Australia and New Zealand

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Australia and New Zealand, two countries in the southern hemisphere known collectively as the Antipodes, were colonized separately by the British—a heritage that produced a predilection for confectionery in both places. Sociologist Allison James has asserted that “sweets … are an entirely British phenomenon. There is no equivalent abroad and the British sweet industry, in its production of a very extensive range of confectionery, seems to be unique” (1986, p. 296). James was, however, unaware that Australia and New Zealand boast equally rich, although different, cultural and industrial confectionery histories. Children in both places have a voracious appetite for what they call “lollies,” rather than sweets or candy. For them, confectionery is a topsy-turvy wonderland of gustatory adventure that offers also a means of exercising consumer authority and subverting adult norms. Little wonder that when they reminisce about childhood “Down Under,” adults recall buying and consuming sweets in terms of power and enchantment.