There are some wonderful things that happen culinarily in Sweden between Christmas and Easter. First, the traditional drink, Julmust (christmas drink), gets a name change to Påskmust (easter drink), although there is no difference between the two. Second, a variety of eating days come and go, such as pancake day and waffle day. Nonetheless, one thing that everyone is pumped about almost immediately after Christmas is Semla.
Maybe not “everyone”, but at least I am excited, given that I have only been in Sweden for 4 years. As you can see from the image below, it is a rich thing to eat, so you don’t eat it very often, and when you do, you enjoy it. Semla has a sweet cardamum bun with “mandelmassa” (almond paste) in the middle, and then a layer of whipped cream.
I think the story goes that it is tied to Easter, when people were fasting during Lent. Once a week on Tuesdays, they ate something rich, and it was Semla. Eventually they stopped with the tradition, but according to Wikipedia, the average Swede eats 5 bakery-cooked Semla a year, in addition to the homemade ones. I only eat 1 bakery-made one per year, and then if I happen to be somewhere that they are eating them I will have one there as well – they are super tasty and I’d love to eat them as often as I see them, but I just don’t need the extra sweets 😉