• Sweden's news in English
 

The lowdown on Sweden's best buns

Published: 12 Feb 2013 08:01 GMT+01:00

In an effort to shed light on this mouth-watering mystery, The Local offers up ten things you've always wanted to know about semlor but were afraid to ask.

1. What is a semla?

It's a cream bun native to Sweden and Finland.

2. Why is everyone banging on about them today?

Because they are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday.

3. You mean Pancake Tuesday or Mardi Gras?

Yes, whatever you want to call it, it's the day before the start of the Christian season of Lent. In Sweden it's most commonly known as Fat Tuesday (Fettisdag) or Semla Day (Semmeldagen).

4. So what's in these semla things?

A modern semla is a wheat bun, spiced with cardamom. The top is knocked off and the bun is hollowed out a bit to make room for almond paste and whipped cream.

SEE ALSO: Sweden's top ten tasty buns

5. So the top is just thrown away?

No, it's popped back on and sprinkled with icing sugar.

6. And then you just pick it up and eat it.

You can. But a lot of people prefer to put it in a bowl of hot milk and eat it with a spoon.

SEE ALSO: Semlor: cream buns and cultural icons

7. Sounds like a Lenten fast would be well-advised after eating one of these monstrosities.

Definitely. King Adolf Frederick famously died in 1771 after eating 14 of them for dessert.

8. Do people only eat them on Shrove Tuesday?

No. The semla season has been lengthening ever since Luther lost his grip on the country. You're likely to spot them in many bakeries for the entire first half of the year. Swedes eat 40 million of them per season.

SEE ALSO: Top ten Swedish foods to remember

9. Where does the name semla come from anyway?

From the Latin semilia, meaning top notch wheat flour. But southern Swedes refer to them as shrovetide buns.

10. All this talk is making me hungry. Where can I get one?

Every bakery in Sweden will have them on Tuesday, as will many grocery stores and convenience stores like Pressbyrån or 7-Eleven.

But here are some recommendations for the three main cities. Enjoy!

Stockholm

Vete-katten, Kungsgatan 55

Tössebageriet, Karlavägen 77

Gunnarssons, Götgatan 92

Gothenburg

Cederleüfs konditori, Göteborgsvägen 74

Svenheimers Konditori, Brahegatan 11

Nöjds Konditori, Långedragssvägen 22

Malmö

Lomma Hembageri, Strandvägen 96

Vendels Organic Bakery, Föreningsgatan 30

Martins Konditori & Kafé, Södra Förstadsgatan 88

The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

15:18 March 8, 2011 by stillwatersrd
These are not Sweden's best buns.
21:22 March 8, 2011 by Swedesmith
My wife has some pretty nice buns.
23:31 March 8, 2011 by Tanskalainen
How about a photo of Robyn's buns?
00:06 March 9, 2011 by Swedesmith
Robin Williams?????
07:30 March 9, 2011 by mikewhite
No, he was in Take That
17:35 March 9, 2011 by J Jack
he was in Fake that
23:38 March 9, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
I need one, but I am in Maryland, USA. Anyone have a recipe?
04:07 March 11, 2011 by calajb
Google semla and you will get a bunch of recipes.

Here's one..

http://minareceptsamlingar.blogspot.com/2007/02/swedish-semla.html
16:24 March 11, 2011 by CanisTrigger
King Adolf Frederick... What a wimp!
22:49 March 12, 2011 by Madstadlad
Semlor... the reason I moved to Sweden!
12:16 March 13, 2011 by Isabel Carneiro
Hummm!!! Delicious. In my country it's called sonho.
10:11 February 12, 2013 by StockholmSam
As far as a national sweet, the semla is pretty boring. I find it difficult to find one worth eating twice. Chic Konditori on Mariatorget used to have the best in town - their "Karlsbader semla" - but we noticed this week that they changed the recipe and now they taste just like all the rest.
11:01 February 12, 2013 by Åskar
"It's a cream bun native to Sweden and Finland. "

I have seen some for sale in Tallinn as well.
12:40 February 12, 2013 by soultraveler3
Semlor are nasty, just flavorless, dusty buns with more flavorless paste and a ton of flavorless cream stuffed inside.

Tbh though, this description would fit most Swedish pastries / cakes. Dry, flavorless, tons of cream, some almond paste thrown and maybe a bit of fruit thrown in somewhere.

Even though I love some of them, Swedes like everything in life to be bland, colorless and boring though so that combo works well here. :)
Today's headlines
Swedish hostages freed in Syria
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Swedish hostages freed in Syria

Two Swedish men held hostage in Syria have been released with the help of Jordanian and Palestinian authorities, Sweden's foreign ministry said Saturday. READ  

Swedish hostages freed in Syria
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Swedish hostages freed in Syria

Two Swedish men held hostage in Syria have been released with the help of Jordanian and Palestinian authorities, Sweden's foreign ministry said Saturday. READ  

Christian Democrats elect first female leader
Photo: TT

Christian Democrats elect first female leader

Sweden’s Christian Democrats on Saturday unanimously elected Ebba Busch Thor as the party’s leader, replacing Göran Hägglund. At 28, she’s the youngest person to ever lead a Swedish party in parliament. READ  

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language
Most migrants from Romania speak Romanian, not Romany. Photo: TT

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language

The municipality of Helsingborg hired interpreters to communicate with migrants from Romania. Problem was, the interpreters spoke a language the Romanians didn’t know at all. READ  

Swede wins world boxing title
Badou, left, connects with Anthony Dirrell during the fight in Chicago. Photo: AFP

Swede wins world boxing title

Sweden's Badou Jack claimed the World Boxing Council's super middleweight title as he outpointed previously unbeaten Anthony Dirrell in Chicago on Friday night. READ  

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers
The Swedish police heroes meet with NYPD heads. Photo: New York Police Department/TT

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers

A video has emerged of Swedish off-duty police officers breaking up a violent fight on the New York subway. READ  

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?
Swedes are the eighth happiest people in the world. Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?

Sweden is the eighth happiest country in the world, according to the UN. But the result has not gone down well in the Nordic country. The Local caught up with an expert to find out why. READ  

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book
Stefan Löfven gets a grilling from the powerful Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Swedish parliament. Photo. Henrik Montgomery/Scanpix

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has denied that he bypassed parliament when the country recognized Palestine last year. READ  

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden
Swedes enjoying the sunshine in Stockholm. Photo: The Local

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden

Get the barbeque out and your swim suit ready – summer is here. In fact, western and parts of central Sweden have been able to enjoy the year's warmest season for the past seven days. READ  

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits
Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits

Swedish defence giant Saab announced a surprise drop in first-quarter operating profits on Friday, while the company took a 3.8 percent tumble on the Stockholm stock market. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Features
My bizarre Swedish habits that foreigners just don't understand
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,307
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se