Drop, The Favorite Candy of Holland.
Drop is a beloved sweet in the Netherlands. 80% of the population eats licorice and on average a Dutch person eats 2 kg of licorice per year. For foreigners, the taste is a bit strange in the beginning, so you can see them pulling strange faces. For starters the sweet drop is a good entry into the world of licorice. The salty liquorice is more for the advanced licorice lover.
The History of Licorice.
Licorice is a confectionery made from the carrot juice of the licorice plant "Glycyrrhiza glabra." Licorice was already eaten in Egyptian, Greek and Roman culture. At the time not as candy, but as medicine against coughing and stomach ulcer. Three thousand years ago, the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun received a large quantity of liquorice in his grave, as support for his journey to the afterlife. More than two thousand years ago, Alexander the Great, the emperor of Greece, took licorice root on the campaigns because it worked well against thirst. And it is also known that the Roman emperor Caesar ate drop 2,000 years ago. In 1731 Italian Giorgio Amarelli managed to make the juice from the licorice root into drop. In 1760, pharmacist George Dunhill made drop items and sold them as a medicine for infections, colds and stomach ulcers.
How to make Drop.
The licorice roots are cut from the bush and dried in the sun. The bush itself goes back into the ground and grows again. The roots are ground and made into a porridge with water. This is filtered and thickened to a block of drop, This block drop goes to the licorice manufacturer, who thins it again and mixes it with other flavorings (honey, salmiak) and thickeners (such as modified starch). At a temperature of 135 ° C, the starch starts to gelatinize and a dough, similar in structure to bread dough, is formed, which is pressed into molds. These molds are made from corn starch, in which the licorice is cured. Curing takes 36 hours at a temperature of 65 ° C. The starch is then blown off the liquorice and provided with a brightener.
The Taste of Dutch Licorice
Glycyrrizine, originating from the licorice extract in licorice, is largely responsible for the characteristic drop flavor. It is about fifty times sweeter than granulated sugar. Drop has a very characteristic salmiak taste due to ammonium chloride. The Dutch are usually used to licorice and therefore eat it with taste. However, this taste is not appreciated by everyone, especially with double salted licorice. There are also liqueurs, such as Dropshot, with a drop taste.