I remember the days when sweets were a treat and something to be enjoyed, but now, there seems to be a slightly, dare I say it, sadistic element creeping in that tempts eaters to test their mettle. I thought it would be fun to look at some of the most unusual sweet flavours out there, but don’t blame me if some of them sound far more weird than wonderful, dear friends.
No 1: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans
Jelly beans of every conceivable flavour are not a terrifically new invention, but until recent years, ‘every’ has been a little hyperbolic. With the advent of the Harry Potter books, however, imaginative sweets were unleashed upon the world, first in the form of descriptions on a page and then in the studio tour sweet shop. Now, strawberry and popcorn beans can be swiftly followed by something as horrifying as ear wax or even dirt.
No 2: Hot tamarind candy sticks
The clue to the flavour profile of sweets lies in the name – so because we expect something sugary, anything that takes a more spicy turn comes as quite a shock. A perfect blend of fiery chilli and chewy toffee, zingy tamarind chews are popular overseas and now, thanks to the internet, are easy to come by here in the UK as well. They are particularly tasty when eaten with fresh mango as a contrast.
No 3: Green Tea Kit Kats
It’s no secret that matcha green tea seems to be infiltrating every foodstuff right now, but who would have thought that it would influence the humble Kit Kat? A favourite in Japan, green-tea Kit Kats have started to become exceptionally popular, but can take a little getting used to, as the taste is far drier and more earthy than the saccharine-sweet milk-chocolate varieties we are used to.
No 4: Gherkin gumballs
No, this is not a joke. While novelty candy-cane flavours have been available for a while, it seems as though gumballs are swiftly following suit to offer year-round horrendous flavour experiences! I don’t think it will come as a surprise to any of you that gherkin and artificial mint is hardly a culinary match made in heaven, but the briny aftertaste has to be terrible, no?
No 5: Birch-tree chews
While making a sweet taste like a tree might sound obscure to us, in Estonian cuisine, it’s not out of the ordinary at all, hence these intriguing offerings. The chews have been authentically flavoured, which can be confusing at first bite, but having been coated in chocolate, they are a moreish treat that I can imagine being a more exotic alternative to cinema snacks.
No 6: Salted liquorice
Most people consider black liquorice to be something of an acquired taste, but add in some extra sodium and the stakes are far higher! A very popular ‘sweet’ in both Germany and Scandinavia, salted liquorice is freely available over there, but have no fear, as regular visitors to Ikea might be able to find a bag to try in the food shop. It could also work as a fabulous Halloween sweet alternative to deal with pesky trick-or-treaters who don’t seem to have anything nice in their repertoires!
Perhaps it’s time for us all to step outside our comfort zones and try something a little more adventurous than regular sugary snacks…or maybe not, as we don’t want to burn all of our social bridges, do we?