Melville Candy Company is a family-owned company that has been producing charming barley sugar lollipops in whimsical shapes and classic flavors for a quarter century. In addition to their regular selection of fruity barley lollipops, they offer a wide variety of seasonal and holiday products and offer endless customization options. They have also recently expanded their selection to include hard candy tea and coffee spoons.
Review of Honey Tea Spoons
Melville’s Honey Spoons are honey flavored hard candy discs about an inch and a half long and a half inch thick. They’re shaped like the bowl of a spoon, mounted on a sturdy wooden handle, and overall have a very classy appearance. The spoons are available in a variety of flavors including orange blossom honey, lavender honey, lemon and honey, and clover honey.
For this review, I tried the clover honey flavor. I should first admit that I don’t drink coffee, and the only tea I drink is herbal, so I’m probably not the ideal consumer for this product. However, I tried the clover honey spoon in a mug of mint tea, and it was fantastic. The spoon dissolves quickly—it took about a minute in my mug—and it left a really mild, gentle honey taste that was present but not overwhelming. I might not use the teaspoons every time, since I don’t usually take any sweetener in my tea, but I would definitely reach for them when trying to make my tea more of a dessert substitute or sweet treat.
In addition to my mug of sweetened tea, I tasted the honey spoons on their own, and they are just as delicious by themselves. I usually find plain honey to be oppressively sweet and one-dimensional, but the honey spoons are subtle and have a complex fruity flavor. I can see myself snacking on these when I want a quick sugar fix, as they are not too sweet and are a very reasonable size for a lollipop.
Overall, I really liked this product and would definitely buy it for myself or for others as a gift, perhaps with some gourmet coffee or tea thrown in. Five stars.
History of Barley Sugar Lollipops
The main focus of Melville Candy Company is “old tyme” barley lollipops. Barley sugar candy is fairly uncommon nowadays, and the Melville website explains the history of this old-fashioned candy:
”More than one hundred years ago, barely sugar candy was developed as the purest form of crystal clear hard candy. The barley candy was made from hulled barley and water and as its popularity grew, the recipe was simplified without losing any of the unique flavors. Pure sugar was boiled to a high temperature, poured into unique molds and quickly cooled. The name remained the same because this candy retained the unusual crystal clear consistency and flavor of the original Barley Sugar Candy which originated in Europe. The confection's fancy shapes are as vital to its flavor and charm as the taste itself. In order to achieve these appealing and intricate shapes, handmade molds had to be created and due to the time intensive task, the art of making the molds and barley candy has almost been lost. Fortunately, our company was able to recover these molds and using the time old recipe has been preparing these delicious treats for many years.”
Review of Barley Sugar Lollipops
If you are used to simple round cane sugar lollipops, the appearance and taste of Melville’s candies will be a revelation. I tried a selection of the barnyard animals and the lobsters, and I was blown away by the presentation. The shapes were flawlessly molded and detailed, and the animals all had perfectly sized white eyes with black pupils. The lobsters were my favorite, however—intricately detailed four-inch beasts just begging to be eaten. The barnyard animals came on wooden sticks with wooden balls on the end, while the lobsters were on sturdy cardboard sticks. All of the candy came individually wrapped in cellophane secured by gold twists.
The lollipops come in traditional fruit flavors like orange, cherry, grape, lime, and cherry, each color-coordinated.
My favorite, again, were the cherry lobsters. The cherry flavor was mellow and didn’t have the harsh acidity and cough flavor nature of many other cherry candies. There was a floral sweetness underneath all of the fruit flavors, which must be due to the “barley sugar” nature of the processing. The only flavor I didn’t like was the lime—I wanted more of a citrus tang to the candy, but instead it was pure sweetness with a too-artificial lime flavor.
Overall, the appearance and taste of the Melville barley lollipops are exceptional. I think the animal shapes would especially appeal to children, while the more complex flavors make them attractive to adult palates as well. Four stars for the barley pops.