Friday, March 11, 2011

sugar coated fennel

I was wandering around Save-On Foods the other day trying to get acquainted with their aisles (always a good thing to do when you're going to shop a new store), and I found myself in the ethnic spice section.

Am I the only one who loves spice sections? I love looking at all of the different kinds, some I know and some I don't. I really wish manufacturers would print some information about each spice on the back of their bags. That would be really helpful and would satiate my curiosity without me having to google it (it would also leave me standing in spice sections all day as if they were a library).

So that's where I spotted these colourful little things. Sugar coated fennel seeds, basically whole fennel seeds covered in a candy shell not unlike Smarties or M&Ms.

I was so intrigued, I really had to try them.

They've got a distinct black licorice flavour, so if you don't like black licorice, you should probably back away right now. Personally, I love black licorice. Licorice allsorts? Those are my go-to whenever I get a craving for licorice. Candy coated fennel actually reminds me a lot of those, but instead of being chewy and overly sweet, they're crunchy and taste more refreshing than the candy.

It took a bit of searching, but I learned from these sources that they're called mukhwas and are most commonly served in south asian restaurants as a sort of after-dinner mint. They're supposed to help freshen your breath and aid in digestion after a meal.

I want to add thirst quencher to the list, too. I found that chewing a few of them felt as though I'd taken a few sips of water and that feeling lasted for some time after. I just wasn't as thirsty as I usually am (which is hard to achieve since I'm always thirsty). That's definitely better than gum since gum initially fixes my thirst but it never lasts.

They're also a little healthier than any gum or mint you could buy. And don't even get me started on how pretty and colourful and uplifting they are when it's so grey outside.

Naturally, I wanted to be able to have access to these amazing seeds anywhere I go, so I did what any sane person would do. I bought a TicTac box, dumped out the Tacs and filled it with fennel seeds. And then I peeled off the Tic Tac label and made my own label cuz I'm insane like that.

I really want to say that making the label was a breeze, but it took a lot of figuring for me. You can make your own a lot easier if you start with plain sticker paper. Then all you really need to do is shrink a photo down to the size of a Tic Tac label (I found dimensions here), add some words through Picnik, print, cut out, and stick it on (this project turned out so cutely, it was really hard for me to eventually break the seal).

The only sticky paper I had was in the form of 30 label mailing sheets (the address kind), so I had to use their dimensions and specify where the image had to be printed on the paper in my photo program. I definitely wanted the picture to end up on one whole sticker instead of half of the picture on one and the other half on another.

I didn't realize it as I was doing it, but this project would be really awesome for party favours. Instead of using fennel, you could leave the Tic Tacs in the box or use some other small candy that fits your theme. The Tic Tac label peels off so easily you don't even have to use Goo Gone (that's really the best thing about this whole project. I thought I'd be sitting around all day waiting on the label to come off). The hardest part (aka as the best part cuz you get to be creative and artsy) is making the personalized label -- happy birthday, congratulations, you get the idea.

My little box is just for me and is going to be great in my purse instead of gum.

I got a 100 g bag of candy fennel for $1.59. One 18 g box of Tic Tacs is $1.19. So I could fill approximately three or four Tic Tac boxes with that bag (the size of each candy is obviously quite different). And the best part (I think) is that this really isn't candy. You're only going to need a pinch at a time, so in terms of lasting longer than a conventional mint (we will eat those Tic Tacs like candy), fennel's definitely got a leg up.

If you wanted sugar free, I think it would also be cool to buy plain fennel seeds. They'd taste exactly the same except there'd be no candy crunch or pretty colours. But come on! You can't pass on the pretty colours!


Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I've never had candy coated fennel before but I love your packaging! I know you're a sucker for pretty packaging. Your animation at the bottom totally made me LOL!

GALaxy said...

Thanks! Obviously, I couldn't resist a GIF either. I need a good story for it, though. I couldn't come up with anything!

Dee D. said...

Oh I love these! I have them at my house :) Your packaging is so cute! I love it :)

Anonymous said...

Here in the Netherlands, we serve a slightly smaller version of these on a crunchy toast with butter to celebrate the birth of a child in the family.
We call them "mice" and they come in a pink-white or blue-white version.
Another way to eat them is crushed to powder, and then we call them "crushed mice". Its popular on bread.

Sweet Travel said...

Thanks for linking to Sweet Travel! I'm so glad to connect with another mukhwas fan. What program did you use to animate your awesome little video?

GALaxy said...

Dee D.: Thanks!

Anon: That's so interesting! I'm glad you shared. I love hearing about other traditions. I'll have to try them on toast. I would have never even thought of it!

Sweet Travel: No problem. You gave a lot of great info! I make all of my gifs at Gif Ninja:

Laurel {Make and Takes} said...

This is such a fun idea, thanks! I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at

MAry Brown said...
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Anonymous said...

Great idea with the Tic Tac container. You should pass this idea to the Tic Tac company!