Amber Gould is a 26-year-old ‘retired’ photography teacher with a baking obsession, a blog (www. and voracious dreams of a new career

IN recent months I have been wholeheartedly embracing the Swedish concept of ‘fika’. Simply put, fika is the act of taking some time out for refreshment. To you or me this may sound suspiciously like a tea break but to a Swede the ritual of fika is sacred. The nuances behind fika mean that it is more than just an act, it is representative of a way of life.

In Sweden, fika requires taking a meaningful break with some good-quality coffee, perhaps home-made cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar), sticky chocolate cake (Kladdkaka) or oat biscuits (Havreflarn).

It means baking from scratch using spices, almonds and plenty of real butter. It means taking time to catch up with friends, family or with oneself. It is essentially a time to pause and appreciate the simple things.

The question, “Ska vi fika?” (translated literally as “Shall we fika?”) seems, to me, synonymous with the good life. It is a phrase with connotations of family, friends and sharing moments together. It is the sort of leading question that can start a friendship, support a loved one or provoke a collaboration.

The custom of fika eloquently ties food and love together with an emphasis on wholesome cuisine. When embracing fika the Swedish way you will want to consider a myriad of traditional homebaked goods such as Semlor (Swedish cream buns), Pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) or Chokladbollar (chocolate cake balls).

If something savoury is desired then slices of rye bread or crisp bread topped with cheeses, cured meats or smoked fish.

Or simply embrace fika your own way; bake a tray of buttery flapjacks, whip up some cheese scones, bake an nubbly apple cake or a round of sugar-dusted shortbread.

Gather your family or visit a friend and take some time out for a bite of the good life.

Fika doesn’t mean being fancy, it means drinking cups of tea from your favourite mug and having a proper catch up. It means making more of your free time than just a quick biscuit and answering some emails. I think the Swedes are onto something here. I think we could all benefit from a little bit of fika.