Geek Trivia

Which Of These Popular Candy Mixes Was Created By Accident?

Licorice Allsorts
Which Metal Has The Lowest Melting Point?

Answer: Licorice Allsorts

If you’re European–especially British or Scandinavian–or have relatives who hail from the continent, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with “licorice allsorts”. It’s a mixture of candies that traditionally contains licorice, licorice wrapped in coconut, aniseed jellies (typically dotted with sugar sprinkles), and variations of layered flavorings and licorice.

What might come as a surprise to many readers familiar with the very popular mixture is that it was created entirely by accident. Historically, candies were sold by themselves and you ordered a set amount of a specific candy. In 1899, however, this practice got a little mixed up when a sales representative for Bassett’s confectionery company took a spill. During a visit with a potential customer, the sales representative, Charlie Thompson, dropped his very neatly arranged tray of samples, jarring all the candies out of order. The resulting mess was a colorful pile of treats that delighted the customer, who promptly placed a large order “for all sorts” of licorice candies.

The mixture proved enormously popular and Bassett’s began mass producing “licorice allsorts” for distribution across England. By the 1920s, the production of allsorts was so central to the business that they created a company mascot, Bertie Bassett, fashioned entirely out of allsorts candies.