By Raiza Giorgi

Pedestrians passing the window of the Swedish Candy Factory can watch the Liljeblad family and their staff make Polkatwists, which are a traditional Swedish candy.

Solvang’s newest confection shop, at the corner of Mission Drive and Alisal Road, makes naturally sweetened candy because the owners are personal fitness trainers who wanted to create something tasty but natural.

“We went to Sweden to visit family a few years ago and my brother gave us the idea to open one of the Polkagris (Polkatwist) stores in the states. We had been to Solvang many times before with friends and family, and we thought this would be the best place to have a shop,” said owner and baker Ubbe Liljeblad.

In their former lives, Ubbe and Edle were personal fitness trainers on Seattle’s Bainbridge Island. After their second daughter graduated from high school, they decided to make the move with their son and youngest daughter to Solvang.

The Liljeblads worked with doctors and rehabilitation facilities so they know the importance of good health, which is why they adamant that their candy have no chemicals or preservatives.

“We believe that a special treat is nice to enjoy occasionally, and we strive to offer top-quality candy for our customers. Even the coloring is plant-based,” Ubbe said.

“A true Swedish Polkatwist is hard and slightly porous in the beginning so that you can suck air through it. Then it softens in your mouth, becoming chewy,” Edle said.

The Liljeblad family hired two of the best bakers from Gränna, Sweden, to teach them how to make the traditional Polkatwist.

This candy has been made in Sweden since 1859, originated by a woman named Amalia Eriksson. In Sweden, the Polkagris is so well known that everyone travels to a little town named Gränna to watch the making of the candy and get their own piece of the magic, Edle added.

“We hired two of the best bakers from Gränna to teach us the trade so we can offer the best Polkatwist to you,” Ubbe said.

In Sweden a store would not be considered a true Polkatwist boutique unless the bakers rolled out the dough on a wooden table made from planks from a bowling alley. Just as in Gränna, the Liljeblads roll their Polkatwists on such a table.

Ubbe is a purist, and he learned through his studies that bodies are healthier without artificial preservatives and chemicals, his wife said.

In addition to the Polkatwist, their store carries many other European candies, such as the Swedish chocolate Marabou.

“Just in our short time here in Solvang, everyone has been so wonderful, and it really has that small hometown charm we grew up with in Europe. We are so excited to be here,” Edle said.

She is originally from Norway and Ubbe is from Sweden.

The Swedish Candy Factory is open daily at 485 Alisal Road, No. 125. You can follow the store on Facebook to get more information.