Semla – The “King Killer”

We had an early morning lecture that ended early so we had a free day to enjoy. I went with my friend Alex to run some errands and we ended up at IKEA. At IKEA we had lunch at the restaurant. At IKEA here they have a “Friends of IKEA” program where at every visit, you’re entitled to 2 free beverages (either coffee or soft drink) plus 2 special priced meals. Today’s meal was 10 Swedish meatballs plus potatoes for $5SGD. Unfortunately I didn’t know you needed to collect the tickets for the free drinks at the front so I ended up having to go all the way back to the front and return to the cashier. A bit inconvenient, I don’t know why they don’t just put it onto the membership card they give you.

Anyways, we decided to splurge on a dessert called “Semla”.

The description on the IKEA site:

The delicious Swedish semla is a wheat bun, lightly cardamom-spiced and partially filled with smooth almond paste. The bun is crowned with fresh fluffy whipped cream and almost floating on top of the creation is the cut-off bun lid, sprinkled seductively with fine powdery icing sugar.

In Sweden, the semla was traditionally eaten as dessert topping up the festive meals that was taken in preparation for Easter fasting. The Swedes would indulge in rich food on the last Tuesday before fasting and this last Tuesday became known as Fettisdagen – literally means Fat Tuesday. Today, the semla has became a traditional dessert between Fat Tuesday and Easter. And each Swede consumes on average five bakery-produced semlor each year, in addition to all those that are homemade.

The semla has also had a historic impact on Sweden: King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died of stroke in 1771 after consuming a luxurious banquet which was topped off by 14 servings of semla.

I don’t know how a person can eat 14 servings of it. That big dollop of whipped cream and the sweet almond paste in the middle would be overwhelming after a while. Those glutinous kings!

Maybe it was too much sugar for me because I had a headache during the evening and only felt like sleeping. I missed out on going to “The Clinic” and dinner, instead I stayed home to rest.

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