Top Pick Of The Week

August 24, 2010

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Allsorts Licorice


At top, the mixed licorice selection known as Allsorts. At bottom, Strawberries & Cream licorice bites. All photography by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Licorice from Australia, where they spell it “liquorice.”
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: No corn syrup, no anise extract substituting for licorice extract.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Robust flavors, a hearty chew and a perky beauty in the candy dish.

.Kookaburra Licorice Candy
Page 3: Varieties Of Licorice


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Kookaburra Licorice Overview

Licorice is one of those candies that builds its fans in early childhood. Red or black? Twists or laces? How about chocolate licorice?

While America loves its licorice, Australia loves it more. Kookaburra Liquorice hasn’t succumbed to mass-market ingredients; the products are made from better sweeteners and don’t have trans fat. Compare the ingredients:

  • Twizzlers Black Licorice Twists: corn syrup, flour, sugar, cornstarch, licorice extract, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat), salt, natural and artificial flavorings, potassium sorbate (preservative) and artificial coloring (including Blue #1 and Red #40)
  • Kookaburra Black Licorice Twists: Treacle*, wheat flour, wheat syrup, molasses, raw sugar, water, cornstarch, palm oil, caramel color, licorice extract, natural flavors, salt, soybean monoglyceride (emulsifier) and artificial coloring (including Blue #1, Red #40 and Yellow #5).

* Treacle (TREE-cull) is a generic British word for any syrup made in the process of refining sugar cane. Americans call it molasses. It is the residue that is left after the sugar crystals are extracted from the cane juice. Light treacle or golden syrup is produced from the first boiling of the cane juice. Dark treacle, what is known in America as dark molasses, is produced from the second boiling. The third boiling produces what both countries call blackstrap molasses.

The sweeteners (treacle and molasses, along with sugar) in Kookaburra licorice provide more flavor than the merely-sweet Twizzlers sweeteners (corn syrup and sugar). The palm oil in Kookaburra provides a better texture than the (horrors! trans fat!) partially hydrogenated soybean oil in Twizzlers.

Kookaburra Liquorice is a family owned company that has been exporting licorice to USA since 1997. We discovered it about three years ago. Since then, national distribution has grown nicely; and of course, the products can be ordered online.

Kookaburra Licorice Specialty Varieties

The artisans at Kookaburra make some of the prettiest specialty licorice:

  • Allsorts, a variety of shooters (see below), rockies, bites and twists plus a three-layer, square licorice “sandwich.” The individual pieces are lovely: sandwiched squares, colorful rolls and balls covered in round sprinkles, looking as if artisans labored to put the pieces together just so. They look gem-like in a crystal candy dish. Each piece combines at least two flavors: licorice with banana, licorice with lime and liquorice with orange, for example. The variety and flavor quality ties Allsorts as our favorite product, with Shooters.

  • Shooters, which look like flowers. (No doubt, the word “flowers” was avoided to attract male as well as female buyers.) They’re actually the classic licorice bites with the holes filled with other soft candy. You can see them in the photo at the top of the page, with blue, yellow and white “petals.”

  • Strawberry & Cream Bites are more of a variation of rockies, a tube with a licorice shell and other soft candy filling (or vice versa).
Shooters are available in fruit flavors as well as in genuine licorice, found in the Allsorts collection.

Traditional Licorice Twists

Here we favor the Old Fashioned Black Licorice. It’s licorice for adults—for real flavor, as opposed to mindless chewing. The Red (Strawberry) licorice is also superior to American brands.

  • Kookaburra Old Fashioned Black Licorice is serious stuff: with a heady amount of liquorice extract, it is a succulent and profound liquorice experience. We prefer it to the fruit flavors, which, as previously mentioned, are not real licorice. Only black licorice has licorice extract.
  • Kookaburra Red (Strawberry) Licorice has the classic strawberry flavor.
  • Other fruit licorice flavors include Green Apple, Mango and Raspberry. We prefer real licorice to these fruity chews, but all had authentic flavor.
  • Licorice Salt Water Taffy, a softer chew with subtler licorice flavor, hit the spot.
  • We’re also hooked on Licorice Caramels, a delicious combination of two favorite confections.
Old Fashioned Black Licorice tastes like licorice from the 1800s, made with real sugar and treacle.

—Karen Hochman


Assorted Flavors & Shapes

  • 8-Ounce Gift Box
  • Gift Tin
  • 10-Ounce Bag
  • 12-Ounce Tub
  • Gourmet Sampler
    6 Flavors

The products are also available in bulk quantities.

Buy online at

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Don’t settle for just one bag: You’ll definitely want more.


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