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Five from Finland

Liquorice and chocolate

Enjoy a sugar rush of five Finnish companies doing great things in sweets.

Julia Helminen

Finland has long cultivated its love of liquorice and is also making chocolaty waves among sweet-tooth types.


Driven by personal passion, these folks are on a mission to feed fellow liquorice-lovers around the world with top-shelf takes on the classic sweet treat. This Finnish liquorice suits every mood of the day and can even be used in cooking – ever tried sea salt-infused liquorice in red wine sauce, for example?

“This has been a passion-driven project, and our goal from the beginning has been to take LIQ into international markets and make it big,” said co-founder Jari Nenonen.

This raw chocolate company has made serious inroads in the US by knowing how to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth. It also has plans to disrupt the food industry for the better.

“We want to change how the food industry operates and bring joy and wellbeing to it,” stated co-founder Jukka Peltola. “We want to be a global brand, but instead of mass production we will get there with our own selection of niche products.”

Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get. Open a bar of Taiga, however, and you’re guaranteed to receive a burst of nutrition straight from Finnish forests – and rivers, too, if you fancy a fish-flavoured sweet treat. Yep!

“In five years, I believe that we will have a world-class brand that brings a positive feeling to people worldwide,” predicted Tanja-Maria Davidov. “If somebody mentions that they like Taiga, that should mean something to the other person; in other words, wonderful chocolate.”

These colourful and fun sweets have managed to convince those whose fancy isn’t tickled by traditional liquorice. Responsible for the ubiquitous metre-long liquorice that can be found at fairs and festivals around the country, the company has reached out to vegan palates in recent years with its Happy Reindeer range. Consumers in Finland and abroad licked their lips in satisfaction.

“There is plenty of potential in the international market, and we’re constantly looking for new distributors,” stated export director Jorma Alanen.

For Finnish chocolate maker Peter Westerlund, the key to great chocolate is the absence of additives except for time and creativity. After changing his focus to making bean-to-bar chocolate, Westerlund has gone on to win an award for his Madagascar milk chocolate.

“Chocolate is a fascinating raw material that can be made into anything – the sky is the limit,” he told us.

“I eat chocolate everyday but still cannot get enough of it. That is also why I do this – I like it so much,” he added.

Originally published in May 2019

By: James O’Sullivan