While you might be thinking about flipping a pancake or two (my top tips here and my crepe recipe here). I’ve been busy researching where to eat the best semlor. The word semlor (plural Semla) originates from the German ‘semmel’ (translating to ‘roll’). But this isn’t your average bread roll we’re talking about. The finest flour is used to make a soft and fluffy cardamom bun filled with almond paste, and then topped with whipped cream. They literally start popping up everywhere from petrol stations to your local supermarket once everybody has chucked their Christmas trees out. I can even find them in the freezer compartment at my local corner shop.*
So you don’t end up eating a bad one (there are a lot out there) I’ve put together my favourite Stockholm picks (it’s a tough job but somebody has to try them all out).
Here are my four favourite favourite places to indulge in a semlor (or semla) …
This little bakery is one of my recent discoveries. Definitely one worth visiting regardless whether it’s semla season or not.
Their bun was delicious, despite being huge. The bun was soft, almost briochy, but without the richness (you can tell it was freshly baked) and filled with a delicious almond paste. The additional crunchy toasted almonds were a lovely touch. If you happen to go in and they don’t have any at the counter, do ask as they usually fill them to order.
In ten days Swedes everywhere will celebrate shrove tuesday (or as you brits and such say, pancake day) by having semla for their fika. Semla is the king of Swedish pastries, the father of all buns and when perfectly made one of the most amazing things one can eat. Most semla however are not perfectly made. In fact, they are more often than not disgusting pillows of fluffy white dryness filled with bland almond paste and industrial, whipped cream. If you visit stockholm over the next couple of weeks I strongly encourage you, no i even order you to go to the southern parts of town to taste the exception to this sad rule. It's the semla to rule all other semlas. The semla that tiny adolescent semla hope to grow up to become. The semla with which all other semla henceforth shall be compared. Someone else might tell you that they know of a better semla somewhere. But I can tell you with absolute confidence that they are wrong and I am right. The best semla to be currently had is found @bageripetrus and it's a thing of absolute beauty. #bestsemlaever #ifyouarenotvisitingstockholmanywayitsworthaspecialtrip #semla
This bakery is perhaps my favourite bakery. They do a great selection of breads and pastries. There’s a reason the world-renowned Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson says their buns are “a thing of beauty”. They don’t mess around with their semla.
118 48 Stockholm
The new kid on the block opened by popular Swedish TV chef, Roy Fares and Mattias Ljungberg (who owns Tössebageriet – more about that later) late last year. The bakery mixes up Swedish and American traditions with American-style cinnamon buns, cronuts and red velvet croissants … but not forgetting the classic Swedish baked goods like your semla.
I probably picked the busiest day to go (a Sunday afternoon) when the place was packed to the rafters. Luckily they hadn’t run out of semla and they also had the ‘mini’ sized ones. This size is usually just one or two mouthfuls (depending on the size of the mouth), which for me is perfect. You just get the right dose of fluffy cardamom bun, almond and feather-light whipped cream. Their semla definitely didn’t disappoint. Just a shame the place was so crowded. (Also the lighting doesn’t make for the cosiest of places).
They also do a nachosemla: cardamom pastry triangles served with whipped cream and almond paste. Personally, I think, something to avoid at all costs.
Semlor, semlor, semlor! Vi får inte nog av semlor! I vårt sortiment finns flera olika sorter att välja och vraka mellan. Stora semlor, små semlor, semmelburgaren, bagelsemla (vegansk) och såklart vår nyhet den kavlade semlan! Det finns en semla för alla 👆🏼😋 #semla #semlor #semlorärgott #semmelburgare #denkavladesemlan #helasvenskafolket
When I visited, they had the regular semla in two sizes:medium (bottom left) and large, as well as bagelsemla (bottom right), semmel burger (top right) and kavlade semlor (top left). The semmel burger – a regular roll with almond paste and cream – didn’t really speak to me. Nor did the bagelsemla. I was tempted by the kavlade semlor (a flaky pastry sandwich with whipped cream and almond paste) but then decided to go for the classic.
It was a soft, moist bun, heavily spiked with cardamom. The almond cream was quite sweet with a little crunch and the whipped cream was as light as fluffy clouds. I could only eat a quarter, but that’s probably because I also tried their chocolate and caramel mousse semlor. The bun was quite dense and chocolatey. I liked the size (similar to Mr Cake’s mini semlor, maybe a tad bigger). I wish they did the classic semlor in this size.
This bakery is a little of the beaten track but still easily accessible with public transport.
Lugnets Allé 7
120 65 Stockholm
Been to Stockholm and had a good semlor? Or had a good semlor somewhere else in the world? Let me know below.
*Note: There is a semlor season which is January/February. It’s very hard to find them outside that time.