Halva’s Licorice Bars

3198ACAE-C76B-4E7D-AD69-C63BA532AB4EEveryone 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?

Denise Kitashima Dutton

Denise Kitashima Dutton has been a reviewer since 2003, and hopes to get the hang of things any moment now. She believes that bluegrass is not hell in music form, and that beer is better when it's a nitro pour. Besides GMR, you can find her at Atomic Fangirl, Movie-Blogger.com, or at that end seat at the bar, multi-tasking with her Kindle.

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