Granted, most of the candy shops (or shall I say “Shoppe”) I’ve been to on this trip have been around tourist centers. For the most part, they aim at those who don’t actually live in the communities in which these stores are based.
But even knowing this, I love these stores. I love the colors, I love the names of the candies, and I love the joy that they give those who walk into these places. Then I found out that department stores such as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason have their own candy counters.
Walking into these places, it occurs to me how different we Americans approach candy when compared to the British. Sugar confectionery has an importance over here, one which we don’t carry to this extent.
The question is – why? I posed this question to Chris Marshall, the CEO of Tangerine Confectionery. His response? It’s an affordable luxury. It’s cheaper than chocolate, often by half, yet still carries a similar cachet.
As I sit here, writing these words, surrounded by sweets of all kinds, from English Apples, to Everton Mints, to Licorice comfits, to even Raspberry Jams, I realize that there’s a bit of immaturity surrounding these treats. But I mean that in the best possible way. The way that Muppets are made for kids yet can be appreciated by adults, candy carries a similar aura about it. It makes us feel youthful, even when we’re getting older. I’m in the midst of middle age, yet I can’t help but give a small grin when I say the phrase “Orange Fuzz” or “Soor Plooms”.
There’s a silliness with treats, one that fits the British disposition quite well. Perhaps that’s the connection. One moment, it can be taken seriously, but underneath it all there’s a sense of whimsy, a sense of dry humor. It only lasts for a brief moment, but it helps make life that much more enjoyable.