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Candy Review: Pastiglie Leone

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Classic and Retro Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Gourmet Candy,Hard Candy,Limited Edition Candy

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Pastiglie Leone

In my recent review of Nama Kokuto Ame black sugar candies, I said that the best part of traveling to a new place was getting to try new candy. Well, it turns out that the best part of having friends and family travel to new places is also… getting to try new candy! So when my sister jaunted off to Italy for three months, I fully expected her to deliver on some very sweet souvenirs. Sure enough, upon her return, my sister presented me with a gorgeous tin of Pastiglie Leone mixed lozenges. (I love you, Angela!)

Pastiglie Leone’s website proclaims the company as “Since 1857 the king of sweetness.” This highly-regarded Italian confectioner produces a large selection of tempting-looking treats, from gummies to chocolates. However, Pastiglie Leone is best known for its tiny lozenges, or pastilles – tiny, crunchy candies that come in a dazzling array of fruit and “healthful” herbal flavors including mandarin, rhubarb, vanilla, myrrh mint and citron sage. The lozenges are also known for their beautiful tins and boxes, which can be viewed on the website.

The candies themselves are little cylinders with a very rough, rustic look to them, with ragged edges like unbaked cookies or a scoop of ice cream, as if they were punched from a thick sheet of dough. According to the ingredients, they’re flavored with natural flavors like fruit juice and essential oils of citrus fruits and anise. Their bright pastel colors also come from natural sources: cochineal, turmeric, chlorophyll and grape skin extract. Texture-wise, they’re crisp and a little chalky, like the forerunner of today’s mints but looser and less dense. The inside of the tin has a wonderful fruity/floral aroma from all the different flavors mingling inside.

I don’t have an official list of the flavors in this particular box (it’s a limited edition and it’s not on the website), so I’ll take my best guess:

Green: A light zesty lime flavor. As much as I love real lime, lime-flavored candies don’t usually grab me, and this one was no exception – it was a bit too bitter and not juicy enough for me.

Yellow: A bright, tangy lemon. You can definitely taste the lemon oil’s zesty freshness.

Purple: Like color, like flavor – this one’s definitely violet. It’s more sweet than perfume-y, with not much more than a lingering hint of floral aroma. If you don’t usually like violet candies, this one might change your mind.

Orange: Mandarin, with a fabulously fragrant, zesty taste reminiscent of the aroma when you stick your thumb under the rind of an incredibly good mandarin orange while you’re sitting in front of the fire with your family eating Christmas cookies and singing carols on Christmas eve while waiting for Santa to bring you a pony… Whoa, that was some strong sense memory there. Anyway, the mandarin is really, really good.

Light pink: A tangy sweet strawberry flavor. Reminds me a lot of strawberry Pez.

Dark pink: A rich raspberry with floral and herbal undertones. If you’ve ever had raspberry herbal tea, it pretty much tastes like that, in candy form.

White: Alas, Pastiglie Leone has played a cruel joke upon the licorice haters of the world: both the vanilla and anise lozenges are the same color. The vanilla is sweet and mellow and nice and just a little bit tangy, rather than creamy like vanilla ice cream. The anise… is anise. As one of the aforementioned licorice haters, I really can’t give you an objective opinion about it.

With over 150 years of candy-making experience, Pastiglie Leone is clearly still on top of its game. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you’d be remiss not to pick up a couple of tins for your favorite Candy Addict writers… er, friends and family.

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4 Responses to “Candy Review: Pastiglie Leone”

  1. 1
    Robert B. says:

    “Myrrh mint” and “citron sage” sound great, too bad they weren’t in the review (were they?). I love the smell of myrrh and sage.

  2. 2
    Laura says:

    On 2 separate occasions, I have bought the violet and the anise. Both are very good! Have tried the orange, did not enjoy so much. Would love to try the raspberry too, yum yum! The site I used to buy them from doesn’t carry them anymore, will have to google them to see if there is supplier in the US.

  3. 3
    Laurel says:

    I love the violet ones. I think I’ll try the raspberry soon, as they sell them near the train station.

  4. 4
    MICK says:



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