New regulations to come into force after Britain leaves the EU will mean the Dutch favourite ‘Engelse drop’, or liquorice allsorts, will have to be renamed.
Under the terms of the withdrawal treaty, only foods made in the UK may have names referencing England – so, amongst other things, the Dutch liquorice mixture known as ‘English’ will need new branding.
The rules are an extension of European protected designation of origin (PDO) law, which applies equally to products such as Brabantse Wal asparagus and Dutch Edam cheese, according to an EU spokesman.
‘Dutch sweet manufacturers will have two years to prepare for the changeover, so they have no excuse not to be ready,’ EU spokesman Boris Russells told DutchNews.nl. ‘EU consumers have the right to know they are eating properly-regulated European sweets, not British knock-offs.’
SuikerKruiken, the association that represents Dutch confectionery makers, held an emergency vote in Oude Tonge earlier this week and a representative said its manufacturers have agreed to rename the treat ‘Trots Drop’ – Dutch for ‘proud liquorice’.
Dianne Betes, SK chairwoman, told DutchNews.nl: ‘We are proud of our tradition of healthy liquorice snacks, and this has really got us going. Our sweet mixture literally has something for everyone in the family, from your slightly sour great uncle to your twisted sister-in-law. And, of course, my own favourite, the sweet, coconut-covered rounds.’
But the rule clarification has sparked a sugar rush of patent applications in Britain, which some sweet lovers fear may mean their favourites are dropped from the new Trots Drop mixture.
Valerie van ’t Zwartewaeter, a 55-year-old gallery owner from Wassenaar, has taken to social media to protest. ‘I knew exactly what would happen post-Brexit and I’m laying in a good stock now,’ she told DutchNews.nl. ‘But all good things must come to an end and with my pack-a-day habit it’ll be sooner rather than later. All we’ll have left is boring sweets, and all because of David Cameron.’
She added: ‘As if my blood pressure isn’t high enough as it is.’
Meanwhile, Bertie Plasman, former PVV council candidate for Zoetermeer, said it was another instance of ‘Brussels destroying our Dutch traditions’.
‘And what could be more Dutch than Engelse Drop?,’ he told DutchNews.nl.
‘I foresee all sorts of problems if this ban goes ahead,’ he said. ‘Will our bakers have to stop selling moorkoppen and negerzoenen? And what about blue and pink mice? They’ll either be banned on hygiene grounds or we’ll be told to make them gender neutral.
‘We need to resist this firmly before EU inspectors start going round people’s homes checking that every time you make a cup of English tea you leave the bag in for half an hour and add enough milk to drown a sparrow. If that fails, we should follow Britain out of the EU and take our stroopwafels with us. Hit them where it hurts.’
But professor Rose Candy, studying the origins of sweetmeats at Zoutelande polytechnic, believes Trots Drop could actually be an improvement.
‘While rooting around in the diaries of one of Amsterdam’s early mayors, I spotted a reference to a sweet, made from sugar beet and dyed and flavoured with liquorice root and the different colours of carrot that Dutch contemporary farmers were developing,’ she said.
‘Trots Drop could reinvent this wonderfully, and be dyed with all of the delicious shades of the carrot rainbow.’
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