Caramels may not be the first thing that comes to mind these days when you’re feeling like a sweet treat, but stepping inside of Pärlans Konfektyr in the Södermalm neighborhood of Stockholm will remind you why they’re worth putting back on the roster.
Opened in 2010 by owner Lisa Ericson, the central idea behind the shop was, as Store Manager Emma puts it, “to make sweet, pretty things.” After several inspiring trips to Japan, Ericson cast around for ideas. She tried marshmallows but ultimately settled on caramels.
Lisa was also taking part in social “Lindy Hop” dances, a style of dance that evolved out of late the 1930s and ’40s Harlem jazz scene in New York City. After finding out that caramels were a popular candy of the same time, Ericson decided that a vintage-themed store concept was the way to go. It allowed her to combine all her passions and still fit into the “sweet, pretty” niche.
And boy, does “sweet & pretty” describe Pärlans. Walking into the shop is like taking a time machine. Everything from the decor to the tea service to the way the shop keepers dress is perfectly in line with the time period.
Even the candy machines are antique – their wrapping machine is an original French model from the 1950s, while the cutting machine is newly-made but based on an old-fashioned design. You can see the “factory” through glass windows both out on the street and inside the shop.
Though the style is retro, the tastes are anything but. Patrons approach the counter and can either buy a pre-made box or create their own bag of chosen sweets. All ingredients are organic, with caramel flavors ranging from honey (from local producer Bee Urban) to poppy seed. I was expecting subtle differences in each caramel but the flavors were strong and defined, pairing well with teas and coffee.
Pärlans has recently added ice cream pops to their repertoire for the summer, and plan to experiment with incorporating chocolate into their offerings. The caramel flavors change seasonally, so they’re constantly on the hunt for new and exciting profiles.
As Emma explains the history and future of the shop, we enjoy a handful of caramels over a hot cup of coffee, served in the most delicate floral porcelain and it feels like a dream. Surrounded by the coolness of Södermalm, it’s a real treat to drink in (and nibble on) Pärlans’s earnest charm.
116 40 Stockholm
Monday – Friday: 11.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday: 11.00 am – 5.00 pm
Do you have a favourite spot to get something sweet in Stockholm? Tell us about it in the comments!