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Swedish semla pastries in a bakery

Photo: Visit Stockholm

Categories: Cafés

Fat Tuesday – the day of the Semla

Publish date: 18 January 2021

Round, stodgy and spilling over with whipped cream on all sides, but always irresistible. The Swedish Semla is so popular it has its own day – Fat Tuesday.

Have you ever tried a Swedish semla? It's a sweet wheat bun filled with whipped cream and almond paste, lightly dusted with icing sugar and sometimes served in warm milk. What's not to love?

The beloved semla is a seasonal treat, and it's celebrated with the consumption of at least one semla on the day before the start of Lent, called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday (this year on February 16th). But don't be sad if the date doesn't match your visit – the Swedes crave their Semlor so much that many bakeries and cafés start making them just after New Year's Eve, and many don't stop serving them until Easter is over.

If you're allergic to nuts (or just don't love almonds) there are many bakers offering a vanilla custard filling instead of almond paste. There are also gluten-free semlas, vegan semlas, and so on. In recent years, the classic Semla recipe has even been remade into other new, creative versions such as the Semla Wrap at Tössebageriet, the 'Pink and plant-based Semla' at Magnus Johansson bageri & konditori and the Cronut Semla at Mr Cake.

Curious to try a semla? Listed below are some popular bakeries and cafés to check out!