Everyone knows Swedish meatballs are a hardy meal that will keep you energized in all seasons. But today, a lot of people are talking about that little red condiment that’s jammed between the meat and the potatoes — Swedish lingoberries.
Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have discovered that Swedish lingonberries can almost completely prevent the weight gain caused by a high fat diet. If you don’t know, lingonberries are like a more bitter version of cranberries — generally eaten with meatballs and other meaty Swedish food.
In Sweden, you can’t avoid snuff tobacco or snus, as it’s called by Swedes. In fact, I live next door to the so-called Snus King’s castle. Knut Fredrik Ljunglöf finished the enormous palace in 1893, thirty years after taking over his father’s successful tobacco snus company.
And Ljunglöfs Ettan is still one of Sweden’s most popular snus brands on the market.
When I moved to Sweden eight years ago, I had no idea that Swedes did snus…I thought it was only Americans who chewed tobacco. So I was even more surprised to learn that women did it too. And I don’t mean to be a male chauvinist, but good looking women…women who did snus while putting on their make-up at the same time.
In fact, the other day, I was doing a story for a radio show I work for, and the female police officer I was interviewing changed her snus tobacco two times during the interview.
My Swedish brother-in-law and my father-in-law both do it. And everyone tries it at least once. As I’m sitting here writing this now, my Swedish wife says, ”If you’re Swedish, you have to try it.”
So how Swedish is snus? I would say it’s up there with some of the classic ”Swedish” things out there – like skiing, eating meatballs, swimming in really cold water, and taking tons of vacations.
It’s so ingrained in the Swedish culture that in 1995 when Sweden joined the EU, the country was granted an exception and was allowed to continue to manufacture and sell snus inside Sweden. Many at the time said that if snus was banned, that Sweden would not have joined the EU.
There’s also a pretty cool Swedish tobacco museum in Stockholm. Check that out.
So, have you tried it? Do you like it or not? Come on now, I want to hear your stories about Swedish snus.
I’m not talking about some lame version of Swedish fish you get in your hometown.
I’m talking about the real stuff, the good stuff. I’m talking about salty and sour licorice, the cars, the bars. I’m talking about the creamy chocolate and the fishermen’s pipes. What? Yeah, you heard me right — pipes. Curious?
If you are, then get ready — because I am officially launching From Sweden’s first official contest — the Real Swedish Candy Contest.
It’s really simple.
All you have to do is tell me why you are interested in Sweden.
The person who has the best — the most entertaining, the funniest, or craziest, or most interesting story — will in no time at all be chomping down on some real Swedish candy.
Justwrite in the comment field below or post a video on YouTube and attach the link. Or, if you know how, send a sound file.
The lucky winner will not only get real candy, from Sweden, made by Swedes. But you’ll also get a chance to tell your story.
So, why not take a few minutes now to share with us why you love Sweden, or why you hate Sweden, or why there’s just something about Sweden that has got you all pumped up?
Do you have Swedish ancestry? Maybe you read the “Millennium Trilogy” and got hooked? Are you dating a Swede or do you want to come here to study or work?
Tell us your story.
The Real Swedish Candy Contest runs until the end of April. (I, and I alone, will pick the winner.) And I personally will send the lucky winner a package of Swedish candy.
P.S. If you don’t like this offer, then you can continue to eat the old, boring “Swedish” fish sold at your local supermarket.
P.P.S. If you want to learn more about the crazy world of Swedish candy, check out this introduction to Swedish candy at the Lost in Stockholm blog.