In a previous post I mentioned some of the great Finnish candies I tried on my recent summer trip to Finland. Even if you don’t plan on a visit to a Nordic, Scandinavian, or Baltic country any time soon, you might still find some of these goodies interesting – and maybe be tempted to look for them in a speciality store near you!
I had no idea what a “soft foam dragee” would taste like, but that was one of the candies we picked up on our recent visit to Finland. Polly, is a candy that looks kind of like a chocolate-covered raisin, just a lot larger, but it’s nothing like that inside.
The first flavour package we picked up was the “Polly Rocks!” flavour, which was lemon, chocolate, and licorice. What a strange flavour combination! Still, each was really good individually… (but not so much together…)
The licorice was a bit salty, the lemon a little tart, and the chocolate was as expected. The coating was like chocolate or yoghurt-covered anything… but the inside… that’s where that “soft foam dragee” came into play…
Ok.. so what’s a dragee? Well, Wikipedia told me that it was a small, bite-sized, colourful candy with a hard shell.. well, these candies weren’t hard at all, instead the inside was similar to salt water taffy, but slightly less chewy. “Foam” was really the more descriptive term!
Licorice, lemon, and chocolate Polly candies
Above are the three different flavours of the Polly Rocks bag… chocolate, lemon, and licorice.
Later, amused by the novelty, we also picked up a bag of original flavoured Polly – the original flavours are Vanilla, Arrack, Butterscotch and Chocolate, and each candy was covered in either a dark or milk chocolate coating, like the others we had tried. (Arrack is a distilled alcohol enjoyed in Asia and Southeast Asia.)
I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the different flavours, since the chocolate taste was dominant with all of them for me.
Polly and Turkish Peber
I probably shouldn’t talk about Finnish candies without mentioning Salmiakki – the black licorice flavoured with ammonium chloride which gives the treat a salty, tongue-tingling kick. There’s even a kiosk in Helsinki devoted to nothing but this treat, such is it’s popularity in Finland! Visitors make a special stop in Helsinki to pick up some of their favourites… one of my favorites now too, though fortunately (or unfortunately) I can select from a few varieties at local specialty candy stores. Salty licorice isn’t something terribly new to me, it’s popular in other Nordic countries and The Netherlands and it was first introduced to me by my German father – though apparently it’s quite a shock to other people, and there are some funny YouTube videos of people trying it for the first time.
Tyrkisk Peber (or Turkish Pepper) is a variation on the licorice+salt treat, with a pepper-powdered center in the hard candy. You suck away at the candy, and then suddenly things start to tingle, and fizz like sherbert as the hard candy dissolves and cracks. Made by the huge food company Fazer (I saw their chocolates everywhere…) I wasn’t sure what to expect, but these quickly became my favorite things of all the candies we tried… I bought the first bag.. then a second… and then a third to pack in my suitcase, and I hate to say it, but they were gone within a month.
Of course.. that meant I was on a bit of a hunt to find more….
There is a company in Finland, Suomikauppa.fi, that has a whole salmiac bundle of goodies available… yum yum yum, but in the meantime, I did find a local importer, Edelweiss Imports in Northwest Calgary which carries the Fazer Tyrkisk Peber candies – too bad right now they’re out of stock! 😦
I did find them in the old candy store in Banff though – and grabbed 6 bags while I was there!
An interesting runner up to the Tyrkisk Peber candies were these soft, chewy salty licorice – kind of like licorice allsorts, they had a soft filling, and were coated in a salty covering. Pretty tasty!
I’d pretty much guess that either salty licorice or a love of all things chocolate could define the Finnish sweet palate… what sweets do you think define different countries or areas of the world, and which ones do you love the best? Let us know in the comments below!