Why Swedes will eat 221 tonnes of cream and six million buns today

The Local Sweden
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Why Swedes will eat 221 tonnes of cream and six million buns today
How many of these will you be eating today? Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes are expected to gorge on 132 tonnes of almond paste and 211 tonnes of cream today, as the country consumes in total six million 'semlor' – the traditional bun eaten on Shrove Tuesday.


Known as semla, fastlagsbulle, fettisdagsbulle or hetvägg, depending on where in Sweden you live, an estimated 40 million of the cardamom-flavoured buns get eaten between Christmas and Easter.

Bakery sales peak on Shrove Tuesday, the last day before the Lenten fast (and while Swedes these days are too secular to pay much attention to the Christian holiday, they know how to eat cakes and pastries).

In Sweden, this day is called Fat Tuesday, or Fettisdagen.

The scrumptious bun does not require a lot of ingredients, but if you break down the six million semlor (as they're known in plural) eaten on Fat Tuesday alone, you get, according to Swedish newswire TT's calculation: 132 tonnes of almond paste, 211 tonnes of cream, 2.6 tonnes of cardamom, 211 tonnes of flour, 42 tonnes of butter, 2.6 million eggs, 53 tonnes of sugar and 1 tonne of icing sugar.

Here are some of The Local's top articles about semlor. Scroll down for a vocabulary guide.


Will you be eating a semla today?

How to talk about semlor in Swedish

Hello, I would like a semla, please.

Hej, jag skulle vilja ha en semla, tack.

Would you like it with or without almond paste?

Ska det vara med eller utan mandelmassa?

How do you even eat this monstrosity? (Here's how)

Hur äter man ens den här monstrositeten?

That was yummy. May I have another one?

Det var gott. Kan jag få en till?

I'm really full now.

Nu är jag jättemätt.


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