Sunday, May 19, 2013

The amazing world of candy cultures: Sweden

I believe that candy and desserts are one of the few areas were strong cultural differences still live on. Thai, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and American food have conquered the world and anybody knows what sushi, burgers, and ketchup is now.  But I think candy has a long way to go to become more global, at least candy outside of the chocolate main stream.

So, for your food education, here is some typical Swedish candy that you can't really buy in the US or other countries of the world (the northern parts of EU excepted).

First, Swedes love licorice, and they love salty, sour or very fruity candy.  Generally speaking, American candy of today is either supersweet (sickly sweet), or chocolatey, and that is different from the Swedish candy.  Swedes also like mixes of flavors (salt & sour, etc.).

Turkisk peppar ('Turkish peppar').  Horribly hot-spicy hard licorice candy with a dry powdery inside with ammonium chloride (salmiak) powder.  Great!
Classic Swedish candy called Gott & Blandat (= Good and Mixed).  It includes sweet and salty licorice and wine gum. This is the traditional classic kind and there are also newer kinds around (salty, sour, etc.). 
 Djungelvrål ('Jungle howl') are supersalty little licorice pieces that are very chewy and good.... also with ammonium chloride, which some people of this household call 'diaper candy' - I think ammonium chloride salt is a very acquired taste. You either hate it or love it, kind of like celery and cilantro.
 Salta katten ('The Salty Cat') comes in tiny old-fashioned small paperboxes and are small pieces of licorice, also with ammonium chloride.  Really good stuff!  I love the design - check out the tongue of the cat!
Dajm is a long, hard, flat crispy, hard caramel piece that is covered by milk chocolate. You can also buy it as small individual pieces in small wrappers.  No licorice here!

Then there is of course Swedish fish - WHICH DOES NOT EXIST IN SWEDEN.  This is the American version of Swedish fruity, chewy, sugary candy, which in Sweden comes in many shapes and forms, not just red fish.  The most common are 'sega råttor' (= chewy rats), which often are green, yellow, red or maybe even in black (licorice).  Oh, and this custom of calling non-black things licorice as you do in the US, that doesn't exist in Sweden.  Licorice is always black and always has true licorice plant extract in it.


kv said...

You really are craving for swedish candy, aren't you? I´d better fedex you some turkisk peppar och salmiak.

LS said...

Yes, please! :)