There is something slightly sadistic about Dutch drop (otherwise known as liquorice or licorice depending on where you are from). If you’ve never experienced its unique taste it can look quite innocent. After all, what reason would you have to suspect that it would taste any different from the liquorice you are familiar with in your own country. But this is why Dutch drop is evil. It subtlety lulls you into a false sense of security that it might taste quite nice.
And maybe, just maybe, you get lucky. Maybe you get one of the nice flavours of Dutch Drop… But probably not, because when you encounter it for the first time it’s probably because you’ve just been offered one of the more ‘popular’ flavours by a Dutch person.
For a brief moment, just before the flavour hits you, you might notice the slightly odd way the Dutch person seems to be ‘observing’ you, the way they seem to be studying your every expression as if they are planning to take scientific notes. By the time you realize this means something is wrong it is already too late.
Suddenly the taste takes hold…
Everything in your being tells you that this taste is wrong. That it should not be. What mad man would have created such a thing? Your taste buds cry out in objection or fear (or both) as the taste spreads father around your mouth. Suddenly you just want it to end, for the flavour to go away. But even when you spit out the Dutch drop the flavour still remains. It won’t go away. Will it ever go away? Why is this happening? Why? Oh god why?
Suddenly you realize with horror that this was done to you on purpose. You were offered this god forsaken taste for the amusement of the Dutch person sitting across from you. They wanted to see your reaction to it. They knew you would not be able to handle it. No foreigner can. Perhaps the fact that they started filming you with their phone should have been a warning. The Dutch can be sadistic sometimes too.
Taste – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Taste wise the salty Dutch drop is one of the worst offenders. It has a very extreme taste. In fact, it is as if the makers of salty Dutch drop had a bet to see how much salt they could add to the recipe before someone died (and then reduced it only slightly when someone finally did). They are probably the same people who thought mint and salt would make a good liquorice combination too.
It is true that there are some nice tasting versions of the strange Dutch candy (I know this because my Dutch wife once forced it upon me to make a point). Drop comes in many varieties. There is hard drop, soft drop, chewy drop, sweet drop, salty drop, powered drop, Engelse drop (English), honingdrop (honey), muntdrop (mint) and much more. However, this only makes things worse. If there was only the extreme tasting drop like Dubbel Zout (double salt) expats would only be caught out the once and know to stay away forever. However, since there is nice tasting drop out there it creates false hope that the little black sweet you are about to put in your mouth might be ok. It might be one of the nice ones. Then before you know it you’ve let your guard down and… *BAM* You’ve been caught out again!
Dutch Drop in Disguise
Perhaps this is also why the Dutch have attempted to make drop look more friendly by disguising it in a variety of shapes from simple squares, circles and diamonds to coins, windmills, cats, little cars, bee hives and beyond. Anything to make them look more ‘fun’ and less like committing taste bud suicide.
And as if to disguise them even further the makers of Dutch Drop will often mix their product in with a bag of other sweets. Many expats and tourists have been caught out by this when they were buying what they thought was an innocent bag of wine gums. Usually they solve this problem by only eating the wine gums and then ‘giving’ the remaining bag of drop to their partner (as I often do with my wife).
Maybe this is why the Dutch took it one step farther. Wine gum and liquorice combined!! Half drop! Half wine gum! The Frankenstein’s monster of the confectionery world.
This has not deterred those desperate for wine gums from only eating half of each sweet. However, this is very risky as it brings with it a high risk of ‘contamination’. Plus, your partner will appreciate it even less when you try to give them the bag of leftovers.
A Final Warning
So, in closing, always approach Dutch drop with caution. Always identify the type of drop before putting it in your mouth. Always avoid anything with the word ‘zout’ in the title. Only accept drop from trusted family and friends (after you have done a full background check on them).
And finally, never, ever accept drop from a grinning Dutch person. It’s a trap.
Just The Facts
1) The Dutch consume more licorice per year (2000 grams each) than any other country in the world.
2) The Netherlands produces more licorice than any other European country.
3) There are over 80 variations of Dutch licorice.
4) Some variations are flavored with Ammonium Chloride which is also used as cough medicine.