On the Lithgow side of the Blue Mountains, you'll find a colourful and scrumptious store called The Lolly Bug; with over 2000 types of lollies.
The shop is brimming with sweets, chocolates, fudge, and hard candy from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the Netherlands, and the UK.
The prices may have gone up since 1c lollies from the school canteen, but at The Lolly Bug you can still find nostalgic sweet treats, no longer found in the supermarket, like Cobbers, Fads, Push-pops, and Gobstoppers.
What I found exciting was seeing chocolate bars often talked about in American movies and television shows, like Seinfeld which referenced Junior Mints and Million Dollar Bars.
Likewise if you're a fan of:
Cadbury Chocolate Spread (including Caramello)
Reeces Pieces Peanut Butter Cups (including the spread)
Then The Lolly Bug will satisfy all your sweet needs.
Perhaps you need a Chocolate Fish, a Buzz Bar, or a Perky Nana fix? Then a trip to Little Hartley is a lot cheaper than a flight to New Zealand. There's so much choice, it's really a store that needs to be explored first-hand, and allocate double the time you anticipate spending here in your journey planning.
Marshmallow Fluff should be a staple in every cupboard, along with Cadbury Spread. Image by Jade Jackson.
One of my favourite buys from The Lolly Bug is Marshmallow Fluff, a 99% fat-free and gluten-free, jar of melted marshmallows, which is perfect on toast, sandwiches (with peanut butter or Nutella). Imagine the sweet, gooey centre from toasted marshmallows, and it's a whole jar full of it. It also comes in strawberry.
A little bakers secret is that Marshmallow Fluff makes excellent cup-cake icing. It's ready straight out of the jar, it's thick but fluffy, and it leaves a smooth glistening layer; perfect for sticking chopped up nuts or lollies onto.
If you want to create a cupcake with a magical surprise, then inject a blob of Hershey's sauce, Cadbury's or Bounty Chocolate spread, into the centre of your cupcake with a baking syringe. A delicate surprise that will brighten anyone's day.
Find flavours of M & M's never before seen in Australia like Coffee Nut M & M's. Image by Jade Jackson.
From the American range of sweets you'll find M & M's flavours not commonly found in Australia including Coffee Nut and Peanut Butter. I tried the Coffee Nut and they were surprisingly addictive. It reminded me of ice-coffee flavour, but in M & M's.
It has to be seen first-hand. Image by Jade Jackson.
If you're more of a Jelly Bean officianado, then the Lolly Bug sells Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, Bean Boozled Jelly Beans (two flavours for each colour, one nice, one nasty - could be strawberry banana, or it could be dead fish!), Bertie Bott's Every Flavour JellyBean (from Harry Potter), plus other brands including Allens.
Are you game enough to try Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Jellybeans? Image by Jade Jackson.
There's a whole section of traditional delicacies including boiled sweets, licorice, and Blackpool Rock. They also make fresh fudge, and feature over thirty different flavours including Creme Brûlée, S'mores, Cadbury Cream Egg, Mars Bar, and watermelon!
Even if you're diabetic, or a clean eater, then fear not, there's a whole section of sugar-free chocolates, and lollies. There's also a good selection of savoury goodies including chips (or crisps if you're English); along with gluten-free lollies as well.
All ages, all tastes are catered to at The Lolly Bug. Image by Jade Jackson.
The Lolly Bug is the perfect place to buy lollies for your road-trip, or to stock-up the pantry with goodies from overseas that you won't always find in the supermarket. Considering the range available, their prices are reasonable, with many items costing only a few dollars. There's also a bargain basket, with products that are near their expiration date.
The Lolly Bug is open 7 Days a week, from 9am to 5pm (though if you're driving all the way there from Sydney then best to call ahead on PH: 02 6355 2162. It's only a 25min drive from Katoomba. As you head down the hill, from Mt Victoria, look for the bright yellow Volkswagen Bug.
They accept cash and EFTPOS, with notice they can arrange special orders from their wholesaler, likewise, if you're having an event and would like to purchase sweets in bulk, this too can be arranged.
Now when you're driving to Lithgow, the hardest choice will be - Will I go straight ahead at Mt Victoria for the Lolly Bug? Or will I turn right for the Local Nomad Cafe?
'mmm, crunch, aah!' I don’t suppose you found a rare Polly Waffle bar (I live in hope) hiding at the back of a shelf. Sadly, discontinued in 2009 after a short burst at changing the recipe. Another great ‘Aussie’ icon down the 'gurgler'.
BUT do not despair. I hear Vegemite, is now once again safely back in our hands. Now that 'puts (back) a rose in every cheek, for all us happy little vegemites'.