Fika is a Swedish tradition of taking time in the afternoon to share some coffee (kaffe), cookies (kokkar), and cakes (kaka…I think). Fika is so much more than a simple coffee break. It is a reminder to take part of your afternoon to enjoy the company of others while sharing drink and food.
Since I have been part of the Olson family, fika has become part of my vocabulary. It has been explained to me and I have shared in that tradition when I am with my in-laws. Technically, I have done something similar with my own family when we have gathered for as far back as I remember. It was more or less referred to as “having coffee”. Additionally, I think that it is also quite similar to high tea that the British practice.
Recently, I have had the honor and pleasure of having fika while in Sweden in a few settings. The formal fikas were with lovely china teacups and so many homemade cookies baked with love and anticipation of our visit. The informal fikas were with pastries or home-baked cakes with freshly made cream topped with strawberries. One has been at a picnic table on the grounds of a castle where my husband’s 3x-grandfather worked. We have even had fika in a charming courtyard cafe while visiting a southern seaside town.
Each fika has been shared with friends, family, and many stories of times long ago. Every moment has been special and memorable. It has also reminded me of “having coffee” long ago in my own past with beloved family members, shared with our traditional goodies and stories.
Fika is now linked in my mind with family. Family can be the ones you are born into, the ones you are loved into, the friends whom become loved like family, and the people you share life experiences with to create bonds. I will take Fika with me back home in my heart. This is a tradition, I’m pretty sure we will maintain in my family in the future. Hopefully, it will be with some of the Swedish family cookie recipes I’m hoping to collect!
If I get them, I may just invite ya over for a US southern spin on fika! Skol!