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Rooted in tradition

The semla – a small, wheat flour bun, flavoured with cardamom and filled with almond paste and whipped cream – has become something of a carb-packed icon in Sweden. The traditions of semla are rooted in fettisdag (Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday) when the buns were eaten at a last celebratory feast before the Christian fasting period of Lent. At first, a semla was simply a bun, eaten soaked in hot milk (known as hetvägg).

The changing face of semla

At some point Swedes grew tired of the strict observance of Lent, added cream and almond paste to the mix and started eating semla every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter.

Today, no such reservations exist and semlor (the plural of semla) usually appear in bakery windows as near after Christmas as is deemed decent – and sometimes even before. This is followed by a collective, nationwide moan about how it gets earlier every year. Shortly thereafter people begin to eat the things like the world will end tomorrow.

 

* Text from www.sweden.se