Swedish Candy – the Ultimate Guide to Swedish Candy
Enjoy Swedishness’ sweet guide to Swedish candy. Everything you need to know about Swedish candy and why it’s taking over the world (and trending on TikTok) right now.


Why Swedes Are Obsessed with Swedish Candy

The Italians are obsessed with their pasta, the French their cheese, and the Swedes their candy.

As it turns out, it’s not just the Swedes that love their candy either—it’s started trending on social media around the world and high end Swedish candy stores are thriving in New York and LA. Why?

Because Swedish candy is unique and uniquely delicious of course! It’s also super diverse with hundreds of flavors—ranging from hot and salty to sweet and sour (yes, really!). And it contains less nasties (flavorings, colorants and preservatives) than many overseas brands. Often, Swedish candy is also vegan, gluten free, and free from high fructose corn syrup. The gummy bear type of candy is fat free, too. And the new hip generation of Swedish candy? Well, it’s even healthy sometimes!

So without further ado, let’s dig into the amazing treats you find in Sweden and the traditions surrounding Swedish candy (if you just want to learn about different flavors, scroll down!).

Common Swedish Candy Concepts

To understand the Swedish obsession with sweet treats, you need to understand some of the traditions and terminology used…it explains why the Swedes are the way they are when it comes to candy!

Lördagsgodis—Saturday Candy

One of the reasons candy is likely so popular in Sweden is because it’s not eaten every day.

You see, in Sweden there’s lördagsgodis i.e. “Saturday candy.” Kids are, usually, only allowed candy on Saturdays and at special occasions. Sometimes Saturday translates to the whole weekend, though…

As someone raised this way, I see candy as a treat, not as part of your everyday life (my Dad stored the candy in a box that only came out on Saturdays and then my sister and I had to leave the room and he’d put together a “godispåse” for us…more about that later).

This tends to translate to things like crisps (which we like to dip in a sour cream sauce in Sweden) and popcorn—it’s something you eat as a treat on a Friday or Saturday night.  

Think of it as the 80/20 rule—it’s a very healthy relationship with sweets and treats! Which is why we allow ourselves to indulge!

Lösgodis–Pick and Mix Candy the Swedish Way

Directly translated to “loose candy” or “loose sweets” lösgodis is, in actual fact, pick and mix candy. If you walk into almost any food store, you’ll find an entire wall dedicated to this. There are even special candy shops that sell pretty much only pick and mix candy, offering hundreds of varieties. Literally.

Imagine that—hundreds of varieties of candy and you can pick and choose what you like the most! Every flavor from salty to sour and every shape is present—we have candy modeled after mushrooms, boats, rabbit poop (yes, indeedy!), monkeys, fish, cars, skulls, pineapples…the list goes on.

This is probably why the Swedes love this type of candy more than any other type of candy—you can choose exactly what you want from a huge selection. In fact, almost any candy in Sweden, ranging from chocolate bars to Easter eggs you normally buy in pre-packaged bags, can also be found in the pick and mix section. Sometimes in smaller versions, especially made for pick and mix, such as mini chocolate bars.

This isn’t just “unhealthy” candy either. There’s usually a section for what the Swedes call naturgodis i.e. “nature candy” which consists of things like dried fruits and chocolate covered nuts.

In recent years, lösgodis made without sugar have also been developed and some shops have a section dedicated to this.

Godispåse—Candy Bag

Godispåse is a “candy bag” or “sweets bag.” In short, a bag full of sweets!

In Sweden you often get a godispåse at parties as a kid, you bring one to the cinema (as an adult), and you pick one up if you’re going to have a “myskväll” (see below). The term godispåse is pretty much used interchangeably with godis as it’s so common to buy pick and mix candy which is all about filling up a bag with your favorite treats!


Myskväll—Cozy Night

Not understanding the concept of myskväll is like not understanding the concept of hygge, lagom, and fika—you’re missing out!

Myskväll, directly translated, means “cozy night.” It usually involves staying at home and watching a movie while eating a godispåse. And no, you don't eat the bag itself…  

It’s kind of like Netflix and the couch, only it could involve fresh shrimp sandwiches on a Friday night, followed by a nice cheese platter, wine, and then candy. And possibly that movie. Or just sitting on your terrace looking out into the night or playing board games with your family.

It’s simply a cozy night at home, but more often than not, it involves a godispåse. In America they have their “pint of ice cream and a movie,” in Sweden we have our “godispåse and a movie.”  

Gottegris—Goody Pig

This is basically a person who has a sweet tooth…and indulges it!


Swedish Candy—All the Different Kinds of Swedish Sweets

Now let’s look at Swedish sweets up close—what kinds are there? What do they taste like?

Black Is Bad but So Good, Baby—Lakrits a.k.a. Licorice

The Nordic countries are famous for their black gold, a.k.a licorice (lakrits). It’s as black as the winter nights in Scandinavia. A least it used to be. These days, there are all sort of flavors and colors.

The traditional black licorice is either salty, or sweet, or both (usually made with licorice, wheat, sugar, and molasses if it’s soft—if hard boiled, licorice and sugar). Newer brands, like Kolsvart make gluten-free varieties!

In addition to the traditional black licorice, there are all sorts of different flavors of licorice (which technically are not licorice as they don’t contain licorice) and flavor combinations (traditional licorice mixed with some other flavor).

Swedes are particularly obsessed with the combination of raspberries and licorice. You’ll find it in toffee, lollipops, ice cream, bonbons…you name it. And there’s a good reason for it: it’s darn delicious. If you haven't tried it, your taste buds are missing out. Seriously.

Lemon and licorice is another favorite.

Recently, licorice has made its way into chocolate and…don’t faint…peanut butter (even I, a confirmed licorice lover, can’t see the appeal in this, but there you are).

In short, the Swedes (and all other Scandinavians) tend to put licorice in just about anything and everything.

Licorice by the Meter

You can by licorice by the meter in Sweden.

Seriously.

You can buy a meter of licorice. You’ll find it in kiosks and markets across the candy. As a kid, if dad stopped to buy a newspaper at a kiosk, there was a 50/50 chance of me getting a meter of licorice.

Choose traditional black licorice, raspberry, or cola licorice, or why not licorice that’s got stuffing in the middle? The stuffing could be sour, sweet, fruity, chocolatey…

You can also buy licorice in long thin “snören” (i.e. threads/ropes), but they come prepackaged. Most Swedish kids have spent hours tying knots with them. 

Popular Swedish Licorice Candies

Djungelvrål (Jungle Scream), Kaninskitar (Rabbit Poop), Salt Sill (Salt Herring), and Turkisk Peppar (Turkish Pepper) are some of the most popular licorice candies.

Djungelvrål consists of small pieces of sweet black licorice shaped like monkeys and covered in salt.

Kaninskitar are small little licorice bonbons, shaped like, well, rabbit poop.

Salt Sill are soft licorice candy that’s salty and sweet (there are other versions that are just sweet).

Turkisk Peppar are sweet licorice bonbons stuffed with hot pepper.

Just kidding.

Not.

It does have hot pepper inside. If you make friends in Sweden someone will, sooner or later, give you a Turkish Pepper just to see your reaction when you bite into the hot center… If they’re nice they’ll warn you, but chances are they won’t as this appears to be the one prank every Swede plays on foreigners.

Sockerbitar—Sugarcubes
This is pretty much my favorite candy and is shaped like the little cubes the sugar used for coffee is traditionally cut into in Sweden.

Basically, it’s marshmallows but with a less fluffy and more chewy consistency. We have many other candies in this “marshmallow category,”(we tend to call it “skum” meaning “foam”) in all sorts of shapes—bananas, dolphins, and mushrooms being some of the most popular ones.

The sugar cubes come in pink and white, the white being the original and best. Very mild, sugary taste. Like marshmallows. Only better.

Cola Flaskor—Cola Bottles

We have a wide array of Coca-Cola bottle candy in Sweden.

Some cola candy has the consistency of gummy bears and tastes like, well, Coca-Cola.

Others are a bit softer inside (like the consistency of Haribo peaches, which are another Swedish favorite)  and some are even covered in a sour powder or small sour crystals (like sugar, but sour).

Then there’s the “rolls” that are, well, rolls or reams of Coca-Cola flavored candy covered in sour stuff.

It might sound strange, but boy does it taste good!

Sour Candy

We have so much sour candy in Sweden it’d take a very long time to cover it all—from bonbons dusted in a sour powder and with a deliciously sour center to sour gummy bears, we literally have it all.

Swedish Fish

These days, you can find Swedish fish in many places around the world. But not the kind that comes from the ocean, but from the candy company Malaco. These fish have a consistency similar to that of gummy bears, only softer. They melt in your mouth. And are available in various different fruity flavors as well as licorice.

Famously, the original Malaco ones contain no fat, but plenty of sugar!

Polkagrisar—Polka Pigs

The name is…original. What it refers to is a caramel shaped as a long stick that’s made with white and red caramel twisted together (there’s a smaller caramel/bonbon version, too). It’s peppermint flavored, but sweet. It’s made in Gränna, in Sweden.

While peppermint is the original flavor, it’s available in all sorts of flavors today.

While the name might sound strange, gris (i.e. “pig”) was a name used to describe candy back in the 1800s when the polkagris was invented (possibly because you pig out on candy—see the term gottegris above). And polka is a German dance with a swirling pattern, which presumably describes how the candy is made—by twisting it together.

If you want a Swedish bonbon, this is the first you should try!

Chocolate

We love chocolate bars as much as we love pick and mix candy. That’s why we have chocolate in the pick and mix candy.

Some traditional Swedish chocolate bars worth mentioning are the below…

Marabou’s milk chocolate. It doesn’t get more Swedish than this. Now available in so many flavor combinations you’d get dizzy trying to remember them all (including, of course, licorice). Think of it like the Cadbury of Sweden only it tastes so much better. Seriously.

Daim. Originally made by Marabou, Daim is (according to Wikipedia and yes it’s so popular it has a Wikipedia page) a Swedish chocolate bar made from crunchy almond caramel covered in chocolate. I highly recommend you take a hammer, smash up some Daim and put it in whipped cream next time you want to serve chocolate cake with cream. The combo is divine.

Kexchoklad. This is wafer thin biscuits covered by chocolate. Like Kit-Kat only totally different and much better (so says the Swede).

Anthon Berg. This Danish chocolate brand makes divine dark chocolate and marzipan. Think Lindt with a difference. And their Easter eggs filled with marzipan and dark chocolate, covered with a coating of crispy sugar are…beyond the beyond. They sell marzipan on their own as well. See, we do love our neighbors. At least when they make chocolate for us.

Toblerone. Okay, so not Swedish. But that doesn’t prevent us from eating it. We eat Lindt too. As mentioned, anyone making good chocolate is welcome in Sweden.

Handcrafted chocolate bars. With the rise of specialty foods, including chocolate, the Swedes have embraced handmade chocolate from small suppliers who understand our Swedish taste buds. Check out  the treats from Malmö chokladfabrik.

Pastiller—Pastilles

Our pastilles come in tiny little cardboard boxes and are sometimes sweet (like Malaco’s PimPim), sometimes more like lozenges (minty and sugar free), the most popular brand for the latter being Läkerol.

My favorite growing up? Violet pastilles. And yes, we do sell them here on Swedishness! So there you have it—it’s not just me who likes them.

Karameller—Caramels or Bonbons

While you’ll find plenty of bonbons in the lösgodis section, the best ones are the handcrafted ones you’ll find across markets in Sweden and made by speciality candy shops. Again, you’ll find just about any flavor—sour, sweet, salty, fruity...the list goes on.

If you move to Sweden you’ll soon learn about Marianne. These mint bonbons with a center filled with chocolate are divine. While on the topic of mint and chocolate, we should also mention After Eight even though they aren’t caramels. Made in Britain, but loved by Swedes, too.

Center & Plopp—Chocolates Filled with Soft Caramel

This is similar to Rolo—small chocolates with a caramel center.

Svenska Bilar—Swedish Cars

Like with the fish, the most popular Swedish car isn’t a car, but a candy. These iconic marshmallow like cars come  in white, red, and green and have a distinct flavor.

We’ve also got Ferraris. A bit cheaper than the original car…and consumed in the millions!  

Vingummi—Wine Gums

These little gummies originated in England but are very popular  in Sweden. Originally sold as an alternative to alcohol, they aren’t made with alcohol.

Unless, of course, you want them to be. SWEEDS make wine gums using real wine and other spirits. You won’t get drunk on them, so they’re still a great alternative to alcohol!

Healthier Alternatives

Newer candy manufacturers tend to become more and more popular. Often they do handmade stuff. Even more often, they stick to “clean” ingredients. Some even make their candy healthy. Or as healthy as a treat can be.

DIG is a brand we love, but they sell treats that we’d qualify more as cakes than candy.

JOM is another brand we’ve fallen for that produces vegan, earth friendly, candy that also happens to be organic and uses only natural flavors. They make delicious little gummies.

Holiday Candy

Easter in Sweden (when kids walk from door to door dressed as witches and asking for candy before they fly off to Blåkulla to dance with the devil…yeah we’ll discuss that properly in another blog) comes with some candies not seen at other times. Like the aforementioned marzipan eggs. We also have chocolate eggs with a marshmallow like gooey filling. And Fruity eggs filled with either a sugar paste, or a marshmallow like filling.

Around Christmas, marshmallows shaped like Santas tend to appear.

For midsummer we simply eat strawberries with whipped cream!

The Sweet Sum Up

We could go on forever (almost) about different Swedish candies, but the only way to truly understand it, is to try it. Get yourself a godispåse and fill it with some different types of Swedish candies. Then, eat. Savor. Enjoy.

And remember: it’s only for Saturdays and myskvällar!

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Malaco Zoo - Fruit jelly 80g-Swedishness
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Malaco Djungelvrål - Salty Liquorice 80 g-Swedishness
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Fazer Skolekridt - Liquorice 140 g-Swedishness
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Fazer Marianne - Mint Covered Chocolate Caramel 220g-Swedishness
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Malaco Gott & Blandat Orginal - Jelly Sweet Mix 210 g-Swedishness
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Konfekta Jättesalt - Salty Liquorice 65 g-Swedishness
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Läkerol Liquorice Seasalt 75g-Swedishness
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Läkerol Salvi 2 pcs 50g-Swedishness
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