When I return to The Netherlands someday, I know where I am going. One place will be the tulip fields – I just have to time my trip right. And the other place will be a candy shop! Although I did visit a chocolate shop in the shopping district of The Hague during my trip there in 2016, I came away with chocolate, not my preferred sweet treat of licorice!
Since returning home, I learned (by accident) that there is a shop in Ames Iowa, Chocolaterie Stam, that is filled with European Chocolates and Dutch Licorice! I believe I have visited it four times now! Set in a Boutique type atmosphere are rows and rows of handmade chocolates. The licorice, my guilty pleasure, is housed in clear jars behind the counter near the register. When I was in Ames last week, Chocolaterie Stam is one of the first places I visited. I ordered a latte and a half pound of licorice drops. The young man who waited on me asked cautiously if I had tried the licorice before because what I asked for is also referred to as single salt licorice. It has a taste that needs to have been acquired to be enjoyed fully. “Yes,” I laughed, I knew what I was ordering. But, then I added, “I know they are unusual. I tried them before along with the double salted licorice and that is hard on the palate! ”
“That is so true,” came his reply.
The licorice sold at STAM is dutch licorice and what I bought is commonly referred to as drops in Holland. If you want to know more there is an article linked here by Dutch Review Magazine. And and here, by Awesome Amsterdam.
The article refers to the taste of the drops being anything but ordinary – even for the licorice lover. You either love them or hate them. I have decided that I love them. They are sweet but slightly salty and almost tangy. Hard in texture, somewhat difficult to chew, but tasty. I really cannot figure out why I like them so much other than they remind me of a wonderful trip and a new store where I can have a taste of something that represents travel to me.
So, I sipped my latte, read my textbook and saved my drops in my backpack. Now that I am home, I hoard them away in my closet and treat myself every once and awhile to a few Dutch Licorice Drops from Chocolatarie Stam and savor a taste of The Netherlands.