Licorice: A Dark and Salty Stranger

Licorice is a polarizing candy: there are those who pick out the black jelly beans, those who think Twizzlers are better than Red Vines, and those who won't travel without a supply of salty dark lozenges. The dark and chewy treat begins life as a plant root that is more than fifty times as sweet as sugar. This episode, we tell the story of how a traditional remedy become England's first branded candy, and we get to the bottom of a medical mystery (licorice poisoning!) in a tale that involves both Tutankhamun and Henry VIII. 

Episode Notes

Heather Copley and Farmer Copleys

Heather Copley is the managing director of Farmer Copleys, which is, as far as we know, the only commercial farm in the north of England that grows licorice today. In September this year, she’s planning to open the farm for a licorice experience, so that visitors can harvest roots and eat fresh licorice in the field.

Carol Wilson and Liquorice: A Cookbook

Carol Wilson is a food writer and cookery consultant, as well as the author of many articles and books about food, including Liquorice: A Cookbook.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee is a former doctor and professor emeritus of clinical pharmacology at Edinburgh University. A fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, he has authored 180 papers, including Liquorice: the journey of the sweet root from Mesopotamia to England.

Beth Kimmerle and Candy: The Sweet History

Beth Kimmerle is an innovation and sensory consultant to the food business, particularly candy companies, and has written several books, including Candy: The Sweet History.

Jukka Annala

Jukka Annala is a salmiakki enthusiast and chairman of the Finnish Salty Liquorice Association. His nonprofit gives out an award for the best salty licorice every year in Helsinki, Finland.

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Click here for a transcript of the show. Please note that the transcript is provided as a courtesy and may contain errors