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It’s Fika time!

It’s well known I am a bit of a cake fiend; I come from a nation of tea drinkers, I have a very sweet tooth and never confine my tea and cake consumption just to the afternoon. The Swedish tradition of Fika, therefore, is right up my street! Fika is the Swedish equivalent of Afternoon or High Tea. More than just a ‘Diet Coke’ break, it is a ritual that is to be enjoyed with friends, away from work and at least once a day. Fika involves consuming a beverage of tea, coffee or lemonade accompanied by a sweet treat, usually a big cinnamon bun. Traditionally the coffee would have been served with 7 different freshly baked cookies, as the ingredients were expensive the larger variety of cookies you served the wealthier you appeared to guests. Nowadays the Swedish are well known for their healthy and active lifestyles so they would most likely supplement the calorific cakes and cookies for a piece of fruit. In the name of research I stuck to sampling the more traditional versions of Fika during my visit to the Skåne region of Sweden, I’m very thorough when it comes to these things!

Yumm cinammon buns

Fika can be taken at any time of day and in any setting. In Skåne there were beautiful settings aplenty. My first experience was in a greenhouse in the gardens of Malmö castle. A spread of cinnamon buns, carrot cake, chocolate brownies and tea and coffee had been laid out amongst the greenery and it is probably one of the prettiest and most serene places I have ever taken tea. I had just completed the mammoth shopping spree mentioned in the last post and was relieved to rest my feet, refuel on sugar and listen to the gentle patter of a light rain shower against the greenhouse roof.

In a typically Swedish cafe in Mossbystrand I was treated to a veritable Fika buffet. As if gorging on 3 types of cake in my first Fika experience wasn’t enough, we stopped in a cafe on the way to Ystad to find a display of more cinnamon buns PLUS cornflake biscuits, coconut cakes and lots and lots of cookies. The buns were fresh out of the oven, still warm and slightly gooey inside. I dreamt of my local bakers being able to produce exact replicas. They never could, however, for the Fika experience is about much more than the buns – it’s the setting and the service that make it taste so good. Metres from the coast this cafe was in a cottage Hansel and Gretel would be proud to live in. The interior decor taking inspiration from the shoreline outside; all distressed wood, blue and white stripes and a most inviting chimney stack. The owner spoke little English but did her best to explain her baking and the ingredients of the magnificent home-brewed fruit tea she served. A quaint shop out the back sold more tea, in flavours I have never before heard of – Sunset Boulevard tea anyone? If driving along the coast to Ystad, Mossbystrand is a charming place to stop for a Fika treat.

A traditional Fika buffet with various cookies and warm buns hidden under the cloth!

I do like to be beside the seaside

Cake - it would have been rude not to try them ALL

In Molle I met another Swedish sweet treat – chocolate balls. Chocolate balls are, unsurprisingly, balls of chocolate and they are scrumptscious! The sun had come out for our rest in the harbour at Molle so we sat outside a waterside cafe, enjoyed yet more Fika, and felt not the least bit guilty of the calories we were consuming as we had cycled through the national park of Kullahalvön to get there.

Enjoying Fika at the harbour in Molle

Dramatic shoreline in Molle

At the train station, as we prepared to head back to Copenhagen airport at the end of our Skåne trip, I caught sight of a woman munching on a cinnamon bun from a paper bag. I wondered if I had room in my belly for one more before leaving. I realised my addiction was getting a little out of hand and had a little word with myself. “Don’t worry, you can come back for more,” is what I said in my head!

London residents you can experience Fika too!

Visit Sweden are hosting a Pop Up Fika Parlour and walk in Fika Picnic on the 24-26 August at Soho Square in London. See the website for more details. You can reserve a table by emailing reservations@fikasquare.co.uk or just pop down on the day.

About Author

Travel blogger and freelancer writer who loves boutique hotels and brunching. I've been blogging for 10 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. Now travelling with a baby and trying to make it as stylish and stress-free as can be!

No Comments

  • Heather
    August 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    This sounds like my kind of thing!! I’ve actually never had a proper high tea or anything like it — it’s on my list for my next visit to England and you’ve DEFINITELY put fika on my radar and to-do list. Those cinnamon buns sound out of this world. Hmm, I need to go find a snack now (hoping I go for the peach and not the ice cream!).

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

      haha go for the sweet stuff everytime Heather. I am very disappointed that you have never tried an English Afternoon tea or Swedish Fika – you must come back to Europe immediately and rectify that! This could be your next challenge 🙂

      Reply
  • Zoë Dawes
    August 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Oh brings back delicious memories Jayne – would love to get to London to have MORE!
    Zoë

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Me too! What a wonderful tradition it is!!

      Reply
  • camilla
    August 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Oh my I went back to Sweden in June to visit family and they always had a fika. They seem to eat all the time, totally forgotten about that. Have lived in Nz for 20 years now. It is so cool to look at all the pictures and yummy food.

    Camilla

    Reply
  • Jayne
    August 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Hi Camilla, so glad you enjoyed the pictures of the yummy food – hope it bought back good memories 🙂 Sweden is a wonderful country and I love the tradition of Fika very much!

    Reply
  • Katie Millard
    August 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    This brings back wonderful memories of Malmo. The cakes were delicious!

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Completely agree Katie 🙂

      Reply
  • Kate T
    August 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Those Fika cinnamon buns look FIKing amazing! (Wheeeeey!)

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

      hahahahahahahahahho your punny 🙂

      Reply
  • Toni White (@toniwonitravels)
    August 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I want to kick your food photos. That is all =D

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

      ha sorry about that Toni 🙂

      Reply
  • Si @ thedepartureboard
    August 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Now a Fika buffet, now you’re talking! I would love to go to the Waldolf mid-afternoon and declare ‘I’m here for a spot of Fika’. I wonder how long I would last!

    Love the blog, regards

    Si

    Reply
    • Jayne
      August 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

      I think you are onto something there Si! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Reply
  • Deborah Klaassen
    October 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I think you’ve just sold Sweden to me – those cinnamon buns and the Fika buffet look lush!

    Reply
    • Jayne
      October 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      haha you must go and have a bun for me!!!

      Reply
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