“Wow, we are going to fika again?” my husband said a few days in on his first trip to Sweden. It wasn’t until then I realized that “fika” (pronounced fee-ka) is actually a thing for us Swedes, a part of life that most of us could not imagine living without.

It’s about relaxation and enjoyment

Fika is so much more than sharing a cup, it’s about relaxation and enjoyment. Not to be compared with grabbing a cup at Starbucks. No, no, no! Rather it’s about taking a break and just be still for a moment or two.

You usually have a fika together with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, a prospective boyfriend or girlfriend…you name it, but by yourself works too.

Time and place doesn’t matter

Winter in the mountains, lunch break at spring, summer by the sea or during long dark days in fall – time and place doesn’t matter. The key is the ceremonial aspect. It’s something to look forward to. It’s something to do often.

My dear grandmother, she was the fika queen. Whenever you spent time with her the scent of coffee was present; in her kitchen mixed with whiffs of newly baked vanilla cake, at the summer café by the water or at places like the hairdresser or the supermarket. There was always time for a fika.

Fancy or simple – you decide

Fika can be traditional with cinnamon rolls and 7 types of cookies or it can be a “slat kopp kaffe” (nothing more than a cup of coffee or tea) and then of course, anything between. Flowers, candles, pretty napkins… decorations are welcome and only add to the experience.

If you want a refill, just ask for a “patar” (pronounced po-toor) and round two will begin.

Want to try?

So now when you know what fika is, let me invite you to try this lovely little Swedish tradition.

If you haven’t already, sign up for “Fika With Helén” by leaving your name and email address under the “join us” section and we’ll share a virtual cup on Thursday! I can’t wait!


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