David and I bought our very own tomte to give our Stockholm home a little Christmas flair. These tomtar (pl. of tomte) are handmade, and so each tomte is unique. It took us a while for to select one, but we are quite happy with the one we chose! Isn’t he adorable?
Swedish tap water is of excellent quality, and many people have carbonator machines at home to make their own sparkling water. Our Swedish producer explained to me that, in order to stay in business, sparkling water companies (Ramlösa and Loka are the big ones) have developed clever flavor options to keep their products appealing and interesting. Although there are flavored sparkling waters in the US (sugar-free, all natural, sparkling), the flavor options in Sweden are far more extensive and go beyond the typical lemon/lime variety. Recently, I found rabarber — rhubarb. It’s faintly sweet (there’s no sugar in it — it’s more an essence and aroma of rhubarb). It’s nice, and I like it, although I wonder if the idea of rhubarb sparkling water is what really piques my interest, rather than an actual “taste.” There’s just something… magical? Scandinavian? Cozy? about a rhubarb-flavored sparkling water.
The other interesting ones I’ve tried are Kaktus (cactus — more like aloe?) and Fläder (elderflower).
Of a more “common” flavor profile, I quite like Vitamin Well Sparkling Water in the Persika flavor — peach. (Full disclosure: when I bought the Persika Vitamin Well Sparkling Water, I thought it might be PEAR flavor… but upon drinking it, learned that Persika is Swedish for peach.)
I am not sure how much flavored sparkling water Swedes really buy (although there seems to be a big market for it), but I for one love them! They are fun and refreshing at the same time, and I look forward to trying a variety of unusual flavors.