All of Scandinavia and in particular Denmark, have a particular love affair with everything liquorice. You’ll find it in many different products here, including liquorice beer, ice-cream, chocolate, fudge, mints and of course candy. The Danes can also chew their way through tons of salty liquorice which is something of a speciality here, and not known many other places.
Liquorice root is one of the most popular herbs in the world. Its botanical name comes for the Greek words meaning “sweet root”. The liquorice plant is a perennial herb and a member of the pea family, native to southern Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean. The plant is prized for its roots, which contain glycyrrhizic acid. This acid, which is extracted from the roots, is fifty times sweeter than sugar! Liquorice extract is used as flavouring in food, tobacco, alcohol, cosmetics, and, of course, in liquorice candy.
Denmark produces some of the strongest liquorices to eat in the world. Salty liquorice is a speciality in Denmark and contains a large amount of ammonium chloride (salmiac). Ga-Jol is an old school Danish liquorice company and Denmark’s top-selling liquorice pastille, with the Danes consuming over 600 million each year.
Lakrids by Johan Bülow
A some-what new comer to the market is Lakrids by Johan Bülow. Launched in 2007, this company has had massive success, not just in Scandinavia, and their production is constantly growing.
Back in 2007, the then 23 year old Johan Bülow decided to start cooking liquorice in his mother kitchen in the small village of Svaneke on Bornholm Island. But it was not as easy as he had first imagined. Powered by his deep love and fascination for liquorice, he struggled to get the recipes and flavors rights and find the right people to help him learn and develop.
He finally met two ex-liquorice makers who were interested in sharing their knowledge and skills and after many weekends of them doing some ‘free-lance liquorice cooking’ with Johan Bülow, the flavors finally started to get right. The first shop opened in July 2007. It opened at 10am, and by 12.30pm everything on the shelves were gone!
In Denmark Lakrids by Johan Bülow is now sold at specialty stores, such as wine shops, designer boutiques and selected hotels – places where quality content and design have priority. In addition Lakrids by Johan Bülow has four fully-owned shops and in London Lakrids by Johan Bülow products garnish the shelves in the reputable Harvey Nichols deli department and Fortnum & Masons, as well as selected boutiques across town.
At present products are sold across most of Europe as well as America and Dubai. But in Johan’s opinion, too much of the world is still missing out. His vision for the company is to spread his love for liquorice around the globe. Not only the sweet kind, not only the salty one, but the whole spectrum of flavours that can be achieved when using liquorice as a spice.
Fun fact – Lakrids by Johan Bülow has one of the most copied packing in Denmark, the small box with the black lid.