There’s a lot to love about Scandinavian trends. From lagom to fika to niksen, Swedish culture has the whole art of coziness, relaxation, and enjoyment pretty much nailed down. This winter, it’s time to incorporate one more Scandi tradition in your life: Lördagsgodis, which translates to “Saturday sweets” or “Saturday candy.”
I first learned about this trend from my brother, who moved to Stockholm in 2014 and now lives there with his wife, a Sweden native. Basically, it’s the practice of enjoying sweets on the weekend while staying cozy at home—and I’m all about bringing this tradition to the U.S. Here’s what you need to know.
History of Lördagsgodis
The background of this tradition is a bit unusual. Lördagsgodis started in Sweden in the late 1950s as a government project to prevent children from getting cavities, says Richard Tellström, an associate professor, historian, and food expert at Uppsala University in Sweden. Candy was off-limits during the week, saved to be enjoyed on weekends. “By emphasizing that the only day in the week to enjoy festive sweets was Saturday, the political project toward better teeth health started,” he explains.
Candy walls—which are literal walls filled with a wide variety of loose candies that you can scoop into a bag—were introduced in Sweden in the mid-'80s. These heavily increased the consumption of sweets in the country, which now amounts to around 15 kilograms (about 30 pounds) per person per year, Tellström says.
So, did lördagsgodis work? “It's doubtful whether the idea has reduced Swedes' candy consumption overall (we do love our sweets), but it has certainly become a Swedish institution,” says Annika Hipple, editor and publisher of Real Scandinavia. “Having candy only on Saturdays makes it more special—something to look forward to during the week.”
How to Practice Lördagsgodis at Home
If you want to bring lördagsgodis into your own home, it doesn’t have to be for health benefits—though that can be an added bonus if you’re prone to overindulging. Lördagsgodis really harkens back to the adage of everything in moderation. Lola Akinmade Åkerström, a Sweden-based visual storyteller and author, says she and her husband introduced the tradition to their kids as a way to enjoy a little candy on Saturdays without giving in daily to their sweet tooth cravings. In their regular mix: chocolate pralines, gelébjörn (gummy bears), kola (caramels) and skumgodis (foam marshmallows, often in forms like bananas or Santa).
Johanna Kindvall, a native Swede and food illustrator who splits her time between south Sweden and New York, says she grew up with lördagsgodis, and it was always the highlight of the weekend. Almost every grocery store in Sweden sells candy by the pound, she says. “In Sweden we call it lösgodis (loose candy) and also smågodis (small sweets),” Kindvall explains. “It's not unusual that a regular grocery store has a variety of over 50 different types of sweets that you can mix.”
In the U.S., Kindvall says she rarely is able to buy candy in the same way as she does in Sweden. Some of her favorites in New York, however, include salty licorice (a beloved Swedish treat) from Sahadi’s in Brooklyn or Economy Candy in the Lower East Side.
Stockhome restaurant in San Francisco, operated by Swedes Andrea and Roberth Plaj, imports Swedish candy like gummies, salty licorice, chocolate and even Swedish fish from the country. Adults and kids alike head to Stockhome’s candy counter to fill up bags filled with candy. “It’s a special treat for the whole family, and pre-COVID, it was an experience people loved to do after their meal,” Andrea Plaj says.
Where to Buy Nostalgic Sweets
Skip the stale Halloween leftovers and have some fun with lördagsgodis by seeking out spots that sell nostalgic candy (this list is a great place to start). Or, check out these candy stores that each ship nationwide:
This New York City store offers “pick and mix” selections, true to Swedish tradition. Try the strawberry peeps or gummy fried eggs. Or, opt for a pre-mixed selection made by BonBon, like the Grown-Up mix with a variety of chocolate, nougat, and fruity pieces.
Another New York City shop, this beautifully designed candy store offers a ton of options to mix and match (you can even search by color to create a pretty mix for gifting), as well as festive holiday candy. Pre-made gift boxes in varying sizes and tastes (think sweet, sour or chocolate) are also available.
Find a ton of unusual and international candy brands at this Danish specialty grocery store in Norwalk, Conn., which also carries treats by specialty Danish brand Lakrids by Bulow.
This type of candy isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a licorice lover, there’s no wider selection in the entire country than at this Lincoln, Neb., shop. Try the crunchy licorice and sorbisar, which are candy discs that are half sour strawberry and half black licorice.
If you grew up taking road trips, you’ll likely remember this nostalgic roadside stop known for its specialty candies. The granddaughter of the founder, Stephanie Stuckey, is working to revive the stores across the country—but in the meantime, you can scoop up treats like its famous pecan roll, peanut brittle, Goo Goo Clusters, and more online.
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