The Magic of Lollies

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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When confectionery historian Laura Mason observed in Sugar-Plums and Sherbet that “sugar is fantasy land” (1998, p. 19), she could have had in mind Antipodean lolly counters, where a seemingly infinite range of shapes enables parents to turn children’s birthday cakes into oceans, jungles, moonscapes, and almost anything else. Perhaps a marker of difference for Australian confectionery is the prevalence of animals; if it flies, crawls, slithers, or runs, it may be found in miniature form at the lolly counter. The candy manufacturer A. W. Allen’s starch jellies, especially, have come in every shape imaginable: rats, cats, snakes, sharks, frogs, witchetty grubs, and so on. To this dazzling array add Allen’s Freckles and Steam Rollers; Hoadley’s Violet Crumbles and PollyWaffles; Mastercraft’s Golden Roughs, Redskins, and Bobbies; Plaistowe’s Choo Choo Bars; Riviera’s Fags; Scanlen’s Blackjack; Griffiths’s Kool Mints; and Lagoon’s Sherbet Bombs. A similar spectacle awaits children at New Zealand lolly counters, which offer Pineapple Lumps, Cola Rollers, Whittaker’s Peanut Slab, Chocolate Fish, Jet Planes for re-enacting scenes from Top Gun, and Fruit Puffs for making the ubiquitous Lolly Cake.