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Licorice Candy

Friday, September 23, 2011

Trader Joe’s Allsorts -a- Licorice

Trader Joe's Allsorts a LicoriceBefore I started Candy Blog there was a rather short but significant list of candies that I had never tried before. One of them was Licorice Allosrts. This is mystifying for regular readers, I’m sure, who already know that I love licorice. But I didn’t quite understand what it was and as Allsorts are often sold in bulk bins, there was no package (or blog) to explain it to me.

Allsorts are various shapes and combinations of licorice mixed together. The most common items within a variety bag would be rockies (cream filled tubes), twists, nibs, sandwiches (layers of licorice with layers of either fondant cream or coconut fondant), buttons (jellies or gummies covered in colorful nonpareils) and possibly licorice flavored mellocreams. 

Trader Joe’s Allsorts -a- Licorice is a very conservative and safe assortment of little licorice shapes, perfect for those who are shy of strong licorice and want to dip their toes into the anise waters.

Trader Joe's Allsorts a Licorice

The bright and moderne fifties style design on the packaging does a decent job of demystifying its contents. It says that it includes a fun and colorful variety of licorice shapes and sizes including sandwiches, tubes and swirls. The ingredients boast that there are no artificial flavors or colors, though as is the case with most licorice, it’s not gluten free and also contains milk and gelatin ingredients. Though there is no coconut in the sandwich creams, there is coconut oil.

The assortment consists of: tubes filled with pink, orange or yellow cream; sandwiches with pink, orange or yellow cream; twisted nibs and licorice wheels. 

Trader Joe's Allsorts a LicoriceWhile they’re glossy and pretty, they’re also soft. So soft that many in my package were lumped together.

The cream element is very soft and though it’s not sticky it does like to stick to the other pieces and gets dented and malformed easily.

They’re made in France, so they’ve had a long trip (but they’re well within their expiry date - good until July 2013).

Trader Joe's Allsorts a Licorice

The texture is soft and chewy without being doughy like some Australian styles can be. It’s also not crumbly or waxy like Twizzlers can get. The addition of gelatin gives it a good bounce and helps it keep its moisture. The licorice flavors are mild. There are some nice bitter molasses notes, it’s sweet and lightly salty and only lightly anise-y. The cream is sweet and only slightly grainy, it’s soft and dissolves quickly, almost like frosting. The flavors are what you’d expect: yellow is sweet lemon, orange is a little bit like orange and pink has a floral strawberry sweetness.

I enjoyed the different shapes, though the sandwich pieces were the least successful because they were so malformed. It was interesting to have a cream licorice sandwich that didn’t have coconut, as so many do. I missed the chocolate flavored cream though, that would have been fun.

Trader Joe's Allsorts a Licorice

I found the mix very munchable. It didn’t really satisfy any deep cravings for licorice, but it was a great snack. As a die hard licorice fan I don’t think I’ll be picking this up, but if you’re looking for something that kids and adults can enjoy together, this has some features that both will appreciate.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice
  2. Natural Vines - Black Licorice
  3. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  4. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  5. Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts
  6. Haribo Licorice Wheels

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:19 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sLicorice Candy7-Worth ItFrance

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice

Trader Joe's Candy Coated LicoriceTrader Joe’s has been stepping up their introduction of classic candies lately. They have their gourmet versions of Milk Duds and Dutch Mints. I was quite shocked and delighted to see these Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice a couple of weeks ago.

The box has a great, comforting design on it that conveyed everything I needed to know about the product. It’s licorice, it comes in pastel colors and it’s candy coated. But the really appealing part of this product for many people will be that it’s made without artificial colors or preservatives and contains no animal products. (It is missing the Trader Joe’s vegan symbol though I can’t find anything on the list of ingredients that would be considered non-vegan, except perhaps titanium dioxide, which is neither animal or vegetable, it’s mineral.)

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Licorice

If you were afraid that natural colors would be muted and bland, let me allay that fear. These are bright - a deep purple, bright yellow, brilliant orange and a clean white.

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Licorice

The candies are short little pieces, squat and with all the candy coating, rather rounded. They reminded me a bit of the Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans, made by Kenny’s Licorice. However, these have a few key differences. First, they’re made in Mexico and Kenny’s is made in the USA. Second, the Kenny’s had a rather soft shell to it. The Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Licorice is quite crisp.

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Licorice

The shell is thick and very crunchy. As with many natural or artificial colors, some taste different from others. The purple and orange candies have a light violet floral note to them. Otherwise the candy is all about sweetness, licorice and molasses. The candy shell provides a long, sustained sugar zap while the center is quite soft and has a slightly doughy chew. The molasses is a little bitter, smoky and woodsy. The licorice is light and sweet with a hit of anise as well as a grassy note of fresh fennel.

They’re a lot more affordable than the new Panda Candy Coated Licorice, which is also slightly different as the shells are flavored.

As much as these have going for them, first they’re dirt cheap at 99 cents for a 6 ounce box, I can’t say that they’re my absolute favorite candy coated licorice of all time. For me there’s too much shell and not enough intense licorice flavor. But the texture mixes are balanced very well. I’ve eaten three boxes so far, so these are definitely my go-to munching licorice. But I’d like an Extra Licorice version, maybe that has a little hint of anise in the shell itself.

Related Candies

  1. Panda Candy Coated Licorice
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints
  3. Goetze’s Licorice and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams
  4. Trader Joe’s Jelly Beans & Citrus Gum Drops
  5. Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans
  6. Sugar Coated Fennel
  7. Boston Baked Beans
  8. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)

Name: Candy Coated Licorice
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $.99
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Kosher, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:04 am     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sKosherLicorice Candy7-Worth ItMexico

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gatos Licorice

I picked up a couple of these little licorice ropes at Cost Plus World Market simply because I loved the package.

Gatos Licorice

These little Gatos Licorice (Gatos Extracto de Regaliz) were pretty cheap for imported candies (these are from Spain), only 50 cents for a little .39 ounce bar. There’s slimmer and lighter than a Panda Licorice (Finnish) bar and perhaps a little drier.

Gatos Licorice

The little bars are about 4.25 inches long and are actually thick tubes. They have a light anise and licorice scent with a few hints of charcoal and molasses. Each package has only 35 calories.

The texture is stiff, it’s a wheat base so I expected it to be like a Twizzler Nib. Instead it was dry though not completely crumbly. The flavor took a bit of chewing or dissolving to release but then I really enjoyed the strong licorice notes, which are soft and sweet, woodsy and herbal and a little acidic twang to it all. The molasses wasn’t strong, the toasted caramel flavors were mellow. It’s not a sweet candy at all, there’s even a bit of a bitter burnt note. There was a bit of a stale cereal vibe to the whole thing that I didn’t care for, but it was mostly at the start of the chew and dissipated as the licorice grew, sometimes wheat based products can be like that.

These are fun to pick up and keep tucked away in a pocket, since they’re so small. Of course the bold and distinctive wrapper with the yellow, red and grey tones were what attracted me (logo & more photos here), so it’s a bit of a conversation piece. I don’t think I’d buy them on a regular basis, but I’m curious to try some more of their products.

Related Candies

  1. Panda Candy Coated Licorice
  2. La Higuera Rabitos Royale (Chocolate Truffle Filled Figs)
  3. Switzer’s Chewy Licorice Bits
  4. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  5. Kookaburra Licorice
  6. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  7. Dutch Licorice

Name: Gatos Extracto de Regaliz Liquirizia
Brand: Saet Sweets
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Park LaBrea)
Price: $.50
Size: .39 ounces
Calories per ounce: 80
Categories: Candy, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, Spain, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:43 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewLicorice Candy7-Worth ItSpainCost Plus

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Van Slooten Flowers & Butterflies Mix of Sugared Liquorice

Van Slooten Flowers & Butterflies Mix of Sugared LiquoriceI know there are a lot of blogs out there that review candy these days, but somehow I feel alone in my obsession for licorice. (And I feel sometimes that I’m alienating my non-licorice loving readers by featuring something black every week.)

I picked up this cute little can from Van Slooten called Flowers & Butterflies Mix of Sugared Liquorice. It’s Dutch and as far as I could tell, was a mix of salted and sweet licorice much like the previous little can I picked up and reviewed of Licorice Figures. It seemed a bit pricey, something the size of a can of beans that cost $3.99, but they really packed the candy in there, it’s over a half a pound at 8.82 ounces.

The mix inside was as described, at least six different shapes and as far as I could tell, three different varieties.

Van Slooten Flowers & Butterflies Mix of Sugared Liquorice

Gummi Flower & Tulip is chewy and dense but with a very mild flavor. It was mostly a toasted sugar flavor, sort of like a marshmallow and some light anise. That was it. I liked it and I ate them all. At first I didn’t realize that the tulip was the same as the flatter 10 petal flower. But once the tulips were gone (yes, I ate them first), I figured it out.

Butterflies are a great medium brown color with sparkly grains of sugar. There are two shapes for the butterflies, but I found the texture and flavor to be the same with them. I expected a griotten flavor and texture, which is a light and airy gummi with a salted licorice flavor. These did have that brown sugar and salted licorice flavor but with instead the texture was sort of tacky and chewy. I can’t say that it as quite a gumdrop, but it definitely wasn’t a gummi marshmallow. I enjoyed these, the salt was quite noticeable but not so much of the ammonia aftertaste taste that I don’t care for.

Van Slooten Licorice

Gumdrop Flower is really chewy and has a strong molasses flavor. Aside from the grainy sugar coating, it’s quite smooth. I enjoyed it at first, but then there’s a tangy element that creeps in along with something metallic, then I got a hit of the ammonia. As long as I alternated them with the other versions, I found them passable. Ultimately I was left with a dozen of them in the bottom of the can.

I would eat these again, especially for the milder gummi varieties. They’re also pretty and I like the compact, easy to open and close package.

Candy Gurus tried their Fruit Gums called Fun & Sun Fruit Gum

Related Candies

  1. 12 European Licorices
  2. Van Slooten Lakrids Figurer
  3. Albanese Gummi Butterflies
  4. Van Slooten - Autodrop Total Loss
  5. Licorice Assortment
  6. Dutch Licorice

Name: Flowers & Butterflies Mix of Sugared Liquorice
Brand: Van Slooten
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 8.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Candy, Van Slooten, Gummi Candy, Jelly Candy, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, Netherlands, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:52 pm     CandyReviewVan SlootenGummi CandyJelly CandyLicorice Candy7-Worth ItNetherlandsCost Plus

Monday, July 11, 2011

Haribo Pearlico Lakritz

Haribo Pearlico LicoriceMy sense of adventure with licorice from around the world is starting to ruin my appreciation of licorice. I’ve found that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to appreciate other versions, especially the salted styles from Northern Europe, that I’m spending less of my time just eating the products I’ve already found I love.

After my earlier experiments with German licorice, more specifically, licorice from Haribo (Lakritz Parade, Goliath Lakritz-Stangen and Sali-Kritz) , you’d think I would have learned something. I found most of the licorice I bought there downright inedible by my preferences. Yet when I was at Mel & Rose Wine and Liquors last month, I bought yet another Haribo licorice product. At the very least while I was in Germany I could rationalize that the candy was cheap, most under one Euro per package, here it was over $3.00.

They’re called Haribo Pearlico. The ingredients seemed to indicate that they were a children’s licorice, with no ammonia salts. My mouth may say otherwise.

Haribo Pearlico Licorice

I admit that I was attracted by the look of them. Each is a large mounded gumdrop shape. They’re soft enough to be squished with firm pressure. The ingredients are all natural, so the muted tones of the little candy spheres coating the licorice center is made from vegetable dyes.

Haribo PearlicoAt the center of each is a soft licorice gumdrop made with treacle flavor and licorice. It’s earthy, soft and relatively smooth. The candy sphere are soft and crunchy, not dense like the American version that might be found on SnoCaps. If you’ve ever had the Haribo Raspberries, you’ll know what I mean.

The licorice center has a lot of molasses flavor, some deep ginger and beet notes, burnt sugar and soft anise. But every once in a while I was getting a real whiff of ammonia. At first I thought that certain colors were ammonia (yellow in particular) but it turned out that they were all the same, just very mildly “salted” licorice.

As a first introduction to the world of salted licorice, they’re good. The textures are fun, though the colors remind me of something that’s been left in the sun to be bleached, like old plastic toys found washed up in October on the beach.

The center contains a combination of gelatin and agar-agar so it’s not quite suitable for vegetarians.

Related Candies

  1. 12 European Licorices
  2. Panda Candy Coated Licorice
  3. Haribo Sali-Kritz
  4. Krema Batna
  5. Haribo Pontefract Cakes
  6. Barratt Liquorice Catherine Wheels
  7. Marich Black Heart Licorice

Name: Pearlico
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $3.25
Size: 7.0 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Haribo, Licorice Candy, 5-Pleasant, Germany, Mel and Rose

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:44 pm     CandyReviewHariboLicorice Candy5-PleasantGermanyMel and Rose

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Villosa Sallos Licorice

Villosa SallosI’ve seen the Villosa Sallos Salmiak Lakritz Bonbons at import shops before. Their simple mostly black and white design is quite eye catching, especially in riotously colorful candy aisle at Cost Plus World Market.

The hard candies are strong licorice with a hint of herb extracts and ammonia salts.

For a while I wasn’t sure what they were. The picture on the package just shows a brown rectangle with a highlight on it that might indicate it’s soft and chewy or filled with goo. Every time I’d see them in the stores, I’d feel the candies inside and they were always hard. When I was in German, I saw these a lot at the stores (they’re apparently one of the best selling licorice products there), so I figured they were fresh and exactly they way they should be.

Villosa Sallos

Inside the package are a couple dozen individually wrapped pieces. They’re well sealed and easy to open. The candies are one inch long and about 2/3 of an inch wide.

The texture is smooth and hard, kind of like a hard caramel like Coffee Rio, except it’s licorice. The overwhelming flavor is not really licorice, it’s a bit more rustic than that. It’s a mixture of molasses, caramel and a little touch of menthol and mint along with the soft licorice notes. There’s a little waft of ammonia now and again, but it’s not as strong and offensive as some other European licorices I’ve had.

Overall, it’s hearty and not too sweet. They’re more like a cough drop than a piece of candy, which was fine with me. While this wasn’t quite as good as the Amarelli Sassolini, my other European licorice favorite, they’re certainly more affordable.

I also picked up their Schul Kreide (Skoolkrijt or School Chalk) a few weeks ago as well at Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors. I found it rather expensive ($3.50 for a little 5 ounce bag) and a little understated compared to the Venco version I’m accustomed to. There’s also a Sallos Black & White review on Candy Gurus. I think I’ll try to track those down.

Related Candies

  1. 12 European Licorices
  2. Panda Candy Coated Licorice
  3. Goetze’s Licorice and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams
  4. Walkers’ Nonsuch Liquorice Toffee
  5. Van Slooten Lakrids Figurer
  6. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes

Name: Sallos Salmiak Lakritz Bonbons
Brand: Villosa
Place Purchased: Rewe (Cologne, Germany)
Price: $1.35 (1 Euro)
Size: 5.29 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:47 pm     CandyReviewHard Candy & LollipopsLicorice Candy7-Worth ItGermany

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

12 European Licorices

While I was in Europe earlier this year I made a point to sample as much licorice as I possibly could. What I found is that the world of licorice products varies greatly by cultural tradition, price point and intensity. Here are a dozen items I found, in descending order of my affection.

Amarelli SassoliniAmarelli Sassolini

I meant it when I said I’m starting with the high point of my European licorice adventures. I loved this stuff. 

When I was walking the exhibits at ISM Cologne (the largest candy trade show in the world), I knew that I wanted to visit the Amarelli Licorice booth. They sell wonderful little tins of intense licorice pastilles. I’ve been buying their minty coated version called Bianconeri for about 10 years, though not very often because each tin is about $6 and holds about an ounce.

I was not disappointed by their booth. They had so many different products I had never tried. The ones that impressed me the most were little glycerine pastilles that were rose or violet along with the intense and smooth black licorice. (I don’t know how they sell those, they just said that they didn’t come in tins.)

I tried their pebble looking candy coated licorice called Sassolini which I was enchanted immediately.

Amarelli Sassolini

They’re much bigger than their other products, most of these are larger than a Peanut M&M. They’re irregular and do a convincing imitation of an actual little rock. The thickness of the soft cream and blue colors have a pleasing heft to them.

The flavor of the candy shell is vanilla, soft and with a hint of the anise underneath. The center is a chewy black licorice that has an intense flavor of both licorice and anise. They’re really strong and the dense chew of the center means they last a long time, though they do get stuck in my teeth if I chew them up instead of letting them dissolve. The flavor lingers as a dull buzzing feeling on my tongue long after its gone. I like this so much I found that Licorice International carries the nuggets in bulk, so I ordered two 6 ounce packages to refill my tin.

The tin shows a child at the beach (or perhaps just a lakeshore) with a big red pail and sail boats in the background. Of all the designs of their tins, this is my least favorite, perhaps because the design is less focused on the typography.

Chocolate Coated Liquorice by Johan BulowLakrids by Johan Bulow (Denmark)

I first read about Lakrids by Johan Bulow on Chocablog last year. I was hoping to sample their line at ISM Cologne, so I wasn’t disappointed when I found their booth and got to try everything. They sent me home with a few packages of their line of gourmet licorice using real licorice root. The whole line comes in these chic little plastic jars. The products are all named with numbers of letters. The Choc Coated Liquorice is A.

They’re gluten free, which is pretty rare for a licorice product as most of the American and Australian styles are wheat based.

They’re also really expensive at about $8 to $10 per 165 gram (5.8 ounces) jar. (I see a trend already with my licorice leanings, I like the quality stuff.)

Chocolate Coated Liquorice by Johan Bulow

They smell a little woodsy and milky. The powdery coating on the outside isn’t cocoa, it’s ground licorice. True licorice is very sweet, and this stuff definitely was real and potent. A little touch to my tongue and it was a sweetness that has no thick or sticky quality like sugar. There’s a deep woodsy note to it as well. The chocolate is sweet and milky, and provides more a texture to the candy than a chocolate flavor. Most of what I got was milk, not chocolate. The licorice center isn’t very sweet but also not quite a salty licorice. There were strong molasses and toffee notes, burnt flavors and dark mossy notes.

It’s more of a savory treat than sweet. It’s incredibly munchable but at the same time, very satisfying to have two or three and be done.

Lakrids Sweet Liquorice by Johan Bulow

Johan Bulow makes a wide variety of products already, including Habanero Chili Licorice and Chili Cranberry Licorice. I was also taken with the simplicity of the Lakrids 1: Sweet Licorice.

The glossy little nibs hardly look like real edibles, but they are. The flavor is rich and actually creamy. The flavor has a backdrop of roasted notes that come from treacle. It was sweet and bitter. The texture was a little gummy, and did stick to my teeth a bit. Like the chocolate covered version, I didn’t feel the need to keep eating it after a few pieces because they actually satisfied me.

Carletti KonfettiCarletti Konfetti

So I got back to Los Angeles with this sample and I was confused and kind of embarrassed by my assumptions. I thought it was Italian. The name is Carletti but I found out it’s a Danish company.

I also picked up some other items they make, such as Dutch Mints (or as they call them Mintlinser Drage) which were also nicely packaged and featured (as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge of Danish) all natural colorings. (See website.)

Carletti Konfetti

The little pieces of firm licorice are covered in colorful (naturally colored) candy shells. They’re a little narrower than a regular Chiclet and a bit thicker. The chew was a bit dense but had an excellent flavor profile. It wasn’t salty but also not terribly sweet. The shells seemed to have a light flavor of their own, the orange being notably orange and the purple possibly violet. The center was a bitter and had some good molasses to it.

I was put off by the bitterness, but drawn to the other flavors within, something like charcoal and burnt toast and licorice. But the intensity kept me coming back.

Mentos Lakrits Mint

I’ve purchased Lakrits Mint Mentos a few times before, but I think this is the first time I’ve actually included them in a post.

Mentos Lakrits Mint

They look rather watery, not very intense. But don’t let the fact that they’re not full of caramel coloring or molasses fool you. They’re quite licoricey. The flavor does have some of the deep woodsy notes and they’re oddly creamy when chewed. The mint is mostly in the crunchy shell and fades away quickly. The salty tones are very mild, for folks who have never tried salted licorice, this is a good starter.

Mentos Drop Citroen & Drop Aardbei

A more unusual version I found in Amsterdam is the roll that mixes Drop Citroen and Drop Aardbei. Drop is the generic name for licorice in Dutch.

Mentos Drop Citroen & Drop Aabit

The package may have made it look like one half was Lemon and one half was Strawberry, but they were just a random mix. Mine had about 2/3 aardbei.

Mentos Drop Citroen & Drop Aabit

The curious structure is revealed ... at the center is a little core of licorice inside the normal fruit chew.

The combination? Well, I wouldn’t say that I loved them, but I did end up eating them all. The center wasn’t so much about licorice, it was more of a salty and molasses flavor, a bit more savory than the bland fruity outside. The lemon was mild and only sweetness. The strawberry was a bit more nuanced, with some more floral and cotton candy notes to it.

Klene Salmiak MixKlene Salmiak Mix (The Netherlands)

This is also made by Perfetti Van Melle, the same folks who make Mentos. What I learned a little bit late in my Dutch adventure was the difference between Zoet and Zout. Drop Zoet are sweet licorice and Drop Zout are salty licorice. One little letter ... so much meaning.

A mix of griotten shaped like large hemispheres and salty rockies. Rockies are a tube of licorice filled with a grainy but slightly less intense licorice cream. They’re sanded with a bit of sugar. They were rooty and earthy. The texture was a bit more doughy than the other brands I’ve been buying and less of a licorice punch with slightly more ammonia salt.

Klene Salmiak - Griotten

I really bought these because of my curiosity when it came to the little domes. I didn’t know what they were. Turns out, as I mentioned above, they’re like Griotten, a small and dense licorice marshmallow.

It’s a little doughy and spicy. The griotten texture is like a firm, dense marshmallow with a sugary crust. The flavor is deep and not as intense as others I’ve had. There’s a vague ammonia salt note to it, but a strong licorice flavor with a hint of molasses. The molasses gives it the taste of a spice cookie, which is what they look like to me.

Katjes Fruit Tappsy (Germany)

I’ve had the mild licorice Tappsy before. They feature a panda face with different flavors for the ears or other contrasting color parts.

Katjes Fruit Tapsy

The Fruit Tappsy are gummis with a strong and stiff chew. The licorice portion is mild and the fruity portions are actually quite vibrant. The combination of licorice and fruit, though, is really not to my liking. I think the texture of the Tappsy with the marshmallow base might give a creamier component to these that might bringing it all together for me.

I’m not saying that they’re bad, just not really my favorite of the Tappsy versions out there.

AutoDrop Drop DondersVan Slooten Autodrop Drop Donders (The Netherlands)

I’ve tried AutoDrop candies before, based solely on the name. The entire brand of AutoDrop candies, made by Van Slooten, are based around the theme of cars and their drivers. Some are winegums but most are licorice. This bag certainly caught my eye, with its matte black background and blue foil line art.

Inside are five different candies, each with a different shape, texture and flavor profile. I don’t actually know what the name means. Donder means thunder, but maybe Donders means crashes.

AutoDrop Drop Donders

Megpiraat - one eyed, grinning face - a stiff but smooth chewing molded licorice piece. The flavor has a nice mix of molasses and licorice, which is a light sweetness. A little touch of anise and some deep toffee notes.

Spookrijder - looks like a rustic piece of chalk. I was hoping it would be like Skoolkrijt (a tube of licorice filled with cream and covered in a minty candy shell). The shell is minty, but also a little crumbly. The interior looks like grainy brown sugar and has a pleasant molasses undertone and a faint licorice flavor and a hint of salmiak.

Zondagsruder - a smooth licorice gummi, I quite liked this one. It wasn’t very strong on flavor, more like a light anise with a sweet marshmallow & vanilla note.

Brokkenpiloot - this was the saltiest of the bunch and one that I pulled out of the mix. Unfortunately, it’s also the one I had the most of.

Bumperklever - caramel colored piece that has a light toffee and licorice flavor. This had a bouncy texture that was almost a marshmallow gummi. Sweet but a little salty as well but without the bitter metallic aftertaste.

Overall, kind of a losing situation for me. Out of duty I ate all the Zondagrsruder and a few of the Spookrijder and Bumperklever, but the rest have just been sitting around.

Haribo Lakritz Parade

This mix was like a German version of All Sorts. It included cream licorice (made with fondant) and other panned candies in addition to molded salted licorice pieces. I picked up the peg bag at the grocery store, again, for about a Euro ($1.40).

Haribo Lakritz Parade

The little colored pieces were lovely, what’s more, the package said that they only use all natural colorings. There were licorice rods covered in a candy shell, covered in fondant (like All Sorts without the coconut) and larger diamonds of salty licorice covered in a shell (I reviewed those already). There were also little M&Ms which were a crumbly molassesy sugar mixed with licorice and salt.

They looked great, but I can’t say that my problem was with the flavor as most were just bland. The pastilles were bland, just kind of earthy and chewy. The little lentil thing was just grainy and a little bitter, the colorful licorice tubes were just sweet.

Haribo Lakritz Parade

The molded licorice shapes were enchanting to look at. I can’t say that their attention to quality control was great. These were the best in the bunch. The salino is like a Zout, it was doughy and yes, a little bland except for the strong ammonia quality. The others were, again, watery and tasteless except for a dirt and vague anise note. The chew was smooth.

Venco KleurendropVenco Kleurendrop hard zoet (The Netherlands)

This is another licorice I bought in Amsterdam. It was pretty cheap, I’d say less than $2 American. I wanted just a simple licorice pastel. I’ve had Venco products before, I buy their Skoolkrijt all the time. So I thought their version of Good & Plenty would be great as well. I also lucked out that I chose a zoet licorice (unlike that Haribo Sali-Kritz)

I was worried about the word hard in the description, but at least that part turned out not to be true.

Venco Kleurendrop

First, I’m not keen on dark colored candies, they tend to need more coloring, which displaces actual flavors and textures that should be there. So the blue and the black ones were not ones I ate with much interest.

The little rods of licorice are covered in a thin but crunchy shell. The licorice at the center is actually overpowered by the flavor of the shell. The shells, in some cases were flavored. I don’t know if they were supposed to be flavored, but the blue/purple ones were definitely floral, like violet. Not heavily licorice flavored, these just left me bored. Even the color assortment didn’t thrill me. Half of the fun of candy coated candy is the look of it.

Haribo Goliath Lakritz-StangenHaribo Goliath Lakritz-Stangen

While I was traveling in Germany I mostly when off of how things looked, but every once in a while, I pulled out my Android phone (which didn’t work as a phone) and used the German-English dictionary to look things up. So I knew that this was a black licorice bar. The character on the front says that it’s soft licorice. So at least the words were helpful.

The package is creepy. I like the boldness of it, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of the graphic work that Haribo does. But this anthropomorphic character of a string of licorice palling around with a boy is just weird. Go ahead, look at it closer. But hey, it’s what’s inside that counts, right. I didn’t even flinch at the insulting Asian caricature in the previous mix.

It’s a hefty bar, at 125 grams (4.41 ounces) for about a buck.

Haribo Goliath Lakritz-Stangen

The bar pulls apart into licorice rods quite easily. Each is about the size and shape of an unsharpened pencil. It is soft and pliable, glossy and really looks so promising.

But it tastes so bad. The chew is dense and has a strong wheat flavor to it, yes, it actually tastes a bit like flour or al dente pasta. But there’s more, it’s a bit tangy, in the way that weak coffee can be tangy. And it has a weak licorice flavor to go with that. It’s only vaguely sweet and not quite salty. It’s not overtly earthy but tastes a little musty.

This has pushed me over the edge to proclaim that I don’t wish to ever eat another Haribo licorice product again.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo Sali-Kritz
  2. Mentos Jam Filled
  3. Haribo Pontefract Cakes
  4. Katjes Tappsy
  5. Van Slooten Lakrids Figurer
  6. Venco Drop Toppers - Salmiak & Mint
  7. Van Slooten - Autodrop Total Loss
  8. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  9. Dutch Licorice
  10. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:23 pm     All NaturalCandyISM CologneHariboKlenePerfetti van MelleChewsGummi CandyLicorice CandyGermanyItalyNetherlandsHighlight

Monday, March 14, 2011

Panda Candy Coated Licorice

Panda Candy Coated LicoriceOne of the candies I was looking forward to seeing in the United States from Panda Licorice was their Candy Coated Licorice.

They’re little, beefy one inch rods of licorice with a candy shell. What’s interesting about these that’s different from most licorice pastels is the fact that the shells are flavored. They come with two flavors in each bag - lemon (yellow) and peppermint (white). As with all Panda licorice, the ingredients are all natural and vegan.

In Europe a slightly different version of this candy is available. I bought a bag in Amsterdam called Liquorice Comfits, which had three different colors (more about that in a moment).

This particular bag is small, it holds 100 grams which is 3.5 ounces. The retail price is pretty steep for a sugar candy, I paid over 2 Euros for mine in Europe and it appears that the American version will be prices around $2.50 to $3.00 per bag.

Panda Licorice Comfits

The pieces are consistent and attractive. They’re not slickly smooth, but they are shiny. The yellow is creamy and the white is stark and bright. (The green ones are from the European mix.)

The white ones are Peppermint and I was hoping they’d be similar to Skoolkrit, which I love so much. The licorice center is soft and chewy but not deeply flavored. It’s a bit doughy, like Panda can be, but missing the dark molasses notes. The licorice flavors are exactly that, the mellow and lingering sweetness of the licorice root. Though they have aniseseed oil in them, there’s less of that flavor in the profile. The mint shell gives is a fresh start and finish. It’s crunchy and sweet as well, but doesn’t really stick with me after consuming.

The lemon was a bit more of an unconventional combination. It was definitely sweeter to me with a lemony start that reminded me of icing. The licorice just seemed sweeter in this version.

Both are fun to eat, but I kept waiting for some stronger licorice flavors that I was relieved when the bag was empty and I could move on to something else.

Panda Licorice ComfitsThe European bag I picked up of the Panda Liquorice Comfits is unflavored, as far as I can tell, though I did get a bit more of a floral note from the green ones, but natural colorings can do that.

Without the flavored shell, you’d think they’d have more of a licorice punch, but it was the same thing. Too sweet, not enough rich burnt toffee notes.

I don’t expect that I’ll pick these up again. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who will like these and I expect for parents who want a great family licorice, this is a good place to start, especially with younger kids who are turned off by strong flavors.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I like Good and Plenty better, I certainly prefer the price.

Related Candies

  1. Natural Vines - Black Licorice
  2. Panda Soft Herb Licorice and Licorice Cremes
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Hearts
  4. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  5. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  6. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)

Name: Candy Coated Licorice
Brand: Panda Licorice
Place Purchased: sample from ExpoWest & grocery store in Amsterdam
Price: $2.50 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Panda, Kosher, Licorice Candy, Mints, 6-Tempting, Finland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:39 pm     All NaturalCandyPandaKosherLicorice CandyMints6-TemptingFinland

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.





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