Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour
By Kristen Moran

Evoking Nostalgia in Adults Across the City

As we get older and the years go by, it’s always nice to recall fond memories from our childhood and come across items that bring us back to those carefree, playful days. That’s exactly what happens when you step into the Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour: you feel just like a kid in a candy store! The shop opened in 2012 and specializes in imported licorice and hard-to-find retro candy that will transport you back in time. It’s no wonder adults make up about 95 percent of its clientele, according to manager Amanda Swan.

“A lot of people who grew up in Europe come in here and are really happy to be able to find licorice from back home,” Amanda explains. “And we carry a lot of nostalgic candies like Popeye cigarettes and Taffy. We want to garner some nostalgia from people by carrying items that remind them of their childhood.”

We carry a lot of nostalgic candies like Popeye cigarettes and Taffy. We want to garner some nostalgia from people by carrying items that remind them of their childhood. - Amanda Swan, manager
Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour, - Imported licorice - Selection of candy and chocolate - Baked goods (waffles, cupcakes) - Locally made hula hoops - Snorting chocolate
Retro hard-to-find candies will transport you back to your childhood.

Candy and Baked Goods with Health Benefits

Specializing as it does in imported licorice, the Licorice Parlour carries over 70 different types, mostly European and some Australian, plus a selection of candies from North America. Amanda explains what makes the European variety so appealing: “The thing about European candies is they don’t use high fructose corn syrup so they are a higher quality candy. And they don’t use food dye or artificial flavours, so their candy is more natural.”

Contrary to popular belief, not all candy is bad for you. In fact, according to Amanda, licorice even has some health benefits. “Licorice itself is medicine. It’s one of the most prescribed herbs in Chinese medicine. It’s a natural cleanser and diuretic. It’s also a natural mood enhancer.” The shop also makes its own baked goods in-house, like their mouth-watering gluten-free quinoa waffles, which are made from scratch.

“We mill our own organic quinoa to make the flour, and amaranth flour. We also make our own cashew milk with organic cashews and use grape seed oil, so all the ingredients are really good for you. They are very nutritious and high in protein,” she says. “People can either come in to have a hot waffle with butter and maple syrup or buy them frozen and take them home.” And don’t forget the latest craze the shop brought to the city from Belgium: snorting chocolate.

“It’s something fun and mildly controversial; it’s been a thing in Belgium for a while. Chocolate’s a mood elevator so snorting it hits all the same receptors in your brain as eating it, just faster and a little more intense, so you get a bit of a boost, sort of like drinking a cup of coffee.”

Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour, - Imported licorice - Selection of candy and chocolate - Baked goods (waffles, cupcakes) - Locally made hula hoops - Snorting chocolate
Hula Hoops aren’t just for decoration — you can buy them too.

Hula Hooping for Everyone

If candy and baked goodies aren’t enough to awaken your playful inner child, why not try hula hooping? At the Licorice Parlour you can purchase a locally made professional hoop or head down the street to the BC Pain Management Society to partake in their free hula hooping lessons, where hoops are provided.

“The hoops started as decoration because some of the owner’s friends make them, but are now sold as specialty items that you can’t really find around the city,” Amanda says. “We also started hosting hula hoop classes once a week at the BC Pain Management Society. At first they were $15 drop-in, but they really liked having the classes in there so they started paying the instructors and now it’s free drop-in every Tuesday night from 5:30 to 7 pm for anyone over 18 years of age.”

Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour, - Imported licorice - Selection of candy and chocolate - Baked goods (waffles, cupcakes) - Locally made hula hoops - Snorting chocolate
Licorice and select candies and chocolates are priced according to weight.
Close menu