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Lakkris in Iceland

Eittsett candy bar

Eittsett candy bar

I mentioned in my last post that while in Iceland we were constantly on the look-out for licorice.. well we found it in a few different candy bars along with those delicious meringues.. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Desserts in Iceland

While I’m on holiday, I have a few posts to share… and when I come back  – I’ll hopefully have posts from my trip too!

Desserts in Iceland

Rather than doing a whole bunch of short posts about some of the desserts my travel companion and I tried while in Iceland, I thought that I would do a bit of an all-in-one post about a few of them… I’ll also do a bit of one on candy and treats later in too…

Chocolate mousse

If you are in an Iceland grocery store, you might see this – for us it was in the section with the amazing Icelanic yoghurt, Skyr (with which we both developed a fast obsession…) but it’s not yoghurt, instead it’s mousse!  So creamy and delicious!

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Pukka love tea

Before I get started with posts about the food and treats I tried in Iceland, I thought I’d post about Pukka tea.  Pukka tea comes from Pukka  organic herbs in the United Kingdom.

Pukka "Love" tea

Pukka “Love” tea

Some of Pukka’s organic herb teas have won “Great Taste Awards” in competitions in London, and they have also received several industry awards and commendations.

They describe Love Tea as:

“Love tea is a unique blend of fragrant herbs with fantastic soothing properties. Drink Love tea to help you feel cherished and well nourished, night and day.

• Rose and lavender warm the heart
• Elderflower and chamomile relax and soothe
• Marigold petals are beautifully balancing”
They say that their tea ingredients are organically grown and fairly traded.

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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Organic North African Mint

David's Teas Organic North African Mint loose leaf tea

David’s Teas Organic North African Mint loose leaf tea

Even if you don’t usually like green teas, I think you might like this green tea from David’s Tea.

I tried this tea recently when it popped out of the holiday crackers I mentioned in my pre-holiday post.  Both myself and the other person I pulled the cracker with both got North African Mint, and it was only a few weeks later when I realized that I had this tea already – it was one of the (many) I had taken to work!

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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in South-East Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Ceylon Star from David’s Tea

With star anise as a major ingredient, I was really excited to try Ceylon Star from David’s Teas when it first came out… but when I went to check it out in-store, the dry scent just didn’t appeal to me. Then, a while ago I received a sample of the tea, which gave me a great chance to give it a taste – commitment-free.

Ceylon Star black tea from David's Tea

Ceylon Star black tea from David’s Tea

Keep reading for my mini review!

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Frozen Finnish treats

Salmiakki ice cream novelty

Salmiakki ice cream novelty

According to a website on Finnish cuisine, ice cream dominates the dessert list. “Ice cream has maintained its place as the queen of desserts for a couple of centuries now, although tastes have changed. A hundred years ago, people favoured ice cream flavoured with fresh pineapple, almonds, chestnuts and other nuts. Ice cream with foreign canned fruits and chocolate sauce was regarded as a delicacy in the 1950s. In the present century, wild strawberry ice cream with a garnish of puréed wild strawberries is typically served as a dessert at lunch.” – http://finland.fi/

For me though, I wanted to try some flavours that I couldn’t try at home…

So much to choose from!

So much to choose from!

At the S-Market near our hotel in Helsinki, there was a huge frozen section dedicated to ice cream. There were wire bins upon bins of individual frozen novelties available – so much space that this couldn’t possibly be a seasonal section as far as I could tell, and it was near the front of the store – a popular treat for sure!

It was a hot day, and we didn’t have much for dinner, so we picked out two treats each (ok.. and we love ice cream!) We each selected one of the Magnum treats (mint for me, an unphotographed plain one for my travel companion – who was already eating by the time I got my camera out!). My companion chose a toffee one for the second treat, while I went for the Ingman Lakritsi cone instead…

A few different ice cream novelties

A few different ice cream novelties

Of the four treats we had that night, the Lakritsi was the best! My companion had to snag a bite too of course!

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So good!

The Lakritsi had licorice sprinkles on top of plain ice cream with a licorice core. The Magnum Mint wasn’t so good for me – it was plain vanilla ice cream, and only the chocolate coating had the mint – with tiny mint candies in the chocolate coating. It was crunchy instead of the smooth texture I prefer.

Once we’d tried one licorice ice cream though, we were keen to try another, and this is where it got really good – Salmiakki ice cream. This is a licorice ice cream with a licorice-flavoured coating. I wish we could get these here… I’ll definitely have to keep my eyes open when I get to specialty shops…

licorice & chocolate ice cream novelty

licorice & chocolate ice cream novelty at the Helsinki Airport

As we were leaving Finland, heading to Toronto on FinnAir, to spend the night before returning to Calgary, I went on the hunt for another ice cream treat. I was looking for the Salmiakki ice cream we’d tried before, but the little convenience store in the airport didn’t have it. Instead I picked up this Lakupala bar – which had the same licorice-flavoured coating, but inside was chocolate ice cream. It was good, but not nearly as good as the Salmiakki ice cream bar!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Finnish candy treats

Polly "rocks"

Polly “rocks”

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!

Polly Rocks!

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

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

Polly and Turkish Peber

Tyrkisk Pebar

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!

Maku laku

Licorice

Licorice

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!

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Sitruuna-Lakritsi ice cream

Since I’ve posted a few more local posts, I’m back to posting about my Finnish culinary experiences. Since I last posted about ice cream, I figured I’d stay on the topic, and share even more about the flavour I’m still keeping an eye open for over on this side of the world…

Lemon-Licorice Ice Cream

In an earlier post I mentioned ice cream in Finland. With every sidewalk filled with people enjoying frozen treats, it’s easy to see why Finland tops the global charts as consumers of dairy products!

A chart shows that in 2007 Finns consumed over 360 kg/capita/year of dairy products (excluding butter) well above the 206 kg/capita/year that Canadians consume, and leaps and bounds above the global average of 108 kg/capita/year.  They aren’t the only dairy-loving nation though, their neighbors in Sweden come close with an average of 355 kg/capita/year in dairy product consumption according to the chart which comes from the FAO Statistics Division 2011.

I first tried scooped salmiakki (salty licorice) ice cream in Turku, from a riverfront vendor. When I visited the fortress island of Suomenlinna another ice cream vendor was bound to get my business too! (It was also an uncustomary 33 degrees!). I was so sad to see that although they carried the same brand of ice cream, they didn’t have that specific flavour in the cooler at the moment, so instead I tried something a bit different….

Licorice Lemon Ice Cream

Licorice Lemon Ice Cream

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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