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Aniseed Balls

in Licorice
Aniseed balls

Aniseed balls are a type of hard round sweet sold in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. They are hard like Gobstoppers, but generally only 1cm across. We would sell aniseed balls by weight (usually in multiples of 100g), traditionally they were sold by  the quarter pound.

They are flavoured by aniseed oil, have a very strong aniseed flavour, and last for a long time in the mouth before dissolving. Some manufacturers place a whole rapeseed in the centre of the aniseed ball which is used for forming layers of sugar around, ours use a sugar crystal.

At one time we had red aniseed balls which are the same size and colour as Jaffas – makes for a bit of confusion when my young clients come in looking for a chocolate treat and hand me the aniseed jar! Aniseed balls now come in a dark maroon colour.

At the club next to the shop each month there was a 1950s dance night which afficionados come to from miles around. It seems a majority of the visitors enjoy aniseed flavour during their dance activities and made sure they included aniseed balls in their supply for the night.

You will get 32 aniseed balls in 100g although its rare for a fan to buy only 100g, more likely to be 200g or even $10 worth. They keep for a long time and don’t appear to be affected by humidity or heat although I do keep them in a glass jar with a screw top lid.

I have been compiling lists of confectionery items that are suitable for various food intolerances and lifestyle diet choices – aniseed balls are on the list as suitable for those with lactose intolerance as well as gluten free and vegan diets. Although aniseed balls don’t contain nuts they are manufactured on machinery where they may be exposed to traces of nuts so we don’t recommend them for those with nut allergies.

In a later post I’ll talk about how the local fishermen use aniseed balls to improve both the quality and quantity of their catch. Intriguing……

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