I AM a representative of the former British Empire and the current Commonwealth of Nations; I am the descendant of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the son of an RAF pilot. I did
not graduate with First Class honours from Cambridge University and since then have not entered the Foreign Office’s prestigious diplomatic corps.
‘The Northern Plights’ documents my assessment of Sweden for the possibility of any future conquests which the British Government’s War Cabinet is
DISPATCH 17: Food.
Go to the finest of the finer fine dining restaurants in all of Sweden and the menu will look like an ‘I am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here‘ eating challenge, in fact it is only the Nordic palette which considers ‘gourmet’ what the Civilised World considers ‘cat food’.
Many of us curious cuisiners would have expressed a heartfelt and collective ‘YUCK’ when we are confronted by the fermented herring dish surströmming, but in reality it is only the most
attention seeking hardiest of Swedes who consume the nauseating novelty dish. I would like to introduce both Embassy and Empirees to the far more popular Swedish food quirk lösgodis, or as we would know it ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ – the staple diet of shoplifting oiks from the estate Where the Wild Things Are.
I first stumbled upon the Swedish sweet fixation during my behind-enemy-lines training; my task was simple: rent a DVD which does not star Michael Caine or Roger Moore. On entrance to the rental outlet I assumed I had failed at my first hurdle – all I could see were aisles and aisles of sweets before me – it was like crash landing on the inevitable Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stage show. In fact so much floor space had been reserved for tooth-rotting snacks that the film shelves were so sparsely stocked that the only films with Swedish stars in ALSO featured Roger Moore.
But soon I realised that it was not just video shops which stocked gelatin-based products on such a large scale, far from it indeed; almost anywhere which accepts the kronor currency will probably be able to flog you a diabetic-coma inducing bag of sour wriggly bits of jelly. To say the Swedes have a bit of a sweet tooth is an understatement of gross proportions.
Records show that lösgodis became increasingly popular from the late 1930s when it was sold in jars behind counters. The key sugar-coated year was 1985 when the National Food Administration, for reason unfathomable to this particular Brit, recommended to the Health Department that anyone looking for their next sugar rush should be able to both pick and mix themselves. The idea came from three Finnish businessmen who by COMPLETE coincidence happened to own a candy brand.
Prices dropped, distribution increased and now Sweden is one of the largest pick and mix importers in the world; the fact that council estate dietary cornerstone Haribo is produced just a hop, skip and a bridge away in Denmark cannot help matters. Indeed the average Swede eats 18 KILOGRAMS of pick and mix A YEAR – that is more than any other nation! On average 100 million bags are sold a year, each weighing around 350grams and containing 1,600 calories.
My advice to the War Cabinet: Attack during the sugar crash and NOT the sugar rush.
I should go; I need to glaze my roast wolf cub dinner – bon appetit!
ATTENTION BOTH THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND EMPIREES: Unless you have candy floss for brains, you should probably subscribe!