The Swedes never seem to get enough of rolls. In a single year, it is estimated that around 50 million rolls are sold, and even more are baked at home in the cottages.
Fat Tuesday is celebrated, as is well known, to begin the Christian fast. The idea is that before Lent you should eat properly so that you can manage to live as spartanly as possible until Easter.
Similar holidays are celebrated around the world, with slightly different traditions. In Great Britain they celebrate “shrove tuesday” by eating pancakes, and in Louisiana in the USA they celebrate “mardi gras” with a big carnival.
A big favorite – but not for everyone
But the semla does not go to everyone’s home. In 1994, SVT’s reporter interviewed a baker who had completely stopped eating the pastries.
– I have baked over 2 million rolls, he says in the clip. So it’s no wonder he got tired.
One who, on the other hand, never tired of rolls as long as he lived was King Adolf Fredrik. He died in 1771 after suffering a stroke after a real fallow dinner where, among other things, hetvägg (that is, a semla with warm milk) was served.
Popularly it is said that he ate himself to death on rolls – but in fact the king had been in poor health for a long time, and today we know that he died of a stroke.