Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Venco Drop Toppers - Salmiak & Mint

Venco Drop Toppers - Salmiak & MintWhy is salted licorice so unlike salted versions of other sweets? Adding salt to chocolate or caramel produces a satisfying mixture of flavors, at least for me.

Instead salted licorice seems to produce awkward faces ... though not always an unpleasant reaction, I’m usually ready to eat more, but I’m not sure if I have that “oh I must gobble this and then find a source in bulk” reaction.

Perhaps it’s that most other salted sweets use either plain sodium chloride (table salt) or sea salt. But salted licorice usually employs other metallic salts such as aluminum chloride and ammonium chloride.

In an effort to give it all another try, I made sure to check out the licorice selections while I was in Solvang a few weeks ago. Solvang is a Danish-themed town near Santa Barbara which happily has many candy & chocolate shops. I picked out this mixed bag from Venco called Drop Toppers Salmiak & Mint. It was appealing, even though it was $8.25, because it had at least one tried and true favorite of mine: Schoolchalk.

Venco Drop Toppers - Salmiak & Mint

The assortment is an attractive mix of black and white pieces in a variety of textures and combinations of salt, sugar, licorice and mint.

Schoolkrijt - I’ve reviewed before but I’ll recap it here. It’s a tube of mellow & rich licorice filled with a cream. Then the whole thing is coated in a crunchy, thin minty shell. I love them, I’m addicted. I buy them when I can and I pretty much pulled them all out of this mix and finished them within days.

Venco Drop Toppers - Salmiak & MintZwartwitjes - look like little black and white M&Ms. (I think zwartwitjes means black & white.) I was hoping that the little lentils were salty dark chocolate with a pop of licorice to them.

Instead they were like a dense brown sugar & salt combination infused with licorice encased in a crunchy mint shell.

The salt is quite strong, but less metallic than many others I’ve had. The brown sugar & molasses notes helped me to overcome that electrical pop and of course enjoy the licorice.

I couldn’t really chow down on them like the Schoolkrijt, but I still found a way to appreciate these.

Drop Tikkel - looked like jelly beans. They were quite mellow and as far as weirdness factory, they were a little musty tasting, but otherwise not very salty. The licorice flavors were also rather muted.

The texture of the jelly bean center was more like a soft gummy than a jelly, so it had a nice chewy quality too.

Venco - Salmiak Rondos LicoriceSalmiakrondo - I avoided these for a while, because I figured if I could take a small amount of salted licorice, I probably couldn’t handle this much. The nuggets are about as big around as nickels. I didn’t know what was in there, so I carefully cleaved one apart for the photo with my teeth.

I found it’s pretty soft, happily. The black portion is rather smooth, kind of like a solidified taffy. The center is a softer, crumbly version of the Zwartwitjes. Still, it was salty ... and with no candy shell or minty backdrop to wash it away.

They’re also kind of bitter. But the salt wasn’t so strong or metallic that it turned me off. Still, not something I just wanted to shovel into my mouth mindlessly.

I like to dip my toe in the water sometimes when it comes to adventurous or exotic candies, so a mix like this is a nice way to ease into it. But it was pretty pricey ... but at least the package had some names & explanations for me to post here to guide others. The problem now is that I’ve eaten all the Schoolkrijt and my desire to eat the others since the review is over has evaporated. Luckily, I have a salted licorice friend.

Related Candies

  1. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  2. Short & Sweet: International Flavors
  3. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  4. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  5. Licorice Assortment
  6. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
  7. Dutch Licorice
Name: Drop Toppers - Salmiak & Mint
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Venco (Leaf)
Place Purchased: Ingeborg's Homemade Chocolates (Solvang, CA)
Price: $8.25
Size: 9 ounces (260 grams)
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Licorice, Mint, Netherlands, Venco

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:50 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. At $ 8.25 a bag, this is daylight robbery. They’re priced somewhere between 1 and 2 Euros here, so even allowing for import costs and the dollar-to-euro exchange rates, they must’ve jacked the price up considerably to arrive at over $8.

    Comment by V. K. N. Kraetke on 7/22/09 at 6:34 pm #
  2. I love the Salmiakrondo! The secret is to not bite in to them right away, but to let them dissolve in your mouth.  They start out sweet, like a traditional American licorice.  As they wear down, they produce a saltier and saltier taste.  Before you know it, you have conquered the ball! Yum!

    Comment by Amy on 7/23/09 at 5:22 am #
  3. I tried the school chalk and pronounced it tasty. I think the other thing I tried was the zwartwitjes. It was that or poison. I was quite inclined to spit it out. I think I’ll stick to salted caramels.

    Comment by Amy on 7/23/09 at 7:47 am #
  4. Never had salted licorice but thanks for the warning!

    Comment by Pam Walter on 7/24/09 at 5:42 am #
  5. I loive this mix! My way to eat them is to start with a rondo, then some zwartwitjes, then a tikkel, and top it off with schoolkrijt! Otherwise my mouth is so salty I have to keep eating smile(I MEAN THIS IN A GOOD WAY)

    Comment by Annemarie on 7/25/09 at 2:58 am #
  6. Oh my, that’s expensive! These candies are Dutch and here (in the Netherlands) a bag like that costs around $2.
    My favorite: zwartwitjes. They come in bags seperately too, i usually buy those. smile

    Comment by M K on 7/29/09 at 7:47 am #
  7. Adorei essa balinha(venco)droptoppers   lekker e stevig!
          ganhei de um casal de medicos da holanda!

    Comment by luciano knidel on 3/05/11 at 4:32 pm #
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