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A hot cup of coffee being poured.

Photo: Tina Axelsson

Categories: Cafés

A Swedish fika in Stockholm

Publish date: 13 March 2024

Enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry at one of Stockholm's many cafés. Here are some local favorites!

Going for a fika at a fik is a very Swedish thing. Fika basically means to meet up for a coffee and a piece of cake or pastry. The word fik has in turn become slang for a café, bakery, or pastry shop. But fika can also be as simple as a group of co-workers taking a break over a plain cup of coffee, chatting about this and that.

Classic pastries and buns for a fika

Rodendal' Garden Café

Sweden enjoys a highly developed culture when it comes to baked goods. Everywhere in Stockholm, you’ll find cafés and cake shops brimming with atmosphere, character, and quality, whether traditional or contemporary. Here are some favorites, both traditionally Swedish and imported international evergreens that you'll find in most cafés.

  • Cinnamon bun: The kanelbulle, a Swedish invention and timeless classic. A soft bun, flavored with lots of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, and sometimes even with a thin layer of almond pulp. It also comes in several variants, like the cardamon bun (kardemummabulle) and vanilla bun (vaniljbulle).
  • Pie: Like in many other European countries, Swedes love apple pie. Other popular pies include blueberry, raspberry, and rhubarb. The typical Swedish dessert pie resembles a crumble pie (smulpaj) and is served warm with whipped cream, vanilla custard, or a scoop of ice cream.
  • Dammsugare: A treat of unknown origin, with several local variants in Northern Europe. The name is Swedish for "vacuum cleaner" probably due to its likeness to cylindrical 1920s vacuum cleaners. Other names are punschrulle or arraksrulle. One theory, widely regarded as fact, is that the traditional dammsugare is a kind of left-over-pastry; a filling of crumbs and odd ends from other cookies and cakes, that was mixed, flavored with a dash of punsch liqueur, rolled into a thin sheet of marzipan, both ends dipped in chocolate.
  • Semla: A seasonal pastry, served from late December/early January until Shrove Tuesday (early/mid-February). The semla (which you can read more about in our semmel-guide) is a wheat bun, filled with almond pulp and whipped cream.
  • Mazarin: Embraced in Sweden as a Swedish dessert staple as early as the 18th-19th century, but with origins most likely in France or Italy. Named after French-Italian cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602-1661), steward of the French throne until Louis XIV came of age. A mazarin is a small shortcrust tart/tartlet, filled with almond pulp and/or jam marmalade, topped with white frosting.
  • Chocholate ball: A Swedish and Danish favorite, and one of the easiest to do at home since it's made cold. As the name implies, the balls are made from cocoa/chocolate powder – mixed with butter, sugar, water, and oat grains for texture – rolled into shape on a plate of coconut flakes.
  • Cookies: Swedish cookies are usually smaller than, for example, American cookies. Instead, they're served on plates with a variety to choose from. According to tradition, a typical kafferep (a semi-formal fika popularized in the 1930s) should serve at least seven types of cookies. Common cookies to find in bakeries include drömmar, hallongråttor, havreflarn, schackrutor, Finska pinnar and bondkakor.
  • Princess cake: A Stockholm specialty turned a Swedish classic. Food writer and cooking instructor Jenny Åkerstam named for three of her royal students; Märtha, Margaretha, and Astrid, daughters of Swedish Prince Carl and Danish Princess Ingeborg. The original recipe has been tweaked over time but the most common variant though is a sponge cake with layers of raspberry marmalade, whipped cream, and vanilla custard, covered in an instantly recognizable sheet of lime green marzipan. Read more in our guide about the Princess cake here!

Of course, there are many more cozy cafés in Stockholm than the ones listed below. Check out our district guides for more info: