When I was given the chance to try out Panda Licorice's newest creation, Duello chocolate-covered licorice, I knew it could go either way. I love chocolate but I don't like licorice, so what would I make of a combination of the two ? I was expecting this to be a real Marmite love-it-or-hate-it scenario.
Well, when the bags arrived, I opened one up and took a tentative sniff. The first smell that comes through is definitely chocolate and it smelt really nice and appetising. I popped one in my mouth and instantly got a taste of lovely smooth milk chocolate. After a few seconds of chewing, when the chocolate started melting, the licorice taste started coming through and I liked it a bit less. I didn't run to the bin to spit it out, as I usually would with licorice, so it's definitely an improvement ! But I did feel that for me, the licorice taste spoilt the taste of the chocolate. If I had to eat them (say, if it was medicine or a vitamin supplement), I could bear the thought of eating them, but for pleasure, I'd rather stick to pure milk chocolate. But getting me to eat licorice in any shape or form is already quite an exploit so it's a slight success.
So, for a fairer test, on to the two licorice lovers at my disposal, the Madhouse Daddy Mike and guest-tester Madhouse Grandad ! They looked a bit puzzled and dubious when I explained the concept to them but took a piece each tentatively. They started chewing and frowning slightly. Madhouse Grandad said : "Yes, nice chocolate and yes, nice chewy licorice but do the two really go together ? Not sure, let's have another bit !" Madhouse Daddy said "Hmmm, yeah, it's OK, Not too sure really. It's not unpleasant though."
I wandered off to check on the kids and by the time I came back, half the bag had gone so I think that means they decided they liked it in the end ! I pointed this out and they both grinned cheekily and said "let's have some more to find out ?!". I think I was getting taken for a ride on this one !
As Panda point out : "Peanut butter and jam, apple pie and cheese, chocolate and chili... its not just the obvious combinations which make the best bedfellows. Step forward Duello - a surprising combination of chocolate and licorice from the Finnish confectioners Panda Licorice. This addictive combination is hugely popular in Finland and now available for the first time in the UK. Extra soft pieces of moreish licorice are covered in a layer of delicious milk chocolate. You might open the bag tentatively, but youʼll be fighting over the last piece !"
They also point out that licorice has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine due to its properties as a detoxifier so maybe you could use that as a good excuse for munching away on some in this period of New Year's resolutions !
Try it and see what you think. It's certainly not as bad as it sounds and you might find you absolutely love it !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £1.89
available at selected Holland & Barrett stores nationwide
Licorice lovers can visit http://www.landoflicorice.co.uk/ for more information, become a fan on Facebook by searching for 'The Land of Licorice' and follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PandalicoriceUK
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