Cinnamon Bun Day is always celebrated on October 4 in Sweden. Swedes love to have a Fika and it must always be served with a cinnamon bun. This is the story of our most beloved pastry.
100-Year Old Bun Tells The Story
Our modern cinnamon bun, or cinnamon snail, was created around 1920 and will soon turn one hundred years old. Food that had been rationed during the wartime period was starting to come back – sugar, butter, flour and spices. The cinnamon bun was being sold at cafés, but in the kitchen at home we baked different kinds of buns that were shaped as wreaths or long, flat bread.
The baking of cinnamon buns at home started in the beginning of the 1950’s. Better economy, cheaper raw materials and better ovens changed the bun from being a luxury to being everyone’s all time favorite.
Cinnamon added flavor to pastries for special occasions as early as during the 1500’s in Sweden. For king Gustav Vasa’s wedding, large amounts of sweets, cinnamon and other valuable spices were imported.
Coffee is closely associated with cinnamon buns. Coffee traveled a long way before it came to Sweden. From the coffee houses in Mecca (1400’s) via Persia, Constantinople, Venice (1600’s) and then further north in Europe. Karl XII brought coffee from Turkey. In Stockholm, coffee houses were established in the early 1700s, where the men drank coffee while discussing politics and literature.
Compressed yeast, which appeared in the mid-1800’s, made it possible to bake porous, sweet bread to accompany coffee. Wheat became cheaper and more common. When the iron stove replaced the open fireplace, it became easier to bake smaller cakes such as buns and biscuits. And so we developed our Swedish pastry culture.
Instead of large dinner parties, coffee parties became the modern way to socialize during the 1900’s. Coffee parties reached their peak during the 1950’s and were subsequently replaced with simpler “fika”. The Swedish word fika means what we eat and drink and the way of socializing. The Swedish fika is now also used in English.