It’s a well-known fact that Scandinavians love their coffee. Residents of Nordic countries are said to drink more coffee than anyone else in the world – that’s including the Italians – and they like nothing more than to meet up for a ‘Fika’. But what exactly is a fika, you ask? Elin Fry, the Swede-come-Bristolian owner of Fika coffee house, explains all…
How would you describe the term ‘Fika’ to those who aren’t Swedish?
Fika is both a verb and a noun. There’s no direct translation in English, but translates to something like ‘taking a break for coffee and something to eat; preferably something sweet’. You take time out to stop what you are doing and sit down at work or with friends for a fika. It’s an invitation for a chat, a chance to relax and catch up with your family and friends.
Fika is an important part of Swedish culture and it’s well established in the workplace, where fika breaks happen daily. These breaks, that happen away from the desk, are meetings with colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere that can benefit business productivity and contribute to a happy workplace.
What kinds of sweet treats do you enjoy with fika?
Cinnamon rolls are a must have, but so are lots of different types of biscuits. At my home bakery, I make cinnamon rolls with a cardamom infused dough and a cinnamon filling. Traditionally, when you throw a birthday party you should be serving seven types of biscuits. The biscuits are all spiced differently and have different shapes and textures. Some of the classic ones are: Bondkakor, which translates to farmer’s biscuit and is a crunchy almond and toffee biscuit; Chokladkex, which is a chocolate snap with decorative sugar on top; and Drömmar, which translates to ‘dreams’ and is a vanilla biscuit that melts in your mouth.
How do Swedish people like to drink their coffee?
Swedes like their coffee strong. Some use a bit of milk and sugar, but it’s common just to have it black.
What are your top tips for enjoying a ‘Fika’?
As much as I love baking sweet treats to share over a