Parma Violets are one of those foodstuffs that you either love or hate, a bit like Marmite which is probably the best example of this phenomenon. Not that Parma Violets taste like a sticky brown yeast extract of course! Personally, I’m on the “love them” side of the fence (I’m on the “hate it” side for Marmite though). The image here shows them in their giant variation, which are approximately the size of a UK one pound coin, but as a child I remember them better in their smaller form.
So what are they? They are hard candy sweets made by Swizzels Matlow, that taste of, erm, well, violet. That is they taste of violet the colour, if that makes sense! If you were to close your eyes, and put one in your mouth, the taste of them immediately makes you think that they must be violet in colour. The flavour may well have something to do with the flower called the Violet, but having never personally eaten flowers I really don’t know for sure.
Both size variants of these sweets come wrapped in groups in cellophane and are still available today, but it is often easier to track down the giant variety these days. Back in the 1980’s though, the smaller versions were more common, and could be bought as one of the many options in your selection of penny sweets. They were also commonly found in variety bags of sweets, including my favourite the Booty Bag, a giant bag containing a huge selection of different sweets including lollipops, boiled sweets, chews and jelly sweets.