Stories from the north Archives - Moz Sweden

Category: Stories from the north

Julmust – The essential Swedish Christmas beverage 

Julmust – The essential Swedish Christmas beverage 

The first day of Advent is usually seen as the official start of the Christmas season. However, some might argue that the season truly begins when grocery stores start selling “julmust – the beloved, sparkling Christmas drink. 

What is julmust? 

Julmust is a dark, non-alcoholic sparkling beverage, similar to Coca-Cola in its sweetness, color and fizz, yet very different in flavor and taste. This lovely drink has a spicy character, with hints of dark caramel and a touch of hops – the same ingredient used in beer brewing – making it a little less sweet and a bit more mellow and savory.

Julmust is typically sold from November to the end of December, and it’s estimated that around 30 million liters of julmust are consumed by the end of December!

Glass of julmust christmas decoration

Julmust recipe – a closely guarded secret

Describing the taste of julmust is hard. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, and no one knows the exact ingredients. In fact, rumor has it that the original recipe is safely locked away in a vault, accessible to only a few selected individuals! What we do know is that the julmust syrup contains hops, malt, and a blend of spices – but the identity of those spices will remain a mystery! And perhaps that’s part of the charm and love of julmust?

Hops on a table

Autumn is here: welcoming the cozy season 

Autumn is here: welcoming the cozy season 

Oh, how we love autumn! The days may be grey and gloomy, but it’s the perfect season to light a fire, cuddle up with a fika and spend some time together.

When November arrives, it gets colder and the days get darker. But did you know that autumn is the perfect season to spend time with your loved ones?  
As the weather gets harsher, the more reason we have to snuggle up indoors. Why not light a warming, crackling fire in your fireplace if you have the chance? Invite your closest friends over for a nice long fika with tea, hot chocolate and freshly baked cinnamon rolls, enjoying each other’s company for a few hours. Treat yourself to a good book while enjoying a lovely cup of tea? Take a long bubble bath or watch your favourite movie.

Autumn is the season of slowing down – nature takes a break and sometimes we need to do so too.

To-dos for autumn days

A soothing realisation is that it doesn’t take much to make something of your day. Here we have listed some autumn activities that will make you appreciate autumn as much as we do!

  1. Light up some candles as soon as darkness falls.
  2. Invite your friends over to play board games or cards.
  3. Put your phone away and pick up a good book instead.
  4. Light a fire if you have the chance.
  5. Take a slow walk in nature – a ’höstpromenad’, as we Swedes say.
  6. Listen to music while enjoying a big cup of tea.
  7. Cuddle up to your favourite film.
  8. Invite family and friends over for your favourite fika.

Find whatever makes you smile and unwind. It’s not hard to wish for a rainy day when you can stay at home and pamper yourself or spend time with the people you love.

How do you spend your autumn days?

Mother and daughter eating popcorn

Kladdkakans dag – Mud Cake Day 

Kladdkakans dag – Mud Cake Day 

We Swedes are experts in celebrating cakes, pies and other delicacies – and chocolate mud cake, ’kladdkakan’, is no exception! A way to get through the darkness of winter, perhaps?

Recipe for Swedish chocolate mud cake

Kladdkaka is a forgiving cake, as it is meant to be ’undone’ – sticky, gooey and simply delicious. Mud cake is just as good straight from the oven as it is after being stored in the fridge overnight. The only way to find out which version you like best is simply to enjoy it at least two days in a row!

– 100 g butter
– 2 eggs
– 1.5 dl wheat flour
– 3 dl white sugar
– 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
– 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Ingredients mud cake

How to make mud cake:

  • Turn on the oven at 150°C.
  • Butter up an oven dish, preferably a round one, with a diameter of about 20-30 cm.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  • When the butter has melted, add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a smooth chocolate batter.
  • Pour the batter into the oven dish. The cake should be quite thin, so don’t worry about not filling the whole dish.
  • Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before serving.Don’t expect to get perfect slices of mud cake when you serve it fresh out of the oven! The result is supposed to be rather muddy and sticky, which at first glance may not look like success. But don’t worry: the flavour will be surprisingly tasty. Serve your cake with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream – or, why not, with both!
Whipping ingredients mud cake

All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day

Alla helgonas dag is a time of peacefulness and love. We celebrate and remember the people we have lost, as cemeteries and memorial groves are filled with bright lights and candles.

How Alla helgons dag is celebrated

Today All Saints’ Day falls on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6 and is quite the opposite of the popular American celebration of Halloween, spooky and trick-or-treat-filled.

All Saints’ Day is a serene celebration of all those loved ones we have lost, a time to gather with family to remember and reminisce. There are no special traditions or “rules” for celebrating All Saints’ Day. Many people visit the graves of their loved ones to leave flowers, teddy bears and other tokens of their everlasting love and to light memorial candles. Graveside candle flames are long-burning and are protected by special lids to prevent them from going out.

If you do not have the opportunity to light a candle at the graves of your departed loved ones, you can easily light one at home and devote it to someone you cherish. Gather family or friends – the ones you want to celebrate or remember someone special with – and enjoy a quiet dinner together, or maybe just a fika. Whatever way you want to remember someone is the right way – especially today, in a global world where friends and family may be scattered all over the globe.

Lighting candles to mark Alla helgons dag is a simple and lovely way to come together, no matter where you are. It reminds us to love each other and spread light in the dark months of winter.

Graveyard with lots of candles



Sports holiday (sportlov) is a special week off for many school children. This week in February is meant to be spent outdoors, to enjoy the fresh air and make a fun week out of a gloomy month.

What is ”sportlov”?

Sportlov is a school holiday where children get a week off school in February to enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with friends and family. Today, many families go away on skiing holidays, or spend time outside sledding, having picnics or taking hikes in nature reserves. It’s the key holiday for winter activities and winter sports, and a welcoming break in an otherwise gloomy month.

  • Boy with Moz on the sleigh
  • Fika in the sun
  • Cross country skiing, sportlov
  • Boy getting kisses from dog

The origin of sportlov

The week of sportlov has been around since the 1940’s, but in the beginning it had nothing to do with letting kids enjoy the snow – quite the opposite. During the beginning of the second World War, fuels and heating supplies became very expensive, forcing schools to close for a week in order to save both money and fuel. Sweden experienced some of the harshest and coldest winters during WW2, and closing schools was a way to handle the shortage and expenses of heating fuels.

What to do during sportlov

There are several activities you can do during sports holiday. Many of them don’t even require going away: you can have a lovely and fun sports holiday at home with the family, enjoying the outdoors without any major preparations.

  1. Spend a day in the ”pulkabacke”. A ”pulkabacke” is a small hill dedicated for sledding. Since many small hills are covered in snow in February, going sledding is fun for the whole family
  2. Go for a winter picnic. Load up the thermos with hot chocolate and pack a bag for a day out in the woods or nature reserve. Cinnamon buns, hotdogs, blankets and gloves are needed to enjoy the fresh air
  3. Build a snowman! And let your imagination go wild. If there’s snow outside, make a whole village – or maybe a castle? A real size horse, or why not a big igloo? Make sure to seize those snowy days.
  4. If you have the opportunity, go skiing. Going on a skiing holiday is one of the most classic activities for sports holiday. Nothing beats the feeling after a snowy day in the slopes!

Fettisdagen – day of the cream bun

Fettisdagen – day of the cream bun

The Swedish ”fettisdagen” – translated ”fat Tuesday” – has its roots way back in Swedish history. Today, it’s a loved and celebrated tradition where the beloved cream bun ”semla” can be found at every café – and there are even competitions deciding who makes the best cream bun!

What is a semla?

The cream bun called ”semla” is a fluffy bun made of wheat, spiced up with cardamom. The bun is split and the inside is filled with a soft marzipan paste, and topped off with fluffy, whipped cream. The top of the split bun is placed on top of the cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

It’s the bakery goods of bakery goods, and many Swedes have personal preferences on how the bun should be assembled. Some like more or less of the marzipan paste – some want whole pieces of almonds – and some like to eat the bun in a bowl of warm milk: a so-called ”hetvägg”.

Semla with Swedish flag

The history of the semla

The word ”semla” comes from the latin word ”similar”, which means wheat flour. But the original semla wasn’t all that fancy. It consisted of a rock hard, dry wheat bun that might have been filled with raisins and nuts. In some cases it needed to be boiled in hot milk for several hours (which is the origin of today’s tradition of eating semla in a bowl of hot milk), in order to make it edible.

The first written notice of the semla in Sweden was made around the year 1670, but the bun was made and eaten long before that. The marzipan – or at least the use of almonds – was introduced in the 1700’s, when more exotic products were imported to Sweden. But it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the bun became more common in every home, since wheat flour had been a luxury good for centuries.

The reason for the bun’s existence is that people needed to ”fat up”, and eat before the traditional fasting. The fasting occurred before the Easter holidays, and after Christmas, and today it’s celebrated in February.

The traditional Christmas tree

The traditional Christmas tree

The pine tree is one of the most traditional decoration pieces during Christmas.

History of the Christmas tree

The tradition of having a pine tree indoors comes from Germany and Switzerland somewhere between the 1500-1600’s. It was first and foremost a decoration for the high society – such as rich and noble people – and often decorated with candy. From the late 1600’s it was spread to France, Belgium and Holland, but didn’t reach Swedish homes until the 1800’s.

Although; we do know that the very first Christmas tree in Sweden appeared in the home of the wealthy family Wrede-Sparre in 1741, who lived on Södermalm – one of the islands of Stockholm. But the tradition didn’t spread to every home until the late 1800’s. So we could say that the Wrede-Sparre-family was super modern for their time!

In the 1700- and 1800’s the Swedish decoration of the tree was quite similar to the traditional decoration we have today. The tree would have live candles, apples and (if you’re lucky) candy hanging from the branches. In the end of the 1800’s it was common to buy Christmas tree decorations in small stores, such as garlands of the Swedish flag, paper crackers and decorative red hearts to hang in the tree.

Woman decorates a Christmas tree with Swedish flags
Girl sitting by christmastree with present Girl sitting by christmas tree with present

The vikings and the Christmas tree

The word ”Christmas’ ‘originates from Christ, another name for Jesus, and many countries refer to Christmas as the birth of Jesus according to the Christian religion. But in Swedish, the word for Christmas is ”jul”, and has its origin way back to the roots of the Vikings.

The Viking celebrated the holiday ”Yule” as the midwinter occurred. It was a way to acknowledge that the darkest time of the year was over and they were heading towards lighter and warmer times. The Christmas tree – or the plain pine tree – was a big symbol for these dark and cold times since it was the only green tree in the forest. It symbolized continuous life and life force, as every other tree dropped its leaves during autumn.

Legends say that trees were highly respected and honored in Viking culture, and it was common to decorate pine trees outside and wear wreaths made of pine tree branches.

Man puts a star in top of the Christmas tree

How to decorate a Christmas tree

Traditions sure change, and today there are no rules on how to decorate a Christmas tree. During the early 1900’s the Christmas tree was decorated in the color red – today, every family has its own tradition.

Here are some decoration tips if you want a Christmas tree of your own:

  • Christmas balls are a given. You can find them in almost every store in Sweden, and the colors vary. The traditional colors though are red, silver and gold, and the balls are made of either plastic or glass.
  • Glitter garlands can be found in either silver or gold, but white glitter garlands are also quite common. You can either let the garlands run around the tree, or have them running from the top down to the bottom.
  • Electric lights really spruce up the tree and make it shine beautifully when darkness sets. Today it’s just as much of a tradition to have big electric candles that resemble real candles, as it is to have small light dots.
  • If you want a touch of the olden days, you can make some decorations by yourself using extra strong paper and scissors. There’s so much inspiration to be found if you search for ”DIY Christmas tree decorations”, and it’s a fun way to spend time with family and kids.
  • Don’t forget that a Christmas tree is just like a flower: it needs plenty of water to not go brown and die. All tree stands can contain water, and make sure it’s always full for the tree not to dry out.

It’s common to see different color matches in today’s Christmas trees. An all red tree – where every single piece is red – is very powerful and popular. Another modern trend is to look past the red and try other things that still feel ”Christmasy” – one example is green and gold, where the golden touch can be found in straw-decorations and fabric, while the green can be moss-decorations, plants and tree decorations. Gold and green resembles the forest and the colors within, while an all white and silver decorated tree resembles the snow and winter landscape. White and silver sure are colors of the Nordic: both in home styling and in nature. To bring nature inside is popular, and white Christmas decorations – all the way from the tree to the pillows and fabric – is also a very popular and modern trend.

But, to summon up: there are no rules. Decorate the tree the way you feel like, and after your own preference. The big thing is to find the Christmas spirit and have a lovely time together with family, while finishing your Christmas tree.

Homemade hot chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate

Making your own hot chocolate for hiking or a picnic tastes lovely and is easy to make.

How to make your own hot chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate is easier than you think, and it tastes extra nice on a cold winter’s day. Make sure to store it in a good thermos so it keeps warm, and drink it together with a cinnamon bun and some friends. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients for one cup:

  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1,5 tablespoons of white granulated sugar
  • 0,5 deciliter of heavy cream
  • 2-3 deciliters of warm milk (depending on how strong you want your chocolate)
Woman drinking hot chocolate Moz cup


Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and cream into a thick cocoa batter. Make sure to mix it thoroughly until smooth. Heat up the milk, but don’t let it boil. Add the milk to the cocoa batter and blend until the batter has totally dissolved. And if you want to make more for a whole thermos, simply double the recipe for more people to enjoy.

It’s best served with a click of whipped cream on top, but is just as lovely as it is!

A cup of hot chocolate

Celebrating Christmas in Sweden

Celebrating Christmas in Sweden

Every country has its own way to celebrate Christmas, and Sweden is no exception. And even though every family has their own traditions, some things are exactly the same in almost every household on the 24th of December.

The Christmas food buffet

The Christmas food buffet can almost be described as a museum of Swedish culinary history. The traditional buffet is filled with foods and dishes only eaten on Christmas. Some culinary historians mean that the Christmas buffet is a way to keep connected to our past and our ancestors: things that young people eat today could be the same thing and the same recipe that family members ate hundreds of years ago.

The oldest food on the buffet today is ”lutfisk”. Lutfisk is a dried fish, bleached in birch ashes until white, hard and thin. In order to eat it, the fish must be soaked in clear water for a week. It’s eaten with green peas, butter and white hollandaise sauce. The old recipes though, dated back as far as to the 1400’s, also include almonds and raisins.

Fat med julmat

Today’s classics

One of the most popular dishes today is the Christmas ham. It was introduced in the end of the 1800’s, and is traditionally covered with a crispy mustard crust. It’s eaten chilled, sliced into thin pieces, together with a strong Swedish mustard on the side.Another mandatory part of the buffet is pickled herring and salmon. The pickled herring can vary in many different flavors, and the salmon is served either warm smoked, cold smoked or rimmed.

Julskinka på fat
Minnesvärda stunder, couple embracing Minnesvärda stunder, couple embracing

Kalle Anka – Donald Duck and his friends

It’s said that Sweden has two collective times in a year: the bell for New Years Eve – and the time for Kalle Anka on TV. Every Christmas Eve at 15:00, the public channel airs a Christmas show called ”Kalle och hans vänner”. It’s a cartoon show – same every year – showing small stories of Donald Duck and his friends, old Disney classics and some new glimpses of modern films. The show has been aired since the 60’s in Sweden and brings everyone together – no matter how old you are!

Man och kvinna tittar på TV
  • Girl in red dress hugging Moz
  • Wrapping of Christmas presents
  • Baking gingerbread Moz

Santa Claus and presents

Every child awaits the evening. That’s when Santa Claus – or ”tomten” in Swedish – arrives in the dark to deliver presents. The classic tomte has red clothing, a big white beard, a top hat and big black boots. He’s big and round, and speaks with a dark (but kind) voice and brings the presents in a big fabric bag.

Tomten is often played by someone in the family – maybe a dad or a grandad, but a mother dressed up with pillows for roundness is just as perfect! The traditional get-away-phrase is ”I need to go and get the newspaper”, which would be a legit reason for accidentally disappearing when Tomten arrives. 

When Tomten enters the room he asks ”Finns det några snälla barn här?” which means ”Are there any kind children here?”. The phrase refers to the fact that you only get presents if you’ve been kind throughout the year. Maybe the same should go for adults?

Girl hugging santa

Making your own traditions

One beautiful thing about Christmas is about making your own traditions. Every family has their own little things they love – some eat before Kalle Anka, some eat after. Some open a few presents in the morning, and others wait until late in the evening. Some have a very special herring recipe or eggnog drink, while others can’t have Christmas without a crackling fire.
That’s one of the most important things about Swedish Christmas today: sticking to the things you love, and making up your own traditions as celebration goes on – year after year.

Mamma och barn öppnar julklappar i sängen

Vitsippor – the white flowers of spring

Vitsippor – the white flowers of spring

A clear sign of warm spring is when forests are filled with white anemones. These lovely little flowers are called ”vitsippor” in Swedish, and picking them has been a loved outdoor activity for centuries.

When do anemones blossom?

The warm period of spring usually happens in April or May, depending on where you live in Sweden. A clear sign of the warm weather coming back is when ”vitsippor” are starting to appear everywhere in the forest. They usually blossom from the end of April and all through the month of May, making the ground beautifully white.

There are actually two types of anemones: white ones and blue ones. The white anemones are free to pick, and there are plenty during spring! The blue anemones, called ”blåsippor”, have a bluish-purple tone and must be left alone. They are protected by Swedish law, since there aren’t many of them left in nature. It’s such a well known fact that blue anemones are protected, that we even have songs about them wanting to be left alone.

Vårkänslor, Feeling of spring, Swedish sayings. Vårkänslor, Feeling of spring, Swedish sayings.

Why do Swedes pick vitsippor?

Picking white anemones has been a tradition for many, many years. Since they’ve become such an associated sign of spring, a small bouquet of anemones can be found on almost every dinner table. It’s a way to welcome spring into the house, and many kids pick the flowers to bring home to their parents.

Another part of the anemone-history is how kids back in the days would pick smack bouquets and sell them by the road. When people traveled with their horse and carriage, they could stop and buy a bouquet for a penny – or ”öre” as the small piece of coin is called in Swedish. It was an easy way for children to make some money and help out at home – and this tradition is even portrayed in Swedish movies, such as ”Glasblåsarens barn” or Astrid Lindgren’s classic story of Emil i Lönneberga!