After trying tar ice cream, I decided that I was now well enough qualified to attempt the other famous – maybe infamous – local ice cream flavour: Salmiakki…
Salmiakki, or salty liquorice is a variety of liquorice that gets its name from its relatively high concentration of ammonium chloride (the Latin “sal ammoniac” translates to “salt of ammonia”; according to Wikipedia). There are a wide variety of salmiakki sweets available in Finland (in addition to regular liquorice candies) – there’s actually a blog devoted to reviewing all the different types here. And, not to forget Salmiakki drinks, like Salmiakki koskenkorva (= liquorice-flavoured vodka: see here for more)
I, however, decided to aim straight for the top – and bought a Fazer Salmiakki icream. Fazer is one of the most respected food brands around here, so my expectations were high… Google’s English translation of their website points at how passionate they think Finns are about salmiakki – since it is just an automated translation process I’m sure something is lost in translation, but Fazer describes Salmiakki as “an altitude” and suggest that “Finns can not imagine this day without the black pleasure”.
And what did the taste test reveal? Well, the flavour definitely lives up to its name – the ice cream was a liquorice-overload! The soft and chewy liquorice-coating was full of strong Salmiakki flavour (quite salty), while the grey (!) ice cream centre had a more subtle but longer-lasting liquorice taste. It is a pretty unusual taste, and I can really understand some people loving it. Of the four non-Finnish reviewers who took part in the taste test, two decided that one bite was enough and two found it interesting enough to (nearly) finish it. My overall impression would be that it is a much more accessible Finnish ice cream flavour than tar – definitely worth a try. You might love it?
But I think the best review of the ice cream comes from one of Fazer’s own adverts (courtesy of TheFinnishingTouches):
Finally, for the true ice cream enthusiasts: you can find a receipe for Salmiakki ice cream here.