No wonder everyone loves the mustard from the Sweden Box: husband and wife duo Olle and Liss Ellas are obsessed with mustard and know everything about it. From selecting the particular variety of seeds they harvest to preparing the condiment with the right blend of seasonings, it’s their incredible attention to detail that makes Liss Ellas mustard so special. Here’s the story behind the brand.
Liss Ellas’s grew up with her mother and great grandmother in a small farm in the mountainous heart of Sweden. When she was only 4 years old, she started experimenting in the kitchen, and so long as she worked in small batches and cleaned everything afterwards, she was allowed to make anything she liked. While her family was always encouraging, Liss Ellas would look at their faces to know how they really felt about her preparations. It was during these formative years in the kitchen that Liss Ellas gained an interest in taste and texture—and learned that ketchup and ice cream do not taste good together.
Mustard, alongside the Christmas ham, of course, is one of the most important components of julbord (the Christmas smörgåsbord), but Liss Ellas was never satisfied with those she bought in the store. After several years of disappointing mustard at the Christmas table, Liss Ellas decided to make her own.
The first batch
It took several months to create the first batch, and Liss Ellas tried countless mustard seeds, vinegars, seasonings, and honeys before finding the perfect blend. Eventually, she got it. Made with a mix of heritage seeds and her husband’s honey, the incredible sweet and hot honey mustard was born.
Finding the right seeds
While Swedes are one of the top mustard consumers of the world, most seeds are grown in Canada or Nepal! Determined to counter this trend, Liss Ellas searched for ecologically grown mustard seeds from Sweden. After tasting countless varieties, she settled on her two favorites. Still today, they use those same varieties of mustard seeds to craft every one of their mustards.
How to make mustard
From harvest to jarring, Liss Ellas and Olle take control over the entire mustard-making process. Seeds are generally harvested in the fall, then cleaned, dried, and taken out of their outer shell. Next, Olle grinds and seasons the seeds. “There could be five thousand different ways of making mustard! Some like it coarse, some like it fine, some grind it with water or other ingredients,” explains Olle. Indeed, the options are limitless, and it’s in this stage of the process that the mustard-maker determines the flavor of the final product. At Liss Ellas, its takes between two and three years to find the recipe for a new mustard.
Over the course of the years, Liss Ellas has won over 16 awards for their mustards, including the sweet and hot variety in the Sweden Box. Looks like we’re not the only ones who love this mustard so much, we could eat it straight from the jar!