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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Trip to the shops: Part Three - Kingdom of Sweets / Gobstoppers

In London's trendy "Oxford Street" two new speciality sweet shops have opened, just 200 yards from each other.


First up, Gobble Monkey visited The Kingdom of Sweets. And what a Kingdom it was! Literally three rows of Pick'n'Mix! And like all Kingdoms, they've had their own rug made for the entrance:


I think they have something similar at Buckingham Palace.

Anyway The Kingdom is full of the sort of rich delights you would expect to find in a magical realm of sweets. Where else would you find the delicious-looking "Orange Surprise"?


Want to know what the "surprise" is? Well it's revealed on the back of the packet in brackets:


Normally I love Orange Coloured Cocoa Butter Based Confectionery, but £3.99 this was a bit pricey.
(I was slightly confused by the Kingdom's exchange rate. They were charging 50p for a Wham bar.)

AND WAIT A SECOND - if this was a Kingdom, then where was the Queen, Barbara Windsor? I was beginning to doubt it was a real Kingdom at all. But then I remembered the carpet.

Oxford Street's second sweet shop is just a one minute walk down the road:


Gobstoppers has the same range of Pick'n'Mix and US imported sweets as the Kingdom, but they've also branched out into branded merchandise down in the basement. They haven't quite managed to out-do M&M's World though. (WHAT IS THROUGH THE ORANGE DOOR? no one knows.)


(I don't think they've sold many of those.)

Anyway, after a good look around, I was just about to leave when something caught my eye:


NO.

COULD IT BE?

A PERCY PIG HERE? I was at least 500 yards from the nearest Marks and Spencers. But with no identifying label, I could not be sure if these were Percys, Pig's Mugs, Animal Farm Pig Variants OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I had to buy one, so placed a single 'pig sweet' in one of the paper bags provided and took it to the kindly looking elderly gentleman at the counter. With his wispy grey hair and wizened old face, I theorized he was probably the owner, an eccentric Willy Wonka figure with a secret sweet factory was behind the orange door in the basement.

But when I handed over the paper bag, he looked me as if I had just handed him a chocolate covered dead kitten.

'You can't have just one,' he spat, refusing to place the bag on the weighing machine.

I was slightly taken aback at his pure disgust. But then I remembered - Willy Wonka was a bit evil until the end wasn't he? Surely this was just the sort of test Charlie Bucket had passed so winningly when he returned Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper...

I was sure that, just like Wonka, this crumpled old miser would reveal his true jovial self the moment I had proved myself ready to receive the keys to the shop and a lifetime's supply of Jelly Belly beans.

Or maybe he just thought I was an undercover M&S operative, collating enough evidence to take him to the supreme court of justice.


'Why do you want just one?' he growled.

WELL. The true answer to this question would have taken at least one hour to explain, and by saying it out loud, could have crystallised the last three months of wasting hours writing nonsense about sweets bringing me weeping to my knees in the middle of the shop, ending the Gobble Monkey phenomenon immediately.

So instead I told him I just wanted to see what they tasted like.

Shoving it back in to my hand with a snarl, he didn't charge me a penny.

Had I passed the test? I waited a moment to see if he would lead me through the orange door into a glass elevator where he would handover the entire Gobstoppers franchise, and together, we'd march on the Kingdom of Sweets, dethrone their Queen and combine the shops via a secret tunnel. THEN RULE OXFORD ST SWEET SHOPS WITH A CANDY FIST! We'd have to get a new rug though.

But instead he just sat there looking bored. I had failed, and left the shop knowing I could never ever return. But at least I wasn't a giant blueberry.

Back home, I was able to study the 'Pig Sweet' more closely. Here it is:


See how it's much brighter in colour than a Percy Pig or a Pig's Mug. It's definitely not an Animal Farm either, as it lacks the distinctive jelly snout. And the taste? It's a lot tougher in texture, but this may be due to being left in the open air of Gobstoppers for months. It's fruity flavour matches the intensity of it's colours, but it's hard to tell which fruit, and ultimately it probably ranks as the worst Percy Imitation so far.

Here's the new line-up:



Fake Percy No.4, Gobstoppers, free
Gobble Monkey says: 3 out of 7

PART TWO here

17 comments:

  1. I hate Oxford Street. Firstly, it's nowhere near Oxford. Secondly, it doesn't go to Oxford. Thirdly, all the Mr Byrite's have shut down.

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  2. This post really made me laugh! keep up the great work.

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  3. Hey gobble monkey, the links to parts 1 & 2 both go to part 2.

    just sayin'.

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  4. Was there a saying saying "no tasting allows, all sweets must be paid for" like the angry sign at my local cinema chain?

    Perhaps he was angry that you offended his sweet giving away customs.

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  5. Love the post, as always!
    These Percy Pig imposters are getting out of hand.. Have M&S not heard of copyright?

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  6. Hi, personally i think gobstoppers is a pretty amazing shop. Ive never met the 'old man' as you say but the two ladies/girls that work there are amazing, so friendly and always looking happy. The sweets they sell are new to me as most of them are American i think. They actually sell Everlasting Wonka gobstoppers so this made me chuckle. But its definalty worth your time and money. xxxx

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  7. hey Anon - you're right it is a good shop. I don't think it has a range to rival Cyber Candy, but certainly classier than Kingdom of Sweets

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  8. I Dont think Kingdom of sweets is even good at all walked in there last week. The stuff they sell is basic, we've all had 90% of their sweets, but Gobstoppers is great. Ive never been Cyber Candy shall pop down there, but ive been told Gobstoppers is cheaper then there. So my new local/American sweet shop shop will be Gobstoppers. You should try go there when the girls are there, great fun they seem to be.

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  9. How much are wonka products in gobstoppers??

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  10. last time i went in there they were pretty cheap compared to if you buy it online :)

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  11. Because its true, I asked a Doctor .. "yo"

    Kingdom of sweets all the way. Everytime I stoll past the shop, its full with customers.

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  12. They have a Kingdom of Sweets in Cardiff now too.
    Biggest sweet shop in Britain apparently.

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  13. I went to Kingdom a couple of months ago and emerged with a bag of shrivelled, overpriced confectionery which tasted no better than the average fare from Wilkos. They did have a few interesting things I hadn't seen before, but I decided I should be able to have some change from a fiver.

    Also, their website no longer works.

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  14. i went to your shop this morning to find you closed great waited over half an hour still no joy whats the point in saying you open at 10am when clearly you dont cant even phone you o find out when you are ??

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  15. i'm not in charge of the shop

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