victorian lollies, candies, candy, sugar
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VICTORIANA - Enjoy articles relating to the Victorian Era. A regular column in each issue of The Tea House Times. Written by Patrice LePera - Authority, Victorian Era, Historical Writing -

June 2011 Posts


Blog Entry

Victorian Lollies and Candies for Tea Tables by Patrice LePera

posted by TeaHouseTimes Admin, ADMINMonday, June 13th 2011 @ 4:07 PM

Until the Victorian Era, the source of sweets was honey; “The Queen was in the parlor, eating bread and honey.” Captain Cook brought sugar cane from Hawaii to England, but the supplies were very limited, (to Royalty!)  Somebody noticed that red beetroot was quite sweet, and yielded syrup similar to sugar, but nobody paid any attention until Napoleon had to do without!  His cooks boiled enough beets to give him “two loaves” of sugar, and he was so delighted, he ordered the humble vegetable to be planted over 32,000 hectares!  As soon as Queen Victoria made it possible for the common people to patent ideas, the Victorians began to spin delightful concoctions out of sugar!

Sugar appeared on tea-tables!  Not in sugar bowls, mind you, which were added to Chinaware later, but in great rock-crystal blocks. The butler would knock off lumps with a sugar hammer, saying “one lump or two, madam?”

Peppermint drops were given out by tavern-keepers, instead of the ancient custom of giving guests a clove to chew on, to sweeten their breath.

Stick candy was white, and flavoured with peppermint, given to children during long-winded church services to keep them quiet.  The twisted, coloured stick candy became a delightful treat at fairs and carnivals, inspiring the “candy cane” (bent like a shepherd’s crook to hang on Christmas trees).  Fairy floss was flung with a fork!  Candy cooks realized that boiled sugar spins a thread.  Early recipes recommend covering one’s hands and arms with butter to protect from flying strings of candy.  This was eventually tamed by a clever invention that produced fairy floss (now known as cotton candy) without danger to life and limb!

Ribbon candies, flavoured with orange, lemon and rum were pulled and hand twisted into beautiful ribbons, perfect to perch on a tea-cup.  Ornamental candies began to appear at posh tea parties, displayed in beautiful candy-dishes.  Ancient Persians stirred flavoured candies into tea.  Personalized candies are now available,* with the name of your tea house, or the names of a wedding couple.  Try offering your guests special candies to stir into their tea!!  Peppermints, orange, lemon or anise lollies, make a delightful treat stirred into tea, rather than the ubiquitous granulated sugar.  Sugar-free (flavoured) candies are not only more charming, but better on the budget than little paper packets.  How about stirring your black tea with a pretty licorice candy-stick!

Cover photo thanks to Mary Ellen McClintock & photo with printed article thanks to *Sugar Sugar


by Patrice LePera ~ Authority, Victorian Era, Historical Writing ~


From the May/June 2011 issue of The Tea House Times.  To view the most recent issue, please register / log-in at for free access.

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