I was asked a few days ago if I could do a post on Swedish candy (or as we say in British English, sweets) It is my very great pleasure!
I have always had a sweet tooth. All my life I have wanted something sweet after my evening meal. I have tried to break the habit, but with no luck. Just a few squares of milk chocolate is enough to sate my cravings though.
In South Africa I always ate more chocolate than sugary ‘kiddy candy’. Cadbury’s (the big UK brand) had a factory in the town I grew up in and I belonged to their kiddy club. You used to receive bags of their failures (eg broken candy or skew wrapping) and also their new creations to test. I love Cadbury’s Aero, Flake, Turkish Delight, Crunchie, Lunch Bar (maybe only in South Africa).
Sweden has some local chocolate producers, for example Fazer and Marabou, but their chocolates are not that exciting.
Sweden’s selection of kiddy candy and liquorice, however, is astounding. There are whole shops dedicated to liquorice – particularly salty liquorice – all over. Liquorice is not my thing though. See a liquorice shop below.
Pick and Mix sugary candy though has increased its appeal for me in later years. My husband enjoys it and so there is always a little bowl or two on our coffee table. It never lasts longer than a day or two. It is probably full of e numbers and preservatives and colour agents but at my stage in life, I don’t really care.
The most popular one – and my favourite – is Ahlgrens bilar. They are chewy marshmallows in three flavours/colours, in the shape of cars (bilar – the Swedish word bil is from automobile). Bilar were originally created by accident. A marshmallow machine in the factory got stuck in 1953 and cooked them for too long, making them much smaller and chewier than regular marshmallows, and creating a shape that looked like a car. Ahlgrens bilar are now the best-selling candy in Sweden. Bilar even have their own English Wikipedia page
Apart from the regular varity, Ahlgrens have seasonal variants of their bilar in the shape of Christmas trees (winter), caravans and ice cream trucks (summer) and different flavours. The current version is dodgem cars in popcorn, candy floss, and cola flavours. You also get liquorice (of course!), sour, and fizzy (called electric cars) varieties. Sometimes you can get chocolate covered cars or chewy fruity ones. You can buy car wheels in different flavours Whenever I travel to South Africa, I carry at least 30 bags of these for friends and family!
They are so iconic that you can buy bilar ornaments and knit your own little bilar
I have a bilar shopping bag, given to me by a neighbour
And there are backpacks…
Another popular candy is Polly
And of course they did a collaboration with Ahlgrens to put bilar in side their chocolate covering!
Sweden also has a candy called Plopp, which I find rather amusing