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20 July, 2016

Short & Sweet – ‘Fika’

Want to make Swedish friends? Want to know them more or want to learn more about Swedish behaviour? Yes? then there is a ‘Short & Sweet’ way to do that – and in Sweden we call it a ‘Fika’.

When I heard this word for the first time, I had several thoughts ranging from fika being some corporate activity to a religious custom. But I was in for a sweet surprise when I was treated to coffee, or should I write it the Swedish way, ‘Kaffe’ and a variety of breads (bröd), cakes (kaka) and other sweet dishes.

Fika

Coffee & cinnamon bun.

I vividly remember my first Fika, a table with a few bread varieties of different patterns and colours and a very palatable cake, called the ‘Princesstårta’.

Having a sweet tooth and a curious mind, it was short work to try all the breads and enquire from my Swedish colleagues about their names and ingredients.

One of the more prominent ones had a strong cardamom flavour known as “Kardemummabullar“, with small bits of sugar coating.

Fika is an everyday affair

It didn’t take me long to taste a few more delicacies as I quickly learnt that ‘Fika’ is an everyday affair, though specialized on some occasions. One thing that I also observed was that Swedes take pride in baking these themselves to treat friends or colleagues at a Fika.

Enjoying fika

Enjoying a fika in good company.

Hailing from India, it was easy for me to relate ‘Fika’ with the Indian tradition of ‘Tea time’. It is just a relaxing moment, or a break away from your normal chores to sit with friends and colleagues, sip coffee and get close and friendly.

Swedes are the most open at a Fika, those 30 to 40 minutes is the best you can use to connect with them.

It is now deeply embedded in the corporate lifestyle as well. We have normal daily fikas and specialized Fika on Fridays where each member gets the weekly privilege to treat all the others with delicious bullar, cookies and kaka and contribute to the happiness on the table. I got a chance to do so too 🙂

It’s one of those things I eagerly look forward to now, such has been it’s effect. It refreshes my mind and my taste buds too 🙂

So remember, the next time you feel dull and isolated, join a Fika or invite them for one. You won’t be disappointed.

coffe & glasses

Time for fika!

Want help buying these delicacies? Just visit any prominent supermarket in Sweden, like Coop, Willy’s and Lidl. Tiderman’s Konditori is a specialist and it’s not difficult to spot these yummy breads. So, pick up a few and see the smile on the face of your Swedish ‘kompis’.

Alright, it’s time for a Fika… 🙂

Written by Junaid Shaikh

IT consultant, Software Quality Assurance, Sportsman, Gadget enthusiast, Tropical fish lover, Traveller and Socializer. From Mumbai, India. In Sweden since 2015 I love this Scandinavian country, the people, the environment, the work culture , the lifestyle etc. When I came here almost all the things seemed a bit alien to me when compared to my home country and needed quick adaptation. I now feel, I have a bit to share through my learnings and experiences and found ‘Newbie Guide to Sweden’ to be a great platform to do that. I hope whatever little I can share will make it easier for Newbies to know a bit more and integrate better with this country. Tack!

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