While everyone is largely focused on healthy eating, pastry chefs and confectioners worldwide are recreating sweets from our childhood and giving it a modern twist.
Sweets from the 1980s and ’90s like toffee apples, liquorice, toffee sweets and peanut clusters are making a comeback and the 2019 version of these treats we used to enjoy as children are bursting with flavours of nostalgia.
As we get older our taste buds change, which may also mean that you can no longer stand the cloying sweetness of your favourite sweet treat.
This is why many producers have played around by adding new flavours which tone down the sweetness while maintaining the authentic flavours.
Toffee apples are probably the most common childhood treat and have been around for many generations.
They are still a popular break time treat at some schools and I remember always making sure that I saved a 50c so I could get my glossy red toffee apple.
Most times the toffee (or rather the syrup) was much tastier than the apple. No one really cared much about the apple.
This was evident from all the slightly red and green dyed apples that would land in the bin after our interval. These candy-coated apples have come a long way since they were sold through a broken school fence.
A much fancier version can now be found on the menu at hotels like The Table Bay in Cape Town.
Lee-Andra Govender, head pastry chef at the Table Bay Hotel, recreated this carnival treat by adding her own twist which includes white chocolate and gelatine. Very fancy.
I always thought of liquorice as the ugly stepchild in the All Sorts packet.
The coated and layered ones were always the first to go until you were left with a pack of plain, dark liquorice which few people wanted.
Then who can forget the longer, stringy version, which we came to know as drops?
Because of its distinct taste, you either love or hate liquorice.
I am a fan of candy-coated liquorice. Just like the toffee apple, liquorice has become fancier, and dare I say tastier, thanks to the team of Lakrids.
Lakrids by Bülow is a luxury liquorice brand that was recently launched in South Africa.
Owner Johan Bülow is on a quest to get the world to love liquorice again with his luxury brand of caramel- and chocolate-coated liquorice.
Whether you crave something salty, sweet or even fruity, Lakrids liquorice cares for every palate. There is also the classic flavour. The bite-sized balls with a liquorice centre makes for the perfect gift or party treat.
My favourite is the caramel rogue chocolate and caramel coated liquorice.
These clusters are a peculiarity because by definition nuts are a healthy snack.
Now you take a handful of nuts and drench it in a sweet syrup or even chocolate and create a peanut cluster. It’s one of those snacks that was never a commercial but a home-made snack.
The township shopkeeper (or his wife) would melt chocolate and create that iconic round shape with a handful of peanuts.
Chocolate was an expensive childhood treat, but a peanut cluster was a taste of the chocolate you wanted, but for a lot less money.
The other advantage was that you could break the cluster into smaller pieces and share with your friends, making sure that everyone got a fair share of chocolatey-goodness and peanut crunch.