To die for, dear, to die for…

28 01 2012

So I was out Bunburying last night after work. En route to a new-to-me drinking establishment, I diverted to a Vancouver emporium going by the name of The Candy Aisle. Now this little shop sells chemicals, dyes and lots of sugar all packaged up in gaily coloured packets to tempt and attract children… and pre-diabetic old farts pining for the treats they enjoyed when growing up in Blighty.

You see, alongside their selection of popular North American corn-syrup based sweets, the Candy Aisle sells British sugar-beet based sweets.

Wikipedia: Sugar Beet

Wikipedia: Sugar Beet

I’m not sure I have a discerning enough palette to REALLY tell the difference in the sources of the sugar, and it very well could be just “baby duck syndrome“, but I simply prefer British sweets. Especially chocolate. Hershey’s chocolate tastes like soap from Lush in my opinion (before you ask: I swore a lot as a child), though it seems to be quite popular in North America. There are a few shops around the Lower Mainland that sell sweets from the UK, but I prefer the Candy Aisle for one simple reason. Their staff can read.

You see, although it’s starting to become more normal in Canada, the UK and the EEC have printed “Best Before” dates on their foodstuffs for decades. This simple concept allows the consumer to determine, before they open the package, that the contents have an above average likelihood of being good (or at least safe – for some given value of safe) to eat. Of course, the proprietor of the shop can then also periodically check their stock, and discard items that are no longer “best before”, and therefore, by extension likely to be “worse after”. Unfortunately, most of the shops I’ve tried that sell UK sweets rely on the strength of hankering for Old World treats to over-ride the fear of botulism, salmonella, E. coli and the like, and leave the items on display until they’re either bought by the truly desperate, or presumably grow enough lifeforms to evolve the ability to move, and escape of their own volition.

The Candy Aisle however employs people who can read, and their shelves are stocked only with items within the manufacturer’s concept of best before. Obviously this is not the same as those employed by the dental profession, who probably can’t conceive of the concept of any such highly sugared item being best at all. But enough. I’m sure you’re itching to know what I purchased. Don’t deny it – there’s no other reason you’d have ploughed through all that twaddle if you weren’t just a bit interested.

To be honest, it wasn’t a simple matter. Many items were picked up, replaced, considered, apologised to, and ultimately left for another customer. There was an unfortunate incident with a packet of Twiglets, but the police thankfully weren’t called in the end.

What I eventually left with was a bar of Caramac. The last time I’d had one, it was made by Mackintosh’s (Established in Halifax, Yorkshire, where all good things come from).

Wikipedia: Caramac

Wikipedia: Caramac

Mackintosh’s had been acquired and become Rowntree Mackintosh (Rowntree’s made fruit-based sweets, epitomised by “Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles“. Yes… I’d bought some of those too.)

Wikipedia: Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles

Wikipedia: Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles

As is the way of big business though, they too had been acquired, and were now owned by Nestlé of Switzerland. I also indulged in some Jacob’s Club biscuits. Orange flavoured. Mmmmm. Jacobs, like Cadbury, are now part of Kraft… but that is half owned by Nestlé. Are you following?!

Jacobs Club Biscuit

The Great British Diet: Jacobs Club

Some other bits and bobs along the way (I was like an ex-pat in a candy store!), but the pièce de résistance… a bag of Jelly Babies!

Bassetts: proper ones! And guess who owns Bassetts? Cadburys, who are owned by Kraft, who are owned by Nestlé, and so the world turns. Anyway, pre-diabetic or not, I opened them this morning and selected my favourite… the black one! I let it sit on my tongue while its dusting of castor sugar dissolved, and the blackcurrant flavour seeped into my taste buds.

Wikipedia: Jelly Babies

Wikipedia: Jelly Babies

And that was it. The realisation of why I love British sweets, and loathe North American ones. The flavours are right!

Black sweets taste of blackcurrant… not liquorice!

Green ones taste of lime… not some poor facsimile of apple or worse… spearmint.

And THERE ARE NO BLUE ONES! I shudder every time I see blue sweets and drinks being fed to the youth of Canada. It’s just not right! Even things named blue, like blueberries are NOT blue. Ink is blue. Grapes and raspberries are not blue.

Oh – and Nestlé also own Jenny Craig.

Just sayin’…

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18 responses

28 01 2012
kianys

Thanks for this vicarious sugar induced high – as I have been off the stuff for the better part of four monthes now, I admit I started drooling halfways through your post.

I’m with you on Hershey’s – hersheys just tastes like “old, stale” chocolate, but then I’m a German chocolate snob, so maybe I’m a bit too harsh.

how about “Gummiebaers” – I mean the real deal German ones – those should have made your list, right?

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRa-SlYn-w3AX-vbrOMGH_KXr7Q24hWgMOaC-xZYKpj8hamavT4

28 01 2012
Quieter Elephant

I’ve never been a big fan, to be honest… I find them a bit TOO chewy. The real deal ones are better though… I definitely agree!

28 01 2012
kianys

Seeing as I live in Haribo city (HArald RIegel BOnn) I’m almost tempted to ask for a p.o. box to send you some samples in order to bring you over to the good side, however since you admitted, that they are a bit better, I’ll let it slide ;)

(Also b/c entering their factory sales shop could really pose a hazzard to my no-sugar-diet thing)

28 01 2012
Quieter Elephant

Haha… well vielen Dank for the almost offer! ;)
Best thing I ever found for stopping me eating too much sweet stuff… a blood test with a Fasting Glucose value of 8.1!!

28 01 2012
Laura Davies

Noooooo, I mean why, because I am now so hungry again fro British sugar…. And I won’t be able to get to a local (when I say local I mean at least 45 minutes away) Irish (yes I know, it should be British, but it’s Irish and it is actually a chain of shops in France, that sells whisky) shop until Tuesday. Because they rather inconsiderately close on Sundays and Mondays. I love LOVE caramac, and I just know they’re not going to have one of them! I need to chose a different country to be an ex-pat in!

28 01 2012
Quieter Elephant

Sorry for the timing there, Laura! I’ll wait until Tuesday next time…

28 01 2012
misfits' miscellany

After the whisky, nicotine, ten thousand double-double espressos and colacaine, the Mars bars and the Wine Gums never tasted the same. But my brother still has Iced Zoo biscuits smuggled from SA into Scotland for a little regressive sugar therapy.

28 01 2012
Quieter Elephant

So I had to track Iced Zoo biscuits down to what they were, and found this excellent biscuit resource!!
http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/biscuits/previous.php3?item=65

29 01 2012
misfits' miscellany

What if Mrs Malaprop and Mr Spooner had Iced Zoo biscuits over tea? A funky duck in the orgasmic cup?

29 01 2012
Quieter Elephant

Ah Spooner indeed. An Oxford grad, I believe. I recall reading about him in a tea shop there. Such a Billy Sugar.

20 03 2013
sheriji

Wow. It’s English but it’s like you’re all actually a whole nother language. :-)

I prefer dark chocolate of all sorts — with sea salt, cayenne, orange peel, ginger. And I do love the sour thingies, and agree that gummy bears are too chewy.

And doesn’t Nestle own all of it?

And you stole my line!

20 03 2013
Quieter Elephant

I was just keeping it warm…

20 03 2013
sheriji

actually TALKING a whole nother language.
I wish I could type as fast as I think.

20 03 2013
Quieter Elephant

It’s OK… I wasn’t listening anyway. :)

20 03 2013
sheriji

Thanks for the post about I Am Morley. It’s looking like I’m going to “waste” the whole morning reading his blog.

20 03 2013
Quieter Elephant

You are meandering, aren’t you?!
It’s not a waste if you learn something or gain or change an opinion on something… ;)

20 03 2013
sheriji

That’s why I put it in scare quotes.
I’m actually rewarding myself for coming off of 2 crazy busy and stressful days by sitting on my couch reading and eating warm-from-the-oven triple-fruit scones and drinking fantastic coffee.

20 03 2013
Quieter Elephant

Scare quotes?! Is that a Jobsism? (Apple’s notorious auto-“correct”).

Good for you though!
It’s like more socially acceptable masturbation.
Oh dear… I can see it’s going to be one of those days for me…
Better head off to the orifice (sic).

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