Monday, August 29, 2005

Klene puts the *salt* into salty liquorice!

My cravings for salty liquorice have worsened considerably since I found that the 'Swedish Affair' is closed for refurbishment. I dug out my emergency supplies only to find that the vicious salt coating on the last of my Malaco dummies has dissolved in the ambient humidity.

That coating was something, even if the actual liquorice lolly underneath was a bit lame. Who knows whether I will see its kind again...

But I digress. I had to find my liqs-fix from somewhere; and soon. But I hesitated, with my hand hovering over the keyboard. I have just placed a big order on Amazon and I will have to buy stuff from Ebay—on-line shopping is just too easy and if I'm not more careful, there'll be no money left for travelling when the time comes (this winter). My sister is due to visit Germany, and she will bring back some liquorice, even if it will be months before we next visit her (and she may have gobbled it all up in the meantime). At worst, the 'Swedish Affair' will eventually re-open, hopefully with its full range of salty treats. No, I should wait.

So yesterday we invited a former colleague of John's and his family for a late summer BBQ and he pulled this grey bag out of his pocket. At first I thought it was coffee, or spices.

"Honestly," I said: "we've got all the foodstuff..."

The red logo on the bag looked faintly familiar, but it took a good few seconds to click: Neerlandsch eenige echte KLENE! 'Waterwerken' salty liquorice to be exact. Manufactured in honour of the Netherlands' long-standing history of water management and how it was done in the Days of Old; around the time when Klene started to make sweets back in 1876. Those were the days...

(What is it with liquorice makers and nostalgia? These guys are nearly as bad as Real Ale affectionados. Honestly, don't you think it is time for a bit of futuristic re-branding?)

To commemorate the long-standing Dutch struggle with the sea, this liquorice comes with a hint of sea-salt added; at 0.7% the salinity is slightly below that of tear-drops. The sodium chloride goes almost unoticed and the ammonium chloride hides behind the strong, old-fashioned flavour of sweetwood. A taste to bring back my childhood memories, for sure, but it doesn't quite deliver the punch I expected, leaving me to want more. Mellow, spicy and chewy, this is great to nibble by the handful, so grab a couple when you next shop for liquorice.



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