As a hardcore sweet lover like myself, you can imagine the shock and horror I felt when faced with shelves upon shelves of liquorice and not much else when I first took a trip around a Dutch supermarket. Aside from the odd bag of Haribo (which, spoiler alert, mostly contain liquorice!!!), finding fruit flavoured candies isn’t overly common here in the Netherlands.
You see, the Dutch are obsessed with liquorice, or drop which is the official word for it in Dutch. Don’t worry though, I’m here for you, and I’m going to be ranking Dutch liquorice from best to worst so you don’t have to wrap your lips around anything unseemly.
We’re starting with the best of the best ok. Schoolkrijt [skol-krite] is soft liquorice completely covered in a crispy, minty shell. It’s utterly delicious and my absolute favourite type of Dutch drop.
The word schoolkrijt means school chalk, and although I’m not 100% certain, I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with how it looks. Grabbing a packet of schoolkrijt is always high on my list when I hit the local supermarket.
Named for their pyramid shape (bet you never saw that one coming), liquorice piramides are soft and chewy, and taste oh so familiar (although I’ve not yet discovered exactly what they remind me of). Below their thick, powdery, matte surface is a delicious sweet jelly, which make them completely different to schoolkrijt, yet equally as delicious.
Piramides [peerameedas] come in second place in the running, but you’d better believe that when these bags are on two for one, I’ll be taking a piramides and schoolkrijt home with me.
My mum’s personal favourite (and probably most English people’s only run in with liquorice, unless you’re a secret Dutchie at heart), Engelse drop is better known to us Brits as Liquorice Allsorts by our favourite Bassett, Bertie.
Well, turns out the Dutch know how much the English enjoy this kind of liquorice, since they named it after us 🤷♀️ and I’ll tell you now, I don’t know one Dutch person who’s absolutely wild about it. It’s sugary, and has lots of extra squidge around the actual liquorice, which I believe it to keep the English from complaining that there’s too much liquorice in their… liquorice.
Honestly, when I think about it, it’s baby drop, and it’s one of the first types I ever ate in this country to wean myself onto the harder stuff. As delicious as actual English liquorice, it’s complete with those awesome pink and blue jellies, so it’s made its way to number 3 on my list for that alone.
Ok, it’s time to move onto the bottom of the list, which is where we’ll find the more despicable attempts at creating edible sweets. Look guys, I don’t know why the Dutch go so crazy over these last few, but maybe I’m alone in my judgement.
This is so personal to me because I hate honey, but you can get honey flavoured liquorice: Honingdrop. I was once on a teacher training day with my other Dutch colleagues, when I was offered one of these small, pieces of liquorice which, really cutely, are made in the shape of little beehives (aww 🐝). How sweet I thought to myself, as I popped it straight into my mouth, hoping to show my colleagues that I was one of them really.
These things are neither too soft or two hard, but they’re the sweetest things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’ve never felt my face contort from too much sugar before but there I was, trying my best to find a way to spit it out secretly without causing offence.
You see, honingdrop is created as a throat lozenge, for sore throats and illnesses, and I was neither sick nor trying to give myself diabetes. Stay away from this liquorice unless you’re an absolute honey nutter.
Ok, we’re really entering horror territory here. Dubbelzoute drop is literally double salty liquorice. Like, not even salty. Double salty, which is how hard my mood turned when I first lobbed one of these horrific pieces of ‘candy’ into my mouth. Talk about shocking. If you’ve ever wondered what it felt like to shrivel up and die of thirst, these are the bad boys you need to complete that task.
For some reason, these seem to be a classic favourite among Dutchies the country over. I don’t know whether they’re all just showing off, but they can all fill their cheeks with these bad boys and smirk like they know they’ve just beaten you. They’ll look you in the eye and goad you into trying just one, knowing full well that you’re probably going to vomit once it touches your tongue.
My advice: don’t do it.
The pièce de résistance of Dutch liquorice is so disgusting, just writing about it gives me flashbacks. Salmiak is that disgusting ammonia stench that makes your eyes water and your throat close up, and this is by far every Dutch person’s favourite drop. Again, I dunno if they do it on purpose knowing full well you’re going to vomit as soon as you pop it into your mouth, but they bring the smirk and goading out in full force when it comes to salmiak.
Even Dutch children love this stuff, and I know this because I’ve seen salmiak lollies down the sweet aisle and you know what? They look so similar to cola flavoured lollies that I almost fell for it once. Tip: Never go for the ‘cola’ flavoured lolly after your meal at a Dutch restaurant. It’s not what you think.
I was once walking through HEMA with my mother & sister-in-laws, when my mother-in-law offered me a Manneken Pis piece of liquorice. Intrigued and downright immaturely giggling from the piece of candy she handed over to me (coz it was a man with his willy out), I giggled and threw it into my mouth as we stepped on the escalator to ride between floors. Well, I almost died there and then. Salmiak drop is not the one. It’s poison. I promptly emptied my mouth and found myself a cold bottle of Cola to wash away the foul taste in my mouth.
There are plenty of other types of liquorice. In fact, there are far too many to count and add into this list (for now). Whilst I’ve truly come to love the Dutch version of ‘candy’, and could eat some liquorice all day and night (which you shouldn’t do, by the way, because it acts as a laxative), others I can’t stand, and will never stand.
What about you? Are you a fan of liquorice? Would you give any of these a go?
As ever, thanks for reading along. I’d love to hear from you in the comments, so feel free to drop me a message!
Tot de volgende keer [until next time]
Veel liefs xxx
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