Licorice ~ drop

Licorice

 

The Dutch love licorice (drop in Dutch); I mean the old fashioned variety, not the red cherry flavored kind that you find in America. Dutch licorice comes in a dizzying variety of shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. Go into any Dutch store that sells candy and you will find plastic or glass containers filled to the brim with this treat. Simply grab a cone-shaped plastic bag, fill it with whatever you desire, and take it to the register where they will weigh it for you.   But be careful, it is very addicting.  

 

What is licorice?

Licorice is a candy flavored with the extract of licorice root, or sometimes anise.   Gelatin is added to boiled sugar, licorice extract, molasses (for the black color) and ammonium chloride. The whole mixture is poured into small molds, allowed to cool, and then packaged for the consumer.   Various flavors can be added during the cooking process which will lend saltiness, or sweetness, depending on the taste of the buyer.  

 

What is the difference between sweet licorice and salty licorice?

True Dutch people laugh at this question, but they really should take pity on Americans who have been brought up to believe that Twizzlers are licorice. The fact is that true licorice is flavored with ammonium chloride (or sometimes simple salt); the more ammonium chloride, the stronger the flavor. The difference between sweet and salty licorice is that sweet licorice has very little ammonium chloride, and salty licorice can have quite a bit. Double-salt licorice (dubbel-zout) can actually bring tears to your eyes!

 

What is salmiak?

The latin word for ammonium chloride is “sal ammoniac” – which has been garbled into “salmiak.” When you buy salmiak you are generally buying a salty variety of licorice that has less sugar to mask the flavor.   Salmiak is very popular all over Northern Europe and very popular in our store.