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Scottish Borders Sweeties

For some reason the Borders can lay claim to more interesting varieties of local sweeties than any other region of Scotland.

To begin with there are the round Hawick Balls, dark brown, tasting delicately of cinnamon blended with syrup and a subtle hint of mint. These, like many, were originally home-made, but as their fame grew so they came to be made on a larger and larger scale until today they are now a factory product obtainable in airtight tins.

Jedburgh boasts its Jeddart Snails. These are dark brown toffees, mildly peppermint-flavoured. The name and shape were given to them by a French prisoner-of-war in Napoleon's day when he is said to have made them for a Jedburgh baker.

Still in the heart of the Borders are the Soor Plooms of Peebles and Galashiels. These are round, green balls with, as their name suggests, an acid, astringent tang. The plooms are said to commemorate an incident in local history when a band of English marauders were surprised and overcome while eating unripe plums.

Coltart's Candy (pronounced Coolter), celebrated in the well-known children's song which Coltart wrote himself, was made in Melrose by this colourful travelling man whom the children followed around as if he were a Pied Piper. The candy was aniseed-flavoured but
the recipe and custom seem to have been lost when Coltart died in 1890.

Berwick Cockles may also perhaps be included, depending on the historical moment you wish to choose for the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. They were originally home-made, peppermint flavoured, white with pink stripes and shaped like the cockle-shells fished up near Tweedmouth harbour. They are now a commercial product as popular north of the Border as they are south of it.

Moffat Toffee is a unique toffee, hard, amber and gold striped with an intriguing tang, made in Moffat by a local family who have been making it for generations. Originally a sweetie shop product, it is now factory made with a wide distribution.

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