I haven’t the foggiest as to where I heard about semla, or fastlagsbulle or a whole wheat, cardamom-spiced bun filled with almond paste and sprinkled with powdered sugar. (Link thanks to sweden.se) It was probably in a guide in the hostel I stayed at in Stockholm, at the time when the sun pops too many Ambien and sets forlornly around 14:00. It could also have been mentioned to me by the info desk staff at Arlanda Airport, jesting that there’s no way I’d be able to find it in early January as it’s traditionally eaten around the start o’ Lent. By gum, it took a lot of miffed bakers and itinerant wandering in the gloomy cold but I found it, and it was well worth the guff. Though, my interest in trying it drowned in warm milk is also piqued; its main ingredients combine to form an (unhealthy) calorific dish, excellent for the harsh winters in Scandinavia, when it would be eaten (link thanks to serious eats)
No matter where I am in Europe, as long as there’s a supermarket I can probably concoct a decently-priced meal. Well, that may not be true, particularly in Scandinavia, but an amble through the local market is a great way to inspect the local diet, scope out items not found back home and add to my burgeoning chocolate milk collection. Two things that stood out to me in the average Stockholm food mart were purple carrots and reindeer. My kidneys were feeling privileged so I decided to try the heavily-salted reindeer, just to put ’em in place. Kippers, or salted, gutted and smoked herring, were a bonus, and the Kex was a wafer, or as the Japanese would say ウェハ (phonetically, oowayha), or as the Swedes may chime oblat. In retrospect, I didn’t try enough Swedish food while there, but if my literally dangerous interest in all things carbohydrate is any indication, repeated consumption of semla will do just fine.
-On a side note, Ikea in China gave me a much needed salad and chocolate with filberts boost, but what they called lingonberry juice was pure malevolence.