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Why do we Like Sour Lollies so Much?

heart shaped bowl with sour lollies

Sour lollies remain the most sought after sweet but just why do we like them so much?

Sour sweets range from the hard to the soft, with all kinds of chewy in between. Some are sour enough to melt your actual face off, whilst others are just pleasingly tangy.

One of life’s greatest mysteries (possibly) is why we get so much of enjoyment from something that is physically uncomfortable to eat?

Its all about sensation

Taste is a physical sensation. A reaction to certain triggers that activate our taste buds. Sour lollies are all about sensation; that journey from sour to sweet.

Although many of us enjoy the extreme sensation of the more hard core end of the candy spectrum, most of us can relate to the pleasure of sour jellies. There is just something about the initial hit of sour sugar on the tongue, that gives way to sweetness. It is a pleasing contrast, that also delivers a reward. A relief. And like a rollercoaster, or a spicy curry, it is so good that you want to go and do it all over again.

And then there is texture

If you have ever bitten your tongue, you will have first hand knowledge of the fact that the tongue is a hot bed of nerve endings. The way something feels in your mouth plays a massive part in your experience of it. Another layer of sensation is added.

In the case of sour jellies, it is again a multilevel game of contrasts. The crystalline sugar on the outside which ranges from the powdery to the positively granular (and in the best cases both) creates shapes against the tongue. They slowly (or quickly) dissolve, to reveal the softness of jelly underneath. And not just soft, but chewy. It is a complete playground in your mouth.

But what about the sour?

Most explorations of the effect of sour lollies are completely missing the point. Because, as we have seen, it goes beyond the sour. Yet it cannot be denied that the sensation part of the journey from sour to sweet is caused by the sour aspect of things.

Sour taste buds are activated by acids. Our intense reaction to sour foods can cause us to pucker our lips into grimace. It is partly learned response, partly chemical reaction.

There seems to be no evolutionary explanation for our love of sour, that does seem to diminish with age. We crave the calories that come with sweet tasting sugar, and the possibility of protein that comes with umami. We need salt to survive, whilst bitterness is usually a warning to steer clear. But sour? That remains a puzzle.

But sour is not just a one dimensional thing. Savvy sweetmakers use a number of different acids in their carefully guarded sour sugar recipes in order to get the most out their sour experience. Again, it is about creating sensations that work on multiple levels.

The mildest acids used are citric acid (from lemons) that gives a sharp and bright short lived shot, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that is mildly fizzy. Malic acid (from green apples) with its sour slightly astringent taste lasts for longer. Tartaric acid, from lemons and bananas (if you think that’s odd, think green banana) strips the moisture from your mouth.

Don’t forget astringency

Astringency is often related to sourness, yet something does not have to be sour to be astringent. It is the sensation of having your mouth stripped of all its saliva. The truly lip puckering. This has nothing to do with the reaction of taste buds to acid and is an entirely different reaction in itself. Think of strong black tea, or the skin of grapes.

So it would seem that the reasons behind our enjoyment of sour sweets is more than just an exploration into the science of sour. And more about the seeking of sensation plus the promise of reward.

Explore our range of sour lollies available to buy in bulk online now.

If you are planning an event and want to include lollies in your theme then our guide to lollies is a good place to start. We stock a huge range of bulk lollies to buy online so there is something to suit every occasion.

This article was reproduced on this site with permission from the “Bulk Lollies Wholesale”.
See original article:- Why do we Like Sour Lollies so Much?

Pucker up for sour lollies

sour lollies

Sour lollies are one of the most sought after sweets in Australia. Just sweet enough, yet shockingly sour, it seems we can’t enough of sweet and sour lollies.

A taste for sour candy

Invented in the 1970’s, around since the ’80s, and part of every 90’s childhood, sour sweets are universally popular. Some are head-blowingly extreme whilst others are just lip-puckeringly sharp. Many are quite mild and just pleasingly fizzy on the tongue. All about sensation, they all take us on a journey from sour-to-sweet.

With most sour sweets the sourness is in the outside powdery/sugary coating. In some, such as the old school acid drop, the sourness is inside the sweet itself. Sour candy comes as both the jelly/gummy variety and also as hard boiled sweets. Sour jelly sweets are what we tend to think of when we refer to sour lollies. They almost always feature a sour sugar coating and a soft fruity jelly inside. It is this that creates the effect of sweet after sour.

So what makes sour candy sour?

All sour sweets have a mixture of acids in their sugar coating, known in the trade as sour sugar. Which is fair enough. There are a number of acids used in sweet manufacturing and they all have different flavour profiles, with varying levels of sourness, bitterness and astringency. It is the interplay of these various acids that makes all sour candies feel different on the tongue. Each brand will have its own well guarded secret recipes.

Citric acid provides a burst of sour tang that doesn’t last very long on the tongue. Found in lemons and limes, it is sharp and bright.

Malic acid is said to be longer and smoother on the tongue, also acting as a flavour enhancer that boosts the sweet fruity flavour. This is the acid found in green apples. Some of the extreme sour sweets use malic acid coated in oil so that it takes longer to appear on the tongue. Kind of like a slow release effect.

Tartaric acid is found in bananas and lemons. Moderately sour, it is the most astringent of the acids used in confectionary. It is that dry mouth puckering feeling like you get from raw rhubarb or strong tea.

Fumaric acid is strong and sour. It lasts longer on the tongue as it dissolves more slowly.

Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is also used. It is mildly fizzy on the tongue.

One of the five tastes (actual physical sensations triggered via receptors in the mouth) sour is activated by the acids in food. They quite literally make your mouth water.

Why does my tongue hurt after eating sour candy?

Most sour candy won’t hurt your tongue, yet extreme sour candy can irritate your tongue and the lining of your mouth. So much so that some even carries a warning label. The burning sensation is down to the acids; much like eating super strong salt and vinegar crisps.

If you do indulge in some extreme candy eating (or crisp eating for that matter) then cold milk, yoghurt, or ice cream will help to soothe the burn.

We think eating sour lollies should be lip puckeringly pleasant, not a hazard to your oral health. Here’s our pick of the best sour lollies suitable for everyone…

The best sour lollies for your lolly buffet

Sour cola lollies

Everybody’s favourite – you can’t go wrong with sour cola lollies.

Sour heart lollies

Soft, squishy, AND sour. Our sour heart lollies are pretty in pink, but we also sell blue sour lollies too.

Sour mix lollies

A bumper bag of party mix sour lollies is the simplest and most effective way to buy sour lollies in bulk. They are also gluten-free. We know this can be a minefield, so we wrote this post on choosing gluten-free lollies to make things a bit clearer. You’re welcome.


If you are planning a party or special event, you don’t want to miss our tips and tricks on how to make a lolly buffet.

Why not explore our range of sour lollies online? Get all your bulk lollies for a lolly buffet at wholesale prices here.

This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from the “Online Wholesale Lolly Shop”. See original article:- Pucker up for Some Sour Lollies. The Lolly Shop is a wholly owned subsidiary of Opera Foods PL.