Liquorice Allsorts are one of the world’s most famous confections, and have been selling consistently well for over 100 years. Their unique flavours and strange addictions have made sure that they will continue to sell for many years to come.
The company who first made Liquorice Allsorts was the Bassett Company. The story of how Liquorice Allsorts were first marketed is now quite famous. In 1899, Bassett's salesperson Charlie Thompson was discussing an order with a prospective customer. Then, completely by accident, his tray of samples was knocked onto the floor. They scattered everywhere, and while Thompson was desperately trying to pick them up, the buyer took an interest to the oddly shaped sweets, and placed an order there and then. Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts soon went into mass production. In 1992, Bassett's was taken over by Trebor. Therefore, they are now sold as Trebor Bassett, although the company is now Cadbury Trebor Bassett. The factory where they are made is in Hillsborough, Sheffield.
There are ten different kinds of true Bassett's Allsorts, and these are split into two different sections. These are:
- Non paste-based
So here is a basic dissection of your average bag of Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts. This study was based upon a large bag (half a pound or 227g) of Allsorts.
The Circular One with the Coconut
This is one of the most famous Liquorice Allsorts. This is probably due to their sweetness and the fact that they stick out the most. It is basically a tubular piece of liquorice with coconut paste wrapped around the outside. They come in two different colours, yellow and pink (although, in other 'slightly cheaper' makes, orange ones have been reported). The coconut seems to take away some of the bitterness in the liquorice. Quite oddly, because these are the most popular, Bassett's, of course, decide to put on average three to four coconut ones in a bag.
The Circular Aniseed One with the Little Balls of Sugar on the Outside
This is the only Liquorice Allsort, which strangely, does not contain any liquorice. In its place is a hard aniseed jelly, which is then covered in little balls of sugar. They provide a totally different taste from the other, liquorice-based sweets in the bag. They also come in two colours, blue and pink. On average, there are about four to five of these in each bag. If you want more, Bassett's do sell these as an individual product, although they are more difficult to find.
The Three-layered One
The three-layered one is often known as the 'biggie', as it is the biggest Allsort. It also has the most coconut paste, with three layers of paste cut into squares, stuck in-between two pieces of liquorice of the same shape. A rather disgusting way to eat this kind of allsort is to peel it, and eat it a layer at a time. On average, each packet of Allsorts has three to four of these cubic wonders.
The Liquorice Rosette
This is the only pure liquorice sweet that can be found in a packet of Allsorts. It is often the one that gets left at the bottom of a bag for months, but does not get thrown away because the bag stays in the cupboard until it is emptied. Most people put them in their mouths, suck them until the taste becomes overbearing, and then spit it out discreetly. However, some people actually eat them. On average, there are about four to five in each bag.
The mainstay of a packet of Liquorice Allsorts is the basic liquorice-paste combo. These come in three different flavours, chocolate, pink and orange. They are basically a sandwich of two pieces of paste, one coloured and one white, and a piece of liquorice. These are the most boring of all the liquorice Allsorts, and the chocolate ones especially, always stay in the packet, and are the last to be eaten. There are six to seven in an average pack, but sometimes it seems that every one is chocolate flavoured.
The One With the White Paste Wrapped in Liquorice
This Liquorice Allsort is basically a piece of white paste wrapped in liquorice. However, they are not the only ones. Several companies have marketed their own versions of this sweet. They come in differing sizes and flavours. However, the ones made by Bassett's are all generally the same size and length. There are about three of these in each packet.
In 1999, a new Liquorice Allsort was introduced to mark the centenary year. It is a small replica of the Bassett mascot Bertie Bassett. It is made of aniseed, and is most peculiar. It is half aniseed, half blueberry, and is very soft. They are slowly increasing in popularity. Also new is the chequered Liquorice Allsort. Released at the same time, a chequered Liquorice Allsort is two pieces of liquorice stuck onto two pieces of strawberry paste in a chequered pattern. They are also slowly beginning to be accepted.
So there you have it, a one-stop guide to Liquorice Allsorts.