I eat a lot of chocolate. I snack on quite a few other bits and pieces as well; crisps, cereal, fruit and the like. But I don’t tend to eat many ‘sweets’ these days. By sweets, I mean those products which are small, garishly coloured and probably about as good for you as a punch in the face. I’m not sure when and why I stopped eating them…I suppose you just grow out of sweets and I haven’t really eaten them for a decade. So when retro sweetshop The Gobstopper got in touch offering me the opportunity to try their service, I thought ‘it has been a while now…why the hell not?’
I had been aware of The Gobstopper for a couple of months now. I originally saw them reviewed by Hannah over at The Review Addict, and commented that I thought a retro sweets company was a cool idea and a great business concept. It was then that the guys at The Gobstopper got in touch to offer me a selection of their stuff. Today, I’m not going to review each product individually, but instead I’m writing about the general Gobstopper experience.
There was one thing which really appealed about The Gobstopper beyond the nice retro theme, which is that the company is totally independent. No big holding company, no business jargon on their website and no impenetrable web of departments each one of which seems as unhelpful and incompetent as the last. No, The Gobstopper is run by a small, independent team who have set the shop up from scratch in Cheshire, England and maintain their control. Good on you guys I say.
The Gobstopper folk asked me what I liked, but I told them to surprise me and therefore I had no idea whatsoever what was coming even as I had the box in front of me in my home. After opening it up, I was greeted with fudge, lollies, popping candy, chocolate, pic’n’mix and even a dib dab which I haven’t seen less eaten since I was 7 or 8 years old. I loved it- the colours, the old fashioned traditional look to some of these products…and I was just taken over by general nostalgia.
And I was impressed by the general service up to this point too. I found The Gobstopper to be communicative, friendly and very open. I was able to track the progress of my box of goodies online as it was couriered to my house (a service that I always like) and when the box arrived, I was delighted with the packaging and presentation. As the photos show, the box was emblazoned with The Gobstopper’s logo, and inside of that was some faux-straw to protect the individually wrapped bits and pieces from damage…because we all know how bashed up things can get in the mail.
The Gobstopper’s logo itself is great and really nails the retro-look that the company is founded on. Just looking at the logo (be it on the box, the stickers on each product or even the mug which they kindly sent me which was stuffed with butter fudge!) induced a little bit of nostalgia for old-fashioned sweetshops…the type that have all but disappeared in the modern era. I used to love having my sweets weighed out by friendly staff in those sorts of shops, but ironically it is people like me (former fans who have drifted away to other snacking options) who have helped out some of those companies out of business I guess.
I’d normally write about the smell of a product as I think it plays an important part in the experience. But it isn’t just the smells here, it is more of an all-round sensory treat. In fact it’s nostalgia incarnate. The little sweets are like mini time-machines with their look, smell and feel. In fact, with the popping candy, they even sounded awesome…I don’t think I’ve ever written about the sound of a product before on here!
As for the fifth and most important sense, the taste…well, I normally hate using the phrase but ‘these are what they are’. By that, I mean none of the sweets are fancy or gourmet. In fact they’re the complete opposite- they’re garishly coloured, sickly sweet and have probably got more E inside them than a drug addict (E-numbers that is!) But it is still very tasty, and wonderful fun to eat. In fact it’s probably the most fun I’ve had reviewing a product for a long time.
The pic’n’mix collection is something I haven’t eaten for years and enjoyed immensely- the spongy sweet bananas and the fizzy cola bottles were particular highlights. The fudge was of a good quality- it tasted buttery and had a surprisingly smooth melt. And that’s before we even get to my favourite things in the box- the ‘tooth-rotters’ as my parents insisted on calling them. The Drumstick and Vimto lollies and the dib dabs (you lick a sherbet stick and dip it into fruit flavoured powder for any dib dab virgins reading!)were something I had forgotten even existed…but they were top notch and made me wonder why I’d let so much time pass since I last ate them.
And fittingly, given the brand name, The Gobstopper had sent me a behemoth of a gobstopper sweet bigger than my mouth. It was broken down and distributed between my family who enjoyed it too.
So there we are- The Gobstopper Experience. It brought out the kid inside me, and I think it is something that everyone can appreciate, be it the *ahem* more mature customer for the nostalgic value, or the younger child for the fun factor of the colours, smells and tastes. The company have got a huge selection, twenty times larger than the bits and bobs that they sent me, and I would gladly recommend checking their website out to see if they can tempt you with something you’ve probably forgotten you even liked!
The Gobstopper impressed me with their friendliness, their excellent service and their fantastic set of products. I love their business concept and their status as an independent British business. So good luck to them, and I won’t be going anywhere else next time I’m craving sweets.