Coming home from overseas holidays is always a mix of feelings for me. Usually I'm quite glad to get home to my own bed, my own shower, my own kitchen, my veggie garden and my own language. Travel can be so exhausting even when it's the best time of your life! On the other hand when you're away seeing amazing things, eating awesome new foods and spending your afternoons relaxing in cafes watching people go by, it's hard to come to terms with the idea of going back to the old normal and (comparatively!) boring everyday life back home. This trip it was especially difficult to come home - Europe was summery, delicious, full of great people and wonderful things to see. Coming home to winter and all the boring things that so often fill our time ("We'd better go and see the bank about that account", "I really should call that store and chase up that refund they haven't given me yet", "The car insurance is due", "Oh, you've been called for jury duty.....again") was so not appealing - especially as we were having unseasonably warm and sunny weather in Sweden, Denmark & Norway.
But - back I am! It's not so bad, really. I'm actually really happy to be back at work (which some may find it hard to believe - but really I love my job!), the weather has actually been really nice (more like spring than winter) and we're having some gatherings for my upcoming birthday. It's also probably good for my waistline to be home - because oh my goodness we ate a lot of food. The food was so amazing! Particularly in Sweden, Denmark, Tallinn (Estonia) and Riga (Latvia). Yes, we indulged a lot. After all, I'm only going to have the chance to taste all these things once right?
I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine who had studied in Sweden when I was doing Swedish Food Month on the blog. She said "the Swedes have an insane sweet tooth - and their sweets are soooo good!". She was right - there were amazing cakes and tarts everywhere you went. I've put together a photographic diary for you.
A quick note: These cakes are not very vegan friendly - but I think every one of them could easily be made vegan (and I'll be giving it a go, you can be sure!). So if you're one of my vegan readers then just imagine the vegan versions and let your mouths water anyway :)
Firstly - Kladdkaka. The classic Swedish chocolate cake. It's name translates as "Sticky Cake" - rich, gooey and absolutely fantastic. I made a vegan version of Kladdkaka for Swedish Food Month and I'm pleased to say the real thing tasted pretty much the same! I ate quite a bit of Kladdkaka during our time in Sweden!
Chokladdbolls (Chocolate Balls) are another Swedish delight which I made for my Swedish Food Month so I was excited to try the real thing when I got there. Of course, mine were a tad differently because I added some aniseed spirits to it, but otherwise they tasted pretty much the same. Although, now that I have seen the real thing I can see that I rolled mine way too small - next time I'll make them at least twice the size! Here are my vegan Chokladdarraksbolls :)
A speciality of Visby in Gotland, this Saffranspannkaka. The name literally translates as "Saffron Pancake", but it's not a great translation because it's not what we would call a pancake. It's more of a sweet rice pudding which is cooked in a pan and served in slices like a cake. Served with solberry jam and whipped cream, it was something pretty special - I'm also thinking it would be pretty easy to veganize!
Another Visby speciality - Wisbytårta (literally "Visby Cake"). Rich and unbelievably delicious, this tart like cake is served in small slices because it's so rich and is perfect with the fresh raspberries on the side.
In Göteborg, we found the most amazing cake shop. Piles and piles of cakes and biscuits, rows of pies and tarts and pretty much everything you might want ever. It's almost too much, how could you pick what to have when it all looks so amazing?
The same shop in Göteborg.
The same shop in Göteborg.
In Malmö - another tough choice at an amazing cake shop. I had the Pecan Cheesecake: awesome.
Of course, if you're not in the mood for cake there is always plenty of this too:
And just in case things weren't sweet enough around here, I thought I'd share this with you. Check out the pick'n'mix lollies section of a convenience store in Lund. It was actually bigger than this - there was another whole row that I couldn't fit in the picture. Some choice!!