Recently our friends at www.licoriceinternational.com sent us a box of licorice to check out. Not being ones to NOT grab any kind of licorice as soon as it’s within arm’s grasp, we dove in right away. Let’s start off big.
Gustafs Platinum Select Sweet Licorice (Netherlands)
These might not look too distinguishing, but I THINK they’re animals. Who cares though? With licorice, I never seem to care what they’re supposed to be shaped like-at the end of the day it’s always black little blobs, innit? These pieces of licorice however, completely blew us away.
I’ve had a LOT of licorice. A lot. And even in the realm of Dutch/German/UK licorice, there’s a general median, so I’m always finding myself saying “yeah…these are good”. Meanwhile, I’m probably not buying them again, as I like my licorice great. These fit that bill and more.
Out of the gate, they’re firm, but not crazy hard. They give a bit while still being chewy as all get out, and provide a nice long eating experience. The flavor though? Perfect. Seriously- they’re perfect. If you’re looking for a traditional licorice, this is now what I would point you to. There’s a very mild salty note underneath, but this isn’t a salty licorice by any stretch. It’s absolutely my favorite licorice consistency and flavor, so like I said…from here on out, this is my go-to.
Magical little soft rods of licorice, mixed with a brown, creamy molasses flavored chew. To. Die. For. WOW.
I took these to work, and they lasted about ten minutes. All the usual licorice fans loved them, and few who were in the closet came out for these. The combination of licorice and molasses is surprisingly good-they lend themselves very well to mass eating. They’re soft, with an interesting form-rippled ridges style. They’re fun to eat. For something different, these need to be tried.
So far we’ve checked out two winners. But…they can’t all be winners, can they?
Oatfield Licorice Toffee (Ireland)
By far, these were the item I was most excited about. Licorice toffee? Sounds like a match made in heaven. And the wrapping certainly is cool too. Once you get ’em open, they look as you’d suspect.
Check out the CSI cut:
Sadly, this is where the pleasantness ends. These are…shockingly bad. My first tip off was Jonny Guru Jr. spitting it out, mumbling something about it “being..bad….just bad”. He likes almost everything. I tried it, and…man, my taste buds were confused. I was expecting either a chewy toffee-only-in-consistency licorice thing. Or, I was expecting something like toffee, with a tinge of licorice flavor-I think I would have liked either of these scenarios. Instead, it starts off a bit…bland, which isn’t bad, but then a conflicting (for me) flavor starts doing battle with the aniseed oil used for flavoring. Is it the vegetable fat? The vegetable carbon? It’s definitely something that struck my taste buds as savory, so it’s possible that it was either of these.
I took these to work as well (The Gustafs were way to good to share with my co-workers. I love you guys, but…) and everyone hated them. I got complaints of them possibly being stale, etc, but I’m very sure that’s not the case. And then, there was one last co-worker couldn’t shut up about how much she loved these. She was especially appreciative that there was no gluten in them, but more than that, she adored the flavor. Let this be a lesson that even a broken clock is right twice a day-unless it’s a digital clock. Then it’s just a piece of crap.
The biggest takeaway here, aside from finding perhaps the best licorice ever to grace the earth, is that I’ve found licoriceinternational.com. Their prices are extremely competitive, especially when compared to other importers of foreign candy. If you love licorice, and frankly I don’t trust you if you don’t, or if you know a licorice lover, this place needs to be on your short list. They have a seemingly limitless variety of licorice sweets, so check them out.
And seriously, if you don’t like licorice, try a few varieties that we’ve recommended over the years. We’ve converted more than a few folks over who thought they hated the stuff, but just had to try the right kind.