Sunday, May 23, 2010

Salmiac Mix

Once again, Alex “I’m too busy and important to blog about salmiakki”  has delegated this job to a subordinate.  “I’ve had my eye on this one for a while now,” he told me, referring to our latest selection:

Salmiac mix

As someone that once spent a week in Finland about 14 year ago, I feel that I am completely qualified to translate that as “Salmiac mix.”  It seems that the name doesn’t reveal much in this case (but then I guess it usually doesn’t).  I ripped open the bag and took a closer look:

Salmiac mix

Salmiac Mix appeared to consist of antacid tablets, pills, and chewable childrens’ vitamins.  Strange choice for a candy, I thought, but harmless enough.  After popping one of the discs into my mouth, I realized that the white powder covering all of the candies was not sugar.  I won’t lie; I spit the first one out, being totally unprepared for that salty coating.  After seeing this reaction, John tried one and managed to finish it.  Shamed, I tried again – this time one of the little pill-shaped pieces.  I made it past the salty coating to discover that it actually wasn’t terrible!  The pink and yellow pieces seem to have some sugar in them, while the other pieces are just salt and licorice.

Later that day, I thoughtfully offered Alex some Salmiac Mix.  “It’s not that bad,” I told him.  He grabbed a handful of the candies and put them in his mouth.  “Once you get past the salty coating,” I added.  You’d think he would be used to that overpowering salty flavor by now, but… his reaction suggested otherwise.

Salmiac Mix combines three tastes that are bad enough on their own: chalk, salt, and licorice into one unpleasant experience.  However, the addition of sugar makes the pink and yellow ones tolerable once you get past that initial salty rush.  Overall, it’s certainly not terrible, but that powdered ammonium chloride coating reduces the rating from edible to almost edible.

Friday, May 14, 2010


As one of Alex's unsuspecting subordinates, I have been given the painstaking task of tasting this particular type of Jenkki Salmiakki:

Now, my Finnish may be a bit out of practice - but thanks to Google Translate, I was at least able to determine what type of Salmiakki I was about to eat. Apparently, "chewing gum" translates to "purukumi", which is written on the packaging. Chewing gum you say? All I could think of was me playing baseball as a youngster with a bag of delicious Big League Chew.

Unfortunately, my daydreams disappeared immediately. The licorice scent burst out like a BP oil spill as I opened the packaging - and if it weren't for the Frozn variety covered earlier, this post would have ended long before I began writing it.

I spent a few minutes offering several friends some pieces (along with a chance to share their saliva with the garbage can) before I decided to enjoy some of my own, and I was surprised to find the taste bearable despite the dirty licorice smell.

The full-bodied licorice taste is overwhelming enough to mask the salty undertones. As with almost all chewing gum, the flavor does not last long enough to make you want to spit it out. Because of this, Jenkki earns the edible rating.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alfmix Light Line

It’s always exciting to have a new team member come on board. Not only does the new guy help reduce the workload, but there’s a great chance that he’ll come with some new and exciting ideas. My company recently brought on a new developer, Greg, and I was as excited as ever. And not just because of the whole helping out and new ideas thing.

On the afternoon of Greg’s first day, I stopped by his desk to share some Alfmix Light Line gummy candies. Unfortunately, he had already been warned about me and my wonderful Finnish candies. But Greg was brave and dove right in, rhetorically asking “how bad could it be?”

“Bad enough for an OSHA violation,” a nearby coworker smirked, “just make sure you’ve got a chaser.”

Of course, by that point, the advice was too little and too late, and Greg had already started with one of the black square pieces. As he bit into the gummy candy, his confidence-filled expression slowly faded into bewilderment. The more he chewed, the more his expression turned to disgust. Within ten seconds, Greg rushed to the nearest trash bin and spit out the black candy, adding “ok, that was a mistake.”

Despite Greg’s bad experience, I started trying some of the other shapes.
• Yellow/Orange Ones – edible! They’re not very sweet, but they could easily pass a gummy candies
• Berry-shaped Ones – edible! Not berry flavored, more a subtle liquorice
• Square-shaped Ones – almost edible! This is the only one that Greg tried; at first, they weren’t too bad, but as he discovered, but the creeping salty liquorice flavor quickly makes them unbearable

If it weren’t for the square shaped pieces, this candy would pass for edible. However, it gets the almost edible rating.