Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Universal Yums! Snacks from around the world!

One of my favorite things to do whenever I'm traveling is take a look in stores and see if they perhaps have snacks or treats that I might not have back in my home town. Come on. If you're reading this blog, you probably do the same thing. There's just some things that are only available in certain areas. But what about visiting other COUNTRIES? That's not as easy. You see, I've been around a lot of the USA but outside? I've only been to Canada. Canada was barely a days drive from where I grew up but when I went there it was like another world. Their Mcdonalds had pizza! They had candy bars I had never fathomed and their milk came in bags! It was crazy. 

Now what if there was a service that would bring that experience right to your front door? Well, my friends, there is. It's called UNIVERSAL YUMS and every month they put together a box of snacks from one specific country and deliver it to your front door. You can get one once, or for a gift, or you can sign up to get a different one every month! 

Well the good folks over at Universal Yums dropped us a box in the mail for us to check out and I had so much fun with it that I thought I'd share it with all of you. So without further stalling, let's check out Universal Yums box of snacks from SCANDINAVIA! 

A list to let you know what you're getting into! I like it. 
When you first crack the box open they give you a listing of everything in it. This is good when dealing with food items you've never heard of from another country. I'll try anything once but if I'm going to be eating a chocolate covered grasshopper or something I'd like to know beforehand, am I right?

Look at all this stuff! 
There was definitely a huge amount of different kids of snacks. That picture? That's actually after I tried a few things.  Sometimes my snack excitement makes me forget I need to take pictures of this stuff. I wasn't sure the best way to do this so I decided to break each item down and let you all know what it was like. Some were good, some were bad, but it was a fun adventure along the way.  Let's take a look at how they snack in Scandinavia!

First up was KEX! It's basically just chocolate and wafers! But still pretty tasty. Kind of like a Kit-Kat with less chocolate. But the chocolate had a unique taste with almost a slight coffee flavor to it. I have to say I thought these were great but I could see how you could eat a ton of them without looking back.

Dumle were up next! They were a classic soft caramel covered in chocolate. Who doesn't like that? The chocolate was melty and the caramel was pretty soft so these ended up being a great gooey treat. Reading the sheet they sent along with it they said there's a similar Swedish candy to this that's called "PLOPP". But those are mostly eaten in Sweden because everyone else just thinks about pooping when they hear PLOPP and that's the last thing you want to be thinking about when you're eating candy. These were not bad at all!

Next we had Geisha chocolates! They are soft, creamy chocolate hazelnut middle surrounded by slightly harder chocolate on the outside. They weren't bad! Nothing to write home about. The pink wrapper and sexy writing made them look like a snack geared towards ladies, but I'm cool with that. Apparently these were inspired by a Japanese pastry called Japonica, that's why they got name Geisha, although these are apparently only popular in the Nordic countries. They certainly like their gooey chocolate candies!

Daim bars are toffee covered in chocolate! Kind of like a Heath bar. Funny story, way back in 1950 the Marabou chocolate company reached out to Hershey to try and get the license to sell Heath bars in Sweden. Hershey said, "Hell no." so what did they do? They created their own version called DAIM(I'm choosing to decide that this is pronounced DAMN)! It's different though, it's more like a Skor bar. Oh and the kicker here? Hershey later made a copycat of DAIM in the USA called SKOR. Friggin' cut throat business, right?  But the bottom line is that these little bars are great if you enjoy Heath or Skor. Every time I ate one, I just wanted to say...

Thanks Ron.

NEXT UP, Marianne Chocolate Mints! These are a cool mind hard candy with chocolate inside. Not my favorite thing in the box but I think if there was a dish of these for after dinner I might enjoy them but definitely not just for snacking. Still, solid tasting for what it was.

And then we have Panda Blueberry Licorice. Now, I'm going to start this out by telling you that one of the things I hate the most in the world is black licorice. It's the worst taste on the face of the planet. I would rather eat a spoonful of my own brains out of my own open skull than eat black licorice. So luckily this is not that. I was worried. Instead it's kind of like if they mixed together one of those weird natural fruit roll ups with licorice. It's a strange flavor but not all bad. The package boasts lots of things like Fat Free and blah blah blah. The exact opposite of what you're reading this blog for. Was it good? Not really. But it could have been a lot worse. It could have been...oh no.


Salmiakki Finnish Sweet Licorice. I was hoping that I would open it up and be wrong about it. But no...from the second I ripped open the package my nostrils were assaulted by the black licorice fumes and I had to fight the urge to fast ball pitch this thing out my office window.  Apparently this is one of Scandinavia's most well known treats. And I guess it's salted too? Will that improve the horrid taste?

It's huge. And soft. It stinks, and by the Gods, for you, my readers, I WILL TASTE THIS HORRID LICORICE! Sometimes being a food blogger isn't so glamorous...

As you guessed, it was absolutely terrible. Do you like soft black licorice? Well then gather all the rest of the people you can find who like terrible, disgusting snacks and get your grubby mitts on one of these things. For me? It was the worst. It was like that time I drank too much Absinthe but in solid form. So. So. So gross. NEVER AGAIN! I would rather take a bite from the belly of a bloated roadkill than have another taste of this.

Then there were the Rye Snacks. The flavoring on them was pretty tasty, Garlic and herb with big chunks of sea salt. But the cracker was definitely strange. A little hard but still tasty. Apparently back in the 1800's they used to only bake bread twice a year so they would make them crispbreads that would last the months in between. These are apparently a modern take on that. Hmm.

In my old age I've become quite the fan of a ginger snap. Why? I'm really not sure. Perhaps as the years go on I'll also decide I love hard candy and sitting at the mall people watching at 11am on a Tuesday. But hey, ginger snaps are solid and these Lars Swedish Gingersnaps don't disappoint! Thinner than most I've had in the past, I felt like this shape and size made for a great hard cookie. The only down side is that I forgot to put them in something to seal them up and they went bad. The next day I went to grab one and it was soft. Like chomping into an old piece of cardboard! My fault! Otherwise these were great.

And last but not least the Marabou Chocolate bar with Nougat! It is widely agreed that Marabou bars are THE BEST CHOCOLATE IN ALL OF SCANDINAVIA! So they included a giant Marabou bar and it was pretty damn tasty! Easily broken into segments and shared with some fellow snackers, these bars are too big to eat by yourself in just one sitting. Well...unless you are rocking a supreme sweet tooth.  The chocolate and nougat are both very soft and tasty. I can see why they like it so much. The nougat is not the weird whipped version that a lot of American candy companies have adopted but a more dense and flavorful version. This was definitely one of the highlights of the Universal Yums box!

This box was filled with interesting and tasty treats and I'm glad they include the list because I feel like I came away from this with a little more knowledge packed away in my brain. The next time someone asks me if I want a Skor bar I'll be all..."no thanks. I think I'll eat one of these DAIM candy bars." But say it like DAMN and also like Ron Simmons. Because why not?

I would say if you're adventurous about your snacks Universal Yums service could definitely be for you. It's a great way to try a bunch of stuff you've never even heard of before. Not only that but these are a great gift idea too. It's kind of like going through your stocking on Christmas morning except it's JUST CANDY and it's all from one certain country. Christmas is NEVER themed like that. So take a look at their website and the next time you don't know what to get your friend who has everything, perhaps you they might like a box of fun from Universal yums!

Review by Rich!

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  1. Salted black licorice, otherwise known as shiticorice.

  2. It's very healthy nice recipe to be a healthy lifestyle.
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  3. You are so wrong. There is nothing better than salmiakki. Altho I admit that is not the best kind of salmiakki. The best is Turkish Pepper, which is hard, peppery salty licorice.