Crazy Christmas Candy

Crazy Christmas Candy

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@Paula Dubbink

Italy has panettone, in some countries Santa comes with liters of coke and Sweden…well, sigh… To help you find your way through the jungle of Swedish Christmas treats, Lundagård has done the testing for you.

Christmas is a holiday celebrated in many countries, but the traditions surrounding this holiday can be very different. Let’s just take the food: had you heard of lussekatter, pepparkakor and julmust before arriving here? To know what treats are must-tastes and which ones you can skip, we asked a brave team of two Swedes and one international student to test four kinds of food and two drinks that are very particular for Swedish Christmas.

Alvin (American exchange student, living in Sweden for four months now) and Isabel and Malin (two real Swedes) have judged the different products on the amount of the Christmas feeling that they give. The undisputed winner? Gingerbread cookies. Maybe not so surprising, they are after all omnipresent these times.
tomtarJulskum (Literally: Christmas foam)

What do they think it is? Alvin: ”Strawberry gummy? A gummy kind of thing” Isabel: “Not bad. Santa kind-of marshmellows. But instead of red, Santa is here pink.” Alvin: “Oh wait, is it Santa?!”

How would the test persons describe the taste? Sweet, sweeeet. Very chemical strawberries. And you really have to chew on them.

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? While opening the presents, which in Sweden is done on the 24th of December.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? Malin and Isabel both give a 7. “The popularity of skum is increasing, but we don’t really know why though.” Alvin gives a 3.

Average grade: 6.7


Pepparkakor with blue cheesepepparkaka

What do they think it is? Alvin: “Gingerbread cookies with some sort of cream on it. Vanilla cream?” Isabel: “Gingerbread cookies with blue cheese from a tube. You can also have them with normal blue cheese.”

How would the test persons describe the taste? Alvin: “Is this cheese?! I’d like them without it.”
The taste is described as kryddig (spicy, but not of the hot kind), and simultaneously salty and sweet.

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? At any adventsfika. Or at just any time, maybe.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? Alvin gives a 7, the others a 9 and a 10. This comes close to the ultimate Christmas treat.

Average grade: 8.7

 

IMG_7229Julmust

What do they think it is? Alvin: “Some kind of alcoholic drink?” Malin and Isabel: “A Christmas soda with Christmas spices.” For the record, without alcohol.

How would the test persons describe the taste to you? Alvin: “Pretty good! Slightly berry-ish.”

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? THE drink to accompany the Christmas dinner.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? Alvin: “A 3, because I have never had it before.” Isabel: “A 7. It’s quite Christmassy, but now they also have it for Easter nowadays.” Malin: “A 7.”

Average grade: 5.7

 

Ischoklad (literally: ice-chocolate)ischoklad

What do they think it is? Alvin: “Chocolate with peanut butter? It looks like Reese cups.” Isabel: “It’s ischoklad. I don’t really know how you make it. It’s just chocolate for Christmas.”

How would the test persons describe the taste to you? A bit like caramel, otherwise just like chocolate.

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? Also when opening the presents on the 24th.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? A 3, a 4 and a 5, as the test persons say: “I could eat this any time, not just on Christmas.”

Average grade: 4

 

lussekatterLussekatt

What do they think it is? Alvin: “Raisin bread? I have no idea.” Isabel: “It’s a saffron bun, which one should eat on Lucia Day. That is on December 13th.”
Alvin: “What is Lucia?” Isabel: “Lucia was an Italian saint that nowadays is celebrated in Sweden with processions with lights and songs. Many pre-schools, schools and offices do something with Lucia. We need to light up December, it is so dark.”

How would the test persons describe the taste to you? Alvin: “It just tastes like bread. No big difference.” Isabel: “I’d say it tastes like saffron. I baked them for Christmas when I was in the US, but they destroyed the concept as they didn’t understand it! They ate it with the turkey, but I brought it as a dessert.”

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? For Lucia, at a concert at school, or any time. You are allowed to eat them after the 13th too.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? Malin and Isabel both give an 8. Alvin a 6 “because I at least know what it is.”

Average grade: 7.3

 

Svagdrickasvagdricka

What do they think it is? Alvin: “Beer.” Isabel: “Christmas beer. I have never tried it before.”

How would the test persons describe the taste to you? A kind of sweet beer. Possibly a mix of julmust and beer.

When should one eat this, according to the Swedish crew? At Christmas dinner, to accompany the food.

On a scale of 1-10, how much Christmas feeling does this give? Alvin: “A 3. Oh, but it says jul on it, and that means Christmas, right? That helps. Then a 5.” The others also give a 5.

Average grade: 5

Text and photo: Paula Dubbink.

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