Variations of the semla at Ahlströms Konditori, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, JE Nilsson 2024

In the vibrant heart of Gothenburg lies Ahlströms Konditori, a revered institution since 1901. Renowned for capturing the essence of Swedish baking traditions, the café becomes a focal point as it welcomes the semla season, especially with Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) approaching on February 13, 2024. Here, the semla is not just a seasonal treat; it’s a culinary emblem of Swedish heritage, celebrated by locals and visitors alike.

The Swedish semla, distinct from its European counterparts, is a testament to simplicity and quality. Known for its cardamom-spiced wheat bun, each semla is meticulously crafted. The bun, with its top artfully cut off, is filled with a rich blend of milk and almond paste, and then crowned with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The cut-off top, serving as a lid, is delicately dusted with powdered sugar, completing this exquisite pastry.

This weekend, amidst my usual explorations of Gothenburg’s cafés, I found myself settling into Ahlströms Konditori. Surrounded by the warm embrace of Victorian-styled curtains and art deco wallpapers, I was immersed in an atmosphere rich with quiet chatter. Many patrons, some deeply engrossed in the news on their laptops, had chosen the semla for their breakfast. It was a remarkable sight; nearly every table within my vicinity had this iconic pastry, a testament to its enduring popularity.

The Classic Swedish Semla.

Tucked away in the bustling streets of Gothenburg, Ahlströms Konditori is not just a café but a culinary treasure steeped in history. Celebrating over 120 years of service, this iconic konditori has been a part of Gothenburg’s café culture since 1901. It’s not just the coffee and pastries that draw in the weekend morning crowd but also their exquisite array of traditional Swedish open-faced sandwiches, known as smörgås.

The iconic green Swedish Princess Tårta, a delightful symphony of sponge, pastry cream, raspberry cream or mousse and marzipan, ready to enchant your taste buds.

There are weekly special offers on different buns and open faced sandwiches from which you can choose. This week’s offer is the delectable marzipan filled cinnamon roll.