I think liquorice is a love it or hate it sort of thing, rather like the yeast spread Marmite. I love both liquorice and Marmite, although not together… actually I’ve ever tried them together! Even as a child I liked strong flavoured things, and not particularity sweet things, so I always loved savoury dishes, and though I ate sweet things and desserts, , salty, sour, bitter were always my preferred flavours.
As a child I think I first came across liquorice in Liquorice Allsorts, and also in liquorice sets such as a smokers set (impossible to imagine now!) where you would get a little cardboard box with a liquorice pipe, liquorice ‘cigarettes’ wrapped in paper, and ‘tobacco’ which I think was toasted sweetened shredded coconut. You might also get a liquorice tool set, with different implements shaped with liquorice. There were also liquorice boot laces, liquorice pinwheels… all sorts of different liquorice sweeties! I never came across liquorice twigs… I’m actually not sure if that is what they were, I think they may have been roots, but they were like twigs which if you chewed them you got the flavour of liquorice… I’ve tasted them, but I don’t remember them from my childhood.
Liquorice comes from the is the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant and is used to flavour all sorts of things, including liqueurs and tobacco… but I know it as a sweet thing! I was so delighted when some Dutch friends sent me some Dutch liquorice… it was salty… but utterly irresistible!