An Introduction to Italian Candy – Caramelle

January 18th, 2008 · Tags: Discovering Food · Food · Italy · Tips

Sei golosa!! You’re a glutton! I often hear that in Italy. In America, I’m what you’d call a sweet tooth. Everywhere I go I tend to check out the candy counter.

I’m not talking today about chocolate or gum today, just “caramelle” which are considered usually hard candies or non-chocolate sweets in Italy. There are some clear sub-types of caramelle and their well-known brands. There are a few which would be considered “gommosi” or gummy-like, but not gummies in the traditional Haribo sense.

These are also predominantly made directly in Italy and not imported. In a typical Tabaccaio or even supermarket, you will find many more foreign brands and candies available that are quite popular.

At the end is a contest and I’m giving away a kilo of these candies, free!

  • Liquorice, Anice and Herbal candies
  • Milk candies
  • “Mou” Toffee and Gelatin fruit candies
  • Dietorelle “diet” candies
  • Honey hard candies
  • Pastiglie Leone
  • Inside a Tobaccaio and candies you might find there
  • Rossana and Negrita
  • The contest!

Liquorice, Anice and Herbal candies

I couldn’t start off talking about Italians and their candy without talking about liquorice, anice and herbal candies. I’ve seen that the flavor preferences of any country are reflected in their gum, and also in their toothpaste flavors. The first time I saw an herbal toothpaste flavor here, I did a double take. And yes, it tastes herbal.

Much like the Americans love their cinnamon and peppermint flavors, Italians love liquorice and anise flavors. Unfortunately, this is a class of flavors that I can’t tolerate in large quantities or strong intensity. For some time, I stopped buying gum until I could figure out which brand didn’t have a liquorice or anice undertone.

Possibly the most popular liquorice candy is Golia (pictured far right) – tiny little white wrappers with a chewy/gummy liquorice button inside. Other than these “classiche,” Golia has branched out into many non-liquorice varieties, including mint, fruit and balsamic varieties.

Herbal flavors are quite popular in Italian candies and I’ve enjoyed rediscovering some flavors that I wasn’t used to finding in candy. The smartly-wrapped candies on the left by Mera & Longhi have become my fast favorite. The best thing is every bag is a completely different mix of flavors and no two is alike. I didn’t even see a cannella (cinnamon) flavored one until my 5th bag. Flavors pictured are: genziana (gentian), camomilla (chamomile), anice (anise), salvia e limone (sage-lemon), ginepro (juniper), and bergamotto (bergamot), but there are many more. My friends decided that rhubarb was by far the worst flavor (not pictured).

Another popular mint flavor is a variety of Fernet Branca liquor called Branca Menta. This particular candy is called Fernet Menta (top right), which is not an official brand name of liquor so it can be used on a candy. It has a bit of a wintergreen flavor. Peppermint and spearmint flavors are not common, though a few varieties of gum have a peppermint flavor.

Herbal, Mint, Liquorice Italian Candies

Milk Candies

Milk is good for children, right? So of course a candy that uses predominantly or is based on milk will be good for children, too. Kinder is of course a wonderful example of how convincing parents milk in candy makes it more nutritional.

The most popular milk candy in Italy is arguably “Galatine” – and almost all Italians I’ve met ate it at one point in their childhood. An interesting note – when I put out a basket of these candies later, they were the first to disappear.

Galatine in their classic form are simple white tablets which are compressed milk and sugar. You can crunch them or savour them, and every person has their preference. Now Galatine come in different forms – with chocolate bits (pictured), in gummy form, but the classic version remains the ones the Italians remember. At least this grown-up generation.

Galatine candy in Italy

“Mou” Toffee and Gelatin fruit candies

Mou, or toffee/taffy made with milk (pictured right), exist in many flavors, from coffee to liquorice and mint mentioned above. Fruit flavors are also popular in a gelee / gelatin form (pictured left) like lampone (raspberry), fragola (strawberry), limone (lemon), pesca (peach), and arancia (orange).

Italian Gelatin Fruit and Toffee Fruit Candy

Dietorelle “diet” candies

Dietorelle is a brand that made itself famous focusing on sugar-free candies, so you can eat candy and stay “in forma.” There are other sugar-free brands but Dietorelle is the most widely-known. They are available in almost any flavor combination and can be gummy, hard candies or mou. Pictured here are chewy fruit flavors.


Honey hard candies

I spoke about some honey makers’ products that I enjoy from Gruppo Apicoltori Riuniti They also make all sorts of honey candies paired with other flavors like lemon, erbe alpine (alpine herbs), gentian and even liquorice. Ambrosoli candies are often eaten when you have a sore throat and now they are saying that honey is a natural cure and can even be used to dress wounds! For now, I’ll just eat it in my candy.

Italian hard candies made with Honey

Pastiglie Leone

I couldn’t talk about Italian candies without mentioning the little boxed candies from Torino, Pastiglie Leone. Perhaps known more for their old-world packaging than for their individual flavors, they keep innovating and bringing out new flavors like Assenzio (Absinthe), Te Verde (Green Tea), and Caffe’ (Coffee). I love the special metal tins (left) and I refill those with my favorites.

Before gorging yourself on their candies, make sure you read if it’s a “dissetanti” (thirst-quencher) or “digestive” first as eating too many of them might give you a stomach-ache!

Leone Pastiglie

Inside a Tabaccaio and (Other) Popular Candies You Might Find There

When I was a child, the supermarket was where I went for a huge display of candy. Usually an additional display right as you were checking out, in Italy there is a candy aisle in most supermarkets, but at the checkout lines, they are usually monopolized by all things Kinder. To get a wide variety of gum, hard candy and other individually-packaged candy, the local Tabaccaio (Tobacco seller) is the place to go. Since they sell other things like bus tickets, your chances of running into one is high. They are usually quite small, so vertical space is used as much as possible and the candy displays are everywhere.

The Candy Display in a Tabaccaio in Italy

And just in case any government officials are watching: there is no tobacco in this picture, neither am I promoting nor advertising the use of tobacco and/or cigarettes!!

Here are some other candies you might find in a Tabaccaio:

From lower left: La Pasticca del Re Sole are liquorice flavored candies my coworker loves. Probably the first candy you could afford with your own money is gummy Goleador (liquorice and cola flavors). Zigulivit are vitamin-like pellet candies that have some added nutritional value and come in several fruit flavors. Alpenliebe candies are sugar-free versions of caramel Werther’s Original. Fruitella, similar to Starburst in America, are usually fruit-based chewy candies (pictured here in strawberry). The last candy in this picture is perhaps the strangest candy that I’ve come across in Italy. It’s called Pip and it’s “the smoker’s candy.” The packaging makes it look like a cigar which doesn’t make it that appetizing in my opinion. The verdict? Strong candies but since they have such a strong undertone of liquorice, they are not for me.

Italian candies found at the Tabaccaio

Two random candies: Rossana and Negrita

I couldn’t leave these two out for this introduction.

Negrita were candies that I found several years ago and their little black faces and the (random) shiny spot make them look a little bit like olives on the package. Inside, however, is a delicious chocolate-covered “croccantino” of caramelized nuts. Yes, this does have chocolate in it, but it’s so interesting I had to include it.


Rossana from Perugina are candies that an Italian child might find in his “Befana” stocking – S always picks them out from our pile. Hard candy outside with a liquid hazelnut cream inside, this pretty package brings back memories for a lot of my friends.


The Contest: Free Candy for You and a Fellow Commenter!

Now it’s your turn. Do you want to win a 1/2 kilo box full of all the candies* I’ve talked about today? What about one for a friend, too? (*Candies that are individually wrapped)

Which of these candies most inspires you? Repulses you? What about your favorite childhood candy?

This giveaway is a little different from the past. There will be TWO winners! Here’s what to do:

  • Leave a comment here until January 25th (Friday!) (comment only once, your email address must be valid, but will not be displayed)
  • Send this post to a friend or many friends and ask them to comment if interested!
  • I’ll pick one winner and ask them to tell me the number of the other commenter they’d like to win, and that person will get a package, too!
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120 responses so far ↓

Comments on older posts are closed automatically

  • 1
    june2 // Jan 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Hmm, like things from a parallel universe. I’d love to try them, thanks for the contest!

  • 2
    David // Jan 18, 2008 at 8:44 am

    No Pocket Coffee??

  • 3
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Jan 18, 2008 at 8:45 am

    @David – Pocket Coffee are technically not considered caramelle because of the chocolate part (I know, I cheated with the Negrita) – but don’t worry…they will show up!

  • 4
    Sara - Piperita // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Many many memories!!! :-)
    Golia was my grandpa’s favourite candy!!! And I love them: little 2 calories, the perfect candy for me!
    Then Galatine: when I was little they were available only in Switzerland, so it’s the candy of the holiday, when my Swiss relatives came over!
    And Rossana: can’t remember how many of them I ate when I was a child!!!
    I feel a child again!!!

  • 5
    Jeff // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I will bookmark this post for all time! I have to say that I’m repulsed by the sugar-free candy. Stop trying to fool me. I can taste the difference and I always will!!! :) I’m also not a big fan of the Galatine, milky, chalky stuff. Everything else… SI, SI!!!

  • 6
    Alice Twain // Jan 18, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Ginevrine, Golia, “palline” and the square, hard rhubarb and/or barley ones are the candies I have the most memories of, those that are a real madelinette for me.
    I used to get ginevrine when I visited my aunt’s (actually, my grand-aunt). She was a seamstress, in her 70′s, and with a badly hunched back due to her job. She never married, and was extremely brisk and indipendent. She kept a jar of these sugar drops, actually more like pastilles of sugar icing flavored and colored, perfectly round or slightly oval. I would pick one per color and place them in front of me, like the buttons I played with when I visited her.
    Golia and “palline” are meorable because until the early 1980′s these were used as a substitute for small change. At the supermarket, when the checkout lacked 5 or 10 lira to give back as change, you would be handed one or two of those. The golia used for change were usually a bit stale: isntead of gummy they were hard but not brittle enough to break with your teeth: you had to suck on them and warm them up so that theys tated to give a bit, then the outer layer of hardened candy gave way to a small amount of still gummy substance.
    The rhubarb and barley candies were essentially flat, hard squares of sugar: my memory makes them probably bigger than they were in reality, big enoug to fill my tiny mouth with their corners. The pharmacies kept them for small change in substitution of palline or Golia. I loved the rhubarb ones, with their slight bitterness, and hated the barley ones: the problem is that the two were essentially indistinguishable, just a slight color variation (the barley ones were a bit more golden, the rhubarb ones were slightly darker) gave you a hit of the flavor. I craved for them, but most of the times I was badly disappointed to find a sweet and bland barley candy instead of a flavorful and slightly bitter rhubarb one. Only years later I discovered that my granny expressly asked for the barley ones, thinking that the rhubarb ones would be too strongly flavored for my taste.

  • 7
    Nicola Mattina // Jan 18, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Maybe Amarelli ( is worth a mention: it is a historical producer of liquorice in Calabria :-)

  • 8
    Erin // Jan 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try the Pastiglie Leone many flavors but haven’t as of yet. I love Anise and herbal flavors and actually used a herbal/anise toothpaste from Toms of Maine back in the states!

  • 9
    Shanna Sanders // Jan 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I want to try all of them! Maybe the Pastiglie Leone the most, though.

  • 10
    Xue // Jan 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I have such a soft spot for milk candies. I lived in China when I was very young (grade school) and candies made with milk or yogurt flavoring are very popular there. It’s so hard to find them in the US! Those Pastiglie Leone look charming; I wonder if they taste anything like C. Howard’s Violet mints?

  • 11
    pina // Jan 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    oh fruitella!! i forgot all about you! my nonna would buy this for us when we were kids. this was a great article :) thanks for reminding me about all the yummy candies.

  • 12
    nyc/caribbean ragazza // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I have a very strong sweet tooth as well. I have had the fruit candies and Fruit-tella here. Hmm not sure about the Negrita. The packaging is a little too similar to a very infamous Japanese toothpaste.

  • 13
    Tori // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Those mou look very interesting (milky fruit?) and I’d love to try the Rossana. I’m used to German candies (sent over by relatives) but I’d love to try some Italian ones! (I’ve had my share of Kinder products… shudder…)

  • 14
    clumsy // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    The negrita’s sound so interesting! Though I don’t know about the herbal ones…. never had herbal candy before. I love hard candies too, Wether’s Originals were my favorite as a child! I’m going to write my sister about all the candies you mentioned… she’s in Italy for a semester abroad! Thanks!

  • 15
    anna l'americana // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    oh, the memories. I remember almost every single candy you mentioned (I don’t recall any of the diet ones!) and what a fool I was as a child seeing all of these and craving American candy instead. Now as an adult, I’m craving all those silly herbal, licorice, and strange (to us in the US) flavord hard candies at the Tabacchaio! And yes, Alice T., I remember getting Golia as change and the whole hard versus gummy thing as well! What a deja-vu! Do they still sell Charms? They were hard fruit flavored and you could get a pack of lemon, orange or mixed, and the mixed had other flavors as well like red (berry) or purple (grape)! Those were among my favorites and I would run to buy them with my little allowance, 50 or 100 lire for a pack…

  • 16
    lori // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    When I was younger I loved Mary Janes and Squirrels nut zippers and Boston baked beans.
    As for the Italian candy, they also sound good to me! I love to try anything different. I do love licorice, so I am sure I would love those.

  • 17
    jessica in rome // Jan 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    What a great post!!! I am addicted to Goleador!!! Every time either my husband or I goes to the Tabacchi we take all our small change and buy copious amounts! I have seen many of the candies you mentioned but I am more of a chocolate lover- but now I definitely try them now.

  • 18
    jessica in rome // Jan 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    That last line was supposed to say “but I will definitely try them now.” Stavo litigando con mio PC!

  • 19
    Chief Chicken in Charge // Jan 18, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    This post was both beautiful and fascinating. I’ve sent it to all of my Italian relatives that live here in the US to see which ones are/were their favorites as children. I can’t wait to hear their stories about candy now. Thank you!

  • 20
    Jessica, Italy Logue // Jan 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    My favorite section in any market when I’m traveling is always the candy aisle – every culture likes sweets, but their definition of “sweet” is probably going to be different than what I’m used to. In France some years ago I gorged myself on flavored marshmallows. Mmmm… And on one early trip to Italy I innocently bought a packet of gum that had some kind of blackcurrant (or something like that) flavoring in it, only to find it’s actually medicinal for when you’re congested! I didn’t eat any more of it on that trip, but I still have it and use it when I’ve got a head-cold. Excellent stuff.

  • 21
    John // Jan 18, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    What caught my eye was the negrita candy. Growing up that was my moms nickname for my sister. We live in south Texas and as kids spent a lot of time outside in the sun. If anyone finds a website to purchase online please post the link.

  • 22
    Lieludalis // Jan 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    That is one of the things that I didn’t explore enough while in Milan…the candy! I’ll be in Milan next week, so I’ll be sure to explore my Tabaccio for some of these treasures! Especially the Galatine…my husband is a milk freak and has a wicked sweet tooth! Thank you!

  • 23
    finnyknits // Jan 18, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I was so pleased when I first visited Shelley and found that there was licorice flavored EVERYTHING.

    I love black licorice. And, apparently, no one in the US does. Aside from Bubba, who is as we know, unique and wonderful. Much like licorice itself.

    Now, mind you Red Vines do not count for licorice in my world, so putting “black” before “licorice” is redundant for me. Red Vines = Crap Fruit Candy while Licorice = Awesome.

    During my recent visit over Christmas I came to know the Torrone, particularly the chocolate with pistachio Torrone.

    Oh hell, that stuff is so good and, plus, it appears to be a normal practice to cut a thick slice and eat slabs the size of birthday cake.


  • 24
    jessica // Jan 18, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    im back from the land of not blogging! you must have a great dentist :). i dont really like these kind of sweets, but the ones that look like red vines but are sour and frosted with sugar….oooooh

  • 25
    Janet // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Gorgeous, colorful and really made me think about the candies of my childhood. One candy in particular that is still available is (are) called Necco Wafers. Anyone in New Englad probably knows these wax paper wrapped wafers of chocolate, lemon, wintergreen and anise and peppermint. I remember my older brother always sharing them with me ( he gave me the ones he didn’t like!). Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful candies with all of us.

  • 26
    kay // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Herbal candies are generally repulsive (sugary sage in a hard candy??), but man, those fruit gummy things look GOOD.

    I still love red Twizzlers, Chinese “White Rabbits” (a milk candy), and Jelly Bellies!!

  • 27
    Morgan // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I agree with Jessica (#20)–looking at the candy aisles in different countries is always a fascinating and belly-aching (in a good, gorging way) opportunity to learn more about what fuels local appetite. And doing so leads to insatiable cravings later–I was in Belize this summer, and a lot of their candies have tropical flavors I can’t stop thinking about but can’t find where I live, although they are becoming more prevalent. These candies are all so beautiful, and sound delicious! I love the artistry of candy packaging. Some of the licorices sound like ones I had when I was younger. Yum :-).

  • 28
    The Food Hunter // Jan 18, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I remember having some of these when I was in Italy. I really like the Rossana. How can you go wrong with hazelnut cream. The Galatine sound really interesting so do the fruit candies. YUM…Thanks for doing this!

  • 29
    Anne // Jan 18, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Hi What a fab post, I just love Liquorice and Anice. Not sure about the Rossana though, not my taste I don;t think.

    Love those Pastiglie Leone..Thanks for the contest.

  • 30
    jess // Jan 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    loved this post! foreign candy always piques my interest, and that packaging from pastiglio leone might make me order something from there! can you order from the website?

  • 31
    Shelley // Jan 19, 2008 at 10:03 am

    What fun! I have a sweet tooth too. The mou/toffee candies are my favorite. I also like the Fruitella gummy candies that come in a roll, but I can’t buy them because I literally eat all of them instantly, one after the other.

    Your photos on this article were fantastic… they seem like professional advertising shots. Great idea for a post, brava.

  • 32
    eva // Jan 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Such a lovely post, grazie cara!

    I agree with you about the little metal Leone tins – they are just so gorgeously designed. I’m not sure how I managed to come home from Italy without a single one. Although I like the Leone caramelle (particularly the caffe’, as if I didn’t consume enough coffee anyway!), flavour-wise my vote would have to be for quelle al miele (it rhymes!) – absolutely the thing for a sore throat.

    As for which most repulses me…well. I studied in Padova for a while and one night I went to the cinema there. The selection of snacks in this particular (tiny, local, arthouse-y) cinema was even more limited than the usual Italian cinema (I’m not complaining about that, by the way: I like that the cinemas there don’t smell suffocatingly of fake-buttered popcorn!) – all they had available were Galatine. I decided to try them and settled into my seat, slipping one into my mouth as the film started. MISTAKE. I’ve never liked milk-flavoured candies (or sweets, as we call them here in Ireland) and clearly this wasn’t about to change just because I was in Italy. I spat the tablet into a piece of paper as quickly – and discreetly – as possible, and spent the rest of the film trying my best to ignore the taste it had left in my mouth. Blech. Lesson learnt!

    I don’t remember ever seeing a Rossana though, but they sound fab.

    Caspita, what a long and parentheses-filled comment!

  • 33
    Kim // Jan 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I think the herb flavored candy by Mera e Longhi looks so good! And I loved seeing the Galatine milk candy. When I came back from Italy I brought a bag of that candy with me and one day my noisy mom went into my drawer and ate the entire thing. When I asked her about it she said she thought it was trash, which I naturally responded “Of course, I keep all my trash hidden in my desk…!” ( She always pulls stunts like this) but I was always sad because I only had two candies out of the entire bag before she got to them.

    The other candies look amazing!

    I have a question though, are you not a fan of Perugina Chocolates?

  • 34
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Jan 19, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    @Nicola – you’re right! I didn’t get around to that one this time.
    @anna – I have seen Charms but I didn’t include them because I think they are Spanish, possibly?
    @jess – I’ll look into putting a page together where you can buy some of this stuff!
    @eva – Galatine are definitely not for everyone and not my kind of movie candy! That’s too bad!
    @Kim – I snuck the Negrita in the post but I wanted to avoid chocolate for this discussion since it would turn into a book! Soon :)

  • 35
    Laura // Jan 19, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I spent a semester of college in Italy and this brings back so many memories. My favorite candy was the Perugina chocolate. I actually visited the Perugina factory as I was staying in Perugia. It smelled sooo good there and we got to sample too. I don’t know that I tried any of the candies you listed here (I was pretty stuck on the chocolate) but I think the hard candies look great! This makes me miss trips to the Tabbacio stores and trying so many new foods. Thanks for the great blog!

  • 36
    Joanne // Jan 20, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Wonderful article!

    I remember Rossana from when I used to visit relatives as a child. They (along with Baci) where staples in and Italo-Canadian home.

    I have always been attracted to the packaging of the Pastiglie Leone, but ever since I quit smoking (over a year ago now) I don’t buy candy anymore. I tend to avoid the candy aisle in Ipercoop and I have to admit that I am more of a chocolate girl!

  • 37
    blair // Jan 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I am intrigued by the negritas, since they seem to be very … oh, not sure what to say but I will default with not “pc”… but the concept of digestive candies is fabulous and I am very interested in the Pastiglie Leone, plus they have awesome packaging!

  • 38
    Ash // Jan 20, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Loved the post! I know the Pastiglie Leone, because we can get them here in the chocolatier. The ones that intrigue me the most are the Rossana and the honey candies. I have had some honey candies that look similar but I’m not sure if they were the same. I think childhood sweets really bring back memories.

    My favourites are the Freddo (chocolate frogs), sherbet dabs, a sweet like fruitella, toffees and a special kind of chewy mint. I don’t like licorice and Holland is really big on that too! I’ll be linking to you :)

  • 39
    lola granola // Jan 20, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    What a fantastic blog! There are so many amazing sweets in Italy, but I think my favorite is Ferrara’s Torrone.

    I love Italian torrone, Spanish turron, French doesn’t matter. I just love the stuff. I’m a nut for it . And while my sense of adventure is sometimes muted by my pocketbook, it seems that never matters when I’m presented with nougat… especially when I see the word “honey” in the ingredients.

  • 40
    Su-Lin // Jan 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    I’ve just discovered your site and love it!

    We used to get tiny little Italian hard candies at a restaurant in Vancouver… they really were minuscule and were different fruity flavours. Yummy!

  • 41
    Gina // Jan 20, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    I always enjoyed the Brach’s Pick a Mix a a kid. Everything except for the butterscotch candies. My mom had to heimlich one right out of me once! My tastes now go towards candies that aren’t too sweet, and have interesting flavors, particularly floral flavors!

  • 42
    Guia // Jan 21, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Milk candy is a childhood favorite of mine, particularly those made from carabao’s milk. Alcala Sweets from Alcala, Cagayan, Philippines is the brand our family cherishes.

  • 43
    Aggie // Jan 21, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Your blog has left my mouth watering! The Leone candies are particularly fascinating. I’ve never tasted anything containing absinthe, and would love to try them.

    The dietorelle candies are the least appealing of the bunch. Artificial sweeteners often leave a bitter, metallic aftertaste in my mouth and just don’t satisfy my sweet tooth in the same way that REAL sugar does.

    My favorite childhood candy has to be Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. I particularly love the toasted marshmallow and coconut flavored ones. I still indulge in them from time to time, but now days, I prefer coffee flavored candies such as Kopiko, from Indonesia or Rademaker Haagse Hopjes, from the Netherlands.

  • 44
    miriam // Jan 21, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Mmmmmmmm…Negrita….gotta get me some…..

  • 45
    Lilian // Jan 21, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Wonderful post, Sara–eye candy, indeed, for those of us with a sweet tooth. I’m amazed by the range of opinion posted so far about flavor preferences–I didn’t realize so many people had such an aversion to licorice (anise). I love the stuff! I usually just eat Finnish licorice (including the unusual extremely salty kind, Salmiaki), but I’d certainly eat the Italian sorts if they were more readily available. Of your assortment, therefore, the licorice and herbal interest me most–especially the more unusual flavors (gentian, juniper, rhubarb)–followed by the pastiglie leone, rossana, and negrita. I wouldn’t touch the diet candies–for the same reason Aggie gave: artificial sweeteners have a dreadful aftertaste (and they might actually be less healthful than sugar).

  • 46
    Stefano // Jan 21, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    My favorites of the Italian candies are clearly Rossana, mou, and gelatina. Occasionally I enjoy a black licorice, but must be soft chew, not hard melt-in-your mouth or medicinal. I’m not usually a fan of hard candies, especially not the dietetic varieties.

  • 47
    Colleen in South Africa // Jan 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Oh WOW!! This is unashamedly one of my favourite posts!! I LOVE candy and chocolate of any kind (well, not the diet kind – they just dont do it for me). Soft chewy licorice hmmmm!! Milky candy? oh yes please! Just the word MOU sounds just too wonderful!!Fruit-tella brings back sweet memories of traveling for me. Rossana and sweet looking Negrita?? Gotta go onto my list of things to try before I die!! And lastly I covet some of those gorgeous little Pastiglie Leone tins – and the goodies inside of course. Honey candy? Bring it on sista!! Sei Golosa!! Sei Golosa!! That would be me OK! I am feeling decidedly like a little kid in a candy store right now. Thank you so much for a super post :)

  • 48
    mimi // Jan 22, 2008 at 5:03 am

    As a lover of all things Italian, Italian candy is on the list of things I obsess about. I love the Pastiglie Leone, and wish I could try them all.
    On my last trip, I discovered these Fallani “ORZO” caramelle. They have a nice caramel flavor, and are a hard candy. They are exquisitely wrapped as well. I hope this photo comes through.

    as a child, I can remember how excited I was when my father bought me a small package of Torrone, it came in 3 flavors. Vaniglia, Limone and Arancia.

  • 49
    James // Jan 22, 2008 at 6:18 am

    I loved this post! When I travel (which used to be a lot, but now I’m stuck in one place in China, where frankly the candy is not so memorable) I usually like to find the local candy and give it a try. It was in this way that I discovered my single favorite candy in the entire world, which unfortunately I discovered as I was leaving the country in question. In this case, it was Iceland’s Noi brand of liquorice candies, which have a great combination of not-too-overpowering liquorice flavor, combined with a slightly-chewy texture. I have tried in vain to find them outside of Iceland, and am only glad that I have had enough friends fly through Reykjavik and bring me back some that I am able to keep my addiction sated, provided I keep myself from eating them too quickly!

  • 50
    Cheryl Stark // Jan 22, 2008 at 9:32 am

    It doesn’t matter where in the world we go, each country has their own specialty “candy”. From England to Guam, to Australia to Georgia, to Japan to Germany, we have had fun getting to know what cultures enjoy and offer in terms of sweets. Now that we are here in Europe, we get a chance to visit and enjoy what is offered in each region. Thank you for your take on Italian candies. It seems that everyone has their favorites and their dislikes. It is good to hear from every corner of the world on a subject that we all like to think we are pros on…sweets. Keep the blogs coming, we’ll keep in reading them! Ciao bella!’

  • 51
    Gretchen Noelle // Jan 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    What a great idea to feature all the candies of Italy! I just may have to do the same here in Peru. There are so many to choose from!

  • 52
    MiJa // Jan 23, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    How cool.. just by talking about all the different candies inspires me. I’m an impulse buyer when I get to the checkout; always looking for the newest mint, candy or gum. When I lived in South Africa, my favorite childhood candy were Smarties (and still are!,) which are kind of like M&M’s but with a thicker shell and each color has a slight flavor. I couldn’t see myself gorging on absynthe, or licorice flavored candies, but would try one just to taste. Thanks for putting this together!

  • 53
    slick // Jan 23, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    This is my first visit to your site and I get both a candy post AND a contest?! How lucky am I? :-)

    Generally I’m a chocolate girl all the way, but I do love licorice and the Rossana candies intrigue me. None of the candies you featured “repulse” me exactly, but I have to say that I’m a little afraid of the Pastiglie Leone – I’d probably end up with a stomach ache because I’d never think to read a candy package before I ate it! Love the packaging for those, though.

    Thanks for the great post. You sure know the way to a candy girl’s heart. I’ll definitely be back.

  • 54
    bright184 // Jan 24, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    If it says Kinder on it, it’s a favorite of mine! When I was in Italy for a month, we basically bought one of each from the candy aisle, and the Kinder stuff was always the best, although Fruittella was pretty good, too.

  • 55
    Josh Kramer // Jan 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    So I just arrived in Rome to study abroad. I went to a candy shop near my school in Trastevere, and bought a handful of candies; surely I would end up with something you described here. Unfortunatley, that was not the case. I got two Elah (I loved the cubix), several caffarel, and some menthe liquide (?). Anyway, they were most all enjoyable and I will continue to sample away.

  • 56
    Jason // Jan 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I have such a sweet tooth and on my 4 trips to Italy I was so disappointed with the candy I was able to find. I missed a lot, didn’t I? I can’t believe the variety you shared with us. I’m printing out your post for my next trip to be on the lookout for them. The only one of the ones you discussed that I tried was the Fruitella.

  • 57
    Daniele Muscetta // Jan 29, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I can tell you that my kid did not like the “Galatine” in his Befana sock, so *I* ended up eating them all :-)

  • 58
    Buy Phentermine Online // Feb 23, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Hi, nice post. I couldn’t understand some parts of the article but it sounds interesting..
    Continue writing…

  • 59
    N. Adele Couvier // Feb 25, 2008 at 1:42 am

    My Grandmother Adele, introduced me to all the above candies. She would give one candy while showing me how to create food, fragrance etc.

    I never remembered sitting around doing nothing, everything came from the kitchen. My Mother cooked while going over my lessons.

    You brought many memories back.

    Thank you

  • 60
    Nancy // Mar 13, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Ciao! i was born in Italy
    and i really miss the ROSSANA e le GALATINE
    i live in america now and can’t find them if anyone knows where i can buy them online pls let me know!! i love and miss italy very much and try to go back once a year!!!
    thanks for this great website!

  • 61
    Brendan // Mar 16, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    My Girlfriend LOVES goleador candy, specificlly the fruit kind. anyone knows where i can purchase this online and put a smile on her face?:)

  • 62
    Diane // May 22, 2008 at 5:12 am

    What a great article! You’ve done your research. Can’t believe I’ve never paid attention to the candy here. (I’m more of a cake/cookie kind of person). Will definitely take a closer look next time I’m out, and maybe find something I really like.

    Once again, loved the article and your writing style (not to mention the super photos!) You’re an inspiration for a new blogger!

  • 63
    Lacey R. // May 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I was wondering if anyone would know the name of a candy I had in Italy a few years ago. It was delicious and a friend is going, but I do not recall the name. From what I remeber it was essentially a sugar cube (though it was more of a sugar rectangle) and inside was fruit flavoered sugar. There were fruit ones that were a variety pack and had flavors such as cherry, banana and orange and some others. There were also mint flavored packages. They were wrapped in paper similar to the “Fernet Menta” candies shown above, but the were colored according to the flavors and the mint ones were green. They were in like local small grocery stores and tobacco shops, so I feel like they are fairly common. If anyone knows the name please let me know ASAP. Thank you!!

  • 64
    me // Jun 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm


    Italians have THE MOST DISGUSTING “SWEETS” EVER! The galatines are just horrible! And the 1000 different mints – those are not even candy! They’re something you consume when you have the flu and a throath ache!

    I come from Finland and we eat loads of candies, which is something you notice by having a glance at the candy shelves. Our candies are soooo much yummier! Italians haven’t seen nothing :)

  • 65
    Edwin // Jun 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    So I am looking to purchase Dietorelle Candies but can not find a place to order them.

    Can any one help?

  • 66
    Mariel // Jul 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I grew up in Canada and Fruit-tella are my absolute favourite candies in the world. I am desperate to find them. I can only find them on a Dutch website but I’m worried about the shipping charges. Does anyone else know where I might find them?

  • 67
    Helen Robinson // Aug 12, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Hi, loved seeing all the sweeties, perhaps you or someone reading this can help me. Have had a few trips to Venice and on each occasion have brought home some hard boiled sweets/caramels that are parma violet flavoured – shaped like little violets and such a delicate violet colour. Also found violet flavoured chocolate – not as nasty as it sounds! Have now eaten supply of caramels (couldn’t find chocolate this year)and would like to find a supplier who sells over the web. Can anyone help me please? Thanks.

  • 68
    Morena // Aug 21, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Dear friends of Pastiglie Leone, I am the company Export Manager and I am so pleased by the rewarding comments in this blog which fills us with enthusiasm and passion!!! It is a real boost for enhancing and growing with our special customers throughout the world so….THANK YOU!!!! And please feel free to get to me though our website, I look forward to welcoming you in Leone’s sweetness!

  • 69
    Helen Robinson // Aug 26, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks Morena the violet drops are exactly what I’ve fallen in love with!!!! Cannot wait for the on-line shop to start, I will be buying SO many. Thanks again you’ve made me very happy. Bye!

  • 70
    jan // Dec 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I learned of La Pasticca del Re Sole in Venice. Used up supply brought home. Seriously need more. U help me?

  • 71
    Najee A. Boucher // Dec 31, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    GOLEADOR!!!! i love this candy!!! I am from America and I go to school in Poland and for this Christmas I was in Rome. I tried this candy on the last day I was there and bought 25 more spending the rest of the Euros I had. Man, I thought 25, which is actually 50 piece, would be enough…but no!!!! I finished them all on the way home except for one package. I WANT TO EAT IT!!! but i can’t… I’ve went 3 days now without having one and I think I’m having withdrawals. I need more. I can’t believe I went this long with out it. And as I look at the list of candy you put up there my mouth waters and I am suddenly saddened. How could I have not tried all those as well. I just hope that the coin that I through in the Trevi fountain brings me back once again to try Goleador candy and the rest of the the wonderful Italian candies once again….Hopefully Soon!!!

  • 72
    Jon // Jan 1, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Where can I find La Pasticca del Re Sole are liquorice flavored candies online or in New York? Help mi amore?

  • 73
    Adriane // Jan 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Mmmm, The wonderful Rosanna candies bring me the happiest memories. My Italian Nana always has a dish of Italian candies and chocolates, always letting everyone know that these are special gifts from the relatives in Italy :) This past Christmas, Nana gave me a bag of little candies and I nearly finished all those delicious Rosanna candies in one day!

  • 74
    Jennie // Jan 17, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    CANDY! I love candy!

  • 75
    Cheryl // Jan 20, 2009 at 5:30 am

    What led me to this blog is the the anice by Mera & Longhi. I so love this candy. I bought 5 bags from a grocery store in Milan 3 years ago and was so hoping I could find a source here in the US. i gave most of the bags away as gifts. It was fun to see all the other options I will have to choose from when I go back some day.

  • 76
    Carla // Feb 1, 2009 at 4:53 am

    I was trying to Google Galatine but couldn’t remember their name. They were so yummy. Too bad I can’t find an online store that will sell them in the US.

  • 77
    Elysia // May 12, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Does anyone know where you can buy any of these candies on-line? I am looking in to getting some for my upcoming wedding since my fiance’s family is from Italy.

  • 78
    nadege // May 27, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    i’m looking for galatine candy
    does anyone know an online store where i can find galatine!! please help me

  • 79
    ShieldsG // May 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    On a previous trip to italy, i came across these hard boiled type sweets with assorted centers, such as cherry, coffee, hazlenut and orange… the came in a large bag and were individually wrapped, problem is i cannot remember the name of them! does anyone have any idea what they could have been?

  • 80
    kathryn // Jun 4, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    recently in Rome and found this great candy I think the man said is called “Tears of the Heart”. They were sugar candies in different pastel colors, with liquid sugar in the center. Tiny round candy, crunch the crystal shell and get the juice too! can you get me more?

  • 81
    bernadette // Jun 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    whats not to like about any candy. Its like living in willie wonkas house

  • 82
    Help Me // Jun 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Can anyone tell me if there is any caffinated candy in Italy? And what is the name of it?

  • 83
    Elvita // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

    My cousin came back from S’pore and gave me Galatine Milk Candy, I love it !! Unfortunately I can’t find it in Jakarta (Indonesia).

  • 84
    joan allen // Oct 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    my Dad is 93 and been looking for caramelle for years. when I googled it, I got your article. How can we get some caramelle??? I noticed this is a year old article – but hope you will reply. It will make an old man with dry throat very happy. Thanks

  • 85
    vasili // Oct 27, 2009 at 11:56 am

    hello were and how can i get cola goleador in australia

  • 86
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Oct 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Hello everyone – I don’t have the information about where to get these candies where you live – I suggest using Google or to see if you can locate them near you.

  • 87
    Michela // Nov 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Hello, what a lovely post!
    I’m Italian and I’d like to help Joan Allen (comment no.84) e-mail is
    Greetings from Venice! :-)

  • 88
    Donald Kolko // Dec 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I have been trying to find a source for La Pasticca Del Re Sole for a while. I bought some online and paid too much, when I received them they were VERY stale. I’d like to get some fresh ones to give to all my licorice loving friends. I’ll check further into your site and maybe order some from you if you sell them. In the mean time I should win this, my friends cat told me so!

  • 89
    Linda Amerkanian // Jan 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I’d like to know where I can purchase Pasticca Creola little candies in a green and white wrapper in the Bergen County, New Jersey area. Thank you.

  • 90
    Holly // Feb 7, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I really enjoyed your site. My son is currently studying abroad in Rome and I was trying to find someplace in Italy to order some candy to send to him. Your site didn’t help with that but sure gave me a lot of info. If anyone knows of an Italian website that ships in country to Rome, specializing in chocolate I would appreciate it tremendously.

  • 91
    Holly // Feb 7, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Addendum to the above: really I am looking for a website that sends any type of candy, chocolate or cookies. Within Italy to Rome, Italy. Thank You.

  • 92
    Raffaele // Feb 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    You forgot Orzo (Barley) candies… that were one of the firt one candies ever made in 1800 circa…

    Also In italy are very apprecciated: Polo candies from Nestlé, Ricola from Switzerland and Fisherman’s Friend from UK.

  • 93
    Jean Ross // Mar 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Is there any place here in the United States where these candies could be purchased on line

  • 94
    Ilaria Di Leo // Mar 31, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I would love to purchase italian candies in the US. They have to be originally from Italy.
    Does anyone know?

  • 95
    Cathy Burt // May 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I was just looking to see if they were any candies in the the US that was simmilar to canys sold in Italy when I can on your site. For our summer reading program we are doing country’s We are doing France, Italy, China, Mexico, Greece and England I would like to introduce candies from other cultures as well as Books, games and activities. If you would be willing to help us achieve that goal We would greatly appreciate it. Thank You Cathy Burt

  • 96
    Mary Ann Deaktor // Jun 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I recently visited Rome and fell in love with Dietorelli candies. Can you tell me where I can purchase them?

    Thank you.
    Mary Ann

  • 97
    Paul C // Jul 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I recently contacted Gelco, the Italian manufacturer of Goleador, and they told me they are setting up a distribution company in California, but it is in the very early stages.

    Just for fun I tried googling Goleador Candy and I found a website called, that seems to be based out of California. Let me warn you that their website is definitely work in progress and it looks like they will be importing more than just candy.

    In fact, the only 4 items on the site are the usual 3 Goleador flavors, plus a 4th one called Goleador Shock that I have never seen nor tasted before.

    Regardless of its state, the site allowed me to place an order so I gave it a try.

    Surprise, surprise, yesterday I received a FedEx shipment with an original box of fruit Goleador, exactly like the one I see at the tabaccaio and bars in Italy.

    Price wasn’t exorbitant either, as I paid $28 plus shipping. Price in Italy is 20 Euro a box, so the price is pretty much the same if you factor in a little bit for shipping.

    I have sent them an e-mail asking for some other Italian candy that I love, like Golia, Morositas, and even the Selz Soda from Dufour, which are hard candies filled with a citrus flavored powder that foams up once you byte them. If they respond I will keep you posted with an update.

  • 98
    Paul C // Aug 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I am addicted. I received my first Goleador friut box and it lasted a weekend. Now I have 3 boxes on the way and I also bought 2 boxes of Cola and 1 of black liquorice. If you are a Goleador fan, you can finally get them stateside in a few days.

  • 99
    IK PASCAL // Sep 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm


  • 100
    Holly Hollinger // Sep 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    IK PASCAL…..A friend just brought back 2 bags of the Galatine Milk candies for me…there is a web address on the package…

    the company that makes them is Sperlari
    there is also a phone number:800-829008
    Hope this helps :)

  • 101
    Mariangely // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I was born and raised in Venezuela but my italian father always kept the italian traditions at home and the Rossana candies were always there! I can still remember their smell mmmmm and that filling….to die for

  • 102
    Karen Terilli // Dec 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I would love to purchase the Golia licorice for my brother. Can you tell me where I might find them?

  • 103
    Sheila Meadows // Dec 15, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I think that all of these candies are interesting being as I’m in usa and never see this kind of confectionary.

  • 104
    Joy // Dec 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

    What a neat site… thank you! My children have an Italian heritage and enjoy hearing of La Befana from their Nonna and of Italian traditions. We will celebrate Epiphany with them and would love some candies from Italy for their Jan 6th stocking… yes? Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  • 105
    Paul C // Aug 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I have been buying all my Italian candy, Goleador and all at If they don’t have it listed, they can usually get it within a week or two.

  • 106
    Noel // Nov 4, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I want to sample all of these candies. Where can I buy a sampling?

  • 107
    cathy pascarella // Jan 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I was first introduced to negrita candy when I took my father back to see his home town in Italy. My cousins loved it and wanted me to try some. It was fantastic!! Generally, I like anything with chocolate and nuts, but this was so different. I know it took my father back to the feeling of being home again. I have since been trying to locate it here so I can bring that same pleasure to him often. It reminds me of how important family is.
    As for a candy that repulses me———–haven’t met one yet.
    my favorite childhood candy was torrone. It was always at our family events.

  • 108
    Ilan Mosery // Feb 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I am dying for Dietorelle chewy candy. Does anyone know where I can buy them in the States?

  • 109
    Melanie DeLaRosa // Mar 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Hello. I am an American-born candy FREAK!!! I have been salivating while reading this site (plus the 108 responses). I hunt out any and all international candies available, and have sampled treats from too many countries to list. What a fun hobby I have, and my dentist would gladly agree, I’m sure…I have also learned to seek salty and crunchy snacks to follow up all that sugar. Yummy! I’m in a dreamy state right now just thinking about what I’ll order next. Any ideas to suggest? (let’s keep away from chocolate for this particular request).

  • 110
    Rob Minter // Jul 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I grew up in different places in Europe from 1948 until 1965, Italy from 1949 to 1951. I love Italian candies.
    We used to get theses little chewy caramels wrapped in
    red, white and black paper with a picture of Mickey Mouse on the wrapper. I believe they were called
    Toppolino (sp) caramels, my favorite! Lots of great memories on your site. Thanks

  • 111
    Daria Facini // Aug 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I would like to know where I can buy Dierorelle gum sweets. I am a diabetic and have tried these sweets and am now hooked on them. I live in Edenvale in S A

  • 112 // Sep 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I am looking for a candy I had in Rome a few years ago. I think it might be Morositas….but fruit flavored. It comes in a roll like they do and I ordered some, but they were liqourice. The ones I had in Rome are fruit. There might be another brand, but similar in consistency (firm gel) and in a roll. I have seen some fruit Morositas on line, but they are never available to order…..any ideas on how to acquire them. Or do you know what might be similar to try to find? thank you so much.

  • 113
    donna talbot // Sep 13, 2012 at 7:56 am

    My friend just got back from Italy and brought back candy.It was out of this world .I would like to order some of these chocolate candy.giandujotto di torino,also the ccremino.They are great.
    please e-mail me how to order from the USA.

  • 114
    Maria // Sep 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I am going to Italy very soon and like the other posts love to try the different candies from different countries. I am anxiously awaiting to try many of the candies in your article. I think I had better bring a bigger carry on just to fill it with Italian candies!

  • 115
    Davide // Jun 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Bravissima Sara, molto bello il blog è magnifico questo post. Penso di averle assaggiate proprio tutte queste caramelle ;-)

  • 116
    geo // Jul 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    has anyone heard od a “RABAR” candy, had it last nite in an Italian resturant

    gold wrapper

    It was tha worst most bitter candy I have ever had….OMG

  • 117
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Jul 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    @geo – sounds like it could be “rhubarb”-flavored candy – rabarbaro is the Italian word for rhubarb.

  • 118
    Andrew // Aug 25, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I had the rabar candy too!!!! It tasted like poison!!!!!!!!! Was the worst candy I’ve ever tasted.

  • 119
    Dana Barrer // Jan 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I am so happy I saw this! I am in Rome and was at a candy store trying to decide what to take back home for friends and myself. I was at a shop today and didn’t know what items were! I will take back fruit-tells and dietorelle for me, pastiglione tins for some friends, and hideous Goliath for friends who like licorice!
    Thanks for the post!

  • 120
    David E. Rich // Feb 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Where can I purchase online, fragola caramella gelee candy? I purchased some in Italy, and should have purchased much more. They are so delicious.

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