Today marks the beginning of Stockholm Pride Week, so, to celebrate one of my favorite European pride festivals, I thought it’d be a good idea to revisit my favorite Swedish cultural tradition: the fika!

There’s one food everyone thinks of first when trying to figure out what exactly is “Swedish food.” And that’s meatballs. (Thank you IKEA for introducing that to the world.) But Sweden is so much more than meatballs. Swedish cuisine traditionally includes a lot of meat and seafood. Open-faced shrimp (or prawn) sandwiches are especially popular for lunches, and meatballs seem to be endlessly available. It’s a bit funny that a country with a massive coastline has a meat-based dish as their most popular exported cuisine…

But perhaps the strongest culinary tradition in Sweden is the fika. What is fika? It’s the everyday tradition to have coffee and cake each afternoon — something you really have to experience in Sweden because it’s a truly unique experience. Somehow it’s more than most other culture’s “coffee and cake” afternoon traditions! It’s not just about a quick coffee and a sweet treat, but rather you usually spend it meeting with a friend over a (hopefully) long, leisurely break.

With the help of my friend Clairkine, we’ve put together an illustrated guide on what you need to know to have a proper fika.

How to Fika in Sweden

How to Fika in Sweden

Fika – The Web Series

The Swedish cultural tradition for a fika has become so popular that earlier this summer a student group released a documentary series about this all-too-Swedish part of life. Check out the series below or view the full six episodes here.

fika: to have coffee • Trailer from Fabian Schmid on Vimeo.

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