Snails, coins, diamonds or drops. Mild or strong, soft or hard, sweet or salty. When it comes to liquorice, people have rather strong opinions. Personally, I nurture a particular passion for this special sweet. My grandma has to feed my zoute drop (salty liquorice) addiction with regular deliveries from Holland. I've found that the Dutch and the Scandinavians are way ahead when it comes to the black gold. But my needs are also well served here in Berlin, too. I've made friends with liquorice dealers at the Mauerpark flea market, the stand on the Maybachufer, and I've also the different varieties of liquorice on offer in the Kollwitzmarkt. I would definitely recommend my local dealers to all who are addicted to this dark treat.
Germany's first speciality liquorice store opened in Kreuzberg's Gräfekiez in 1997. Since then, the scent of liquorice has been drawing in lovers and connoisseurs to the small shop with shelves of glass candy jars filled various types of liquorice, including two house creations flavoured with ginger and cinnamon. Owner Ilse Böge certainly knows here stuff and is always looking for new kinds of liquorice. In 2007, she and kadó even became sponsors of the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra at Berlin's Botanical Gardens. Extracts from this species' roots are used to make liquorice by adding sugar, glucose syrup, gelling agent, flour and various flavours. Everything you've ever wanted to know about the manufacturing, origins and uses of liquorice is revealed at a "Black Night" tasting event held every February and November. Gräfestraße 20 (Kreuzberg) Tue - Fri 9.30 am – 6.30 pm; Sat 9.30 am – 3.30 pm
A native of Denmark, Sönke Baumeister treats his Berlin customers to real Danish lakrids. I've also discovered some fine varieties from Sweden and Belgium in his shop, including some that are free of gelatine, sugar and/or gluten. He also offers English caramel, chocolates, sweets and fruit gums of all kinds in big jars. He also has tiny anise drops in nostalgic, oval metal cans. Uhlandstraße 98 (Wilmersdorf) Mon – Fri 10.30 am – 6.30 pm; Sat 10.30 am – 2.30 pm
Stefanie Klein has focused all her energies on liquorice products from around the world since 2011. Until my first visit I was not even aware that there are so many different varieties of liquorice: Steffi has 300 on her shelves, about half of which are in glass candy jars. They are lined up on the shelves: from sweet to naturally bitter to strongly salty, alkali or with fruit flavour. In the middle of the shop, there are also sugar-coated, filled and chocolate varieties. When she recently invited me to a tasting, I even got to try liquorice liqueur and almonds dusted in liquorice powder. Stubbenkammerstr. 3 (Prenzlauer Berg) Tue, Wed, Fri 2 pm – 7 pm; Thu 2 pm – 8 pm; Sat 11 am – 4 pm
Herr Nilsson Godis
In June 2013 Mr Nilsson moved in around the corner from me with his entire portfolio of Swedish godis (sweets). Daniel Lippert and his Swedish girlfriend Kajsa Molin got started two years earlier with a shop in Friedrichshain that offered Swedish snacks to Berlin. In the Scandinavian countries, it is customary for sweets to be sold in bulk and not pre-packaged. In addition, Scandinavian children in the 1950s only got liquorice, candy and chocolate on one day a week. But since every day is a godisdag (sweets day) for me, I'm often here filling up my candy bags with the latest imports. Stargarder Str. 58 (Prenzlauer Berg) and Wühlischstr. 58 (Friedrichshain) Herr Nilsson GODIS - Onlineshop from Youmeokay on Vimeo. Written by Anna Bockhoff