Parma Violets

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Parma Violets (small size)

Parma Violets are a British violet-flavoured tablet confectionery manufactured by the Derbyshire company Swizzels Matlow,[1] named after the Parma violet variety of the flower. The sweets are hard, biconcave disc-shaped sweets, similar to the Fizzers product from the same company but without their fizziness. Swizzels Matlow have also released a line of Giant Parma Violets.

Ingredients include sugar, stearic acid, modified starch, glucose syrup, and anthocyanin.[2]


The petals of violets have long been used in herbalism for their medicinal properties, even mentioned by Dioscorides.[3] "Violet tables", a sugary lozenge flavoured with violets, was made before 1620.[4] During the 18th century, crushed violet petals, rosewater and sugar were combined to make an early type of confectionery known as flower pastry.[5] These could be used for flavouring a cake, or moulded into pastils and eaten as sweets.[6] In the Edwardian era, violet-flavoured chocolate and liquor were used to relieve sickness.[7]


Parma Violets cupcakes made with Swizzels cake mix. The vanilla fairy cake is topped with parma violet flavoured buttercream, and topped with the sweet itself

Parma Violets were created in 1946[8] by the Derbyshire company Swizzels Matlow.[1][9] They are sweets that are hard, biconcave discs, based on similar aniseed confectionery traditionally consumed in India after a spicy meal.[10] Their flavour has been described as sweet with a soapy or floral taste.[8][11] The current recipe includes sugar, stearic acid, modified starch, glucose syrup, and anthocyanin.[2]

In 2016, Swizzels Matlow released a special Parma Violets flavoured cheese, produced by the Cheshire Cheese Company to celebrate their 70th birthday.[8] Cocktails that replicate the flavour of the confectionery are also available in some UK bars.[12] In 2019, Somerset cider company Brothers Cider launched a Parma Violet-flavoured cider.[13] Also, large bags of Parma Violets can be purchased from the official website in sizes up to 3kg,[14] alongside other online retailers.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lyons, Teena (25 May 2008). "Love Hearts maker Swizzels Matlow keeps clients sweet". The Times. London. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b Swizzels Matlow: Parma Violets Ingredients
  3. ^ Font Quer, Pio (1995). Plantas Medicinales; el Dioscórides Renovado (in Spanish) (15th ed.). Barcelona: Editorial Labor S.A. pp. 288–289. ISBN 84-335-6151-0.
  4. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". OED. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Using flowers in the French cooking from the 18th century | organic-e-publishing-international".
  6. ^ "The Professed Cook: The Modern Art of Cookery, Pastry, and Confectionary, Made Plain and Easy". Translated by Clermont, B [Translated by Him from - Menon's "Les Soupers de la Cour"] (10th ed.). London: T. Simpson. 1812.
  7. ^ Ostrom, Lizzie (2015). Perfume: A Century of Scents. London: Hutchinson. p. 35. ISBN 9781473506084.
  8. ^ a b c Larbi, Miranda (15 July 2016). "Someone's made a Parma Violet flavoured cheese and it's confusing AF". Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  9. ^ Salter, Jessica (19 November 2011). "Dream factory: the story of a sweet company". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  10. ^ Nozedar, Adele (4 September 2014). Great British Sweets: And How To Make Them at Home. London: Random House. ISBN 9781448161218.
  11. ^ Britton, Karen (1 August 2016). "Love it or hate it? Retro sweets Parma Violets inspire new cheese". Macclesfield Express. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  12. ^ Lovell, Lucy (11 February 2017). "Love gin? Then you'll want to go to this gin festival in Levenshulme". Manchester Evening News.
  13. ^ Duke, Simon (26 March 2019). "Brothers launch Parma Violet cider and social media is going mad for it". ChronicleLive.
  14. ^ "Parma Violets - 3kg- Swizzels".
  15. ^ Fleming, Ian (1961). Thunderball. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 9780224602068.
  16. ^ "Album | Jealous of the Birds – Parma Violets".
  17. ^ Campbell, Brian (6 May 2016). "Jealous of the Birds singer-songwriter Naomi Hamilton takes flight with debut album". The Irish News. Belfast. The album Parma Violets is released today.
  18. ^ Wainwright, Martin (5 March 2005). "Sweets we loathe". The Guardian. London.

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