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Polkagris (plural: polkagrisar) is a Swedish candy stick or straight candy cane that was invented in 1859 in the town of Gränna, Sweden, and remains a popular candy tradition in the town. The traditional polkagris candy cane is white and red, and peppermint flavoured.
The dance originated in the middle of the 19th century and is still a common genre in Swedish folk dance and folk music.
"Polka" in the candy's name may refer to the way traditional polkagris is made, twisting red and white sugar dough ribbons.
"Gris" means "pig", and was at that time used as an expression for candy.
Polkagris is a special candy stick type which was invented in Gränna 1859 by Amalia Eriksson (1824–1923), a poor 35-year-old widow. Amalia needed to support herself and her family, when her husband died. Amalia Eriksson got the town council's permission to open a bakery to make pastries and peppermint rocks, and opened a shop in Gränna. She kept the recipe secret and it was only revealed upon her death.
The candy is made of sugar dough which is boiled, kneaded on a marble baking table, pulled, and twisted by hand to the right size. The candies contain peppermint, sugar, water, and a very small amount of vinegar, and are sold in about 20 stores in the town.
The candies come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but the red and white peppermint flavored sticks are the classic original polkagris. The recipe has been included in Swedish cookbooks.
The town of Gränna has only 2,500 residents, but it's located by a lake and near one of the most traveled highways in Sweden and gets a million visitors a year. The main reason to visit the town is the candy, a tradition for more than 150 years.
The first store making polkagrisar outside of Gränna opened in the summer of 2011, on Lilla Nygatan 10 in the Old town of Stockholm.
Championships and records
In recent years, Gränna has arranged an annual world championship in polkagris making as a tourist event. The candy is handmade, and the perfect polkagris should weigh exactly 50 grams. The championship is held every year on 25 July, outdoors, at the Lake Vättern's shore.
A number of polkagris-related records have been registered for the Guinness Book of World Records. The world's longest polkagris (1989) was 287.7 metres (944 ft) long; the highest polkagris (1993) was 8.67 metres (28.4 ft); the world's heaviest polkagris stick (2003) was 2,158.7 kilograms (4,759 lb).
- Candy cane, a hooked candy stick often associated with Christmas
- Rock (confectionery), a candy stick often associated with British seaside resorts, typically with lettering throughout
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- "Polkagris". Jim Schrempp. 16 March 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
- "Svensk etymologisk ordbok". 1922. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
- Selivanova, Alexandra (25 January 2011). "Amalia Eriksson" (in Swedish). Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- Berezin, Henrik (2006). Adventure Guide Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway, & Denmark. Hunter Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-58843-579-8.
- Widenfelt, Sam Erik; Wifstrand, Selma (1975). Favorite Swedish Recipes. Dover Publications. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-486-23156-3.
- "The Peppermint Rock Town!". Gränna-Visingsö Turistbyrå. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
- Hampusson, Nina (18 July 2007). "En mästerlig polka lektion". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.