hard = boiled? (confections)

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Senior Member
Hi, the following is a quote from Bulk Wholesale Sweets.

Boiled sweets are delicious candies that are often made in copper pans and still use traditional recipes that have stayed within companies for many decades! Some of the most popular hard boiled sweets such as sherbet lemons and rhubarb and custard now come in both unwrapped and wrapped varieties.

Wikipedia and some dictionaries say that "hard candy" and "boiled sweets" are the same thing (just AmE vs BE), but I can't help wondering if "hard" and "boiled" are really the same. If they are, why does the quote above says "hard boiled sweets" instead of just "boiled sweets"? Are there also "soft boiled sweets"?

Would a question "What soft boiled sweets do you have?" make sense if I asked it in a sweets shop in the UK?
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    There are a few problems with your question.

    1) It is a very unlikely scenario. There are very few specialised 'sweet shops' left in the UK. Most people get sweets from a supermarket or a newsagent's, where the sweets are on display in wrappers and you pick what you want. An assistant may not be much help to you in telling you which sweets are hard/soft etc.

    2) Boiled sweets are the same as hard-boiled sweets.

    3) I don't think soft-boiled sweets exist. You can get boiled sweets with a soft centre (where the hard shell melts as you suck and a soft/chewy centre is revealed in the middle).

    So, the short answer is no, it wouldn't make much sense to go into a sweet shop and ask this question.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    hard boiled sweets -> hard [boiled sweets] -> sweets that are hard and whose production has involved the boiling of sugar. (The boiling of the sugar (usually in solution) results in the hard crystalline surface or, if there is no filling, the entire sweet.)

    Soft sweets are the alternative.
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