What’s your favorite treat?
Without a doubt mine is licorice! Until a few years ago, I only knew licorice from the grocery store. The treat came in the form of Twizzlers and some of the imported Australian brands. But, that is before I went to The Netherlands and had Dutch licorice! Known in Holland as drop, licorice is heartily consumed by the natives of this European country. According to the website, Awesome Amsterdam, The Netherlands consumes the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world, with each person eating more than 4 pounds (2000 grams) per year! That’s a lot of licorice! (It’s really too much – an unhealthy amount!) But, I do understand their love for this treat!
In 2016, my son and I visited a candy store named Hop and Stork in The Passage, a large outdoor mall in The Hague, but I think we only bought Dutch chocolate to bring back as a gift for my husband. I remember trying to communicate in Dutch and have it not go so well! But, the chocolate was delicious!
But, after that trip, in 2017, my son discovered that there was a Dutch Chocolatier in Ames, Iowa, where he attends school. Since then, stopping at this unique treat boutique is a favorite part of any trip we make to Ames. STAM chocolatier offers a variety of Dutch licorice along with other handmade chocolate treats and coffee drinks. It is usually busy, but worth the wait, in my opinion!
Here’s the thing about Dutch licorice, though – they add salt and other flavors to it! Apparently, each shape has a different flavor associated with it. I love the taste of licorice, so adding a flavor – such as banana – is not needed for me to enjoy the treat. But, one must watch the salted varieties as well. Single salt licorice “coins” are fine. They are hard, not chewy, and somewhat salty but not overbearing. Double salted varieties are not suitable for my palate.
In fact, when I bought my first Dutch licorice treat at STAM they asked if I wanted single salt or double salt. I had no idea what they meant and told them so. The salesperson said, “you better try each of them first.” I did. And, the results are that the double salt variety is very hard to eat! It just doesn’t taste good. I did finish my sample, but the same clerk told me that most people spit it out! And, there was a waste can to prove it! My favorite are the licorice rolls and the single salted coins. They are both addictive! Once I have some, I cannot stop eating it!
The wooden shoes are softer and chewier but still tasty and the single salt drops are good too. As you can tell, I’m looking forward to my next Dutch Licorice treat when we go to Ames!
In the future, when we can safely travel again, a return to The Netherlands is definitely on my list! You can be sure I’ll be buying flower bulbs and licorice! My husband can buy the chocolate and the beer! Of course, we’ll have to have some “real” food, too!