Travel Adventures

Salty Candy… Huh??

In previous blogs I have touched upon the Swedes love of candy. This in itself is not surprising. What may surprise some of you is that it’s not all sweet, delicious candy. Some of it is distinctly…salty. Weird, eh?

Growing up in the US in the 80’s, Red Vines were everywhere;  they were even sold in movie theaters.  Are they still?  Once upon a time, I remember seeing a combo pack of red vines and proper black licorice.  Needless to say, I didn’t partake.  Black licorice and I had a slightly contentious relationship.  My mother loved Good and Plenty, which to me was like false advertising.  Here is this sweet candy shell and inside it’s…black licorice?  Yuck.  I even remember hating the combo jelly bean packs because there were always licorice beans lurking inside.  I would grab a few without checking and BAM!  Licorice taste overwhelmed my taste buds.  Not cool.

Sweden in the 80’s was clearly a much different place. Instead of black licorice (henceforth referred to solely as “licorice”) being a much maligned treat, it must have been revered. If not, how else would it be EVERYWHERE now? I do mean EVERYWHERE.

Let’s talk about a few of the forms of licorice or “lakrits” as the Swedes call it.

  • Raspberry and licorice skulls
  • Raspberry and licorice ice cream
  • Salted licorice (much loved by Swedes)
  • Candy coated licorice
  • Chocolate coated licorice
  • Chocolate ice cream with licorice
  • Hot and spicy licorice

Do you see where I am going with this?  It appears the national taste buds have declared licorice to be the candy of choice.  In fact, while at the coop this week, I decided on a whim to count the licorice candies.  My final count, which may have been missing a few, came to 48 varieties of candy containing licorice!!  Remembering my early experiences with licorice, I have carefully steered clear of this taste bud destroyer.  Until recently when a lovely reader of this blog recommended I give it another try.  In particular, he recommended the raspberry and licorice skulls.  Since this dear reader is not from Sweden and because he said he liked my blog, I had no choice except to try the darn things (against my better judgment).  Plus, within 10 minutes a second friend recommended the same candy.  They were clearly on the same wavelength.

LicAisle2

LicAisle1

In the interest of sampling with integrity, I picked up two skulls from a loose bin and placed them in my treat bag.  Candy wise, this is far below my norm, but I didn’t want to overdo it, more so because there was already quite a bit of chocolate in the bag 😉  This action proved to be my downfall.  As soon as I left the store, I braced myself and put an entire skull in my mouth.  EEEK!  My poor taste buds.  They were expecting something sweet and tangy, with perhaps just a hint of licorice.  This is not what happened.  The flavor could be described as salty licorice with a hint of sweet.  Plus, it was hard and a bit stale.  *Sigh*  At this point, I should have ditched the second licorice skull, but that didn’t occur to me right away.  No, it didn’t occur to me until an hour later after I pulled a gorgeous chocolate covered marshmallow out of the bag and it tasted exactly like licorice. *Sob*  There was no winning here people!!!  Every single piece of candy tasted vaguely of licorice.  The smell permeated everything within the bag; rendering them all contaminated.

Lic Skull

Last night in Svenska class, the topic of this next blog came up. When I divulged, my super fun Svenska teacher who has been known to peruse this blog expounded on the virtue of salty licorice. While listening to her and observing her exuberance over this undervalued treat, I really wanted to love it too. Sadly, even after three months here, I’m not yet won over to the dark side of licorice. If anyone out there has a craving, let me know, I have a feeling it is easy to ship 😉

Until next time…

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2 thoughts on “Salty Candy… Huh??

  1. Katie says:

    I’m feeling your pain. Being married to a Scandinavian, I have to see this variety in my cupboard whenever someone come south to visit.

  2. Quirky says:

    It’s pretty impressive the way our tastebuds develop in different places. As much as I’m not a fan, I feel I would be healthier if I got on the licorice band wagon. It has to be better for me than the chocolate covered marshmallows 😉

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