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Liquorice Allsorts

542 of 1160 nominations


Liquorice Allsorts

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Liquorice Allsorts

Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts have been a mainstay of the sweet-shop since 1899. The firm that invented them was founded in 1842 by one George Bassett of Sheffield, and eventually acquired by Cadbury-Schweppes in 1989. The liquorice sweets, and their presiding spirit Bertie Bassett – a jolly figure constructed entirely from Allsorts – have occupied a century-old place in the nation’s affections, and have inevitably been much imitated.

Everybody has their own particular favourite among the varieties, although the sprinkle-covered ones mentioned by our nominator don’t contain any liquorice at all. The all-black cylindrical one, by contrast, is nothing but.

Like many another great idea, Bassett’s Allsorts were the product of a happy accident. One day in 1899, a company salesman, Charlie Thompson, was showing a potential client a tray of different types of sweets. The client was seemingly distinctly underwhelmed until Thompson accidentally knocked the tray over, whereupon the resulting chaotic mix of sweets invented themselves in the client’s eyes as an instant new brand.

Photo: Leo Reynolds


Your comments

A national favourite for many years, always recognisable. Bertie Bassett is loved by children, but adults too like to choose their favourite sweet, whether a jelly with pink or blue sprinkles or liquorice chunks with a white filling.

Sylvia Vollans

Absolutely delish and so hard to find here in the States. Ahhh...the memories they bring back when I bite into that liquorice!
Deborah Scott

...because they are the quintessentially English sweets.
Milly Morgan

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry