I recently picked up Panda Licorice – Raspberry for the first time at a local health food store. I had never heard of the brand, but I’m a sucker for raspberry licorice, so I opted for it over the Original Black flavor (also called Original Soft).
The weird thing about Panda licorice is that it seems to be a Finnish company and has been around since 1927! (according to the bag). That’s a pretty long time for a candy I have never heard of. They must have just gotten stateside in the last few years.
The best fat-free, gelatin free, non-GMO licorice you can find at a health store (not a lot of competition)
The licorice is marketed as a “healthy” licorice as they use many of the buzz words you would find common at a health food store. There are not organic, but they are (again, according to the bag) fat-free, gelatin free, non-GMO, with no preservatives. Oh, it’s also vegan, kosher certified, and made with no hydrogenated fats. It sounds a little too good to be true and the nutrition facts seem to confirm this. Though they are all of those things, they have just as many carbs as normal candy. Perhaps the only advantage is that you can tell yourself that this licorice is better for you than Twizzlers.
What supremely impressive is that the candy’s ingredients are simple and readable. I always prefer a candy where you can understand what is going into it. Kudos to Panda licorice for actually practicing what it preaches!
The candy itself is good. When you first see them in the bag, they look almost like black licorice–that’s how deep the red is. Though it’s probably an odd thing to say, I love their packaging. It’s resealable, easy to open and made from an eco-friendly paper product, just as you would expect. There are a good amount pieces in the bag too. Even for someone like me, it took me a few sittings to get through its entirety. They seemingly cost more than run-of-the-mill licorice, but it does seem like they will last you a while making it worth the $5/bag.
The licorice is honeycomb-shaped and bite-sized, which makes for an interesting eating experience. It’s got little pockets of air with each piece. However, they are very sticky. Do not expect to be able to work and eat these at the same time. Honestly, the film that it leaves on your fingers almost turned me off to the whole candy; it shouldn’t be the case that a licorice has lasting effects like this. I should be able to eat them easily on the go!
That being said, I would definitely give Panda candies another go. You can’t wrong with a well-made and delicious piece of licorice! An OMG.