The early Egyptians loved liquorice root. Ancient Pharos enjoyed chewing it and it was widely used in tea as a cure-all potion.

A large supply was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun and it is believed that he wanted to take the root with him to the next world so he could continue to make the sweet drink Mai Sus. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar endorsed the benefits of eating liquorice, and Napoleon Bonaparte found it soothing during battle.

Liquorice, the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, is a sweet, woody botanical that has been used as a sugar alternative for centuries. In fact, it is 30-50 times sweeter than sugar. Since its arrival in Britain – thought to be at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, when Crusaders returning from the Middle East took it to Pontefract in Yorkshire – it has been popular for both medicinal purposes and (since the 1700s) as a confectionery.

More recently, chefs have been turning their attention to its use in culinary dishes, recognising its unique flavour as a sophisticated cooking ingredient. Glynn Purnell served veal in liquorice charcoal for BBC Two’s Great British Menu; and Michel Roux Jr cooked crisp octopus, roasted fennel and apple with a liquorice dressing on Saturday Kitchen.

There is far more to liquorice than the famous Allsorts which can be found on any supermarket shelf and a small sweet shop is Evesham is testament to this. Mr Chill’s Traditional Sweet Emporium stocks over 25 different varieties of liquorice confectionery and has just introduced a new liquorice drink to the shop’s quaint interior.

In celebration of the shop’s seventh anniversary trading in Evesham town centre, owner Mr Chill is running a special Liquorice Week with plenty of sweet treats in store including samplings and the chance to win a luxury liquorice hamper.

Liquorice Week at Mr Chill’s Sweet Emporium starts tomorrow [September 30] and there’s an exotic taste of the Middle East on offer with a free tasting of the new ‘Sweet Genie’ soft drink. Available in three liquorice based flavours, the drink was developed by Moustafa Elgendy who moved from Egypt to Evesham in 2011. Liquorice drinks are extremely popular in Egypt but Moustafa was unable to source anything similar when he moved to the UK, so he created his own, which is bottled locally at Pershore College.

This all-natural, non-alcoholic drink is created from a blend of fruit juices, sparkling water, botanical extracts and natural flavourings. There is no added sugar, preservatives or artificial colours.

Moustafa said: “I spent some considerable time researching drinks before developing my own. I discovered a variety of alcoholic drinks which are flavoured with liquorice but despite searching far and wide I could only find one liquorice soft drink available in the UK, which is a cordial. Sweet Genie is therefore as unique in the soft drinks market as the liquorice root itself is in the botanical world.”

Moustafa will be handing out samples of Sweet Genie at the sweet shop between 11am and 3pm on Saturday, September 30.

The Liquorice Week at Mr Chill’s Sweet Emporium continues throughout next week, ending on Saturday, October 7. The shop will also be offering a special discount on a different liquorice treat each day from Monday to Saturday, including Finnish Soft Liquorice Skulls, Black Jacks, Swedish Strawberry Rounds and retro Torpedoes. Shoppers can also take part in a free to enter prize draw, to win a luxury hamper of liquorice goodies.

Mr Chill said: “We are delighted to be celebrating our seventh year in Evesham and we chose to run this promotion because liquorice has always proved extremely popular with our customers. From the twig-like liquorice root to specialist confectionery we sell all sorts. And now we have a liquorice drink too!”

For more information about Liquorice Week, visit the shop’s facebook page @MrChillsSweets or call 01386 429000.