Haupt Lakrits: A rebel in liquorice land
By Emma Rodin | Photos: Haupt
Have you ever tried real liquorice? Are you sure? Before you answer, go get yourself a creation (or two) from dedicated liquorice-maker Haupt Lakrits, and you might think again. This is unapologetically good liquorice that will turn even the fussiest sweet-tooth into a liquorice fanatic.
The Swedish-born brand Haupt Lakrits came about because the founder Christian Haupt had a “boring job”, and wanted to bring some fun into his life. He launched Haupt Lakrits, and it was an instant smash hit. Actually, that’s a lie…
“We set off with a small-scale production and the humble goal of making the world’s best liquorice,” says Rasmus Ragnarsson, captain of liquorice operations (yes, that is his real title). “We had zero knowledge, expensive recipes and exclusive packaging, and it really didn’t work. “In 2020, we even thought we would close down.”
But everything changed when they launched Svenskjävlar! (which translates as ‘Silly Swedes!’) – the world’s saltiest liquorice. And since then, it looks like that smash hit came about after all.
Keeping it real
When making magic in their liquorice laboratory, the small team at Haupt Lakrits always strive to be different. Sure, the liquorice market is full of choice, but many products don’t contain much liquorice at all. Often, synthetic aromas and anise, which is similar in flavour, are used instead.
“Our liquorice contains at least nine per cent liquorice and we source it from Calabria in southern Italy, because that’s the best you can get when it comes to quality,” explains Ragnarsson. The aim of the game is to create products with tonnes of character that are unlike anything customers have ever tried. Each bite should take you on a taste-bud-tingling journey of memories, scents and emotions.
The team take their time with production. The liquorice mix is cooked for a long time and, like in cheese making, is then left to mature for up to two months. This develops the flavours and creates the desired al dente texture.
A winning line-up
Back to the Silly Swedes (the liquorice, not the people). The product was launched with a ‘we’ll show them’ attitude, after Haupt Lakrits received feedback that their liquorice wasn’t salty enough.
“We like to describe Svenskjävlar! as a real monster in our line-up. It’s made of a liquorice-style cream wrapped in salty liquorice, with a brutal amount of salmiac salt. Some hate it and some love it. Some are obsessed with it, buying several kilos at a time. If you manage to find a saltier liquorice than this, we’d love to see it,” says Ragnarsson.
Aside from liquorice, Haupt Lakrits also sells chocolate variants. Particularly popular is Fucking Fabulous, launched as a tribute to the customers who supported the brand through the COVID-19 pandemic. Fucking Fabulous blends salty liquorice with white chocolate, and is flavoured with burnt sugar and birch-smoked sea salt from the Icelandic fjords. Think dulce de leche, and you’ll get the gist.
“As much as we love thinking outside the box, we’ve also made some, let’s say, less successful products over time. One was a liquorice flavoured with potato, punch, lingonberry and dill,” recalls Ragnarsson. “But at least we had fun. I mean, how could we not? We work in confectionary.”
Travels for flavour
This year, Haupt Lakrits are trialling a new concept that will see them travel to countries where liquorice is lesser-known, to discover new and exciting flavours. One such trip took the team to Kyoto in Japan. The result? A salty liquorice with white chocolate, paired with cherry blossom and Japanese snow salt.
“The cherry blossoms were hand-picked and preserved, and turned into a cherry infusion. I’d say this is the best new product the market has seen in many, many years,” says Ragnarsson.
And for those still struggling to get aboard the liquorice train, Haupt Lakrits will launch a liquorice tasting kit for beginners – just in time for the International Liquorice Day on April 12. The kit will give a taste of everything from liquorice root and powder, to liquorice flavoured with the five basic tastes of sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami. This is a great springboard for liking liquorice, and maybe even loving it.
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