In a candy land of sugary, fruity, creamy, chocolatey, there’s black licorice: herbal, salty, medicinal, and barely sweetened.
Defiantly unapologetic, licorice has become a confectionary whipping boy.
We are of course talking about black licorice; the only true licorice. Red Vines, Twizzlers, and the like rely on mostly fruit flavorings and contain no licorice root extract. The red-black connection is limited to a similar extrusion process in their manufacture.
Licorice haters flourish online where the confection is routinely bashed as the ‘devil’s candy.’ They congregate at sites like the Experience Project, an online support group where you can “read hundreds of true stories, share your own story anonymously, get feedback and comments, chat in the discussion forum, help others and meet new friends,” all in a supportive environment of like-minded licorice loathers.
Of course licorice love is also celebrated.
There’s the Licorice International Facebook page and Twitter account, and the Licorice Lover blog. Licorice has its own holiday (National Licorice Day– April 12th), and a licorice-of-the-month club, An annual festival draws tens of thousands of fans to Pontefract, England where they make licorice mosaics, tour a licorice factory, and dine on licorice sausage washed down with licorice ale.
Love it or loathe it? A good place to explore your deepest emotions is Licorice International, the web’s most complete licorice resource. It offers the largest selection of European licorice varieties available in the U.S., with more than a dozen countries represented. Licorice International also stocks sugar-free and gluten-free varieties, and novelty items like black licorice and banana apeheads. Their downloadable tasting guide will match your taste and texture preferences with suitable licorice varieties.