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Semla is an Art


February 13, 2013 by PO.P Press

By Ginny Figlar Colón
Fat Tuesday means gorging on beignets and King Cake in New Orleans. But, for Swedes, Fettisdagen is all about the “semla” — a sweet, cardamom-spiced bun stuffed with a blend of whipped cream and almond paste.

Semla time stretches for weeks leading up to Fettisdagen. All the bakeries have trays and trays of them lining their windows. (This really does not help get any diet-related resolutions off to a good start.)

While living in Sweden, I completely embraced the semla craze. I instinctively went for the ones with the most powdered sugar and whipped filling, only to end up with a face full of white powder and whipped almond cream oozing out everywhere.

Yes, like most things eaten in Sweden, there is an art to it.

So, here’s a little hint if you find yourself near a Swedish bakery today: First, stop whatever you are doing, buy one and sit down to enjoy it. Then, pull the “lid” off and use it like a spoon. This ensures you get the perfect mix of bun and filling with every bite, and that you look like you’ve been eating semlor your whole life.

Happy Fettisdagen!

P.S. Anyone know of a good Swedish bakery in Portland, Oregon?

Ginny Figlar Colón is the mommy of a Sweden-born 5-year-old and U.S.-born 18-month-old. After spending five years in Sweden, she’s trying to hold onto ‘lagom living’ in the Pacific Northwest. She is also a Polarn O. Pyret Brand Ambassador.

Photo courtesy: Swedish Historical Museum


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