I have always been drawn to the coffee and tea rituals of other countries and cultures. When I was seven or eight years old, I tried to convince my mom that we should take up the practice of afternoon tea a la Great Britain (of course, I was mostly in it for the promise of cake).
So, you can understand that when I heard that a book called Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (by Anna Brones & Johanna Kindvall) was coming out, I was all in. I pre-ordered a copy for myself, but before it shipped, a review copy from Ten Speed landed in my mail box. Within 24 hours of its arrival, I’d read it cover to cover and was dreaming about instituting my own daily fika.
Fika is the Swedish tradition of taking a daily break in which one takes the time to have a coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing) and nibble a baked good (homemade if you can manage it). As a born and bred United States person, who has been conditioned to believe that coffee is best drunk in transit or while working (as I’m doing right now), the idea of a cultural imperative that requires you stop in order to enjoy a cup and a snack hugely appeals to me.
If you also feel drawn to the idea of fika, this book will help get you oriented and ready. It begins with an introduction to fika and then proceeds to address the history of Swedish coffee. In that chapter, you’ll find also find recipes for the seven traditional fika cookies.
They’ve also included sections on modern fika treats, things to make during the summer months when time can be spent outside, fika for celebrations, and finally breads, sandwiches, and ways to turn fika into a full-fledged snack.
I marked a number of recipes to try, including the Jam Thumbprint Cookies pictured above (I love that they are more like tiny tarts than the thumbprints we’re used to), the Almond Tart on page 58, and the Quick Buns on page 70. There are also a few jam recipes tucked here and there throughout the book, and they are sensible, non-nonsense takes on preserving which I appreciate.
Instead of using photography to depict the recipes, this book relies on Johanna Kindvall’s charming illustrations. I love this element, but if you buy cookbooks for the images, this might not be the right book for you.
I predict that this is a book that I’ll keep in regular rotation, both for the approachable recipes as well as for the reminder to take step away from the phone/computer/camera/stove for a little while each day.
When I saw the title for this in my blog reader I thought the entry would be from one of the Swedish blogs I follow but it wasn’t 😀 It’s nice when Swedish things get attention from abroad. But honestly I can’t really understand why fika seems like such a big deal to foreigners.
At my university, exchange students usually learn the word fika first of all, before hej (hello) and when speaking of Swedish culture it’s always fika fika fika. It’s just a coffee break! 🙂
I am so honored that you of all people reviewed this!! Here’s to many fikas!
Anna! It’s a wonderful book! I love it so much!
There’s a small chain of coffee shops in NYC called Fika and I love them so much! The coffee is amazing and they have the best truffles/pastries/etc. It’s a perfect little break/me time, and I’m glad to hear they are living up to the definition of their name!
This was a bad post for me to read! I’m so addicted to cookbooks that I’m probably going to end up purchasing this one as well! I’ve always loved the concept of the english tea but prefer coffee myself.
The concept of Fika is wonderful and one that I’m going to try and implement in my little world everyday. I love the thought of actually savoring the coffee break! Not to mention all those tasty delectable that you mentioned.
Here’s to taking 15 minutes from and savoring my coffee while I look out my window and dream of my garden! Then I’ll head out to my bookstore to checkout this book. 🙂