Roudoudous have all the makings of the perfect beach activity: collecting seashells and eating freshly made candy.
The sweets were particularly popular in France from the 1950s to the 1970s. At the time, confectioners drizzled fresh, hot caramel or fruity syrup into the cup of a shell and left it to harden. Modern commercial versions, however, tend to use plastic shells.
Children lick a roudoudou as they would a lollipop. Many French adults are nostalgic for the real seashells of their childhood, even if that meant their tongues caught a bit of sand or a jagged edge. In his song “Mistral Gagnant,” the French singer Renaud recounts the pleasures of his youth, including “the real roudoudous that cut our lips.”
Anyone who wants the real, lip-cutting deal can take heart: All you need to make traditional roudoudous is access to the shore and a kitchen.
Need to Know
You can buy roudoudous in vintage candy stores or look up recipes to make your own online. If you're using real seashells, make sure to clean them with soap and water first.