Tar-Flavored Vodka and Other Scandinavian Specialties

July 20, 2010

During our recent summer vacation to Scandinavia and Russia, we enjoyed a four-hour tour of Helsinki, Finland, that culminated in a Finnish food workshop.

We were offered Finnish beer or vodka to accompany the tastes of reindeer salami, smoked salmon, heavy butter with fish roe, and wonderful fermented dark bread.

Because I’m not much of a beer drinker, I opted for the tar-flavored vodka, which smelled so strongly of tar I could hardly get it past my nose. Once I took a small sip out of the little bucket (pictured above), the tar flavor continued along with a very sweet aftertaste. Hmmm. . .maybe this is an acquired taste.

Dessert brought some relief thanks to the cloudberry cake and cranberry-studded dark chocolate (Finns supposedly love their chocolate). But the salted licorice may be another acquired taste, not unlike the tar-flavored vodka.

Once Stateside again, a ProChef SmartBrief article showed me that perhaps the Finns were simply ahead of their time, since an Alaskan distillery is making smoked salmon-flavored and one in Seattle touts bacon-flavored vodka, both reportedly very popular for use in Bloody Mary drinks.

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