Swedes have an obsession with sweets. They have special days for pastries, cinnamon bun day, semla day, waffle day and they go crazy during Christmastime with boxed candies. Fazer and Aladdin here we go!
But nothing is more proverbial than the Swedish loose candy called lösviktsgodis or plockgodis and traditionally you buy loose candies on Saturdays. Because Saturday is the day of fun.
American Candy Love
Most Swedes think Americans do not have loose candies but we do. For the past three decades, Braches is the most common candy in the bins at the grocery store. They make soft caramel chews with different flavorings. I loved them as a kid!
The real, traditional candy shops in America are few and far between today. They have loose candies of all types: chocolates, Swedish fish, hard candies, gumballs, wine candies, peppermints, etc.
When I was in Old Town San Diego I did come across a typical candy shop with nearly a hundred bins of loose candies. I found my favorite Blow Pops for 25 cents each. What I didn’t find was Swedish style candy except for the Swedish fish.
During Easter, you find a plethora of candy. Easter Peeps are infamous, yellow marshmallowy stuff, but jelly beans are the real deal. Jelly beans are like wine gummies but with a hard coating outside and soft inside and sweeter than the gummies.
Jelly beans are an interesting type of candy. Turkish Delights, dating from Biblical times, are the precursor to the jelly bean. Gourmet jelly beans like Jelly Belly are not as sweet and come in hundreds of flavors so are a option for Swedes who live in America.
Halloween is all about the candy: candy corn, candy apples, trick or treat candy. It’s the American equivalent to Cinnamon-waffle-semla-pastry goodness days in Sweden.
And Americans love candy canes in the wintertime. And chocolate Santas. Pretty much we love candy just as much as Swedes but just in different forms and degrees of sweetness.
What is Swedish candy?
Swedish candy comes in three types of candies: vingummi (wine candy), skum (marshmallow), chocolate, and an honorary type called polkagris (peppermint). I did not count lakrits as a candy type since it really is a flavor. Also not that I am not a candy expert but do love eating candy.
But, if you are veritable candy expert, do let me know.
Wine candies and peppermints are the most popular since they can be found in the loose bins at stores everywhere. Wine gummies are soft, gelly-like candies flavored with fruit. Almost a hundred years ago, these candies were made with wine but that was short-lived.
Wine candies are made from gelatin (sorry vegetarians), fruit extracts, sugar, water. Candies sold in Sweden tend to more fruitier and less sweet while the loose candies sold in the US are sweeter and less fruity.
In Sweden, wine gummies come in all shapes and sizes. Square or round gummies exist but the most popular are animal and object shapes. Toads, boats, cars, skulls, eggs, bottles, fish are just part of the zoo of flavors and styles.
This word always makes me laugh. Skum! I call it marshmallow and so would most Americans who eat marshmallows. Swedish skum is not the same as American skum as it is less sweet and fluffy and just not as tasty.
Some skum are mix between wine gummes and skum.
Swedish chocolate is notable for milk chocolate bars, like Marabou. Pralines are popular during the Christmas season, but rarely Swedes buy them at the store, unless it’s a special occasion. Aladdin and Fazer are the most well known praline boxes.
Chocolate bars are distinctly Swedish because of the flavors they come in. There is the standard Marabou milk and dark chocolate but other flavors include Marabou milk Daim (with bits of Daim candy bar), Marabou milk Non-stop (with Non-stop candies), and Marabou polka (with bits of peppermint).
Occasionally you can find chocolate bars with lakrits or päron, two very popular Swedish flavors.
Better known as peppermint, polkagris is very popular. The original flavor for polkagris is peppermint and it comes from the city of Gränna in southern-central Sweden.
Today these candies come in different shapes and sizes and plenty of flavors.
Where do you find wine candies?
If you are in Sweden, then EVERY grocer and convenience store and corner store will have a selection of candies. Honestly you cannot go far before being inundated with the plastic boxes stacked six high and 10-20-30 bins across.
If you are not in Sweden, it’s not easy. Ikea carries Bilar and Swedish Fish but not any other loose candies or name brand chocolates.
Regarding online shopping, there is Ingrid’s Candy Shop and I recommend them since their candies are fresh and are individually packaged (by 100g per type).
How I make my own wine gummy?
Check out DN for a classy recipe. Have your own recipe, share in the comments below!
Will I turn into a godis if I eat too much?
Probably. Even though wine gummies are on the lower side of the candy calorie scale, they still have plenty. Here’s the breakdown:
1 chokladpralin = 44 kcal
1 colaflaska = 28 kcal
1 lakritskonfekt = 22.7 kcal
1 marmeladkonfekt = 101.1 kcal
1 mini-marshmallow = 3.4 kcal
1 pastellmint = 8.3 kcal
1 polkagris = 11.9 kcal
1 punschpralin = 16 kcal
1 salmiakbalk = 10.5 kcal
1 salt sill = 24.5 kcal
1 saltlakrits = 19.7 kcal
1 skumbanan = 24 kcal
1 skumgodis = 13.4 kcal
1 sockerbit = 14.4 kcal
1 sockerfri syrlig karamell 20.1 kcal
1 syrlig karamell = 19.7 kcal
1 vaniljpralin = 13.5 kcal
1 vingummi = 16 kcal
And yes, Swedes do beat Americans at something: candy eating! Swedes eat 17 kgs of candy a year and 50 kgs of sugar per year; more than three times the recommended value by WHO.
Stay tunes for the next parts in our Swedish candy series.