Who are we kidding? If you truly hate it, nothing is going to help on this front. You will forever be someone who looks like this when offers a delicious salmiakki treat.
Why do Scandinavians love salty liquorice so much?
It’s not actual salt, you know. It’s liquorice and salty notes – together. None of that sweet liquorice stuff.
Back in the really olden days, a strong salty flavour was added to medicine in Finland. Some people developed a liking to it so they started making it into sweets. On top of this, we Viking stock have a natural love of salt – a lot of our foods for centuries have been preserved in salt through the long winters.
Is it really actual salt in the liquorice, then?
Nope, it’s called Ammonium Chloride. The Finns call is Salmiakki, which sounds entirely more palatable (and marketable) than Ammonium Chloride.
Is it bad for me?
Well, depends who you ask. In the EU and many other countries, the concentration of Ammonium Chloride we put in our sweets is simply not allowed in foods. The Nordic countries have a special permission to add what we like. Maybe the EU were scared of some sorted of Salmiexit if they didn’t allow us our Salmiakki and our Snus. Never try to separate a Scandinavian from his liquorice.
Who should not eat Salmiakki?
It can make your blood pressure spike, so people with high blood pressure should definitely stay off it. Also not advised for pregnant ladies or small kids (although, try telling that to Nordic kids…)
Does it have any health benefits?
Liquorice root is said to reduce gastric inflammation and even help reduce stress. In terms of other benefits, if you eat a lot of super salty liquorice, Scandinavian people think you are really cool (Maybe).
Is it strong like Chilli? Spicy?
No, not at all. Liquorice is sort of the 6th flavour sense: it’s unlike anything else.
How do you learn to eat it?
Nordic kids start young. Most, by the time they are teenagers, can handle the super strong stuff.
If you’re an adult and absolutely want to like it, start with mild ones and keep eating a few pieces a day. Eventually (months?), you’ll find your taste for it. Then there will be no going back.
Is it a slippery slope?
Yes. Once you develop a taste, you’ll be circling the liquorice shops at midnight looking for your fix.
Why do people often drink a glass of milk with their liquorice?
Yeah, we know. It’s weird, but it tastes nice.
Can I put it in cakes?
Yes. And you can cook savoury food with it, too.
What’s the strongest?
I want to buy liquorice for a Scandinavian person – what’s my best bet?
Why do Scandinavians always make me try Salty liquorice?
It’s one of our favourite pass times. We simply cannot understand why you don’t like it.
Also, you look really funny when the salt hits.
Sorry about that.