...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Food journal number 7: Pepparkakor and Julmust

(Part 1 on Christmas food)

Yup, Christmas in the air! — In the chilly air, that is. We had a big snow storm last week too, and the sunset is now somewhere past 3pm. With darkest period coming fast (the sun rises at past 7am now), its no wonder that groceries are also stocking up on “comfort food”, i.e. Christmas fare.

I wasn’t able to find a single Christmas ham in the grocery (I heard they were delicious with Christmas bread, but apparently these are sold later within the Christmas season), but I did buy other Yuletide staples today, namely julmust (Christmas drink) and pepparkakor (ginger snaps). Well, the winter darkness can have good associations after all. Good thing Christmases, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, are not in the summers... otherwise, what would we eat in these dark days?

To the food!


Apparently, I was not the only one with the idea to buy Julmust today. The store had a buy-one-take-one promotion on it (10 kronor, about 70 pesos, for two 2-liter bottles), and as early as 12 noon, the whole stock was gone (except for the Julmust light, which nobody seemed to touch)! Anyway, I ended up buying a half-liter bottle of regular Julmust, for the same price as the promotional offer (Grrr! I’m going to get you Julmust hoarders for this!!!)

Facts about Julmust:
(1) It is made of the same ingredients as beer (malt and hops), but instead of processing these ingredients into alcohol, they are mixed with sugar and carbonated water. The taste doesn’t resemble beer though; it’s not even alcoholic. I think it tastes more like Sarsi, if Sarsi were to make a special Christmas brew. (BTW this leads me to wonder why some foods just “taste like Christmas,” as if Christmas foods have some special “Ingredient X(mas)” in them. If you know what I mean, that’s how Julmust tastes like.)

(2) Julmust outsells Coca-Cola during Christmastime here in Sweden (It is the only country where Coke sales drop during the Christmas season). This is why Coke labels here try to imitate local Julmust labels during this time of the year. Also, you must have heard that it was Coke that popularized the Santa Clause in a red suit, as we recognize him today. Scandinavian folklore, on the other hand, had always had gnomes as their local Santas, though not all of them dress in red (in the Julmust label above, he is wearing blue). I guess you can say that the Cola Santa was a red gnome to begin with… until he moved to America, and gained 200 pounds on his belly alone! Haha!

(3) Other Julmust facts can be found in wikipedia, for example: that the original recipe for the syrup is known only by one person, and that Coke and Pepsi came up with Julmust-tastealikes to gain a Christmas profit from the Swedes!


They taste like the local ginger snaps in the Philippines, but they are much thinner and less hard (a bit too thin and too easy to eat, though, that you could just finish off the whole bucket-full in one sitting!). Besides that, they are only mostly sold during the Christmas season. About the Filipino ginger snaps: my memories of them involve loose milk teeth about to fall out. To encourage the teeth to wiggle and loosen more, I would either eat corn on a cob or those rock-hard cookies. They were so hard, I remember that one of my milk teeth just fell out as I was eating them.

More Christmas food to come!


Blogger carlo said...

Masarap daw ang Sarsi na may kahalong raw egg. Sabi pa ng dad ko, energy drink daw yun dati.

3:55 PM

Anonymous lizzy said...

Julmust sounds like Malzbier... a drink made from the same ingredients as beer but with more malt and no alcohol. You and Marcus will have to try it when you come over for the holidays. Anyway, it's said to be good for mommy milk production!
Greetings and sloppy kisses from little Ian too

11:19 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Carlo: Yes, I remember now about your dad and his sports projects for you (boxing and basketball)... Sarsi and raw egg sounds like a real manly sports drink alright!

Liz: Yeah! Yeah! I'm looking forward to eating and drinking away down there in Germany :-D Malzbier! Döner kebabs! Whoooohoooo! Anyway, at least you can drink Malz"bier" with us, para hindi ka naman O.P. bweheheh! Say hi to the baby!

3:33 PM

Anonymous ria said...

julmust is resurrected during the easter season too, as you may probably find PÅSKMUST in the groceries by this time. (hehehe! sa kapanganakan nga naman ni kristo at muling pagkabuhay).

4:34 PM


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