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Panda Blueberry Soft Liquorice Bars

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5 Reviews

Brand: Panda / Type: Berry

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    5 Reviews
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      17.08.2010 15:34
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      Stick to raspberry licorice; deny the evil black licorice!

      This dooyoo product "Panda licorice" is a generic term for all Panda licorice brands that actually covers a wide range of different flavours and forms. The one I'd like to focus in this review is the one true and best form: raspberry licorice logs. Don't be put off by the icon for this product that has a misleading picture of the nasty black licorice form and pay even less attention to the caption that insinuates that the black licorice is the real taste of licorice - in my opinion, it's not, for reasons that will become apparent in the "Flavour" section of the review.

      The raspberry licorice bars are vegan friendly (hurrah!) though the rest of you shouldn't worry, it's basically a nice big bar of unhealthy sugar, so it's still safe for you to eat with minimal risk that you'll be tempted to start wearing socks with your sandals and eat hummous and beansprouts the whole time. The store had several other varieties which weren't vegan, so do be sure to check carefully if you're bothered by that sort of thing.

      This 32g bar cost me 49p and came from the local wholefood co-operative that I score so many of my junktastic afternoon sugar-hits from. And then I wonder why I need to visit weightwatchers. Amazing eh, that health food stores stock unhealthy food too? I found it a bit pricey compared to the big bags of licorice, but that's still OK because it's a)cheaper than a chocolate bar from the machine and b)if I bought a big bag, I'd eat a big bag, so it's really saving me from myself. This log is about four inches long and is a solid tube of licorice about half an inch thick which makes it good for an afternoon snack.

      The bar itself states proudly that it "Contains Real RASPBERRY" (sic). As opposed to fake raspberry? Surreal raspberry? Uncapitalised raspberry? And it is ALL NATURAL. None of those nasty supernatural products here! It also has a picture of a panda on it; given how many foods have pictures of the contents on it did make me briefly wonder if it contained REAL PANDA extract too (Apparently no. That would be wrong, pandas are endangered. And it wouldn't be vegan.)

      ===Flavour===
      For those of you who like licorice, it will come as no surprise to you that licorice is delicious and fabulous and so unsurprising that this bar is actually pretty nice. However, for those of you who (like me) think that aniseed is the devil's own regurgitation and always assumed (like I did) that you must hate ALL licorice simply because black licorice is so unutterably foul, it may be surprising to know that you won't necessarily hate this. You see, black licorice does actually not taste of licorice root: it tastes strongly of aniseed; real licorice root tastes entirely different, so as long as you steer clear of the nasty black ick, you stand a fair chance of getting something tasty. I had always wondered why I thought that licorice and aniseed were so similar in flavour and it turns out that anise flavourings is what puts the ICK into black lICKorice, and thus why it tastes like sugared poison whereas raspberry licorice tastes nice.

      The raspberry bar that I'm reviewing doesn't in my opinion actually taste anything like either licorice, aniseed or raspberry: it tastes of molasses. What a hardship eh? How will I manage to eat the whole bar that tastes so wonderfully sugary? (Answer:sadly all too easily)

      Texture-wise, it's reminiscent of a slightly grainy kind of toffee. It has a bit of a chewy bite to it, but it won't pull your fillings out. It will, however, get stuck nicely in your teeth and leave them coated with sugar, which is not so good news for your teeth. Colour-wise, it's a bit of a muted off-red colour, something I'm fairly pleased about because I hate brightly coloured food because so often it's full of coal tar dyes which are terrible for asthmatics.

      ===Nutrition===
      What, just because it comes from a health food store, you expect it to be healthy? Uh huh, doesn't work like that. This bar contains 98kcal (5% of your recommended amount says the label). But as the label proudly states, no fat. That's because as previously stated, it's pretty much a big ol' bar of sugar. It also states that it has no preservatives which the inner science dork in me wants to contest - it's full of sugar and sugar is, after all, one of the best preservatives around. I guess under labelling regulations "preservatives" means something entirely different. It has no artificial colourings (which is good news for asthmatics) nor any artificial flavourings. Of course though, it's always good to check what NATURAL colourings and flavourings something has - "natural" doesn't always mean "good for you" - after all, belladonna is natural, but I for one won't be eating any of that!

      Per 100g, it has 307kcal, 3.6g protein, 72g carbohydrates (50g sugar), 0.4g fat (0.0g saturated fat), 0.9g fibre and 0.1g sodium. So I guess that "fat free" is something controlled by regulations rather than by the overliteral interpretation I would have assumed.

      The ingredients are molasses, wheat flour, raspberry puree, citric acid, natural flavourings, black carrot juice concentrate and licorice extract. Seems odd that the licorice is at the bottom of the ingredients eh when this is a licorice bar? But that's pretty much normal for all the licorice I've had. And I was intrigued by the black carrot juice ingredient - I don't think I've ever seen a black carrot except when they've gone seriously rotten, but apparently black carrots are a special form and the extract is what gives the bar its red colouring. You live and learn eh?

      ===Spelling===
      What is it about words with alternate spellings that means it always seem to cause arguments amongst my friends that have absolutely nothing to do with anything ever?! Do I just need new friends? Anyway, I personally favour the spelling "liquorice" over "licorice" (purely because it contains the word liquor which makes for better puns), but the wrapper of the bar is absolutely clear on its spelling, so I'm using the boring version. Anyway, I know some of you wince when the US/UK spelling (delete as appropriate) is used, so I thought I'd better explain my choice.

      ===Possible health benefits===
      Disclaimer: I've no medical training myself and I've not done much reading around of the latest published papers, but licorice is something that my doctor actually recommended to me as being good for my asthma and good for stomach upsets and acid reflux because some of the active ingredients relax the smooth muscles in my lungs and gut. So I gave it a go. When drinking licorice root tea, I did observe that my peak flow (a measure of how well my lungs worked) went up by somewhere between 5 and 10 percent above its usual maximum (quite an impressive amount!). However, sadly, licorice sweets didn't have enough licorice in to do a thing. But they did taste nice, and I got to eat lots of sweets when I tried it, so it wasn't all bad.

      On the downside, the same doctor did warn me that the glycyrrhetinic acid in the licorice that makes it good for the asthma sends your blood pressure through the roof, so it's rubbish as a long term treatment. However, I figure that a little bit of the real stuff now and then when I have a cold won't hurt me any worse than the six giant mugs of coffee I drink every day. Everything in moderation including moderation eh?

      ===Conclusion===
      It's a sugary bar. It's not healthy, it's not big and it's not clever. But it is quite tasty, even for people who hate black licorice. I will probably be buying this brand again, but only when I can't get any RJs (this is a famous New Zealand brand of licorice which is much more raspberry in flavour and my preferred brand).

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      • More +
        11.06.2009 17:15

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        Eat if you like Licorice, Don't if you hate licorice. Expect in the case of the Raspberry bars!

        Ahhh Licorice. One of the best remedies to cure your blues. Well with me anyway. My love for licorice sometimes makes me believe that I should have been a Finn.
        What can I say about Panda? It's very nice, original licorice. It's great that its natural. If I hadn't been introduced to Fazer Licorice bars, I would probably be satisfied with just having panda licorice... But the Finns truly keep the best sweets hidden away in the Finnish supermarkets... greedy buggers! No, I really don't blame them. Fazer licorice is much sweeter and better for those with that sweet tooth. Plus Fazer comes in many many more varieties, though there are some really weird ones and some just plain disgusting, like the salted bars!
        I must say though, I am quite addicted to the raspberry licorice bars that Panda do. Even people who are not keen on licorice like the raspberry bars.
        I do think Panda is rather too expensive, but then it's only usually sold in the health food shops so what can I expect?

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        18.08.2008 13:16
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        Great little nibble!

        Panda licorice comes in many shapes and sizes. This review is for the large packets of small plain licorice pieces, like tubes. They are a firm favourite of mine.

        TASTE
        This Panda licorice gets the balance between sweet and salty just right. It is not a salty licorice but as with all licorice sweets, there is a slightly salty undertone. These are packed full of flavour!

        CONSISTENCY
        This is a very soft and chewy licorice. It is not hard like some licorice can me. Your teeth sink into it so easily and it melts in your mouth. I find though that it does not stick to your teeth, which is a big bonus!

        PACKAGING
        This Panda bag is resealable so great for nibbling on your licorice but still keeping it fresh.

        INGREDIENTS
        molasses, wheat flour, licorice extract, natural flavor (aniseed oil). So it is full of goodness. It is also very low in fat and calories and is meant to be very good for you.

        OVERALL
        This is a really tasty nibble and much better for you than chocolate or crisps. Though of course, it is one of those 'marmite' foods - you either love it or you hate it! I love it!!

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          29.07.2008 06:05
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          Really tasty

          I've always loved liquorice and from a young age I used to buy Panda Liquorice from a little health food shop in the centre of town. It is now very popular and you can buy it in most supermarkets and in 99% of health food shops. It's a must try for those of you who love liquorice as much as I do.

          Panda Liquorice have been selling liquorice in shops since 1933 and have since them become a name recognised by many people, although judging by the fact that only one other person has reviewed this I guess it isn't as well know as I'd thought.

          They can be bought in big multipacks or in single bars. I always buy them in single bars as I only normally eat a maximum of 2 at a time. They come wrapped in black plastic on the front of which is a picture of a panda, the Panda logo and the words "The Real Taste Of Liquorice". On the back of the packet are the ingredients and nutritional information.

          You can open up the bar quite easily just by tearing the end. The liquorice bar itself is really quite thick. It's about 15cms long and 2cms wide. It has little groves in it all the way up, I think that this is to try and make it look like bamboo, panda food, or something like that. It's completely black except when you bite it and you can then see that the inside is brown.

          It smells very much of liquorice which is always a good sign. When you bite into it you realise what a unique texture it has compared to other liquorices. It's very soft and your teeth can just sink into it with ease. It's totally smooth except for where the little grooves are which give it a bit of texture.

          It dies of course taste of liquorice in a very natural way, this is because it's made from natural ingredients and therefore lacks the synthetic taste that many modern liquorices seem to have.

          Ingredients:
          Molasses, Wheat Flour, Liquorice Extract, Natural Flavour (Aniseed Oil).

          It contains no salt, added colours or artificial flavours and it's suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

          It's really quite good for you as well because it contains almost no fat and half the amount of calories that a bar of chocolate contains.

          Overall I give it 10 out of 10 for being the quality liquorice I have ever eaten and for tasting so great!

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            14.05.2008 17:51
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            A great old fashioned sweet.

            Mmmmm! Licorice - I love the taste. I have to review these sweets because they are so delicious. I first came across Panda licorice and other products when I worked in a Health Food Shop in Nether Edge, Sheffield. In fact I used to eat most of the products in the shop as they were all delicious. I used to spend all of my wages on food. Wonder I wasn't enormous.

            Panda licorice is so smooth to touch and it has a perfumed smell which is quite evocative. You want to eat it slowly and enjoy every bite. It is a sweet you could become passionate about.

            Here are some facts:

            In the 1920's Panda's first sweet factory started production in Finland. First products to sell were wrapped sweets, cough drops and jellies. It wasn't until 1927 when Panda first manufactured it's first licorice product. In 1933, soft licorice was manufactured and in 1936, the first licorice sweets appeared in the shops.

            Now these sweets are popular in most countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, USA, Germany, Poland and Spain.

            Licorice comes from the root of the flowering pea plant which can be found all over Southern Europe and Asia.

            It is manufactured from natural ingredients and contains no salt, added colours or artificial flavours. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Panda licorice contains less than 0.5% fat, and less than half the calorie count of chocolate.

            So for all of us who are watching our figures this delicacy is acceptable. In the middle of the day usually around 4pm in my case, sit down and eat some licorice. It is a great energy boost.

            Apparantely licorice was a great favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte. I only found that out by reading a book about licorice. It is meant to have some healing powers - soothing coughs, stomach pains and nervous disorders.

            Ingredients are; molasses, wheat flour, licorice extract, natural flavor (aniseed oil).

            Panda Licorice comes in a package that has been developed specifically to keep the product fresh. It's consistency and texture is unique.

            A pack of four licorice bars retails about £1 in most health shops. I haven't seen this brand in any of the supermarkets but you can definitely buy it from Holland and Barrett, on line from various outlets and private health shops.

            Apart from natural licorice bars and chews there are other flavours of licorice chews like raspberry,and licorice comfits which when I was a kid they were called torpedoes. These retail at from around 99p to£1.30 a box depending on where you buy them from.

            So next time you are in a health shop try some licorice - it will make you feel relaxed and calm and you don't have to worry about your diet.

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          • Product Details

            Panda All Natural Blueberry Soft Liquorice Bars 32g The real taste of liquorice, made from all natural ingredients. Made by Panda since 1928, in Finland, made from natural colours and flavours, only made using real liquorice root, vegetarian society approved, Kosher and Halal friendly.