Let me preface this: I had never been to Europe before our month long trip this July. I’ve only been to Canada and Iceland, so Europe proper was a complete mystery to me. But, the one thing that I had heard was the food was incredible–and more specifically that the pastries, donuts, cakes, and other baked goods were out of this world. Enter Stockholm, Sweden.
I had little to no expectations about Sweden. We had visited Norway just before, and I had been planning the activities there for our little crew, so I was focused on becoming the expert on Norway. So, when I arrived in Sweden without expectations, I was blown away. And my first taste of Sweden? This beautiful strawberry pastry from Stockholm’s Grillska Huset, a small bakery in Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm. With a vanilla pastry dough (where you can see the vanilla bean sprinkled throughout), a vanilla pastry cream, and topped with strawberries, this was quite possibly heaven in a breakfast.
Now, you may be wondering if this was our only experience with Swedish pastries from Stockholm’s Grillska Huset. OBVIOUSLY NOT. We went back every day to make SURE that we got an authentic Swedish experience, which included one of my favorite things about Sweden: Fika (Fee-kya). (Side note: To make sure you understand the beauty of the surrounding area in which we purchased these pastries, enter photo below.)
Fika is one of Sweden’s most important institutions. Fika is basically considered a twice-a-day break from your activities where you consume pastries and coffee and talk about life. Because we wanted to make sure and get the most accurate Swedish experience, we made sure to participate in Fika. A lot. So, each day we got a new little pastry, like the perfection below, whenever we really wanted. The first was the cutest little lemon meringue tart with the most beautiful browned edges.
With a deliciously tart middle, a crisp pastry crust, and the lightest and fluffiest meringue, with just enough stickiness to it, it was perfection in a tart.
For one of our last Fika’s (sad day, right?), we decided to try the creme de la creme of Swedish pastries: the Prinsesstårta. This is a classic Swedish cake, topped with a beautiful green marzipan and filled with alternating layers of custard, sponge cake, jam and whipped cream, possibly making it the best cake in the world. If you love food (and food shows), which you possibly do if you are reading this blog, you may also know it as one of the most difficult cakes to make, according to The Great British Baking Show.
Though I had little to no expectations for Sweden, it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip–especially when it came to my now favorite pastime: Fika! And when we go back? I’m trying every pastry Grillska Huset has to offer–whether that means 15 fikas a day or not!
Grillska Huset (Stortorget 3, 103 17 Stockholm, Sweden // +46 8 684 233 64)