New culinary toys: Lakrids by Johan Bülow

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A few weeks ago, when this site was still in its infancy and full of bugs, I was spending a day at a tech fair and used a bit of my spare time wisely, testing the new layout on as many different computer setups and devices as I possibly could. During this trial run, I ran into a friendly soul who shared some of my culinary interests and took a liking to my blogging project. My new friend turned out to be not only friendly, but also well connected and he quickly promised to send over a few exciting things for me to try out and play with on the blog.

I smiled and thanked him, not thinking anything would really come from this, but lo and behold, a few days ago, this package arrived for me during just another ordinary Wednesday afternoon at the office:

ChiliesA mystery package has arrived! Containing Lakrids by Johan Bülow..


Lakrids what? By whom?

Let’s start by clearing up a few things for our international audience: lakrids is the Danish word for licorice. So, Lakrids by Johan Bülow essentially means Licorice by Johan Bülow. The latter, I guess, would have made for an easier name for the international market, but then again, the New Nordic culinary trend is still running hot, hot, hot, so I guess it makes sense to keep it in Danish. Until we get to the subject of pronunciation, anyway.

Moving on, then. Lakrids by Johan Bülow is a top-shelf brand of licorice with a price tag to match. We’re talking handcrafted stuff made from carefully sourced quality ingredients, retailing at around $10 for a stylishly packaged 175 gram (6 oz) can! Flavors range from your ordinary salty or sweet licorice over cranberry and salmiak to my current favorite: Habanero chili licorice. Add to that a range of chocolate and coffee-coated licorices, a licorice stout, and a selection of syrups and raw licorice powders to be used in cooking and you’ve pretty much got all your basic licorice needs covered.

Knowing that there was a lot to explore, my new friend had sent over a bit of everything. What I received that day was basically a gift set consisting of quite a few different Johan Bülow products: Two standard kinds of licorice, two flavored kinds, two chocolate covered kinds, two types of licorice syrup, one licorice stout and a can of raw licorice powder. I’ll do my best in the coming weeks to have a look at them all and report back my findings.

ChiliesEverything a licorice lover could ask for! And then some, the entire lineup from Johan Bülow (give or take).

Now, obviously, $10 is a lot to ask for a can of licorice candies, I’ll give you that. But in a way, it makes me happy that producers are no longer afraid to ask said price, as long as the quality of their products match the asking price! We’ve had a few meager years now in which the tendency amongst consumers has been to move towards cheaper, crappier, industrially processed food products at unreasonably low prices.

It goes without saying that if a consumer wants to pay next to nothing for a product and a profit is still to be made from producing and selling the product, you’ll end up with a shit product! But, there, I went and said it anyway because it’s a fact that a lot of people seem to have happily ignored, and our food culture has suffered in the process.

Consequently, I’m absolutely thrilled that there is once again a growing market for quality products produced with care from quality ingredients – and that more and more consumers are waking up to the fact that paying the extra price gives you a much better product. Way to go average consumer!

That being said, is Lakrids by Johan Bülow then worth the asking price? Well, so far, I haven’t even gotten past testing the bite sized licorice pieces, but I am happy to report that not only does the general quality of the products seem to match the price range, it is also very much enticing me to move further on into the realm of licorice-inspired cooking.


Licorice is the new black!

Licorice-inspired cooking? Yes, I know that sounds a little odd, but think about it. There seemed to be a period when chocolate was all the rage. For years, everybody and their mother was making artisan chocolate and marketing it at top price points to hungry consumers, who were busy cooking not only desserts but also savory dishes involving chocolate.

Chocolate is still popular, and for good reason if you ask most of my friends. But with the rise of Johan Bülow and other licorice masters, there’s been a bit of a shift in the dessert and artisan candy scene in Denmark: licorice has blown up big time!

ChiliesHabanero chili licorice.. Is this the best thing ever?

Consumers have once again picked up on the flavors of quality licorice and are willing to pay top shelf prices for increasingly odd and/or exciting flavor combinations, all while chefs are starting to employ licorice in new and exciting ways; both sweet and savory. There’s even a great deal of work being done by master producers and enthusiasts alike to spread the word about licorice as a culinary ingredient. A trend that I find really exciting!

I for one welcome this change and look forward to playing with my new set of toys from Johan Bülow. So expect to see a lot of borderline crazy experiments and licorice-themed recipes on this site in the near future as I get my bearings working with these new and exciting things that were so kindly bestowed upon me.

What would be your most funny, creative, outrageous or just plain stupid recipe idea involving licorice? Don’t be shy, tell me in the comments! 🙂

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Leave a Reply!