A Lutefisk Alternative at ASI

The American Swedish Institute kicks off its holiday season this weekend, launching a series of Christmastime Nordic food traditions.

Beginning Saturday, the ASI gift shop will start selling its holiday merch, including 18 varieties of bulk Swedish candies that are tough to find in the Twin Cities. (Swedes are among the biggest candy-eaters in the world—apparently eating some 38 pounds a year—with a “Saturday candy” tradition known as lördagsgodis.) ASI sent me an assortment of the sweets and I thought a few of them were quite good, including the Swedish version of the Rolo and the strawberry ribbons that resemble fruit leather crossed with Sour Patch Kids. But most of the rest were kind of odd, such as the “banana” marshmallow and the candy Ferrari that looked cute, but tasted like a Strawberry Shortcake doll’s scent. If I’m looking for Scandinavian sugar, I think I’ll take mine atop buttered lefse or in Anna’s ginger thins.

While tickets still remain for the ASI’s annual lutefisk dinner, scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 17 (see Jim “Norblad” Harris’s global compendium of lutefisk dinners online), you might consider switching your tradition this year. Fika staff will be preparing two traditional Christmas Julbord dinners—a smörgåsbord of holiday food—that will include herring, smoked salmon, Havarti and Jarlsberg, rutabaga casserole, jellied veal, Swedish meatballs, rice pudding with lingonberries…and not a bite of the phlegm-like fish in sight.

See something you like? Find these candies in the ASI gift shop.

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