This year, 2017, Fat Tuesday (Fettisdag) is on February 28.
What is Fettisdag?
Traditionally this day marks the beginning of the fast that will end on Ash Wednesday. In the old days Swedish people will celebrate by eating semlor on this day. Today, semlor are available during the whole month of February and in a variety of flavor and types.
What’s semla you ask?
Semla is a cardamom-spiced wheat bun filled with whipped cream and almond sauce. The description itself doesn’t really sound like something fancy, but if you are a almond lover, whipped cream enthusiast, or always need that dessert after dinner, then you should definitely try this ancient tradition.
As I am introduced to this semla custom, I learn about the ingredients & reasoning behind the start of this dessert eating tradition. Initially it is eaten the day before lent begins, giving the people a high calorie carb filled dessert so that they survive the days of fasting.
Links semlor to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
From my point of view, the traditional semla contains almond & cardamom, both common Chinese herbal ingredients that have therapeutic characteristics.
- Almond – Relieve coughing; regulate breathing; provides moisture for regulating bowel movements
- Cardamom – Relieve diarrhea with astringents
I guess like eastern cultures, western food traditions are related to promoting the people’s well being. Using desserts that are made from ingredients that will help ease any problems that may emerge during the fasting days.
Now I may not plan on fasting tomorrow, but I have dined at various places for a semla during the month of February. I have compiled some notes and recommendations that I have around the city of Stockholm and hope that you get to try some sooner or later.
It is a well known tourist spot and award winning dessert store. They carry 3 types of semlor: Classic (klassisk), vanilla (vanilj), and wiener semla. My favorite is the wiener semla which uses a different type of bun than the traditional semla.
Beside the classic semla, there is a wrap semla where they change the bun into wrap.
It has a good quality of classic semla and it has many different locations. So if you want a common and fast convenient way to get a delicious semla, you can go to one of their many locations.
The semlor in this store is made with chocolate mousse instead of the almond sauce.
It has the best quality price and it is where I start my semla series. There is a “Go Nut” semla, which has a huge chuck of chocolate under the almond sauce. Good choice if you don’t want to spend too much time or money looking for yummy semlor.
There is a coffee semla that uses a coffee flavor whipped cream instead of a traditional white/vanilla cream.