Sweetshops are terrible, hurtful places full of disappointment and regret, at least they are when you are a small child in a large shop full off all the wonders of the sweetie spectrum and hearing a parent utter the dreaded phrase: "you can choose ONE thing"... There is never quite enough pocket money to go around, and always something new and exciting lurking in forgotten corners to tempt that last penny out of your pocket.
And then you get that little bit older. Suddenly not only can you afford those huge bubble gums but you can buy a whole quarter of them, and get them in both flavours. As soon as you are in charge of the money and can even reach the sweets on the top shelves yourself then sweetshops are paradises - wonderful, blissful places of escapism and childishness. We have several in Birmingham that fit this description and I've mentioned a bunch in passing as gradually and systematically review every kind of refined sugar that I possibly can.
Probably the most impressive of the bunch is CyberCandy. It's like the gift-shop at the end of the WillyWonka factory tour, and the best section of every international food store rolled into one. And you see how it's underlined above? They even have a website so you can have everything delivered to your door. It's actually a lot like being in the actual store as it's full of colour and there are things to distract you all over the page - you probably should go have a look as there is far more on the site than you can see in the pictures below. My favourite function on the site is that I can click on the 'Shop By Country' select Thai and see all the wonderful Glico products and similar things all in one place.
That said - you can't beat actually getting to a store... The wonderful people at CyberCandy gave us some vouchers and Cinabar kindly let me do the review as it's only a short bus ride from my house.
Here we see our occasional Jr. Reviewer outside the store. Town is pretty busy on a Saturday so I couldn't get a full shot of the shop without it being full of strangers, but you get the idea - big sweetshop.
And here you see just the scale of things - Pez, Chews, all kinds of Pocky - even jars of Fluff on the right!
And it just keeps going - this is the American & Australian section. I find this less exciting. There are lots of different novelty mint tins - do people collect these?
Here we see the reverse view - back towards the counter. It's not a huge store - but it is well packed in. There are lots of pocket sweets (think Polo - or LifeSavers) here, things to carry around for weeks.
Behind the counter they have a £70 giant bar of Hershey's (I'm not a fan of the plain version) and loads of exotic American cereals. These are a lot more expensive just up the road in Selfridges so I'm often very tempted. We used to have Lucky Charms in the UK, but they stopped them - I think the demand for similar now means that the Honey Monster should do a Marshmallow variety and clean up! We do have non-vegetarian breakfast cereals in the UK, but I'm not sure how many people spot them!
This is our CyberCandy haul. I shared these out between the three of us that went to the shop so I won't be reviewing everything. Some of the smaller stuff got chomped right there and then so you can read about those on Thursday.
I do like the CyberCandy store. The products are all genuine, and some are well worth repeat buys and some are very much a one off - ooh lets try(!) that kind of deal. Once you get to the grown-up in a sweetshop phase places like CyberCandy are great as a treat, but I think that it's probably safer to stick to UK snacks for the everyday things.