When one decides to go abroad, there are many factors to consider: where to live, the best places to go out, the culture and values, cost of living, the public transport system and of course, the culinary delights (or horrors) that a country has to offer.
If you’re like me, then you love food. Eating is not merely a matter of survival. Yes, my friend, it’s an experience.
Food brings people together. It’s an opportunity to have hilariously inappropriate conversations complete with sexual innuendo over some borrelhapjes. Food can bring about that twinge of nostalgia for that time you were on your heavenly vacation in some exotic faraway land. If you’re exceptionally hungry, food can restore you back to a normal state from the crazed grumpy person you were before you ate. Delicious nutrition can turn your mood from sour to sweet in a matter of seconds.
Speaking of sweet, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you will certainly want to dive into the wonderland of sweets that whatever country you’re in has to offer. You know, get some sugar into your blood and start bouncing off the walls like a five-year-old child. Being a Canadian, I’ve had unrestrained access to junk food. So naturally, I’d want to discover how the Dutch satisfy their sweet tooth.
If you live in the Netherlands, you’ll have come across or will come across the infamous drop, otherwise known as the Dutch version of black liquorice for all you English-speakers. You’ll see these candies everywhere: at the Albert Heijn in your neighbourhood, the HEMA around the corner, the market down the street and even in pharmacies.
But don’t be fooled, these “tasty” treats are anything but ordinary. If you’re brave enough, you can even try the various eccentric drop flavours and their accompanying shapes. I shudder at the thought of those atrocities. But, to the Dutch tongue, these candies are undoubtedly super lekker!
To the foreign tongue, however, it’s something that needs preparation. If you’re trying to look pretty or half-way decent, beware, your face will distort into something that resembles a constipated gremlin or anything that doesn’t look human.
The science behind the Dutch drop
Let’s take a look at this through a somewhat-scientific lens, shall we? Why do people either love or hate black licorice? Well, according to this interesting NBC news article, it could actually be that people are born with an inherent liking or a disliking towards black licorice. It looks like in addition to being really tall, your undying love for drop is running through your veins, Dutchies!
Let me drop some more knowledge on you (sorry, couldn’t resist). Did you know that there are actually health-related dangers when it comes to eating black licorice? It could even cause heart problems if consumed in high quantities. Somehow, I don’t think this would deter Dutchies from consuming a shitload of drop. They are world-class pros when it comes to biking in dangerous situations so why would a little candy be any cause for concern?
If you do feel a little worried, I have some good news. It’s somewhat contradicting but black licorice is known to possess some health benefits too. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat a variety of ailments.
Having a Dutch drop? Nee, dankjewel!
Whatever the case may be, I’m sure as hell avoiding drop like the plague. Ever heard of the saying, once you go black, you’ll never go back? That doesn’t apply here, at least not for people who weren’t born the natural ability to enjoy this cornerstone of Dutch cuisine.
The first time (and last time) I had drop was at work. My co-worker had an assorted bag of candy and offered some to me. I happily accepted, unaware that it also contained this strange Dutch variety of black licorice. Unfortunately for me, that’s the one I chose. I immediately scrunched up my face in disgust and spit the half-chewed candy into the garbage followed by a “Bleh!”. Needless to say, my co-workers found my reaction amusing.
Well, regardless of whether or not you like drop, we can rejoice in the fact that generally speaking, most of us love candy, sweets, treats, sugar…whatever. I think I’ll just be sticking to stroopwafels from now on.
What about you? How do you like the Dutch drop? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image: Angelbattle bros/Flickr