Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brunberg Lakritsi Alku

What better way to start the new year than with salmiac? Actually, that was a rhetorical question. Technically, it's impossible to answer since it would encompass every known and unknown activity in the entire universe.

The salmiac I opted for today was the Alku Lakritsi from Brunberg. It was one of those tar-textured ones I've become so un-fond of.


Expecting the worst, I carefully nibbled on the bite-sized piece, making sure not to get the gooey tar embedded in my teeth. I was surprised to find a dark caramely taste with a strong hint of liquorice. The texture and taste reminded me of a circus peanut, though not nearly as sweet – and there was little, if any, salt to be found.

It was a fairly pleasant taste... though after the last one, I suppose anything would be. I had a few other pieces before reminding myself that one of my new years resolutions was learning portion control, and so I stopped. And I suppose that was a good thing – the salt found its way back a few minutes later.

None the less, the Lakritsi Alku earns the coveted halfway-decent rating.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fatalii Gourmet Naga Morich Salmiakkitoffee

It's that time of year again: gingerbread men, rum balls, eggnog, and Christmas-tree shaped sugar cookies. At least, in normal parts of the world. In Finland, December signifies the special time of year where parents torture their kids by giving extra terrible salty licorice treats.

My dear friend Matti Nikki decided that it was high time that I experience a Finnish Christmas, and sent me this early gift.


Matti suggested that I might even like it. "It's scored high on the recent Finnish Salmiakki Association's salmiakki picnic (3rd place)," he wrote, "even though the reviewers all thought the flavor of salmiakki was overpowered by the much stronger chili."

Well, I guess the facial expression featured on the wrapper is how Finns express deliciousness. I shared my thoughts for this special treat in a video:

It's not the absolute worst I've ever had, but it certainly earned a caustic rating.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

GB Glace Lakulätkä Lakrits Puck

It was Thanksgiving Weekend here in the states, and one thing that I'm thankful for is that I'm no longer in Sweden. You see, I've been traveling quite a bit these past several months and Sweden was unfortunately on my itinerary. It's not that I have a problem with Sweden, the Swedes, or even Swedish Meatballs, it's that Sweden is right next to the dreaded homeland of Salmiak: Finland.

Fortunately, I was as far away from Finland as possible (Malmö), but I could not escape the long arm of Finnish delicacies. On my way back to Denmark, I stopped at the grocery store at the train station to find an absurd amount/variety of yogurt, a strange obsession with condiments in metal tubes, and – as you probably guessed – plenty of salmiak.

One thing that caught my eye was in the freezer section. Amongst a bunch of seemingly good-tasting ice cream treats, I spotted this:


My Swedish is a little rough, but "Lakulätkä Lakrits Puck" roughly translates to "ground-up hockey puck", and is apparently how they describe the flavor of salty licorice. After confirming that the ingredienser did indeed list salmiak, I opened up the package to find this appropriately hockey-puck shaped ice-cream bar.


I figured that nothing could ruin ice cream, so I took a big bite of the Lakulätkä. I figured wrong. The ice cream portion of the bite melted pretty quickly, leaving a half-melted candy coating to chew on. It was a lot like those chocolate-covered icecream bars, except that it was covered in awful.

The candy coating had an impressively strong taste that came roaring in after a few seconds. I was a bit hungry, so I took another bite figuring that the taste couldn't get any worse. And once again, I figured wrong. The taste of cheap salmiak candy coating quickly overwhelmed me, and I threw the remainder of the puck in the nearest rubbish bin.


The taste stayed with me halfway to Copenhagen, and took nearly half a pack of gum to finally rid myself of. Considering that the Lakulätkä Lakrits Puck was mostly ice cream, I'll rate it as almost edible.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fazer Pantteri Black Shot

Unfortunately, after sharing salmiac with some of my friends on a few different occasions, no one is willing to try any unfamiliar foodstuff from me, let alone more salmiac. Thank you Finland for giving people yet another reason to dislike me.

While I haven't made any new friends lately, there was a new chap at the office who hadn't yet experienced the joy of Finnish "treats". And I figured, what better way ruin the relationship with my new coworker that with some Fazer Pantteri Black Shot?


For those of you who don't speak Finlandese, "Pantteri" actually translates to "Panther Turds", and the gooey "black shot" center is either a pre- or partially-digested glob of salmiac gel. I can't tell, either from the writing on the back of the bag, the smell, or the taste.

And speaking of the taste – it's actually not so bad, at least relative to the texture. I'll let Patrick explain in this odd-aspect-ration video. Next time, I'll flip my phone sideways.

Although Patrick wasn't a big fan, he hasn't quite experienced the full range of salmiac. But I have, and on the scale of all things salmiac, this earns the well-respected edible rating.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Katjes Lakrtiz Batzen

I was at a German store a little while back in search of some good candy like Kinder Bueno, Hanuta, and of course, Brause-Stäbchen. But as I browsed the confections, I was surprised to see my least-favorite Finnish export. Then again, I suppose it makes sense with Katjes being a German company and all.

IMG_20120413_093854    IMG_20120413_094035

The spongy texture of the Lakritz Batzen seemed welcoming, while the crusty white particulate was daunting. Sugar or salt was the question on my mind as I popped a couple candies in my mouth… and to my delight, it was mostly sugar. In fact, I’m not even sure where the salt was; it was subtle, at best. So much so that I had to double check the ingredients on the back of the package.

The listing confirmed that it was, indeed, officially salmiac, and despite this I still rate the Lakrtiz Batzen as halfway decent.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Synkka Salmiakki

I can do hot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like one of those crazy people who rub peppers in my eyes, but I can handle the heat. Well, usually…

And of course, what you’re not seeing in the video (as it’s a solid 15 minutes after I tried these candies) is that my mouth is still on fire. These things pack some punch, much more than the hottest Tyrkisk Peber that I’ve tried so far. They’re fun, but certainly not fit for human consumption. Therefore, I must rate them caustic.

UPDATE: I shared some of the Synkka with my friends tonite. Unfortunately, I only realized it would have made a great video after it was too late. Suffice if to say, that their experience was quite a bit worse than mine; after spitting them out, they desperately tried to rid themselves of the heat with ice cubes. This will definitely make for a good social candy -- I'll try to capture some from some other suckers friends later.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marabou Black Saltlakrits

You have to be seriously committed to ruin something as delightful as chocolate. The world has certainly been trying to with unholy mixtures like chocolate-covered ants, chili-pepper chocolate, and chocolate-infused hotdogs, but thus far chocolate has been able to withstand the assaults. It’s even been able to withstand the ultimate in unpalatableness: the Finns and their salmiac.

At least, thus far. Perhaps Marabou’s BLACK will finally ruin chocolate.



What was especially exciting about the Marabou was the texture of the liquorice pieces. They weren’t soft or chewy as I had expected, but were crunchy – almost like little pieces of hard candy. But unlike some candy-infused chocolate, these pieces didn’t stick or linger around much after the chocolate. That, in and of itself, is a rare treat.

The initial saltiness of the salmiac offered a pleasant balance to the sweet chocolate. It reminded me of something that’s actually good, like a chocolate covered pretzel. But boy-oh-boy does that salt creep back. Perhaps this is a consequence of eating nearly half of the bar in one sitting, but even as I type this review with a glass of water in hand – a solid thirty minutes or so after indulging in the “treat” – I still feel parched. And a little ill from eating so much chocolate.

It’s because of this that I must rate the Marabou as almost-enjoyable. Perhaps in small doses it’d be enjoyable, but “small doses” and “chocolate” make as much sense as, say, “salmiac” and “chocolate”.