Glucose never looked so good!: Memories of our sugary childhood

On the concrete floor lies a glut of glucose, patterned pastel patches and pretty pink mushrooms, psychedelic sugar crystals, rivers of sherbet and mountains of rock candy. To scoop a spoonful would be bliss, a party for my taste buds bordering on a visual overload. If this is a dream, don’t wake me up!

These sweet works of edible floor art by Australian artist Tanya Schultz are made from candy, glitter, plastic flowers and hundreds of pounds of sugar, moulded, poured and sifted to create miniature worlds, reminiscent of childhood play and whimsy. Even Willy Wonka could find himself outdone in these worlds of colour, fizzle and pop!


Back in 1964 when Roald Dahl penned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, children chowed down on boiled sweets, chocolate cigarettes, Fantales, gobstoppers, Jaffas, Minties, Redskins, Wagon Wheels and oh! so much more. Sweet nostalgia, how lollies and sweets have shaped our childhoods. Fruit Tingles sizzled on your tongue, Minties got stuck in your molars and red jelly beans made for the sweetest lipstick!

Some of our best childhood memories involve lollies. Whether you traipsed to the local corner store with pocket full of little brown coins or bought your red frog at the school canteen, that sweet anticipation, chewing and chomping remains one of life’s inexpensive luxuries. It reminds us of a simpler time when value for money was about how many sweets you could buy for 20 cents.

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With the demise of the dusty corner store and its counters crammed with loose 1, 2 and 5 cent sweets, supermarkets now sell packaged blocks of chocolate, family size, to be carefully opened, purchased for bribery and allocated exactly. And still the advertisers one liners are burned deep into our collective memories:

”Have a break … have a Kit Kat…”

”It’s moments like these you need Minties”

”A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play”

Alas, no one quite sums up the joy and wonder of childhood chocolate quite like Roald Dahl:

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“Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every 10 seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds’ eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little dark red sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue”.

Do you remember the first time you read Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory then seeing it translated to screen with the perfectly cast Gene Wilder?

“Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three,” he says as the camera scans a chocolate waterfall, candy canes, giant fruit flavoured jelly babies and lollypops growing in a garden of candy delights. In his purple coat and chocolate coloured top hat, he sings on, “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free, if you truly wish to be”.

Much like the candy coloured edible art of Tanya Schultz, Willy Wonka takes me right back to childhood where sweet treats, sherbet sticks and unicorns were the order of the day.

Such is the irreplaceable magic of childhood reads and childhood sweets!

Thank you to Diana for sending this in!

Take a trip down memory lane and tell us what your favourite childhood sweets were…