If you’re joining this years Swecon and visiting from abroad, it’s our responsibility as con-com and Swedish delegates to introduce you to the concept of Swedish fika. Frankly, the Finns have it too, but as they also add salmiakki to most things, I will ignore their input on all things edible and drinkable.
Swedish fika is a social institution, much akin to the Brits Afternoon tea. It’s an old slang word based on a former word for coffee (today it’s kaffe, it used to be kaffi). Fika-rast basically means coffee break, and Swedes (alright, the Finns as well) take coffee very, very seriously. Fika has evolved to mean and include many things: There is morgonkaffe (coffee break in the morning between breakfast and lunch), and eftermiddagskaffe (coffee break in the afternoon between lunch and dinner). Fika means coffee (sometimes substituted for tea or hot chocolate, or even cold beverages like lemonade) with pastries, cakes, a sandwich and sometimes even a lighter meal. When you go for a fika, it could be a simple cup of black coffee with a colleague, or a full out pastry-eating party with a friend or even a date (fika can creep up on you like that). Whether you like it or not (and why wouldn’t you?), there’s a coffee shop or three on almost every street in central Uppsala. You can’t avoid them if you tried. Within ten minutes walk from the convention venue you will find:
Landings Konditori – Not too exciting, but serves all the classics, like the Swedish “princessbakelse”, a spongecake with whipped cream and jam covered in green marzipan. Located in the mall St: Pers gallerian, next door from the con-venue.
Espresso House – Also located in St. Pers, it’s the closest to a Starbucks you’ll get in Sweden without going to an actual Starbucks. They have a long list of cold and hot drinks (you can get them vegan).
Kardemumma – A small, unassuming but nice café fused with the public library just around the corner.
Årummet – One of central towns largest cafés, on the eastern bank. If the weather allows for it, have your fika outdoors with a lovely view of the cathedral and creek. Has plenty alternatives for people with different dietary restrictions. Take to the left outside the con-venue, turn around the corner onto S:t Olofsgatan and walk to the end of the street.
Linné Hörnan – Ligher food and so, so many pastries. Round the corner unto S:t Olofsgatan, but when you reach the library, cross the street to your right and walk past the English Bookshop.
Linné Konstantina – One of towns older coffee shops, it’s cosy and old-fashioned, with a nice assortment of pastries, sandwiches and soups for lunch guests. It’s just next door to Linné Hörnan.
I recommend Linnébullen (a cinnamonroll the size of a childs face) at Linné Konstantina for an old-school fika, the passionfruit cheesecake at Årummet and the rich American chocolate cake at Linné Hörnan. Don’t forget to re-upp your coffee cup, or as we say “påtår”. For more useful info, watch two young men get super intense about fika.
Now, welcome to Uppsala. Have some fika.