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Candy Review: Halva Licorice Bars and Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Licorice Candy

Halva Original

Yesterday was that time of the month for me… the time for the Licorice of the Month Club selections to come! I always give out a little “woo hoo!” when they arrive, which just adds to the odd looks I receive most days anyway.

This month the treats included Halva Licorice Bars from Finland and Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts, which originated in England. As an extra bonus, a bar of Panda Licorice was included.

I started with the Halva bars. One was labeled “Original Licorice” and the other “Salmiak Licorice.” Not knowing what, exactly, salmiak was, I went with the original. The bar itself is shaped somewhat like those fruit leathers you can get at the grocery store, though slightly thicker. The licorice had a nice, soft feel to it, and I was hopeful that the taste would be just as appealing. Luckily, it was. In fact, it was delicious. Sweet, but not overpowering, with plenty of licorice flavor but not too much bite. I quickly devoured it, all the while hoping the second bar would be as good.

Halva Salmiak

Before I tried it, though, I decided to find out what, exactly, salmiak is. Turns out, it’s basically salt. So, here was one of those oft-rumored but seldom tasted salty licorices. I proceeded with caution. The first bite wasn’t too bad. I was expecting the flavor to be something like de-icer, but it wasn’t nearly so bad. In fact, I couldn’t really call it salty. Nor could I call it particularly good, either. It’s a strange combination of almost-salty almost-licorice almost-good from which I ate just two bites. My tongue couldn’t quite figure out what it was supposed to be tasting, and the way my mouth was puckering up, I decided to let it go. The consistency, however, was nearly identical to the original – soft, pliable, and not too sticky.

Bassett's Allsorts

Next up was the bag of Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts. According to the back of the bag, they were developed in England in 1899, but they are now distributed worldwide. There are a number of different candies encompassed in the allsorts. Many are square or rectangular and consist of sections of licorice with colored sections of coconut. There are also pieces which are entirely licorice, and a few jelly-like nonpareils in different colors.

I’m not a huge fan of coconut; for the most part, I won’t eat it if it is shredded. However, I’m not against tasting it in other forms, and I do have to admit that it’s a very interesting counterpoint to licorice. The coconut in this case is very smooth, and definitely has sugar added to it.

In some of the candies, the coconut addition is actually a bit too sweet, and completely overpowers the licorice flavor. Then again, the pieces that are entirely licorice were a bit undersugared for my taste, so perhaps everything balances out in the end. The nonpareils were an entity unto themselves. I’m not even sure if they were licorice flavored or not. They were sweet, but in an odd way, and the flavor really didn’t scream licorice (or anything other than “huh?”) to me. I can’t say that I really and truly loved any of the candies in the allsorts, but certainly none of them were revolting.

Panda Licorice Bar

Last up was the bonus of this month, the Panda licorice bar from Finland. David reviewed the raspberry flavor Panda bar a while back, but this one was straight licorice. The packaging said it was fat free and “made from all natural ingredients.” Needless to say, I was scared. Fat free? All natural? Sounds healthy or something! The bar itself was sort of an oval shape, relatively thick and about the length of a regular candy bar. When I opened the package, a lovely aroma of licorice greeted me, which was somewhat reassuring.

The first bite proved that my fears were unfounded. Slightly firmer than the Halva bars, this bar is a beautiful medium-brown on the inside with a black exterior. The flavor is excellent. A nice, mild, licorice without too much sugar, it left just the right amount of aftertaste and made me keep going back for more. Truly a dream come true for licorice lovers who prefer their licorice unadulterated by other flavors.

Overall, I would have to say that I preferred the Halva original bar and the Panda bar over the rest of the selections. For someone who likes very sweet licorice and who doesn’t mind coconut, most of the allsorts would be good, though those nonpareils are kind of oddballs. I suppose if you like the salty licorice, or if you just wanted to try it without being overwhelmed, the Halva salviak bar would be the way to go. Personally, I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be adding it to my Christmas list anytime soon.

Buy these candies at Licorice International:

candy, sweets, licorice, chewy, Finland, England

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One Response to “Candy Review: Halva Licorice Bars and Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts”

  1. 1
    Sera says:

    I just love, love, LOVE the Panda licorice bars! I could eat them forever. Definately my favorite licorice treat!

    My Dad is just smitten with the Allsorts. I felt the same way as you, in regard to not being able to taste the licorice in some of the varieties. I still enjoy them a lot though.

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