Before moving to Sweden, I was blissfully unaware of the country’s obsession with godis (candy), or more specifically Lördagsgodis (Saturday candy). And now, three years on, I can still find it overwhelming when hordes of people, predominately adults, swarm the Pick ‘n’ Mix wall in our local ICA on a Saturday to bag up kilos (this isn’t an exaggeration) of the stuff.
I’ve tried to blend in, to become ‘one of the Swedes.’ But, after gorging on one too many bags, I’ve lost the will to have Lördagsgodis every single week. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that, in some kind of creepy trance, I’ve picked up a paper bag and a little plastic shovel and have half filled my bag, before shaking my head and abandoning my loot like it was on fire. In my opinion, less is more, and a binge every other month or so does me just fine.
The tradition of Lördagsgodis stems back from the 50’s when the Swedish Medical board advised parents to limit their children’s sweet eating to one day a week. But even though most Swedes do eat their candy on a Saturday, they still manage to beat every other country in the world in terms of consumption.
Down below you’ll find some godis I picked up the other day (once I’d managed to shoulder my way through the gaggle of grownups desperate for their Saturday candy fix). It’s mostly chocolate A: because I’m a chocolate fiend and B: I was in a rush as I was verging on having a full-blown panic attack.
While it has one of the most unfortunate names for a chocolate bar, Plopp is a huge hit in Sweden. Why? I’m not sure. Even though it’s made up of a perfect combo – milk chocolate and soft caramel – it’s mediocre. Try it though, just to say you have.
This Swedish toffee is uber rich, and, while it’s delicious, it’s also a bit weird tasting. (You’ll find ‘weird’ is a word that often comes up when people are describing Swedish food stuffs.) A must try.
3. Gräddkola Choklad
Same as the above but chocolate flavoured. Decent, not as good as the original. They do it in licorice flavour too, surprise, surprise.
Probably one of the most substantial praline chocolates you’ll find in Pick ‘n’ Mix. More than one and you’ll feel queasy.
5. Marabou Mjölk Choklad
The most famous chocolate in Sweden. We always have a bar of this in the house, and if we don’t, there’s mass hysteria. You’ll see stacks of the stuff is every supermarket. It comes in a mind-boggling amount of varieties including licorice, strawberry and Oreo, though my favourite is the regular you see here, or the dark variety.
This is actually a Finnish creation, but it’s a Swedish favourite. Milk chocolate with a crunchy hazelnut filling. Nothing mind-blowing but worth a gobble.
7. Werther’s Original
These German caramel candies are exceptionally popular in Sweden (as they are in England and pretty much everywhere else in Europe.) They’re always at the Pick ‘n’ Mix wall. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that they’re a good, solid, decent candy.
This is another toffee, albeit with hazelnuts. Really tasty. Don’t expect to be doing much talking for a while after eating it – you’ll be picking your teeth for a good half hour.
9. Sweet Drop
You could easily miss this itty bitty candy while scouring the vast Pick ‘n’ Mix wall, but it’s one of my favourites. With a crunchy shell and a milky filling it tastes like childhood.
This marshmellowy Tomte (Santa) is eaten by everyone in Sweden at Christmas. Vanilla or strawberry flavoured (or a mix of both) they’re dangerously moreish.
These might look boring, but they’re one of the best things about Swedish Pick ‘n’ Mix. They’re like marshmallows, but are much denser and not quite as sweet as their cousins from the US.
12. BUBS Banana And Caramel
Nothing worth writing home about.
Basically a hard boiled sweet with a peppermint flavour. Great to take on car journeys or suck on after a meal. Not really what you want to be filling your Pick ‘n’ Mix bag with, though.
14. Can’t Remember
Tastes like Messmör, a sweet/salty/caramely whey spread that reminds me of Norwegian brown cheese. Like with Messmör, I’m not entirely sure if I enjoy it or not.
Kinda fruity and…tough? Gets stuck in your teeth. No idea why it’s so popular.
Tastes of the little wild strawberries you find in the Swedish forest in the summer time, which have something of a purfumey taste and taste nothing like actual strawberries. Claggy and a bit weird.
These little monkeys are not good for eating. Everyone loves them for reasons I can’t understand.
18. Lakris Twist
I guess these are a universal thing. I’m not a big fan of licorice, but I can handle one of these.
19. Lakris Salt
AVOID. Unless salty licorice makes you happy, in which case, get loads.
These little things have quite the kick to them. They taste like Damsugare, a little Swedish cake treat that’s covered in marzipan, dipped in chocolate and flavoured with punsch liqueur.
A firm favourite with Pick ‘n’ Mix regulars, you’ll often find these are one of the candies constantly running low. Milk chocolate with a caramel interior. They’re delicious enough.
22. Can’t Remember
Sadly I can’t remember the name for this, but it’s impossible to miss. Whatever-this-is-called is like the holy grail of the chocolate section (the Swedes section up their Pick ‘n’ Mix). Once you’re passed the chocolate layer, you’ll find marshmallow and caramel and something almost biscuity. A must pick.
23. Can’t Remember
While I can’t remember the name, I DO remember that this tastes exactly like the Swedish Fika treat chokladboll, which main ingredients are oats, coffee and cocoa. A must try.
24. BUBS LAKRIS
This is a salty, horrible beast. I didn’t get past one bite, and even that I spat out. Only get this if you adore salty liquorice and/or want the FULL Swedish Pick ‘n’ Mix experience.
25. PimPim Lakris
This is the gets-stuck-in-your-teeth one, just flavoured with salty licorice. NOT GOOD.
26-27 Can’t Remember
Milk chocolate buttons that I can just eat and eat and eat. Everyone puts some of these in their bag.
Some Tips To Make The Most Of Swedish Pick ‘n’ Mix
If you’re visiting Sweden, or are new here and are wanting to have a great Pick ‘n’ Mix experience, here are some tips to make the most of your sugar trip.
- ICA City has one of the best Pick ‘n’ Mix selections that you’ll find, and for a not too bad price either. If I remember right it’s about 59kr per kilo.
- Unless you’re fine with crowds and don’t mind scraping the barrels for the best candies, I recommend going for Pick ‘n’ Mix on any day BUT Saturday.
- For the full Swedish experience, bypass the Skittles and Mini Lion Bars and opt for the candy that looks unfamiliar.
- The chocolates tend to be the heaviest of the candies, so if you’re looking to save some krona, go light on the chocolate and heavier on the gummy and skum candies.
If you can help me out with the names I can’t remember, I’d really appreciate it! Please do let me know if you’ve enjoyed this post, and if there’s anything else you’d like to learn about my life in Sweden.