Just looking out the window, seing the amazingly beautiful Swedish nature, the clean water and the fresh air, one understands that Mother Earth is the most precious gift of all. We try to consider the environment in all our decisions and product developments. This is one of the reasons we are extra proud of Stumpastaken. It is made in Sweden out of 100 % recycled aluminum, and this way all kinds of aluminum waste is transformed into a design item.
The cork bowl is made of recycled cork, of course in the leading country of cork production- Portugal.
We are very happy to have these items in our range, both because of their looks and because of their story.
"Ska vi fika?" ="Do you want to have a fika?", is something more than "do you want a cup of coffee?"
Fika is almost like a holy ceremony for the Swedish people, and Fikapause is mandatory on all workplaces. 15 minutes, normally at 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.
Fika is more than coffee, it´s about sitting down together SHARING the coffee break, gossiping a little maybe and chit- chatting. Preferably with something sweet to go with the coffee like a cinnamon roll.
Today it felt like spring finally arrived, and we had this years first outdoor fika in the sun. WITHOUT a big jacket! Such a lovely feeling!
So what is it that makes the Swedish fika so special? The tradition goes way back, from the time people would visit each other in the countryside. It became almost a competition on who had the best "fika bread" which generally had to include a cinnamon roll, some kind of spunge cake and at least seven shortbreads. Why seven? I really don´t know. I remember visiting my Grand mothers friends when I was a kid, and they had complete control on who had what cookie. You had to eat your seven kinds, otherwise it was considered rude. In that far away country side they also served a glass of snaps (real strong alcohol) to go with the fika. Maybe for digestion, I don´t know. I was offered, but refused.
Nowadays there are of course like everywhere else a lot of different variations of coffee to choose from for your fika, but still the most common is regular coffee with either milk or sugar. Two generations ago, the coffee was boiled not brewed, and my grandparents and their friends would drink their coffee on the saucer. They poured some of the coffee from the cup onto the saucer and balanced it on one hands fingers and sipped loudly. Supposedly to get the right temperature of the coffee. My grand dad would also drink "on the bit" which meant he had a hard lump of sugar on the end of the saucer and sipped the coffee through the sugar. I haven´t seen anyone doing this for a very long time, so I guess that tradition is dead. But the fika tradition definitely is not.
Swedish people are sometimes considered cold and not so social, mostly staying at home. Maybe that is true, but we are very very good at fika!
The bakeries start selling the Semlas right after new-years and all the way until Easter. Most people have their favourite bakery and so have I. In a way. The very best ultimate Semla is made by my friend Kristina. She makes them the perfect size, (small) and the perfect taste, with a delicious not too sweet filling. This weekend we were lucky enough to have her and her family as guests. And YES, she brought some Semlas!
Traditionally there is one specific day for eating Semla, called Fettsidagen. "Fat tuesday". That is the last day before the pre- Easter fast. There are records in old books as far back as the 16th century of people eating Semla. In the beginning the bread was baked without any spice, but eventually people started to sweeten it with honey and later with sugar.
Semla is made of a wheat bun, where the top is cut off and a hole is carved out inside. It is filled with a sweet almond cream, then a thick layer of wipped cream and at last the top powdered with icing sugar. Mmmmm....
Some eat their Semla dipped in hot milk in a soup plate, so that the wheat bun slowly goes mushy. It´s called hetvägg "hot wall". There are different traditions, but I prefer mine as it is. With a perfect cup of coffee of course.
Kristina brings her own vintage almond grinder, to have complete control of the filling... Impressive.
The crushed almonds are mixed with bread crums and boiled in cream for the perfect creaminess.
Another friend of mine hade one Semla a day as a craving when she was pregnant. It is a very tasty thing, but one a day would be too much for me.
It was however not enough for the Swedish king Adolf Fredrik who died in 1771 after eating too much Semla, on the very day before the fast. A bit stupid I must say.
So, if you visit Sweden in the beginning of the year, don´t miss out on ordering a Semla at the nearest bakery:
Kim is originally Danish with a Norwegian mother and Veronica is all Swedish. We live on the west coast of Sweden and run the design brand Born in Sweden with a true love to the all Scandinavian lifestyle.
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