Allsorts were supposedly created in 1899, when Charlie Thompson, a salesman for Bassett's confectionery, accidentally tipped over his samples of liquorice and cream paste specialities, to the delight of the prospective purchaser. Though Charles Dicken's 'Household Words' magazine of 17th May 1851 has a reference to; "rock, and toffee, and bull's eyes, and all-sorts, and such-like." (OED)
Liquorice Allsorts. Photo:Thorfinn Stainforth
Opinions are firm and strong as to which components of Allsorts are best. The usual mixture includes a variety of delicious brightly coloured, layered cream paste/liquorice rectangles and cylinders together with a few bizarre and immoral soft jelly pastilles coated in disgusting tiny aniseed sugar balls.
Now manufactured worldwide, Liquorice Allsorts are often referred to as something like 'The English Sweets': 'Engelse drop' in the Netherlands, 'Englannin lakritsi' in Finland.
Allsorts advert. from The Windsor Magazine, 1924
Since 1929 the Bassett's company have used the figure of "Bertie Bassett" made up of liquorice allsorts, as a mascot. In 1988 Doctor Who confronted the evil 'Kandy Man', a creature with an extraordinary resemblance to a slobbering Bertie Bassett. Bassett's were not pleased and the BBC promised not to do it again.
The KandyMan and Bertie Bassett. Decide for yourself.
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