Everyone around here knows I love black licorice. Wasn’t always so; I absolutely hated the stuff when I was a kid. But my dad would grab it gleefully, so after a while I decided to give a mini-box of Good ‘n Plenty’s a chance…and I’ve been hooked ever since. Nowadays though, it’s the real stuff I truly get excited about. While anise-flavored “black licorice” will always have my heart, the stuff with real licorice root owns my soul. I ain’t ashamed. But there’s so many types to choose from, salty fish-shaped pieces covered in citric acid (YUM), hard lozenges (perfect for cold and flu season), and everything in between. But if you really want to kick it old-school, you’ll want the Egyptian “mai sus,” but if you’re looking for old-school candy, try the Finnish bars. I got the chance to try a salty and a sweet bar, and while they’re both delicious, they do have their differences. A breakdown:
1) Finnish Salty Licorice
‘Salmiak’ = salty. Because this licorice is flavored with “salmiak salt.” Get it? The name of the bar is… Okay. You get it. This bar is so soft it’s almost moist. And I left half a bar in a bag for a while, and it stayed moist. It’s absolutely decadent, and salty licorice lovers will have a field day with this almost brownie-like confection.
2) Finnish Sweet Licorice
Not so much sweet, as “not salty.” Strong licorice taste; think absinthe or ouzo. Halva says it’s reminiscent of Switzer’s licorice, and if it’s even half as tasty as this bar, I want to try that brand as well. Sweet is firmer than the salty stuff, but it’s still a whole lot softer than your average gummi bear.
Both are super soft and chewy. Oh man, that’s good. They both have 4% real licorice extract so you’re getting the real deal here. No anise posing. No mutton dressed as lamb. (Note: I love anise flavor too. But real licorice is…real.) Though folks worried about a dip in their potassium levels should indulge in moderation.
If you want to go full Northern Lights licorice, give it a try between bites of chocolate. And if you’re looking for a real treat I like to indulge, add some spiced chocolate to the mix. May I suggest Taza?