I am told that liquorice is extremely popular and people there are just crazy for it. This may sound dumb but is 99% of the sweets there liquorice flavoured? Any fun stories behind this huge liquorice fever?
Icelanders have an obsession for liquorice that I, like many outsiders, really don’t understand. They put it in chocolate bars, easter eggs, put salt and pepper on it and consume it as a sweet. Lakkrís is the Icelandic word for liquorice, so if you are not a fan, keep an eye out for it. I have found that bringing a bag or roll of liquorice to an Icelander is a very easy way to get into their good books.
WE LOVE IT!
Icelandic liquorice is black and sweeter than Danish black liquorice for example, but not as sweet as the sugar coated red liquorice you can find in some countries.
A lot of sweets definitely contain liquorice - and it’s probably a custom that came to Iceland from Denmark (although Icelandic liquorice is much nicer than Danish liquorice in my opinion). You should definitely give it a go I for example love ‘all sorts’ if it’s Icelandic, but think it’s disgusting when I’ve had ‘all sorts’ from some other countries. It’s very different to the liquorice you might be used to.
However, if you’re not a fan, you can also find a lot of wafer type sweets, like Hraun, Æði or Nóa Kropp, or caramel based things, or sweet stuff. At the moment there’s a great pepper craze going on in Iceland, and you can get almost any sweet imaginable with a pepper coating!
My favourite liquorice based sweet is Fylltar Reimar, long stretches of thin liquorice that’s filled with a coconutty marzipan
I love people who bring me lakkrís. Especially the marzipan filling sweet one.
Heads up for @Tony_WWWANG - if it’s not soft, sticky and sweet (or salmiakki) it’s not liquorice. That inferior stuff you get abroad is an affront to all candy-loving, self respecting people!
I am obsessed with liquorice, and I am not the only one as it is true that a large portion of Icelandic candy contains liquorice. This love is probably something that came from Denmark, although Finland has numerous shops that only sell liquorice…don’t know if they got it from Denmark as well or it is just something the Nordic countries do. (Iceland really needs a liquorice shop!)
And it’s not just candy now. You can buy liquorice flavoured salt and get a liquorice seasoned lamb at restaurants. There are liquorice/pepper coated raisins, dates and almonds, and weirder stuff like liquorice flavoured ice-cream, popcorn, cheese and, of course, skyr.
I think that if you are visiting Iceland, you should at least try some liquorice as it is now such a big part of today’s culture. You can maybe start with the candy or, if you are feeling brave, the cheese (the skyr isn’t really good, skip that).
A favourite treat is to drink orange soda (Appelsín) from a glass bottle (that is a must for some reason, no cans!) with a straw made out of liquorice. Do that, and you’ll instantly become a local
I was once in New York, and a waiter at a restaurant came to me and told me that his wife was Icelandic and asked me if I had any Opal (small liquorice tablets that come in a handy pocket-size packages). I did not, but now I carry a pack with my whenever I go abroad, just in case I meet some liquorice-starved Icelanders.