Jan 1, 2011

Spogs...Who Knew????

Happy New Year to ME! I have, just moments ago, hit the proverbial jackpot and/or discovered my Holy Grail: I finally found those little liquorice-flavored jelly buttons that are part of the Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts.

My good friend and former co-worker Jillian has family in England. She visits them a couple times a year, but one of the best things about her trips is she gets to bring back Cadbury chocolate.

What you may not know about Jillian is she has a Celiac food allergy which prevents her from eating Gluten. Britain is much more progressive than the United States in labeling the ingredients on their food packaging so she's become quite the connoisseur on what she can and cannot eat. If you know Jillian then you know she can eat lots and lots of Cadbury chocolate, but only if it's made in the U.K. In fact, she buys so much Cadbury chocolate when she visits England that she's actually paid a penalty of $50 at the airport for having exceeded the baggage weight limit and once threw her back out lifting a piece of luggage out of a cab coming back from England.

Jillian first brought me back Liquorice Allsorts from England that tasted amazing because they were extra chewy and very fresh. (Ever snack on Good 'N Plenty's that have gone stale? If so, you'll understand why freshness is very important when it comes to eating liquorice.) Another time she brought me back a Cadbury Curly Wurly which is the British version of the now defunct Marathon Bar which was available in the United States in the late 70's.

One time she brought me back Walker's Nonsuch Licorice Toffee and I ate the whole bag in one sitting because I had never tasted something so infused with rich flavor and creamy texture. So these ended up being my two favorite treats that she always brought back for me when she visited her family in England.

Back in October I sent myself an email with links to a few online retailers that sold the toffee because I was loving it so much that I didn't want to have to wait until Jillian's next trip to England. (She had recently accepted a new job and I didn't think she would be traveling anytime soon which meant I was on my own to fend for my British sweets.)

As I've been on Christmas break this past week, I've had lots of time to catch up on emails wasting away in my in-box. It was only this morning that I decided to do a little web surfing for a state-side supplier of Walker's Liquorice Toffee after reading that reminder email I sent myself three months ago.

Scrolling through a list of Liquorice candy, I suddenly and quite unsuspectingly came across a listing for SPOGS on this site called Sweetstall.com. I nearly missed it. I was sweeping down their list of available liquorice and was almost to the very end of the page when I spotted the candy I've been looking for years. Instantly my mouth watered seeing those little blue and pink jelly buttons and yeah, you could say my heart skipped a beat. The description was as follows: Spogs, an aniseed flavored jelly sweet with a coating of tiny balls of aniseed flavored candy. Spogs can be confused with Jelly Buttons, but Spogs are a better quality. These sweets are the ones found in the Liquorice Allsorts mix.

Talk about an OMG moment! I instantly added several packages to my shopping cart and proceeded to check out, but there was a problem: I couldn't figure out how much the shipping was going to cost to send my goodies to the United States. Sadly the site didn't have a conversion applet from U.S. dollars to G.B.P (pounds) and I would have had to enter my credit card so I could find out the estimated shipping charges. This made me uneasy because of a past experience buying a Little Britain birthday card for Spencer which cost me an enormous amount of money to ship and I simply couldn't make that same mistake twice.

I began looking for an online retailer in the United States. I searched for quite a while and could only find one retailer that sold Spogs, but they were out of stock. But I couldn't give up and was determined to buy those Spogs.

In the end, I found several international sellers on EBAY. (I really should have checked there first and I'm not sure why I didn't because you can find practically anything on EBAY. That's what makes it such an amazing site.) I found a seller named Recycled Radios located in The United Kingdom who was selling three packages for 1.10 GBP which is approx. $1.72 each. All totaled, my purchase cost me $17.75 including shipping from the U.K.

Obviously the shipping was the most expensive part of the purchase, but this is my test run for SPOGS. If they are exactly as promised and taste as amazing as they do in the Allsorts collection then 2011 is already off to a great start.

Happy New Year everyone.

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