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Why is it that so many people loath true licorice? (not red licorice; I secretly cringe when people say that)

I am very fond of some licorice things: good and plenty's, allsorts the round ones are amazing!.

Is this a generational thing? Was it extremely popular and now most younger people don't enjoy it? Is it still popular in England? Has there always been a love it or loath it reaction?

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  1. I love licorice and my husband and kids loathe it. My dad and mom like licorice but nobody else I know does. I look at it as their loss not mine. I actually found some licorice tea that was delicious. BTW- licorice is great to settle an upset stomach,,, some health food stores will sell licorice root and you make a great tea with it and drink it- it really does work for upset stomachs and a whole list of other ailments... The less everyone else eats just means the more for me to eat!
    Your right- I too cringe when I hear people call that red crap licorice... thats just strawberry flavored fructose goo.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MeffaBabe

      I love licorice and have no problem with it however, there can be side effects also for people with heart disease, high blood presure, diabetes, and pregnant women and these folks should consult a doctor before consuming it as a herbal/health supplement.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        Here's more info about the benefits and risks of licorice.

        A few pros it might help if quitting smoking since it is used to flavor a lot of cigarettes. It can also help arthritis.

        But as mentioned ... it can cause problems.

    2. B

      jfood is a big black licorice fan. Look at the bright side, all that black salt water taffy is yours, all the black jelly bellies and when you bring to a movie theatre nobody asks for any. It is one of those safe little goodies that even if you offer, you can confidently smile to yourself, that the last bite will be yours. Unfortunately the old standby for jfood, Nibs, have changed over the years. Not as good as they used to be.

      2 Replies
        1. re: eatnbmerry

          Jelly Bellies licorice pastels.

          Wonderful chewy licorice with a light crunchy pastel exterior.
          Have them in my desk at the office, in the pantry at home.
          And they're all mine!

      1. My favorites are double salted licorice (Dutch) and licorice toffee from England. I think it is very much a love it or hate it sort of flavor. Not a fan of licorice all sorts or hard licorice candies. I once bought a jar of licorice root in France, but have yet to figure out what to do with it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth

          I'm a huge licorice fan too, but the Dutch double salted mention recalls a funny/sad story. The Spouse doesn't care for licorice but, knowing how much I love it, wanted to be very sweet to me. He ordered 2 kilos of a "very special" licorice that had to be good because it was imported and expensive. Unfortunately, he's not particularly good with languages and had no idea what "dubbel zout" meant. While I may love licorice I loathe salt and couldn't even choke any down just to be polite. I know, I really tried.

          Poor guy, He meant so well and I really appreciated it but to me the stuff was just inedible. We ended up having to throw it away because we couldn't even find anyone willing to take it off our hands.

        2. Licorice is like fruitcake: love it or hate it. I think things with strong tastes invite that kind of divisiveness. I have a small circle of licorice buddies, and another one of fruitcake buddies. We ship samples of new discoveries to each other, like a secret society, and laugh at those too unhip to appreciate our particular vice! ;-)

          1. I'm with you! My dad and I are the only one's who like Licorice. My boyfriend, brothers and roomate are grossed out when eat it. However, I agree with the consensus: their loss!

            1. Licorice is getting hip again. If you go to the pricy candy shops there are at at least a dozen different types. So gen x, y, z and beyond are getting introduced to it if for no other reason than trendiness. Hopefully they will develop a taste for it.

              Also it occasionally gets incorporated into upscale foods like licorice gelato.

              The problem was for a while, there wasn't really licorice in licorice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                That reminds me of the amazing licorice gelato at Il Laboratorio di Gelato!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Ooo - I'll have to go find some of that! 40-some yrs ago, Swenson's used to make licorice ice cream but discontinued it a few years later. I guess I was the only one who liked it.

              2. My grandmother used to always have double-salted black licorice "coins"....I loved them. I was under the impression that it was an old fashioned turn of the century NYC treat of Dutch origin that she had grown up with.

                5 Replies
                1. re: howboy

                  I don't know so much about the NYC part - but definitely a Dutch thing - and still available in NYC at Dean and Deluca.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Hot damn...I'm gonna get me some, thanks

                    1. re: howboy

                      I'll give you the name of my dentist too! I'm sure it is available at other places for less - but D&D always has it.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        lol...thanks...as a rule, I don't eat sweets (I prefer savory), my last cavity was 43 years ago! I'd like to taste that licorice again for a sort of Proustian epiphany...

                        1. re: howboy

                          So the salted is perfect for you as a "savory" item (grin).

                2. I have never been a big fan of black licorice, but one day my friend gave me some licorice that was clear and colorless. At first I didn't like it b/c it tasted like black licorice, but as I continued to chew on it, I found it less...not sure how to describe...distasteful as the black. I have learned that it was actually an anise flavored licorice. I much prefer the taste of this licorice, it doesn't have that aftertaste that I notice with the black. Problem for me, I cannot find it anywhere anymore. Any leads, let me know and no vermontcountrystore.com does not have it, sadly enough.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: kandagawa

                      oh wow! yippee and thanks, those are IT!!!
                      And they are in CA. I never thought to google 'clear' licorice. Thanks a mil.

                  1. I love licorice. It's definitely getting a new push from candy companies because it's usually fat free and because it's often made with wheat flour & molasses it has a lower "glycemic index" than a lot of other non-fat all-sugar candies. (Like jelly beans.)

                    Though it's not a top flavor in America, Jelly Belly does rate their Black Licorice Jelly Bean as one of their top ten sellers, so someone must be buying it!

                    That said, some folks don't like the strong, sweet flavor. Some associate it with medicine. Others actually have a reaction to real licorice ... to some folks it actually has an unpleasant bitter taste. (Most American mass-produced licorice doesn't use real licorice extract, they use anise flavoring.)

                    I love the dark, smoky molasses based licorices. I also had one from Holland recently called Griotten, they're kind of like a combo licorice gummi/marshmallow. I also like Skoolkrit (school chalk) which is a black licorice covered in a minty candy shell to look like little pieces of chalk. Heksehyl Zoete are another Dutch one that I thought was really tasty and quite pretty.

                    Honestly, Allsorts scared me as a kid. I had no idea what they were and I was afraid to try them. They didn't look like "food" and we never had them around the house and I certainly didn't get them for Trick or Treat.

                    I'm not fond of the salted licorice, but I'll have a piece now and then.

                    Today I ate a bar of Tubi's Tire Tread and didn't care for it. It has a rather bitter aftertaste for me (I'm not sure if that's the licorice or the molasses). I'm still working through a bunch of samples of Australian brands I picked up at the Fancy Food Show.

                    I've been keeping a pretty good record of the stuff I've been trying here:


                    11 Replies
                    1. re: typetive

                      Reading these posts, I'm not sure if what I love is actually licorice, or something sort of like it. I love licorice allsorts. A lot of it isn't licorice. I've never figured out what the pink, yellow and white parts are but I think it's heavenly. And now I wonder if the licorice part is real? I also love Good & Plenty.

                      1. re: Judith

                        I think, and I could be wrong, that the colored parts of allsorts are a kind of coconut fudge, for lack of a better way to describe it. They layer the licorice with the coconut candy, and while the combo is overly sweet, it's good! I tend to like the australian versions better than the british brands. But, my favorite licorice is just the plain coins or cat or dog shapes, not as sweet as allsorts but not as bitter as some either.

                        I was introduced to it because of my mom, who adores licorice in many forms (not the salted, though.) She grew up eating it in OK and KS. She remembers that not many kids liked it, and it was considered more of an adult sweet then, which was the forties and fifties.

                        I had a Norwegian coworker at one time who ate the double salted all day, and was always black tongued as a result. She took great delight in getting Americans to try her candy, then watching their faces screw up when they popped a piece.

                        1. re: amyzan

                          My favorite Allsorts (bassetts usually) are definitely the circle ones with the round bit of licorice in it... But I also think their version of the solid piece of licorice is really really good. Very good molasses-y flavor.

                          1. re: babaoriley7

                            I love Bassetts. I usually get them in the UK. Can you get them in the US (the actual Bassetts, not the look alikes they have in the mall penny candy stores)? My favorites are the square layered ones, but they're all great.

                            1. re: Judith

                              bassetts aren't the most common but you can get them here.

                              Would anyone care if they got rid of the pink and blue jelly ones?

                        2. re: Judith

                          Those pink, yellow and white parts (skinny short sticks) are called Pastels. Those are my favorites too

                        3. re: typetive

                          Re: Salt and Licorice

                          Perhaps one of you knowledgeable types can 'splain this to me, and answer a question I've had for ten years. I don't understand the salt phenomenon in licorice. An "old-fashioned" candy store near me had their rather large assortment of licorice candy organized into categories, with some sort of progression from regular to salt to double-salted. What is the contribution of salt to the flavor? Is there some sort of flavor synergy between salt and licorice? Just what's the deal?

                          P.S. Salt lover here.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            It certainly heightens the licorice flavor - give it a try - hopefully they'll let you try one if they are in jars - because if you hate it, no need to be stuck with a bag of it!

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Oh, already a licorice fan...just wondering about the salt part of the licorice...

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Oh - I meant give the salted licorice a try ... not licorice in general. And, it does have a very salty taste to it, so since you like both salt and licorice, you may well love it.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Thanks, MMRuth...I always appreciate your posts.

                        4. Being half Danish, my preference is Salmiak Pastiller Salt Licorice. My aunt would bring bags over from Denmark when she came to visit. My sister craved it during her first pregnancy. I am wondering now if it helped with queasiness. To this day, though, my friends who have been brave enough to try it, immediately spit it out.

                          1. I was looking at the food museum and one of their on-line exhibits is about licorice

                            There's a licorice festival. They have pictures of licorice plants and even pictures of those dubbel zouts. It is not salt in them, but ammonium chloride

                            There's also some interesting links at the end including one to a licorice locator for 300 types of licorice

                            Cool page of types of Dutch licorice and what they taste like

                            These seemed interesting ...

                            - Katjesdrop (licorice cats aka katjes drop): firm licorice. Taste: sweet, ginger flavour.
                            - Krijtjesdrop (licorice crayons): peppermint shell with a licorice paste inside. Taste: sweet, peppermint.
                            - Kúlur chewy (like caramel) licorice covered with chocolate
                            - Djungelvrål Djungel Screams - Salt Hot Licorice (Djungelvrål
                            )- Katja Apekoppen met Banaansmaak (Ape Shaped Licorice with Banana Flavor)

                            Ya know, I'd like to meet whoever came up with that last one.

                            1. I would list black licorice as my favorite candy. Even over chocolate. My husband would list licorice some where nearer to rat poison in his things he will eat list.
                              My go to is Good and Plenty but my all time fav is honey sweetened. The salted version does take a little getting used to. It has a tendency to create more saliva and then afterwards it makes my mouth feel dry. I guess that is just salt in general.

                              My family doesn't like the stuff over all but I have one grandfather who loves it too.

                              Oh and I am in my 30's so I am totally in the GenX age group.

                              1. I love licorice: American shoe laces, GoodnPlenty, Northern European salt licorice, British Allsorts, Australian Kookaburra, you name it.

                                1. i don't exactly rush out for plain licorice, and i am known to pass over the black jelly beans and the black jujubes to others, maybe i'm just not a big fan of fake flavours.....however i love Bassets Allsorts, like Good and Plenty, and i really enjoy lots of fennel and anise type things . Love sambuca..love those little mutli colored anise or fennel seed good and plenty looking things that my local Indian restaurant offers in bowls at the door on the way out. Laura Secord had/has an ice cream called Tiger Tiger that was licorice flavored and i really liked that.

                                  Salted anything sure sounds interesting to me...i'll have to keep an eye out for that one.