Sunday, April 12, 2009

Swedish Candy. And Easter.

It’s almost Easter. I didn’t have to go work on Friday. I won’t have to go to work on Monday. Sweden might turn me into a religious man. Or at least someone that appreciates all of the religious holidays. But until then, I’ll be focusing on candy.

Because, in a stroke of genius that only parents can pull off, just a day after writing my post about Easter Advertisements in Stockholm, Sweden and my hint to have gummy bunnies sent to me, I received a package from home. With gummy bunnies. The best candy in the world. This is not debatable. Ever.

Sweden does have delicious candies though. Although, they deliver the candy in a bit of a different form during Easter. Instead of tiny little plastic eggs filled with candy, or candy hidden throughout the backyard, or candy in an Easter basket, the Swedes have cardboard Easter eggs filled with goodies. It works quite well, and seems to fit in with the Swedish approach to godis really. Just a big receptacle of different Swedish candy to choose from.

Since moving here I have developed a horrible sweet tooth. I blame the lösgodis completely. Lösgodis is something that I consider to be a Swedish phenomenon. Bins full of candy that you scoop out into a special bag. You get to create your own amazing mix of deliciousness. Especially on Saturdays. Lördagsgodis.

The same thing exists in the US. Not Saturday candy, but bins full of candy. But it’s just not the same. When I’m in the US, I don’t really eat that much candy. Mostly because I don’t ever think of the candy bins. I think of Snickers. And Twix. And all those chocolaty candy bars. I think that’s what the difference really is. Rather than having various candies to pick at, you have to finish off the whole candy bar. And that takes some sort of commitment.

Of course, Sweden has candy bars, but the country also offers all of those afraid of commitment an alternative. The candy bins. You can’t walk into a grocery store in Sweden without finding a wall full of candy bins. You can’t even walk into a convenience store without finding a wall full of candy bins.

The candy is sold by weight. Usually around the holidays you can get the goodies for a sales price. Sometimes as low as 49 SEK per kilo. That’s about five dollars for over two pounds of candy. The fact that there aren’t more fat people, or at least toothless people, in Sweden never ceases to amaze me.

At the wall you will have dozens of candy choices. A small bag will be provided. They’ll even provide a scoop to use. And that’s when it will hit you. The overwhelming choices that lie ahead. Luckily, there are a few important rules when buying candy in Sweden.

  • Stay away from the licorice. Seriously. Often times it is salty. And that’s not good for anyone.
  • Fill your bag with gummy candies. They are amazing. You can’t really go wrong with gummy candies.
  • Try to avoid buying candy late on a Saturday. The bins have been picked over by hundreds of little kids. What are left are the dregs of the candy wall.
  • In fact, try to avoid buying candy in the middle of the day on a Saturday. You’ll need to sharpen your elbows and fight off sugar-starved little kids. Unless you have no shame, it’s just not worth the crocodile tears of small Swedish children.
  • Buy your candy at a grocery store. Pressbyrån and 7-11 are expensive.

Now you know.

Welcome to Sweden. And Swedish candy.

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  1. Salt lakrits är något som alla måste smaka eftersom det är gudomligt.

  2. Why not eat saltlakris? It's the best candy there is. Oh and a tip for not getting candy some irresponsible parents kid have drooled over. Take the shovel and dig your way up in the upper level of the candy box, you know where the candy are supposed to drop down from.

  3. Hi i'm again back!
    what is amazing is i got the same problem before coming to Sweden,i had no interest in chocolates and all the sweet stuff now i can't spend a day without a choholate bar!!
    and thanks for instruction of buying candy,mind you i gotta wait for summer when i get a job then i'll try your
    and concerning holiday and sun and so. i don't know if you know where huddinge is. to let you know it's somewhere in Stockholm!! where we have a beautiful wood just behind our place and i can actually see all the people who come to visit the wood from my window!(they aren't many and mostly elderlies though).so i have all the planet's nature in my backyard!
    give me other suggestion about sceneries ,let me make it straight somewhere i can meet people!i'm dying of having noone (preferly girl)to talk with.
    P.s. the one who was eating the beef wasn't me, i was the cameraman.

  4. Since I came to Sweden, I have learned to LOVE licorice! I am even starting to like the salt licorice, and isn't the rhubarb candy great? Lately my favorite is Mexican mango frogs...GODIS!

  5. @Hairy: You advice us to stay away from licorice - but my mom taught me that I should stay away from crazy people. Salty licorice is delicious. And you Sir, are clearly insane. There really is no other plausible explanation. Now that we're established that "fact", I agree that your claim that gummy bunnies is that best candy in the world is undebatable. Not debating with crazy people is something that life, rather than my parents, taught me.

    Now, to get back on your good side, I'll agree with you about Pressbyrån and 7-11. For me there is actually a few more options though. E.g. there is a store a five minute walk from where I live called "Godishuset". I think the name pretty much says it all? 500+ different kinds of candy. All of it top notch candy. Including "naturgodis". All for a regular price of 69:- per kilo. All in all, it's a top notch operation. The place is clean, the people working are nice and smile, freshly cleaned scoops for every customer. Now THAT's genious. When just about every other immigrant setting up their own business here decided for fast foot (pizza, kebab), these people decided to think outside the box. They integrated business wise, so to speak. I have five pizza/kebab places within a ten minute walk from where I live - twice that if I walk really fast. All of them work like dogs (hours wise). They're open seven days a week, 365 days a year (pretty much). And none of them are rich people. (They probably make a great deal more then they declare of course, but that's a different story). The people operating this candy store though, they must be making loads of money. And yea, they work pretty hard to, I'd say. But then, that's pretty much the life of anyone running their own business.

  6. my god yes! the gummi candi in sweden was the best!! i'm coming back just for that :-)

    but i really do wonder what the deal is - how is that there are so many hot looking swedish people when there is so much candy consumption and smoking? i don't get it...

  7. I love the Swedish candy! <3 Good tips I'll remember that next time.(esp with the kids) We went to Pressbyrån a lot I didnt know about price difference.;) Coming back I brought a huge bag of candy for my family cause I was addicted to those candy shops there. The gummies are the best, and those weird ice cream cone chocolates but I agree with you on the licorice, not a big fan but they have a lot of licorice there it seems. We were trying to figure what a lot of the shapes were some were kind of unrecognizable like nooks or something? But for traveling around it was good to have some sweets to snack on.

  8. I couldn't have said it better myself. I have developed the worst sweet tooth since moving here. The gummies are wonderful!!!

  9. Ammonium chloride might be an acquired taste. But it's essential for a well balanced godispåse. You can eat twice as much candy when some of it is salty.

  10. @anonymous – I’ll agree that it is something that everyone should taste. Once. And never again.

    @anonymous – as a general rule I like my candy to be sweet or sour. Not salty.

    But your tip for digging in the candy box is an excellent one. Right on the money.

    @michaelhuddinge – Sweden is evil in that sense I think. All that candy is just so delicious.

    The meeting people thing is tough. The university is a good start just because of all of the other students.

    @anonymous – you’re a better person than I in terms of the licorice thing. But I think we are both on the same page. GODIS!

    @Jacob – oh… it hurts. But I laughed.

    The candy store you speak of sounds like heaven. Like the stuff of legends. There needs to more of these around.

    @J Catlow-Shea – seriously, absolutely amazing.

    And I think its all of the walking. And that its just sugar. In the US its fast food – heavy and fatty it just slows you down. Here people are running around on a sugar and nicotine high. That’s gotta help burn calories.

    @anonymous – everytime I head home I end up dragging with me well over a kilo of candy. Its just not healthy. But its so very good.

    And youre right about the licorice. They have so many choices.

    @jules – Its awful and wonderful all at the same time.

  11. Hairy Swede - I agree. Lakrits is a major NONO! Especially saltlakrits.

    Jacob M - where could one find this magical place you speak of?

  12. Come on now, gummy candies are for kids who can´t handle strong flavors. When eating candy there is only three options for me: licorice, salty licorice or dark chocolate. Hmmm, guess I´m more adult than I´ve ever known. Funny though that it´s the subject candy that makes me realize the fact.

    By the way, I listened some finnish radio programme couple of years ago and was happy to hear that licorice would be the healthiest candy there is. Not so much sugar etc. Maybe that's why them swedes still look good even if they eat a lot of godis. They just eat lots of that delicious licorice.


  13. @robban - glad Im not alone in my dislike of the licorice.

    @anonymous (j) - why must we make fun of my sensitive palate? and why must we suggest that being an adult is a positive thing?

    you might be onto something with the licorice being healthy thing if thats the case.

  14. Swing by the West Coast sometime and check out the Easter fires.

    Easter can be a lot more than candy and fires though--depending on who you celebrate with and where. Important: get out of the city like so many of us do to worship the return of the growing season and be with family. Happy belated Easter--

  15. fire and candy for easter are hard to beat. but I think youre absolutely right. although I will say this, I had a little easter dinner with a few friends who also werent with family and we stayed in town and just enjoyed the beuatiful weather. stockholm is a wonderful place when that sun is shining.

    and happy easter to you. also a bit belated.

  16. I have a question, I want to send my Swedish friend some American candy but I'm not sure what to send that you cant get in Sweden. Would you have any good suggestions for me? Something you miss?

  17. Gummy Bunnies. They are made by lifesavers and can only be bought around easter. Everyone should receive gummy bunnies.

    Otherwise, I would have said M&M's, but I just saw an ad saying that M&M's were finally coming to Sweden.

    I also enjoy Sour Patch Kids which you can't find here.

  18. J Catlow-Shea said..."so many hot looking swedish people when there is so much candy consumption and smoking?" According to WHO 19 % of the Swedes are smokers. There is only one country in Europe with fewer smokers (Portugal 18.8 %). What country are you comparing to? US (25.7%), UK (27 %), France (34.5%), Greece (38 %), Germany (35 %), Denmark (30.5 %), Finland (23.5 %), Norway (31.5 %). I think 19 % is far to many anyways, but saying that many Swedes are smokers is not correct if who compare to other countries. I havn't found any statistics about candy consumption though, that would be interesting.

  19. I feel like there are a lot more people in Sweden than smoke than I have ever seen in the US. Maybe just says a bit about the kind of people I hang out with.

    Although, the stats you gave are pulling stats from 2001 I believe (

    Here it looks like that in 2006 20.6% of Americans smoked ( So still more than Sweden but not as much more.

    Now if we could only get stats on candy consumption like you said. Because who are we kidding... that's the stuff thats interesting.

  20. According to statistics from SCBs book for 2009 (the numbers come from 2007) Swedes buy candy for 27 kronor per week. Other numbers (from 2005) state that the average amount of candy a Swede eat per year is 17 kilos.

    I don't know how much of that, that was salty liquorice but I love it. Lately my candy bags have been filled with liquorice only... It's not really good for you to eat to much of it. But it's the only candy I really like...

  21. Yes, that was old statistics, but the only comparision of smoking in different countries I could find. According to DN ( less people smoke in Sweden now than in 2004. 14 % of the women and 11 % of the men. Madeleine, thanks for the candy statistics, that is interesting... (BTW, there is a licoricefestival this weekend in Stockholm for you licoricelovers I'm not a fan of licorice myself, I'm more of a nougate- and chocolateperson.)

    17 kilo/year, that's about 47 gram a day, isn't it? Do anyone has any reliable statitics from another country to compare that to?
    Accourding to this site Americans eat 21 pounds of candy (about 9.5 kilo?) and the Dutch 65 pounds (almost 30 kilo?).

  22. @madeline - thats good work on the candy consumption stats. 27 sek per week adds up pretty quick.

    @ylva - those are some good stats too. the dutch are really packing the candy away. 30 kilos is an incredible amount. thats half a kilo per week. wow.

  23. my name is samantha and i live in australia and i am looking for that fab sweet and sour licorice that they are selling over here and it apparently originated over there. if you want to see what they look liek go to this web site. there is some pics on there. hopefully you can help me because i would really like them for my wedding this year. cheers guys

  24. I only seem to see this sort of licorice being sold in little stands outside around the city. and I have actually never tried any.

  25. Salty Licorice is GODLIKE. So good, it cannot be beat. I was introduced to this wondrous product at about six and have yet to find a proper replacement for it... aside from some chocolate once in a bit.

  26. it must be an acquired taste. because I just cant do it.