7 Swedish Sweets That Will Make You Wish You Were in Sweden

by Jobbatical February 09, 2016

photo by erik forsberg

by Loni Klara

Once upon a time, there was a guy called Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, who died after enjoying 14 servings of dessert. It was a dessert called semla, a sweet puff pastry filled with almond paste and whipped cream (or dipped in a bowl of hot cream if you’re from the 18th century).

Yup, definitely more than a man’s stomach could carry. (photo credit)

Today in Sweden, the descendants of Adolf Frederick carry on the tradition by consuming over 20 million semlas each year, mostly on Fat Tuesday, or fettisdagen.

But it doesn’t just stop there. All year round, Swedes indulge in fika, an activity that consists of eating delicious treats, drinking coffee and chatting with friends.

So here are some things one could eat at a fika — otherwise known as the number one most convincing reason to move to Sweden.

1. Kanelbullar

Can’t have too much cinnamon. (photo credit)

Every morning in Sweden, a distinct aroma gets wafted around near every Pressbyrån — a convenience chain — in the country. It’s the smell of cinnamon, the smell of home. It’s such a staple that every IKEA in the world is well-stocked with them. Because, you know, when Swedes living abroad miss home, they go to IKEA.

2. Lussebullar

Even the elves love them. (photo credit)

Saffron is a spice that can actually relieve colds, so for a country that endures six months of winter every year, it’s pretty much akin to a survival food. Traditionally, these are made for Luciadag, which is a holiday around the time of the winter solstice that celebrates light by having young girls wear candles on their heads. Don’t ask.

3. Smulpaj

Raspberry goodness. (photo credit)

Smulpaj (Crumb pie) is a Swedish dessert. It differs from traditional pies in that it has no pastryshell, instead, fillings are added directly to the pie dish after greasing. — Wikipedia

This pie is available in every cafe in Sweden, and usually comes in the raspberry or blueberry variety. When you order it though, expect the following conversation:

-Grädde? (Cream?) 
Gärna, tack. (Gladly, thanks.)

I have honestly never said no, nor have I ever heard anyone else refuse it either. Please be Swedish (that is, polite) and do not refuse the cream. I mean, why would you?

4. Pannkakor

A pancake feast. (photo credit)

Pancakes. You know them, of course. But have you ever had them Swedish style? What if I told you you could roll your pancakes? Fill them with berries and top them with ice cream to boot?

Yes? Yes.

5. Prinsesstårta

A real scene stealer. (photo credit)

Probably the prettiest cake on display anywhere, the ‘princess cake’ originated in the Swedish royal family and was named so due to its popularity with the princesses. The top layer is classically green and is made of marzipan. Inside, it’s multi-layered with a mixture of sponge and whipped cream. Take plenty of pictures when you see them. They’re quite photogenic.

6. Sarah Bernhardt / Chokladbiskvi

Worthy of a legendary French actress. (photo credit)

When a cookie is named after a famous actress of the theatre, you know there’s something stellar there. While its origin seems to be either Dutch or Danish, this is a common Swedish delicacy today. With its chocolate cream-filled meringue inside and thick chocolate exterior, the name chokladbisvki (chocolate biscuit) doesn’t really do it justice at all. Lucky for the ‘cookie’, it met Sarah Bernhardt.

7. Jordgubbstårta

Swedish pride on full display. (photo credit)

For sun-deprived Swedes, celebrating summer is a big deal, and this cake signifies that aspect of the culture. The cake is made of Swedish summer berries. Freshly picked, these berries taste amazing purely by themselves. The flags don’t taste so great, but it sure looks pretty and patriotic.

Bonus treats and eye candy below. To discover even more delectable goodies, you’ll just have to go to Sweden and see them for yourself! And if you’re Swedish and know these all by heart, perhaps these countries may hold some new mysteries for you.

Share this article:

Get a job abroad in 2019

Sign up to Jobbatical and explore these featured locations