Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout

I got two wonderful gifts of salted licorice recently. One from Anne of Anne’s Food and the second for Christmas from our friend Christian.

image

These little monkey shaped licorice pieces are coated in salt. I was a little bit of a scaredy cat (but overall adventurous lately, so don’t be too hard on me) so I dusted off as much salt as possible. The first thing I noticed upon putting it on my tongue was that the salt was not as “salty” as I was used to. It was like a watered down salt. Very salty by volume, but just slightly less salty by intensity for the amount. And more metallic tasting. I looked at the package and it doesn’t say sodium chloride, it says ammonium chloride. It’s amazing that the pallette can detect the difference between the two mineral salts, but there you have it.

After the salt part melts away the inside is a firm, chewy piece of licorice that is by contrast very creamy tasting. It’s an odd combination, the sweetness of the licorice is also not a sugar sweet like we’re often used to, but the root sweetness of licorice itself (a lot of licorice we eat like in black vines is not actually real licorice root).

image

These other buttons are actually “double salt” and are from Holland. They’re the size of pennies, only thicker. What’s devilish about them is that they don’t look salty. They don’t look any different from a regular licorice button except for the firm warning letters emblazoned on them…. DZ. They’re firm and rather solid feeling. But put it on your tongue? Shazaam! It’s a powerful jolt. I’m serious, I’ve given it to a few people now and all of them have an immediate and clearly visible reaction.

I was curious what kind of salt this one had as it came in an otherwise unmarked package. Here are the ingredients that I found on one of the internets:

Ingredients: sugar, modified starch, gelling agent (protein), glucose syrup, ammonium chloride, liquorice extract, wheat flour, color (carbon medicinalis vegetalis), flavoring (aniseed oil), glazing agents (vegetable oil, beeswax).

I have to admit that I’ve only eaten three of these. The first one was on Christmas Eve when I got them, and I’d been eating cheese and crackers (and maybe had a glass of wine) and it didn’t seem too overpowering. The licorice taste was readily apparent. I popped another one when photographing a couple of days ago and found it really strong and if I dissolved the salt on the back of my tongue it didn’t seem so bad. Yesterday I made the mistake of chewing it up before the salt dissolved and I was shocked (repulsed) to find that the whole mess suddenly tasted like basement: the basement of a home that has a lot of cats and rarely cleans out the catbox. There was a definite rooty, earthy flavor there and an overwhelming cast of ammonia (this was before I’d researched ammonium salts). I actually went to the bathroom, spit out the rest of the candy and rinsed out my mouth. I’m game for most things, but when it tastes like known poisons, I’m not gonna take that bullet for a blog.

As someone who didn’t grow up on this stuff, I may have missed the boat on appreciating it. I probably shouldn’t have started with double-salted, maybe half-salted. I’m actually rather fond of mixes of savory and sweet, and of course I love licorice so this should be right up my alley. I’ll keep trying. Well, I’ll keep trying with the monkeys, I can’t bring myself to try the Dubbel Zouts again.

Here’s more from Wikipedia on Salmiakki (salted licorice) and Ammonium Chloride. It says that ammonium chloride is a good expectorant and I’m gonna have to agree with that after all the coughing when I was done. Here’s what Bad Candy had to say about Dubbel Zouts.

Name: Djungelvral & Dubbel Zout
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Malaco & Klene
Place Purchased: gift
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Licorice, Sweden, Netherlands

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:09 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Thank you, Cybele, for this spot on review. But what does a candy have to do to get an “Appalling” rating. I think the Double Zouts would qualify. etc

    Comment by ernessa carter on 1/04/06 at 3:15 pm #
  2. Bad Candy is so hilarious!  I love that website.

    Comment by Rachel on 1/04/06 at 3:23 pm #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    That’s a good question Ernessa ... I’ve given out the 2 out of 10 rating a few times. Some of that we can chalk up to cultural differences or expired product. But in order to get a 1 out of 10, I think it has to be a bad idea out of the gate. I think these were rescued by the fact that the monkeys were actually pretty good and I like the idea of the combination in my head ... just not in my mouth.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/04/06 at 3:57 pm #
  4. I love this candy. I just came back from Solvang and they had about 6 diferent kinds of salted Licorices in the local candy store. There must be other people than me who love Zots.

    Comment by Christian Hibbard on 1/04/06 at 4:05 pm #
  5. I’ve had the DZ’s before and admit I didn’t finish them, though I don’t think any made me gag. I believe they’re available in the bulk section of my grocery store—probably ongoing influence of the Nordic folk on Seattle.

    Comment by Daphne on 1/04/06 at 4:17 pm #
  6. WOW!!!!!
    Thank you for the awesome blog,just what I needed today!
    The “Jungelvral” you had are a Swedish original!
    You just have to love them if you’re a Swede like me.
    Since I live in California now, my heart broke to see those beautiful salties on your blog…
    I loved your site so much that I linked it to my blog-I hope you don’t mind!
    Klara

    Comment by Klara on 1/04/06 at 7:03 pm #
  7. OMG!!!!
    Thank you for this review!
    I LOVE DZ!!!!
    I haven’t been able to find it anywhere (don’t ask me why I didn’t think of the internet???)
    This is so cool.
    I’m going to try the Djungelvral too.
    I’ve got you on my bloglines list.

    Comment by amanda m. on 1/04/06 at 8:28 pm #
  8. I think I’d maybe, just maybe, be willing to try out the Malaco salty licorice.  Maybe it’d go good with beer? =) If you hadn’t said they were salted on the outside, I’d have thought that outside white coating was some sort of powdered sugar. But yeah, at least that acts as some sort of warning… the DZs look so normal. I wonder if people might use those as a joke by substituting it in their unsuspecting friends’ candy stashes.

    Comment by Bryan on 1/05/06 at 12:20 am #
  9. I haven’t tried double-salt, but World Market has Katjes brand licorice shaped like herring that are salted—they must be half-salt, though, as the salt is not overpowering in any way.  The licorice is a good, solid licorice flavor.

    Comment by Jim Kosmicki on 1/05/06 at 7:04 am #
  10. My fiance is from Denmark and grew up on this stuff.  He loves any kind of strong salty licorice.  As a special treat for him for Christmas I ordered a bunch of different kinds of licorice from Sweden (http://www.northerner.com) and filled his stocking with them.  His favorite is one called Turkish Pepper (salty and hot).  Another favorite of his is Ga-Jol (I have yet to find it in the States) which is actually a lozenge (comes in licorice and other flavors) for sore throats but most eat it like candy.  It is similar to Lakerol (available at Cost Plus World Market).

    Comment by Brook on 1/05/06 at 7:12 am #
  11. Haha - I think you were brave to try them smile Salty licorice is definitely an aquired taste!! Do try “aging” the Djungevral though, they’re really good when they get a bit hard. smile

    Comment by Anne on 1/05/06 at 7:55 am #
  12. I’ve visited the Netherlands many times and I’ve found the double salt licorice takes time to appreciate.  The first time, I spit it out.  Then I tried it a few more times and it clicked.  The problem then became eating too much.  A few times, I could feel my blood pressure rising and ankles swelling.

    Maybe you got a bad manufacturer?

    Comment by Christina on 1/05/06 at 8:03 am #
  13. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks to everyone for the comments, it seems that folks are really passionate one way or another about salted licorice. One of the reasons I didn’t give it a 1 out of 10 is that I recognize that it’s an acquired taste and I’m willing to work on it. I didn’t throw out the packages and I’m going to keep working on getting the hang of loving them. One thing I’ve learned though is to keep lots of water nearby ... they really dehydrate me!

    Brook - the Turkish Pepper sound really good to me, I want to get the hang of this so I can appreciate that!

    Jim - I’ll look for the Katjes, too.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/05/06 at 10:32 am #
  14. Damn I love Double Zout.  Sorry to hear that you didn’t catch the feeling on those.  There is also a milder version of those just called Zout.  A friend of mine turned me on to these over at Marcy’s Ice Cream in Torrance (which is the best ice cream in LA, IMHO) where they stock both kinds loose in jars.

    I’m gonna have to try those salty monkeys.

    Comment by Marshall on 1/05/06 at 11:07 am #
  15. I buy single salt licorice from the Mediterranean store at Cleveland’s West Side Market.

    I love it.

    It’s hot and salty and sweet and is the closest I’ve ever come to sex through candy!

    Comment by Erin O'Brien on 1/08/06 at 5:08 pm #
  16. The DZ is most excellent. There is only one place in Oregon I have found them. It’s a bit of a trip but I make it just for the DZ’s. If you haven’t tried them you should. Just so most of you can spit it out smile

    Comment by George on 2/08/06 at 1:31 pm #
  17. DZ is GREAT. I buy it back in Texas from a little dutch store even though I live in Florida. I get a few pounds of the stuff a twice or 3 times a yesr. It’s a nothern european reguired taste I think. All the danes I know loves it

    Comment by Irene on 4/04/06 at 1:55 pm #
  18. Oops! Sorry about my spelling

    Comment by irene on 4/04/06 at 2:02 pm #
  19. Cybele's avatar

    I picked up some single zout back in February - it’s much more mellow and I think I’m getting the hang of it (who knew that eating international licorices would be so much work).

    Comment by Cybele on 4/04/06 at 2:07 pm #
  20. Hi Cybele, I just found your gorgeous blog *drools*
    Starting of with double-salt is indeed quite adventurous. I grew up with them and I never got to like them. I love the sweet black licorices though and I can highly recommend the “Autodrop Sneeker Zoethoudertjes”. It’s a sweet licorice, but with a very weird, yet interesting taste.
    And Droste - what can I say - you have chocolate and chocolate, and Droste is definitely chocolate! :D

    Comment by Antoinette on 4/26/06 at 10:23 am #
  21. Thanks for the salty licorice information. I learned recently about salty licorice from a Danish friend, and found your blog. Because of it (and several comments), I’ve ordered and received many packages of licorice (from ingeborgs in CA, and northerner.com in Sweden). Unfortunately - I’m well on my way to salt licorice addiction.

    So far I have tried:
    Malaco: Jungle monkeys -Djungelvral (as above)
    Fazer: Turkish Pepper (original and less peppery),
    Konfekta: Salta Grodor (salty frogs),
    Venco: single zout, double zout,
    Toms: blue jean, mint filled
    Haribo: piratos, skipper’s mix, matador mix

    Mixed bags containing: school chalk, farm equipment, salmiakrondos, smiley faces,
    GaJol: black
    Lakerol: salmiak, original, special

    Among others I’m sure.

    They are all great - the stand outers are:
    Haribo: skipper’s mix (especially the bears), piratos
    Malaco: djungelvral monkeys
    Venco: single salt (zout) diamonds, salmiakrondos, school chalk
    Fazer: turkish pepper original (3 fires strength)

    Aside from the interesting (admittedly acquired) salt licorice taste, what make these candies so fascinating are the seemingly endless varieties, shapes, and flavors available.

    Here is an interesting story about a German woman who ate 400g (almost 1lb) of Haribo Matador mix per day, for 4 months straight - don’t let this happen to you!
    http://www.claytonutz.com/news/controller.asp?nid=656

    Comment by Special Monkey on 6/07/06 at 7:32 am #
  22. Cybele's avatar

    Special Monkey - I’m actually curious about the pepper licorice, and I thought I bought some when I was in NY, but I think the bin was mislabeled.

    Thanks for the link about the lawsuit - I was just talking to someone last week about licorice and high blood pressure ... good to know what sort of quantities we’re talking about here.

    Comment by Cybele on 6/13/06 at 1:25 pm #
  23. Hi, my Mother is Dutch and my sisters and I grew up in Africa eating DZ and other Salt Licorice. I order mine over the internet direct from Holland http://www.dutchhappysweets.com The Boerderijdrop is firm and half salty,Katjes Drop is a sweet salty drop which is very tasty.
    Hope this helps some one Thanks Malcolm

    Comment by Malcolm David Samson on 8/17/06 at 11:18 am #
  24. My son just returned from London with an assortment of licorice from Harrod’s for my birthday. I immediately opened a small bag of a variety of licorice which had been recommended by the store clerk, popped a round button in my mouth.  The flavor was totally unexpected and I tried not to gag, since it was a gift.  My son was anxious to know how I liked the candy. I tried not to laugh when I told him that it was unusual, and I suggested that he try one.  He had no inhibitions about expressing his disdain for the flavor, as he made his way to the trash to rid himself of the candy.  We did a test survey among other family members present, and decided that the DZ’s are appalling.  That’s when I looked the candy up on the web and found your blog.  Now I know what we were tasting.  Thank you for the information.  Definitely not my style.  I pine for Callard & Bowser licorice toffee, but alas, they seem no longer to exist.

    Comment by Sandra on 9/17/06 at 10:59 am #
  25. I LOVE salty licorice. Many years ago my best friend (dutch-indonesian) introduced me. It was a love/hate reaction, that turned into addiction! Lately, I’ve been eating Katjes, Lakritz Batzen from Cost Plus.

    Comment by kari on 11/06/06 at 6:02 am #
  26. I love Dubbel Zout! My family is Swedish with some Dutch in-laws, so black licorice, especially salted, is quite popular in my family. Unfortunately, my friends (who don’t have a drop of Swede or Dutch between them) all seem to gag whenever I even bring a bag of DZ out. It’s a pity, but at least it’s more for me!

    Also wonderful is that white licorice chalk from Sweden. Mmm…

    Comment by Lady Cooper on 3/14/07 at 9:08 pm #
  27. Man I wish I could find some. I’m Dutch and grew up on DZ and preferred it in the rolls since it stays nice and chewy. I found some Klein Dubbel Zout on the internet and ordered 36 rolls, knowing I wouldn’t be able to put it down. Even though they call it DZ, it’s more like regulat zout since it doesn’t have that zing when it lands on your tongue. When I used to get the real thing shipped from relatives, it didn’t take but one piece to each of my friends to make sure they didn’t bother me for any more. It was fun watching their faces as they put it in their mouth though.
    Guess I’ll try to find the bagged DZ’s now that you’ve enlightened me. Thanks

    Comment by StevieB on 4/26/07 at 11:39 am #
  28. Hi there!
    I grew up on Double Zout!! My parents are both from Holland and I have amny cousins there who love to send me the REAL thing!
    My sister could live on them!
    I like them, but in small doses!

    Comment by Yolanda on 9/25/07 at 11:30 am #
  29. Wow I know this blog post is old, but I had to comment.  I work for a Swedish company and yesterday I was the last one to leave work.  I saw in the common area that the candy bowl was filled with a candy I had never seen before (I now know they are Salty Monkeys).  Well I popped in a couple and immediately started chewing.  As you have written already, that is a bad idea.  My whole mouth tasted like ammonia and cat boxes.  I had to spit it out.

    Comment by Brandon on 10/23/07 at 4:06 am #
  30. I love this kind, it’s actually pretty good. It’s the only kind I’ll get. It’s actually quite salty, but I enjoy it.

    Comment by -Unknown- on 12/04/07 at 1:47 pm #
  31. Hahaha…  well,  as a person of Dutch descent,  to me slamming all salt licorice with a 2 because you aren’t fond of the salt and licorice combo feels like if you had given all chocolate a 2 because you don’t like the combination of cocoa and sugar!  To my Dutch palate,  there are vast differences in quality,  and the Zouts,  Double Zouts,  and yes,  TRIPLE Zouts are exquisite (the doubles are actually my favorite salt-to-licorice ratio,  but the other two are pretty lush too,  depending on my mood) where as the monkeys are just a pleasant little snacking candy!  Oh well,  I can see why Salt Licorice isn’t most people’s bag…  to each her own.  Thanks for trying to like them.  smile

    Comment by Jett Vee on 12/29/07 at 9:36 pm #
  32. Cybele's avatar

    Jett Vee - this post is nearly two years old and I’ve tried lots more licorice since then and even found other salted licorices more to my liking. (And for the record, I gave these a 3, not a 2 rating.)

    Try this post and even the single Zout here.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/30/07 at 7:10 am #
  33. Oh,  I’m sorry…  I wasn’t trying to be rude.  Actually,  I found this entry while looking for some literature on my favorite candy—the mighty salt licorice.  I figured the entry was old and didn’t expect my comment would be read,  so I was more or less talking to myself.  Honestly,  salt licorice is so delicious to me that I am always surprised that so many people think it tastes like urine-soaked pennies. :D

    Comment by Jett Vee on 12/30/07 at 7:14 pm #
  34. I just wanted to let you know that I was in a candy store yesterday and saw some salt licorice.  I remembered you talking about them and was curious so I got 2 pieces, one for me and one for my friend.  So I tried one, and after about a second there was a very strong salty/sour/acidic taste, and I automatically spit it out :-D.  Reflexes are funny.  But I would still like to try one again, now that I know what I’d be getting into. 
    But I also tried a licorice medallion from the store that I didn’t like, so maybe I just need to find better quality.

    Comment by Sasha on 1/26/08 at 10:55 pm #
  35. Hi,

    Does anyone know where I can get the Malaco Djungelvral sweets please? I got addicted to them abroad and can’t find them anywhere here in England!!
    If anyone can help very much appreciated as I am getting serious cravings!!

    Comment by Yalda Saddighzadeh on 7/26/08 at 8:43 am #
  36. Yalda,

    If you live in London there is a small Swedish food shop near Baker Street, called Totally Swedish, which sells Djungelvral - I think you can also buy them online at totallyswedish.com

    Hope that helps - I’m also addicted!

    Bec

    Comment by Bec on 2/16/09 at 11:58 pm #
  37. sjbutler1's avatar

    Has anyone tried the Nordic Sweets Salty Licorice Fish?  I have always liked black licorice, and these were my first experience with salty licorice.  I loved the initial hit of salt and intense licorice flavor, but the overpowering ammonia aftertaste was just too much for me.

    Is it always this way with salty licorice, or are some mellower on the “ammonia scale” than others?  Should I just try a different variety?  I’m not willing to give up just yet…

    Thanks!

    Comment by sjbutler1 on 2/25/09 at 4:41 am #
  38. One good place to buy Swedish salted licories is at http://www.northerner.com

    Shipping is also quite reasonable.

    Comment by Alex on 5/03/10 at 1:00 am #
  39. please send some licorice to long beach city college. thank you

    Comment by ivy on 3/02/11 at 11:42 am #
  40. Love all kinds of salt licorice! It’s the best thing with swedish candy. There are several webshops where you can purchase them outside of sweden, one i used when i was abroad was http://www.ingridscandyshop.com. I love the mint licorices aswell, lovely sweets!

    Comment by Sara on 3/09/11 at 12:38 pm #
  41. A couple of years ago I was on holiday with my sister and brother-in-law and he introduced me to the DZ.  OMG!!! We were in a little candy shop and thankfully there was a loo directly across the road - talk about mad dash to throw up.  Never, NEVER tasted anything like that in my life. Gave everybody concerned (except me) a good laugh.  If I ever get the desire to replicate that flavour again, I’ll just wee in a cup smile

    Comment by Michelle on 8/23/11 at 7:49 pm #
  42. I’m from Ireland so I’m not used to salty liquorice. I live in Stockholm and my husband was raving about a liquorice shop that’s close to his office. They sells lots of different types of fresh liquorice. I decided to try to get my palate around some of the salty stuff. I tried a few types (had to spit some out) before hitting on one kind I liked. So I started munching. Next thing I was overwhelmed by the disgusting urine aroma/flavour. It happened very suddenly. One moment it was pleasant, the next concentrated month old pee flooded my taste buds. It was the most vile thing ever. Chemical warfare on your tongue. I have no desire to develop a taste for it. I’d just as soon dip into a can of surstr√∂mming. My advice is, don’t do it unless you want to experience such horrors.

    Comment by Ciara on 10/03/11 at 3:53 am #
  43. Yeccchhh yecchhh I bought the DZ by accident- it was in an unmarked bulk bin and I was like “oh hey, I love licorice!”  I ate one and it was like an atomic bomb went off in my mouth.  I tried them out on a couple friends for fun- even when I said “hey try this, it’s disgusting” and they were expecting at least some of the horror, I still got fantastic disgusted responses. 
    I love salt and caramel so I’d be game for trying a less-salted liquorice- but this one was absolutely inedible.

    Comment by kat on 6/25/12 at 3:52 pm #
  44. I’m not Dutch, as far as I know, but have loved salted and sweet licorice for years, also the mint-licorice mentos.  I can find them at a huge fabric store (Fabric Depot) up in Portland, OR.  Store is owned by Dutch people.  Now I order from them so what I want is ready when I go up to visit!

    Comment by Terry on 10/30/12 at 3:23 pm #

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