This year’s Australia day was uncomfortably hot. With temperatures soaring above 40 degrees, our family was already regretting our decision to wander around the Sydney city on the day. Being a Saturday, our stroll diverted to the Rocks markets, and we decided to try out some freshly made drinks to cool ourselves down. As we sat down in the marquees to enjoy the drinks, a terrace house with the name ‘The licorice shop’ caught our attention. A kid I was once again, and decided to succumb to the temptation to visit the shop and see what is special about the liquorice there to be in this maker’s market. (The Rocks markets is renowned to be a maker’s market, with the makers selling their produce/ products themselves there).
For starters, liquorice is an item of confectionary, the extract of which is made from the root of a plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, and is very popular in European countries. Australia has developed a liking towards liquorices too, and the run-off-the-mill varieties are readily available in the supermarket chain shops. Sweetened like candies and the prominent content being aniseed oil, the actual liquorice content in these confectionaries is however estimated to be very low. That is precisely why this particular liquorice shop ignited my curiosity in a maker’s market that is The Rocks.
To my pleasant surprise, this little shop owned by an elderly couple, Ric and Pam, contained liquorices in all sorts, colours and tastes, ranging from ginger and rhubarb to mango to celery and turmeric. Well, who would have thought turmeric could be part of liquorice!As I stood there with our eyes (and potentially mouths) wide open, Ric approached us holding a pack of blood red coloured liquorices and said, “Hello mates, why don’t you taste these beetroot and acai berry fusion piece?”. Brought back to reality, I tried the piece and the experience was more like ‘love at first taste’. Before we could even look at a few others to pick the ones to buy, Ric opened a few more packs, and generously fed us with mango, turmeric, strawberry, chocolate flavours and what not.
“Are these handmade?”, I managed to ask indistinctly, making use of a split second I got in the midst of devouring the explosion of flavours I had in my mouth. Observing that I could take a break from chewing he offered me more while replying “Yes, hey you should try this”, “how beautiful is this subtle flavour of turmeric”, “have you ever tried black liquorice” and so forth. In just a matter of 10 minutes, we had tasted more than what we ever imagined we could!
Saying no to the rest of the offers to taste their exquisite line, (he certainly did make us feel guilty for having to say no!), I tried to choose some to buy; and whilst at it, also picked up a plastic bag full of green and red liquorices, and asked him how much it costs. The reply was prompt, “that’s our gift to you, Happy Australia day!”. Honestly, I can’t think of a better instance where someone offered me something more warmly than this, to share the spirit of Australia day. Even in the midst of opinions that this day should not be observed as it is offensive to a part of the community (which I totally understand why it is so), I see this day as the one where every Australian, no matter what their caste, creed or background is, share the spirit of being an Australian!
And this handful of liquorice did reinforce that impression of mine.
If you would like to try out some of their liquorices, you can buy it online – The Licorice Shop
*This is not a sponsored post, and no compensation has been accepted for this post.