Sunday, February 24, 2008

Café Linné

Joe When Jennifer was first introduced to semla a couple of weeks ago, one of her coworkers mentioned that there was a little place called Café Linné just across from the Linnaeus Trädgården which was famous for having huge semla. Today we finally made the trek over to see for ourselves, and of course things were more complicated than they seemed. There, across the street from the garden was the Café Linné, and on the corner next to it was another Café Linné. A quick glance inside each revealed that they both offered outsized semla, so we were reduced to picking more or less at random. We settled on the Café Linné Konstantina, not to be confused with it's doppleganger, the Café Linné Hörnan.

We had planned on going there for breakfast, but it was nearly 11:30 by the time we made our decision, so we had a lunch instead: two pieces of quiche, brocolli-skink for Jennifer, kött for me (yes, honestly, ground beef quiche… but good!), with salad, bread and coffee for 68 SEK each, and then another 27 SEK for a semla that was, in fact, somewhat monstrously huge. The cafe was very cute, built into a little house so there were a bunch of different rooms, each with divans and coffee tables, and the requisite adorable blonde pig-tailed hooligan delightedly stomping from room to room.

We lingered over today's edition of Aftonbladet, an only moderately disreputable Swedish tabloid which we did our best to translate—Princess Madeleine upheld the honor of the Royal Family by competing in Tjejvasan yesterday (that's a women-only version of Vasaloppet, a 90 km cross-country ski race steeped in Swedish traditions, many of which appear to revolve around blueberry soup); your toothpaste may be killing you (antibiotics, don't you know); glamour photography is sexist; a seering exposé into the prosthetic devices professional athletes use to pass drug tests; what's John McCain's favorite ABBA song; and so on, and so on. This enlightening reading inspired us to stop at the city library on the way home, where Jennifer picked up a book of contemporary Swedish poetry that will I'm sure raise the level of discourse around the apartment for several days.

Upon reaching home, a little web detective work revealed that we made the right choice of cafes (probably): while the Hörnan is (I think) on the site of the original Café Linné, the Konstantina sells semlor made by the original proprietors at their new bakery across town.

On an unrelated note, I got to put my hard-won knowledge of Swedish laundry room reservation boards to good use this evening when, as I retrieved my laundry, I ran into the Serbian basketball player who lives downstairs, and showed him how it all works. Turns out that he played against EMU back in his days at University of Central Florida. Small world.


  1. oh how i'd like to be in that cafe right now instead of monitoring client bloggage! this week's cupcake flavors at cake nouveau are key lime and hazelnut praline. but it's so cold (for Michigan, ahem), I may not wander over there...

  2. According to the brand new Saveur, Easter Eve in Sweden "looks a lot more like Halloween. Kids travel door-to-door asking for candy, while grown-ups indulge in a more sophisticated treat: semla."

    That makes it official--I have to try one!