Sugar Coated Fennel Seeds?

My nieces are in California and they're alternating between my house and their grandma's house. Today, after a sleepover at their grandma's, they came back with a ziplock bag of what appeared to be brightly colored candy. They looked good enough and the girls said they were delicious, so I ate a couple and thought they were disgusting .... but familiar.

After a couple more tastes I realized they were fennel seeds coated in candy. I immedietly became intrigued and asked them a thousand questions they didn't know the answers to.

So, Serious Eaters, have you heard of sugar coated fennel seeds? How on earth did these things come to be? Are there any fans out there? Are there other similar candies? Where did these things come from, what is their origin?

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