Friday, December 12, 2014
Licorice + Calpis = greatness
When I was in Sweden in October I visited a shop that sells only licorice themed things. Candy, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. I bought something called "licorice essence", that you can use to make licorice flavored cakes etc.
When my brother visited Sapporo recently we went to Ropossa and had lots of fun. My brother had brought some licorice candy, and a Japanese guy we ran into there thought it would be a great idea to trick everyone into eating this, that Japanese people consider to me slightly more disgusting that chewing on dirty bicycle tires or something else they would never ever consider eating.
In Ropossa they also serve flavored Calpis. Calpis is some kind of yogurt flavored sports drink, and you can get it with strawberry, melon, grape, original, and many other flavors. I once mentioned that I had bought this licorice essence and that it would be interesting to try to make licorice Calpis with it. No one else thought that sounded remotely interesting or like a great idea, but I brought my licorice essence to Ropossa anyway.
I got to mix the essence with non-flavored Calpis, and got something looking vaguely like coffee. To me it tasted mainly of Calpis, and a little bit of licorice. To everyone else, it tasted so bad they had no idea if there was any trace of Calpis taste left. And this horrible taste stuck in the mouth for a long time too, they complained. If you let it wait for awhile, the licorice taste became stronger (maybe the ice in the glass melted and diluted the Calpis taste a bit?), which was great.
In the end, they took half my glass of excellent licorice Calpis and put it in the freezer. They want to give it to another regular customer there who hates strange food. Since all "normal" Japanese already hate licorice, they believe tricking him into drinking this will be great. And he usually drinks ice coffee, that looks pretty much the same too.