All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.
Today's post is sort of a continuation of G ~ Göta Kanal in that it tells of another summer vacation favorite, also on one of Sweden's great lakes, this one Vättern, the smaller of the two.
For perspective, here's Sweden:
Göteborg is on the West Coast, and that big lake is Vänern, where I told you about Sjötorp and the canal, and my carefree visits there. The skinny lake you see in the middle of Sweden, to the east of Vänern, is Vättern, where there's a tiny, historic town of Gränna, on the east side.
It's too small to see unless I give you a really grainy map and you go to that website and then you can navigate it like any google map, but I think for your time and interest, it's enough to know that it's on the lake, right?
As I was writing this, it was fun reading the history of the town, which I didn't give one hoot about when I was a child. I was interested in it's claim to fame: the homemade, secret recipe, amazingly yummy and chewy, not rock hard candy canes, called polkagrisar in Swedish. (If you translate that word, you get polka, the dance, and pigs.)
The main website I used for my research admitted that the origin of the name is unknown. Maybe there was a vodka factory close by and one night...who knows ;-)
It takes years to learn how to make these properly because the proportion of the four ingredients varies daily due to temperature and humidity. It's all done by hand, and by feel, and even the weight is done without weighing. It's all still the old-fashioned way.
Nope, not me. Just a cutie from the website.
So what's the cultural difference? This isn't about that. It's about still doing things the old-fashioned way, which I think it's wonderful that we still hold onto in both countries.
There are lots of places in America where you can see them making taffy the old fashioned way. I picked that as my example because ironically enough, this polkagris dough is pulled out in much the same manner.
So here's to summer vacations, homemade candy, and sweet memories. What's your favorite childhood candy? Is it homemade?
~Tina, who searched and searched for a picture of ME eating a polkagris but it looks like it's the one event of my childhood that Momarazzi missed ;-)
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Photo credit: map of all of Sweden
Photo credit: map of Göta Kanal and both lakes
Rest of photos from Polkagris.com (you might want to translate it...)