FROM KANELBULLAR TO KROPPKAKA
After a long night full of snaps, stories, and crayfish, we wake up at Marianne and Helge’s in our private guest house in Kungsgården, Sweden. Before we give the day ahead of us cento per cento (100%), we need to do one last thing, take long hot showers. The hot running water feels like liquid luxury, since we had been living with no running water at the farm in Järbo. Now, straight to Berglunds Bageri we go to learn how to make the kanelbullar recipe with Gustaf who has been at the bakery since 4 am; he is a real champion after a long night! Per usual, we are taken in by the sugary aromas of the bakery and pleasant greetings from Maja and Troja, two of our favorite bakery workers! Gustaf is waiting for us and is happy to show us how to make the Swedish cinnamon buns ourselves! I apron up and he walks me through the dough making, the rolling, buttering, sugaring, twisting, and glazing. Rather than make all 20 himself, he stops after making 2 and it is my turn to give it a go. Lacking the magic genie to help, I look like Aladdin with my apron and red chef hat. Learning the twisting techniques for the kanelbullar recipe is a fun challenge and by the 18th bun I think I have it down.
We put the buns in the oven and Marianne invites us to breakfast: a full table of muesli, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers and bread! Our Swedish mother knows exactly what we needed as she so often does!
After breakfast we watch Gustaf make the finishing touches on two traditional Swedish items; Bananza cakes and Smörgåstårta cakes for an 80th birthday. Berglunds Bageri does it all! The mouth-watering smell of the kanelbulle begins to permeate the air and we know the cinnamon buns are ready. We all gather around the golden swirls of fluffy dough; we each take one and exclaim “Skål!” (Cheers in Swedish) but this time with Kanelbolle rather than snaps. The kanellbollar melts in my mouth. The combination of melted cinnamon, sugar, and freshly baked sweet dough is perfect. We spend the rest of the morning munching on the finger-licking snacks and Marianne packs three for our journey to Croatia.
We spend the next hour at the bakery “in the zone” coordinating and organizing our schedule and goals in what we call a “Power Hour.” We coordinate with Erica and Gustaf for our arrival, purchase our travel tickets to Oslo, and make a phone call to Lärkan and Marjo about our plans to leave. Our plan is to return the car to the farm in Järbo and then take the bus to Gustaf and Erica's at 3:30 PM for a dinner and documentation of Kroppkaka. We will then take the anticipated “Kroppkaka Coma” nap at their apartment before our 3 am bus. But wait!!! First and most importantly, we have to say goodbye to our Swedish parents.
With a quick goodbye in mind, we are immediately convinced to stay longer by the offering of Swedish meatballs on homemade knäckebröd. Would it be a departure any other way? We make a promise to return to Sweden or to see them in Italy, say our goodbyes and head toward Järbo. We quickly gather our stuff (including the broken ice cream maker ☹) from the farm, complete the next steps of our knives, and give our final blessings to our pigs, Paul and Esther.
We arrive in Gävle, where Gustaf and Erika live, buy a Lily for our hosts, and follow the precise directions from Gustaf. We arrive at the apartment and see Gustaf waving to us from his 5th floor porch! Feeling just as welcome at their apartment as we do at his parents, conversation is quick to start. As it is getting close to dinner time, Erica jumps right into the Kroppkaka Recipe preparation. Leila steps in to give Erika a hand stuffing the potato dumplings with bacon.
The Kroppkaka is ready and Gustaf takes the honors to show us how it’s done. He drops a Kroppkaka ball on his plate, pours on a little melted butter, a spoonful of lingonberry jam, plops it in his mouth, cracks open a beer to wash it down, and exclaims "there is no other way to eat them.” We laugh and quickly follow his lead. The bacon-stuffed potato balls were addicting, one after another we eat, until all 16 are gone …”we” meaning mostly Gustaf and I...
After we finish dinner, we decide to take a stroll to the bus station to walk off a few of the Kroppkaka calories. Unfortunately for the calorie burning, the station is a mere 10 minute walk away. Returning to the apartment we take a look at our travel photos, chat about Swedish music, and take some final pictures for our memories. We are ready for our “KroppkakaComa nap” and for our 3 am bus departure to Recipe Hunting in Croatia! We fall asleep with our bellies full of scrumptious Kroppkaka, Made with Love in Sweden!