Swedish fika in West Sweden
We Swedes love our coffee breaks, or “fika” as we call them. Here fika is important to the point of sacred. And it’s not just about the caffeine. The magical essence comes from slowing down to enjoy the company of others and the excuse to eat something sweet! Of all sweet things, we love our cinnamon buns best. In fact, we love them so much we have a special day to celebrate them: Cinnamon Bun Day on October 4. We asked Gunilla Davidsson, business developer at the West Sweden Tourism Board, for her thoughts about fika and where in Sweden it can be enjoyed to the fullest.
Let´s Fika – The Lifestyle of Swedish Fika
The Swedish fika is all about togetherness and the art of living. It´s a tradition that calls you to pause whatever you do during the day and to share space mentally with others, while you enjoy a hot drink and something sweet to eat. In my grandmother’s kitchen, we used to sit around the table, set with seven kind of small Swedish cookies and of course the cinnamon bun. I remember sitting there listening to the conversation and feeling the joy of being a part of a family. The fika kept us together, and being together and talking to other people is to be human. I think we need more fika in the world. Ever since those days fika has been a heartwarming part of my life. I live the lifestyle of Swedish fika, and in my work with the West Sweden Tourist Board, I am fortunate to be able to work with fika as a Swedish tradition and attraction.
Fika is a Swedish tradition, a social institution that doesn’t exist in any other country and is perceived as exotic and unusual by many other nationalities. You can fika by yourself or with others, and it’s a relaxed way to take a break from the daily grind, both at work or in your free time. Swedes like to fika – involving coffee or tea with buns and biscuits – several times a day; in the morning, afternoon and evening, with the occasional extra special ‘gofika’ in between.
On your bucketlist – The Capital of Fika: Alingsås
The café town Alingsås, located about half an hour north of Gothenburg, has a flourishing café culture which has grown out of its unique history. Bakeries existed in Alingsås as far back as the 1700s, and the café tradition grew alongside industrialism in the 1800s, when women started working outside the home and didn’t have time to bake themselves anymore. The café tradition survived in Alingsås thanks to judicious town planners who refused to let the old properties be torn down in the 60s when the rest of Sweden was gripped by a wave of demolition fever. Old buildings were preserved, and café owners could afford to remain given their cheap rent. Today the town is renowned as The Capital of Fika, with around 30 cafés, three of which are in the White Guide.
Join the guided Fika Tour that takes place on Saturdays from April until the end of October and get to know the Swedish fika culture while you stop at several cafés and taste Swedish cinnamon buns, biscuits, chocolate truffles and pastries.
Take a Luxury fika in Vara
Come and enjoy some gold-plated fika experiences on the Västgöta plains between the lakes Vänern and Vättern, far from the hustle and bustle of the big city! The area hums with creativity and energy. Where Sweden’s youngest art deco castle rubs shoulders with Sweden’s best patisserie you can enjoy home baked gateaux and chocolate pralines, made on the premises by craftsman pastry chefs. At Esti Bönor & Bröd you can learn more about the black gold by doing a coffee tasting called “cupping” and enjoy a locally produced café lunch.
Explore Porcelain Town Lidköping and enjoy traditional Swedish Fika
Come and fika your way through Porcelain Town Lidköping. This former trade and shipping town, bearing the crest of Läckö Castle’s best known owner, Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, is situated on the southern shore of majestic Lake Vänern. You’ll find it easy to get around the centre of Lidköping, renowned for the quality of its cafés. Enjoy a famous Läckökringla pastry at the Rådhuskonditoriet, or a Rörstrand’s cake, served on modern Rörstrand china at the Rörstrand Museum, and swissroll served on vintage Rörstrand at Emeli’s.
We want to thank Gunilla for sharing her fika story and bucket list with us. If you really want to get into the fika spirit on the Cinnamon Roll Day, below is Gunilla’s cinnamon roll recipe. Enjoy! /ylva.
Cinnamon buns with browned butter
- 25 g yeast
- 2,5 dl cream
- 7 dl wheat flour
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- ½ dl sugar
- 75 g butter (browned)
- 100 g butter (browned)
- 1 dl sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 egg
- Egg-free alternative: 1 tablespoon syrup och a dash of water
- Pearl sugar
Kitchen utensils and oven temperature
Oven: 225 degrees
2 baking trays
20 paper baking forms
Brown all the butter by warming the butter while stirring until it has a golden brown colour and the butter begins to smell nutty. Pour the butter into a bowl and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool and become solid again.
Dough, filling and topping:
Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Warm the cream to 35 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in the cream. Add the flour, cardamom, sugar and browned butter and work the dough together. Leave it to rise at room temperature for 60 minutes.
Mix ingredients for the filling: browned butter, cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla sugar.
Roll out the dough and spread on the filling. Roll from the long side. Cut 20 buns and place them in the paper baking forms. Then let the buns rise for another 30 minutes. Turn the oven on to 225 degrees.
Brush the whipped egg or the syrup water on the buns and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 9 minutes.