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February 08, 2012

The liquorice festival 2012 - horror or heaven?

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This weekend coming (11th and 12th Feb),  the first ever liquorice festival takes place in Copenhagen.  Sadly, we only found out about it when it was sold out or else we would have been there like a shot: it really sounds like a great event.  Especially the 4 course gourmet dinner, all liquorice flavoured.  Heaven for us Scandies.

Most of our UK readers will feel slightly nauseous at the thought of a two day event where every single item of food is flavoured with liquorice in some way, but to most Scandinavians, licourice is a treat and we like it strong, salty and a bit like a liquorice flavoured smack-in-the-face.

So, why are we obsessed with salty liquorice?

It's not really salty, it is actually flavoured with ammonium chloride, which is similar, but it is not actual "salt" as we know it.   Ammonium chloride doesn't sound very good, so we use the Finnish word for it:  Salmiakki or Salmiak is a liqouirce variety, flavoured with AC.

Salmiak is an acquired taste and unless you, like most of us Scandies, have been fed liquorice since you were a kid, it is unlikely you will develop an addiction to it on the same scale that we have.  But if you really want to "get it", just persevere and it will happen.  Soon you too can join the herds of liquorice lovers, searching the streets for a harder hit next time.

Here's our quick guide to what to choose and at what level:


Skolekridt - sweet (with a hint of salmiakki) liquorice, mild, covered in a sugared white coating.  Mild.  

Liquorice string - very mild, kids like this one.


ABD Lakrids - sweet with a hint of salt, semi-chewy

Firewood from Fazer - chewy - at times can be a bit strong, but very moorish

I'm tough, me.

Tykisk Peber from Fazer - boiled liquorice sweets with a pepper-like middle centre.  A pan-scandi favourite.

Djunglevraal - literally, meaning Jungle Screams.  Very salty coating, sweet liquorice inside.  Lovely.

Super piratos - a danish favourite.  Strong, salty, still chewy.  Fantastic.

If you are ever in the hood, pop in an have a taster.  We stock over 40 different kinds.  At least.  Probably more.  Actually, definitely more.





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Not all UK readers will be unfamiliar with the idea of a liquorice festival. The world's first ever liquorice festival took place in Pontefract, where it still takes place every year. This year it will be on Sunday 8th July 2012. I will be there sampling all the different types of liquorice including sweet and soft, hard and chewy and even Scandanavian style salty. There are just two liquorice makers left in the town: a Haribo factory and a Tangerine factory there, both still selling the traditional Pomfret cakes.

Horror. Extreme horror. Too much garbage going into our bodies!

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