The sign out the front is completely misleading. One hundred flavors of licorice? Impossible! There have to be at least two hundred or more. And that’s just counting the ones I like. Myzels, a little store on West 55th street is an absolute treasure trove of all things licorice, with specialty chocolates and hand made cookies. The smell as soon as you step inside is spellbinding, and when you meet Kamila you will understand why. She has an aura of aniseed, a telepathy for treats – I only had to think chocolate bullets and suddenly there they were, ‘a little something to be happy’.
No wonder Bill Cunningham was a regular. His favorite was the dark almond chocolate and he was always given more than he asked for. Sweet generosity. But there are many regulars and many favorites. Kamila has been sourcing sweets from all around the world for her clients for over 25 years. Some licorice cannot be imported directly into the USA, it has to come surreptitiously through the worldwide network of hand luggage. Chocolate bullets cannot travel complete, the licorice comes from Australia but the chocolate has to be embraced in San Francisco. Some salty licorices from the Netherlands don’t meet FDA specifications and can’t come through the front door. It was in fact a Dutch lover that introduced Kamila to licorice in the first place. She was hooked, but ultimately only on the licorice.
The long yellow boxes of mixed licorice from my childhood are quite possibly hidden in the magical jars at Myzel’s. It will probably take more than the summer to search through the stars, the rope, the truck tires and the straps, and even if I am prepared to forgo finding any choo choo bars, black teeth look to be with me for some time…
That store is a little bit of heaven. Being Swedish I grew up with licorice. Thank you for writing about it.
How very colorful!
mmmm…..Choo Choo Bars
The Danish licorice all-sorts & the Swedish licorice “train tracks ” are devine.