News and Tribune

August 13, 2013

Schimpffs having a sweet time in Sweden

No win in the candy competition, but the trip was not a disappointment


— They didn’t win, but the taste left in their mouth was still sweet.

Warren and Jill Schimpff, owners of Schimpff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville, competed in the inaugural International Candy Competition held Friday and Saturday in Sweden. Warren, the primary candy maker for the competition, was pitted against 20 international competitors to make the best handmade polkagrisar.

The polkagris, or polka-dancing pig, is a Swedish peppermint stick akin to a chewy version of the barber poles the Schimpff’s sell.

The competitors were asked to turn four pounds of sugar into 32, 1.8 ounce pieces of candy, using a slab of marble and a hook on a stage in front of hundreds of people. The polkagrisar was also required to be wrapped in the traditional packaging used in Gränna and judged on the brightness of the white, the color of the red in the peppermint stick, the flavor and the consistent diameter of the candy.

There were two rounds of competition, and unfortunately the Schimpff’s, the only competitors from the U.S., did not make the cut into the final round. The winner of the competition was from Sweden, second place from Germany and third place was a tie between teams from Poland and The Netherlands.

Warren did have some local support, according to an email from the Schimpff’s. Several Americans, from Montana, Oklahoma and Florida were in attendance at the event. And a Swedish man, who had just finished a PhD at Purdue University, attended the event with his girlfriend, who is from Jeffersonville. Both had visited Schimpff’s as customers.

According to the email the Schimpff’s have already been invited to participate in the competition again next year. But instead they will get to create their own signature confections.

“Warren is already thinking of showing the rest of the world what a cinnamon red hot tastes like,” the email read.

For more on the Candy Championships visit