I've made no secret of my abiding love for Sweden's kanelbulle, and while we were in Stockholm this fall I just about gorged myself. But even in the throes of cinnamon joy, I managed to jot some quick notes on the bullar that passed my way; here they are, presented in order of best to worst.
Note that even the very most abysmal kanelbullar, are, by British standards, still pretty good. Kanelbullar are, like pizza and pancakes, still good even when they're bad.
Skansen makes kanelbullar the way that kanelbullar want to be made: tied in a knot, dense and chewy, tall, a little stocky, with plenty of flavour and just the right amount of pearl sugar on top. Magnificent.
Not quite enough sugar on this one, but the flavour was there, and the shape was right. Maybe a bit more crust than I'd like but the perfect texture on the inside. Absolutely marvellous with a coffee: an excellent fika bulle.
I expected much worse from such a touristy spot, but Skeppsbro knows their bullar! Plenty of character forgives this one its flatness. Sticky, super-dense, with a heaping helpful of cinnamon. An ideal bulle for Americans.
A respectable bulle. Very light on the inside—almost a cake. Delicate flavours as well. Feels like it was made by a French person. That's not a bad thing, but it's not quite what I'm looking for.
I regrettably forgot to take a picture of this one. To be fair it was pretty much middle of the road. Not a ton of character, no real flaws, went well with coffee.
Bröd & Salt
Surprising amount of cardamom in this one. Cardamom bullar are a thing on their own, but I can appreciate a bit of experimentation. Maybe a bit too much cardamom, though. And not enough pearl sugar. I think there was more sugar on others in the display—maybe I just had bad luck of the draw.
Points for its novel shape, but this was an otherwise unexceptional bulle. Picked up in a hurry at the train station on the way to the airport.
We are now proceeding into the realm of the not good kanelbullar. Pressbyrån is a convenience store and this was a convenience-store-grade bulle. Dry, a little stale, not particularly flavourful. I neglected to take a picture of this one either, so bland was it.
This was mostly a formality. Dry, light, cake-ish. The only thing to recommend it is the correct shape and the generous helping of pearl sugar.
Lidl is perhaps famous in the UK for its bakery section, but it did not fare well in the bulle ranking. You can tell from this picture how dry and flavourless it is. Using the conventional spiral shape helps, perhaps, in cranking out prodigious numbers of these things to ship out to grocery stores nationwide, but it does not recommend them to me.
Not a bulle, and neither particularly nice to look at nor to eat. The guy who sold it to me called me maestro, though, and that was a lot of fun.
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Last day in Stockholm. The most disappointing kanelbulle.
Eating our way across Stockholm's neighbourhoods: bullar in Östermalm, fika on Skeppsbro, korvar and meatballs in Södermalm.
Going to a building with a big ship inside, coffee and kanelbulle in the fancy part of town, a disappointing pick'n'mix, being mistaken for locals at a kebab place.
Visiting Birka, drinking a flight of IPAs at a Whippet Bar, attending a post-metal concert, eating grillade korvar.
Visiting Skansen, doing a fika, having a life-changing experience with a cinnamon roll, going for a run, reindeer for dinner.
Arriving in Stockholm at an average speed of two hundred kph or thereabouts.
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