There is something about licorice that makes me become a little kid again. I love all sorts of licorice from the pure to the sweet and everything in between. I still buy the Haribo wheels and slowly unravel them while I eat them. I bite off the head of the licorice fish first. There are all sorts of rituals that one has especially as a kid when eating ice cream or cookies or sucking on lollipops and to each their own, of course. I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in one of the world’s top producing licorice regions in the South of Italy and discovered yet another way in which to enjoy licorice.
Amarelli has been a licorice producer since 1731 in the southern Italian region of Calabria. They make pure licorice squares (not for the faint at heart), anise infused, mint coated and several other methods. Their packaging is still the same and is exquisitely retro. What I had never tasted before and was told is harder to find when you leave the region are their “Sassolini” (pebbles). They are anise infused licorice covered in a hard sugar coating (like Italian almond “confetti”) made to look like the pebbles common along the coast of Calabria. After the sugar slowly melts away in your mouth you are left with the savory licorice and anise flavor that lingers even when it is all gone. If you have an Italian specialty store nearby you might ask to see if they have some and if you are a licorice lover then you are in for a treat.