Semla - A Swedish Bun Delight

Author: Caroline Brandelius   Date Posted:23 February 2020 

A warm little sweet cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. This is the pastry all Swedes are craving in February. It is called Semla and made to eat on one special day out of the year. This year the 25th of February is the big Semla Day. 

“Fettisdagen” also called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday is a tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. This fat bun was the last thing everyone ate before fasting started, which went on all the way to Easter. The last day before fasting was called “Fettisdagen” the day you were supposed to eat as much as you can to store some fat and energy. Now a days you can be served a Semla almost all year around in Sweden, but the peak season is definitely in February and on Fat Tuesday. 

The official start time when bakeries and cafes start baking Semla is normally after Christmas. And every year it is a big buzz where the best Semla is served. There are several Semla-judges that visit bakeries and cafes to award the best Semla of the year. It is a big deal because the judges’ decision normally gets publicity in the newspaper and if you are the winning bakery you will be doing some big bucks during the Semla season. 

Many Swedes would prefer the classic Semla but every year a new twist on how to make a Semla is presented. There are Semlas filled with blueberries, vanilla custard, raspberries and chocolate. There are Semlas made out of cinnamon buns, saffron buns and Danish pastry, the list is long and it seems like a never-ending way of how you can innovate the Semla. 

When you enjoy your Semla do it the Swedish Fika way. Sit down alone or with friends, take a break and leave the hectic everyday life behind and appreciate the now, while sipping on your coffee and munching on your Semla. 

If you haven’t tried this little Swedish delight it is about time to do so. Or if you’re in Australia and wish you had a Semla-bakery next door. Roll up your sleeves and bake your own. It is super easy and worth all the time spent in the kitchen. Below is a recipe just for you, so you can get a taste of Swedish Semla this February. 


Recipe “Swedish Semla” Fika at Grandmas (


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