Just as I am about the only American who doesn’t like Harry Potter
, I am about the only American who loves
Whenever I go to any of our local theaters and see people gnawing on bags of strawberry Twizzlers from the concession stand, I long for the black licorice they do not carry. (And that’s OK, because concession prices are so through-the-roof, you have to take out a second home mortgage to acquire anything there.) I’m the guy who keeps Good & Plenty in business.
That’s why Natural Vines made my day last week by sending over two bags of its “gourmet licorice” — one bag o’ black, one red — to try. Rather than sneak them into Kickingbird Cinema’s Saturday matinee of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — because that would break theater policy — I sampled both over the weekend while watching DVDs
First, just to get it out of the way, I sampled the strawberry flavor of Natural Vines before passing off to my Twizzler-loving family, who scarfed these up. I’ll admit it was far superior to Twizzlers, with a taste that’s more tart than sweet.
But the black licorice flavor was the amazing one. It carried a taste that grows in sweet strength the more you chew it. Also, it was softer than what we’re used to, because instead of appearing in long, thin strands, Natural Vines’ licorice is cut into short, thick nubs, like the size of gumballs.
To summarize: They tasted awesome and have my mouth’s eternal love. That’s because, true to the brand’s name, they’re made with all-natural ingredients — you’re not missed at all, high-fructose corn syrup! — and real licorice extract. Bonus: Low in fat and sodium, the candies are less than 17 calories per piece. —Rod Lott