Thursday, April 24, 2014

U ~ Underbara Kaffee Kalas = Wonderful Coffee Parties #atozchallenge

All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.


Americans, when they want to "have coffee" with you they meet you at a coffee shop and you buy (totally overpriced) coffee, and maybe something to eat.  You fight over who pays.

In Sweden, "having coffee" means going to someone's house and they have a wonderful array of goodies ready to quickly set out for you.  The Swedish hostess needs to be ready for visitors, who may show up at any time.  I remember how Farmor always had several kinds of cookies, buns (see B ~ Buns), and other treats available.

There's sometimes a silly little ritual of , "Oh, please don't bother, I'm fine!" and "Oh, it's no bother at all!" while the hostess makes the coffee and sets out the goodies.

There are more formal, organized coffee parties as well.  My Swissie and I would sometimes have two-a-day when we visited in the summers as Farmor and Farfar wanted to parade us around to all their friends.

I remember vividly the summer she was 14 and I was about to be 17.  We were "forced" by politeness to eat so much that we were never, ever hungry.  Then one day when we had no formal plans, I at some point in the day turned to her and said, "Blessed! I do believe I'm hungry again!"  It's been a saying between us ever since.

At those parties you might start with a fancy sandwich (see D ~ Dill), then a bunch of cookies (you were to try one of each) and of course the aforementioned buns, and then when you thought you'd about burst (and die of thirst as we discussed in I ~ Ice, Ice Baby), out would come THE CAKE.

(yes, I know this is not the inside of the above picture...but I wanted you to see an inside, and variations of the outside, so for those of you who thrive on detail, just know I am aware of this and not trying to fool you)

These cakes were really awesome, but I never had room for them once they arrived. This cake starts with a layer of sponge cake, then some sweet jam is mixed with whipped cream and spread on the bottom layer, then the next layer goes on. After that, the whole cake is covered in the whipped (and of course sweetened, sometimes with vanilla sugar) cream and decorated with fresh fruit.  A sight to behold.

Coffee is a ritual in Sweden.  It's called kaffe (cuff - eh? (as in "I can't hear you!")) and it's served hot, strong, and in smaller cups than we use.

On the left, a Longaberger mug, on the right, one of my treasured heirlooms from Farmor.

Is there coffee in your country?  What are the rituals surrounding it's consumption?  Do you want one of those cakes?

~Tina, who is blessedly hungry and better go make dinner...

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: strawberry cake
Photo credit: cake with lots of fruit
Photo credit:: mug comparison: OYT


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I begrudge going out to spend money on coffee - though occasionally a coffee out, or tea out for an occasion is delicious .. I try and resist the cakes, sandwiches et al .... always too good, but personally I don't need them.

Used to love home-made cakes growing up .. and those strawberry, raspberry ones you show are just very tempting ..

I'd rather meet at someone's home and just have a coffee - if someone wants a biscuit ... fine ..

But then I'm probably not normal!

Happy memories for you though .. and that's a classic: "Blessed! I do believe I'm hungry again!"

Cheers and Blessed, I do believe I need another cup of coffee!! Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Before Starbucks, I'm sure having coffee did mean going to someone's house here. I'm sure it didn't involve as many snacks and cakes though.
And to me, having coffee means you're doing it by yourself, as I can't stand the stuff!

Doreen McGettigan said...

I have always wished I liked coffee but I just don't.
At my house in Pennsylvania you can expect to be served a good cup of coffee, hot or sweet tea or hot chocolate.
I always have something sweet to go with it.
One of my writing groups meets in a coffee house. They have terrible pastries and horrible tea but the company is priceless.

Mason Canyon said...

I'm a huge coffee drinker. Now I want to visit Sweden just to enjoy this tradition. I think we need to have a similar tradition in America and get away from the quick grab and go style. Coffee should be savored and enjoyed. Great post and yes the cakes look wonderful too.

JoJo said...

That sounds more fun and delicious than meeting up at Dunkin Donuts for a donut and coffee!!!

Daidri Smythe said...

This was fun to learn about! I love coffee and a great conversation over a cup of coffee is even better no matter where we are. I'll love meeting at local quaint coffee shops for a change and also at home. I also would love a slice of that cake but would need the large cup to go with it. :)

~The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said...

Oh wow, yeah the coffee cup they use is smaller than ours. (I love my Longaberger mugs. Had tea out of one last night!)

Brian Miller said...

oo la i could get into those coffee parties....first, i love coffee...its a terrible addiction set upon me at an early age...that i so enjoy...ha....but those sweets look delicious....

Joanne Roberts said...

I wish we had the sort of culture here where people took the time to stop by each other's homes and get involved in their lives. sigh

Laura Clipson said...

This sounds much better than our version of going for coffee!
I do love our British afternoon tea, though :)

Nicole said...

Coffee hasn't been my beverage of choice for many years. Now cake, on the other hand, is a dessert that I am more likely to find room in my tummy for...whether I'm hungry or not.

My philosophy is...there's always room for cake! :)

Speaking of hunger though, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch yesterday due to having to help my mom with some tech stuff and my grandmother bought me a box of sticky buns from a local bakery. I'm certain they were supposed to last at least until today or Friday...but...I ended up eating the whole box and then having French Fries for dinner. My mother (who had a box of danishes sitting on the table) was in disbelief that I managed to eat all of the sticky buns yesterday.

I couldn't help myself. They were good. And, I was hungry. So, I guess that's what happens when you skip breakfast and lunch and want to stop your stomach from making silly noises.

Anyway, I planned to hold off on eating any sweets for about a week or so after that large consumption of sticky buns...but now I want some cake...and it's all YOUR fault, Tina! Thanks a lot for sending me into a sugar coma over here. HaHa!

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host
The Madlab Post

CA Heaven said...

The Swedes have this funny word "fika" (pronounced fee-ka) which basically means to drink coffee. It's like they've split the word coffee in the middle and swapped the two parts. Swedes are funny >:)

Cold As Heaven

Lady Jai said...

Ok! Those cakes look nummy!! I'm not a coffee drinker. Invite me for tea and I'll be there. Better yet...RedBull LOL

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
My A to Z
Caring for My Veteran

loverofwords said...

I have a question for you Tina. In Swedish culture when someone comes to your home do Swedes always offer something to eat or drink during the visit? When I grew up, it was considered polite to do so, but in the U.S. not at all. I always feel, at least offer. Hospitality is everything in Europe. This would be true if someone was just stopping by, not necessarily invited.


I would have to have several cups to get my fix on "KAFFE"
Those cakes look outstanding I can just imagine how they taste!

Anonymous said...

Hi from A-Z blog hopping!
I love this, I'm not a coffee drinker myself, though I drink enough tea to make up for it.It's interesting to read about traditions in other countries, this one looks fun! I could definitely go for the cake, I do a lot of baking, maybe I should have a tea party, it would save me from myself!

Anonymous said...

Oh I should NOT have come here today with all that food-talk and more importantly, CAKE-talk! Looks amazing!
It's also interesting to see how different it is in Sweden. I was born in Hungary and there coffee means espresso (strong, small) but it's not really a social event - it's literally a coffeine kick in the morning and/or after lunch.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I'm going into a sugar coma right now just thinking about all of that.

Claudia said...

hmmm...that cake looks awesome.... we also often have coffee in a friend's place and i often have friends who visit me at home and i usually bake a cake and make some coffee... we drink it in small mugs as well...and very me some good coffee...

Silvia Villalobos said...

I prefer the someone's-house ritual. Same way works in Romania, just like in England people have tea time, and in Germany coffee and cake, but always, or most times, at someone's house. The deserts look heavenly.
Silvia @

Silvia Villalobos said...

the 'desserts' look heavenly. What is it with auto-correct today?

Jo said...

I remember having people over for coffee or going their homes. Cookies and cakes were often served. Those cakes remind me of a cake I ate in Norway and have made myself since, Bløtkake. Delicious.

Anonymous said...

My sister and I recently made plans to meet before shopping for a bridal shower gift. She said, "Is there a coffee shop nearby?" (We were meeting in a town halfway between our homes) It wasn't until a little later that we realized that none of us (my sister, husband, or I) drink coffee at all. Hot chocolate, Chai, various types of teas, water, all of these yes. No coffee. I like the idea Swedish coffee really being a whole lot of bakery! Love it!

Kathe W. said...

omg those cakes would put me into a sugar coma! Thanks for the pics! Now I muct have a strong cup of coffee!

Samantha Geary Jones said...

After reading this delicious post, I'm craving something sweet and caffeine laden. I'm so spoiled when it comes to coffee at home (locally roasted perfection prepared in a french press)I never buy it when I'm out. But when I come visit, I'll take the cake and about 5 of those little cups of kaffe:)

Echoes of Olympus
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