That 80s Show

One of the most difficult things about growing up in deepest darkest Africa (a.k.a. Swaziland) was that good licorice was hard to come by. When I say good I mean salty. (There is a time and place for Allsorts, but that stuff is not good licorice).

Fortunately I had access, on an almost yearly basis, to Denmark, where I would stock up on all the good stuff to bring back to friends and watch them grimace over super-salty Piratos and “Turkish” pepper sweets. Piratos – licorice discs shaped like pirate money, in normal or super versions, and plainly some of the best stuff out there – are made by Haribo, and because there was a factory close to one of the towns we used to visit (indeed, one of the towns I sometimes called my “own”, particularly as I grew up and decided it was cool to come from Fakse, or close to Fakse, because that’s where Faxe beer comes from), I grew up under the misguided impression that Haribo was Danish. I’m sure I even spread the rumour on occasion.

Haribo is actually German (though fast becoming “global”, available in Giovanni’s Italian deli in Cape Town, if not in Pick’n Pay), and as the manufacturers of my favourite childhood sweeties (I liked sweeties a lot), it was both nostalgic and terrifying to discover – via the Food Section – that they are on display at the Fancy Food Show in the US:


Not only have Haribo graduated to this kind of arty outfit (there is something cool about it), but it even has its own Wikipedia page, and, you can now get them on Amazon (if you don’t happen to live near Giovanni’s). Huh.

Which reminds me, I made the happy acquisition today of a genuine Soda Stream machine. None of this new stainless steel streamlined 007 gadgetry; good old-fashioned hard brown plastic, and an authentic bottle to go with it. Just watch, one day it’s going to be worth thousands, just like those little bottles of gelatinous sugar that were only made to keep little mouths happy. And hopefully when my Soda Stream is at the height of its nouveau chic, it will still be in my kitchen, fizzing water like it was made to do.