UPDATE! Purchase a signed limited edition copy of my cookbook "In search of the best Swedish chokladbollar"
Fika is a mandated coffee break in the middle of the afternoon in Sweden. A coffee break to unwind, socialise with a friend or colleague or a casual date. But it is also acceptable to have a fika by yourself. The most traditional way to take a fika is to have a coffee with a cake or a savory snack. The most similar I have adopted taking fika in the afternoon when I need to unwind and have something sweet with a coffee. My favorite fika snack is kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon bun) or a chokladbollar (Swedish chocolate ball).
When in Sweden, take a Fika!
|Saffransbullar paired with bryggt kaffe (black coffee) at Fabrique|
|Taking a fika in Malmö at Folk å Rock|
One of my favorite activities is to take a fika and observe all the people around me. It is a great people-watching activity without the pressure of a full meal. Just a coffee and perhaps something sweet too. People watching in a cafe is a great solo travel activity. Fika is equally satisfying when shared with a friend. Having a good conversation over coffee and cake. We are so connected on social media and the internet these days that we forget to reconnect in real life. Fika is one of those activities that make it worthwhile to reconnect with another human being.
I high recommend that you check out this super cool documentary web series about Fika made by Fabian Schmid, a Swiss filmmaker who spent a lot of time in Sweden and interviewed the owners, employees, and guests of cafes in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Lund, and Helsingborg. Its a super cool series that you should check out!
|Homemade chokladbollar with coconut|
Homemade Chokladbollar with pearl sugar
I have been making chokladbollar at least once a month for the past few years. The recipe is fairly simple but you make your own variation to the original to make it that much better. Swedish kids grow up learning to make chokladbollar since its a no-bake recipe. I think the best chokladbollar has dark chocolate sweet, bitter, moist, and dry. The best chokladbollar I've purchased come from Östermalms Saluhall Roberts Coffee and NK Konditoriet i Nordiska Kompaniet department store in Stockholm.
You can find Swedes taking a fika at home, at cafes, in a park, in the summer cottage. One thing is for certain it is a time to reflect, unwind, refresh, and reconnect. Sometimes we forget how to reconnect and life passes us by while we bury ourselves behind work, electronic devices, social media, chores, errands, that we forget to take a moment to stop and reconnect with the present moment.
|A savoury fika of lax, dill cream cheese, knäckebröd at home|
Sometimes I don't feel like a fika with a sweet something so a little knäckebröd with lax (smoked salmon) and a smear of cream cheese washed down with coffee is perfect. Fika doesn't always have to be something sweet. Something small and savoury can be equally satisfying if one does not have a sweet tooth.
Snickarbacken 7 in Stockholm
Snickarbacken 7 in Stockholm is part gallery, part cafe, part boutique, but so Swedish and makes the perfect place to take a fika. Located on a dead end street in upscale Östermalm district you would think that this would be a place that wouldn't have that chill vibe. With tall ceilings, quirky art on the walls (that are available for purchase), and a boutique in the corner; it appears to not have a holier-than-thou attitude.
This cafe is in the documentary web series fika:to have coffee as one of the locations.
Fika is a wonderful Swedish tradition and taking a fika in the mid-afternoon slump can probably reinvigorate your energy levels. Fika does not have to be chokladbollar, kanellbullar, saffransbullar, chokladtårta, prinsesstårta, etc. it can certainly just be a banana, knäckebröd with lox, a piece of fruit, acai bowl, as long as it goes well with coffee, tea, or juice.
Fika is a tradition, a habit, a way of life of being present. To unwind, energise, restore, either in solitude or in the company of others. I like it. I've embraced and adopted it because coffee (especially a good cup of joe IS truly the nectar of the gods!)
Vill du fika med mig?