Saturday, July 1, 2017

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Finnish Licorice

     As far as I can recall, I haven't discussed a purely Finnish food or drink since my post on sahti beer way back on July 30,2012.  But, as you'll see, I had a different reaction to this licorice than I did about their distinctive kind of beer.
     The type of licorice I bought was Panda, both the original regular flavor and the raspberry flavor.  Panda was founded in 1920 by the SOK company, or Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta if "you're not into the whole brevity thing," to quote The Dude in "The Big Lebowski."  However, in 2005 SOK was bought by Felix Abba, which in turn is part of the Orkla Group.  The Orkla Group is immense, and essentially is in the business of everything.  Aside from food products, they're involved in chemicals, aluminum, power plants, banking, and real estate, to name just a few.  I would give more info about Panda, or SOK in general, but the Panda website was extremely terse.  I can tell you that aside from the sorts that I had, they make a mint filled kind, licorice in bar and bear forms, and licorice creams.
     Both kinds I bought were the individual stick licorice--a 1.25 ounce (32 gram) serving.  Each was 4.5 inches (about 11.5 cm.) long and .75 inch (about 2 cm.) wide.  The original kind was black, and the raspberry was red.  I enjoyed both kinds quite a bit.  The original was very good--spicy and tangy.  The raspberry one was a little bit sweeter, but of the same high quality taste.  Either foreign licorice is way better than the American kinds I grew up with (Twizzlers and the like), or I'm starting to get a taste for it.  I was dazzled by the Australian licorice (see January 20, 2017 post) and the Finnish Panda kinds were also excellent.  (I'd have to have both in one sitting to judge which one is the very best.)  So I heartily recommend Panda licorice, and will definitely buy these flavors again when I can, and will seek out the other flavors, too.
     And just to thicken this post out a little, I'll close with some fun facts about Finland.  I got these from a casual internet search, so if there are any mistakes let me know, and I'll correct them.  Anyway, the Finns are reportedly the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, averaging 12 kg. per person annually.  They also drink the most milk, averaging just under a liter a day.  They were the last European region to be Christianized, in the 12th century.  A 2012 international commission named them the world's least corrupt and most democratic nation.  They have two interesting traffic rules.  Drivers must keep their headlights on at all times while in motion, even during bright sunny days.  And the fines for speeding tickets are based on the severity of the offense, and the driver's personal income, meaning a rich speeder will pay more than a poor one.
     Several sites claimed that Finland has the most lakes of any country in the world, but there's more to this.  They do have the most officially designated ones, that are over 500 meters square, with 187,888.  However, if smaller, and unofficially designated ones are counted, Canada is tops with over 2,000,000.  Finland does appear to have the most islands, though, with 179, 584.  Famous Finns in the entertainment fields include the metal band Hanoi Rocks (1979-85, 2001-2009) and film director Renny Harlin.  Harlin is known for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4" (1988), "Die Hard 2" (1990), "Cutthroat Island" (1995), "Deep Blue Sea" (1999), "Exorcist:  The Beginning" (2004), and "The Legend of Hercules" (2014), among others.  (Some of these movies are notorious box office and critical bombs, but he has made over a dozen films in his long career, and some of these have been quite successful.)

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