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07 November 2009

Liquorice: a sweet discovery

We have been spotting a number of liquorice confections in the grocery store but have generally avoided the stuff because, well, it sounded like it's an acquired taste, like Marmite (even if Harry Potter and friends did have the occasional liquorice wand). I mean, is there liquor in it? Tee-hee.

Well, curiosity got the better of me when somebody dropped by the office during morning break selling a number of liquorice delights with samples on the side. I had one itty-bitty sample and found that I like it! So I bought a couple of packets.

A quick research that the liquorice confection's main ingredient is derived from the root of the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra (a legume related to peas and beans). The sweet extract is then combined with sugar and a binder (which can be starch/flour, gum arabic, or gelatin, or a combination thereof). The full description can be found in Wikipedia.

I also learned that liquorice is the British English spelling of licorice (American English).

The multi-coloured liquorice were sweet and obviously catered more for kids, while the dark one at the right has a more distinct taste. I think I like it because it reminds me of a number of two types of sweets back home in the Philippines: the orange-coloured jelly candy shaped like orange segments for texture, and the round, dark cola-flavoured candy for taste. Plus, the dark liquorice is also infused with mint. It's really good.

It's no longer a mystery why the liquorice is a popular sweet in these parts. They have an irresistible flavour. There are lots more varieties of this confection so I am sure to try out the others.

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