As I walk off the plane at Arlanda airport in Stockholm and head toward the baggage area my senses are signalling that I am back home in Sweden. The light feels typically Swedish, people look Swedish because of their unique fashion and all I can hear around me is hördi gördi, making me think I’m surrounded by a whole heap of Swedish Chef imitators. After only a few more steps in to the terminal building the best signal confirms – via my nose – that I’m really in Sweden. The smell of freshly baked Swedish cinnamon rolls. It’s unmistakable, and it’s everywhere.
Cinnamon rolls are a staple food in my beloved country of birth. They are as quintessentially Swedish as Abba, meatballs from IKEA and herring, and they can be bought everywhere. Cafés, convenience stores, supermarkets and even petrol stations will bake them fresh and make sure they’re the first thing you smell as you walk through their doors.
Back at the airport I’m tempted to stop and buy a bag full of rolls but since I’m already running late for my next connecting flight to my hometown Piteå I decide not to. Plus, I know that when I reach my final destination there won’t be a need to buy rolls, the best ones in the world will be waiting for me in mum’s kitchen. Home baked and insanely tasty.
A few hours later I finally get to Piteå but instead of heading home to the apartment we go straight to the marina and my parent’s boat, Esmeralda af Piteå, to what we in Sweden call ‘Fika’. Pronounced ‘fee-ka’ the word is both a verb and a noun that roughly means ‘to drink coffee accompanied by something sweet’. It’s an activity most Swedes take part in a couple of times a day and at its core is the cinnamon roll.
After a long journey there are few things better than getting to see the family again over a ‘fika’ with home made cinnamon rolls on board a beauty like Esmeralda af Piteå.
Here’s a great recipe for Swedish cinnamon rolls