The liquorice of Calabria presents itself with dried, ochre yellow roots, characterized by pure dark juice, almost black, intense, persistent, and unique flavour.
The fresh liquorice root, which grows all over the Mediterranean, only here found the best mix of calcareous and argillaceous land for obtaining what is considered the best liquorice in the world. It grows wild in these areas, but both cultivation and harvesting follow strict protocols: the roots are cut or chopped and boiled in large boilers, where a slow and prolonged preparation allows obtaining a thick and dark paste, which is then transformed into grains or black shapes of various sizes.
Only from Calabria
Especially Rossano, but also Corigliano, Castrovillari, and other municipalities in the province of Cosenza, are agricultural and tourist areas which have had the gift of a variety of liquorice that in other lands does not give the same results in terms of flavour and aroma. The Consortium created for safeguarding this production has received by the European Union the approval of its Protected Designation of Origin - DOP, which has awarded centuries of cultivation and production, always the same as in the past, with no contamination, for maintaining a purity which does not give in.
In Italy, almost 30,000 tons of liquorice roots of Calabria are processed, of which about 80% goes abroad. France, Netherland and England, and increasingly USA, are the main export markets for different categories of customers: from the confectionery sector, to the one of spirits (liquorice’s intense aromas make it an essential ingredient for liquors, especially the ones with a high alcohol content), pharmaceutical (for instance, thanks to its capacity of covering unpleasant tastes, it is used for correcting the taste of medicines), and herbal one.
The ‘marriages’ of liquorice
With such a pure and checked product, it has been possible to create lines where highly pure liquorice juice could be combined with as much pure essences, such as anise, fennel, mint, almost always without sugar for enhancing its sweet and digestive pleasure.
In addition, the root of Calabria is also rich in glycyrrhizine, the substance which tricks our body as for nicotine, thanks to its both relaxing and invigorating actions. The pleasure of having in their mouth a root characterized by intense flavour helps smokers to smoke less.
The nice dress of liquorice
The painted tins with subjects in art nouveau style, either naturalistic or artistic, where red and black predominate alongside with gold, won specialized markets. From Kadewe in Berlin to Whole Foods in New York, the cans that resound with their sweet content of liquorice are in customers’ pockets all over the world. The packaging in paper, too, generally clearer and characterized by a more retro style, are much appreciated.