Lunchboxes languish without them. Parties perish in their absence. Friday simply becomes Sunday if your cupboard is devoid of them. They may be small in size but their unreserved magnificence continues to charm children and adults alike. Yes folks, I’m talking about the magical bite size delights that are Iced Gems.
The Iced Gem appears somewhat controversial in the biscuit world. It seems that they are loved and hated in similar numbers. Whether they unnerve us or allure us, there is no doubt that they utterly demand our attention. They either evoke a burning fury or a sparkling sense of glee. We discuss them, bicker about them and reflect on how they have affected our lives. They get themselves talked about.
In school, along with salmon paste, oblong sandwiches, a humble packet of Chipsticks crisps and a soulless carton of Just Juice, I was often greeted with the sad sight of the Kwik Save’s ‘no frills’ cheap imitation version of the Kit Kat. In all honesty, this particular biscuit itself did not taste as shabby as the dismal and soul destroying packet suggested, but I digress. Of course I had seen the bright and wondrous advert for Iced Gems complete with Iced Gem theme park, white Iced Gem stars and a large bear who looked as if he had eaten far too many already despite the fact that the tagline was ‘The snack you share with the bear’.
(The advertisement in question begins 0.50 seconds in: just before that is a Macdonalds advert with the grating voice of Timmy Mallett. You have been warned.)
Yet, this advert aside, I don’t think I ever actually truly believed that something so magical could really exist. My dear mother certainly managed to dodge her way past them on every shopping trip. Imagine then, my utter amazement when, one bleak and lifeless winter lunchtime, a classmate pulled out a bag of loveliness from his Snoopy lunchbox. I remember it to this day, complete with slow motion effects and the gleaming light which accompanies a holy ‘aaaaaaa’ sound. They were real! All at once my heart opened up to countless possibilities. Maybe all these things did exist. Maybe there wasn’t a real man inside of Mr Blobby. Maybe you could find a nessie in the zoo. All my hopes and dreams were built up and destroyed in the same five minutes as I never got my hands on one of them.
My mother’s love of the ‘no frills’ brand didn’t help with my hopes and dreams of ever being in the presence of the divine Iced Gem, so I carried on as normal eating demoralizing biscuits and being somewhat uninspired by the biscuit world as a whole. Sure, they were out there somewhere but when would I ever be in the sugary goodness of their company? Well to cut a long story short, my wish was granted at an otherwise dire school disco. I will forever hold the celestial memory of the dazzling, seemingly endless tray of beauty whilst Scatman John blurred out across the school hall. I noticed some boys were disrespectfully eating just the icing and then throwing the biscuits at each other. Yet I suppose these kids were so used to Iced Gems and were probably the ones who were lucky enough to enjoy them every day and they weren’t aware of my journey so I forgave them and continued to scoff the tray.
Iced Gems have since restored my faith in biscuits and I religiously partake in a fun cup of tea every Friday which of course includes a 25g bag of their heavenly existence. So what do Iced Gems mean to me? The answer is in the name. Gems. And that’s exactly what they are.