A couple of months ago, I reviewed what I called ‘The Gobstopper Experience’. The Gobstopper is a company based in Northern England who specialise in retro sweets. They kindly contacted me to offer me the chance to experience their new product- their Click ‘n’ Mix. Pick ‘n’ Mix is a great example of what I always called ‘sweeties’ whilst I was growing up. ‘Sweeties’ are a very particular type of sweet- not everything sweet counts as a ‘sweetie’ to me. Sweeties must be luridly coloured and/or extremely sweet/sour. There must be minimal vitamins and nutrients involved for a true sweetie.
They describe it as ‘the retro Pick N Mix experience in the comfort of your own home or office’. Basically, you fill a jar with a selection of sweeties and they box it up and post it out to you. It’s the traditional pick n mix experience but without the effort. Well, you have to click on your computer mouse, but if you can handle that onerous task, then retro sweeties are just a day or two away from your front door. It’s the time-honoured pick x mix experience with a modern twist. Hence the Click ‘N’ Mix name.
I was allowed three varieties of sweeties but the larger Click ‘n’ Mix packages that are available allow you to mix and match even more. But for my three choices, I plumped (not ‘flumped’- retro sweet banter!) for snowies, foam shrimps and sour raspberries. All staple parts of my childhood diet. It was bloody difficult to choose as The Gobstopper have about a fifty things to choose from and so many of them were tempting the child inside me- foam bananas, sherbet, bonbons, fried eggs, flying saucers, fruit salads…everything your dentist wants you to eat to put his kids through university.
I like the idea, particularly as a gift. You know when you’re trying to pick a gift for somebody and you can’t find ANYTHING which is quite right? Well, these kind of presents allow you to customise them to somebody’s tastes, and make it LOOK like you’ve made a bit of a thoughtful effort when really all you’ve had to do is click a few buttons. Happy days! Maybe that’s because I’m male though and giving presents is a massive inconvenience rather than an opportunity to show somebody how much I care for them.
The kilner jar came safely secured in a box which had enough protection around the sweetie jar to blow it up and hit it with a hammer. This jar was not breaking in transit! The glass jar is a far classier and showier container for pick ‘n’ mix than the bag or cup that you might use as a cinema, and it shows off all of the sweets and their e-numbery goodness.
Opening the jar unleashed the classic retro sweet smell. Fruity, sweet, unnatural, sickly…laaaaav it! I’m sure I used the phrase when I reviewed the Gobstopper Experience, but I’l use it again here anyway- this is a complete nostalgia trip. I don’t really eat ‘sweeties’ very often anymore at all, but they still make me feel like a little kid again when I do buy them.
So I chose snowies, super-sour raspberries and foam shrimps as they were my favourites (along with the legendary foam bananas) when I was a little boy. And each sweet was a lovely little taste of my childhood with these.
The snowies were nicely creamy white chocolate with those little bits of colourful sprinkles chucked in to give them a crunch. Not something that you’d eat if you wanted a sophisticated, classy snack but absolutely on the money when you’re bumming around and slobbing it. Which I usually am.
The foam shrimps? Well I don’t fully understand why foam shrimp are fruity. But I do know that I like them. They’re squidgy, chewy and have a soft, generic sweetness from the fruity flavour. What ingredients go into a foam shrimp? Who knows. But they’re tasty, and most of all FUN.
And finally I had the sour raspberry balls. These were insanely sour. My face was inside out and when I passed one to my sister to eat (without informing her of their *slight* sourness!) I laughed so hard at her contorted face that I nearly cried. The CLASSIC sour sweetie experience!
The Gobstopper’s Click ‘N’ Mix is about as far away from fancy or refined as you can go. There is no “84% cocoa from the war torn fields of Liberia”. There is a shit load of sugar and more chemicals than you can shake a stick at. But who cares?! The sweeties here were tasty, enjoyable and fun to eat. Eating Pick ‘N’ Mix is a rare treat for me, but still a treat none the less.
It is a nice concept, and the ability to customise each glass jar (which you obviously also get to keep- a nice addition as they are great quality and useful) from dozens and dozens of different options really does make this a convenient option to give as a present to somebody. But I think it is equally a nice way to very easily indulge the child inside you and guzzle a few old-school sweets that you might not have eaten for many years.