Chocolate with sea salt – a taste of West Sweden at Flickorna Kanold in Gothenburg
On a chilly winter’s day in Gothenburg you might well need a hot chocolate to warm you through and you’ll find the perfect spot in Café Kanold. I might not go so far as to call myself a chocoholic but let’s just say that when there’s a box of chocolates in the house, my husband will hide it to help me resist the temptation of demolishing it in one go. So during our weekend in Gothenburg just before Christmas I was only too happy to find a chocolate excuse to escape the blustery showers and strong winds.
As we wandered around the network of pedestrianised shopping streets, not too far from Hotel Elite Plaza where we were staying,we found ourself at the canal or moat that encircles the central area. Just in front of it on the corner is Café Kanold, all old fashioned elegance, washed out Swedish blue paintwork and sparkling chandeliers. We were just about ready for a mid morning break and I remembered that Cafe Kanold was one of the Gothenburg recommendations from my Hospitality club friend and Gothenburg local, Linnea.
Safely inside and out of the wind and rain, we sat on the cushioned banquette with pretty floral cushions and settled ourselves in for a warming hot chocolate – served with chili flakes on top for an extra kick, just as they do in Mexico. That counter of handmade chocolate truffles at the entrance was calling me and I couldn’t resist trying a few different flavours including the Kanold speciality, a soft chocolate truffle centre topped with sea salt, which has now become known as the “Gothenburg Truffle”.
Sustained with our chili hot chocolate we carried on round the corner where we found the main Kanold chocolate shop on Södra Larmgatan at the end of Viktoriapassagen - a cross between an old fashioned candy store and a boutique chocolatier. The window could have been from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with marzipan pigs all ready for Christmas and miniature paper cases with the toffee or knack that they serve at Christmas in Sweden.
Apparently the Kanold family came to Gothenburg from Germany in the 1890s and the brothers Anton and Fred Kanold started the chocolate business but over the years the company was sold off until none of the original family were involved. Then in 1998 Jeanna Kanold, whose husband is from the fourth generation of the Kanold family took over the chocolate shop on the corner of Viktoriapassagen and the brothers Kanold become Flickorna Kanold or “The girls” Kanold. I love the idea of “the girls” taking over the family business and injecting new love and inspiration into a world of chocolate. Ten years later and the chocolate production moved to the nearby glass roofed Salluhallen food market where you can watch the chocolates being produced in their workshop and last year the elegant Café Kanold was opened.
In the window of the chocolate shop I also noticed Jeanna Kanold’s face on the cover of a glossy cook-book that she’d recently published called Med kärlek till Choklad or With love for Chocolate in which she shares her favourite chocolate and baking recipes from the Kanold family archives as well as the company history and traditions. Sadly it’s only sold in Swedish at the moment, or I would have been adding it to my Christmas list. The shop is a place that you really could be like a kid in a candy store with striped candy canes and twists, marzipan pigs and angels (I adore marzipan) chocolate discs studded with nuts and dried fruit and of course those delicious chocolate truffles.
Sadly the Saluhallen market hall was closed when we passed but at the end of our weekend, on our way to catch the bus to the airport I popped into the shop again to buy a box of those salty Gothenburg truffles to take back home. I did a double take as I realised that Jeanna Kanold herself was serving in the shop, dressed in her traditional white frilled pinny and so I introduced myself and asked if I could take her photo which she graciously agreed.
I asked how she had come up with inspiration for the now famous ‘Gothenburg truffle’ with sea salt and she told me that she had been trying to come up with a chocolate idea that would epitomise the spirit of Gothenburg to take to a competition in Stockholm. As Gothenburg is so famous for its seafood, she had tried various fishy combinations, but after a while the lobster and shrimp truffles weren’t tasting so good. Then she had the inspiration of using sea salt to represent the ocean that gives a livelihood to much of the coast of West Sweden as well as the wonderful seafood that is a speciality of Gothenburg. Now the sea salt with chocolate has caught on in Gothenburg and I noticed at our ‘death by chocolate’ desert at the Michelin star restaurant, Basement also had a sprinkling of sea salt on the top. Jeanna’s special recommendation was that the sea salt truffles are wonderful served with champagne, which I wouldn’t need any persuading to try.
So there you have my Kanold favourites – hot chocolate with chili flakes to warm you and chocolate truffles with sea salt for the authentic taste of West Sweden. On a windy winter’s day in Gothenburg I can’t think of anything nicer.
Need to know about Flickorna Kanold
Website: Flickorna Kanold
The three Kanold premises are situated near the canal in the Inom Vallgraven neighbourhood. Café Kanold is at Grönsakstorget 1 and the Kanold chocolate shop is nearby at Södra Larmgatan 14 (beside Viktoriapassagen) while the workshop is in the Stora Saluhallen food-market at Kungstorget.
More things to enjoy in Gothenburg
Visitor Information for Gothenburg or Göteborg
- The local tourism site Göteborg.com is full of information on the best things to see and do
- For information on West Sweden visit the West Sweden Tourism site or follow them on Twitter @WestSwedenTB or on their Facebook page and you will find their blog at ExploreWestSweden.com
- Another useful site for all things Gothenburg is I Love Göteborg
- If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing it’s worth getting the Gothenburg City Card which will allow you entrance to all the major attractions as well as public transport. Look out for the deals that some hotels offer that include a Gothenburg Card with the hotel booking.
- We stayed at the elegant 5 star hotel, Elite Plaza Hotel which is a short walk from the Kanold shops in the Inom Vallgraven district and walking distance from most things. Check for the best hotel prices in Gothenburg and book here.
- We took flights to Gothenburg from London Heathrow with Scandinavian Airlines who have 2 flights a day to Gothenburg’s Landvetter airport, a 30 minute taxi or bus ride from the city.
- If you’d like to use a guidebook during your visit to Gothenburg I’d recommend the conveniently sized Thomas Cook Gothenburg Pocket Guide which we used.
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey