Fika has also left its mark in Australia. While the sun shines on the improbably beautiful sand of Manly beach, Sydney, a little corner of Sweden sits snugly around the corner. In 2013, Fika Swedish Kitchen opened its doors to a bemused public, as co-founder Diana Chirilas explains.
“We initially catered to mainly Swedish expats. Aussie-born locals poked their heads in and said ‘Swedish, what do you mean Swedish?’," she said. "Some people thought we were Swiss and asked for chocolate.”
Changing tastes and attitudes
But attitudes are changing, Chirilas said.
“Everything Scandinavian is trendy. There are Nordic movies and TV dramas, Swedish design shops have opened and people are curious," she said.
In Walthamstow, suburb in London, Swedish café Bygga Bo has taken the idea behind Fika and extended it to incorporate an entire lifestyle.
“Bygga Bo means ‘to build a nest’ and for me fika means cosy, relaxed and homely,” said Malin Hamilton, who opened the shop with husband James in 2013.
“We started the business by opening up our own house as a fika pop-up with coffee and cakes. It went well and we decided to do it full-time. We now have a Swedish lifestyle shop with a bit of everything including ceramics, candles and clothes so people can have that fika feeling whenever they want.”
Husband James says there’s also been a change in consumers’ expectations, with people tiring of mass-market products and requesting one-off, carefully crafted goods.
“Fika fits into that mentality. We bake all our cakes, the accessories we sell are all handmade and people really appreciate it. They see it as aspirational.”
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