Sunday, March 04, 2007

A semla on Fat Tuesday

Although Fat Tuesday - the last Tuesday before the Lent, in Swedish Fettisdagen - has been and gone, I had a very nice experience of a tasty, traditional semla yesterday. A not so common and very yummy home-made one actually.

Semla is something you nowadays can get in Sweden almost all year around, at cafés and bakeries. I'm not particulary keen on eating it until sometime in January, and at least try and keep up the tradition a bit. And such a nice tradition it is!

Here are som facts about semlor (plural):
* Semla is a simple cardamom bun with whipped cream and almond paste.
* This Swedish tradition dates back until at least the 16th century.
* The name semla derives from the Latin word simila which means fine wheat flour.
* Many Swedish newspapers has also made it a tradition to have tasting surveys every year to find out which semla is the best semla in town. The winning bakery, since it's almost always a bakery, sure has its hands full after such a fine "prize"!
* On an average each Swede eat five semlor per year.
When I was a child I really didn't like semlor, perhaps if I could get it without that - my opinion then - nasty almond paste.
My dad liked to eat it the very old school traditional way called, hetvägg (ie hot wall), That means in a bowl with lots of hot milk that will sort of disolve the whole semla into a rater meaningless and distasteful soup...
But getting older I changed my opinion about semla. And now I rather like having the odd semla during the months of January - March. I still only like it in the very classical way, and not with too much almond paste - and certainly not as a hetvägg... And absolutely not made in the more "modern" way with for example Danish pastry or some other totally nasty way to insult this tradition.
Thanks, Tine, for that very nice semla yesterday!

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