Sweet, soft, gooey, slimy, creamy, salty, sour. Even the smallest kiosk in Småland will feature, in addition to the usual insufferable gossip magazines, an astounding selection of all kinds of candy. Bags, boxes, bars. Loose plockgodis that you mix and match on your own.
kulturCHOCK!s fact-finding tour of Sweden this summer reminded us of just how crazy our Swedish friends are about godis. I don't know if there is any other place on Earth where grown men and women walk around munching on such weird and exotic bags of candy.
Your average Yank has a hard time grasping this candy-culture. Where I come from, of course, the individual is supreme. When Dad bought us candy as we explored northern Minnesota in his old Chrysler, it was a given that each of us would get our own candy bar. Sharing anything with my sisters was out of the question.
In the old country, however, the collective mentality dictates the supremacy of the bag of candy, a sweet smörgåsbord in a sack, perfect for carrying around. The whole family can dig in when the urge strikes.
This is not to say that the candy bar is unknown in Sweden, but even there the tendency is to buy a big one and share.
How can the exiled Swede or Swedophile get by without this culture of confection? Your ever-curious kulturCHOCK! editor brought back a bag full of Swedish classics this summer. We intend to give away this treasure to the winning entry in our godisundersökning. All you need to do is identify the candy you miss the most, and explain why. The best entry will receive the prize and the eternal thanks of his or her dentist. And we will publish the results of this important cultural study, right here at kulturCHOCK!s home page
NOTE: This contest is open only to persons living in North America. You can be a Swede, or Yank who has developed a taste for these treats during a stay in the old country.
For the uninitiated, here is a list of the candy in question: