And if you are already drooling over the thought of a post full of Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry sauce or pickled fish – although I might have to question your taste with that second one – I am sorry to say that you are going to be pretty disappointed because this post is about something much much sweeter. Or actually, salty.
Meet the Tyrkisk Peber.
Tyrkisk Peber or Turkish Pepper, is a hard, sweet, peppery and super salty black licorice candy from Denmark.
I'm sorry, salt and pepper black licorice? Yes. Salty. Peppery. Delicious. Black. Licorice.
Apparently it's a common candy in Scandinavia, and it also happens to be the key to my heart. Give me one of these black beauties (not as harmful but certainly as addictive as the pills) and I am guaranteed to follow you around like a puppy pawing at your pocket for more treats. And possibly drooling. Ask my friend Swede Hurt, who gave me my first one in Chicago two weeks back and couldn't shake me from her leg for the rest of the tournament.
|You can't see, but I'm actually clinging to her thigh like a 4 year old (photo by Steve Stearns)|
Now, I know what you're thinking. I can see your lips all curled up and your nose scrunchy like an eight year old faced with a plate of steamed broccoli. "Eggh" you say. I know your kind. At dinner parties you refuse aperitifs of sambuca or Pernod. Every springtime, your fingers dance around the candy bowl carefully circumnavigating those pesky black jelly beans. Good n' Plentys? You are not fooled by those bright candy shells because you know what they conceal:
THE DREADED BLACK LICORICE.
And now I have just revealed to a completely horrified you that there exists a candy that is not only black licorice, but salty and peppery on top of the gross anise flavor? And I like it? PIE YOU MUST BE MAD!
Perhaps, but at least I have good taste in candy! Haters be hatin'. But guess what? We are not done exploring this licorice phenomenon yet my picky friends!
A few days after returning from Chicago, I was going through heavy withdrawal from not having any Tyrkisk Peber. And with no more available to me, my well being was surely in danger. I had to find them. I looked for specialty candy shops in the area, Scandanavian import stores, gourmet markets – anywhere that I might get access to those little gems. It was looking pretty bleak. I tried munching on spoonfulls of cracked pepper to get my fix. I tossed Good n' Plentys with salt – no dice. My trip to Tompkins Square Park in search of a "candy that looked like black tar" did not bode well at all. I was irritable. Sleepless. I NEEDED TYRKISK PEBER.
Then, as we sat in a league meeting, Swede suddenly walked over and handed me this bag of Djungelvrål, or Jungle Roar. My struggle must have been pretty apparent, and like the good licorice pusher she is, Swede was there to deliver the goods.
While Tyrkisk Pebers are a hard candy, Djungelvråls were soft and chewy with – get this – MORE salt.
|My lips are shrivelling up just looking at this|
I was intrigued and very grateful. I immediately opened the bag and indulged in a few. As I began chewing I felt the sweet familiar twinge of sourness in my upper jaw. My lips tingled with salt. The effervesence of the anise filled my head.
Ahhhhh. It was all going to be ok.
And although they weren't Tyrkisk Pebers, they were the perfect salty licorice methadone. I knew that with these salty monkey shaped babies, I would make it until my next encounter with the inimitable Tyrkisk Peber.
Swede Hurt just moved back to Sweden last week, and while I'm sad to see one of my good friends move far away across a big ocean, I am excited at the prospect of all those salty care packages that
I MUST RECEIVE!