Tag Archives: Scandinavia

How to Celebrate Midsummer / Midsommar like a Swede

sweden_flagToday is the Summer solstice – the longest day of the year! That means it is also time for Midsummer / Midsommar festivals in Sweden and throughout Scandinavia. While you may not have access to a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång), get outside, put on a flower crown and serve up some delicious treats, and you will be celebrating Midsummer like a Swede (Kitchn called some actual Swedes for their take, and that seems to cover it). Midsommar festivals and meals typically happen outdoors, in order to full enjoy the beauty of summer, and the super-late sunsets. Herring is a popular dish on the Swedish Midsommar table, as are new potatoes, fresh strawberries and a little aperitif like AkavitTasting Table, Serious Eats, The Kitchn, and Saveur have Midsommer menus for your own celebration. I think tonight’s dinner is going to be al fresco.

Raising the Maypole by Joe

Raising the Maypole by Ellsbet.S

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Coffee Culture in Norway

norwayOne half of the ETW team is crazy about coffee. However, we were both surprised to learn about the corner of the world where coffee reigns supreme: Scandinavia. Honestly, when we first think of coffee, our mind goes to Italy (Bialetti, Cappuccino, etc), but per capita, Scandinavians consume more coffee than any other countries (think of the Swedish tradition of Fika). It turns out that Finland is the number one consumer of coffee per year at 12 Kg, followed by Norway and Iceland at over 9 KG apiece. Norway in particular is known for its particularly fastidious coffee culture, and Norwegians often win the World Barista Championships.  

Fuglen Cafe in Oslo

Fuglen Cafe in Oslo by Nicholas Lundgaard

So how is Norwegian coffee different? Norwegians tend to like their coffee black (called sort kaffe in Norwegian), prepared one cup at a time. The roasting is also different in Norway, and is particularly light, imparting an almost fruity flavor in the coffee. World Barista champion Tim Wendelboe discusses some of his tips for brewing a good Norwegian cup of coffee here, with emphasis on every step of the process. The Dear Coffee I Love You blog took a coffee-tasting tour of Oslo, and found a wealth of cafes serving amazing coffee, including Wendelboe’s cafe. Obviously, the Norwegian coffee scene is thriving, and you can keep up with the latest updates on the Nordic Coffee Culture Blog. The particular Norwegian way of making coffee has even reached Tokyo, with the opening of furniture/coffee shop Fuglen.

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Sweden: Semla for Tuesdays in Lent

sweden_flag Semla (or as it goes by many other names: fastlagsbulle, laskiaispulla, or fastelavnsbolle) is a Scandinavian pastry strongly associated with Lent in Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. Semlor (plural) used to be eaten on Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, however, it is now eaten throughout Lent, especially on Tuesdays. Semla seems pretty easy to make – and consists of a cardamom flavored sweet roll filled with whipped cream and almond paste. During this time of year, all of the bakeries in Scandinavia stock semla, and it is the perfect snack to enjoy with your afternoon coffee break, or fika. For those outside of Northern Europe, Camilla’s Cravings has a recipe for Semla.


Semla by Erik Boralv


Filed under Coffee, Holidays