Help Needed – The Licorice Challenge

Photo by Luca Zappa – found on Flickr

When it comes to the world of candy, there is one variety out there that I just cannot comprehend – Black Licorice.

I know I am not alone in my opinion. Black licorice has always been on the bottom shelf of America’s candy taste. While there are a multitude of options for those who like chocolates, gummies, and mints, when one goes to the candy aisle, there are often only one or two options if you’re a fan of black licorice. Here in the states, if we think of licorice at all, it is often the cherry versions of Twizzlers or Red Vines.

This is all well and good from a current perspective. It’s difficult for me to say to these folks that their choice in licorice falls far from the historical variety. But if I want to understand why we chose red over black, I should understand where and how the traditional stuff became popular.

Invariably when one goes to the forums and blogs to find out information on traditional licorice, one will get the opinion that the mass marketed corporate varieties are “doing it wrong” when it comes to black licorice, and that the real stuff can only be obtained through special contacts and outlet houses. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it does feed the mythos surrounding the candy: To really enjoy traditional licorice, one needs to know where to find the “good stuff”.

Being the type of person who likes to know where to find “the good stuff”, I have decided to challenge myself – Not to find the best licorice. At least not necessarily. No, I have challenged myself to find a traditional licorice that I like.

To do this, I need the help of licorice aficionados. If you happen to be one, or happen to know one, I would love your help in this regard. Please let me know of your favorite type or brand of licorice, and where I can find some via the internet. I will follow up with you, and then post my taste tests here on Accidental Hedonist. My goal here is simple – If licorice deserves a better reputation than it currently has here in America, I want to help promote the candy.

Or, conversely, I want to know once and for all if I can write off licorice as a viable candy option for myself.