Eastern Treats

We’ve already established I’m stingy and not fond of traditional holiday souvenirs. So while my Contiki comrades were gathering up matryoshka dolls by the armload on Red Square, I was more guarded with my precious roubles. I was inspired by Rory’s wife Jane who has amassed an impressive collection of international candy wrappers from her travels, from Melbourne to Madagascar. Here is a smattering of sugar from Scandinavia, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Purchased in Stockholm at sunset. “You know, I really can’t stop,” said Rhi. “Damn Swedes.”

i cannae stop!

This is when I decided that Finland RULED! If you see one of these in a shop it’s compulsory to yell, “A HAA!” like you’re Hercule Poirot and you’ve just cracked the case.


Another Finnish delight.


Purchased in the same Helsinki spree as the above. Pretty kacky indeed, unless you’re a liquorice lover.


Finland had the best chocolate of all the countries we’ve flitted through this year. How can you go wrong with a chocolate bar called I LOVE CHOCOLATE? Because we all do!


If you’re ever in that part of the world be sure to sample the delectable hazelnut goodness of a Geisha…


… and the squishy malty whatever-it-is of a Tupla.


Meanwhile dirt, gravel and perhaps the cremains of former dictators seem to be essential ingredients in what passes for chocolate in Russia. But you get a nice picture of the Kremlin in your choice milk or strawberry.

the big k   k2

Did you know that polar bears love chocolate?


And so do grizzly bears!

it helps me hibernate

My first bar was destroyed when I left it on the coach, having lived in the UK so long I’d forgotten the effect that direct sunlight has on chocolate. Fortunately the Startled Baby Chocolate was widely available.


Purchased in Minsk for 740 Belarussian roubles (18p).

aiii yah babushka

Meanwhile in the Baltic States… From Estonia, this short and stumpy sellout. I mean, chocolate covered yogurt thingo.


Finally, from Riga, Latvia. We imagined this to be from Soviet times, as if saying to the comrades, “Dude, you don’t want to be going to the Bahamas. It’s all brown and shitty there.”

all the leaves are brown

About Shauna Reid

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16 thoughts on “Eastern Treats

  1. I think you have invented a new art. I want a giant startled baby for the newly blank wall in my office.

  2. Wonderful! though it brought back memories of sitting in a Moscow hotel room with my friends, sucking Nutella off our fingers because we’d run out of crackers and we were so sick of Russian food. This was 1996, so it may have improved (or not).

    Sweden is an excellent place to go for amusingly named confectionery, though the wrappers were nothing special. Our first visit to a supermarket there turned up Plopp (a bit like mini Dime bars), Guff (mixed penny sweeties – might have had only one f, actually) and Old Chap liquorice allsorts. Why was that funny? Well… Mum frequently refers to Dad as “the old chap”. I think the Swedish sweetie-manufacturers probably chose it to express traditional Englishness (“What ho, old chap!”) but it made us so hysterical that the parents had to tell us to calm down in case any of the supermarket patrons were offended…

    We were all well over 18 at the time, I fear.

  3. ooh, you are making me hungry for all those yummy Finnish treats, Tupla and Geisha are definitely the best, but you didn’t mention the Fazer blocks like Royale…mmm….good.

  4. Startled baby chocolate… bahahahahahaha!

    If you ever go to China, for the love of all that’s holy, DO NOT EAT THE CHOCOLATE.

    Sweet creamy Christ on a cracker, it was foul! And so was the ‘haw’ candy too. Gah… vile.

  5. oooh – nice! you gotta frame them up in one big frame and put them on your wall wherever you go! Damien Hirst, move aside – Shauna ‘Whats New
    Pussycat is THE new YBA! Where’s Charles Saatchi’s phone number..

  6. Startled Baby Chocolate!, Oh my God, thats MY son!

    Nice souvenir collection, my souvenirs for the last twelve months have been the wrappers from baby food jars. Its more interesting than you might think, no seriously, don’t walk away, …. mashed reindeer (Denmark) anyone?

  7. One should never attempt to eat the chocolate in the USA, either, of course. Not much actual cocoa in it. I wonder if that band “Aha” was named after the chocolate, or if the chocolate was named after the band?

  8. heheh…

    taaaaaaake onnnnnn meeeeee!

    kirsten – plopps are great too! didn’t know about old chap… that’s excellent!

    faith, do they really feed reindeer to kiddies? awww…

    saara – i didn’t mention the Fazer blocks, if i mentioned every kind of chocolate i ate in finland everyone would think i was a big pork. and then two months later was the baltic trip when we realised we could get all the finnish chocs in latvia and estonia… reunited and it feeeels so goood!

  9. Hey, I’m vaguely offended by the not to attempt to eat chocolate in the USA comment 🙂 Is it really that bad with respect to the rest of the world’s chocolate? If so, which country has the best chocolate? (In the interest of prioritising my itinerary 😉 )

  10. I’d say Norway has the best milk chocolate. The Freia brand. The wrapper is yellow. I’m Norwegian so there might of course be some nostalgia involved but seriously, it’s really very good!
    And I have to sign up for the Tupla fan club. It was my favorite for years and now I can’t eat it because of stupid nut allergy. It’s SO good. (Here I go with the nostalgia again…)

  11. That Kack you mentioned, did it perchance happen to be salted? I’m a big fan of liquorice, but when a friend brought me back some Salt Krits from Sweden I was a bit taken aback, – a bit like when you first have salted porridge, it’s rather repulsive, but then your warm to it and the salt overdose kicks in and turns you into a salt junkie…

    I think I mentioned it someothertime you were discussing the merits (or lack of) in foreign foods, but I’ve now found the link to … the brilliant Rude Food.


    anja, i will have to get to norway then! just to try the chocolate at the very least, hehe.

    jacob, i don’t remember the Kack it being salty but i didn’t really give it a fair go! one bite was all i could manage 🙂

    and ta for the Rude Food link, will have to check it out…

  13. Well, the Swiss might argue they do the best chocolate, but personally I think probably the Belgians have the edge. You can buy belgian chocolate online (e.g. at chocosphere.com). In terms of stuff you can buy in supermarkets, Lindt is great (lots of varieties too), and they do the 85% cocoa type which a lot of people swear by. In the UK, most confectionery has 24-25% cocoa with lots of vegetable oil, which makes it more “vegelate” than chocolate. People acclimatise and get used to the taste, but this is not the same as knowing what real chocolate tastes like! In the USA, I found so-called chocolate had too much sugar, and only around 20-23% cocoa.

    Too much information?

  14. Mmmm try Pocky Choccy…. As someone once said “Pocky is a food group”
    v. noice v. toisty

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