Thursday, April 26, 2012

Perfetti van Melle Lakritz Toffee

DSC_3003rbI’ve often wished that licorice Starburst existed. Until Wrigley’s and Mars recognize licorice as a valid flavor, well, I’ll have to look elsewhere.

Luckily I found this little package in Amsterdam last year made by Perfetti Van Melle (makers of Mentos) called Lakritz Toffee. The black and silver package stopped me in my tracks, the topography, especially on the inner wrappers is also compelling and completely set my expectations of the morsels within. The only thing missing from the package was the warning that this was salted licorice.

For the uninitiated, some licorice from Northern Europe bears the descriptor of salted licorice, which in the time of sea salt caramels sounds enticing, but in reality it’s not sodium chloride, it’s ammonium chloride that’s added as a flavor enhancer. A little reading about ammonium chloride reveals that it has some medicinal properties, such irritating the gastric mucosa to initiate vomiting.

But I paid less than a buck for this little package, and I’m actually game for learning to love salted licorice, so I gave it my best shot.


The little pieces are wrapped and shaped just like a Starburst fruit chew. The color is great, like the creme on a fresh espresso. They’re barely soft but have a satisfying stiff chew. The licorice flavor is mild at first and has a lot of molasses and toasted flavors to it. The salted flavors come out more as a tangy and metallic bite. All is well, until I allow anything to aerate. I suspect that adding air causes the ammonia in the salt to vaporize into the actual gas, which is, you know, caustic.

The nice part of these toffee pieces, when I manged to eat them correctly, was how the “toffee” part, the creamy note, really brought it all together. It was a smooth chew, not quite buttery, but had a good mouthfeel and never became gritty or grainy. The licorice flavors were authentic, more on the root and herb side than the anise that’s more popular in boiled sugar licorice candies. As long as I only ate one or two, my licorice cravings were quelled. Any more than that and the ammonia notes were too strong.

Unfortunately these can’t be legally imported into the United States because they use a food color that’s banned here. But they’re still widely available in places like the Netherlands and Germany in my experience and sometimes folks will pop up on eBay or other online sweet shops. It contains gelatin as well, so is not suitable for vegetarians.

My go-to licorice toffee still has to be the Krema Batna and maybe the second runner up is Walkers Nonsuch Licorice Toffee (both of which are also banned for import) but if you’re looking for a salted version, this might be it.

Related Candies

  1. Villosa Sallos Licorice
  2. 12 European Licorices
  3. Haribo Sali-Kritz
  4. Krema Batna
  5. Goetze’s Licorice and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams
  6. Walkers’ Nonsuch Liquorice Toffee
  7. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice

Name: Lakritz Toffee
Brand: Perfetti Van Melle
Place Purchased: Jamin (Amsterdam)
Price: 1 Euro ($1.35)
Size: 1.45 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: Candy, Perfetti van Melle, Chews, Licorice Candy, 6-Tempting, New Zealand

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:54 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyPerfetti van MelleChewsLicorice Candy6-TemptingNetherlands

  1. what is the banned coloring, and do you know the reason for the banning?

    Comment by Rodzilla on 4/27/12 at 4:14 am #
  2. Love Licorice..This is why I enjoy your blog!!!

    Comment by artemis on 4/27/12 at 12:54 pm #
  3. you should really search out the sweets called “black jack” in the UK, they are a companion to the “fruit salad” sweets and are often sold together. and they are a mild licorice chew, very similar to starburst.

    Comment by Jules on 4/27/12 at 1:35 pm #
  4. Cybele's avatar

    Rodzilla - the color is E153 or “Vegetable Carbon.” As for exactly why it’s banned, I’m not certain, just that it hasn’t been proven to the FDA that it’s not toxic.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/27/12 at 1:39 pm #
  5. Though Ammonium Chloride can be a flavour and crispness enhancer, the ammonium chloride in Dutch licorice is used for salting the licorice, not flavour enhancing.

    Comment by Martijn Van Houde on 3/01/13 at 11:09 pm #
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