Bilar, geléhallon, jungfrubröst, kolaand lakrits - these are just some of the many options Swedes choose among in wall-to-wall bins of 'godis' (sweets), especially on Saturdays.
Lördagsgodis, a Scandinavian phenomonemon that started at a mental hospital in Lund, Sweden in the 1950s to investigate the validity of the theory that sugar may be related to dental health, has become a meaningful tradition over the past half-century. Kids (and adults alike) look forward to their weekly trip to the candy store for lördagsgodis (Saturday candy), often a reward for working hard in school, at the office or in the gym all week. It is a day to indulge!
Swedish stores have bins stacked to overflowing with as many as 120 different varieties of loose candy — hard candies, chocolates, gummies, marshmallows, sweet, sour and especially salty licorice. In fact, black licorice of all kinds is so popular, it has its own festival; this year Lakritsfestivalen (Licorice festival) was in Stockholm in April and is in Helsinki, Finland this weekend, November 14-15. http://www.lakritsfestivalen.seADVERTISEMENT
If going to a black licorice festival isn't your thing (though it is loved by most Scandinavians, it isn't so popular among Americans), stocking up on peppermint sticks might be. A small shop in central Sweden has been making polkagris for generations of Swedes — a trip to their workshop in Gränna is a festival in itself.
In the U.S., quite a few such places have started popping up for godis lovers — recently even IKEA started displaying pick 'n' mix and the first Swedish distributor — appropriately named Candy People — opened in the U.S. in 2012, our story: Enjoying the Swedeness of Life ... sega råttor, djungelvrål or lakrits....
It deserves to be mentioned to all present and future godis lovers: An excess amount of sugar is not good for you. A Swedish American has made it his mission to teach kids about the value of proper nutrition: Sustainable Santa ... inspiring American children to eat healthy and live green