Deep thoughts on the way to Bath

Comparisons are supposedly odious, but I personally find them very useful. And while I have determined not to make any distinctions between French and English cuisines – leaving that to so many others – there is one aspect that has not been sufficiently covered.

I speak of licorice, my confection of choice.

While driving through France, we kept a small supply of candy in our car, for those emergency situations when stress or meal timing required some supplemental nourishment. (And it was amazing how often these situations arose.)

My candy of choice is licorice, which is something I love and which has the added benefit of being detested by Don. No pilfering to worry about there, as his palate is not sophisticated enough to appreciate this delicacy.

After investigating the few brands which cater to my addiction, I have to admit that this was one area where the French let me down. I tried, believe me, but never could quite fall in love with the versions found there. The flavor was not married properly with the textures available – most of which were rubbery to an extreme. I persisted in adapting to the local conditions, but it was a struggle at times.

I realized that my standards were set long ago by the king of licorice, Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts. The quality of this brand just cannot be surpassed. The variety of textures, the nuances of licorice-ness, the colors, the lovely melding with coconut, the chewability…the mind boggles at the amount of sheer perfection available in a bag, box or tin of this wonder. Perhaps a visual comparison and a close-up tell the story?

England, you have so many things to offer the humble tourist. But I wanted to take this moment to thank you and the people of Bassett’s for your contribution to the world of licorice. What an achievement!

(Regarding other temptations, we are trying very hard not to become enamored of a new UK treat to which we were recently introduced: cinder toffee. As we’ve never seen it in the US, getting attached would be problematic but we’ll enjoy each other’s company while we are here.)

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