• I Want Candy

    by  • 27 Mar ’06 • me • 43 Comments

    When I was younger, my favorite treat at the candy shops in the malls was the red licorice shoelace. I’d tie them into knots and gobble them up before I’d make it to the parking lot. I have been craving them for some time, and I think I may never taste them again.

    The problem is that, a number of years ago, some genius and his focus groups decided to change the formula for the red shoelace licorice, making it taste like Twizzlers. Extensive field research has brought me to the conclusion that all shoelace licorice throughout the malls of America is produced in the same factory, by the same Oompa Loompa gulag, because it all tastes like Twizzlers. If I want a Twizzler, I’ll buy a goddamn Twizzler. I really don’t understand this switch, as a business decision. Why be just like a ubiquitous, multi-million dollar product?

    Two years ago, I discovered at Penn Station a candy from Necco called Danish Ribbons that, lo and behold, tasted just like shoelace licorice. I bought a roll just about every day on the way home to the Long Island Rail Road. Unfortunately, this only lasted a few weeks before Hudson News stopped carrying it. My recent internet sleuthing has revealed that the candy has been discontinued. Curse you, candy oligarchs!

    It’s a bitter reminder of another traumatic candy loss: the original Good and Fruity. Good and Fruity is the sweeter sequel product to the candy covered black licorice product, Good and Plenty. The original Good and Fruity was candy covered red licorice, but many years ago, before shoelace went Twizzler, Good and Fruity replaced its licorice filling with jelly bean-like goo.

    So, I’ve been on the search for another candy with that old licorice flavor. I have tried Kookaburra licorice (tastes like gelatinous fruit snacks), Panda licorice (tastes like prunes), Finska licorice (tastes like fruit roll-ups). I’m running out of options. I’ve been searching various “olde tyme candy shoppe” websites, but flavor is a hard thing to describe. One promises red licorice laces that are “not the shiny red ‘licorice’ laces that taste like those famous spiral red licorice sticks. Instead ‘Old Fashioned’ tasting laces from our youth.” I have my doubts. In any event, I can’t figure out how to order them.

    I’m intrigued by Red Vines, since some descriptions have hinted that they might be the flavor I’m looking for. Besides, I have heard that Red Vines plus Mr. Pibb equals crazy delicious (of course, neither of those products can actually be purchased in New York on a lazy Sunday or any other day).

    It has been suggested to me that perhaps the only way that I will ever taste real red licorice laces again is to launch a campaign, but I think I have my hands full with other, more pressing campaigns. So get to work, Internet! Launch the online petitions. Start the blogs. Let’s get some banner ads. You can do it!

    And if you can’t, then hopefully my crazy pregnant woman cravings will switch back to pickles in a few days.

    43 Responses to I Want Candy

    1. Rebecca
      18 Sep ’07 at 2:31 pm


      I think that the Danish brand of laces is what you are looking for. I almost over dosed on them in England……last time I went I couldn’t find them but they were in a pink bag with an elephant on the front and they were made in Denmark……a little tart…excellent berry flavor….not too sweet. Just like when I was a kid in the 60’s…..

    2. Doug
      5 Jan ’08 at 3:48 am

      I cannot begin to describe to you how hard I laughed while reading your piece. I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about and I have the same problem as you. I’ve looked all over the internet and bought licorice laces from everywhere. Haven’t even gotten close. Everytime I search I am appauled that more people aren’t outraged by this. Whenever I go into a candy store I won’t stop talking about the long lost licorice laces. People sometimes buy me what they think is “the stuff” and it always turns out to be complete crap. Sometimes I fear, like you, that the recipe has been burned and forgotten…

    3. 22 Feb ’09 at 7:53 pm

      i am so relieved to find your blog!! i’ve been feeling so alone when i lament that the red shoelace licorice that’s around is an imposter!!! it’s not the stuff i’d get my parents to buy for me at the mall, (somewhere in the philadelphia area, circa 1974), which i too would tie into knots and stuff into my face before we got to the parking lot!! i have just started the online search for the real stuff, which i am determined to find before i die. i would say the texture is perhaps the same as twizzlers–harder than red vines (which are kind of gummy, as i recall.) i have no idea how to describe the flavor–but it is *completely* different than twizzlers, and far superior! let’s bring back the old red shoelaces!!!it must be done!!! i will persevere!!

      • Teri Lehigh
        26 May ’15 at 1:29 pm

        I have found the red shoelace licorice you are talking about. I live in Hanover, PA and there is a candy and nut store in our town and they get the licorice from the Netherlands. So I am not sure who their supplier is however, I could give you their phone number and I am certain they would appreciate your business. They are a small mom & pop business called The CandyNut Shoppe (Newcomer’s) 1055 Baltimore Street, Hanover, PA 17331 (717)632-3172

    4. Betsy Fox
      12 May ’09 at 11:24 am

      I, too, have been searching for the strawberry laces! It is next to impossible for anyone to help me, as they do not understand what I am looking for. I really can tell what a bad one by the shiny look. The last one I found that was great was at Bed Bath and Beyond in a tub ( 3 years ago). They have since changed formulas and are no longer an option. I have wasted much money in my quest and would love any information people have found in this search.

    5. MM
      18 Oct ’09 at 4:33 pm

      Hello fellow lace lovers,

      I am in the same predicament. My mother tried to get the real strawberry laces for me at the Amish candy stand in Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia–even they seem to have adopted the new formula. Last year I did find the old laces at one of the Middle Eastern stores at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. I plan to go back there to stock up on spices in the next few days and I will ask the proprietor to reorder them (the last time I went he didn’t have any and I regretted not buying his entire stock) because it seems there is a small but passionate consumer base for them here in NYC.

      • 21 Oct ’09 at 7:55 pm

        Miriam, if you find those laces again on Atlantic Ave, you will let us know, won’t you?

    6. Mia
      19 Feb ’10 at 11:19 pm

      I too, am one of you! searching high and low for the “real” laces! I actually did find them in the train station in London.. and i kept the bag for a while so i could find them again in America, or order them from england… but i lost the bag! It had a picture of jeans pocket on the plastic bag.. and darn i can’t remember the name… it was in a small store that carries sundries… candy, papers, what not.. in the Victoria Station.. maybe. It was 6 years ago. Keep me informed!!! I can’t stand the twizzlers version and trust me, Red Vines are not much better.

    7. Elle
      1 Apr ’12 at 10:54 pm

      I have also been searching for years for my favorite original strawberry laces. I have tried many kinds, none measuring up. I thought the originals were made in Denmark. Well, I have great news! Ikea sells Godis Roda Snoren strawberry laces made in Denmark. They are delicious! Only problem is you have to go to the store to buy them. I only bought 4 bags and wish I’d bought 50.

    8. jonathan
      17 Sep ’12 at 11:16 pm

      I too used to love the red laces that were sold at the candy stand at the mall when I was a kid. I’m not sure exactly when they changed the recipe, but one day I realized that the old ones were simply no longer available. I also seem to remember at one point the laces still sorta tasted the way they used to, but instead of solid laces, they were hollowed out like thin tubes. I recently ordered what are known as broadway rolls, which are supposed to be a replica of delfa rolls which we had as kids. Delfa rolls weren’t laces, but they pretty much had that same taste and consistency. I’m waiting for those to arrive. I’m still trying to figure out why they changed the recipe and refuse to bring it back – were they using lead in them or something?

    9. Emanuel
      1 Jan ’13 at 6:53 pm

      I have been looking for them too. I thought that I was crazy because no one seemed to understand my frustration when they brought me the imposter laces and I had to tell them that they were the wrong stuff. I will go to IKEA tomorrow and attempt to buy the Godis Roda Soren laces from Denmark. If they are the right ones I will report back.

    10. Carlos
      10 Mar ’13 at 10:22 pm

      The laces we’re all looking for use to come in a elongated yellow box with blue writing. What was the name of that company?

    11. Shayna
      11 Jul ’13 at 12:38 am

      Ahhhh, I have finally found fellow red lace lovers!!! I hate this crap they have now!!! I live in Coney Island, and there used to be a candy store underneath the train staition called Phillips that carried them, and when they closed down, the news stand on the corner used to carry them, and when THEY closed down, Williams candy store used to carry them. Now everyone has these cheap, waxy, plastic looking things!!!
      Down with the fake, bring back the old!!! If anyone finds them, please post where, or just by a bunch, I’m sure we’ll all buy some from you!!

    12. April
      24 Sep ’13 at 7:55 pm

      The name of the company in the US was Leaf. Delfa Rolls (now Hollywood Rolls) had the exact same flavor as the Danish strawberry laces imported by Leaf. I think they still make the licorice we all knew and loved, you just can’t find it anywhere in the US! I know because I’ve been looking for years! A friend of mine had friends come over from Denmark and I asked him to ask if they would bring licorice to me. They did and it was exactly what I remembered. If I could order from Denmark, I would. I don’t remember the brand or what the package looked like (how dumb was that???) Anyway, I still look (as evidenced by my finding this site). If anybody finds these yummy laces, please share where they can be found!!!

    13. cindy smet
      28 Sep ’13 at 12:16 pm


    14. Maureen
      29 Dec ’13 at 8:29 pm

      I used to get the laces at the ball field where my brother played little league. I would go just to get my licorice! Not even the licorice pipes that they sell now
      taste like the laces. Closest that I have found is the Aussie red. I think our laces, which were hollow, soft & not waxy are a lost treasure, pleasure. …Can’t someone bring them back please??? : (…..

      • Charlie Pecoraro
        29 Jun ’16 at 3:27 pm

        YES, I’m searching like crazy for red licorice pipes. “disconitinued”, said the woman on the other end of the phone at Warrell Corp, who, as far as I could tell, was the manufacturer. I’m heartbroken. Even more heartbroken than when Good & Plenty switched to fruity filling!

    15. Sara June
      24 Jan ’14 at 10:07 pm


      I think you are looking for these. I feel your pain on this one, a lot of the licorice here is filth. Overseas they have perfected it. Yummy!

      • Sue
        11 Aug ’14 at 9:19 pm

        I ordered the 2 lb. package – can’t wait to get them. Hope they are the same ones … keeping fingers crossed. Thanks for the tip!

    16. Jenny
      3 Mar ’14 at 11:22 pm

      So I’m not crazy! My kids have become hooked on shoestring licorice. They go on how great it is, I tasted it and said you don’t know what shoestring licorice is? Which had put me on a mission to get them the real deal. So I looked in old time candy and only had to see them say bag. I know the real stuff is in the box! When I was younger my Mom use to run the candy table for our school at the carnival and fun day. I always went with her to buy the candy. I can only remember the real long yellow box with blue writing on it. That was the real thing! So typing in yellow box licorice has brought me here! Only so sad to see it is no more? We have to find out the maker and ask to bring back by popular demand! Hey look….Pine Brothers honey cough drops came back! Lol😋

    17. James
      30 Jun ’14 at 11:30 pm

      OK Sara I used your link and see the shoestring licorice. It was 12.99$ for the 2 pound bag… and $16.37 shipping to the us. Not sure if it is worth it. I did search for the Godis Roda Snoren and IKEA has it on their europe site but not on US site. Next time I am down at the Ikea in Frisco TX I will look.

    18. Bonnie
      26 Jul ’14 at 5:14 pm

      Finally, a support group for red shoestring licorice lovers!!!!!!Since it disappeared I have been lamenting the disappearance of my favorite candy and trying to explain the difference in taste and color, between the real stuff and the sad impostor, to people. If anyone finds it post it please!!!!

    19. Sue
      11 Aug ’14 at 9:18 pm

      I’m willing to pay $12.99 for two pounds … and yes, the shipping is horrible, but I really, really want these! I just hope they’re the right ones. If they are the ones I remember from the 60’s, I will definitely post on here. Keeping fingers crossed!!

      • Sue
        20 Aug ’14 at 9:47 pm

        Well, expensive, overpriced red licorice shoestrings arrived. After much anticipation, I tore open the box. I could tell at first sight that they weren’t the “good” ones. Not the right texture or color red. Sigh. I’ll be passing these off to people I know. :-(

      • 14 Jun ’17 at 4:38 pm

        I am so disappointed! I was reading the trail of replies nearly holding my breath to read your response to the licorice purchased in Denmark. I will keep reading in hopes that the IKEA brand is the real thing.

    20. Jodi
      22 Jun ’15 at 11:55 am

      I too have been searching for the “old” licorice laces. Not the chemical tasting crap being sold currently. Hoping one of us comes across the real deal one day.

    21. Kathryn
      29 Jun ’15 at 9:03 pm

      Try Broadway licorice rolls at thecandyland.com

    22. Doug
      1 Jul ’15 at 6:46 pm

      Here are my thoughts on the situation:

      This was a very common candy as early as 20-15 years ago. I remember going into candy stores in many different areas and it seemed to be the “normal” stock red lace licorice. For it to disappear as it did probably means the company that was producing it went out of business and the formula went with them. Or they were bought out and the new company decided to change the formula for cost reasons. I will say that red vines get very close to the same after taste the candy had. Based on everything I’ve tried, the formula for red vines is closest. It’s about 30%-40% the same.

      I’ve also bought candy from many, many different areas to see if I could find it again but the texture is a dead giveaway. People have bought me candy, knowing this is my thing, and before I’ve tasted it I told them it’s not the right kind. The other distinction was that it wasn’t ever packaged. It was always tied into knots or maybe 50 laces. It seemed to be only sold in bulk to the candy stores.

      I consider all of you soulmates, btw, and if I ever find it I’ll come back here first.

    23. 10 Oct ’15 at 1:29 am

      I did some homework and found exactly what you are all looking for.

      The Dutch company “Leaf” (1940) made “Danish Ribbon”, which was later changed to be called “Delfa Rolls”. Leaf also supplied the entire US with the strawberry laces we all loved so much.

      Leaf stopped making Delfa Rolls, and at the same time, they also stopped distributing their strawberry laces in bulk to the US.

      Leaf owned Malaco (1934). Malaco is probably most known in the US for the Swedish Fish that we’ve also grown up eating and still see on the shelves everywhere candy is sold.

      Malaco is now the main provider of the strawberry laces.

      The first reply in this thread by Rebecca confirms this. She basically confirmed that she found and bought a bag of laces in England and it had a picture of an elephant on the candy wrapper. Malaco does sell red laces with an elephant on the wrapper. They call it “Malaco Snören Jordgubb”.

      See for yourself:


      Cloetta (1862) is a big company that merged with Leaf an became the “New Cloetta”. Cloetta is most known for Chocolate. Leaf is most known for sweet confection candy. The 2 companies merged as 1 is a huge step forward for both companies and they have benefitted greatly from the merge. Both companies owned many smaller candy companies. Too many companies to list.

      But the US still suffers the loss of the licorice we truly loved.

      For whatever unknown reason, Leaf stopped making Delfa Rolls, but the didn’t stop making strawberry laces, but they did stop exporting their bulk red laces to the US, which explains why the US bulk candy companies now get their horrible tasting red laces from a new supplier.

      My guess is… even if the top execs at Cloetta, Leaf and Malaco were to suddenly decide that they wanted to start supplying red laces to the US again, the major candy companies in the US would probably tell them “no thanks” since they currently have a new supplier of red laces that sell like hot cakes even though they taste like weak strawberry wax and chew like pleather.

      So basically, if you are really desperate for that original Danish Ribbon, Delfa Roll and red laces flavor that you used to be addicted to, you can always decide to order them online, but it won’t be cheap.

      You can easily order them online from Amazon. Just use google and search for “Malaco strawberry laces Amazon” and you will find a link that will bring you right to it.


      But if you do decide to order them online, get as many as you can. Treat yourself to something special and stock up.

      You can also search online for stores in your area, or in the US that sell imported goods from Europe or Scandinavia. Chances are you might find a store that sells imported candy within driving range that carries Malaco strawberry laces.

      Lastly, don’t expect Delfa Rolls to make a return from the dead. Let Delfa Rolls rest in piece. The company called “Garrit” that sells “Garrit’s Broadway Rolls” has stolen the Danish Ribbon/Delfa Roll model and they even claim that they brought Delfa Rolls back and that their new Broadway Rolls are the same licorice that we grew to love in the 60’s, which is hysterically funny considering Garrit has no affiliation with Leaf and the licorice recipe that Garret uses is the same recipe that is being used to make all of the horrible tasting red laces that have infested all of our US bulk candy stores. A recipe that dates back to 2010. If you take a close look at a Broadway Roll you can see very clearly that it is a much brighter red color that looks waxy and the actual ribbon looks different too because it wasn’t made using the same factory machines that made Danish Ribbon and Delfa Rolls. Shame on you Garrit.

      I hope the information I have shared here is both helpful and informative.

      I would personally like to thank Shaun Richman for creating this page and allowing us all to share out thought, feelings, stories, concerns and love for the licorice that once brought us great happiness. It’s nice to know that we all have something in common and can come here and talk about it.


      • 20 Nov ’15 at 12:30 pm

        Unfortunately, the Malaco Snore Jordgubb is a false lead. It’s the same flavor and waxy consistency of the shoelace licorice that is ubiquitous in the U.S.

      • Justin
        14 Mar ’16 at 7:41 pm

        I agree with you Shaun that this is a false lead. The second the package arrived I could see the texture was off. I nonetheless decided to try a few pieces and, at first, it seemed to taste just like the new, waxy garbage. But (as ridiculous/pathetic as this sounds) if you chew on it a bit and then really suck out the flavor, I eventually tasted the exact same taste as the old red laces. The texture was still admittedly nothing like the old ones. Overall, a false lead, but to me they’re still worth buying. Thanks for creating this thread!

    24. Jessica
      18 Dec ’15 at 10:30 pm

      I too feel your licorice laces pain!
      I thought this candy was gone forever after our favorite local candy store closed in the late 90’s and with it our beloved licorice laces.
      HOWEVER, this past summer Cost Plus World Market (in SF Bay Area) had a novelty candy display that included the same licorice laces I remember when I was a kid. No twizzlers tasting nastiness!
      We bought up all we could find, but alas, we ran out of our stash. Here’s hoping they bring it back this summer OR that someone finds out who their supplier was.

    25. S
      31 Dec ’15 at 11:13 pm

      The last time I was able to re-live that flavorful moment was about 22 yrs ago in Ontario, CA at a mom&pop candy store. They are no longer in business. I just rec’d an order of Gustaf’s laces and another major flavor disappointment. It is somewhat consoling to know that I’m not alone on the red laces hunt. However, I’m throwing in the towel. I’ll be taking this pkg to work and donating it to the staff room lunch table. They’ll think it’s wonderful… without ever really knowing what the real flavor should be.

    26. miss e
      9 Apr ’16 at 2:18 am


      i have been mourning the pleasure of my most favorite candie for several decades
      anytime i have tried to locate to find a candy comparable it has been a big bust. the last time i had any comparable it came in a flat rectangular box -red top. almost like the type of box flowers are delivered in. the box was long and the shoestrings were long and were covered with wax paper. yummy. im almost salivating now to think of it, i bought these in the late 60’s a penny a string. i would buy a dollars worth . i would crawl up in bed tie them up in knots. sugar coma .

    27. wb
      5 May ’16 at 12:13 pm

      The last time I was able to find the correct Malaco strawberry laces was in 04, I placed a huge order from the Bracken Bank store in the UK. These were the same laces I grew up with in the 80’s that came in the yellow rectangle box. I remember because the Swedish fish came in similar box but more square and were sold for a penny. In 05 I was able to order
      Malaco Boot Laces tub
      Malaco Strawberry Twister tub
      Malaco Whips
      Malaco Strawberry Lances tub

      A few years later Malaco slowly discontinued the items listed above and only sold the snorer in the small pack. During that time I was able to track down a danish supplier in solvang CA called Ingerborg Danish Chocolate who sold the individual pack but could never keep them in stock. Restocking was always slow because shipments were always delayed in US customs. Eventually sometime after 2011 or later Malaco changed the formula and the laces didn’t taste the same. I am convinced they are no longer being made using the old formula. Now we are stuck the crappy generic strawberry shoestring taste.
      We need someone to resurrect the old formula and bring back that good taste.

      Searching around the web I did find a company Damel from Spain who sell around Europe, they have product Damel Strawberry Lances. I am curious to know how they tastes. I am unable to find a place that ships to the US.

    28. Jonathan
      16 Aug ’16 at 11:37 pm

      Closest thing I’ve found in more than a decade: http://paskesz.com/product/lasso-strawberry/

    29. wb
      17 Aug ’16 at 4:24 pm

      Does this taste anything like the Malado strawberry laces, I doubt it?

      • Jonathan
        18 Aug ’16 at 10:33 pm

        It’s actually terrible and not the real thing.

    30. enelrae
      17 Aug ’16 at 6:35 pm

      i found shoestring licorice just like the days of old @ amazon.com
      1lb gag 8.15 from sweet spot candies–(; plus shipping and handling. i have to buy 2 bags and then im in a sugar coma and smiling my toocas off.

    31. enelrae
      17 Aug ’16 at 6:35 pm

      i meant 1 lb bag

    32. Scott
      31 Jan ’17 at 11:31 pm


      this is the only shoestring i will eat. I have not found the same in bulk bags as of yet, you have to order by the case

      • wb
        1 Feb ’17 at 8:29 pm


        Are these the real thing, they look like imitation Malaco laces. I’ve given up trying to find the real thing.

    33. Mt
      8 Mar ’17 at 2:53 pm

      Try Candy Kitchen Strawberry Laces…
      Location : Ocean City MD, Fenwick DE…
      Google and call they have mail order.

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