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Friday, 16 August 2013

GRÄNNA: Sweet Simple Happiness

Gränna, July 16 2013

A jar of happiness. © Intan Karunia Kristanti (2014)
BBNB and I went to Gränna, a little town located in the shore of Lake Vättern (second largest lake in Sweden), to visit Axel Polkagris, a famous candy factory there.  Since we arrived there too early, at 8 AM, the factory had not been open yet. We decided to look for breakfast at that town but couldn't find any single open store yet. We went to the port there. It was closed too. Hence we decided to go back to the petrol station where we had stopped last night because there was a hostel that provides a place to stay and also breakfast (Bed&Breakfast). Some miracle happened, BBNB kindly treated me a 91 SEK breakfast buffet there. 

Since it was buffet, we ate crazily there. I took a plateful of scrambled eggs, meatballs, a few handfuls of sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and goat cheese, a bowl of yogurt, a plate of oranges and pineapple, a glass of orange juice and some cups of coffee. BBNB also took food as much as I did. We did not care about the others looking surprised that we both were eating like pigs. Our stomachs got distended. Even we could barely stand because we were too full. Anyway, before leaving the place, I didn't forget to put some bananas and apples into my backpack for our lunch on the go. The main point was when having buffet take as much as we could!!!

Once we returned to Gränna, Yippee candy factory was open. Behind the transparent glass, I saw a young Scandinavian boy was making that special mint candy starting from mixing of ingredients (mainly sugar and mint), caramelization, coloring, rolling (to make the candy colored brindle striped), re-hardening, cutting to get intended shape and size, and packaging The entire process took 20 to 30 minutes .

Beside the kitchen production, there was a room to display the candies. There were also Scandinavian souvenirs such as key chains, fridge magnet, stuffed moose (Scandinavian deer/elk occupied by Saint Claus) and also postcards.  What caught my attention was a lot of postcards with the picture of hot air balloons. After googling I came to know it was because this city is the hometown of an explorer named Salomon August Andrée  who died in its efforts towards the north pole using a hot-air balloon. Gränna museum was built to commemorate him. It regularly organizes exhibitions expedition together with a comprehensive collection of related objects and photographs.

I and BBNB met the owner. That lady was so nice to us. She gave us some samples of rock candy. I loved them. She told us some history of the candy factory she inherited from her family. The business was started by a widow named Amalia Eriksson in 1859. Her business has became hereditary family businesses with maintaining the concept of homemade and handmade industry.

I and BBNB bought some small jars of colorful rock candy and some candy sticks. The most remarkable one was Gul och Blå (blue and yellow) candy stick, showing the national colors of Sweden. Because both of us were the first visitors of the day, we both got a bonus. Each of us got a candy stick. 

Hooray!

I was so happy at that time and somehow I wished that I could jump back to my childhood time. Back to the time when being happy was simply achieved only by buying and enjoying our favorite candy.

-ariana-

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