by Elaine Lillback, FHM reporter
Can you smell it? Can you taste it? What? You can hear the words, and it sounds like ymm, ymm, sweet! Yes, its all about candy. Many kinds of candy, M A K O S I A , and it's all from Finland. We all have been given a little square piece of paper with a number for a drawing after the program at the Finnish Heritage Museum. The speaker is Leena Maki from Mansfield, Ohio who had worked for a Pakka store in Finland before she met and married Pastor Maki in Finland. Not only is she sweet, but she is knowledgeably sweet! That will keep our number waiting to be drawn!
Leena Maki tells sweet tales.
There are several prominent candy factories in Finland. They are : Fazer, Panda, Brunberg, and Halva. These are the big factories in Finland. Karl Fazer is one of the largest corporation in the Finnish food industry. The company was originally founded by Karl in 1891 as a French-Russian candy store in Central Helsinki.
Karl Otto Fazer (1866-1932) was a Finnish businessman. He was born in Helsinki and died in Jokioinen in 1932. He studied baking in Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg before becoming a pioneer of Finnish confectionery. Together with his wife Berta, he opened a French-Russian confectionery in Helsinki in 1891. The Swiss recipe for the Fazer Blue was received into the family as a gratitude to Karl Fazers son Sven for taking care of a sick boy. The same recipe has been in use ever since 1922 when chocolate was introduced to the market in its characteristic blue package to honor Finland. Incidentally, this was the "surprise" in the drawing.
In the picture to the right, Leena enjoys herself at the Fazer Cafe in Helsinki.
The history of the chocolate factory Brunberg goes back to 1871 when a baker called August Wilhelm Lindfors founded his bakery in the small town Porvoo. In 1897 he also started to make sweets. This was a family business where the whole family, husband, wife and seven children were involved. The next owner, the eldest son, Ivar, expanded the factory by purchasing several competitors in Helsinki and fusing them with his Porvoo plant.
In 1907 a 16 year old boy from the nearby countryside, Lennart Brunberg was offered an apprenticeship at the Lindfors Sweets Factory. In 1922 Lennart Brunberg made his dream come true by founding a sweets factory of his own. In 1928 Ivar Linfors offered to sell his factory to Lennart Brunberg. The factory of OY Brunberg-Lindfors Av was born. During 1930s Depression, the factory suffered badly. The constant lack of materials ended with a a tragic accident. A fire destroyed both his home and office. The following years were hard for the company. Lennart's son Borje, revived the company on a smaller scale. In 1958 the name was changed to Brumberg Oy. Borje served for 45 years, followed by Raimo Keskinen, and then Borje's son, Tom Brunberg. Their main products are chocolate truffles, kisses and bars, liquorice and Alku, a soft milk candy dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Wrappers shown at left.
In 1920, the first confectionary factory of SOK Co-op Enterprises began manufacturing sweets in the modest upstairs premises of a berry processing plant in Vaajakoski. The products were so popular and sold so well that during the second year the production began operating in two shifts. The first products were sweets wrapped in paper, sweets in tins, cough drops and jellies.
At the end of the 1920s production was transferred into a separate brand new factory building where the manufacture of chocolate began. In 1927 Panda created its first licorice product. The manufacture of soft licorice began in 1933 under the supervision of the Executive Licorice Master Vaino Hilden, and in 1936 the first licorice drops appeared in the shops. World war II severely affected the production of sweets.
After chocolate rationing , it was a busy time. Chocolate, called Panda Pop was introduced with a wrapper featuring a panda bear. This later became the inspiration for renaming the business in 1961 to Panda Chocolate Factory. This later was exported with the first exports of Licorice Roll to the USA called Paul Spitz. Through an acquisition made in 2000, Panda became the largest Finnish owned confectionery factory with the making of chocolate and licorice. A record was achieved in 2001 when, over 3 million units of Pandas most popular praline assorted chocolate was sold. Love Licorice Day on the 16th of April in the UK will become an annual tradition celebrating licorice. Note: the FHM will celebrate this licorice holiday as well, passing a resolution to do so.
Halva is a family owned company with its office and store in Vantaa. The company produces and sells a wide assortment of licorice and other sugar confectionery products. It was established in 1931. The company has two production plants located in greater Helsinki area. It is among the leading licorice producers in the Nordic countries. More than half of the companys licorice output is exported.
Miscellaneous candies from Finland include Angry Birds confections and XYLITOL! Xylitol kills the acid attack in your mouth after the enjoyment of sweets! After the meal, you chew on a piece for five to ten minutes to re-balance your system. This is catching on in Finland!
Refreshments were provided by Dottie King and Suzanne Jokela.
Text ©FHM & Elaine Lillback
Leena shares her candies with (left to right) Larry King, Linda Pohto, Millie Laituri, Viola Pohto, Elaine Lillback, Ken Quiggle, and Dottie King.
FHM Member Paula Hern speaks with Timo Sarkkinen who brought his entire family to the museum. Timo lives in Youngstown, Ohio. Recently transferred from Louisiana, Timo is originally from Pori, Finland.