Hooray! The stork paid a visit. It’s a boy! Isn’t he cute?
Question: where do you find the best honey in the Netherlands?
Answer: in the Hollandse Biesbosch. And since 2019, you can find it in The Best Honey Licorice as well.
New packaging! And not just any packaging, but ones made of bio-compostable materials. To ensure that, at one glance, you know you’re making an environmentally conscious choice by buying The Best Licorice Ever, you’ll find new sustainability labels on the packaging. In other words, this licor-is the full package.
The history of The Best Licorice Ever starts in 2015. Well, no, actually, it starts in 1990 when Klepper Sr. (who was still called Willem Klepper since Klepper Jr. hadn’t been born yet) opened shop on the market of Alkmaar.
By 2015, Klepper Sr. had already been on the market for 25 years. So, for the occasion, he wanted to create the most delicious licorice ever to gift his customers. With all his experience, he knew what he liked, and more importantly what his customers liked: sweet licorice with a hint of salmiak to make it savory, and a pleasant bite. Not too hard, not too soft. We like to consider it a nostalgic bite, a reminder of the drugstore licorice of times long gone.
He put the ingredients down on paper and, together with Klepper Jr., they set off to a licorice manufacturer. After some time experimenting with measurements and drying times, they finally succeed: the most delicious licorice ever is ready to be sold.
Their plan is to give away 1200 bags. But those 1200 bags are gone in no-time. Klepper & Klepper seems to have gold in their hands, black gold. Klepper Sr.’s customers are in total agreement with him; this really is the best tasting licorice ever. It’s head and shoulders above the rest. People keep coming back and from all over the country. Every now and then you come across a lost man from Zeeland (200Km away!), and they love licorice there too. Sadly, Klepper Sr. had to disappoint the people. The best licorice ever was an anniversary licorice. It will never return.
But that was outside of Klepper Jr. calculated…
Klepper Jr. realized there was more to this piece of licorice. A lot more. Especially because it lacks two things: gluten and gelatin. The recipe doesn’t contain gelatin. And the wheat starch normally used in the production of licorice has been replaced by potato starch, which makes it gluten-free as well.
This licorice, as Klepper Jr. understands it—and he has studied commercial economy, meaning that he does indeed understand these things, and sees its possibilities—comes at exactly the right time. No gluten or gelatin, but a whole lot of love: that’s exactly what the people want nowadays. And they’ll gladly take a little detour to come to get it.
The Klepper candy (as the best tasting licorice ever was popularly called) needs its own packaging and a name that tells people what to expect; a name that speaks to the imagination of people who have never even heard of Klepper Sr.’s market stall. This is how, after much deliberation, Klepper & Klepper decided on what to call this sweet and tasty treat. They decided not to hide the innate bravado that characterizes market stall owners. This really is The Best Licorice Ever. No more, no less.
After they had gotten a packaging made to ensure The Best Licorice Ever gets just the right amount of ‘dryness,’ Klepper Jr. sets out to get the licorice into the better specialist shops. His method is as simple as it is daring. He knows that once people have tasted it, the licorice will sell itself. He puts some boxes in the trunk of his car and visits the specialist shops that he thinks should be selling their licorice. He gives each owner a box and says, ‘Try it. If you want more, you know where to find me.’ He hands over his business card and walks out of the shop, knowing he will get a call asking for some more boxes within a few days later.
Now, within a year, The Best Licorice Ever has become available throughout the Netherlands. You can’t find it in the supermarket, however. Regularly, we find ourselves on the phone with supermarkets, or find an email in our inbox, saying that The Best Licorice Ever can’t be missing from their shelves. Klepper & Klepper kindly refuse their offers each and every time. They prefer The Best Licorice Ever to retain some of its exclusivity. And they know: once it’s on the shelves of a supermarket, sooner or later they will try to advertise with special prizes. There will be no special prizes for The Best Licorice Ever. There’s no need for it, our licorice is special enough as it is. Like a good cigar, The Best Licorice Ever can be enjoyed most by sitting in your favorite chair. What’s more special than that? Currently, our licorice is available in 2500 stores. In the Netherlands, that is. But The Best Licorice Ever is not just available in the Netherlands anymore.
After The Best Licorice Ever, as it’s called, reached national coverage, it’s time for the next chapter. The Best Licorice Ever deserves a salty edition. And as Klepper Sr. knows, that’s no easy task, because licorice often becomes too salty. Salty licorice also dries out quickly, which makes it as hard as a rock. So, besides the perfect recipe, you need to experiment with the drying times.
However, before going into the licorice lab to experiment, Klepper & Klepper set out to search for the best salt in the world. Eventually, they find it in unrefined Celtic sea salt. This is harvested by hand and rich in minerals. According to some, this means that it’s good for one’s blood pressure. Others believe it to be nonsense. But nonsense or not: it’s the perfect base ingredient for The Best Salty Licorice Ever. Time to pay the lab a visit.
The success of The Best Licorice Ever does not go unnoticed. More and more newspapers and (trade) magazines write about it. The word to mouth publicity goes lightning fast. Stores put boxes of The Best Licorice Ever behind their windows to lure customers. Even the Telegraaf, a big Dutch newspaper, does an elaborate article on The Best Licorice Ever. In 2019, Klepper & Klepper decide it’s time for a new challenge. And that may very well be their biggest challenge yet: creating The Best Honey Licorice Ever.
How many types of honey licorice exist that are truly delicious? Not that many. Like with salty licorice, the drying times of honey licorice are crucial if you don’t want the licorice to become too hard to chew. And if you don’t get the recipe right, it easily becomes too sweet. Or you won’t even taste the honey. All in all, it was time to drive the licorice manufacturer of Klepper & Klepper nuts again.
First, however, they’d need to find the best honey in the Netherlands. Klepper & Klepper eventually found it in the Biesbosch, at a small, independent beekeeper who produces his honey in a biological way. He does this without the use of chemicals or pesticides and takes the living environment of the plants and bees into account. So, happy bees, happy nature, and a happy Klepper & Klepper. And therefore, you can be happy too. Because the idea alone that this licorice is completely biological already makes it taste so much better. Just go ahead and admit it. However, turning nature-friendly honey into licorice would be the next step.
This next step obviously took a very long time, but eventually, we succeeded. On May 20, 2019, on World Bee Day, The Best Honey Licorice Ever became a fact. Of course, it has no gluten or gelatin whatsoever, but it does contain 12% pure honey from the Biesbosch.
In late 2019, Klepper & Klepper decide it’s time to look across the border. Because taking a licorice-country like the Netherlands by storm is great but hooking the rest of the world on licorice is even better. We might be a unique country, but it is a bit weird that no one else loves licorice like we do. Weird enough that we’re convinced there’s been a mistake. Those other countries love licorice too, they just don’t know it yet. And the reason why they don’t know is because they haven’t had a taste of The Best Licorice Ever yet.
Early 2020, Klepper & Klepper put the word out. Many countries were interested. There was just one problem: it was this period that a small virus made itself known. That small virus would make a big impression on global trading. But Klepper & Klepper persevered. The Best Licorice Ever starts its international journey in Finland. Canada soon follows. Then Denmark, Norway, Germany, and England did too. We predict: it won’t be long until the whole world gets hooked on The Best Licorice Ever.
While looking across borders, Klepper & Klepper also set their sights on developing The Best Bay Leaf Licorice Ever. This was another case where there is no truly delicious bay leaf licorice. That’s exactly the kind of challenge that Klepper & Klepper are more than willing to sink their teeth into. That way, you can soon sink your teeth into the result. In this case, The Best Bay Leaf Licorice Ever.
Due to bay leaf’s healing properties, bay leaf licorice has never fully disappeared. Bay leaf licorice is great against small ailments like the common cold, sore throat, or even lifeless hair. Additionally, this little wonderous plant also has a smell of invincibility, since the old Romans like to wear crowns of bay leaf whenever they’d won or conquered something (or when they wanted to pretend they had). However, truly delicious bay leaf licorice didn’t exist yet, in Klepper & Klepper’s opinion. “So, I guess it’s up to us then,” said Klepper Sr., who never turned his back on righting a wrong.
Their search for pure bay leaf oil ended in the southwestern corner of North-Brabant at a biological bay leaf breeder. After months of experimenting with the recipe and drying times (and doing market research), they finally put The Best Bay Leaf Licorice on the Dutch market the end August in 2020. The start of an unavoidable victory march.
Klepper & Klepper take every chance they get to draw attention to The Best Licorice Ever, in whatever way they can. More and more fans gather on Instagram to follow the journey of The Best Licorice Ever. In 2019, Klepper & Klepper developed a special tin container to fit two licorice packages. The Best Tin Ever promptly wins The Packaging Award 2020. That same year we launched The Best Licorice Collection Ever, available in the better wholesale stores. Since Christmas 2020, The Best Licorice Ever is included in the Christmas gifts for healthcare workers. Moreover, in the second half of 2021, the website will go live.
In our online webshop, you’ll be able to buy rompers, T-shirts, a deck of cards, a canvas bag, a beanie, and an iPhone phone case with… the beautiful logo of The Best Licorice Ever. Take a look. Who wouldn’t want that?
To call yourself The Best Licorice Ever means you have to the ahead of others on all fronts. When it came to the licorice, there was no doubt that we were: The Best Licorice Ever doesn’t contain gelatin, meaning that Klepper & Klepper can put the Vegan label on three of the four packages. This label is missing from The Best Honey Licorice Ever package because bees are needed to make honey.
Klepper & Klepper were convinced that even the packaging itself had to be ‘the best ever’. So, they started developing. The result: a fully compostable package. No other licorice can claim to be contained in such a package. Next to the Vegan label, you’ll find labels of the FSC and Milieu Centraal, the Dutch environmental foundation. The packaging is made of bioplastic, a plastic made out of plant materials, in this case cellulose.
All in all, that’s the story of Klepper & Klepper and The Best Licorice Ever. We won’t rule out the chance of more flavours in the future. Better yet: we’re pretty sure there will be more. In 2022, The Best Sweet Licorice Ever, The Best Salty Licorice Ever, The Best Honey Licorice Ever, and The Best Bay Leaf Licorice Ever, will be joined by a new flavour. We can’t tell you what flavour it is yet (copycats are lurking everywhere). For now, we can only give you one piece of advice: keep an eye out for the website…