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Kalles Kaviar Posted by on Aug 11, 2010 in Culture

Swedes love condiments in tubes.  They might not admit to it, but just trust me.  A trip to any Swedish grocery store will confirm this.  Entire sections are filled with tubed condiments.  Ketchup. Mustard. Mayonnaise.  Ham flavored spreadable cheese.  They’ve got it all. But one tubed condiment stands above the rest.  Kalles Kaviar.

Kalles Kaviar is the ubiquitous tubed condiment loved by Sweden.  It claims to be caviar.  But let’s be honest, bright orange smoked cod roe is probably not what comes to mind when thinking about the finer caviars in the world.  I think that is reserved for Iranian and Russian.  But it is delicious nonetheless.

Kalles – Photo Credit: Erik Funfar

The blue tube can be found in grocery stores and even convenience stores throughout Sweden.  Kalles is even expanding and offer different types of kaviar.  You can get a premium smoked flavor.  You can get it mixed with cheese.  Mixed with egg.  Even mixed with banana.

Kalles 2 – Photo Credit: Erik Funfar

Kalles has become a Swedish staple.  It’s eaten for breakfast on toast or knäckebröd.  Plain, buttered, or maybe even with some cheese on top.  It’s eaten at lunch.  Perhaps a few pieces of cucumber on top.  It’s eaten as a snack.  It’s eaten on eggs.  It’s eaten late at night after returning from the bars.  It’s even eaten in the US.  IKEA stocks Kalles throughout the country.

I love Kalles, but I grew up eating the stuff both in Sweden and the US.  Very seldom is my fridge without a tube or two.  That being said, Kalles tends to be an acquired taste for many who visit or move to Sweden.

What other tastes have you acquired after having visited or moved to Sweden?

Thanks to Erik Funfar for the pictures.  You can see more of his photography at ErikFunfar.com as well as follow his adventures in Sweden at The American Norseman.

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About the Author:Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


Comments:

  1. Dionne:

    Inlagd sill! I used to live in Sweden many years ago and I grew to love herring in a big way. I’m so glad I now live only 20 minutes drive from Ikea, as I can get all my favourites there. My fiancé thinks I’m completely mad.

  2. Daniel:

    Pepparkakor med ädelost… eating that was not my finest moment in Sweden – Surströmming is above everything else. Or below.

  3. Angela:

    Aside from the knäckebröd, Swedish honey, Anna’s Pepparkakor, glögg, ox meat, Bilar candy, and pytt i panna.

  4. zuzisue:

    I haven’t tried the caviar, but for me swedish air has the taste of cinnamon. I simply love your Annas’s thins and I’m addicted to kanelbullar. Gifflar and mini Snackor are something I won’t be able to refuse as well.
    Unfortunately we don’t have anything in Poland that would even resemble kanelbullar. How hard it can be to bake bun with cinnamon and sell it here? I don’t get it.
    But maybe it is good kanelbullar are not available here – it’s better to keep addicts away from the source of their addiction, right? 😉

    How about writing an article about kanelbullar? 😉

  5. Luke (Sydney):

    I will try to acquire the taste of Kalles first even before getting any where close to Sweden. So the blue one is better than the green one?

  6. Gabriel Stein:

    I’m just waiting for snaps in a tube!

  7. Marcus Cederström:

    @Dionne – it is pretty delicious isn’t it?

    @Daniel – Im pretty sure surströmming should never be an acquired taste. Ever.

    @Angela – that sounds like a pretty solid grocery list to me.

    @zuzisue – agreed. there is something about the Swedish ones that are just delicious.

    @Luke – the blue one is classic. you cant go wrong starting with that one Id say.

    @Gabe – I think we all are. Loved the video you posted by the way!

    For everyone else, check it out here: http://www.muchissaidinjest.com/?p=62

  8. Anderew:

    svenska lantchips!

  9. Marcus Cederström:

    you can get those in IKEA in the US also!

  10. Jacob_M:

    Ack! You can’t find tubed catchup in IKEA in the US…neither can you in any grocery store in Sweden.

    Funny, reading your posts makes me think of Seinfeld. Clearly you subscribe to the Worlds Collide theory.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hqPrdj54-0

  11. Kevin Frianeza:

    i love these on digestive biscuits (instead of the usual knäckebröd) and with beer on the side (helps to wash off the fishy aftertaste)! it saves the toast too if im not feeling for vegemite. what if Abba suddenly came up with a minted variety that can also double as a toothpaste? hmm… 🙂

  12. Marcus Cederström:

    @Jacob – obviously going to have to convince IKEA to start selling more tubed condiments.

    @Kevin – as long as they put some fluoride in there we should be ok.

  13. Erik:

    NOOO. There isn’t any Kalles at my IKEA store for months!!!!

    I love Kalles!!!

  14. Marcus Cederström:

    Erik… I feel your pain.

  15. Pamela:

    I lived in Sweden in 1999/2000 and still dream about the stuff. Hmmm Kalles Kaviar, which is how I found your site. I keep checking the internet on the off chance that somebody will ship it too South Africa!!! So far no luck.

  16. Marcus Cederström:

    Sorry, I don’t know of any Sweden to S. Africa Kalles distributors.

  17. Suzanna:

    IKEA has stopped stocking Kalles Kaviar, Leksand crispbread, Anna’s gingerbread thins and pickled veg in jars. They have replaced a few items with their own brand but some items have no substitutes.

    🙁

  18. Robert:

    IKEA is no longer stocking Kalle’s Kaviar – They claim they are replacing Kalle’s with their own brand; that seems to be a big fat lie as they are now trying to sell the big black roe in jars. What a stupid dicision by some idiot manager to stop selling this delicious condiment. Fortunately, one can still order Kalles through the internet.

  19. Marcus Cederström:

    Some IKEAs are still selling Kalles now

  20. Annette Barendregt:

    I am addicted to it. My father brought home sailors (when I was a child) to have dinner with us and as a gift they brought us Kalles. I have never stopped eating it since. In fact: I just had a crisp bread with Kalles. It’s lovely and healthy. My second best reason to go to Ikea!