Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras. So what? you might say. Just a week ago I would've too, since that was the first time I learnt about what Mardi Gras was anyway. And Mardi Gras is far from what I wanted to talk about in this post. It just happens to be the english name for what we in sweden call Fat Tuesday, which is exactly what Mardi Gras means in french! But why use fancy schmancy french when you can just call it what it is. I like our name better.

Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday in english speaking countries, is the last day before lent. While some people might celebrate by painting their faces and dancing, we up here in the cold north bury ourselves in fat food. One special kind of food to be precice. I am talking about the Semla.

The Semla is the tastiest pastry in the world. Just look at it, doesn't it make you drool? It is made out of a wheat bun spiced with cardamom, in which you've filled the middle with almond paste and then you have a big chunk of cream on top. One of these babies will overwhelm you. Afterwards you feel like you never have to eat anything ever again. Yet you will return to the Semla as often as you can. Back in the day the Semla was supposed to be eaten only on Fat Tuesday. Nowadays people eat it from early february to late march. I've already had 4 and a half and I would definitely eat more if I hadn't promised I wouldn't eat so many (which is one of the reasons I write this post, because I can't eat a Semla today :( ). I had a classmate in school who ate a Semla each day when it was available, because unfortunately they stop selling them towards the end of March. For some odd reason! I am sure they would sell all around the year. Maybe the swedish government are secretely regulating the availability of this dangerous pastry, I am sure the average swede would gain alot of weight if this was freely availably all around the year. I am certain I would. Nom nom nom.


  1. One semla a day? For a while I ate TWO! Just because when you buy them at the super market they come in two's you see.

    Oh and these days they are available even earlier if you count this new thing called saffron-semla that comes out around Christmas (which I don't).

    And my sympathies on you not getting any today. Having a sugar free month now is just bad timing

  2. Oh I love semlas!

    I just had one a littler earlier cause they had bought one for everyone at work, so how could I not?

    They are yummy for sure.

    I'm shocked at how early they appear in the shops these days though. I saw them already before Christmas this time around - not the one with saffron that Hartland mentioned, but proper, normal ones.

    Seeing them before Christmas - as much as I love them - just felt wrong!

  3. Even before Christmas? I'm shocked. Shocked and appalled.

  4. @Hartland
    I ate one this weekend anyway. I just couldn't say no to the semla!

    Before Christmas? Wow, we sure didn't have any around here or I would've bought one! They increase with one day each year ^^ I bet one day they will be available around the year.

  5. My husband went to Stockholm over the weekend and was telling me about these!!

    In England we informally call today Pancake Day, and (if you couldn't guess) we eat pancakes!

  6. I *want* that cake.

    And thank you - your pointing out that it's shrove Tuesday has given me the excuse I need to eat the apple crumble we bought yesterday.

  7. How intriguing! And delicious looking :)

    I say intriguing because here the Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras tradition is King Cake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cake) which is also mighty tasty!

    It's very intersting to see how things are celebrated differently all over the world. I now am going to have to scour around to see if I can find one of these tasty looking sweets - and if not scour me up some king cake as an alternative ;-)

  8. That looks amazing. I wish I were able to try one. I'm pretty sure I've never had almond past in my life. Please figure out a way to ship one of these to the States for me!!

  9. For anyone who isn't swedish I just want to clarify: these buns are absolutely massive compared to a regular cinnamon bun or something similar... and very, very filling on top of that.

    One of my co-workers had one of these for lunch today and didn't eat anything else.
    Myself I ate half of one as a dessert after lunch, and then another one after dinner at home (due to my girlfriend buying some).

    It was painful.

    But oh so good!


  10. Those sound amazing. Do want!! :D

  11. It's also the international women's day ;)
    I've had one of those cakes before in Stockholm, and it was goood, I'm a sucker for cake :P