Lördagsgodis Is Sweden's Sweet Tradition of Eating Candy on Saturdays, and We're Officially Obsessed

Cozy up on the couch with a mixed bag of candy and cue the Hallmark movie marathon.

There's a lot to love about Scandinavian trends. From lagom (balanced living) to fika (restorative coffee breaks) to niksen (the art of doing nothing), Swedish culture has cornered the market on coziness, relaxation, and enjoyment. This winter, it's time to incorporate one more Scandi tradition in your life: Lördagsgodis, which translates to "Saturday sweets" or "Saturday candy."

I first learned about this trend from my brother, who moved to Stockholm in 2014 and lives there with his wife, a Sweden native. Basically, it's the practice of enjoying sweets on the weekend while staying cozy at home—and I'm all about bringing this tradition to the U.S. Here's what you need to know.

History of Lördagsgodis

Ironically, this tradition is ultimately about limiting sugar intake. Lördagsgodis started in Sweden during the late 1950s as a government project to prevent children from getting cavities, says Richard Tellström, an associate professor, historian, and food expert at Sweden's Uppsala University. Candy was off-limits during the week and saved to be enjoyed on weekends. "To establish better teeth health, the government emphasized that the only day in the week to enjoy festive sweets was Saturday," he explains.

Candy walls—literal walls filled with bins of various loose candies to scoop into a bag—were introduced in Sweden during the mid-'80s. These heavily increased the consumption of sweets in the country, which now amounts to around 15 kilograms (about 30 pounds) per person per year, Tellström says.

So, did lördagsgodis work? (If the average Swede consumes 30 pounds of sweets a year, it's hard to imagine everyone's only eating them on Saturdays.) "We do love our sweets," acknowledges Annika Hipple, editor and publisher of Real Scandinavia. "It's doubtful whether the idea has reduced Swedes' candy consumption overall. But lördagsgodis has certainly become a Swedish institution. Having candy only on Saturdays makes it more special—something to look forward to during the week."

How to Practice Lördagsgodis at Home

Lördagsgodis really harkens back to the adage of "everything in moderation." Lola Akinmade Åkerström, a Sweden-based visual storyteller and author, says she and her husband introduced the tradition to their kids as a way to enjoy a little candy on Saturdays without giving in daily to their sweet tooth cravings. In their regular mix: chocolate pralines, gelébjörn (gummy bears), kola (caramels) and skumgodis (foam marshmallows, often in forms like bananas or Santa).

Johanna Kindvall, a native Swede and food illustrator who splits her time between south Sweden and New York, says she grew up with lördagsgodis, and it was always the highlight of the weekend. Almost every grocery store in Sweden sells candy by the pound, she says. "In Sweden, we call it lösgodis (loose candy) and also smågodis (small sweets)," Kindvall explains. "It's not unusual that a regular grocery store has over 50 different types of sweets that you can mix."

In the U.S., Kindvall says she's rarely able to buy candy as she does in Sweden. Some of her favorites in New York, however, include salty licorice (a beloved Swedish treat) from Sahadi's in Brooklyn or Economy Candy on the Lower East Side.

Stockhome, a San Francisco restaurant operated by Swedes Andrea and Roberth Plaj, imports Swedish candy like gummies, salty licorice, chocolate, and even Swedish fish. Adults and kids alike head to Stockhome's candy counter to fill up bags with candy. "It's an experience people love to do after their meal," Andrea Plaj says.

Where to Buy Nostalgic Sweets

Have some fun with lördagsgodis by seeking out spots that sell nostalgic candy. Or check out these candy stores that each ship nationwide:

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Bonbon

This New York City store offers "pick and mix" selections, true to Swedish tradition. Try the strawberry peeps or gummy fried eggs. Or opt for a pre-mixed selection made by BonBon, like the Grown-Up mix with a variety of chocolate, nougat, and fruity pieces.

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Sockerbit

Another New York City shop, this beautifully designed candy store offers many options to mix and match (you can even search by color to create a pretty mix for gifting). Pre-made gift boxes in varying sizes and tastes (think sweet, sour, or chocolate) are also available.

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Scandinavian Butik

Find a ton of unusual and international candy brands at this Danish specialty grocery store in Norwalk, Connecticut, which also carries licorice treats by the specialty Danish brand Lakrids by Bulow.

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Licorice International

This type of candy isn't for everyone, but if you're a licorice lover, there's no wider selection in the country than at this Lincoln, Nebraska shop. Try the crunchy licorice and sorbisar, which are candy discs that are half sour strawberry and half black licorice.

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Stuckey's

If you grew up taking road trips, you might remember this nostalgic roadside stop known for its specialty candies. The granddaughter of the founder, Stephanie Stuckey, is working to revive the stores across the country—but in the meantime, you can scoop up treats like its famous pecan roll, peanut brittle, Goo Goo Clusters, and more online.

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