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RJ's Natural Licorice, soft eating - " Making the world a better licorice place!"
This has to be the second most delicious licorice I have ever eaten after Darrell Lea's from Australia When I returned from Down under about twenty years ago this was the one thing, apart from the weather that I really missed. You could not buy it anywhere in the UK for years and I am afraid the Haribo and Pontefract cakes do not measure up. My family has Dutch origins on my father's side and the Dutch are extremely fond of licorice and eat it in many different shapes called drop. Some of the Dutch drop is hard and others are softer and some are sweet whereas others are really very salty. If you don't speak Dutch they sometimes you end up with the wrong sort and that can be a bit disappointing. They also like to chew licorice stems which look like a small twig and do taste good but they are hard work and don't look that great as you are chewing on a bit of wood really.
This soft eating licorice is now exported from the New Zealand and can be bought in a few places. I bought mine from a health food shop in Wells and it was quite expensive, about 2.50 .RJ's licorice is made in Levin in New Zealand and RJ's is a family owned and operated company and like Darrell Lea the company in Australia they have created a soft, licorice with a delicious sweet aniseed flavour. The smooth texture and fresh flavour of RJ's rivals the Aussie version and in my humble opinion is just as good. "I scour the world to fund the finest ingredients to give my Natural soft eating licorice the most delicate taste and texture"
On the front of the pack RJ's claim
"What a treat you're in for! These licorice pieces have the most delicate texture. They are simply the best. Enjoy! RJ"
Wheat Flour, Cane Sugar Molasses, Glucose syrup, water, licorice extract treacle, humectant (E422) , rice bran oil, salt, flavor ( aniseed oil)
There is a warning about containing wheat which I have to say would not occur to me unless I had read this and it also may contain traces of nuts. The pack states it is suitable for Vegetarians.
I was a little concerned about humectants especially as it has an E number so I looked it up. It appears to be relatively natural but in case you are concerned then here is a link: http://www.laleva.cc/food/enumbers/E420-440.html
This RJ's licorice comes in a brown paper bag, lined inside with plastic to keep the contents fresh. It is largely fat free and does not contain preservatives, good for the cholesterol levels and a 300g bag contains about 1000 calories which is not quite such great news. My 300g bag says it contains 7 servings but I don't tend to eat more than three pieces at a time as it can cause you to be very 'unconstipated'. I opened the bag and then took out one piece it measured approximately 3 inches long and was about as thick as my ring finger and was very soft and bendy and a bit sticky
As I bite into the piece my teeth sink in easily and the taste floats around my mouth. Sweet and aniseed and very chewy, I do find it sticks to my teeth a bit and I always hope that I have not got black teeth after two or three strands. I would always clean my teeth before going out after eating this licorice as I would want to make sure I wasn't grinning with black bits in between my teeth! You can, if you are self controlled enough, suck half a strand and still enjoy the same flavour sensation but I never mange to suck for longer than a few seconds before I am tempted to chew.
Some interesting factoids :
* The licorice plant is grown in many countries
* Licorice is made from the root of the Licorice plant
* The licorice plant is a legume - a member of the pea family
* The active anti viral ingredient in licorice is glycyrrhizin
* The sweet-tasting compound called anethole is many times sweeter than sugar
* anethole is also found in anise, fennel, and other herbs
* It has been used since 750 AD
* Native Americans used it to help with the pain of childbirth
* Pontefract in Yorkshire was the first place to make licorice confection and it was known as 'Spanish'
* It only contains 100 calories per ounce
* Licorice plants are native to Southern Europe and parts of Asia
* It's the second most prescribed herb in China
* The plant has blue flowers
* It can be used to help coughs and asthma
* It was considered by some to be a sexual stimulant
* It is very good at relieving constipation
These facts I have gleaned from various places on the internet and from my reading and while they are interesting I am not saying that RJ's licorice has any of the health benefits as it does not make any such claims I am merely offering them as little snippets of interest.
I can certainly vouch for the laxative qualities but as for the asthma and sexual benefits I cannot really say I have noticed any difference but maybe I need to eat more or a different sort. I do eat this because I love the taste and as I am now the only person in the house to like licorice now that my son has gone to Canada it does mean that I don't have to share my treat. I do also like the fact that it does act as a laxative as I do have problems with constipation despite eating high fibre cereals and lots of fruit and vegetables so this is another bonus. It does still have sugar in it and has got quite a high calorie count so apart from the fact that eating too many can make for a very active bowel you should not pig out on these if you are watching your calorie intake either.
Having said all this I can recommend these delicious bags of Kiwi tastiness as one of the best licorices I have come across and I have tried plenty in my time.
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