Although Klepper & Klepper love all their licorice sweets equally (both in their own way), The Best Sweet Licorice Ever has a special place in their hearts. After all, this was the licorice candy that started it all. This was the very first Best Licorice Ever.
It’s Valentine’s Day 1990, Klepper Sr. ‘s very first day on the Alkmaar market stall. It’s raining and stormy. It’s raining cats and dogs, as they say. But still, people come to Klepper Sr.’s market stall to buy sweets, which makes an indelible impression on Klepper Sr.: ‘When people make so much effort to buy sweets, you should give them something in return. You should offer the best quality imaginable. Something they won’t find in the supermarket.’ He solemnly swears: ‘As long as I am on the market, I will offer my customers the best candy there is.’ Klepper Sr. doesn’t know it yet, but there at that moment, lay the seed for The Best Licorice Ever.
Even when you resolve to offer your customers only the best quality, it can go wrong sometimes and that’s okay. A mistake can be turned around. It’s at these times when unexpected discoveries are made. Scientists call it serendipity. Klepper & Klepper call it The Wet Bat Effect. Here’s why: Somewhere in the early 21st century Klepper Sr. sold a licorice candy in the shape of a bat. The recipe wasn’t right; they attracted moisture and became soggy. With Klepper Sr.’s oath in mind, he couldn’t sell the bat licorice. But people kept on asking about it. Klepper Sr. learned that even licorice candy that isn’t quite right could have avid fans.
When Klepper Sr. came up with the idea to celebrate his 25th anniversary with an anniversary licorice, Klepper Jr. (who had spent many hours on his father’s market stall) was immediately enthusiastic. Thanks to his wealth of experience, Klepper Sr. knows exactly what the typical Dutch person likes. He remembers the bat licorice. To ensure the licorice doesn’t get soggy, Klepper & Klepper figure out that the licorice’s starch content might be the issue. They get to work on the recipe at an independent licorice maker. Due to the evolving recipe, there’s no longer gluten or gelatin in the candy
Klepper & Klepper continue to experiment with the ingredients and the drying time until it is just right; the sweetness (with a hint of spice), the mouthfeel, the texture and the soft chewiness. That’s what licorice should taste like! Klepper Sr. has developed the licorice for his faithful customers, to thank them for many years of loyalty. But even when all the licorice has been given away, people keep coming back for more. They have never tasted such delicious licorice. “There’s more to this,” thinks Klepper Jr. to himself. Not too long after, he says it out loud to his father.
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