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February 03, 2010

Time to dress up, play Danish pinata and eat cream buns

You'd not usually associate Scandinavia with celebrating the days before the start of Lent, but indeed, we do.  In Sweden, lush cardamom buns are served filled with marzipan and whipped cream.  In Finland, similar buns are served, although with jam in the middle.  In Denmark, the tradition is for a more pastry based bun but in all countries the reason is the same:  to fatten up before the faste (Lent).

Except now most of us don't faste at all, so it's just an excuse to eat cream cakes. As if we needed an excuse in the first place.

Denmark also celebrates Ash Monday by having a carnival.  The kids dress up and play a game called "slaa katten af toenden" which literally means "Beat the cr*p out of the cat".  In the olden days (eh, until about 1900's) it was believed that black cats were evil and they actually put a live cat in the barrel and beat the evil out of it.  Not so nice.  Today the barrel is filled with candy.  Phew.

Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday, as you guys call it) is the day for eating the cream buns.  Especially in Sweden is this tradition huge.  It used to be that you'd eat a semla bun on Fat tuesday, but now you start eating them in January and don't stop till end of february, at which point you've gained 6 pounds and can no longer fit through the door at the bakers.

This year, Fat Tuesday is the 16th February and we're planning a day of semlor-madness (last year there was a queue out the door most of the day, just to buy buns).  You can get your semla-fix in store now as we bake them every day, but if you want buns on the 16th, we do recommend that you order them to avoid dissapointment. 



Love, The Fat Kitchen People x



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