Food Stories

Swedish Salty Licorice

By Suzannah Schneider | August 15, 2014

Image by /kallu
Image by /kallu

Image by /kallu

It’s unfathomable to most, coveted by some. Enthusiasts keep an emergency stash of the stuff in their purse; others take a nibble and promptly spit it out. It elicits passion, nostalgia, pain, discomfort, and satisfaction.

Ah, yes, Swedish salty licorice.

Swedish candy is notoriously fantastic, but salted licorice is the black sheep of the otherwise delectable family of gummy sweets. The stuff is potent and undoubtedly polarizing.

Licorice itself is the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra that is native to Spain, Italy, and Asia. The plant contains a component that is 20-40 times sweeter than sugar, so it is logical flavoring option for candy.

No one quite knows how or why licorice candy was first combined with a salty flavor, but its history as a confectionary began in Scandinavia in the 1930s. Salted licorice, however, doesn’t actually contain any salt. The brininess comes from the chemical ammonium chloride, so salted licorice is often called salmiakki, the Finish word for ammonium chloride. Modern salty licorice ranges in color from light brown to deep black, and it may be chewy or hard. Salted licorice is popular in Sweden, of course, as well as The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and Germany.

What is so enticing about salted licorice for Scandinavians? Consider the classic dishes gravlax or pickled herring. Bitter saltiness is deeply embedded in Scandinavian cuisine and home cooking, so a salty flavor is intertwined with notions of comfort and home. Curing meat and fish with salt during the long winter months is standard practice for many Scandinavians in past and present time, so an affinity for salt is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian palette.

On the other hand, salty licorice could merely exist as national entertainment. Many Scandinavians admit to enjoy feeding salty licorice to tourists just to watch them squirm. Some say it’s almost a national sport!

Most Swedes consume salted licorice as typical candy, but many also enjoy Turkish Pepper Shots, which are hard salted licorice popped into a shot of vodka. If you’re hooked to the flavor, it’s easy to want to infuse everything with salmiakki. However, too much licorice can cause a spike in blood pressure, so be careful not to overdo it.

Salty licorice is a unique treat for a large part of the world. It acts to demonstrate the diversity of global food preferences and the fascinating ways in which tastes are formed through the forces of climate, culture, and ecology.

Have you ever tried salty licorice? What was your experience like?



Candy Rush is Not Just For Easter

By Jeannette | April 6, 2012

Candy wall - Allana

By: Allana Mortell

With all this talk of Easter candy, it’s often hard to find any talk about something other than Hershey Kisses and chocolate bunnies. With the recent rise of artisanal treats, it ‘s great to find something like a candy shop that can offer up goods besides the generic plastic wrapped candy found at the counter of a convenience store. Enter: “The Candy Rush”, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

For me, the mark of a successful business is not just producing great products but about providing a one-of-a-kind experience to customers. The folks behind The Candy Rush delivered on every possible level. From the customer service to the decor and pure sugar overload (in a good way), I left feeling happy and excited to plan my next trip back!

The Candy Rush opened last summer with much acclaimed praise from residents of Crown Heights as well as Prospect Heights. Walking into the shop, you truly feel transported back to your childhood, a feeling I’m sure the owners wanted to evoke for their loyal customers. Immediately, your eyes are drawn to the left wall where from floor to ceiling are seven rows of … you guessed it, candy! Read More


Maynards Turns Your Face Into Candy

By admin | September 1, 2011

Maynards candy faces

Ever heard, “Your face is cute enough to eat”? Well soon you’ll actually be able to eat your face, not in a weird cannibal type way, but through a new concept candy created by Maynards Candy Company. The new concept at Maynards Canada, is to have its customers ‘turn into’ candy. Read More


2011 Candy Trend Predictions

By mahir | January 19, 2011

What can you expect in candy for 2011? predicts a focus on “sweet and citrusy flavors, savory-sweet combinations, and products with a healthy twist.” Read More


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