Salty liquorice(Salty licorice) is a traditional candy eaten in Nordic countries for centuries.
However, in contrast to the sweet and colorful candy we imagine, salty licorice looks pitch black and tastes like Chinese medicine.
In this article, I would like to focus on salty liquorice, which is said to be the “worst in the world,” and introduce the charm behind its sour taste.
Please read on to learn more about Finland’s unusual gourmet food.
The world’s worst black candy
Our standard image of candy is that it is sweet and tasty.
However, salty liquorice(salty licorice), a dark and tasteless candy, has become popular in Finland and other Scandinavian countries.
Salty liquorice is a licorice candy made from the medicinal herb Spanish Licorice, to which the chemical ingredient ammonium chloride is added.
It has a peculiar taste and ammonia odor and is more like an herbal medicine than a candy.
It is also characterized by its glossy, pitch-black appearance due to a coloring agent called carbon black.
Salty licorice is a traditional pastry eaten in Finland and other Nordic countries for centuries.
However, it is very unpopular with non-Scandinavians who are not accustomed to the taste of salty licorice.
It was even discussed on the Internet as “the worst candy in the world.”
A type of licorice candy made from licorice
Salty liquorice is classified as a type of licorice candy.
Although licorice sweets may not be familiar in Japan, they are popularly eaten in Europe and the United States.
The confectionery ingredient is a medicinal herb called licorice.
Licorice is a plant belonging to the licorice family, meaning it has a subtle sweet taste.
Licorice candy is made from ingredients extracted from the licorice root and other parts of the licorice plant.
Licorice and ammonium chloride are raw materials
Salty licorice differs significantly from other licorice confections in that it uses ammonium chloride as an ingredient in addition to licorice.
Ammonium chloride is the Finnish word “salmiakki,” hence the name.
Ammonium chloride is a chemical with a strong, pungent odor.
It is used initially as a medicine for sore throats and fertilizer.
The use of ammonium chloride in sweets results in salty licorice, which has a strong, salty, bitter taste characteristic of ammonium chloride and a nose-stinging ammonia odor that irritates the palate.
With its combination of licorice and ammonium chloride, salty licorice crosses between a stimulant and an irritant.
Taste likened to tire rubber
What does salty liquorice, which is said to be the worst in the world, taste like?
According to those who have eaten salty licorice, you first experience a robust salty taste from the ammonium chloride and an ammonia smell.
After that, they say, bitterness and sweetness gradually mingle with an odor like that of Chinese herbs and dominate the mouth.
The licorice’s unique sweetness, the ammonium chloride’s saltiness, and the ammonia smell have led many people to describe salty licorice as “like eating tire rubber.”
Its unique flavor is also why salty licorice is rarely eaten outside Scandinavia.
A familiar taste for Finns
It is so unpopular that people who are not used to eating salty liquorice say it is “the worst in the world” and “like eating tire rubber.
However, it has become a trendy snack among the Finnish, addicted to its unique and peculiar flavor.
In Finland, salty licorice became famous as an easy snack around 1930.
When it was first sold, there were many negative opinions about it in Finland.
However, as time passed, more and more people began to be captivated by the unique taste, smell, and refreshing after-meal feeling like a throat lozenge, and salty licorice gradually gained acceptance.
Today, salmiakki is a staple snack for Finns of all ages.
The price of salty licorice ranges from 500 yen to 1,000 yen, unlike commercially available candies and chocolates in Japan.
In addition to candies, salty licorice is also sold in various gummy types.
There are also salty licorice-flavored beverages and powders, which shows how popular salty licorice is in Finland.
Salty liquorice is a Finnish snack made from licorice and ammonium chloride, a chemical ingredient.
Perhaps the notoriety of being the world’s worst-tasting food stimulates the spirit of challenge, but it is surprisingly popular as a souvenir when traveling to Finland.
However, if you give it to someone without giving them any information about the taste, there is a high possibility that it will crack the relationship between you.
It is best to remember to explain the taste in advance.