Scandinavian salty licorice can hit you like a stinging lump of tar, so punishingly astringent you scramble for anything even vaguely napkinlike to spit it into. But in Portland, Oregon, a company harvesting sea salt makes a salty licorice you want to linger over till dissolved. Jacobsen Salt Co. launched Salty Black Licorice last fall, without much buzz. Owner Ben Jacobsen poked around Scandinavia, learning to harvest salt and also—go figure—developing a thing for salty licorice. In Oregon, he spent a year collaborating with Quin, a Portland confectioner. Sure, abrasive Nordic licorice was the model, but as Jacobsen Salt Co.’s Sana Goldberg says, “we wanted to make it more palatable, and have it retain little sparks of salt.” It does, in tiny crystals spread across a black-brown field of caramel-soft licorice. The taste comes from anise oil—it freshens the mouth and settles the stomach, like the Indian seed and sugar mix saunf, without losing focus on the salt. And Jacobsen produces really beautiful salt.
Photo by Chris Rochelle