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September 10, 2008

I don’t know if anyone else is familiar with Floral Gums, but I grew up on this … odd candy.  They’re a hard gelatin candy, lightly sweetened and flavoured with an strange, almost generic, floral additive.

Some people utterly hate ’em.  They taste somewhat akin to soap, aren’t nearly as sweet as they look, and tend to get stuck in every available crevice of your teeth. They are apparently among the most detested candies in the UK, hated by roughly half of Britain’s population – amongst those who care enough to particpate in the survey; likely meaning that the Silent Generation onward were very lightly represented in the survey.  I’d estimate, based on people I’ve given ’em to, that it’s closer to 80% of average folks will detest them.

I love ’em.  Really, I grew up on them; they were the only candy my nanny would let me have when I was a muchkin, and I’d chow down on them for ages and ages.  We’d go through immense quantities on a regular basis.  Even after I was too old for a nanny and she was relegated to mere babysitter, whenever she was around, the floral gums would come out.  And – I just learned that the other standby, which I always called “Red Moons” have an actual name, “Cherry Lips” and were apparently supposed to be distinctly cherry flavoured, in addition to their floral flavour.  I’d always just figured that they were a less colourful ripoff of the floral gums, but…  Turns out they were a distinctly different product.

Given, however, that floral gums were such a (cough, cough) popular candy, stores carried them less and less, until by the time I was buying candy for myself, they were impossible to find.  Until I wandered into Galloway’s the other day, looking for a few odds and ends that “real” grocery stores just don’t seem to carry.  Lo and behold there were little 500g tubs of floral gums on the shelves, just smiling up at me.

I’ve not been so thrilled in ages.  Or so amused by a checkout lady, as she looked at the container with revulsion and hesitantly asked if I might want to try one before I bought them.  “They’re … not generally a popular candy, you know…”

Fuck that shit, gimme my floral gums.  Greatest candy ever.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Tara permalink
    September 12, 2008 6:44 am

    Until I found the tub of those on your desk, I’d only ever known them as “soap candy” and the kids at the ski hills eat them in buckets because they a) taste better when frozen and b) are cheap.

    Typical Earthman, I suppose, to find the name and research the damn things, merely because I found a tub of nostalgic candy in the sweets isle of a random dry goods store. They do fully taste better the colder they are. I’ve neglected to share this when I share the candy, leaving more for me in the long run.

    (Also, Galloways has 10 kilo bars of chocolate, running at $80+ … if I ever need to buy a woman’s heart with chocolate, I know where I’m going.)

  2. September 12, 2008 9:35 am


  3. Jane Neuharth permalink
    October 30, 2008 3:36 pm

    I adore soap candies but haven’t been able to find them in years. I live in the States and substitute JuJuBees that I seal up with scented wax disks to make a faux floral gum. Last time I was in Edmonton, the lady at the candy counter told me the soap candy factory burned down. Was that a cruel joke? Do you know of a mail order source?

    Dunno about the factory, but I’ve not seen any major supply issues that can’t be blamed on the fact that they taste wierd and aren’t very sweet or particularly candylike. They’re just not a popular candy over here, and thus; hard to find.

    The only place I’ve found them is Galloways in Richmond, BC.

    Also, every now and again in candy bins at supermarkets.

    …Though it does seem you can buy them at some places online. This place is based out of Alberta and will apparently sell you a 2.25 kilo bag – 4.96 pounds – bag for $61 Canadian, +shipping. That sounds pretty much like a lifetime supply, it took me a month to go through 200 grams, so…

  4. Kathleen Carter permalink
    October 30, 2008 7:00 pm

    Just found a source of floral gums for the first time in 20 years. They are not exactly like the originals (since the factory fire in ? Ireland? so many years ago), but apparently are still manufactured in the UK. I live in Vancouver, but own a business in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. While traveling for business last month, I found a little candy shop in Canmore, Alberta which stocks the florals and cherry lips. They’re very expensive, but once you’re hooked, you’d sell your pancreas for a floral gum. The store is the “Old Tyme Candy Shoppe”, and there apparently are 2 sister stores in Radium and Lake Louise, as well. Hope this brings joy to some of my fellow Canadian floral junkies…

    You live in Vancouver? Galloways, in Richmond, on Alderbridge off No.3 carries them; that’s where I bought this blogged-about batch from.

  5. November 1, 2008 3:47 pm

    And a response.

  6. James permalink
    November 2, 2008 3:57 am

    I love Floral Gums! I was brought up in an English country town during the 1980s during which they started disappearing from sweet shop shelves. I live in Singapore now – and on a recent trip back to Saffron Walden in Essex, bought myself a big fuck off bag of the little beauties. Actually, it was 2006 I bought them – and I still have some left in my fridge. Let me quickly check to see if they’re still edible …

    … hmm, well kinda.

    So there you go. 2 year old, and still edible! You know you’d do it too!

    I so would. I wish I still had mine, I plowed through my little container right quick and am now missing them.

  7. Greg permalink
    November 4, 2008 12:07 pm

    I miss being able to freely buy them in the candy stores in Canada. Edmonton, Calgary, and occasionally in the Bay’s basement candy shop in Vancouver. (how is the Bay these days?)
    I am in the US now and these chuckleheads have no idea what I am talking about, unless they are from the UK or Canada.
    I don’t think that 5 lbs would last me that long.
    Good luck to you all. (sort of odd that all our comments are in the last month or so)

    Bay seems allright last I was there, but … big business like to hide it’s illnesses from us little people anyway, so it’s hard to say for sure.

    I know what you’re sayin’ mate, I’ve had enough trouble trying to describe them to folks my age here, to Americans not likely to have been brought up around ’em at all seems like it’d be a majestic challenge.

  8. Carolyn permalink
    February 13, 2009 3:39 pm

    One other place to get floral gums is the candy stand in Northgate mall in Edmonton. The don’t always have them but they can order them for you.

    Edmonton is a long trip from Vancouver or Waterloo just for candy, I must say…

  9. February 17, 2009 10:35 pm

    Lotta candy lovers out there, no?

  10. Kristin Haight permalink
    August 3, 2009 8:24 pm

    My first job was at a candy store in Southgate mall in Edmonton and twenty five years ago they sold Soap Candy there – it was the only candy I liked. We moved to Winnipeg a few years later and I have never been able to find it here. It was a big treat last week when I recevied a package in the mail from a friend who had found some in Victoria. It’s not quite the same as I remember but still darn good. I made the mistake of letting my sons try it – now I have to share my small supply:) I had never heard of putting it in the freezer but am going to try that now.

  11. Floral Gum King permalink
    August 11, 2009 6:57 pm

    There is a British importer in the South Center Mall in Calgary that gets Soap Candy. I buy them by the jar load, on occasion. Once I remember the name I’ll post it.

    The Soap Candy King.

  12. Alexe permalink
    August 30, 2009 9:01 pm

    You can find Floral Gums in Banff (@ Welch’s) and in Ottawa. Why can’t I find them in Montréal?

    I want Floral Gums. I am actually thinking of driving to Ottawa tomorrow to get some. I’ve been obsessing for weeks now! Gimme my floral gums!:)

  13. madison permalink
    September 18, 2009 9:35 pm

    where can you find them in ottawa?? or montreal??

    • September 27, 2009 12:03 am

      No clue. Part of why I was so excited to find them in Van.

    • MmmCandy permalink
      December 30, 2009 8:47 pm

      Luckily these can ordered on line, from a website called Sweetiebag. The story about the factory burning down is true, I was also at that store in Edmonton (in the big mall) and the story goes (if i remember right…) that the factory which makes floral gums, the slightly sweeter and more pale looking candies come from Ireland, and that factory is no more, but the one in the UK that makes the more brightly coloured strong tasting soap candy still exists, and since that time, they have added a few more flavours than they used to have, it seems. The UK still calls them floral gums, no clue why, but it was the Irish factory that kicked the bucket. This was in the late 90s. Wow, aren’t we a bunch of candy nerds, but w/ good taste no? 😉

  14. Synthia permalink
    November 24, 2010 2:23 pm

    hi one day my dad and i were looking at a health food store in the mall where i live called Nutters (i live in Salmon Arm) and he saw them and, was reeally supprised as had not had them since he was a kid… he made me try one andi was hooked… so now every time i go to the mall i beg my mom to buy me them… ive realized that for some its an aquired taste while others hate them right off the bat.. and others like me love them and become hooked on them.

  15. dino permalink
    December 30, 2011 8:52 pm

    i loved floral gums growing up…but todays version are not the same, more like a soapy jujube…i liked the oily hard candy that was really sticky…cant find it…after the fire the recipe changed…would pay huge for that old version…mmmm

    • yumm permalink
      December 30, 2011 10:06 pm

      Just stumbled onto this page years late it seems. I found them in bulk at the Millstream market in Victoria. I have pretty much survived on them now for the past 24 hours.

    • wendy permalink
      March 22, 2012 6:43 pm

      Totally agree – the old oily hard ones were the best. The new ones are made by Squirrel and dont taste anywhere near like the old ones. Sad.

  16. Cookie permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:18 am

    Colony Island Candy shoppe on White Ave in Edmonton, sells these sweet decadant yummy soap Candy.

  17. Julie Kirby permalink
    December 31, 2013 2:49 am

    I love cherry lips and floral gems! My brothers never understood how or why I liked them, and I just found them on some websites, grew up in Canada, live in the states now, where can I get these…..please advise with websites so I can order them
    Thank Julie

  18. Jenn permalink
    March 2, 2014 9:35 am

    I never knew them as soap candy…I knew them as floral gums or perfume candy. I am currently eating them as we speak! DELISH!!! My brother brought me home a nice big bag of them! He found them in Ottawa, but being the brat that he is he won’t tell me where! LOL…..they may not be quite the same as they were 25+ yrs ago since I have had them..but they are still might damn good!!!


  1. The entry titled "Soap candy, floral gums and other Canadian confectionery … | Soap Making in Montana
  2. Candy! « Earthman Xosha Rosp

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