For my last post on Stockholm, I’d like to focus on what I always associate with Sweden – baked goods, excellent baked goods. These excellent baked goods made up my breakfasts and my fikas and were eaten on the hoof, in cafes, at tourist attractions.

My first fika was at Vete-Katten, a well-preserved labyrinth of a coffee shop in the centre of Stockholm.

Fika

There was, of course, coffee (apparently Swedes have the 2nd or 3rd highest coffee consumption per capita) and an excellent kardemummabulle (cardamom bun).

Kardemummabulle

And their Prinsesstarta! I never really understood this cake, thinking the green layer on top was all a bit odd but my goodness was it ever good. The lovely thin layer of green marzipan held together the lightest freshest whipped cream and a most delicate sponge. It’s a popular cafe and you may struggle to find a seat on the weekend but it’s worth the wait!

Prinsesstarta

Later in the week, I visited another well-known cafe located down the road – Sturekatten (what’s with the cat names?). The cafe is quite a well known one locally with its original vintage furniture and tasty food.

Sturekatten

I settled in with some coffee and a punschrulle (aka the dammsugare, or vacuum cleaner). Both very good though most of the baked goods did look a little better at Vete-Katten.

Coffee and Punsch-roll

And then there were the rest of the bakeries I frequented every morning before work each day for the remainder of the week. I was based that time very close to central Stockholm and I’d grab something from a different place each day. From a chain called Gateau, I tried an orange brioche filled with vanilla cream and then topped with chocolate. Not outstanding but very good. Perhaps it was a bit too much cream for me for breakfast time.

A few Stockholm photos to still get through. This was yesterday's breakfast: an orange brioche filled with vanilla cream and covered in chocolate.

From Fabrique, the Swedish chain with outlets in London (hooray!), an outstanding flaky bun with rhubarb and hazelnuts …

Today's breakfast was a flaky bun with rhubarb and hazelnuts. I'm loving all the buns here.

… and an excellent kardemummabulle (shh, I prefer cardamom buns to cinnamon buns).

A final kardemummabulle. I do prefer the cardamom ones over the cinnamon buns. I'm gonna miss your bakeries, Sweden.

And I discovered the mandelbulle (almond bun) sold at Bröd & Salt, another bakery chain found throughout Stockholm. Imagine that cardamom dough rolled up with frangipane, sliced and then topped with a biscuit topping with lots of whole almonds. Yes, it was amazing.

My big Swedish discovery - the mandelbulle (almond bun). It's like a cross between a cardamom bun and a cinnamon bun but rolled with frangipane and with a biscuit topping with whole almonds. ❤😚

There were even visits to two bakeries in Skansen! There was first the village bakery that actually does sell its wares still to the public.

Bakery

Untitled

I purchased a delightfully homemade looking kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and munched that happily as I continued with my visit.

Kanelbulle

Then there was my favourite – the bakehouse. Here is where the famous Swedish flatbreads are baked for keeping throughout the year and being baked that day was tunnbröd (thin bread). Apparently the traditional version would be baked very dry and the soft versions available at supermarkets (and frozen at Ikea) are fancy modern thin breads.

Bakehouse

There was a proper demonstration of how the dough was rolled out and pricked using the textured rolling pin …

Inside the Bakehouse

… and then baked in the wood-fired oven.

Flatbread Oven

And when it came out, there was butter to slather onto the hot bread… it was excellent!

Tunnbröd

I loved Stockholm! I loved its food and its beautiful surroundings and its flowers and everything. I’m hoping to visit again in the future, bringing Blai with me this time, and he’s keen to go too after seeing all my photos. Thanks to everyone who sent information about Stockholm, its restaurants, and Eurovision, which was on the weekend I was there!

As is usual, all my Stockholm travel photos are sitting in a dedicated Flickr album.

While cozy brown cafes seem to be the places to visit in Amsterdam, somehow we never made it to one, opting instead for the newer, brighter, airier grand cafes. The grand cafes of Amsterdam are usually spacious and beautiful and well worth a visit for a bite or just to rest one’s feet.

We spent our last morning in Amsterdam at Cafe de Jaren, a beautiful cafe in the university district of the old city. There was plenty of space for us and our bags and suitcase and we spent a calm couple of hours here snacking and poring over their reading material.

Something we discovered absolutely everywhere in Amsterdam is the existence of verse munt thee on the menu. Fresh mint tea. This is fresh mint leaves steeped in water and strictly isn’t actually tea but a tisane. Honey is always offered with it though I think I prefer it as is. It’s something we became addicted to over there and that we’ve brought back to our home in London.

Verse Muntthee met Honing

We took this opportunity to try their version of the Dutch apple tart too. While it was delicious, studded with raisins and topped with flaked almonds, it was served disappointingly cold and would have been about a billion times better warm.

Appel Taart

If the weather had been more cooperative, we would have been able to sit in their terrace leading directly onto a canal. This would have been the view!

The view from this morning's cafe

After killing some time in the shops and having more frites, we headed to train station to wait for our Thalys train to Brussels, where we’d connect to the Eurostar. Our first destination within the station though was the 1er Klas Grand Cafe, where we went in search of some light refreshment prior to our train journeys. The room was originally the first class passenger lounge in the station which explains how luxurious it looks!

The Grand Cafe

The bitterballen at this cafe are sourced from the famed patisserie Holtkamp (we tried to visit the day before but they had an extra long queue thanks to it being Easter). Their bitterballen are considered to be some of the best in Amsterdam and they are indeed fantastic. Crisp crumbed on the outside, creamy meaty bechamel on the inside – our order of six were served with mustard and pickles. They’re fantastic bar snacks.

Bitterballen

An apple pancake was accompanied by butter, powdered sugar and stroop (syrup) – everything you might want with a pancake. I’ve definitely developed a thing for the eggy Dutch pancakes.

Apple Pancake

And perhaps the best part of the cafe? There’s a house (cafe?) parrot – say hello to Elvis! The white cockatoo loves grooming and shredding bar coasters and the regulars love to have him on their shoulders!

Elvis

Café de Jaren
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20 – 22
1012  Amsterdam

1e Klas Grand Cafe
2b (platform), Centraal Station
Amsterdam