All about Mardi Gras... in Sweden
The semla – a small, wheat flour bun, flavoured with cardamom and filled with almond paste and whipped cream – has become something of a carb-packed icon in Sweden. The traditions of semla are rooted in fettisdag (Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday) when the buns were eaten at a last celebratory feast before the Christian fasting period of Lent. At first, a semla was simply a bun, eaten soaked in hot milk (known as hetvägg).
At some point Swedes grew tired of the strict observance of Lent, added cream and almond paste to the mix and started eating semla every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter.
How to enjoy them
Start with the top, and use it to eat some of the delicious filling. Then attack the rest. The most enthusiastic eat their semla with their fingers and bite into it like a big cream puff. The more refined use a fork or spoon. But every method works!
Photo : Fika NYC, a bakery chain where you can eat Semlor.
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