Sweden Sweets: A Tasty Journey Through Tradition and Innovation

Swedish sweets, or “godis” as they are known locally, are a beloved part of the country’s culinary culture. From classic candies to contemporary creations, Swedish sweets offer a delightful array of flavors and textures. This article explores the history, popular varieties, and cultural significance of Swedish sweets.

The History of Swedish Sweets

The history of Swedish sweets is rich and varied, reflecting the country’s long-standing tradition of candy making. Sweet treats have been enjoyed in Sweden for centuries, with early influences from other European countries. The rise of sugar production in the 19th century led to a boom in candy making, establishing Sweden as a prominent player in the confectionery industry.

Popular Types of Swedish Sweets

Swedish sweets encompass a wide range of candies and treats, each with its unique appeal. Here are some of the most popular types:

Lösgodis (Pick-and-Mix Candy)

Lösgodis, or pick-and-mix candy, is a cornerstone of Swedish candy culture. In many stores, customers can choose from a vast selection of candies, scooping their favorites into a bag. This personalized approach allows for a unique and varied candy experience.

Salmiak (Salty Licorice)

Salmiak, a type of salty licorice, is a quintessential Swedish sweet. Made with ammonium chloride, salmiak has a distinctive, intense flavor that is adored by many Swedes. It comes in various forms, including candies, pastilles, and even ice cream.


Daim is a crunchy almond caramel covered in milk chocolate, known for its delightful combination of textures and flavors. It is a popular treat both in Sweden and internationally.


Polkagrisar are traditional Swedish peppermint candies, often twisted into a stick or cane shape. They are particularly popular around Christmas and are a symbol of Swedish confectionery heritage.


Bilar, or “cars,” are chewy, marshmallow-like candies shaped like little cars. Introduced in the 1950s, these candies have become a Swedish classic, often described as “the best-selling car in Sweden.”


Chokladbollar, or chocolate balls, are a beloved homemade treat made from oats, cocoa, sugar, butter, and a splash of coffee, rolled in coconut flakes or pearl sugar. They are easy to make and enjoy at any time.

The Cultural Significance of Swedish Sweets

Swedish sweets hold a special place in the hearts of the Swedish people. They are an integral part of many traditions and celebrations. One such tradition is “lördagsgodis,” or Saturday candy, where children are allowed to indulge in sweets on Saturdays. This practice began as a way to limit sugar consumption to one day a week, making it a highly anticipated event for kids.

Sweets are also central to many Swedish holidays and celebrations. For example, during Christmas, Swedes enjoy pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) and knäck (a type of toffee). Easter brings colorful candy-filled eggs, while Midsummer celebrations often feature a variety of sweet treats.

Swedish Sweets in International Markets

Swedish sweets have garnered a global following, with many brands becoming household names worldwide. Companies like Marabou, Cloetta, and Ahlgrens have expanded their reach, introducing international audiences to the unique flavors of Swedish confectionery. The popularity of IKEA stores has also helped spread Swedish sweets, as they often stock a selection of traditional candies and chocolates.

Health Considerations

While Swedish sweets are a delightful indulgence, it’s important to enjoy them in moderation. Many traditional sweets are high in sugar and should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. The tradition of “lördagsgodis” is an example of how Swedes balance their love for sweets with mindful consumption.


Swedish sweets are a delicious and cherished part of Sweden’s cultural and culinary landscape. From the iconic salty licorice to the festive polkagrisar, there is a wide variety of treats to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re sampling them in Sweden or from afar, Swedish sweets offer a delightful taste of tradition and innovation.

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