On August 9th and 10th, Warren and Jill Schimpff will be representing their candy business, Schimpff’s Confectionery of Jeffersonville, Indiana, at an invitational, international candy-making competition in Gränna, Sweden. They will be the only US competitors. All participants will be asked to prepare the same confection, red-striped peppermint sticks called polkagrisar, or polka dancing pigs. The challenge is to make 32 of the sticks, 1.8 ounces each, from 3.8 pounds of sugar. All polkagrisar must meet certain strict specifications.
Gränna, in south-central Sweden,is famous for this oddly named sweet. In US candy circles, Mackinac Island means fudge, New Orleans means pralines, and Atlantic City means salt water taffy. In Sweden, Grännameans polkagrisar. The competition will take place outdoors along the shores of Lake Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake. On day one, twenty participants will be whittled down to five. On day two, the five finalists will battle for the championship.
The Schimpff’s don’t expect to win, but they do hope to have a lot of fun as they will have the chance to meet other candy makers from around Europe. Since the Schimpffs lived in Sweden for one and a half years in the 1970s, they also plan to visit with many friends whom they have not seen in forty years. To find out more about the Grännacontest, go to www.candychampionships.com.
The Swedish contest is just the topping for what has definitely been a heady summer for the two candy makers. The US Small Business Administration recently chose Schimpff’s Confectionery as the Family Business of the Year for both the State of Indiana as well as the Great Lakes Region. In addition, on July 19th, the Indianapolis Star featured Schimpff’s as one of ten foodie destinations for a delicious Indiana summer trip. Entitled, “Food Tripping”, the article mentioned that, for the second year in a row, Schimpff’s hard candies will be available at the Hoosier Market in the DuPont Food Pavilion at the Indiana State Fair.
“We’re so thrilled to have a Jeff business be the only U.S. competitor,” said Mayor Mike Moore. “Schimpff’s is an institution in our city. I wish them best of luck in their competition. They are great ambassadors for Jeff.” Good luck to the Schimpff’s whose contest results, win or lose, will be both Swedish and “sweetish”!