All over the world, there are two sounds that will get a kid's attention. One is their mother’s voice calling them them by their full first, middle, and last name); the other is the crinkle of paper or plastic wrap coming off of a piece of candy. Every country has its own iconic confection, one that has the ability to transport adults back to their childhood candy store, where they stood, salivating, coins in hand, anticipating the gooey goodness of their favorite candy.
In America, our most iconic candy treat is probably the Hershey Bar, though some prefer Snickers or Kit-Kats or such confections as Necco wafers, Bit-O-Honey, or Red Hots, which thrived an era when a penny could actually get you something sweet to eat.
In Spain, Chupa Chups were created by Enric Bernat as a way to keep kids from getting messy when they ate their candy. In 1920s Germany, a bear-loving candy maker thought making affordable gummy candy — what we now know and love as Haribo Gummy bears — might be a good idea. (If you laid all of the Gold-Bears gummy bears produced by Haribo annually, they would form a ring around the earth four times.
At some point, candy becomes much more than a simple sweet. It’s the stuff summer memories are made of, and more often than not, it becomes fodder for pop culture references. Ask a kid who grew up in the 1980s what happens when you’re “right in the middle of a Caramello” and they will probably break into song. Sure, you may not have heard of every piece of candy on our list, but if you ask an ex-pat from that country about it and chances are it will take them a minute to answer you. Why? Because they’ve momentarily drifted back in time to that beloved candy store with a penny in their pocket and a craving for a sweet.
We’ve rounded up some iconic candies from different countries to give you a taste of what the rest of the world has a sweet tooth for.
Fantales are the Aussie favorite of hard-yet-bitable caramel covered in chocolate. Individually wrapped in distinctive yellow and blue paper printed with movie star fun facts on them, they came onto the market in 1940s as a movie theater candy. They are just as popular today and were referenced in What It Means To Be Australian as the candy you can’t eat alone; “Otherwise, who will you play the 'Who am I...' game with when you're reading the wrapper?”
China: White Rabbit
White Rabbit, created by the ABC Candy Factory of Shanghai in 1943, was one of the first milk-based domestically produced candies in China. Eat seven, the slogan says, and it’s like drinking a cup of milk. Parents love the “nutrition” aspects of it, while kids love eating the creamy, chewy candy that comes wrapped in edible rice paper. Production was briefly halted in 2008 due to a milk contamination scare, but the manufacturer found a new milk supplier (from New Zealand). The candy was back in action before fans went through any serious withdrawal.