Typography

Ethnic product 
of the 
month

I’VE COME to understand that for those of you who’ve grown up in the US, the UK, or possibly one of the Commonwealth countries, the very mention of condensed milk transports you straight back to your childhood days. The evocative sound of a can clattering away as it is being boiled into sticky caramel, the anticipation of the final product that took hours to take shape and the burnt tongue ‘cos you just couldn’t wait any longer – or am I wrong?

Although extremely popular in the above-mentioned corners of the world, this sweet treat is not the exclusive delight of the English-speaking nation. Condensed milk is surprisingly popular in South America, Asia, India, and even in Russia! People just can’t get enough of the canned goodness ­ – some add it to coffee or tea, others slop it on toast or use it as icing on a cake, and there are also those who just grab a spoon and dig in.

Also known as ‘sweetened milk,’ condensed milk is produced by removing water from cow’s milk and transferring the remnants into a can along with mounds of sugar. The product lasts for years without refrigeration if unopened. Here lies the key for the development of the product.

Believe it or not, condensed milk was not actually formulated for the mere pleasure of those of us with a sweet tooth, but was born from the need to create a long lasting milk product. This occurred as far back in the day as the early 1800s.

Though condensed milk may be a big time product, it is still surprisingly difficult to come by in Finland. You may get lucky and find it in some very well-stocked supermarkets, but the best bet in finding yourself a can or two of the scrumptious white stuff is to rummage through the array of ethnic food markets scattered around the capital.

Petra Nyman