Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

In the spring of 2013, Ihsan and I decided to visit Sweden, Denmark and Norway on a quest for new and delicious foodstuffs. We assumed that we would find lots of pickled herring, canned fish, lingonberry jams, rye crackers and licorice. Overall, we did well, bringing back several new items to the shop.

With all of the recent excitement about Copenhagen as a food destination and enthusiasm over the restaurant Noma, I thought that Copenhagen would be my favorite place we visited. Consequently, I was surprised at how much I loved Stockholm. Stockholm’s city center consists of 14 islands connected by 50 bridges. I was won over by the picturesque waterways, the medieval architecture, museums, the people and, of course, the food. Another surprise – we found ourselves buying and eating lots of licorice. I ate Twizzlers as a kid and can’t say I’ve had much along those lines since.

Ihsan and I knew that salty licorice was peculiar to Scandinavia and we were eager to try it – once we did, we were hooked. Our favorite licorice was that made by Lakritsfabriken, which literally translates to mean “licorice factory.” Turns out, this is a relatively new company started in 2011 by Martin Jorgensen, using completely natural ingredients. It contains none of the hydrogenated fats, gelatins and refined sugars you find in other licorice and, to take it a step further, Martin uses rice flour instead of wheat flour, making his licorice gluten-free.

Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

Scandinavians in general say the “saltier the better.” I happen to find Martin’s salty licorice on the milder side, just enough sweet and salt, soft and chewy. Perfectly balanced. You don’t get that puckered reaction that can come from too much salt, even if you are not used to the famous salty licorice of Scandinavia. Actually, salted licorice does not have any salt added – rather, it is ammonium chloride that gives the licorice its distinct flavor.

So popular is salty licorice in Martin’s part of the world, we found it used in everything – from caramels (we’re still trying to bring those in), to coffee, to ice cream, to cocktails, to chocolates. We carry small 40-gram boxes of Lakritsfabriken’s licorice in both Sweet and Super Salty if you’ve never had it before and would like to try it before you get a larger 150-gram pack – available in Sweet or Salty. We also carry Lakritsfabriken’s raw licorice, mini licorice roots and licorice syrup in our shops – ideal for incorporating licorice into your own baked goods, chocolates or cocktails. Enjoy!

Valerie Gurdal is the owner of Formaggio Kitchen South End in Boston, MA.

Carquinyolis Sant Quintí de Mediona

Carquinyolis Sant Quintí de Mediona

It’s easy to love Barcelona. Whenever Ihsan and I visit, we spend 90% of our time wandering from one tapas place to another. A little glass of cava and some sardines here, a fluffy golden tortilla Española there, clams as tiny as a fingernail smothered in garlic and wine, grilled octopus, fried rabbit ribs, platters of jamón. Continue Reading »

Aged Beers at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Aged Beers at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Spring is here – at least that’s what the calendar says. For me, spring means cleaning, dusting off the shelves and in general, clearing out the gray left by the long, cold winter. While preparing for a white-glove inspection at Formaggio Kitchen this year, we happened upon two curious cases of beer. They were filled with an assortment of barley wines, sours, and stouts from 2010 and 2011 that had been stashed away by one of our previous beer buyers. Old beer? Why, of course! Continue Reading »

Xocolates Aynouse l'Artesà - Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà – Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

In February 2013, while Ihsan and I were visiting our friend Pere Planagumà (head chef at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot, Catalonia), we stopped in the ancient historic city of Girona for a food show and discovered chocolate maker Francisco Javier “Xavi” Rodriquez Perez. Actually, Xavi recognized us — he used to be the chocolatier for another Catalan chocolate company. It was a nice reunion seeing Xavi and to learn that he decided to open his own company Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà in the town of Agramunt. Continue Reading »

Ekiola Sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains

Ekiola Sheep in the Pyrénées Mountains

A trip through the French Basque country is one of distinct sights, scents, and flavors. Rolling hills of green pastures are punctuated by craggy mountain peaks and deep valleys, and sheep are everywhere! When Ihsan, Valerie and I traveled through the area in the fall, we tasted a huge array of sheep milk cheeses and an assortment of intense but beautiful wines. Here, we’re featuring a few of our favorite tastes: Ardi Gasnas from Fromagerie Pardou and Ekiola, and a killer red wine from Domaine Ilarria of Irouléguy. Ardi Gasna (or gazna) is Basque for “sheep cheese,” and these smooth, rich sheep cheeses are a specialty in the Pyrénées mountains.

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Inside One of the Jasper Hill Vaults

Inside a Jasper Hill Vault

Last month, I had the great opportunity to join two co-workers in a pilgrimage to the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. In previous posts, my colleagues have described the merits of Jasper Hill as the home of award-winning cheeses like Winnimere, as well as an innovative model for sustainable small-scale cheese production. Rather than repeat this much-deserved praise, I hope to share a reflection on my brief time at Jasper Hill as a whirlwind of sights, smells, and of course tastes. The tag line of Jasper Hill is, “A Taste of Place” and thus I will try my best to give you a little taste of my experience in this very unique place. Continue Reading »

Clos Centeilles Côtes du Brian Blanc

Patricia Domergue is the leading lady behind the delightful wines of Clos Centeilles, a 14 hectare estate located in the La Livinière cru of Minervois. Minervois is an appellation in the westernmost part of the Languedoc in southern France. Before purchasing this property in 1990, Patricia studied oenology and worked in the Bordeaux region, but she was ultimately drawn to the Languedoc for its rich viticultural history and unique terroir.

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