Sweden takes its semlor seriously.

It’s Fat Tuesday, and of course, the only topic of discussion at the work lunch table today is “semlor”.

If you are unfamiliar with the gloriousness that is “the semla”, it is the dessert so good it killed a king. (You can also read an earlier refresher post from a few weeks ago.)

image shows a delicious semla, which is a Swedish dessert for Fat Tuesday.

It’s the same thing every year. Swedes are very particular about their pastry traditions, so conversations dig deep into what is considered right and wrong when it comes to eating traditional treats.

This year, I thought I would let everyone in on the important discussions occurring in every Swedish lunch room across the country today.

If you are new to Sweden and trying to fit in the workplace, memorize the answers to these very important answers and you’ll be assimilating into Swedish society in no time!

The three topics discussed on Fat Tuesday in a typical Swedish workplace:

  • How do you eat your semla?
  • What kind of semla is best?
  • Did the office order any, and are they big or small?

And here are not just the answers from my office, but probably most offices across the country:

  • How do you eat your semla? “Just the semla. Some people eat it in a bowl of warm milk and that’s not right.”
  • What kind of semla is best? “A classic semla is best. Semla with vanilla instead of almond paste is acceptable. Anything else is WRONG.”
  • Did the office order any and how big are they? “Small. But everyone agrees this is best because most people plan to buy another one on the way home from work.” (And yes, at least half the people plan to leave work early today to make sure they get a semla, because they are so popular that the good places sell out on Fat Tuesday. )

So tune in next month, when conversation turns to waffles. Breakfast food? Dinner food? Why do we have to eat them on March 25?

Update: Office semlor have just arrived and they are BIG! Apparently there was a mix-up with the order and the bakery said that if we wanted small ones, we would have to wait until 3:30. This is Sweden, on Fat Tuesday, on a miserable winter’s day, so the person in charge of these decisions wisely chose to just stick with the large ones because most people won’t bother to stay at work until 3:30.