The Swedish Tradition you should have heard of!
The literal translation Fika is the act of having a coffee, however the word Fika is now synonymous with the experience, much more than just the beverage itself. Today Fika can take place anywhere and is the focus point that facilitates human connections.
This may not appear too distant from the British afternoon tea but given the habitual nature of Fika, it is perhaps more comparable to a sociable drink in the pub after work.
The art of Fika is epitomised in Stockholm. From the posh Grand Café at the Grand Hotel to the LGBTQ inspired Chokkladkoppen in Gamla Stan, there are plenty of amazing options in the country’s capital. For more about the Stockholm social scene, go to www.visitstockholm.com.
Coffee has actually been banned 5 times throughout Swedish history. Being taboo may well have fuelled a desire to drink this beverage in secret, including forcing some Swedes to drink coffee out in the woods.
Sweden is the third largest consumer of coffee in the world, and as such has a strong speciality coffee scene — the Swedes are known for drinking quality coffee in large quantities and understanding the heritage and story behind the coffee they drink.
Fika in a cafe doesn’t always include something something sweet, but given the multitude of holidays about pastries in Sweden (Kanelbullens dag i.e. Cinnamon Bun day, or the Semlor buns eaten on Shrove Tuesday), a sweet treat is commonplace.
The most popular sweet item is a pastry, typically either a cinnamon bun or a cardamom bun. If you want to host your own Fika at home, a word of advice about being a good host: You should serve 7 different types of sweet items with Fika, any less and it would look cheap and any more would appear extravagant. We don’t want a Fika Extravaganza on our hands!
Fika is all about human connections, this is perhaps the most important aspect and what sets Fika apart from just having a coffee. There is no definitive answer on who to Fika with, it is very much a personal choice.
Fika is a common practice at workplaces as well in Sweden. Typically Swedes will take two Fika breaks during the workday, around 9am and 3pm. It gives employees the chance to discuss private and professional topics in an informal setting. It can even be considered impolite not to join one’s colleagues for a Fika, so if you are invited do not decline.
You can Fika Arctic style in Swedish Lapland. For more, visit swedishlapland.com
This article was penned by Tim Firmager for www.VisitSwedenLGBT.com where you’ll find more inspiration for a gay holiday to Sweden. You can also follow the conversation with #SwedenYoureWelcome.