The Dutch love licorice; we are the biggest licorice eaters in the world! Incidentally, Spain – for the Netherlands – now produces the most licorice in Europe. An important ingredient, the roots of the licorice plant, was already used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, but it was not until the 18th century that a clever Italian, one Girorgio Amarelli, was able to process the juice from the root into licorice. In his birthplace Rossano, Calabria there is even a real Licorice Museum.
Regular licorice is mainly made with licorice extract, sugar, and a binding agent (starch, gum arabic, gelatin or a combination). For the shine they use beeswax and to give the salt a taste, they add ammonium chloride, better known as sal ammoniac salt. We went for honey licorice because of the clarity; the many variants (light / extra salty, sweet, hard, soft) make a comparison quite complicated. Six brands were reviewed, whereby we ignored the so-called ‘sugar-free variants’ because they do not contain honey. And if there is honey in it, it is sometimes barely …
For example, Jumbo and Venco use 0.5% and 0.3% honey respectively! The fact that we do taste honey is due to the added aromas. And that translates into the price. And so it is possible that Albert Heijn, despite 7 percent honey, still falls outside the top 5. But if we are honest the difference between Jumbo (4) and Venco (5) and Albert Heijn was super small. The Oldtimers bijtjesdrop and Klene & Klene left the competition miles behind!
The gentlemen from Klepper & Klepper state that they ‘make the best liquorice ever’ and they make that claim true. “Mild, with a real honey taste, delicious!”
€ 2.99 per 200 grams
At first glance, the organic Oldtimers Bee Licorice tasted “different than usual.” “For when you have the flu.” But “the longer you chew, the better it gets.”
€ 2.89 per 180 grams
Klene is in third place, with no less than 15.5% honey! Although we have to taste well to see the honey. Namely, no aroma has been added. “Delicious, usually I don’t like honey liquorice” and “Nice and soft.”
€ 2.39 per 200 grams
The honey liquorice from Jumbo, with the well-known honeycomb shape, is doing well. “A bit vanilla-like. Tastes more like honey than Venco. ” and “Not too hard.” Only a paltry 0.5% honey.
€ 1.15 per 350 grams
Venco closes the top 5. “Honey liquorice as you expect.” But why so little (0.3%) honey? We still feel a little bit fooled.
€ 1.69 per 250 grams