can buy traditional sweets. We're lucky, some people have never seen one.

     
  • At 2/5/05 18:44, Anonymous del4yo said…

    I couldn't eat the mouse, it's too cute!


    In France we had chocolate bears withs marshmallow inside...I used to eat the head first to be sure it won't suffer!

     
  • At 2/5/05 23:29, Blogger McAuliflower said…

    Yum! One of my favorites were the lollies that changed color as you sucked on them...red to yellow to green, I think?

    I also loved candy lipstick! If I try, I can smell it...

     
  • At 3/5/05 04:18, Anonymous saffron said…

    Could I be so cheeky as to say that the mouse looks more like something else than a real mouse. Maybe its the all pink exterior, without whiskers and a little black mouse nose.

    Ok, we are all adults here, but I realise this is a food blog, so I'll go onto say... I love boiled sweets... yum yum yum.

     
  • At 3/5/05 04:20, Anonymous saffron said…

    Ok, well upon re observation, the 'mouse' would also make an obscure looking something else also.

    Can't help the mind wondering however...

     
  • At 3/5/05 07:09, Blogger Sam said…

    Hey everyone.
    I have been obsessing with a while about making some pink mice. There are several recipes on the net.

    Here are some online sources for buying these things:

    The Old Sweet Shop which is a shop that sells all the sweets that would have been loose in the jars. Look here for lemon bon bons, winter mixture, acid drops and lemon sherberts.
    British Candy is more about hard-to-get-packaged candy and they give a free pack of space dust away with every order! Look here for refreshers and flying saucers and toffos and fruit salad and candy lipstick.

    Mcauliflower - the lollies you are trying to remember are called traffic lights. I couldn't find them on either of the above websites.

     
  • At 3/5/05 07:10, Blogger Sam said…

    Saffron - PS it's only a couple of inches long.

     
  • At 17/5/05 15:38, Blogger Sam said…

    I am sorry. I couldn't resist. I ate him. the pink mouse is no more.

     
  • At 30/9/07 05:34, Blogger Nick65 said…

    I came across your site while looking to buy Pink Sugar Mice and just thought I'd mention that I have found a wesbite that delivers to the USA - It is a sweet shop in Poole (Ahhh the good old days of poole rock sticks and walking along the beach)

    www.thepinksugarmouse.com

     
  • At 21/10/07 12:51, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi just came accross your blog this all started at the shop which belongs to my parent's Martin and Valerie mizen! Great blog and I hope you enjoyed the visit I will pass on the blog to them many Thanks
    james Mizen
    UK

     
  • At 5/10/09 16:03, Anonymous quadirasophia@gmail.com said…

    I just finished reading THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW, by Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat), and decided to google Sugar Mice, which are mentioned in both books. So I found your blog, and had to drop you a line. Do you (or anyone) have a recipe for sugar mice? I'm eager to make some!

    I would LOVE to open a candy shop here in California! I make the best fudge, penuche, and chocolate nut crunch! I've sold to some local shops, but put my business on hold until I can find an investor with capitol for ingredients, packaging materials, kitchen rental, etc. Any takers??

    Quadira
    quadirasophia@gmail.com

     
  • At 18/10/09 11:44, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi there - I have never tried making sugar mice - but it wuld be fun to try. I don't have a recipe. I am not sure where in CA you live - but there are a few god independent candy stores that have opened up in San Francisco including a British-centric one.

    good luck!

    Sam

     

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