_MG_5988

How to FIKA

Sweden has given us many gifts: Ikea, Alfred Nobel and his peace prize, Pippi Longstocking, ABBA, Alexander Skarsgård, Ace of Base, meatballs with lingonberry sauce…the list goes on and on. But one beautiful Swedish institution that has yet to make its way to the US is the lovely moment the Swedish call fika.

+

What is fika*? Fika is a small time away from work or study, from the harshness of real life, to contemplate, and to enjoy the company of others. With a cup of coffee or tea, a sweet treat, and some time away from the cares of life, you are refreshed. You may have fika in the morning and again in the afternoon at work, or you might choose fika for a first date, or to catch up with a friend.

+

We have heard much lately about the four-day-work-week that Swedes are on about; the efficiency of less time spent working and more time spent being human. Fika fits well within that philosophy and also fits well within our imagined Swedish life (which involves saunas, frolicking in meadows, and picking mushrooms in the forest.)

+

A friend named Tom who also recently learned how to fika likes to talk about the Three Cs of Fika: coffee, cake, conversation. All three are important, none should be neglected, and you should embrace a general sense of peace and care for one another throughout.

+

We’ve taken the opportunity to expand our cultural horizons around Chicago lately, and herewith we offer to our readers a photo essay on the experience of fika, set in the Pan Hellenic Bakery in Greektown, Chicago. We would like to note that the pastries at Pan Hellenic are perfect, the service is prompt, kind, and attentive, and the coffee superb.

+

Take-away: fika is not just for Swedes (as they would tell you themselves); anyone can enjoy it! If it appeals to you, use these photos, this short introduction, and our encouragement to add fika to your life. Skål!

+

*Pronunciation: fee-kuh.