Monday, February 6, 2012

Dutch Drops


Have you ever tasted Old Timer's Candy from the Netherlands?  It was my first time this week to taste the most popular Dutch sweet, a liquorice candy they call "drop." The first ones in my family who tasted it said that the taste was terrible, the couple who brought it with them from Amsterdam said that was their first reaction when they had it the first time.  One develops a liking for it they say.

When you put the drop in your mouth, the first taste that would register is the saltiness, followed by bitterness.  As you go on chewing, which I did, the flavor starts to explode.  To others, this is the time the taste becomes revolting.  Most Filipino kids would throw this candy out after chewing.  Anyway, I went on chewing the drop I had, figuring out what was the aroma I was picking up.  After finishing the candy I finally had it; it was ammonia!  Out of curiosity I checked out what these drops are made of.  Wikipedia states that it is made of licorice root which is commonly used in liquor and medicines.  In the Netherlands, they mix it with ammonium chloride, and they call this Salmiak.  The one mixed with table salt is called the zoute drop.  I figured that the drop I had is Salmiak because of the smell of ammonia while chewing.  
Drops given by Auntie Anita from the Netherlands

Coated liquorice candy.
These ones taste a lot better than the former.
While chewing drops I felt clearing of airways.  I had colds that day and it provided a temporary relief.  I learned that it is good when one has a cough or has mouth ulcers.  I also learned that this has to be taken in moderation because it is toxic when taken in excess.  It can cause hypertension and muscle weakness.

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