They will never understand real pick ‘n’ mix here, not really. Do you remember that sweet (pardon the pun) feeling of walking into a shop completely dedicated to pick ‘n’ mix? I’m not talking old-fashioned sweet shops, with walls lined with out of date dolly mixture and gummy bears behind a counter – I’m talking real sweets.

Picture a whole wall of liquorice – salty, sweet, double, triple; another wall of hard, heavy sweets; a third for fruity gummy flavours; and maybe a fourth for wrapped sweets and chocolate.

A bag of carefully-selected sweets say a lot about who you are – or who you’d like to be perceived as. People will peer into your bag of pick ‘n’ mix and judge you. One of my sisters always picks old granny sweets – arrak-flavoured with muted colours. The other sister will pick the sour ones. And I do judge them, think less of them, pity them.

The British have a real understanding of other unhealthy treats. They deep fry stuff in a way Swedes will never be able to do. My teeth are grateful for the Brits’ ignorance of pick ‘n’ mix and I don’t have as many heart palpitations since I stopped eating all that salty liquorice, but on rare outings to the cinema, or on days when I’ve cleaned the flat and think I deserve of a treat, I long for the pick ‘n’ mix stores of Sweden. I long for the walls of confectionary, for the moment before you put your little shovel into a box of salty sweets and for the satisfying weight of a perfectly-balanced bag of pick ‘n’ mix.

Mum, send some, will you?

Gabi Froden

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