Friday, March 7, 2014

The Great Semla Hunt

(It's no secret what's in that bag. This photo is from our first year in Stockholm and I am pretty sure that bag contains what was my very first semla on Swedish soil)

The first official day of eating semlor was this past Tuesday. Fat Tuesday to be specific, or Fettisdagen in Swedish. However, this is the first year that I've actually gone by tradition and waited until Fettisdagen to eat one.  And of course (of course?) last year I think I may have only eaten one or two the entire semla season and even that was pushing it. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple. Semla burnout. 

(Complete with a cup of strong brewed Swedish coffee)

My burn out happened in the year 2012 and it was so severe that I was amazed that come the following year I still wasn't sure if I could "choke" one down. I know, it sounds serious. But it wasn't because they aren't any good, it was because their richness reaches beyond the limits of time. I think in the year 2012 I probably had reached my semla limit, and knew that, but still decided to eat "just one more."  Well, I wasn't sick as in running to the bathroom sick but even today I can recall the feeling of having had one too many sweet cardamom buns filled with almond paste and whipped cream. 

(Fast forward to present day... the first semla of the year)

They look innocent enough, you might think. Light, fluffy. A delicious cardamom bun filled with mandelmassa (almond paste) and vispgrädde (whipped cream). It seems as if you could stuff at least two down your gullet in one sitting without batting an eye. But I promise you it would be a mistake. Eat only one per day. Their intense, disguised richness needs to be consumed in batches, lest you tempt the fates of semla burnout as I did in 2012. 

(Semla number 2)

I can happily say however that the year 2014 marks the beginning of the end of my semla burnout, and the beginning of The Great Semla Hunt, or my search to find what I consider the best Semla. So far I have only eaten semla from two different bakeries. So far, the best one has yet to be found. But rest assured, I will be back with an update once I have found the absolute best semla to be eaten this side of Sweden. Or when I reach an all new semla burnout ;-).

(Fettisdagen fika at work)

Semla - singular for one cardamom bun with almond paste and whipped cream.

Semlor - plural, meaning any number that is more than one. 

How many do you think you could eat in one sitting? Would you be willing to participate in a semla eating contest?


  1. Semla burnout, too funny!! Cute post! Wish I could help, but I'm off sweets until Easter, so beyond semla season :( But I will say that the best one I had this year was from Fabrique

  2. Thanks Katie! I will have to try Fabrique ;-). I admire your discipline to give up sweets for Lent. :-)