Candy Canes from Gränna in Sweden
You probably know the red and white mint candies that you can buy wrapped in cellophane, right? Sweden has a very similar specialty. In the small town of Gränna, right on the shore of Lake Vättern, there is one sweet shop after another. Find out more about where you can buy Gränna candy canes. We also learn how to make candy canes ourselves.
History of Gränna candy canes
All of these shops continue the legacy of “Aunt Amalia”, a widow who had to support her child herself after the unexpected death of her husband. Aunt Amalia lived at a time when it was not so easy for women to earn their own money. So she thought for a long time about what she could do to keep her little family afloat. Eventually she came up with the idea of selling the candy canes she regularly made. She took advantage of Gränna's location, as the main road ran through the town along the lake. And so she put up signs on the side of the road advertising her candy canes.
Aunt Amalia's candy canes from Gränna become a hit
Word quickly spread about what was available at Aunt Amalia's, and for many travelers passing through it became a matter of course to stop at Aunt Amalia's on their journey to get a few of the refreshing candy canes. Aunt Amalia mixed mint and red cochineal dye into the sugar mixture, making it a fresh sweet that apparently appealed to many people. Soon people from surrounding towns came just to get supplies of Aunt Amalia's candy canes from Gränna. So word got around and Gränna became known for her sweet mint sticks.
When Aunt Amalia finally died, clever entrepreneurs from Gränna stepped into the breach and continued their production of candy canes in Gränna. For this reason, the long red and white sticks are still available today in the numerous sweet shops in town.
Candy canes in Gränna come in different flavors
We are guests in one of them and Isaac, the manager, tells us the story of Aunt Amalie. “We now make many other flavors in addition to the traditional candy canes,” he adds. “There are polkagrisar with raspberry, strawberry or apple flavor. But we also experiment with more exotic ingredients such as herbs, cocoa or coffee.”
Now it's time to make Gränna candy canes myself
Then Isaac laughs at me and says: “So, now it’s your turn! You can make your own candy canes today.” He says and goes into his kitchen, where a thick sugar paste is already boiling on the stove and making bubbles. “I do the preparation. This takes some practice. But afterwards you can carry on,” he says.
This is how you make candy canes in Gränna
He finally pours the hot and viscous yellowish mass onto a cold metal plate, which is cooled by cold water that is passed through pipes under the plate. He turns it over and over again with a spatula, slowly turning it white. “This is air that is worked into the sugar mixture through kneading,” he explains. He also adds a red dye to a small part of the mixture, and to the other a few drops of a liquid that smells intensely of mint. “I have to be careful with this,” it says. “Otherwise the candy canes will be too spicy.” He twists both colors into a long strand, which – when it is cool enough – he throws over a heavy hook on the wall and stretches it again and again until it is tough and so cool that I can edit the mass.
Then we have to roll it
He cuts off half of the strand and places it on a wooden board in front of me. "Now you roll the strand evenly until it reaches the width of the board." With large scissors, he cuts the strand in half, and I repeat the process until I have a row of about thumb-thick rods in front of me. "Now cut them in half again and wrap them in paper. Et voilá! Here you have your homemade candy canes! "
These have now become completely cold and hard, so we can easily take them with us on our trip through Sweden. Petar likes them so much that he eats our entire supply of candy canes - with my occasional help - during our two-week trip to Sweden. He almost got supplies again at the end of our trip in Stockholm when we discover them on our city tour of Stockholm in the window of a candy store. But in the end he gives up on it. “That’s a reason to come back,” he says. And he's right.
Where you can buy candy canes in Gränna and make them yourself
Small shops, craftsmen, restaurants, cafés and the popular candy cane shops await you in the old town of Gränna. There you can buy candy canes in Gränna.
- Polkapojkarna: This store is located at Brahegatan 59 and is open every day, at least from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
- Grenna Polkagriskokeri: This store can be found on Brahegatan 39. They are also usually present at the Liseberg Christmas market in Gothenburg. You can also buy candy canes there.
- Manufactories in Gränna: In these manufactories visitors can try out making candy canes themselves. On certain days, those interested can also work on the dough themselves.
- Candy cane cookeries in the city center: There are about a dozen candy cane cookeries in Gränna town center. Almost all of them allow you to watch the production.
In Gränna, a small town in Sweden, the production of candy canes, also known as “polkagrisar,” is more than just a local specialty; it is a cultural heritage site and a tourist attraction. The city offers a variety of opportunities to experience this sweet tradition up close. From factories where visitors can get hands-on, to specialized shops like Polkapojkarna and Grenna Polkagriskokeri, which offer the candy canes in different shapes, colors and flavors.
The candy canes are not only a popular souvenir, but also a part of local identity. They are so deeply rooted in the culture that there is even a world championship in candy cane making. Most of these shops are located along the main street Brahegatan and are usually open daily, giving visitors the opportunity to observe the manufacturing process up close.
But Gränna has more to offer than just candy canes. The city is also known for its old town, wooden houses and views of Lake Vättern. It offers a variety of activities and sights, from climbing Gränna Mountain to boat trips to the nearby island of Visingsö.
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From Jönköping you can reach Gränna in about 30 minutes by car.
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We would definitely like to thank you Visit Smaland for inviting me to this trip through Smaland in southern Sweden. However, our opinion remains our own.
Text Gränna candy canes: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Buy photos of candy canes: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline