Monday, June 21, 2010

Haribo Pontefract Cakes

Haribo Pontefract CakesPontefract Cakes are named for an ancient town in West Yorkshire England where licorice used to grow. The region was known as the few places in the British Isles that licorice could be cultivated.

The licorice plant was not native to the area, it was likely brought in and planted sometime after the Crusades, sometime around the year 1000 or perhaps as late as 1090 when the Benedictine monks that came to the town to found their monastery. Licorice root was steeped and used like a syrup to sweeten drinks (or flavor spirits) and the roots were chewed as a treat. Sometime around 500 years ago the locals created a licorice confection known as Pontefract Cakes, which are really more of a little medallion of molasses-based licorice. The disks look rather like a coin or a blob of sealing wax. They don’t grow licorice in the area any longer, but there are still two factories that make the age old sweet: Haribo and Monkhill Confections (originally known as Wilkinson’s).

Haribo Licorice

In fact, true Pontefract cakes were made by hand until the 60s. Rolls of licorice dough were pieced into little blobs and then hand stamped. These Haribo Pontefract Cakes preserve that hand-stamped look.

I was expecting these to be stiff and hard, like the continental European licorice. Instead they’re quite soft and pliable. They have a matte finish and feel like coins made out of silicone. I found that even though I didn’t seal up the bag well, they still didn’t get stale or tacky.

Haribo Licorice

The early cakes had different embossed images in them, it’s said that they were of the Pontefract Castle, but this Haribo one is just a vague rectangle in the center (that might be a castle with a flag) and the Haribo Original name.

They smell sweet and a little herbal. Since these weren’t American-style licorice pieces (that usually contain wheat), I was expecting something a little smoother but perhaps a bit stronger. Instead I found quite a different flavor profile. First, it’s barely sweet. The sweetness is woodsy and rather delicate. The chew of the cake is soft and not quite gummy but more hearty than a gumdrop. There’s a little hint of salt to it (actually quite a bit 200 mg of sodium per serving) and the charcoal notes of molasses. The nice part about the flavor is that it’s a true licorice, not amped up anise. It’s mild and soothing.

They were a little weak to satisfy my licorice desires. I like a really hearty licorice with a lot of molasses with caramel, toasted sugar and charcoal notes, it seems to moderate the very sweet nature of true licorice. But these are easy to eat and though they stick to my teeth a little bit, the smoothness keeps me coming back for me.

These contain real licorice, so those with heath concerns with licorice extract should avoid it. It’s also made with gelatin, so it’s not for vegetarians or those who keep Kosher/Halal.

Related Candies

  1. Barratt Liquorice Catherine Wheels
  2. Marich Black Heart Licorice
  3. Broadway Black Licorice Rolls
  4. Walkers’ Nonsuch Liquorice Toffee
  5. Young & Smylie Traditional Licorice
  6. Jelly Belly Licorice Bears
  7. Haribo Licorice Wheels


Name: Pontefract Cakes
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $2.99
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 85
Categories: Candy, Haribo, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, United Kingdom, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:41 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyHariboLicorice Candy7-Worth ItUnited KingdomCost Plus

Comments
  1. I had some of these along with a mix of dutch salty liquorice, they were quite nice and mellow alongside their salty counterparts.

    Comment by leigh on 6/22/10 at 3:09 am #
  2. Interesting, I didn’t know Haribo made something like this.  I’m like you, I want my black licorice to be overpowering in taste.

    Comment by Mark D. (sugarpressure) on 6/22/10 at 5:43 am #
  3. So as a licorice addict, I guess I’ll pass on these if the flavor isn’t strong.  Phooey!

    Comment by Pam on 6/23/10 at 10:38 am #
  4. I was just about to order some of these then I saw your review. I wanted to try them after I read some woman had overdosed on the liquorice in them. I figured they’d be strong. : ( Well, back to my liquorice altoids.
    I might still buy some, though.

    Comment by Emily on 6/24/10 at 11:21 am #

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