Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Super little Swedish Supermarket - shopping free from in Sweden

I have to admit, research for our trip to Sweden was not high on my agenda prior to travelling. I was much more thorough last year, when we went to Switzerland. THIS year end of term Nativities, gift buying/wrapping etc. got in my way, so I was more than a little relieved to find that the resort supermarket, just across the car park from the ski lodge, in which we were staying, had a pretty amazing selection of free from goodies - especially considering it was right out 'in the sticks'! I mean most Tesco Extras would struggle to keep up with the product selection in this one and it was a quarter of the size of our nearest store at home!! ICA I take my hat off to you!!

ICA was the only supermarket for miles!

Just take a look at this Free From aisle...

Looking goood!

And it didn't end there!

Dairy Free Heaven
I have to say, the variety of dairy free items was mind-blowing! I'd heard that Oatly had a whole load of products that are not available in the UK and I was able to see them for myself. 

In the chiller...
In the fridge section there were lots of Oatly products, including Creme fraiche! Unfortunately I could only look - being gluten free as well, I was unable to try them out and 'Baby' was unlikely to switch from her favourite 'Giraffe' milk, just to satisfy MY curiosity!!

There was even Oatly ICE CREAM...

Note: More than one flavour!

There was also Swedish Glace - labelled, in Sweden, as 'Tofuline'. 'Baby' loved this one, which I've not seen before - it was chocolate with a ripple of chocolate sauce.

Tops with 'Baby'!

Alpro products were also in abundance, alongside lots of 'Laktosfri' or lactose free products - which sadly are no good for milk allergies! Although, that said, some of the gluten free products labelled 'Laktosfri' were also cow's milk protein free, but just not labelled as such (grrrr - pet hate)!

Lots of soya-based alternatives, not so much of anything else, apart from the Oatly

There was, however, a very good selection of dairy free milk but no 'giraffe' milk (Alpro junior soya milk), so I'm glad we brought 'Baby's' with us in our suitcase! However there was a soya milk drinking chocolate, which she loved, so we bought a small flask to heat some up and take it to the slopes for her.

Just some of the 'long life' dairy free milks available!

Point to note: Watch out for anything labelled 'Eco' - that's the term used for organic - any organic dairy free milk won't be fortified with calcium.

Watch out for 'Eco'

The Hub also spotted a dairy free cheese! 'Sheese', however, is made from soya, so no good for me. We bought some for 'Baby' but she was definitely NOT a fan! Unfortunately, there was no other option. :(

It was the ONLY dairy free cheese!

And, to top it off, The Hub also found a dairy free potato gratin! It might sound a bit strange to you, that I found this exciting, but it just goes to show how much the Swedish Free From market reflects the tastes of the Swedish population - it turns out that potato gratin is big in Sweden, so for any dairy free Swedes, this would be just right! However, it was not for me - it was made with oat milk!

A traditional Swedish favourite!

As for butter, although there was a specific dairy free substitute (which we didn't discover at first), we used Becel. In the UK, this would be unsuitable, but in Sweden, for some reason the recipe was dairy free!

Gluten Free Heaven
Gluten free products were also much in abundance in this little supermarket. This is just as well, as the Swedish clearly love their bread and their pastries! Some of this was located in the Free From aisle, but also, funnily enough, in the freezer! This was where we found a dairy and gluten free chocolate brownie cake by Fria. It soon turned out to be no good for me, but 'Baby' LOVED it!

I allowed myself a little taste and it WAS yummy!

I could have had these! If I could have had a dairy free ice cream that was suitable for me. 'Baby' had the benefit and loved them.

Love the free from symbols!

There were also these gluten free 'cornetto' style ice creams - but no good for us, as they weren't dairy free, merely lactose free *sigh*. 

Great for the gluten free

So with all this dairy and gluten free goodness floating around, I should have been in 7th heaven, but alas and alack... no! 

The main issues for me, was that the dairy free alternatives were often made with things I couldn't have, like oat or soya or cashew. Similarly, a lot of the gluten free food, by Schar and Semper, contained soya and/or milk (BOO HISS). The Fria goodies, which are gluten and dairy free were made with 'gluten free wheat starch', which did not appear agree with me either (so watch out if you're wheat free), so most of the Fria goodies were a no-go for me as well, however, there were one or two things that I could have - like these gluten, dairy, egg and soya free frankfurters:

What a find!

Some of the Semper cookies were also okay for me, like these Pepparkakor (gingerbread biscuits - which are a Swedish Christmas necessity)!

'Baby' loves these two!

I was also able to find a good gluten free pasta (yippee)! So, it was a good job that (with my more complex dietary needs) I brought my own cereal, bread and a little cake. However, if you were just gluten or dairy free, you'd be fine!

Reading Labels

Allergy labelling can be a bit variable at the best of times - different companies can highlight allergens differently. In Sweden, allergens are generally highlighted in bold, just as I would expect to see them in the UK. Sometimes this would be reinforced by symbols or phrases on the front of the packet too. The only thing is, I soon discovered that reading labels was to be a little trickier than I thought. 

Here certain phrases have been flagged up on the front of the packet

Unlike our experience of shopping in Switzerland (where an English translation was often included in the ingredients section), most of ingredient labels were written in Scandinavian languages (none of which do I happen to possess the slightest  grasp). Fortunately, quite a few of the phrases I needed were very similar to English and/or German, so that was a bit of a life saver! And as for the rest, I just have to thank Google Translate and The Hub's mobile quick-draw! Good job there's a good Wi-fi connection in resort! (PHEW!)

We found ourselves learning certain phrases pretty quickly!

Handy vocabulary:

Ingredienser - ingredients 
Allergener - allergens
Mjolk - milk
Mjolk-protein - milk protein
Mjolkpulver - milk powder
Skummojlkspulver - skimmed milk powder
Mjolkfri - milk free
Fri fran mjolk - free from milk
Laktos - lactose
Laktosfri - lactose free
Smor - butter
Yogurt - yogurt
Gradde - cream
Ost - cheese
Gluten - gluten
Glutenfri - gluten free
Vete - wheat
Vetemjol - wheat flour
Glutenfri vetestarkelse - gluten free wheat starch
Havre - oats
Soja - soya
Soja-protein - soya protein
Sojalectin - soya lecithin
Kan innehalla - may contain

Related Posts:

Shopping for food allergies in the UK

Self-catering in Switzerland?? What you need to know when shopping Free From...

Travelling with the dairy free 'Baby'

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