Born and raised in Sweden I can give you the true insight to what you can´t miss out on when visiting Sweden. Except for the amazing fresh air and beautiful surroundings, it´s all about what you put into your stomach.
10 Swedish things you need to taste:
Swedes drink approximately 8 kg of coffee per person per year. That is about 3-4 cups per person per day. Sweden is one of the largest coffee drinking nations per capita in the world. Swedish people are so used to great coffee that they even bring their own when traveling abroad.
Pick & mix candy
Swedish people eat approximately 18 kg of candy per person per year, that´s the most in the world and twice as much as the European (EU) average. One of the most popular kinds is salty licorice. Even if you don´t like licorice, you need to try it and make sure to record your reaction. There are even a licorice stores in Sweden, with only different kinds of licorice. Another thing to purchase and bring back home as a gift or as a treat is an Aladdin chocolate box. I can promise you that most Swedish families have at least one box at home during Christmas time.
Aladdin chocolate box
You can find them on almost any menu. A visit to IKEA will surely give you a taste of the popular meal a lá Sweden; mash potatoes, meatballs, and lingonberries.
Pea soup and Swedish pancakes
It´s a tradition in Sweden to eat Pea soup and Swedish pancakes on Thursdays. You eat your soup first and then your thin pancakes. A tip is to add mustard into the soup.
“Knäckebröd” (hard bread)
This is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast and the thing I bring along when traveling abroad. The bread comes in different kinds and you can easily top them with cheese, ham, turkey, egg, avocado etc. Make sure to purchase one pack and bring back home.
“Filmjölk” (processed soured milk)
This is another thing people eat for breakfast, combined with some cereals or muesli. It takes some time to get used to.
Semla (cream bun)
Every year 47 days before Easter Swedish people treat themselves with a semla, which is like a cream bun. In 2017, it will be on the 2nd of February. It´s not likely to find a semla any other time of the year except in very special cafes.
One of the most common cakes in Sweden when people celebrate their birthdays. Maybe it is because we invented the cake in the 1930s. The cake is made of a cake base, whipped cream, vanilla cream and marzipan. The cake comes in different colors but the most common one is the green. A fun fact is that we have a rule, the birthday boy/girl gets the rose.
In Sweden, there is a day called the Cinnamon bun day. It occurs each year on October 4th and is an annual theme day. A fun fact; around 8 million cinnamon buns are sold on Cinnamon bun day.
Fermented herring (“Surströmming”)
What can I say…a fish in a can that smells awful! This fish divides the country in half, some people just loves it and some hate it. I guess no one really likes the smell of it but the taste makes up for it. Don´t forget I warned you….it smells awful!! A tip, don´t open the can inside the house/apartment.