Essentially this is liquorice with all sorts of sweet stuff mixed in to make it sweet and tasty. It is a bit of a British thing, but nonetheless, it still tastes great!

A Bit Of history:
The marketing folks at Bassett's, (which assures us on their bags that they're 'The Original Allsorts') fondly relates the following sweet tale (getit?... oh, never mind):
"Liquorice Allsorts – was 'discovered' in 1899. The story goes that when the company's sole salesman, Charlie Thompson, was discussing business with a customer, he knocked over his tray of samples, scattering his colourful sweets on the counter. The buyer liked the look of the mixed-up confectionery, placed an order, and Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts were born."

The Components:
I examine the British edition of Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts ('The Original Allsorts') here. There is sure to be quite a bit of variation between countries & manufacturers.

  • Sugary-coconut stuff. This is, as the name implies, a sugary substance with a hint of coconut. There are three colours of this sugar-coconut (if I can trust what's left in my bag, I gobbled most of it before starting to examine it, so I might have missed one or two) - white, yellow, orange, pink and brown.
  • Liquorice. The black stuff that should taste bad but are hmmm... nice.
  • Little hard sugary balls – I think it is the same stuff you can buy to decorate cakes. If you don't know what I'm talking about, be at peace.
  • Hardish blue and black liquorice blend for the Bassett's man - as discussed bellow.

The Sorts
(British) Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts consists out of the following eight sorts:

  1. The squares - they are like a sandwich with the bread part sugary-coconut stuff and the filling all liquorice. These I would deem a necessary component if you want to sell your mix as an Allsorts..
  2. The squares max. (sure that is where the fast food places got the idea) which are in essence a double of the above, that is a layer of sugary-coconut stuff, a layer of liquorice, a (thicker) layer of sugary-coconut stuff, another layer of liquorice and to finish it all, you guessed it, more sugary-coconut stuff.
  3. A bit of braided liquorice string – similar to those in liquorice strings found in sweet hops, but only chopped in short pieces.
  4. The Bassett's man – this is a little man made of black and blue sweet tasting liquorice.
  5. A cylinder that is a layer of liquorice on the outside and with the sugar-coconut stuff in the middle.
  6. A wheel like construct where the 'hub' is liquorice and the outside is sugar-coconut. These always taste more coconuty than the rest to me....
  7. A rectangular prism that consists of two liquorice rectangular prisms and two sugar-coconut rectangular prisms arranged in a chessboard like pattern (OK, a very small 2x2 chessboard, butt still).
  8. A uhm.. a gooey wheel like shape, made of clear stuff that tastes like liquorice with those small decorative balls on it.
Disclaimer: Again I could have driven some sort to extinction before I started to document...

The Future?
The Bassett business were acquired (gobbled up) by Cadbury Schweppes in 1989 but Liquorice Allsorts is still sold in the UK under the Bassett brand.


Note About Spelling: licorice is the American spelling and liquorice the British spelling (my favourite sort). But if Bassett ('The Original Allsorts') says licorice is best spelled as liquorice, then, well there it is!

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